Jun 02

“Running Fan”: The freedom to be selfish

Written by Buxi on Monday, June 2nd, 2008 at 11:03 pm
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Here is how one of the most controversial Chinese blog posts in recent memory begins:

“I have been engulfed in sadness that I was not born in a country like the United States, a country which respects freedom, democracy, and human rights!  This is due to the pain I’ve suffered in the 10+ years since graduation, and it’s also due to the 17 years of pathetic education that I received before that.  I’ve repeatedly questioned God: why did you give me such a freedom, and truth loving soul, but then force me to be born in a dark, authoritarian China?  Why are you forcing such suffering upon me?”

These are the words of earthquake survivor Fan Meizhong (范美忠), a man who has also been given the moniker “Running Fan” (范跑跑).

The recent earthquake in Sichuan has become a mirror for the nature of Chinese society.  In this mirror, we’ve seen corruption, growing media freedom, explosion of public charity, and proud nationalism. And now, in this mirror, we see reflected a deep conflicted argument between “morals” and “freedom”, between Oriental Confucianism and Occidental Christanity.  Thousands of students have died from collapsing schools in Sichuan.  Along with sadness, memories of some of their teachers have been elevated to sainthood status in China.  Many sacrificed their lives, their ruined bodies found in the rubble, still vainly trying to protect the students they were responsible for in life.

Fan Meizhong is a high school teacher from Dujiangyan, a city carrying a heavy toll from the recent Sichuan earthquake. During the earthquake, he behaved in a way that many of us wouldn’t applaud, but can understand: without a word of warning or instruction to his students, he rushed from his classroom at the first tremor.  His students waited in terror in the classroom, having no clear idea what they should next do.  Fortunately, the building didn’t collapse, and not a single student at the school was injured or killed.  His actions weren’t heroic, but that’s not what’s controversial.

He wrote the above blog post 10 days after the earthquake, even as the rescue process was on-going.  The love that he expresses towards America and freedom is also not what’s controversial; as this earlier blog post mentioned, many “rightists” in China feel the same way.  The controversy relates to the rest of the blog post.  Alice Poon provides an outline of what was said (translated from Southern Metropolis):

The story of the Diujiangyan teacher running away is like this. This teacher was teaching a class of students when the earthquake struck. As soon as he felt the quake, he bolted out of the school without even calling out to his students to run for their lives. When he later faced his disappointed students, he explained in writing: ‘I have never been an altruistic person. I only care about my own life. Don’t you know that last time when there was a fire in the middle of the night, I was also quick to run for my life?’ ‘I am someone who seeks liberty and justice. But I do not believe in sacrificing myself for another person. In such a life-and-death moment, the only person I would consider sacrificing myself for would be my daughter. I would not care about other people, including my mother, under such circumstances.’ In short, ‘I do not have the least amount of moral guilt ‘.

Danwei and Telegraph provides more on “Running Fan”.

In his own defense, “Running Fan” has escalated the debate with a second post, suggesting he was only writing to break the “morality kidnapping” that represents Chinese society.

One of the reasons I wrote what I wrote is as a negative reaction to the “morality kidnapping” I’ve seen around me.  This includes the criticisms aimed at Wang Shi (heavily criticized for donating very little to the effort), Liu Xiang, and Yao Ming.

… This is also a reaction to the fake-goodwill I’ve seen around me.  With this earthquake, I don’t deny that many people feel true pain, but I believe there are also many manufactured tears.  I know that during the earthquake there were some who sacrificed themselves in order to save others, but from the media coverage and social discussions which followed, it seems like these actions have been followed with “morality kidnapping”.  I believe I have to resist this trend of manufacturing heroes (Lei Feng)!

… I also wanted to poke at some commentators on morality, use this opportunity to expose their hypocrisy… The sort of self-righteous moral indignation that has been aimed at me confirms my verdict on Confucian philosophy: the most substantial outcome of Confucian philosophy is the manufacture of a batch of perfect, fake gentleman, fake saints… Although they believe they’re honest and have integrity, but I say all they have is given us a “performance of honest morality.”

… All people are sinners, and no one can be held up as a moral standard!  And if I’ve held myself up as a standard in the past, then I was wrong!  And yet this sort of candid admission is why the great majority of writers and thinkers in China are of lower quality than me; saying it in a different way, this is one of the primary readings why I don’t read the writings of the vast majority of Chinese writers and thinkers, and instead focus on American and European writers.

