Having turned 80 in September, Wang says he’s happy to break down barriers and is determined to avoid mental and physical stagnation. He says he works out about 3 hours each day, and has taken great delight in destabilising what it means to ‘be old’ in China.
It’s worth noting that in China ‘old age’ begins quite early. The legal retirement age for women in China is around 50 for workers and 55 for civil servants, while most men retire at the age of 60. Not Wang Deshun!
“One way to tell if you’re old or not is to ask yourself ‘Do you dare try something you’ve never done before”‘” he says.
The term ‘yeye’ (grandpa) is something Wang has been unable to escape, and is often a statement of respect for the older generation in China. Wang Deshun has two children and a grandchild, but he has also received praise and admiration from outside the family, especially on social media and from around the world.
How do you feel when someone over-60 is highlighted for ‘breaking the barrier’ about old age? How are you shattering stereotypes in your 60s and beyond?