The Daily Scribe

Thought Provoking Issues!

Coward Courageous . . .

with 2 comments

As Wang Xiaoni ran back toward her apartment as the ground shook beneath her . . . Fan Meizhong also ran.

While she ran to try and save her family, he ran—leaving behind the students that were entrusted to his care.

When the earthquake struck, instead of supervising an orderly evacuation, “Stay calm,” he shouted, “it’s an earthquake!” He then ran without looking back to see if any of his students were following.

“I ran towards the stairs so fast that I stumbled and fell as I went. When I reached the centre of the football pitch, I found I was the first to escape. None of my pupils was with me.”

 We are all privileged to learn of his wonted disregard for not saving anyone but himself, because he detailed his act of cowardice on a blog.

His guiding principle Fan Meizhong wrote: in matters of life and death, it’s every man for himself. Not only does he wholeheartedly believe his guiding principal, but it would appear he has no shame in speaking about it as well.

When his students arrived and asked: “Teacher, why didn’t you bring us out?”

“I have a very strong sense of self-preservation,” he said. “I have never been a brave man and I’m only really concerned about myself.”

Fan Meizhong further risks alienating those closest to him, saying he wouldn’t have tried to save his own mother had she been present. The only one excluded from his cowardly principle, and even then he had to give it some thought, would be his one-year-old daughter.

Hopefully, Fan Meizhong impressionable students will not heed his guiding principles, but will learn from the courageous act of Tan Qianqui, who body was found shielding four of his students, all of them alive.

Others have used Mr. when writing about Fan Meizhong, but I must refrain. The used of Mr. denotes a courtesy title before a surname or full name of a man . . . but an individual who would abandoned children during an earthquake to save his own life . . . is not worthy of such a title.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author



2 Responses

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  1. I have to tell you, this story sounds really bogus to me. Who, in Communist China, which has a fondness for killing people accused of minor infractions, would publically admit to being so selfish and unconcerned with the lives of other people’s children which he’s been entrusted with? Who would make such blatant statements about himself. I think it’s phoney. What it really sounds like is some official(s) is/are trying to divert attention away from the poor state of building regulations in the country and they are using this guy as a scapegoat.


    June 2, 2008 at 2:05 pm

  2. While I do understand Mr. Meizhong’s reaction as a selfish and senseless man, it is undeniably wrong as a ‘teacher’ and ‘civil servant’ to not at the very least warn his students to run for their lives too. As an analogy of the fundamentals of teaching, where the teacher does not provide answers to their students but rather the skills and resources to find the answers, a simple “run for your life!” may have sufficed to provide his students the ability to save themselves. It is not rocket science to anybody or at least a descent human-being that there is a certain level of social responsibility to being a ‘teacher’ / ‘civil servant’. I would imagine that this, at the very least is what Mr. Meizhong would expect from his daughter’s prospective teachers.


    July 6, 2008 at 12:12 pm

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