Ordinary people's tales enthral WeChat viewers

With the airing of a sixth new episode, more people have begun to watch "Yearning," a booksharing video program. 
Ordinary people's tales enthral WeChat viewers
Ti Gong

With the airing of a sixth new episode, more people have begun to watch “Yearning,” a booksharing video program.

In each episode, a person working or living in Jiading District’s Zhenxin Community reads some favorite lines of a book, and gives his or her understanding by sharing their own stories in life.

The first six episodes’ readers include an entrepreneur, a street cleaner, a primary school teacher, a retired doctor and a teapot artist. Cao Qi and Zhang Jingying as well as Zhenxin Community social workers lead a team of six to produce the video program aired on WeChat.

Some of their equipment and props are bought online or made by themselves. No learning of lines or coaching in how to act, the readers just play themselves. Sometimes they even make a spectacle of themselves, but all the stories are true and touch many people.

The WeChat video keeps attracting more viewers and that has encouraged Cao and Zhang to keep the enterprise going. A reader a book and a comfortable environment — reading is not restricted by occupation, age and experience, but it can transmit the power that belongs to oneself to others.

Sun Wenli, is one of the readers. She has walked on stage in the video with Steve Jobs’ biography. Sun is chief executive officer of an asset management company.

Making a million yuan (US$146,000) a year is not her definition of success, rather it is to be socially responsible and help more young people realize their dreams.

Born in a well-off family and graduating from a prestigious university, Sun’s life is not all about success. She knows the taste of being desperate but insistence is her recipe to survive business failure.

Sun established an incubator to attract thousands of entrepreneurs and dozens of investors which has turned Zhenxin Community into a hub of entrepreneurship.

Ordinary people's tales enthral WeChat viewers
Zhang Jingying, Zheng Shengle and Zhou Zhe / Ti Gong

Li Yuheng’s life is totally different. With his parents both civil engineering workers, Li spent his childhood going from construction site to construction site. The graduate of Soochow University is now a street cleaner at Zhenxin Community.

He was previously a surveyor. Li and his colleagues are busy cleaning up the streets. “I’d like to tell our stories,” Li said. “We need more understanding.”

To their gratification, pedestrians’ warm smiles have become frequent; sometimes even a bottle of mineral water is handed over.

“Life is not about how long you live but what you make” is a line read out from Bing Xin’s “Talk about Life” by retired medical professor Zhu Wenya.

Zhu spent almost four decades in Xinjiang Autonomous Region after she graduated from middle school. She was once a worker, then a doctor and then a teacher.

Although she has little savings, she has no regrets about her life. “I’m so lucky to be a doctor and a teacher, two noblest professions,” she said, adding “the best part of life is inheritance.”

She once walked more than 10 miles to deliver a child. The father grabbed her blood-stained hands to express his gratitude. “It is hard to forget and as much as my life is worth.”

Zhu became a volunteer in the community after she returned home and spent another 12 years doing the job.

Inheritance is not only the meaning of life but also art. Xu Sihai, a redware pottery master, shared his story with many others.

Xu, a veteran, quit his job in the 1990s and started collecting and making redware pottery. He established a teaware museum which is among the earliest private museums in China and built a 3-hectare garden featuring his collection and the manufacture of teaware.

Xu donated countless pieces from his collection to the country. “It is patriotism from a Party member of more than 50 years’ standing.”

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