Xili Bro, the vagabond of mix-and-match, reunited with family after 10 years

Xili Bro is with his family finally, after 0ver 10 years of separation. Gone is the days when he has to drift on the streets, feeding from foods in garbage, and more importantly being teased  as amusement. This post is a throughout introduction about this seek-after figure on Chinese Internet.

Xili Bro(犀利哥), or Brother Sharp, a name netizens give to a cool looking vagabond appearing on the streets in Ningbo, generates overwhelming discussions for the last few weeks, following a post in tianya on Feb 21st, describing Xili Bro as the ultimate passer-by hunk in the universe. The post got 769,201 clicks and 4415 comments before 12 p.m. Feb 26th. And stories about this Xili Bro spread widely, making to websites like QQ.com, Netease, nownews.com, sohu.com etc.

Xili means sharp in style here. Although people talk about him, nobody knows who he really is, where he comes from, or what gets him there until lately when

ongoing discussion, “admiration”, as well as sympathetic voices spread wide and far, and eventually reach Xili Bro’s family in Jiangxi Province. Cheng Guo Sheng(程国圣),was 90% positive that the Xili Bro he saw on the Internet is his long-lost elder brother Cheng Guo Rong (程国荣). He soon contacted the website that posted an all-rounded video on Xili Bro and came to Ningbo on March 5th with his mother to meet Xili Bro, who was taken care by the asylum and sent to psychiatry hospital already.

According to Cheng Guo Sheng, Xili Bro is from Shangrao City, Jiangxi Province, he was father of two children when he left home for work at the age of 23 and soon lost contact with his family. Now his children were 10 and 11 years old, but unfortunately his wife was killed in a car accident last year. Cheng Guo Sheng also mentioned that Xili Bro was healthy and alright when he left, not clear why he was deliriously living on the street.

Before and after.

Cheng Guo Sheng’s description at least corresponded with the name Xili Bro wrote at the asylum — Cheng Guo Rong. In addition, he also wrote down his father’s name, Cheng Guang Nan. Yesterday afternoon, Cheng Guo Sheng and his mother arrived at the hospital Xili Bro was in. Xili Bro called out “Ma Ma (mum)” and “Di Di (little brother)” at the sight of the two visitors according to Cheng Guo Sheng. And his mother melt into tears too, but she could not tell him about the past decade for fear of touching his nerves.

Xili Bro became nervous as he entered the hotel room, repeating “I wanna go home” he suddenly turned away and intended to go, his mother held him back. The family want Xili Bro back home with them as soon as possible after more than 10 years of separation, however, the doctor suggested Xili Bro should stay in for at least half month of further observation since he slept well at nights but remained cautious in mind. Where Xili Bro should stay is still in negotiation, but one thing is for sure, his vagabond life is over.

The mother finally found her long-lost son, speechless.

As a chain smoker, Xili Bro started smoking soon after he entered the room. Being told not to dust the carpet, he will carefully flick the cigarette ash in the tray on the table. He also listened to his mother and smoked less.

From left to right, Xili Bro Cheng Guo Rong, his mother Peng Cheng Xiu, and his little brother Cheng Guo Sheng. (Photo courtesy of Netease)

Xili Bro’s story could be dated back to January. All the fuss started by 2 photos token by a photography fan who was trying a Sony 70 400G at a Sony store in Ningbo as Xili Bro walked by with his cool air and interesting mix-and-match. He then uploaded these photos to fengniao BBS on Jan 30th to share about the camera.

“Alas, at this point, I can’t help thinking about this — how come there will be such contradict, against-nature existent” Read the post on tianya BBS that actually started to raise attention, “Here is the photo, I can’t say any more compliments on this, because any compliments would pale at this photo; a great snapshot indeed, and this Xili Bro, what more can I say; even when I was sitting in front of my computer I could feel the strong field coming from the photos…”

Some interesting comments on Xili Bro:
“As a matter of fact, he is really iconic, out beat those Japanese cowboy a few blocks already.”

“I’ve seen some handsome beggar before, but this, the body shape and the air… my first thought is “is this some star making movie here?”

“So man!! what are those talent spotters doing everyday? I can’t stand those buzzing around stupid men who think they are handsome on TV any further.”

Besides Xili Bro’s air, his distinguishing appearance and clothing also received “applauses”:

“western rough lines come with Japanese delicacy, absolutely Japan style mix-and-match, almost rival Hiroshi Fujiwara; hair features Japan’s hottest cowboy style; outfits from Japanese second-hand store go with LV paper bag, he is down-to-earth mix-and-match expert; from the perspective of color matching, his belt is surely a highlight – Gucci ×clot global limited- which could only be understood by those who devote themselves to fashion”.

