'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon': How security guards turned into educators

Updated 2017-05-19 11:00:27 CGTN
Miao Xiangwei, one of the guards at Peking University, was successfully enrolled into the school after sneaking into lectures and self-studying for years. He wrote a book called 站着上北大 (Go to Peking University, Standing) which touched millions. (File Photo/Xinhua)

Miao Xiangwei, one of the guards at Peking University, was successfully enrolled into the school after sneaking into lectures and self-studying for years. He wrote a book called 站着上北大 (Go to Peking University, Standing) which touched millions. (File Photo/Xinhua)

More than 500 security guards working at Peking University were admitted to graduate schools or became university instructors in the last 20 years, a recent report revealed.

This figure from one of China's most prestigious post-secondary institutions transforms the stereotype that security guards are under-educated.

Their achievements may not seem as glittery as the number of Chinese obtaining degrees overseas, but with a full-time job and family to take care of they have to exert more effort than many on studying.

Netizens have therefore joked that "Peking University security guards are truly 'crouching tigers and hidden dragons'."

Stories of the Peking guards

Wang Guiming, leader of Peking University's security team of 500 guards, said that most of the security personnel have graduated from college; a small number have a bachelor's degree, and 12 made it to graduate schools.

Former NBA all-star Kobe Bryant once asked the reporter in an interview "Do you know what Los Angeles looks like at 4 o'clock in the morning?" after being asked to reveal the secret of his success.

"It is still in the dark at 4 a.m., but I had already gotten up by then and was walking in the dark streets," he said. "More than 10 years passed and the darkness in the streets of Los Angeles was still there at 4 a.m., but I had become a basketball player with strong muscles, excellent physical fitness, strength and a high field goal percentage."

And Kobe wasn't the only one chasing success while deprived of sleep: Napoleon only slept three to four hours a day and got up at 3 a.m. for work; Edison only got four to five hours of sleep a day, and he regarded sleep as a waste of time, "a heritage from our cave days."

These icons are geniuses, but still work so hard to strive for success. What can the Peking University guards do, when they lack such exceptional talents?

Zhang Juncheng, who was the first security guard at Peking campus to attend Gaokao, the national higher education entrance examination, is a vivid example of achieving success through diligence.

Back in 1995, Zhang, who had just graduated from a junior middle school in Changzhi, north China's Shanxi Province, tried different jobs before being hired as a security guard at Peking University.

However, Zhang quickly determined that higher education was the only way to gain esteem and change his life.

At Peking University, Zhang embarked on his road of learning by sneaking into lectures, but thanks to help from several professors, he received special permits for some classes, including English, for the importance of knowing a second language.

One professor said he was moved by Zhang's diligence and eagerness for knowledge, and thus encouraged him to read more and "make a plan for his life."

Under the guidance of such teachers, Zhang read hundreds of books with themes varying from literature, philosophy, history and English after getting off work. He also wrote diaries and transcribed stories. When the dormitory's lights went out, he continued to read by torchlight.

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