“I think the the purpose of becoming an idol is to better prevent young people from following their idols blindly, to learn more from their idols’ views about the world and to make them ask “why” more often,” said Zhong Nanshan in his speech at the 3rd World Laureates Forum. The sentence quickly went viral on the internet.
We often hear voices advising young people not to “blindly worship celebrities”, but rarely do we see “idols” coming forward and analyzing what they should do as a qualified idol. Idols are more often associated with stars on the internet, which makes us tend to forget that “star” is not what “idol” is all about. In a broader sense, idols are to be followed and worshiped.
The 84-year-old Zhong Nanshan is seen as an idol by many young people because of his strong professional ability and personality charm. Although he has received the high honor of the Medal of the Republic, he still keeps introspecting, thinking that we cannot be satisfied with the fact that numerous young people regard scientists as idols. As for why he becomes an idol and what he should do after becoming an idol, he has high requirements for himself, and holds the same expectations for the younger generation of scientists.
Yuan Longping, another winner of the Medal of the Republic, also appeared on the most-search-for list on the internet yesterday. According to the data on November 2, the new combination experiment and demonstration base of the third-generation hybrid rice produced 911.7 kg/mu of late rice. With the early rice yield of 619.06 kg/mu in July this year, Yuan Longping’s team has made a new record in the yield of double cropping rice per mu - 1,500 kg. Upon the news, Yuan Longping was excited like a child, and laughed loudly on the screen. His laughter infected every Chinese, and made them feel proud.
It is no accident that Zhong Nanshan and Yuan Longping are loved and admired by all Chinese people. There must be pioneers for a promising country, and models for a prospering nation. In the face of unknown viruses - the “SARS” in 2003 and COVID-19 in 2020, Zhong Nanshan came forward twice. He has the courage to fight against the virus, speak out the truth and serve as a pioneer. He has influenced a batch of vigorous young medical staff with his words and deeds, and showed deep patriotism in the dangerous situation. He is a real idol.
Zhong Nanshan and Yuan Longping gain a large number of young fans despite their old age, which sends two messages: young people are discriminating, and they have their own unique understanding of hard work. Yuan Longping has been committed to the research of hybrid rice for a lifetime, and working in the fields for more than 50 years. He has not only brought hope and results for mankind to defeat hunger with scientific and technological methods, but also gained respect from young people with his self-discipline and indifference to fame and fortune.
Idols set models for others to imitate. Zhong Nanshan and Yuan Longping are lauded as “national idols” because of their outstanding achievements in their careers, their enterprising and innovative spirit, strong will and persistent pursuit of their dreams, and responsible attitude towards the country and society.
Role models can offer endless power. As idols of many young people, Zhong Nanshan and Yuan Longping have taught young people not to follow idols blindly with their own words and deeds. “Keep chasing after excellent models and take your time to do meaningful things. We hope to see you make greater achievements in the future,” said Zhong Nanshan, expressing his expectations for the younger generation of medical staff. Chinese young people are advised to realize personal value in the efforts to make the Chinese dream come true, which is the essence of the spirit of the two idols.