Saturday June 9, 2012
Tributes pour in for heroic driver
Made In China by CHOW HOW BAN
Wu Bin’s heroics have earned him the reputation of the most beautiful driver in China. Though mortally wounded, his first thought was the safety of his passengers.
MORE than 10,000 mourners and close friends and relatives of Wu Bin came out in droves for the funeral of Chinese national hero at a funeral service hall in Zhejiang province’s Hangzhou city on Tuesday.
Wu was accorded a city-level funeral and bereavement for his selfless act of driving 24 passengers to safety after an iron object flew into the bus he was driving and pierced his stomach.
The incident occurred around noon on May 29, when the 48-year-old Hangzhou native was driving long-distance from Wuxi to Hangzhou.
Grimacing in extreme pain, Wu pulled his bus over on a highway in Wuxi and carried out a series of safety driving measures such as pulling the hand-brake and switching on the hazard light.
Video images recorded by a camera installed on the bus showed that he even stood up from his seat, opened the bus door and apparently told the passengers not to panic. Finally, he went to the back and laid on a passenger seat.
Wu was sent to a hospital where he died at 3.45am on June 1. His heroics gripped the nation and touched many Chinese who specially turned up for his funeral to pay their last respects to him.
Scores of students and people from all walks of life held flowers and displayed banners in the streets as the motorcade carrying Wu’s body passed them.
Sun Xinan, one of the passengers on board the bus who did not get to thank Wu before he passed away, said he could only pay his last respects to the hero at the funeral.
“We feel that what this comrade did was simply amazing. We must come here to bid him farewell in his last journey,” he told China Central Television in a special programme on the funeral aired across the country.
Zhou Guoxin said that without Wu, the passengers’ lives could have been in great danger.
He revealed that there were actually 25 passengers when the incident happened.
A woman in her 50s, whose daughter-in-law and granddaughter were on board the bus, was at the funeral giving away white chrysanthemums to mourners.
Her granddaughter was not on the official passenger list because she did not buy a bus ticket for the ride.
Qiu Yilu, a good friend of Wu, said she really hoped that Wu would not be hailed a hero but an ordinary person.
“When you do great things, it will bring you a glorious moment,” she elaborated, tears welling in her eyes. “But it will be very hard for outsiders to imagine the pressure and emotional breakdown your family will have to go through due to the loss of a life in the family.
“We would rather prefer Wu Bin to be known as an ordinary person.”
According to colleagues, close friends and family members, Wu was a good man.
He was a very responsible driver who would put the safety of his passengers above his own.
Whenever he was free, he would take his parents to the hospital for their medical check-up and would play badminton with his 18-year-old daughter.
He loved his wife Wang Lizhen very much and would buy her roses on her birthday.
Wang said Wu had planned to go for a holiday with her in Yunnan province on May 31, but now she would have to pick up the pieces and continue with her life.
“I am really depressed and sad at the moment. But I would like to thank everyone in the country for their support. Don’t worry about us; we will become stronger than ever,” she said.
Over the past few days, Wu’s family received many letters from well-wishers.
In one of the letters, a primary school pupil wrote: “Life must go on and time passes. Let us carry the hope of Uncle Wu Bin and move on. We wish this good man rests in peace!”
Such words of encouragement meant a lot to the family in their time of grief. However, the family said that at the end of the day, they would still have to draw strength from within to heal.
For Wu’s colleagues at Hangzhou Long Distance Public Transport Company, the shining example of this hero will be their guiding torch when they carry out their duties.
Manager Meng Lianjian said many bus drivers were inspired by Wu’s great sense of responsibility towards his profession.
“Following Wu Bin’s death, our drivers feel that they should improve their work rate and do their best in every moment of their job,” he said.
Wu’s heroics has earned him the reputation of “the most beautiful driver in China”. He definitely deserves the recognition for displaying a beautiful heart.