Qin Yue­fei, a Yale Grad­u­ate Work­ing as a Vil­lage Of­fi­cial


Special Focus - - Contents - Yang Mei 扬眉

Wh en i ntro­duc­ing him­self, Qin Yue­fei is al­ways men­tion­ing two im­por­tant things in his life— that is, in 2010, he com­pleted his un­der­grad­u­ate cour­ses in Yale Univer­sity, and in the next year, he worked as a vil­lage of­fi­cial in the ru­ral area of Hu­nan Prov­ince. It may oc­cur to some peo­ple that there was once a news story on a “Yale-grad­u­ate vil­lage of­fi­cial” who was a role model of Chi­nese youth. Now, he is 30.

Five or six years ago, among his group of Chi­nese grad­u­ates from Yale Univer­sity, sev­eral of them had set­tled down in Bei­jing and found a job ei­ther in an in­vest­ment or­ga­ni­za­tion or a con­sult­ing firm. Qin Yue­fei didn’t want to take up a nine-to-five job and live for noth­ing as a white-col­lar worker. In­stead, he wanted to make a con­tri­bu­tion to chang­ing peo­ple’s life. Ma­jor­ing in po­lit­i­cal sci­ence and eco­nomics, he be­lieved that he could def­i­nitely find his role in the field of pub­lic ser­vice in China.

Ini­tially, Qin Yue­fei launched a non- profit or­ga­ni­za­tion called Sun­shine Book House with some friends that had grad­u­ated from Har­vard Univer­sity, so as to de­velop the ru­ral ed­u­ca­tion in Gansu Prov­ince. Mean­while, he heard of an or­ga­ni­za­tional pro­gram— that is, work­ing as a vil­lage of­fi­cial in re­sponse to the coun­try’s “Col­lege­grad­u­ate Vil­lage Of­fi­cial” pol­icy. Qin Yue­fei con­sid­ered it an ideal op­por­tu­nity to ful­fil his am­bi­tion, which could pro­vide him with an op­ti­mistic out­look. Although many peo­ple just saw the poor ru­ral con­di­tions and low salary of the job, in Qin Yue­fei’s eyes, com­pared with his great vi­sion, those neg­a­tive as­pects were neg­li­gi­ble. Thus, he signed up for it.

Qin Yue­fei’s mother at­tached great im­por­tance to his ed­u­ca­tion, and Qin Yue­fei be­gan to learn English when he was only two. Ac­cord­ing to the plot of a tra­di­tional suc­cess story, af­ter he was granted a full schol­ar­ship from Yale Univer­sity and got a job of­fer at Wall Street af­ter grad­u­a­tion, the story should have come to a good end. Yet, in Qin Yue­fei’s mind, com­ing back to one’s birth­place and help­ing a lo­cal com­mu­nity were the real ex­cit­ing choice.

In 2011, he was se­lected as the as­sis­tant di­rec­tor to work at He­ji­ashan Vil­lage of He­jia County in Heng­shan, Hu­nan Prov­ince, with a term of three years and the monthly pay of RMB 1450 yuan, but the post was not in­cluded in the staffing quo­tas of the na­tional civil ser­vants and with­out any so­cial in­surance.

On the next morn­ing he took of­fice, Qin Yue­fei got up and took a bath as usual, which puz­zled his col­leagues in the town­ship gov­ern­ment—how come this guy took a bath in the morn­ing? Qin Yue­fei had no idea of the usual prac­tice of a vil­lager, nei­ther did

he un­der­stand the lo­cal Heng­shan di­alect. Later, he changed his habit of tak­ing a bath in the morn­ing, and he started to wear his let­ter-printed T-shirt in­side out and changed his short boots out for a pair of rub­ber­soled “lib­er­a­tion shoes.”

Qin Yue­fei could of­ten be found in the vil­lage car­ry­ing a bas­ket or fix­ing a wa­ter heater for the vil­lagers. Most of the time, you would see him lend­ing out a help­ing hand.

Un­spo­ken Rules

Af­ter work­ing in He­ji­ashan Vil­lage for two months, Qin Yue­fei told Chen Xi­jun, the deputy sec­re­tary of the town­ship party com­mit­tee, that he could help raise funds from some en­ter­prises for any con­struc­tion work in the vil­lage. Af­ter think­ing for a while, Chen Xi­jun said that a ditch needed to be built in the fields.

Qin Yue­fei made sev­eral trips to Bei­jing, and with the aid of other over­seas re­turnees in his friends, cir­cle, he suc­cess­fully found a spon­sor­ship from some en­ter­prises and in­di­vid­u­als. He came back to the vil­lage with a to­tal amount of RMB 150,000 yuan, and af­ter a col­lec­tive vote by the vil­lagers, the pro­posal to build a ditch was ap­proved.

How­ever, one mem­ber in the sec­ond group sur­named Liu didn’t show up in the vot­ing, and he told his group not to take ac­tion, guar­an­tee­ing them that they would profit by fol­low­ing his sug­ges­tion, while the team mem­bers in other groups had ei­ther done a whip-round to pay for the labour­ers or con­tributed their own ef­forts in the job ex­e­cu­tion. Af­ter the dig­ging and ce­ment cur­ing, the ditch was nearly com­pleted, ex­cept for one sec­tion, still cov­ered by mud and weeds, which was sup­posed to be done by the sec­ond group.

Qin Yue­fei had never en­coun­tered an un­spo­ken rule be­fore. Although hav­ing heard about it from the news, he never be­lieved it. A vil­lage cadre told him ex­plic­itly that Liu was just af­ter money.

When the sun rises, a civ­i­lized per­son knows that the earth is ro­tat­ing, but in the eyes of a prim­i­tive man, it is noth­ing but a fire­ball com­ing out of the ground, as he lacks the knowl­edge of ce­les­tial bod­ies. This was an anal­ogy that Qin Yue­fei came up with. The peo­ple that he served didn’t un­der­stand what pub­lic ser­vice was, and ac­cord­ing to their past life ex­pe­ri­ence, the ditch in­ci­dent was due to some­one’s de­sire in mak­ing achieve­ments and ful­fill­ing a task as­signed by his or her su­pe­ri­ors; there­fore, they thought that they could take it as their bar­gain­ing chip.

Over the sub­se­quent week, Qin Yue­fei went to Liu’s home time and again, try­ing to build good re­la­tions with him. Qin Yue­fei ad­dressed him as Un­cle Liu im­me­di­ately af­ter en­ter­ing his home, and he also sent him sev­eral packs of cig­a­rettes as a gift, and af­ter which, he be­gan to talk about the ditch in a po­lite man­ner. Af­ter sev­eral twists and turns, the ditch was fi­nally com­pleted the next Jan­uary.

Tang Fei­long, a young civil ser­vant in the town­ship gov­ern­ment, thought that if Qin Yue­fei wasn’t a Yale grad­u­ate, it would have been im­pos­si­ble for him to pro­mote any project at all. Although a vil­lage

By Yang Mei

Qin Yue­fei was hon­ored one of the ten China 's in­spi­ra­tional role mod­els in 2016秦玥飞获得2016 年度感动中国人物奖

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