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Do We Still Need The Spirit of Lei Feng?
Opinions are split on whether we still need Lei Feng spirit in the modern society
  ·  2019-03-20  ·   Source: NO.12 MARCH 21, 2019


On March 5, 1963, People's Daily carried an article by Mao Zedong titled Learn from Comrade Lei Feng. It was a tribute to the young People's Liberation Army member who died in an accident a year earlier at the age of 22. Lei is remembered for his readiness to help others and since Mao's tribute, March 5 is observed as Lei Feng Day, marked by voluntary acts of serving others.

However, as China embraces a market economy and witnesses unprecedented development, some feel different about the Lei Feng spirit. They say the spirit is a product of Lei's time and out of sync in the modern era. Others believe that no matter how the times change, the spirit, characterized by doing good deeds and following high moral standards, will never die. It should be handed down through generations as a national treasure.

Peng Lianglong (jxcomment.jxnews.com.cn): The Lei Feng spirit embodies the pursuit of lofty ideals and high moral standards. No matter how the times and society change, people's desire for high morality and virtuous behavior will never change.

The spirit will never be outdated. The most valuable thing about it is that it is an effective combination of serving others' interests and the interests of those who offer help. Lei once said, "The biggest joy is to serve the people." He found happiness in helping others. In this way, his spirit is both lofty and simple, something that everyone is able to reach.

For people in this new era, learning from Lei Feng doesn't mean we are expected to do heroic deeds. It means improving our skills and helping others within our capacity. That's all we need to do.

Wen Gu (www.sohu.com): Chinese society needs not only lofty acts by heroes that are widely admired, but also the low-key good deeds ordinary people across the land do every day. These good deeds are usually overlooked, but they do affect, or rather, benefit people's lives every day. These small things snowball into big positive power. What Lei Feng did during his short life was small acts of kindness that everyone is capable of doing. That's why the Lei Feng spirit will never go out of date.

In this new era of social and economic development, this spirit is presenting itself in new forms. We can carry it on by working hard at our jobs and trying to be the best in our industry, overcoming difficulties in work and life, and standing ready to give a hand to those in need. In our efforts to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects, we need the Lei Feng spirit more than ever.

As a matter of fact, it has already blended into people's daily life and work and is championed as one of the national creeds. No matter how the times advance and change, the spirit will never become outmoded. It is not limited to a certain era or historical period, it will always be needed.

Wang Zhongdi (China Youth Daily): Every year around Lei Feng Day, a large number of volunteers who have been serving public welfare with dedication are brought into the limelight by the media, their stories moving and inspiring all of us.

However, the short-lived focus on the volunteers and their services is far from enough. According to statistics from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, by the end of 2018, there were more than 100 million registered volunteers for various public welfare programs. Besides, there are also many unregistered volunteers, and some temporary voluntary service providers. A wave of voluntarism is sweeping the country. The question is how to sustain various volunteer programs.

Those who volunteer their services do not expect any reward but still, this group of individuals and organizations should not be taken for granted. They deserve plaudits and encouragement. This way we can expect the cause to be carried on and the spirit of serving the people spread wider.

The Chinese culture has the tradition of doing good deeds without seeking recognition or reward. So when good Samaritans' deeds are brought to light by the media, they may be regarded as trying to cash in on philanthropy. Some people even name their charity programs after themselves. Nonetheless, in these modern times, a high-profile do-gooder is not to be despised. A big feature of modern public welfare acts is the stress on results rather than the motive. In this context, it is reasonable to reward volunteers or give them publicity.

Today, learning from Lei Feng is no longer limited to helping the elderly cross the street or helping cleaners sweep the roads. Professional volunteer teams are mushrooming, with their ambit expanding and work becoming more professional and tailored. The demand for organized volunteer group services is on the rise. There should be a whole system of recruiting volunteers to encourage and support people's selfless services to society.

Hua Dongfang (People's Daily): Chinese society has undergone tremendous economic transformation and social change but Lei Feng remains an icon of serving the people and selflessness. This icon has retained his halo and encouraged generations.

Lei was an ordinary man doing ordinary work, but he did everything he did with dedication. No matter whether during revolutionary times or during the economic development of the country, the Lei Feng spirit will always be invaluable, unfettered by time, space or society. There is no precondition to learning from Lei Feng as long as people are really willing to learn.

Ai Hui (baijiahao.baidu.com): The Lei Feng spirit is a national treasure and should be handed down generation after generation. This spirit should be imparted to children early in their life. As for the rest of society, learning from Lei Feng should not be something remembered only on March 5. It should be a creed to steer people toward positive thinking and deeds in their daily life.

This year's Spring Festival travel rush has just come to an end. During the rush, we heard so many moving stories. Behind all of them was the Lei Feng spirit that inspired and encouraged people to help others. A particularly moving scene took place in Wuxi, east China's Jiangsu Province. A railway staff, on seeing an elderly traveler in a disheveled state at the station, bent down to put his bunched up trousers in order. The act created a sensation online. It was a simple incident but it showed the public that the Lei Feng spirit is everywhere.

Lei dedicated himself to helping others in his short life. He called himself a screw, ready to be used wherever it was needed. The essence of the Lei Feng spirit is being ready to help others and never recoiling from hardship.

As society advances, so does the Lei Feng spirit. Today, we live in a materially richer time than Lei's but we still need spiritual sustenance and even basic faith. The worship of money prevails while the sentimental bonds among people are getting looser.

No one is an island. Everyone needs help and can help others. What we need is more than mere publicity about Lei Feng and the Lei Feng spirit on March 5. We need continuous passion for doing good deeds and an environment that rewards such behavior.

Copyedited by Sudeshna Sarka

Comments to dingying@bjreview.com

Following the Spirit
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