Tears by Liu Yi

“Tears” is by a fourth grader, Liu Yi, who lives in one of the poorest areas in China, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture In Sichuan Province. After reading it, I had an urge to translate it so my friends from outside China could read it.


By Liu Yi

Dad died four years ago.

Dad loved me dearly. After he died, Mom consoled me by making me delicious food. She probably missed him dreadfully, too.

Then Mom fell ill. She saw the doctor in town, then in XiChang (the biggest near Liu Yi’s village). She used up the money, but she came home still very sick.

One day, Mom was so sick and looked so miserable that I couldn’t help crying. I said to her, “Mom, you will be well. I support you. I cook for you. You eat and sleep and you will be well.”

The next morning, Mom was too sick to get up. I hurried to get my uncle who recently returned from the city where he worked as a wage labor. We sent Mom to the township hospitable.

The third day, I went to see Mom in the hospital. She was not awake yet. I washed her hands gently and she woke. She took my hand and said, “Baby, Mommy wants to go home.”

“But why?” I asked her.

“It is not comfortable here. Home is better.”

So I brought Mom home, sat with her for a while, then cooked for her. When the meal was ready, I asked her to eat, but she already passed away.

My textbook says that there is a place called Lake of Sun and Moon. Its water is daughters’ tears. Daughters who miss their mothers.

Liu Yi’s story may be an extreme example of poverty in China and shouldn’t be seen as a typical image of China’s rural life. But this girl is far from alone in this country. There are many more victims of poverty, inequality, and injustice in China than we expected.

Liu Yi’s article became a hit on the internet in the past 48 hours. I guess she may have been offered a lot of help from sympathetic people. I wish her best of luck. What concerns me the most, however, is what is the best way to help kids like Liu Yi. Money helps of course. But money has it limits, even evil side effects, if not managed and used properly. I always believe in education (not brain-washing education). Only true education can save her, and us. What can we do to improve the education in China? Education for kids like Liu Yi, as well as for us, who already graduated from college.

I hope I at least get people to feel and think by translating Liu Yi’s heart-breaking story.

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