… After this incident, I again believe that only by believing in God can this country and people be saved.  Although saving individual souls isn’t intended as a tool for rescuing a country, that will be the effective result.

Just like about everyone else in China, including the South Metropolis (translated in the Alice Poon article), my judgment of “Running Fan” is not kind.  Due to whatever frustrations he might have felt in China, he has projected his hopes and desires onto a set of ideals that he simply doesn’t understand.   I don’t know how many Christians world-wide would respect “Running Fan” for his actions, or the selfish defense he’s given for such actions.

This quote from Rednet best reflects my point of view:

During a disaster, we have the freedom to care only for ourselves, and not protect or rescue others.  But those who are willing to sacrifice themselves to save others, that can only be an act of great morality.  Between freedom and morality, every citizen can make their own choice.  For those who exercise the freedom to save their own lives, we really can’t make excessive demands of them… but we certainly can’t commend their actions either.  As far as those who dare to sacrifice their lives, that’s the kind of spirit we should promote, because it represents the fountain that allows human society to forever thrive.

PS. I’m trademarking “Running Fan”.  No one else in the English blogsphere has picked up that obvious pun! 😉

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39 Responses to ““Running Fan”: The freedom to be selfish”

  1. DJ Says:

    My view on the “Running Fan” is pretty straightforward. I can’t criticize his action per se as it was simply a reflex of human survival instinct. However, I don’t buy all the morality BS when he tried to justify his acts. The simple principle of “in loco parentis” applies here. If you are a teacher, it IS your responsibility to look after the safety and well being of your students. I commend Fan’s claimed readiness of sacrifice for his daughter and wish he understand that a teacher should have felt the same for his/her students as well.

  2. B.Smith Says:

    As a Christian, I want to say that the way Fan behaved is absolutely wrong. First, cowardice is wrong. Second, caring more about your life than your students’ lives is also wrong. The selfish attitude that he displayed in his writings shows that he values his life and safety more than almost anything else. While understandable, Christians are not allowed to have this attitude. We should be willing to lay down our lives for other people, secure in the knowledge that when we die (as everyone will), we will have eternity to look forward to.

    I am not judging Fan on his actions as much as his words. I am embarrassed to have someone claim that cowardice and selfishness are okay, and especially to claim them in the name of Christianity. Maybe in the same situation I would’ve run, but the correct response afterwards is an apology and embarrassment, not pride. Neither Christianity nor Confucianism praise cowardice.

  3. Buxi Says:

    Well said, B. Smith.

    In one of the paragraphs I didn’t translate, Fan talks about how he has “changed” in recent years. He credits marriage and attending a local Christian fellowship. But he also says his wife tells him he is still “far from God”.

    We can certainly agree with his wife on that. Pathetic man.

  4. S.K. Cheung Says:

    I agree with DJ. Can’t blame a guy simply for having a self-preservation instinct. However, as a teacher, he has a professional duty to be mindful of the wellbeing of his students. So if he had said “I ran cuz I got scared and wanted to save myself”, that would be understandable, although he still would have been abdicating his professional responsibilities. But to then try to justify his actions with all that morality stuff is truly indefensible.

  5. Michael, London Says:

    Do you recon he’ll ever get laid again?

  6. Opersai Says:

    Sometimes it’s human nature to save others when in danger – there are many examples of instinct reflex reaction to save other people when in danger; sometimes, it’s human nature to save oneself when in danger – there are also many examples, often not reported. I don’t know which one I’ll be under such circumstance, and I will not criticize the one running for his/her own life. However, like said above, I will not endorse the latter choice, and I will be very embarrassed if I ever make such choice.

    I can understand his choice to love himself, but I despise his words, and attempt to justify his cowardice after the earthquake.

  7. Jessica Says:

    If he truly wants to be a Christian and follow in the footsteps of Jesus, then he needs to listen to John 15:13: “There is no greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” There is no selfishness in that, no freedom from moral guilt implied. It’s fundamentally incompatible with “but I do not believe in sacrificing myself for another person.”

    Speaking as a non-Christian atheist, I think either Christianity or Confucianism have potential to be useful tools for keeping a moral society. Even if he thinks Confucianism manufactures “fake saints,” they are still valuable as ideals for us to emulate, the same function as Jesus is for Christians. In other words, I don’t think belief in an amorphous God-concept is necessarily a prerequisite to a moral society. I don’t see mass breakdown in social cohesion in the non-Christian/non-monotheist societies such as Taiwan or Japan. I think this fellow needs to look deeper into these traditional systems of morality to discover that they share a lot more similarities than what he sees on the surface.

