56-year-old security guard inspires many with commitment to, passion for calligraphy

(People's Daily Online) 14:47, January 17, 2022

56-year-old Zhao Shoubei, a security guard from northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, has been practicing calligraphy since he was 10 years old, and despite all the difficulties he encountered over the course of several decades.

Zhao Shoubei practices calligraphy. (Photo/Li Feilong)

In order to support his family, Zhao dropped out of school when he was 19 years old, becoming a construction worker. However, he didn’t give up on his hobby. No matter how exhausted he became after a day’s work, Zhao always managed to stick to the routine of practicing calligraphy at night. Because he couldn’t afford to buy any writing materials, Zhao built a writing desk with a piece of wood and wrote Chinese characters using an iron bar.

“I’ve never thought about giving up my hobby. Calligraphy brings me inner peace, which I enjoy very much,” Zhao said.

In July 2020, Zhao became a security guard at Ningxia Normal University. One day, when he walked into the teaching building for the school of fine arts, he was impressed by the calligraphy and fine art works that were hung on the wall. Zhao, who was then in charge of security and guarding services at the school of music, promptly asked his company to assign him to work for the school of fine arts so that he could move closer to something he truly loves.

“After coming to learn that I was practicing calligraphy every day, the teachers at the school of fine arts gave me writing brushes and paper. They also invited me to join the calligraphy training classes held by the school,” Zhao expressed.

“I had thought that my calligraphy skills were not bad, but the more I learned the art systemically, the more I came to realize that I was not as good at it as I had thought,” Zhao said.

To improve his skills, Zhao practiced even harder than before, spending most of his spare time on calligraphy. Thanks to these efforts, Zhao eventually excelled in the skill, as some of his calligraphy works nowadays can be seen on the walls for students in the school of fine arts to admire.

Zhao Shoubei showcases a piece of calligraphy he completed. (Photo courtesy of the interviewee)

The perseverance, commitment and diligence Zhao has demonstrated in pursing his hobby has motivated students and teachers at the school of fine arts. “It is inspiring that Zhao, a man in his 50s, still learns calligraphy so hard. He has set a very good example for students at our school by being committed to something he really loves,” said Feng Chao, director of the school of fine arts at Ningxia Normal University.

The ambitious Zhao said that after retirement, he wants to open a calligraphy training class to teach the craft to the younger generation.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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