Hello everyone. Welcome back to MaoMi Chinese. Today is episode 22nd- He saved 1.4 billion people from hunger. Today I would like to talk about Yuan Longping, who is a world-renown scientist as well as an old gentleman respected and loved by 1.4 billion Chinese people.
Yuan Longping was born in 1929 and passed away on 22nd May 2021. He was 90 when he passed away. When he passed away, many people cried outside the hospital. Everyone sorrowed. Why does everyone love him and respect him? Because he invented hybrid rice, which immensely increased paddy field. Everyone knows that there are 1.4 billion people in China. If there were not enough food, 1.4 billion Chinese would suffer from hunger and the whole country will be in a mess. Therefore, Yuan Longping’s research has saved lots of people.
Yuan Longping’s mum was an English teacher and a great lady. When Yuan Longping was little, they had to move many times due to the war. However, his mum insisted that he had to study and be educated. Listeners who know something about Chinese history probably know that, in 1960s, China suffered from a severe famine and many people died from hunger. At that time, Yuan Longping saw dead bodies at least 5 times by the road. They were people who die from hunger. He used to tell journalists:
“A grain of rice can save a country, and also stumble a country. You are too young to know that in 1960s, people died from hunger during famine. Everyone was starving. I witnessed it with my own eyes.”
He said that a grain of rice can save a country, and also stumble a country. Therefore, he decided that he would carry research about rice paddy, solve the grain issue, and save people from hunger. Someone asked him that if he was afraid that famine will take place again in China, and he said “That’s impossible now.” Because of he and his team, Chinese people will not suffer from hunger.
Yuan Longping was a great scientist. He shared his technology to grow rice paddy with the world and saved more people from hunger. He was also a lovely old gentleman. He was a cat person. He had a cat called Yuan Huahua. Yuan Huahua often went with Yuan Longping to work in rice paddy. He also liked music and violin. Sometimes, he would play violin in rice paddy. His previous teacher commented that “(he was) born easy-going and desultory, and he loves freedom”. He didn’t like to be interviewed by journalist and have too much attention from people. But if children and students asked to take photo with him, he would be very happy to.
He had his last days in hospital. Doctors and nurses in the hospital were looking after him and sometimes were too busy to have their meals. At that time, he was already very weak, but said to doctors and nurses “don’t miss your meal because of me. You guys have to have your meal.”