  8. MissMariposaChino Says:

    Didn’t Jesus say (and I am paraphrasing here)’the one without sin may cast the first stone’. Since when was cowardice not ALLOWED in religion, its simple not a particularly noble human characteristic. Please don’t judge someone if you don’t know them nor lived in their shoes. You do not know the conditions that he has been working in and the way that school has treated him.

    He ran without thinking about his students as he as has never had to deal with an earthquake. In a school that doesn’t even have a fire drill much less a disaster drill and the buildings are a health and safety hazard (the only reason the school buildings didn’t collapse as they are small tent like structures or have been built/reinforce in the last two years). In this school he has been demonized by the Chinese staff for his intellect and not quite integrated/excepted by the foreign staff for relatively poor English. Some of these students treat him like a servant rather than a teacher. His students are all are in the last three years of schooling, many are adults already not elementary school babes that need their hand holding.

    Yes teachers are meant to be models of virtue/morality and apply the whole parentis locus thing but trust me this is much easier in a country that has a teaching union and decent classrooms/resources, and when you can go home at 3:30pm or so and leave the pressures of school behind. Not every teacher is a selfless hero in the job as its their natural vocation and Mr Fan is one of those examples of which there are thousands across the world, whom teaching is just a job, a way to find a wage to provide for their family. Being a good teacher doesn’t require you to care about students much less sacrifice your life although it is better if you do care. Most teachers won’t ever be tested in this way.

    Basic human instinct is hard to fight – selfishness is one way a species survive. We are built to preserve ourselves and our offspring. You condemn his for his honesty on the selfish nature of people and his unusual thinking/philosophy but don’t know the realities that lead him to his particular philosophy on morality. The overwhelming hardships and disappointments he has faced in his life of his education, his government and his job has lead him to the longing he has for USA and religion that he might not understand but that is what learning is about. His selfish morality is not that different from many people in this world. It may seem to be misguided but who can really say it completely wrong – this world isn’t about black and white, heros and cowards. When push comes to shove too many people are exactly like Mr Fan and if we pretend we are any different we are lying to ourselves. The biggest difference is that we would not necessarily have the guts to defend that position.

    Mr Fan was one the students who lived through Tiananmen Massacre in the 80s and no doubt will face his future as he always has done, the same as always with honesty and dignity.

  9. Nimrod Says:

    Fan has a point about Confucian philosophy producing perfect fake gentlemen (as a byproduct). Lots of people may run like him, but then will reflect that it isn’t the right thing to do. But they’ve already failed the test, which is only administered once. The reflection makes no difference on that incident, and saying otherwise is saving face or for conformity’s sake. Fan is honest in a way, because he is telling you exactly why he failed the test and admits he is selfish as seen. It’s not clear to me that this is more of a cover up than saying would have should have.

    But Fan is wrong that moral kidnapping is a bad thing. He can choose to ignore it and keep being selfish, but all students of psychology will know that a true gentleman isn’t born with it, it is the result of repeated practice of perfect fake gentlemanship until it is internalized. We need this kind of reflection so that people in general will more instinctly counter innate selfishness in other circumstances. If he knew his Confucius properly instead of hugging the legs of “Western thinkers”, Fan would know that denouncing him is exactly what is called for, to check the growth of not only fake gentlemen but of true scumbags.

    Finally, Fan goes bonkers trying to paint Christianity’s original sin philosophy like some of kind free pass on everybody sinning along with shutting people up from judging. Well, what can I say… Christianity and Confucianism aren’t too different on the premise that human nature needs and must accept “modification” to be good. There is no dichotomy like he is suggesting.

  10. Buxi Says:


    First of all, Running Fan wasn’t in Beijing for the Tiananmen ”Massacre”. He writes about this in his previous essays; he arrived 3-4 years later, and talked about how little his classmates cared about the event.

    The point isn’t a debate over Mr. Fan’s specific actions, and I’m not looking to compare Confucian with Christian morality. But we can all disagree with Mr. Fan’s firm conviction that true freedom implies freedom from moral code, and that the existence of morality in China is representative of our backward nature.

