By Yang Laidi I’m Yang Laidi, sixty-two years old this year. In 1985, because my husband had health problems, our […]
The Transformation of a Fallen Man
Tong Xin Fujian Province
I was born in the countryside. I came from a line of humble farmers and on top of that our family was few in number, so we were often bullied. When I was 13 years old, there was a child beaten by someone from outside of our village. The villagers falsely accused my father of instigating it and they said they were going to search our house and confiscate our property, take away our pigs and even beat my father. There was also a time when another villager took our fishing net and kept it as his own. When my father went to get it back, the villager actually hit my father, relying on his own power and influence. My father had to just eat humble pie as he knew that he had neither money nor power. My mother told my brothers and me that we must fight for ourselves in the future, and never live a life of oppression like this. Being young and detesting the injustice in society, I was determined that in the future I would stand out from the crowd and earn their respect, and never be oppressed. So I studied very hard, but I wasn’t smart enough and I couldn’t get into any universities, so I chose to pursue development in the army and joined easily by going through connections.
When I first joined, I scrambled to take on all the difficult and dirty work and to show my proactiveness to impress my leaders and be promoted in the future. However, no matter how hard I tried, I could not even get a position of squad leader. I was also constantly made fun of and bullied by my comrades because of my shabby clothes and thriftiness, which just intensified my desire to stand out. Later, based on advice from my fellow villager, I learned that evaluations and promotion in the army did not depend on hard work, but rather gift-giving. Even though I found this kind of thing was disgusting, I had to take the only path to promotion. Therefore, I determined to take all my savings to give gifts to my leaders and make connections, just like everyone else around me; after that I was finally able to enroll in the military academy. But after I graduated, I was assigned to cook in the canteen because I didn’t have enough money for gift-giving, and later I became a quartermaster, but in name only. After several years of army life, I understood that bureaucrats never discipline gift-givers and you can’t accomplish anything without licking their boots. If you want to keep a foothold, you have to try every means to make money and give gifts, otherwise you won’t achieve anything no matter how great your abilities are. In order to achieve my aspiration, I started to make money and raise funds everywhere: I over quoted and exaggerated the quantity on purpose when buying food, getting a little bit of extra dirty money; seeing other quartermasters selling rice, I secretly sold a truck of rice from the army and made several thousand yuan, and so on. Though I had believed in since childhood and clearly knew that these things I was doing were crimes, I was also constantly worried about being found out and convicted someday, the desire to be promoted drove me to do those things against my conscience. Once I had saved up some money, I started to flatter my leaders and give them gifts catering to their likes. Every time a leader came to see me I would busy myself going to drink with them, sing, get in touch with prostitutes…. I did every possible thing to curry favor with them. I tried to flatter them with any means possible. Whenever the leaders needed some help, I was happy to offer my services. Whoever had a good relationship with the leaders, I would try to get close to him in order to get a positive recommendation. During those years, I rose quickly to the position of battalion commander by resorting to this kind of worldly philosophy. I finally stood out and I could return home gloriously! After that, every time I went back home, the villagers would crowd around me, flattering and complimenting me, which greatly satisfied my vanity. My ambitions and my desires grew then. As people say, becoming an official is for the sake of fine food and clothing, power is gained to be used before it’s gone, and there’s no such thing as an official who’s not corrupt. So, I started to enjoy the privileges of an official. I would get things for free wherever I went, and if someone sought help from me, I would ask them for gifts and I wouldn’t help them if the gifts were inadequate. I started to go after fancy food and clothing, and began to put on airs. Relying on the fact that I was like a “golden child” with important leaders such as the commander and political commissar, I even became so arrogant that I would bully people by flaunting my powerful connections, requesting gifts from my subordinates in the names of these leaders. This was how I degenerated from a simple country boy into a greedy, deceitful person of the devil.
Being corrupt and fallen, I even projected my own terrible nature onto others. I often suspected for no good reason that my beautiful wife who worked for a foreign company was having affairs; this led to more conflict between us and growing estrangement. In 2006, my wife was pushed to her limit and initiated divorce; this felt like a great disgrace to me, so I would not agree to it. Late at night I would often think about my life. I thought to myself: I have been determined to stand out since childhood and my wife and I are both successful in our careers. Conditions in our home are good in every way and other people envy us, so why am I living in such pain, and why has it gotten to the point that my wife wants to divorce me? Even our son is suffering along with us. Is my life the way I want it to be? What exactly am I living for? Just as I was feeling lost and confused, my wife accepted the grace of ’s salvation in the last days. Through frequent meetings and fellowship with sisters and brothers, she became more and more optimistic, stopped arguing with me, and never mentioned divorce again. Instead, she was busy preaching the and fulfilling her duty. Later, driven by my wife and mother, I also started to believe in Almighty God.