PureInsight | March 8, 2004
[PureInsight.org] One day in March of 2001, I sat in a chair of a small hotel room in Geneva curiously watching Aunt Du [Note: Chinese people often address an older woman outside of one's family as "aunt" as an expression of respect and affection.] slowly taking out one "treasure" after another from her huge suitcase: a rice pot, canned lunch meat, pickled mustard root, noodles, oil and salt. When she pulled out a sponge scrubber, I couldn't help from laughing out loud.
I said with a smile, "Aunt Du, you're such a genius as you've managed to move your entire kitchen to Geneva." Aunt Du gave me a disapproving look and said, "What's so funny about it? Food is so expensive in Geneva. Can you afford eating out here? Cooking at the hotel saves money and tastes good too. Tomorrow you'll see."
What this wise old lady said was true. We had bought expensive airplane tickets from Toronto to Geneva using our own savings, because the 59th annual session of the UN Commission on Human Rights was going to be held there. We planned to urge the UN Commission's delegation to help us end Jiang Zemin's persecution against Falun Gong practitioners. Food in Europe was amazingly expensive. It was truly necessary to cut down our expenses.
During the following week, we benefited from Aunt Du's "kitchen" a lot. Each day when we returned to the hotel after practicing the Falun Gong exercises and distributing truth-clarification fliers in the rain, wind and mud, we were cold, wet and hungry. While everyone was busy taking showers and changing into dry clothes, Aunt Du would quickly cook a big steaming hot pot of delectable and aromatic noodles for everyone to eat before she went to take her own shower and change into a fresh set of clothes.
After we returned to Canada from Geneva, I would often display my affection and appreciation for her publicly. Whenever I introduced her to a new practitioner, I would hug her affectionately and say, "This is Aunty Du, my favorite person in the world." Aunt Du would gently tap a finger on my forehead and add, smiling, "Don't believe her. It's not me that she likes, it's my cooking."
Of course, Aunt Du's altruism goes far beyond her carrying her "kitchen" to a foreign country and cooking for fellow practitioners. In the more than four years since July 20, 1999, she has collected more signatures than any other practitioner I know for the petition calling on China to stop persecuting Falun Gong, totaling several tens of thousands of signatures. Many people, including me, could not understand how this old lady was able to collect so many signatures without any facility in English. Then one day when I saw her collecting signatures at a subway station after I got off work, I witnessed Aunt Du's wisdom. She was holding a big pile of materials in her hand: petition forms, postcards, truth-clarification materials and pictures of tortured practitioners. I offered to help her carry some, but she insisted on carrying them herself. She explained to me that they were all useful and necessary for her signature collection work. For example, if a passenger showed sympathy after seeing the pictures of tortured Falun Gong practitioners, she would ask him/her to sign the petition and the postcard [addressed to the Canadian Premier, urging him to help end the persecution in China], and then give him/her some truth-clarification material. I couldn't help admiring the old lady's wisdom. That day, many passengers on the train signed the petition and postcards. It must have been Aunt Du's sincerity that moved them. She is truly the embodiment of a Chinese saying: "Gold and stone will open in front of absolute sincerity."
Since fall of 2001, Falun Gong practitioners in Toronto have been peacefully appealing in front of the Chinese Consulate in Toronto around the clock every day, calling for the immediate end of the persecution against Falun Gong. Everyone takes turns appealing in front of the Chinese Consulate. Aunt Du not only takes several shifts a week, but also volunteers to be the backup for others, in case they cannot come.
One day, two staff members from the Chinese Consulate came out of the Consulate building to rake leaves. Aunt Du helped them pack the leaves into trash bags. She lowered her voice and told them, "Don't be deceived by Jiang Zemin's lies anymore. Remember Falun Dafa is good!" Those two people dared not say anything because of the surveillance camera outside the Chinese consulate, but they smiled at her gratefully.
Winter in Toronto is long and harsh. The winter weather is often bone-chillingly cold and brings icy wind and lots of snow. Yet Aunt Du braves the weather's challenge and perseveres in demonstrating the Falun Gong exercises in front of the Chinese Consulate and handing out truth-clarification newspapers to Chinese people coming in and out of the consulate every day. On one very cold day, a Chinese man who had just finished his business at the consulate came out and was shocked to see Aunt Du standing outside. He exclaimed, "Grandma, what are you doing here in the middle of a big snow storm?" [Note: Chinese people often address an elderly woman outside the family as "grandma" as an expression of affection and respect.]
Aunt Du replied compassionately, "I am waiting for you." Then she offered him a copy of a Falun Gong newspaper. He was quite moved and accepted the newspaper.
For more than two years, Aunt Du has been coming to the Chinese Consulate to clarify the truth like this day after day. A TV reporter heard about her story and came to interview her. On the day of the interview, Aunt Du went to a retirement home to take care of her mother, who is over 90 years old. The reporter followed her to the retirement home and asked her, "Ms. Du, would you explain why you wish to practice Falun Gong?"
Aunt Du answered with a smile while taking care of her elderly mother, "Without Falun Gong, I wouldn't have the strength and health to take care of my mother. I myself might even have to rely on other people's care."
The reporter asked again, "We heard that for more than two years, you have been persevering in appealing for Falun Gong in front of the Chinese Consulate, and also taking other's shifts when they cannot make it. What do you feel about your contribution?"
Aunt Du said slowly, "It's nothing. Everyone is busy. I don't mind taking others' shifts when they cannot make it. I don't even mind appealing for Falun Gong seven days a week if no one else can make it." The reporter was so moved by Aunt Du's simple, sincere reply that her voice was choked with tears.
The snowfall of January 2004 in Toronto reached the highest on record. Snowstorms attacked Toronto and changed this metropolitan city into a snowfield in one week. There was ice and snow as far as the eyes could see, and people seldom went out. Yet Aunt Du and several other elderly practitioners came to the Chinese Consulate as usual. They cleared out a small area with shovels, and started practicing Falun Gong exercises and distributing newspapers in front of a wall of snow. The temperatures those days averaged -30 ºC. (or -22 ºF.) The piercing wind from the north carried the snow and bit their skin, turning them into snow-covered women. But they remained peaceful and tranquil, upright and motionless. They looked like the pure white flawless edelweiss (a small alpine flower), fearless in the severe cold.
Translated from: http://www.zhengjian.org/zj/articles/2004/2/24/25971.html