    For those who’ve had a chance to travel and see the world, we understand that human societies have always distinguished between “good” and “bad”. Even if we disagree what actions are moral or immoral, in every religion, culture, philosophy to ever take root in any human society… all children are taught the difference between “good” and “bad” behavior.

    Frankly, Mr. Fan annoys me more than anything else for his myopic ignorance about Western liberalism and “universal values”, which has become a fantastic myth in his own mind.

    I see Mr. Fan as being the latest incarnation of a sad trend in China. For a century, many self-declared intellectuals have thrown away their own ability to reason or learn, and instead chosen to blindly emulate their interpretation of Western philosophies. How warped must a prospective Chinese intellectual’s world view be, for him to profess that he would “never” read the writings of Chinese writers/thinkers?

    We saw this sort of myopia in previous generations with Communism, and we’re seeing it today with Mr. Fan.

    If there is one thing that people like Mr. Fan needs, it’s context; ideally, a long-term visa to the United States. Sooner or later, economic conditions will change, and those Chinese desperate to learn will have an opportunity to do so directly. In 50 years, the Mr. Fan of my grandchildren’s generation will be able to travel to Europe and North America to “find himself” after college… and in doing so, he will find a new deeper appreciation of what it means to be Chinese, to be an intellectual, to be a human being.

  11. FOARP Says:

    @Buxi – How’s about an article on the return of Confucian values that everyone (or at least, King-of-the-sinologist-windbags Jonathan Spence) is talking about?

  12. fppissht Says:


    PLEASE!Don’t put Mr.Fan in the people list of 1989 Tiananmen Square, he was just a student of high school in rural Sichuan province and didnt join that demonstration in Beijing at all then(pl.look at closely his resume & his age if you understand Chinese language and google about that). Besides,I see no possibility for him to do things like that. He is just ugly shameless self-centered coward lacking of any conscience, let alone social responsibility. Runner Fan can only cry for himself:’me, me, me!..’,he would never sacrifice for others,looking at what he did and he himself said.

    Mr. Fan also said he always dreamed about that he’s dying to be born in ‘free America’, I can not wait for his leaving for other place from my beloved beautiful homeland China. But I wonder no place on this planet will welcome such Runner Fan shit!

  13. Buxi Says:


    Sorry, I’m really not a sinologist… so I don’t know what Jonathan Spence has been saying about Confucianism. I’d like to be enlightened though.

    I did read a long feature on Xujun Eberlein’s blog regarding someone suggesting that China should be rebuilt as a constitutional Confucian state. I have a hard time imagining it going to that extreme. But I do think Confucian values absolutely has a place in China, and I think it’s a shame that the Cultural Revolution did such a thorough job in erasing much of our heritage.

  14. FOARP Says:

    @Buxi – Jonathan Spence’s lecture was a rather more boring and vague version of the Eberlein piece – you can probably still find it if you look up the BBC Radio 4 Reith lectures.

    Still, it’s something that’s interesting to look at.

  15. Lan Lan Says:

    One thing that English readers of the main stream press miss is the responses by Fan Mei Zhong’s students, expressing their sense of loss and frustration when they heard that he will no longer be teaching them due to this incident. Many of the students are forming a group to get ready to appeal to the Municipal of Education in order to fight for the justice of their teacher. http://tieba.baidu.com/f?kz=410445622 Another anecdote is that the school (Guangya IB School) at which Fan Mei Zhong teaches seems to be one of the few IBO (International Baccalaureate Organisation) recognized private schools in China, that has a record of raising a high percentage of well-rounded students accepted by Universities abroad. Many students claim that a large part of their resourceful education is Fan Mei Zhong’s teaching. (in the baidu forum posts; linked above) http://www.newssc.org/gb/Newssc/meiti/cdrb/zk/userobject10ai1407800.html

  16. Buxi Says:

    Lan Lan,

    Thank you for bringing that to my attention.  I’ll make translating that (especially the Tianya post) my next blog entry.  I personally think the students are as naive about the world outside China as their teacher Fan Meizhong is, but that’s only my opinion as one Chinese… they have the right to make their opinion heard, too.

  17. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Thanks Lan Lan,
    first time I’ve heard of IB program being in China.  FOARP probably knows more, since he’s the Brit regularly on this blog, and the program is based in Bath, I believe.  This is the sort of program that might begin to change people’s focus in education, from a strict book-worm extreme to one that encourages and celebrates the development of multi-faceted individuals.

