Foreign students learn more about hero

Updated: 2012-03-03 08:56

By Li Yao (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Dozens of international students at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing had a chance to learn more about Lei Feng, a Chinese model of altruism, at an international culture event on Friday.

The group's instruction first started with a video clip showing Lei Feng volunteering for several days to transport bricks that would be used in the construction of a school and then asking to not be given credit by name. It then watched a short pantomime performed by two Chinese students who portrayed various episodes in Lei Feng's life.

Foreign students learn more about hero

Christopher Oniya, a student from the United States, receives a military-style hat from Wang Ling, Party secretary of the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing on Friday. A seminar was held at the university to tell international students stories about the model soldier Lei Feng, who was always ready to help others. Zhu Xingxin/China Daily 

Jaime Vega Pinol, from Barcelona, arrived at the university two weeks ago and came to the event on Friday with a friend, Sofia Laura Algar Berrondo.

Both are exchange students who will be in China for a semester, taking classes in business administration. They said they are eager to learn about the country's culture and will begin taking Chinese classes on Monday.

"In his short life, Lei Feng helped many people," Algar Berrondo said. "What he did was modest, but it was important for society."

After watching the short video, Vega Pinol said he better understood Lei Feng's life.

"It was interesting to see that China in Lei Feng's day was like Spain in the 1960s - the atmosphere and the environment," he said.

Christopher Oniya, from Houston, a fourth-year student at the university's school of international education, said Lei Feng is similar to Superman in that he is always serving others and is always ready to lend a helping hand.

Oniya, along with other participants, received various gifts from Wang Ling, Party secretary at the university. They included a hat and an enamel cup similar to what Lei Feng had used as a soldier.

Wang joined the students in singing a song that called on everybody to follow Lei Feng's example. She said Lei Feng became a household name in the years after he had died and was praised by many for his helpfulness and honesty.

Nowadays, people are preoccupied with making money, getting rich and buying big cars and houses. Wang said the spirit of Lei Feng should not be neglected as the country's economy advances.

Alix Honore, from Dominica, has stayed in China for almost seven years. She expects to earn a master's degree in international finance in July.

"I learned a lot today," she said. "I have never seen this video before. And his story was very interesting to me."

She said she hopes more people will be able to learn from Lei Feng's deeds and practices.

Honore agreed with Wang, saying that the ambitions of many people in China today are to have money and cars. Many are also only interested in besting others in competition rather than helping them.

Cai Sen, a second-year student studying international business, played Lei Feng in the short pantomime.

"During our week of preparations, we had no idea how much foreign students knew about Lei Feng," Cai said. "We showed them the most basic facts so they would understand that Lei Feng's influence went back to earlier generations and that he continues to be a role model today."

Geoffrey Law, a fourth-year student studying international business, lived in Great Britain until his parents brought him to Hong Kong to attend high school.

"I learned about Lei Feng after I came to this university and heard classmates mention him," Law said. "Lei Feng's deeds are commendable. He usually helped people and even donated all his income to those in need."