Two women, a boy and the jellyfish

Stories of kindness to warm the heart

  “…The boy look at him nonplussed, shrugged his shoulders and went back to throwing one more jellyfish back to the water, and told him, ‘Made a difference to that one…’”

TODAY is Valentine’s Day but instead of a romantic love story, how about a double scoop of stories about the kindness of the human heart?

I like retelling Lou’s life story. Lou Xiaoying is one remarkable Chinese woman who is a beacon of light, a ray of hope and a surge of warmth in a world that has grown dark and cold.

I wrote about Lou a few years back to shine a light on the life of a woman, who despite humble circumstances, managed to save the lives of babies salvaged from the trash heap, apparently discarded by women in compliance with China’s draconian one-child policy to curb its population growth.

Contrast Lou’s life with that of a 25 year-old New Jersey woman in 2012 who claims she is not ready for her pregnancy, filmed her own abortion, with full make-up, lights and gazing at the camera and exclaiming with joy at the end of the procedure purportedly to “inspire” and show women that abortion is a positive experience. She even writes about it in one publication. Notice I refuse to give a shout out to her name or the publication’s name. Some bask in infamy and one can show displeasure by refusing to give a shout out.

The woman who is a wanna-be actress of low-budget slasher horror movies which slaughter children works as an abortion counselor. She says, “I feel in awe of the fact that I can make a baby. I can make a life…” Sadly, it was a life that she chose to end coldly. The delusional woman, as if reading from a script even says at the end of the murderous procedure, “Yay, Cool! I feel good.” She decides to keep a sonogram of the baby as a memento.

Did she even bother to ask the father of the child? Even more disturbing is the distinct possibility that she may have become pregnant to create a prop so she can pull this contemptible youtube stunt and become an internet sensation. If she did, this makes it all the more egregious and revolting.

This stunt she pulled at the expense of an innocent life to grab her few minutes of dubious fame cries out for justice and she will be held to account. The laws of karma are irrevocable, sometimes swift, sometimes slow, but without bone marrow-deep repentance, comes without fail in due season. I read somewhere, “Karma is only a b__ch if you are.”

There is still hope for humanity. The response had been worldwide revulsion and condemnation at the celebratory tone of her scripted abortion. At the very least, women who see abortion as a solution to a complex problem do so in a somber, quiet way, with heads bowed down, away from the limelight.

What has women’s liberation movement come to these days? It may have been hijacked by the dark side. Shallow, soulless creatures who call themselves women walk the earth. Fortunately, for every one of this kind of vile woman, there are thousands who shun the limelight and work quietly in the trenches fighting the evil of abortion, women I know like Gerri and Anna Maria and members of the Shield of Roses who have been quietly pounding the pavement, persuading women to consider adoption instead and knocking unceasingly on heaven’s doors with prayer and fasting to help in the struggle against the seemingly prevailing culture of death and darkness.

But let’s get back to Lou. Her story is like a laser light and her story is worth repeating. She lived in the rural countryside in Eastern Zhejiang province. Picture her home as it was then. It is a humble hovel, its small yard littered with debris and recyclables. A little boy of 7 plays in the yard.  Lou lived in that home with her husband Lin until he prededed her in death more than 20 years ago.

When I first wrote about Lou in 2012, she was 88 years old and lay languishing of kidney failure in a hospital. Despite pain and impending death, Lou looks beautiful in repose. Her eyes sparkle with joy. A calm peacefulness is etched in her face. If she is still alive today, she would be about 94 years old. It has been 6 years and an internet search show no updates about Lou. At her age and condition, no news is good news.

Lou and her husband made a living scavenging the village trash for recyclables. It was a tough, backbreaking way of life trudging through the streets and sifting through other people’s often filthy and smelly discards.

Over the years, they picked up 30 abandoned babies from the trash heap. Of the 30 foundlings they saved, the couple kept 4 babies to raise themselves and the rest, they gave away to friends and relatives. They have one biological child, a woman, who is now past 50 years old. When Lou was 82 and already a widow, she saved one more baby from the trash.

She said, “Even though I was already getting old I could not simply ignore the baby and leave him to die in the trash. He looked so sweet and so needy. I had to take him home with me…My older children all help look after Zhang Qilin … I named him after the Chinese word for rare and precious.”

Lou’s story is riveting for its simple, unquestioning reverence for life despite living in stark poverty. She didn’t start out wanting to rescue foundlings but in 1982, her heart was touched when she found the first child, a baby girl, who was lying helpless and abandoned amongst the trash.

“Watching her grow and become stronger gave us such happiness and I realized I had a real love of caring for children …

These children need love and care. They are all precious human lives. I do not understand how people can leave such a vulnerable baby on the streets. I realized if we had strength enough to collect garbage how could we not recycle something as important as human lives?”

Since 1978, the Chinese communist government has enforced, with few exceptions, its one-child policy. Families are prevented from having more than one child under pain of penalty. Those who abide by the rule are given bonuses and incentives. Boys are preferred in Chinese culture so that couples who want a son feel compelled to throw away infant girls. It is claimed that the policy prevented the birth of 400 million babies.

Lou’s life story bears resemblance to the story of the little boy and the jellyfish.

There was once a little boy walking on the beach. He noticed that as the tide receded, there were thousands of jellyfish being washed up and lay stranded helpless on the shore.  He picked them up one by one and began tossing each jellyfish back into the water, into the sea where they can survive and live.

A man also walking along the shore watched the boy in utter disbelief. To him, the boy was trying to do the impossible. Shaking his head, the man approached the boy and asked,

“Hey, kid, what do you think you’re doing?  You can never make a difference. There are thousands of jellyfish. You’ll only save a few of them.”

The boy looked at him nonplussed, shrugged his shoulders and went back to throwing one more jellyfish back to the water, and told him, “Made a difference to that one …”

Each precious human life saved certainly made a difference to that one life.

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Nota Bene: Monette Adeva Maglaya is SVP of Asian Journal Publications, Inc. To send comments, e-mail


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