  18. Nimrod Says:

    S.K., I’ve seen IB schools in China. They are just as bookworm as any other. IB is a series of test benchmarks after all, what difference does it make that they were set in Bath… The only difference is these students have, by their choice, given up on going to a Chinese university in favor of a Western university.

  19. Buxi Says:

    S.K. Cheung,

    The IB program has a long, long history throughout Asia. There are probably 40+ schools throughout “Greater China”. The primary draw for most parents isn’t the well-rounded education, but the fact that its graduates qualify directly for (low- to mid-tier) American universities. The press release that Lan Lan links above brags about the fact that this year’s graduates are headed to bachelor’s programs at St. Louis University, Denver University, Monash University, and the University of Wisconsin. I’ve heard of two of the above.

    I think IB’s a great idea in general, but… well, let’s just say from what I’ve heard, the quality of IB schools can differ GREATLY from institution to institution.

  20. Buxi Says:


    Did you see the tuition Running Fan’s school charges?  It’s pretty baffling to me.  It starts at 58,000 RMB per year for tuition, I think.  Amazing that this is in western Sichuan.  Makes me wonder how much a quality IB school in Shenzhen would cost…

  21. Nimrod Says:


    These are preppy schools for rich parents with so-so students (with some exceptions). The facilities are really really good. The teaching staff is largely young and (I think) inexperienced college grads led by a few senior retired teachers, so the overall quality is debatable. They also serve some children of businesspeople from Greater China, Korea, Japan and Chinese returnees.

    For whatever reason, these people have assessed that their kids would not make it in the gaokao and so focus on getting into a university overseas.

  22. opersai Says:

    We have IB program in Canada too. I went to a high school with IB program, though I didn’t enter the program. I have quiet some friends in that program, and I hear them only have 2 hours of sleep or such at only grade 11 or 12.

  23. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Nimrod and Buxi:
    I have no idea how difficult it would be to get into a Chinese university vs one in Canada/US.  From what I remember, students in HK had to work ridiculously hard, and I would guess it is no different in China.  Having said that, I hear that it is much harder to get into a full-fledged university in Canada now than when I did it…perhaps easier to get into a JC.
    Actually, IB is NOT a series of benchmarks.  Absolutely, you had to have shown academic proficiency in junior high in order to get into the program.  But to graduate high school with an IB diploma requires much more than just studying.  You could be a bookworm, but you’d also have to be much more than that.  So assuming that Chinese IB schools practice those Bath-based standards, Chinese graduates of this program would probably have, in very general terms, done a lot more than study, as compared to their counterparts.  I don’t know if Chinese universities recognize IB; but in Canada, in some universities, an  IB diploma nearly exempts you from 1st year university.  And a few local IB graduates have been given full-ride scholarships to Harvard, which is a little better than mid-tier, wouldn’t you say?
    In Canada, IB is definitely not just for the rich kids.  The majority are offered in public schools.
    I agree that IB schools, as with all schools, can differ greatly in quality.  Let’s just hope the Chinese ones actually stick to those Bath-based standards and aren’t handing out diplomas willy-nilly.

  24. Lan Lan Says:

    Hi Buxi, I have had and still have high doubts about private schools in China that cost way too much, but following the students’ posts on the Baidu tieba that I linked above, I felt I might just put a little hope in there. The overseas universities these students are accepted by are not the best, but I think as a gateway, they open up more opportunities for independent intellectual growth in comparison to the corrupted domestic educational system. From my experience, the majority of students raised by conventional middle schools would not have any guts to go against the mainstream and plan for an appeal for their teacher even if they liked him. So, for myself at least, I was especially touched by the spirit of the students wanting to speak out and be challenged by, whether or not this might be naive/wrong/right or whatnot… this is a spirit that has long been repressed here. I do not agree with all that Fan Mei Zhong has said and was very upset by his action at first, but I find myself respecting him more and more as I find out what others have said about him as a teacher who put all his passion into spreading knowledge and diverse thoughts for students in China. I feel that the media is not offering a comprehensive report on him. For those of you who can read Chinese, here are some words written about Fan Mei Zhong. (The first link was written in 2006, and the second link was written after the earthquake I think) http://hi.baidu.com/ggkukucat/blog/item/f2b8dc228fbcaaf6d6cae2c7.html http://q.sohu.com/forum/20/topic/2709483 I’m with everyone about “preppy schools for rich parents with so-so students” (Bleh!) Yet there can be exceptions, I hope there will be, and I think Guangya IB School might be an exception with just a little bit of hope for future education reform that definitely will take a long process to happen…

  25. girl Says:

    we cannot say whether he is right or wrong. however, it is unacceptable in society. like he said, democracy. likewise we have choice whether we deem him wrong or right. in this case, we say he’s wrong so he just have to live with that because democracy prevails and he has no right to criticise society’s decision.

