(TONGLIAO, China, Jan. 21, 2020 AsiaNet=연합뉴스) As Chinese New Year draws near, drum beats are sounding louder at a village in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Bai Haiquan, a local villager, is one of the performers. As a new member to the village yangko performing group, he plays the drum hard and would go practicing after herding the cattle. Bai even practiced drumming in his mind at work. "When one is happy, he feels like playing the drum, and is good at it," Bai said.
Bai didn't feel like drumming three years ago, when he was almost desperate about life. His wife was diagnosed with lupus nephritis, costing about 4,000 yuan (about 584 U.S. dollars) to 5,000 yuan each month. His family was left in debt, forcing his son dropping out from high school to take care of the cattle. The family was near ruins when the local government lent a helping hand by qualifying the family as one poverty relief target. With the local government's help, Bai got subsidized loans worth 30,000 yuan to breed cattle, and got another 15,000 yuan in subsidy. The whole family was included in the medical care insurance system, which covered most of the medical spending of Bai's wife.
Bai is good at raising cattle. Now he owns 16 cattle, with 8 pregnant. They are Bai's hope. "Soon there will be calves. The bull can sell 10,000 yuan after five months' breeding," according to him. Bai also has 32 mu (about 2.13 hectares) of corn, with each capable of producing 750 kg of corn thanks to enhanced irrigation by means of a new well drilled by the local government. He raked in 47,000 yuan in 2019, and expects more income this year. The family were lifted out from poverty in end-2019, and his wife's illness is now kept in check. "My wife is getting better, and the income is getting better. We are happier each day."
Bai applied to be a drummer when the village decided to set up a yangko performance group. "It's energizing to drum," he said. "He seems to be a different person when he plays the drum," said a local official. Bai, a more down-to-earth and earnest man than before, even consulted the village's skilled drummer to improve his performance. The village's Spring Festival performance was staged on Xiao Nian, or the Preliminary Eve, about one week before the Chinese New Year. Bai, full of vigor, played the drum with confidence for a better life.
Source: The Publicity Department of the CPC Tongliao Municipal Committee
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