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Peace and Peace

Short Story, 2023

The island that we live in has a rather peculiar landscape. The north part of the island has at its center a mountain — a tall and rocky mountain that makes it impossible to build tunnels through. Northerners living on one slope of the mountain would have to use the mountain-circling highway or railroad to get to the other side. The south part of the island has at its center a lake — a deep and wide lake that makes it impossible to build bridges across. Southerners living on one side of the lake would have to use the lake-circling highway or railroad to get to the other side.

As the ultimate public servant of this island, I have been given the unique privilege to lead, guide, and serve the people. I have used the reach of my platform to deliver two stories, one for the Northerners and one for the Southerners. 

I tell the Northerners the story of Yugong. Yugong lives in a village that is isolated from the world by two mighty mountains. Such isolation has meant poverty and ignorance for generations of the villagers. What others see as “the way the world is,” Yugong sees as a limiting situation that can be changed. In his 90s, Yugong sets out to remove the mountains, a pile of dirt at a time. “What happens if you die?” others asked, “My son will succeed me in my work, and his son his…” replied the persevering Yugong. The Northerners are encouraged to take in not only the spirit of Yugong, but to follow him in action as well. If Yugong and his family can move two mountains, the whole community of the North can move one. The benefits of removing the North Mountain are beyond scale: easy commuting, stronger community, and higher living standards for the people. It’s easy to make a plan but much harder to follow through and complete it. The first and foremost obstacle is the disposal of all the waste. This is where I come in as the public servant. I will utilize my resources and take in all the waste from the removal, only for a minimal price. This price is solely to keep this operation going and is, of course, not for profit. I am together with the Northerners in their effort to improve their lives, and I am together with them, too, as we condemn the Southerners who not only take what they have for granted, but sabotage it. With that being said, I urge my beloved friends from the North to NOT interact with the Southerners on an individual level. At the end of the day, I do not believe in violence. And I will not tolerate violence.


I tell the Southerners the story of Jingwei — a girl who, after losing her father to the ocean, turned into a godly bird, picking pebbles by her beak and dropping them into the ocean. The persevering Jingwei fills the ocean — one pebble at a time. I urge the Southerners to not only learn from Jingwei in spirit, but also in action — to fill the South Lake. The benefits of a filled lake are enormous and obvious — more convenient transportation, tighter-knit community, and faster economic growth. There are indeed challenges in this plan, the most difficult one being finding the resources for the filling. But where others see challenges, I see opportunities — the opportunities to serve my Southerners. I will provide the rocks for the filling for a special price that is much lower than the market price. This charge is simply to keep the operation going but is, of course, not for the purpose of profit. I stand with the Southerners in their effort to better their community, and I stand with them, too, in disappointment and frustration as we watch the Northerners wasting their valuable resources and turning their once beautiful home into a dump. Think about your children if not for yourselves! However, I ask my comrades in the South to NOT directly interfere with their northern neighbors. Violence in any shape and form is always renounced as long as I’m the servant of this island. 

We live in peace happily ever after. 

P.S. One day, I received a letter from John, an elementary school student at Northern No.4 School. Besides greetings and sharing his life, he asked me a wonderful question: “Humble Servant, what shall the Northerners do when the North Mountain has been removed?” To which I replied: “My dearest, we just keep on digging."

(Alternative P.S. One day, I received a letter from Joan, an elementary school student at Southern Experimental School. Besides greetings and sharing her life, she asked me a marvelous question: “Humble Servant, what shall we, the Southerners, do when the South Lake has been filled?” To which I replied: “My sweetest, we just keep on filling.”)

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