Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My 15 seconds of fame

I've said elsewhere that being a foreigner in China is a bit like being a minor celebrity. Well, now I really am famous. I'm mentioned a couple times in this news story, republished in the provincial education department news and Chinese university online news. Okay, so they decided to use a photo of a cute Korean girl instead of my lovely visage, and they didn't quite get what I said right, but this is clearly the most newsworthy thing I have done since the Golden West Pathfinder did the story about me that covered the whole back page.

The title, "我校留学生走进社区 体验中国“邻居节”" means "Our school's foreign students enter community to experience 'neighborhood festival'". The university's "International Culture Club" coordinated a neighborhood festival with a nearby residential community organization last Saturday morning. There were a bunch of presentations by the community residents and by university students.

来自美国的外教卢西恩第一个上台表演,他还客串了把主持人,将留学生们一一介绍给了观众。卢西恩与对外汉语专业的大一的女 生柴银赣一起合作唱了首中国的民歌《茉莉花》。演出前,两人一直在台下练习着这首歌。卢西恩告诉记者,10年前刚开始学中文的时候,他已经学过这首歌了。
This paragraph says,
Foreign lecturer Lucien, from America, was the first [of the foreigners] to go on stage to perform. He also acted as a host/announcer, introducing the exchange students one by one. [I actually introduced them as a group.] Lucien and first-year TCFL major Chai Yingan cooperated to sing Chinese folk song "Jasmine Flower". Before performing, they were off stage continuously practicing this song. [I think we sang it once.] Lucien told the reporter that 10 years ago, when he first started studying Chinese, he had already learned this song. [In fact, it's not been 10 years yet since I started studying Chinese, though I think I did say that at first, before correcting myself. And I learned the song the middle of my first year of Chinese.]
The story talks about the foreign students' performances, and then the last paragraph talks about me again.
For all the exchange students, it was their first time to come to a community and participate in this kind of activity. Foreign lecturer Lucien said that in America, only when he was a child had he participated in community festivals [I was actually talking about the activities in Lomalinda], and since coming to China he had even fewer opportunities to come into the community. [I'm actually not sure what the reporter means here.]
So, clearly, there were some communication problems. I notice the reporter didn't include my wittiest comment of the interview. When she asked what other talents I had besides singing, I said that actually my only talent is twiddling my thumbs. We had a hard time translating that though. These sheltered Chinese students don't know about thumb-twiddling. I showed them how to do it, but I was unable to explain the deep cultural significance.


Vicki Carroll said...

Congratulations! You're famous! Too bad I can't read Chinese. I guess I'll just have to trust you to cut out the article and translate it for me.(Tho' you do have a translation on your blog, wouldn't it be nice to have a hard copy?)
Love, Mom

slowlane said...

I like trying to imagine how the explanation of thumb twiddling went. Next time you are bored, try explaining what a kazoo is and see if it goes any better.

caedmonstia said...

Wow. "Foreign Lecturer Lucien" -- that's very fancy. I feel honored to be your sister

Anonymous said...

oh,come on,don't make a fuss,you will be mocked at by those who have gotten used to and already gained a full understanding about the school's tricks