Bai Ruyun, an outstanding public speaker from north China's Hebei province, has shown great enthusiasm for poetry and was selected as internet Personality of the Year 2017 in January.
She attracted public attention through her impressive performance on Chinese Poetry Competition, a popular show on China Central Television (CCTV) that tests competitors' memory and ability to recite verse.
Bai lives in a shabby farm house in a small village called Houcun. She has a hoarse voice, and when talking to others, she has to pause to wipe tears from the corner of her eyes every so often.
This is a consequence of lymphoma, with which she was diagnosed seven years ago. During those years, she went through several rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
To ease the pain caused by the disease, Bai resorted to the soothing power of poetry. She read Chinese poetry intensively and voraciously, which not only brought her mental peace, but also insights toward life.
With the elapsing of time, she has accumulated massive knowledge on Chinese poetry, which contributed to her outstanding performance on the popular TV show.
Whenever Bai has an inspiration from her daily life, she would recite a line from classic poems that best depicts her feelings. She has found resonance in poetry, and this in turn has deepened her love for it.
In her interviews with the media, Bai has always amazed journalists with her extent of knowledge and accuracy of citations.
Unconstrained by the farm, Bai is a scholarly lady with whom acquaintances can talk about profound topics like the universe and Chinese history.
In those conversations, every twinkle and smile of hers shows a genuine love for life. It is hard to imagine that she was close to death on many occasions over the past seven years.
Since the beginning of this year, Bai's disease has been stabilized, and she has stepped out of the spotlight.
Bai says she is pleased with her ordinary life despite her all the sufferings she has endured.
"I found peace in poetry, and I learned from those great poets to be open-minded and calm toward life," Bai says, "I hope everyone in adversity can be strong and carry on."
(Source: xinhua / Translated and edited by Women of China)