  26. Buxi Says:

    @Lan Lan,

    I have to say, I personally was disturbed by the comments by one of the students (on the Tianya thread) that they absolutely would not return to China to develop. I think that’s certainly their right, especially since I myself am selfishly enjoying my high-paying career in the United States.

    But at least, I can say that is not what I want… if the income gap in my career was not so dramatic between the United States and China, I personally would be back in China tomorrow, because I really do think I have something to contribute. (Am I a 真小人 for admitting that money keeps me in the US?)

    The tone of the students in that post is that… they simply do not want to return to China to develop, a strong suggestion that China is not worthy of their time, that China is hopeless. I think that’s exactly the kind of very selfish, very arrogant attitude that Fan Meizhong has demonstrated, and why I personally so dislike his words. I don’t care about Fan’s actions, I really dislike his words. (And this is why I point out the schools these students attend in the US are second-tier at best; I think they’ll be in for a rude awakening when they arrive in the US.)

    If that’s the kind of education the preppy rich schools are giving out… how will that affect China’s future? What if Sun Zhongshan had been like Fan Meizhong?


    Exactly. Society exists because human beings figured out tens of thousands of years ago that we need to cooperate to live together. Democracy or not, if Fan Meizhong wants to live amongst other human beings, then he will need to respect society’s rules. If he can not, then he should find a different society to live in.

  27. Buxi Says:

    By the way, Lan Lan, sorry for not following through with my promise on a blog post on this topic. I really do want to. Remind me again in a few days, there are just so many other hot topics at the moment…

  28. raventhorn4000 Says:

    I pity that man. He curses his own birth and bloodline.

    My parents lived through the Great Famine, and the Cultural Revolution, and they have always been proud of their Chinese heritage and China.

    A man who curse his own birth, thinks he is too good for his own life, is a prideful sinner, the worst kind of sinner before God.

    Was it not Lucifer himself who cursed God for making him a servant of God?

    “Rather to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven.”

    I’m not Christian, but I believe there is a purpose for me in my place in the world. I do not question why I was born in China, as a Chinese, instead of born somewhere else, being richer, or something better.

    One who questions God and Heaven’s purpose for one’s place, has only Pride, no soul.

  29. dan Says:

    “I have been engulfed in sadness that I was not born in a country like the United States, a country which respects freedom, democracy, and human rights!…’
    OMG! if he has been born in the US and (God forbid) a fire fighter in NYC on the morning of 9/11/2001…

  30. Steve Says:

    @ dan: My dad’s cousin was a fire fighter called in to NYC on the morning of 9/11/2001. What’s your point?

  31. raventhorn4000 Says:

    … That such a “scurrying Bao” would run away from the Twin Towers and his duty as a firefighter.

  32. Steve Says:

    Asked dan a question and got a reply from raventhorn4000. dan and raventhorn4000 are one and the same person???

  33. raventhorn4000 Says:

    No, not the same person. It was just an obvious implication from Dan’s statement. Steve. 🙂

  34. dan Says:

    Steve. Raventhorn4000 answered it. I thought it was obvious…:)

  35. Steve Says:

    @ dan & R4K: Thanks. That incident happened a little too close to home. My brother in law had an office in the Twin Towers but fortunately wasn’t in it that morning so I guess I look at comments too literally. My dad’s cousin was the firefighter in that photo taken in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral that was printed all over the world.

  36. dan Says:

    Steve, my salute to your dad’s cousin.

  37. Zepplin Says:

    At risk of generalization, I must say that Fan’s lamentation at the heavens, fate, and circumstances for his misfortune is decidedly Chinese rather than American. Maybe it’s due to that 17 years of pathetic education.

  38. Steve Says:

    @ dan #36: Thanks dan, appreciate it. He was a retired NYC firefighter who was called that morning and asked to help out because they were so shorthanded. All the retired guys came in to help and most were at ground zero that day. Many people didn’t realize all these old guys were there.


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