Vol. 12


Hard Work Will Surely Pay Off

1948–1974; Shandong Province, China

My grandpa was born in 1948 to a very wealthy family in the countryside of China. But a year later the CPC, or the Communist Party of China, won the Chinese Civil War and, unfortunately, founded the People’s Republic of China. The new government took away all wealth and properties from all wealthy citizens, and Grandpa’s family became poor. But they still had maintained the class label “wealthy landowner,” which in China was a label to be ashamed of having. Most great opportunities were not meant for people with a “bad” class label, and so they couldn’t get the good opportunities.

After finishing middle school, Grandpa had the best scores in most subjects and was very successful in school, but because of his “bad” class label, his opportunity to continue on to high school was taken away, so he ended up being a poor peasant.

Also during that time, the Cultural Revolution erupted in China. The government was split into two groups that fought against each other all the time.

Two years later there was a great opportunity for the teenagers in the village to join the army, and so everyone wanted to join. But usually people like Grandpa who had a “bad” class label were not considered for opportunities like being recruited into the army. But the two teams in the Cultural Revolution were opposing each other in every small thing. One team said that Grandpa couldn’t join the army, and so the other team strongly supported Grandpa being in the army, just to oppose the first team. Luckily Grandpa was able to join the army in the end.

Usually the maximum time to be in the army is only three years. And Grandpa would’ve then gone back to being a peasant with a “bad” label. But during the three years in the army he worked hard learning things and stood out from his peers and was accepted by the army’s medical school.

After Grandpa graduated from the medical school, he became a pharmacist in the city hospital in Tsingtao and successfully took away the “bad” label and brought dignity back to his family.

Sometimes you may be trapped in a hard situation, but never give up! Prepare so you will be able to catch a precious opportunity when it does come. Grandpa had a hard life. Sadly I never got to meet him personally, because he died from liver cancer when Mom and Dad were in college.

Jennifer Tian; New Jersey, USA



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