Chuan'r man leads life of charity

16:30, January 26, 2011      

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The 39-year-old Alim loves smile very much.(Photo by Xinhua/Li Jinfeng)

He was cited as "Moral Model" of Guizhou Province in China; he was commended as "Good Ba Lang" of the Uyghur people and he ranked first among the nominees for an annual people award held by Xinhua Agency with more than 240,000 votes.

However, Alim Halik, a 39-year-old Uyghur man, does not consider himself a "grassroots hero" despite the fact he has aided more than 100 students with money he earned selling chuan'r, a traditional Muslim snack made of fire-barbecued skewered meat, in the past eight years.

Actually, Alim is quite normal and lives simple life. He has an honest face with a mustache and a pretty strong body. His clothes are quite plain: a cloth coat on top that cost around 20 RMB, a pair of blue cloth trouser worth 20 RMB and a pair of shoes worth only 8 RMB. He loves to eat fruits, but only buys fruit that is turning bad and cuts out the rotten parts. His usual meal is just two steamed buns and a cup of water.

Though some would see his life as bitter, he does not agree. He said he feels satisfied and remarked, "Life is okay if I can have enough to eat."

Since selling chuan'r is enough to meet what few needs he has in his modest life with money left over to save, some may wonder what he does with that extra money. While he does have some profits left from his business, he does not put it into the bank. Rather, he uses it to aid poor students. Alim aided more than 100 poor students in the last eight years, and he also initiated a grant in Bijie College in Bijie City of Guizhou Province.

His story starts eight years ago in 2002, when Alim passed through Zhenyuan County of Guizhou Province helped to extinguish a mountain fire. The local government awarded him 300 RMB due to his bravery and contribution.

However, Alim did not spend that money on something he liked. Instead, he donated it to a poor girl student who was going to quit school along with another 200 RMB from his own pocket.

He said he learned for the first time that 500 RMB, which is quite small money for some people, can actually be a big help for those poor students.

From then on, he started donating most money he earned to those poor students and left himself barely anything. He has given a total of more than 100,000 RMB in these past few years.

Four years ago, Alim took 5,000 RMB to the Bijie College and told school officers that he wanted to help some poor students. "It was a thick pile of money in different denominations and it gave off a strong smell of chuan'r," said Tang Yuhua, the vice Communist Party secretary of the college, when he recalled that day. "We feel so heavy in our hearts because there are lots of people who are living better lives than him. However, he nearly takes out everything he has to help some people he has nothing to do with."

Soon after that, Bijie College decided to supply another 5,000 RMB to the money and to name the smallest grant of the college the "Alim Grant."

"I am less educated, and the only thing I can do for a living is barbecuing chuan'r, but I don't want those poor kids to be like me!" Alim, who quit schooling when he was in senior middle school and joined the army, said.

In November 2007, Alim learned that most students of a primary school in Dafang County did not have schoolbags and he bought 181 schoolbags at the market and sent them to the students himself immediately. He and his friend had to borrow a horse to go to the school because no vehicle could reach it, and they had to grab the tail of the horse tightly to keep it from rolling down from the hillside.

When he met the students and gave them the schoolbags, he looked around and said: "The natural situation is too bad here. Even I could not hold on if I lived here."

On April 14 of last year, Yushu of Tsinghai Province was hit by an earthquake and brought severe damage to local area. When Alim learned that, he packed some things and set out for the quake-hit area on the third day. In Yushu, he not only fought against the disaster to help local people along with soldiers but also fought against sickness brought by altitude stress. He also brought more than 8,000 RMB of beef and vegetables from Xining City to aid local people.

"All I have done is to thank those people who helped me when I was in hard times." Alim said, and he claimed that he would never forget those people.

When Alim first arrived in Bijie in 2002, he only had 10 RMB and a barbeque box. Then he bought some materials and made 35 pieces of chuan'r to sell. At the end of the day he sold all 35 and made 17.5 RMB.

"There are always good people in the world." He said. A migrant worker once treated him to a meal, which was only worth 2 yuan, but Alim said that is the most unforgettable meal of his life.

Later, a bar owner, with whom he was not very familiar at that time, lent him 100 RMB for his business. Then he worked so hard on his little business that he was able to return the money on the fifth day. "Now, we are still good friends," Alim said.

"The more people care about each other, the more harmonious the society will be," Alim said.

Reported by Zhou Zhijiang, Li Jinfeng, Wang Chengcheng, Shi Jingnan and Mao Yong from Xinhua News Agency on Jan. 25, translated by Wang Hanlu, People's Daily Online

(Editor:王寒露)

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