Old Beggar & War Veteran Takes Leftovers, Not Money

Chinese war veterans.
Chinese war veterans.

From Mop:

A Single Sentence of an Old Beggar Moves The Chinese Nation With A Single Word

After seeing this I didn’t know what to say… all I can do is make a post for everyone…

A friend of mine loves eating tripe. He often drags me from place to place all over Harbin looking for Hui restaurants. We found a place on Jingwei road, with a small entrance and hygiene that would put some people off, but it had really authentic tripe. We ended up going there often to pig out.

It was in the fall of last year, and we were once again at the same place enjoying a meal, not at dinner time, we two regular customers were the only people there, the boss was even at our table having a drink with us, it was a really hardback afternoon. As we ordered our second plate of tripe, an old beggar pushed open the door and entered.

The restaurant was in a busy area, and people down on their luck, and people pretending to be down on their luck would often come looking for help, we were used to it, the manager was a nice guy, every time this kind of thing happened, large or small he’d always give them something, and today was no exception, the old guy hadn’t even opened his mouth, and he had fished out one RMB and gave it to him. The old man didn’t want it, mumbled no, no, he didn’t want money, he just wanted leftovers.

This surprised me — This was a real “food beggar”, he didn’t want money. I found myself carefully sizing up this old guy, he was about 80, his frame wasn’t strong, his waist was straight, the strangest thing was that although his clothes were old, they were quite clean, it was very strange to see a beggar look like that.

He wanted leftovers so a restaurant was the right place to be, but in actual fact that wasn’t he case at all. This small restaurant’s business was from return customers, food that customers didn’t eat was immediately thrown away, their main dish was steamed dumplings, which are steamed and wrapped as the customer orders them. The small boss didn’t have any leftovers to give the old man. It was obvious that he couldn’t give him anything made to order, such a simple situation couldn’t be easily solved.

On our table was a tray shaomai [steamed meat-flled dumplings/buns], every time we came we’d order some, I hadn’t eaten a bite, and my ge men [brothers, meaning male friends] also just order them out of habit. The waiters at this restaurant are very sneaky, after you’ve made your order, they casually ask: “How many trays of steaming buns?” Their tone of voice isn’t easy to turn down, and you order some without thinking, and are unable refuse their skills.

My friend also became interested in the old man, and got the waiter/waitress to take this honored tray of steamed buns to the old man, and even have him eat them at our table. We all know each other, so the small boss [the waiter/waitress] didn’t stop the old guy sitting down, and even pointed out to him the vinegar, mustard, and invited him to use them at his leisure.

The old man murmured his thanks, and produced from a knapsack about his body an enamel tea mug and asked for some water, this mug astonished me, on it, in red letters could be read — given to the greatest person! My brother is from a military family, his grandfather was a general for 55 years. Seeing these words in such an old beggar’s hands perplexed us, my friend asked the old guy hesitantly where did that mug come from?

The old man mumbled: “It’s mine, it’s mine, it was awarded to me.” We thought it was unthinkable, my friend asked: Grandfather, come sit down, come sit down, let the three of us have a chat together. The old man said no, I’m fine, don’t worry about me.

I got up and helped him over to our table, and we had the following conversation — “Old grandfather, have you served in the army?” “Yeah, yeah, for seven years!” “Where are you from originally?” “Jinzhai, Anhui.” “When did you serve?” “In ’46, that was the year following Japan’s surrender.” “Which regiment did you serve in?” “The new fourth army, sixth division, we were the former Chinese Wilderness Sixth Column.” “Do you remember who your commanding officer was?” “Wang Bicheng, he was great at fighting!”


The old man’s voice raised, my friend and I were speechless. — A peasant from the country couldn’t know such historical detail that most people have forgotten. This was a historically brave division — Zhang Lingfu was attacked and killed by this division, which made them legendary.

We gave the old guy some vegetables, and alcohol, and continued the subject — “And after that did you serve in the Korean war?” “Yeah, yeah, the American planes were lihai [impressive/formidable], it’s because I was wounded in Korea that I was discharged!” “So if you served for seven years, you should be a cadre, how is it that you were discharged?” “I’m uncultured, I could never be a cadre.” Seeing our suspicion, he quickly added: “You two don’t believe me? I have a book, I have a book!”

The old man hastily took out a thin bag from his person and opened it, two small books covered in red plastic, one was a certificate of discharge, the other was a second degree wounded veteran’s certificate. He slowly rolled up his left trouser leg, and I saw a large wooden leg.

He pulled out a tightly bound white piece of paper from his bag and opened it, after looking at it gave it to me, silently and reverently. It was a letter of introduction from a village committee, the gist was that the bearer of that letter was was discharged from the army due to injuries while serving this village, has no children, and has sacrificed his ability to work, due to this village’s inadequate circumstances, and its inability to look after him, said village gives him special permission to leave in search of food, and hopes that governments of all levels give him all assistance possible. The official red stamp was dazzling.

We were rocked by this revelation, the boss of the restaurant was also slack jawed in amazement, after a while he nervously said “Grandfather, when mealtimes come around you just come here, as long as this restaurant is open, you…” The old man cut him off saying no, as long as he was able to walk he would do so, the old man said that North-Easterners were good, and that that year in Dandong he’d found out how nice North-Easterners are.

I asked in wonder why, when he was begging, didn’t he accept money? He suddenly answered, staring: “I was a soldier for seven years, and I am a Party member, how could I…?”

At that moment, tears covered my face.

After seeing it, my mood was heavy! I don’t know what to say, but just hope everyone can take this and spread it all over the forums in the country! Let more people know that among us Chinese are these kinds of people! I don’t have anything to say, all I can do is to send it out once, just this once,

Those who see this and and think “whatever”, I will send my regards to their ancestors! Let me say this to those Chinese people who worship Korea/Koreans and have no respect for Chinese people and people like them, this is what a true Chinese people are like!

There are currently 156 pages of responses to this story, or ~15,600 comments. Many of them simply write ding to support/bump this post.

Comments From Mop:


Now THIS is a worthy person, compared with those complacent government officials he’s much better, I support this ding!


Have a look at our most beloved/endearing person.


I hope that officials able to help this endearing person are able to see this.


The Chinese “gov” should learn from others!!!


Motherfucking, in all honesty/sincerity, ding!


Ding, China is the product of their toils.


That can’t be right, even if he had no culture and couldn’t be a cadre he wouldn’t get treated so badly, that’s money for the country’s foundation [建国钱], such a person’s conditions should be pretty good.


I salute you!


We need to always remember the most beloved people, if we didn’t have them we would have today.


This must be ding’d!


Most beloved person, I salute you!


Most beloved person… don’t fade into oblivion… we will always remember you… you’re still the most beloved people…


I’m a soldier too… ding!


The cultured ones are all corrupt, right? Ding!


Ding! If you don’t ding you’re not Chinese!


I salute our elders.


I’m ding‘ing this up! These people who have dedicated themselves to the country can’t be forgotten!


I salute you! Could it be that the “gov-ern-ment” doesn’t give him a pension?


I’m moved, the old party members are the only real party members.


If you don’t ding, you’re not a human being.


Written by maxiewawa

Native English speaker who'd like to make a living from translating some day. Until then continuing to teach English.


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