Chinese writer Zhang Yiyi, a Shakespeare super-fan, has spent his life savings of 1.4 million yuan (S$302,230) on plastic surgery to make himself look like William Shakespeare, inciting widespread discussion among Internet users.
On April 1, April Fools' Day, Zhang stood in the international spotlight for the first time since his plastic surgery.
Some who have been impressed by Zhang's excellent physical and mental likeness to Shakespeare have said that they think the amount of book royalty income Zhang spent on the operations was more than worth it, while others have said frankly that Zhang's decision was silly enough to earn him the title of "Fool of the Year."
The life story of Zhang Yiyi, who was born in central China's Hunan Province, is similar to that of Shakespeare, who became an important and well-recognized writer after rising from humble and ignominious beginnings.
At the age of seven, Shakespeare's father went bankrupt, which prevented the young Shakespeare from going to college and forced him to live a life on his own as a young man.
Similarly, Zhang grew up in a debt-ridden family because of the failure of his father's business.
Zhang worked hard and struggled to make a living for more than ten years in Beijing, never earning a university diploma because he failed to pass the college enrollment examination.
Nevertheless, he ultimately became one of the most successful and influential writers in China along with other young, rich writers like Han Han, Tangjiasanshao and Guo Jingming.
As a well-known line from Shakespeare's "Hamlet" goes, "The time is out of joint. O cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right!" Zhang thinks that Shakespeare – unlike contemporary commercialized Chinese writers who are more concerned with getting their names on the Writers Rich List than about devoting themselves to their work – was no doubt a pure poet and artist. William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright and actor who is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.
He has a large number of fans in China, and his works, including "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet" and "King Lear," are recognized as classic English-language reading materials in every corner of the world.