Due to Xili Bro’s startling look and behavior, some people start to question Xili Bro’s identity as a beggar (people tend to call those homeless, rugged drifters beggar), until a post on cnnb BBS unveiled the mysterious mask on Feb 25th.

According to the author Laochanmao(老馋猫), he spent some time with Xili Bro, who he temporarily called Xiao Bai in August 2008.

The first thing he cleared is that Xili Bro is not a beggar at all, because he doesn’t beg, nor does he know how to due to his psychiatric problem.

“They have no identity, no family, they don’t even know what their name is.” Laochanmao explained about people like Xili Bro in Ningbo, “They are abandoned by the society, most of them end up dead without anybody knowing it. They are like in-between human and animal, with a little help they are human, otherwise the other.”

“The first time I contact him, he couldn’t articulate himself, probably because he hasn’t speak for a long time.” Said Laochanmao, “He was picking up cigarette butt. I asked him if he’s hungry, he said yes, and I gave him 10 yuan to buy some food. But he turn to a store for a pack of cigarette instead.”

“I asked him why not spend the money on food, and he pointed to a dustbin. I didn’t understand at first, but then I realized that food could be found there.”

Laochanmao also mentioned that Xili Bro sometimes wears woman clothes that he collects from garbage. “He once told me that he wants to find a woman to love him, I guess dressing like a woman could make him feel that way.”

Before the Laochanmao’s post, netizens are obsessed about Xili Bro: his melancholic eyes, manly mustache, miraculous hair etc. They started to express some care for him. Some asked netizens in Ningbo to send Xili Bro pack of cigarette, some urged for governments’ attention and help to this special group. And now, some say Xili Bro is lucky, some say he is being irresponsible for his children and family, some wish him get well soon and happy ever after.

Still netizens are crazy about Xili Bro’s first two photos, and make him even cooler through photoshop. Here are some pictures from around the web.

  1. This is a great story. This whole past week my wife, Shanghainese, told me about this story. Thanks to ChinaHush for helping me to catch up with the story. Now we’re on the same page. Although I don’t know if she saw all the PSed shots. Does anybody think that this guy has a future?? Or is he destined to waste his days away in a Ningbo Asylum. Ugh.

    1. Asylum just served to provide for him at the beginning. He’s presently at the psychiastric hospital for observation, will be home soon i think.

  2. There seems to be a striking resemblence between this so-called vagabond and ‘the man who wears pajamas and hold a machete’ (as decribed in a story posted by Key on dec. 4).
    The scallywag who became a rebel. The begger who became a king – the attractiveness of such a mythology is not dependent upon any particular worldview; they offer a vision of an elevated human nature empowered beyond our current mortal frailty. As an outsider, my best guess would be that this particular meme may also draw upon the venerable Chinese storytelling tradition of Wuxia fiction. The Wuxia is a type of Chinese folk hero, a wandering warrior who — not unlike the Western cowboy hero — lives apart from ordinary society, above the law, bringing justice according to the rules of his own world, the “Giang Hu” world as it is known in Wuxia lore. In any case, ultimate detachment seems to be the main theme in all of these stories.

    Ofcourse these heroes only exist in the movies or our imagination, as a product of our collective conciousness. I just hope this guy gets all the help he needs, if it were only for having been robbed of his personal identity and having been exploited to stirr the imagination of the masses.

  3. I think the root of this news is the entertainment interest of Chinese people. With the spread of the Internet, a coincident photo spreaded across China. What’s more, Chinese people’s curiosity and the power of “Internet Search” made this guy become popular. It’s just like a play for this Xili Bro. And we are one of the audience.

  4. Amazing history… nice look of Xili Bro.
    this story has really big coverage, i even heard about it on an peruvian web site in the morning, amazing!
    Regards Vivian Muncher.

  5. From spain, I think he looked better when he lived at streets, now clean and shaved, he’s not alreaydy interesting. I hope he’ll become a movies star.

    Suerte China

  6. I appreciate the work that you have put in, in this page. Really good, also I wish to quote a few lines from this article in my site, I will give a link back to this article. Again.. it is really a good work.

  7. um No one has pointed out that xilige does not look very happy to be back with his family. There was probably a reason he left and probably the same reason he looks quite unhappy to be home. He will be again roaming free sooner than you know it.

  8. This was really funny. I do want to know more about this …well… handsome and stunning man!!! I like it!!! Additionally, I was just taken aback by the amazing power of Internet, which made him home~

  9. I saw Xili Bro called handsome Mr. Sharp on U.K report and Xili Bro no longer Xili after he back home.
    What a pity.

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