By Horace Lu
Wearing a suit, sprayed with perfume and topped with a dyed red mohawk, Zhou Fei (周飞) has made himself an online celebrity as “the most fashionable beggar in China.”
Standing beside a suitcase covered with airport consignment labels, he charges every person 1 yuan for taking a picture of him and 100 yuan for taking a group photo with him. Although there are always many who take pictures without paying, he remains calm and changes his pose every half a minute.
Few believe that he is a beggar.
Zhou has been wandering about since 14 years old. The 40-year-old man of the world has only finished elementary school and could hardly find a stable job. Last year, he decided to take on professional begging.
His 4,000 yuan suit is used only when he’s begging. When he is not begging, he wears other clothes for fear that his “uniform” might get worn out. Before work, he has to spray himself with perfume and spend money to trim his Mohawk-style hair, and after work, he must find a hostel with hot water to shower.
Apart from charging for photos, he also wants to charge 800 for having a meal with him, 10,000 for a TV appearance and 100,000 for making advertisements for a brand when he gets famous. Sister Feng, eat your heart out!
Coming to a city near you!
He has a pile of air tickets, indicating that he has visited several major cities including Wenzhou, Nanjing, Wuhan, Haikou. He plans to visit every part of China in the future.
Zhou’s income varies based on the city and the weather. Sometimes, he can earn as many as 1,000 yuan per day, while some other times, he may earn nothing.
In Chongqing, the 7th stop of his national tour, rainy weather ruined his business and Zhou lost around 100 yuan per day. So, he temporarily changed his career and became a security guard to save money for his trip.
His employer, a property management company, agrees that he may continue begging after work.
“Now, I am dressed as a security guard, and I have to this role well. It’s the same way as I must act as a beggar well when I am in my suit,” Zhou says.
He plans to go to Chengdu after saving enough money, but he says he may seek employment again in Chongqing after finishing his travels through China.
His ultimate goal, nevertheless, is to set up his own charity. He wants to help talented but unknown artists by forming an acting group and staging performances.
“Chen Guangbiao can do big good deeds, then why can’t I do small ones?”