Millions of viewers in China were left inspired after a short film portraying the struggles of a 66-year-old disabled carpenter went viral on the video platform Bilibili.
The 11-and-a-half-minute viral video, titled “How Erjiu Cured My Mental Friction after Being Back in the Village for Three Days,” was created by the man’s nephew, Tang Hao, after he visited his home for three days in an undisclosed rural area in China.
The short film revolves around the man identified as Erjiu, meaning the second oldest uncle, and portrays the way he has thrived in the face of adversity. In the video, Tang uses witty and humorous storytelling to explain Erjiu’s story.
The 66-year-old man, once described as a “young genius,” had his life changed dramatically when he was misdiagnosed with a high fever and given the wrong medication, leading to a disability in his left leg.
After being bedridden for a year following the incident, Erjiu decided to learn carpentry by watching a carpenter perform woodworking tasks for three days. He then began doing his own woodwork in the village and the town. Around the late 1970s, Erjiu decided to go to Beijing where he did woodwork for soldiers, and when his two younger sisters got married, the man created luxurious furniture for them.
The 66-year-old man never got married; however, he adopted a little girl and named her Ningning. When his daughter got married 10 years ago, Erjiu spent his entire savings — over 100,000 yuan (approximately $14,827) — to happily buy Ningning a house.
“He couldn’t give Ningning a good or decent education, but now she is the most filial one in the village,” Tang explained in the video.
Tang goes on to say that not only is Erjiu a carpenter, but he also excels in other skills such as fixing electrical socket patch panels and gas stoves. Erjiu also creates “erhu,” a traditional Chinese musical instrument, using wood, a fishing line for the strings and snakeskin for the covering.
Erjiu now takes care of his 88-year-old mother and works as a handyman for the village. Tang described his uncle as someone who, when a problem presents itself, “will always find a way to solve it.”
Despite the difficulties that he has gone through in his life, Erjiu has never complained or felt sorry for himself.
“Eriju was dealt a bad hand, but he played his cards beautifully,” Tang said.
In response to some internet users questioning the story’s authenticity, Tang stated that “Every single word of the film is true.”
“I will not allow anyone to know where exactly he lives, or anyone to shoot photos or videos of him because that will affect his life,” he told Xinhua.
The short film has garnered over 35 million views and 62,000 comments since being uploaded on Monday.