Friday, January 11, 2008

Chinese people LOVE me! (14)

"Chinese people love me because..... I happily agree that Da Shan's Chinese is very impressive."

In fact, Da Shan is almost universally reviled by expats here. Partly because he raises Chinese people's expectations of how well foreigners should be able to understand and speak Mandarin to an unreasonably high level (all credit to him: he's pretty much 100%, native-speaker fluent, and can perform traditional 'cross-talk' comedy shtick and Beijing opera songs.... but he has been at it for over 20 years now! Most of the rest of us could never hope to catch up, however hard we tried.). Partly because the praise of him by the Chinese is excessively extravagant (his tones and pronunciation don't sound that good to me; and he definitely retains a strong Canadian accent). But mostly because his stage persona is so obnoxiously smug and irritating - he even laughs at his own 'jokes' all the time (well, it's more of a strangulated snigger, a hiccuping nasal snort). Stage persona? No, actually, I think that probably is his personality - and he's not the kind of guy you'd want to invite around for dinner.

Also, in my case at least, I find him detestable because he's such a mercenary, unscrupulous sell-out. He seems to accept just about any endorsement opportunity that's offered him - including, for example, a year or two ago, an electronic dictionary. These all suffer from abysmally bad English vocabulary databases, and are more of a hindrance than a help to Chinese students' efforts to learn the language; and I'm quite sure Da Shan did nothing to try to check or improve the quality of the particular product he was shilling. Heck, even the English subtitles on his TV ad for this were dreadful. I've also seen him chairing a number of panel discussion programmes which are little more than platforms for the most objectionable pro-China/anti-Taiwan, pro-China/anti-Tibet, pro-China/anti-Japan, pro-China/anti-world government propaganda. Quisling! He has attained his eminence (ubiquity!) in the media here by egregious sucking-up to the Chinese government and the Chinese people, shamelessly pandering to their constant desire to be told how wonderful (and fault-free) they are. I happen to feel that this is not what China needs at this stage of its development; time for a little more honesty, self-awareness, and straight-talking, I say. I thus find Da Shan utterly contemptible.

But of course, I'd never say so to my Chinese friends - who revere him as some sort of demi-god.


Tulsa said...

His tv personality does seem over-the-top. But, whatever works(?), i guess. I wonder what he's like in "real life".

Froog said...

Kinda creepy, that's what!

T said...

"why do chinese people put up with me?" should be my own regular blog feature. i've gotten into the disturbing habit of asking things like "would you like to visit T...n?" or "did you see that news piece on delayed e..l..c..t..ns in HK?" on first meetings. why oh why? it's totally not a conscious thing. where is this passive aggressive reaction coming from? hmmm.

Froog said...

Are you suggesting it's rubbing off from me???

T said...

OH! I hadn't even thought of that!

Um, know, i don't think it's you. You'r not that obnoxious (well, for now, we're claiming you'r not that obnoxious and sticking to it).

I think this is more of an internal "T" thing.