My Fa­ther’s Prophecy


Special Focus - - Contents - Ma Wei 马卫

My fa­ther didn’t re­ceive a for­mal ed­u­ca­tion, but his rich life ex­pe­ri­ences en­dowed him with an abil­ity to fore­see the fu­ture and guide me in cop­ing with life. I used to smirk on hear­ing my fa­ther’s say­ings, but the re­al­ity al­ways proved his words to be true. I ad­mire him from the bot­tom of my heart.

He had three say­ings when he was alive.

The first was, “The land is al­ways our lifeblood. One day, the city dwellers will ask for a piece of land just as the farm­ers do.”

He was just into his 60s when he said this and was help­ing me take care of my chil­dren then. Twenty years later, af­ter he had al­ready left us for a long time, his prophecy came true. Wealthy city peo­ple all came flock­ing to the ru­ral ar­eas to co-build houses or rent land for res­i­den­tial quar­ters, all valid for seventy years from time of sale. The whole coun­try­side would have been sold away if there weren’t any rules pro­hibit­ing city dwellers from buy­ing a farmer’s home­stead.

A piece of land in the coun­try­side pro­vides the city dwellers with safe crops and veg­eta­bles. They can breathe fresh air or spend sum­mer va­ca­tions there. Now the most beau­ti­ful houses in the ru­ral ar­eas are not built by farm­ers, but by peo­ple from the cities. The best veg­eta­bles, crops and or­chards are not tended to by farm­ers, but in­stead by ur­ban agri­cul­tural en­ter­prises.

My fa­ther’s words were sim­ple. Hu­man be­ings are from the land and shall re­turn to the land af­ter death. When one be­comes wealthy, the first thing they want to take is the land.

His sec­ond say­ing was: “Don’t buy too many houses, they will be taxed sooner or later.” He said that 15 years ago when com­mer­cial prop­erty was just on the rise.

“It is use­less to have too many houses. Enough is enough. Other­wise, ghosts and specters will come to your empty houses.” My fa­ther said this when he saw that I had saved ev­ery penny to buy an­other home. Ac­tu­ally, I was just wor­ring that my chil­dren would not have a house to live in

when they were older.

How­ever, his words be­came a re­al­ity. Over­sized houses are heav­ily taxed. Pay­ing tax for an empty house is not worth the can­dle. One room is enough for one per­son, why do we have so many houses?

His third prophecy stated that, “Money can buy a lot of things, but it also brings trou­bles.” I am the ear­li­est group of col­lege grad­u­ates from our lit­tle vil­lage, but I am the poor­est mon­e­tar­ily. Peo­ple sneered at me when I went back home not rid­ing in a lux­ury ve­hi­cle. On the con­trary, sev­eral vo­ca­tional grad­u­ates have had glam­orous ve­hi­cles and vil­las, fre­quently go­ing abroad on trips. How­ever, three of them were taken to prison dur­ing the an­ti­cor­rup­tion cam­paigns.

In fact, we were all from poor fam­i­lies. We stud­ied hard to make liv­ings in the city. It was not easy, but the greed­i­ness for sev­eral grand ru­ined their lives. What a pity! I am poor, but I can have a bet­ter life, earn­ing ex­tra money writ­ing and lec­tur­ing in my leisure time. I en­joy a de­cent life even with­out lux­ury cars or vil­las. I can walk up­right when go­ing back to my home­town, with­out fear of vil­lagers gos­sip­ing and mock­ing be­hind my par­ents’ back.

I re­mem­ber my fa­ther’s words and prac­tice them. That’s why I have such a clean and care-free life.

(From Knowl­edge Win­dow,

April 2017.Trans­la­tion:Li Li)

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