Story of Man

Here is a blog from my brother. It is a true Chinese story. I translated it into English. I am not sure what kind of hardship Americans need to go through to be successful. As I read stories of Dell or other successors, I feel that their Chinese counterparts have to go through a lot more. Compared with their Chinese counterparts, the Americans big successors’ fights are too smooth. Maybe I am wrong on this. Let me know. One good thing about living in American is that I don’t have to go through things like in the following article. So I should happily work hard here, enduring any pain/trouble in the process. As I progress, maybe I will need to go through something like below in the article. We will see.


Yesterday I went to have a drink with our Big Brother (Note: Sorry, not sure how to translate this. It is definitely not the same as “Big Brother” used in the novel 1984. Big Brother is the phrase that Chinese gangsters use to call their head. It is used quite common in Chinese daily life to refer to someone who is the most authoritative of a group. I guess it is never used this way in English.). Big Brother said that he must drink with friends like us on the last day right before his 30. I don’t understand what he means, but whatever, I will go along. I guess it is because of Chinese saying that a man should establish himself at the age of 30. While we were drinking, he told me a very shocking story. It is a story that he couldn’t even share with his own wife.

Big Brother doesn’t have a strong body. He got meningitis when he was 9. But it surprises us that he now has a pretty good memory.

When everyone was getting excited from the drinks, Big Brother asked me, Is today a happy day?

I said yes.

He asked, Do you want to hear a story of man on such a day?

I said yes.

He moved over next to me and kept his voice low. I was anxious to hear it because Big Brother was never that serious. I thought it must be something big. Big Brother is in charge of some place in Beijing. So he has many chances to be invited to important dinners and has seen many things. One day, he was invited to a drinking party. He was an important guest there. Everyone there is a big name. One of them is a son of a leader in the central government. Big Brother told me that he is the only person there who didn’t come from a prestigious family. His parents are both workers.

Although Big Brother had attended such kind of gathering for many times, he often excused himself from drinking by saying he had to drive. He needs to behave himself since he holds public office and he needs to live up to his principles. But sometimes because of work or merely survival, there are some important parties that he cannot ignore, such as that one. But he had warned himself not to drink a drop that day.

When it was time for drinking, the son (let’s call him so for convenience) stood up and asked Big Brother to drink half of a bottle of vodka in front of him. Big Brother said that he doesn’t drink. Then that son couldn’t control his voice and hollered at Big Brother that he had to drink that day no matter whatever reason. No one at the gathering dared to say anything. Everyone was scared to death at what would happen. Big Brother immediately knew what that was all about. It was not about drinking. It was about about challenge. The son was challenging Big Brother, challenging his principles he had been holding for years. If he backed down, the son and his people will ride on his neck for ever. Big Brother told him that he only drinks tea. The son pointed his finger at Big Brother, saying “How dare you? You don’t give me face. OK, you drink this pot of tea.”

That pot of tea was about the same amount as the half bottle liquor. But the tea was still boiling. Everyone there was stunned by the tension at the table.

Big Brother has his personality. He said that he couldn’t give in under that circumstance. He had to stand up to the challenge. It was a battle between two men. He smiled and said calmly, “OK, I will have tea, you can have your liquor. It is my fault that I cannot drink liquor. Thanks for letting me drink tea”.

He drank the boiling tea calmly with every one’s eyes popped out at the scene. Then the son poured another pot of boiling tea and passed it to Big Brother. Big Brother looked at him and drank it. Then the third pot.

Hearing all these, I felt very sad. I knew then why he didn’t share the story with his wife while his wife was just at the same table with us. He told me the story just to let me know how hard his work is and where his principle of man come from. I was touched and asked him how he felt drinking that boiling tea. He said the pain was unbearable. It was tearing his whole stomach apart. But he hold himself. That pain was with him for half a year after that.

Half a year later, he met the son again in another party. This time, Big Brother told him that it was his own fault last time, and that he was too young that time. Then Big Brother asked the son to drink tea while Big Brother drink liquor this time. The son waved his hands speedy fast, saying no, with his eyes showing both fear and respect.

I asked Big Brother how his job was going on after that? He said no one dared to threaten him anymore or set up obstacles for the pure purpose of making him suffering.

From Big Brother’s story, I feel what it means to be a man. You have to stand up to the challenge and overcome all the hardship on your way. I get a taste of battles between men. The force of man doesn’t come from his physical strength, or his social status. Neither does it come from your family background, It comes from the original source of man. Big Brother’s action, cannot be counted as greatness or braveness. But in my eye, he was growing bigger. I respected him for his decision to endure his suffering alone and leave his wife carefree.

I raised my cup for him. It was deep red. Big Brother drank the red wine and in the red he smiled.

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