Expert with a broom enlightens Summer Palace visitors
 updatetime:2023-10-10 16:48:26   Views:0 Source:China Daily

A short video showing a member of the cleaning staff at the Summer Palace in Beijing explaining Buddhist scenic spots drew a lot of traffic on different social media platforms recently, with netizens marveling at his mastery of traditional Chinese culture.

He has been dubbed the most powerful cleaning monk by netizens, originally appearing in Chinese writer Louis Cha's novel Tianlong Babu (demigods and semi-devils) as an unknown martial art master who disguises himself as a cleaning monk in the Shaolin Temple in Henan province.

In the video, the worker, Zhang Xu, 40, explains the cultural connotations of the sites to several tourists, who were doing research.

What makes it special is his recitation of a list of dozens of hard-to-pronounce Buddhist sites. He speaks with such ease and confidence that it seems he is doing a tongue twister. People thought he must be a tour guide or expert, yet he was wearing the uniform of a janitor and holding a broom.

After his explanation, Zhang smiled and returned to his work as though nothing had happened.

The video was posted by the researchers on social media platforms on Oct 7 and immediately became a trending topic online. Netizens expressed amazement at how ordinary people can become experts in certain areas.

"In Beijing, no matter what you do, you can acquire a deep understanding of history and culture. Sometimes ordinary people are willing to explain things to complete strangers in exchange for a simple thump-up," said one netizen on social media platform Xiaohongshu.

Zhang is better than regular tour guides, and the palace should offer him a job as a docent, another commented.

Zhang lives in Beijing's Yanqing district. He said he had not thought of becoming famous online, as he only wanted to help the tourists who seemed puzzled. He told Beijing Daily that he had been interested in architecture since he was a child. His father works in the construction industry.

He himself has been a security guard and construction worker and has always had a strong interest in traditional architecture. He often refers to books or finds information online in his spare time.

Zhang joined the cleaning staff at the palace in late 2021 and is required to walk about 40,000 steps inside the palace every day, so he knows a lot about it.

"The traditional architecture of the palace is not just an assembly of bricks and layers. These elements are friends who have deep history and know how to speak to people who understand them, he said.

They are historic marvels with distinctive Asian aesthetic, he said.

The Summer Palace is a well-known imperial garden originally built during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and served as a retreat for emperors to escape the summer heat and engage in political and recreational activities.

The palace complex spans a vast area and is renowned for its beautiful landscaping, featuring an artificial lake, numerous pavilions, bridges, temples and gardens.

Web Editor:MXJ