友:The Two Hands in One Direction

My partner went through a major surgery recently. The two chief cardiovascular surgeons came from two different hospitals. When they walked out of the surgery room for this ten-hour operation to tell me it was successful, I saw heartily smile and confidence on their faces. They are celebrating their successful cooperation as good friends and also as business rivals at the same time.

My whole family is sincerely grateful for Prof. Yin’s reaching out to Chief Dr. Zheng for this surgery operation in order to save my partner’s life. Although the various situations before the surgery operation were very complicated, the two doctors who treat saving a patient’s life as the fundamental starting point, in the face of difficulties and resistances, with their superb medical skills, saved a life struggling in the line of death.

Prof. Yin and Chief Dr. Zheng have done several combined surgeries before, like many other good doctors and surgeries, crossing hospitals, cities, and regions, to save patients’ lives. It reminds me of a short video by Richard Sears, an American living in China, who is called Mr. Hanzi(汉字先生). In his short video, he was telling what the Chinese character友(friends; friendship) vividly means.

Profoundly and pictographically, 友 yǒu (friends; friendship) draws a picture of two hands reaching out in the same direction. Over the long history, Chinese ancients regarded同志曰友- people with the same innate purpose and determination(志) as friends. Their wills resonate with each other and their hands extend in the same direction.

What if the two hands are not in the same direction? That is well reflected by another simple Chinese character 争 zhēng (contend, dispute, fight, strive, compete). Vividly, when two hands pull one thing in two opposite directions, they are fighting and competing. And our ancients carved this meaning into the character争. Compared to斗(fight), 争 involves two components.

We always say: competition promotes development. Fortunately, good friends, being the competitors at the same time, give each life endless motivations.

Looking around, when Su Yiming and Max Parrot claimed their Gold and Silver; when Apple and Huawei compete on the mobile market; when solar and wind increasingly devote more as human renewable energy, when the east and the west integrate and promote each other mutually, they play as friends also as the rivals who understand each other’s efforts, persistence, courage, failure, and success the best.

We all have two hands, they are in the opposite positions, but they mutually complement and support each other.

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