Nostalgia: The Last Barber of the Village

The only barber shop at Fangjiahetou Village is owned by a disabled man named Wang. Spending only 7 yuan, villagers can enjoy full service, including shaving and cleaning of the ears and nose. Wang had polio in his childhood, but he was determined to support himself without help from others. At the age of ten, he learned the skill from an old barber from the village and bought an old house as his own barber shop. Till now, he has worked for more than thirty years. There are not many young people living in the village, so he does not need to cater his service to younger generations. A simple furnace is used to boil water; since he is reluctant to use coal, shredded wood scatters in the room. Wang never leaves the village because he has trouble walking freely. The shop, with a barber chair inherited from the old barber, contains everything he needs. The small room is often full of people. Even if they do not need a shaving, the old like to gather there chatting. I passed his shop that day, and noticing me with a camera, he asked me whether I could take a one-inch photo for his disability certificate. When I gave him the photo the following week, he was surprised, generously offering me a spoken voucher for free service. (Fangjiahetou Village, Cixi)

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The story of this disabled barber is very inspiring to me. I actually visited him with my dad over the summer. From him, it was really hard for us not to be affected by his optimism. For him, as long as he has a skill to make a living, he is satisfied with everything in his life. He offers help to everyone whenever he can. Although commuting to another village is not convenient for him, he is still willing to go there, helping those people in the same condition as him. His attitude towards life reminds me of the Paralympic Games in this year. Like him, those athletes are not giving up on their life even though they are not able to participate in the Olympics. They still competed with those who are like them and broke tons of records this year. Their spirits towards life mattered most in terms of living.

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One thought on “Nostalgia: The Last Barber of the Village

  1. The barber called me last month about his daughter’s admission to the nursery college. He was pretty excited. I felt happy too while he shared such great news with me.

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