Uncanny confessions by Dashan, the white face who speaks Mandarin on China TV
From Quora, response written by Dashan (Mark Rowswell), the Canadian man that appears in all sorts of Chinese advertisements and TV shows with a mouthful of fluent Mandarin.
The original question:
Why do so many Chinese learners seem to hate Dashan (Mark Rowswell)?
He seems like a nice guy. Does he secretly eat children or something?
Excerpts from his reply:
Thanks for the question, which I’ve followed for some time but thought best to let others speak first. In fact, this question has come up many times in my 20+ year career in the Chinese media.
Very early on, only a few months after my first television appearance in 1988, I was in the university cafeteria line-up when two American students in front of me started joking to each other by saying “Hey, are you Dashan?” and “You’re Chinese is almost as good as Dashan” etc. I laughed along and explained, “Yeah, I actually get that one myself a lot, really annoying.”
“You think it’s annoying? Hey, at least you ARE Dashan! Imagine how annoying it is for us?” the American student exclaimed. I realized he was right.
Many years later, Kaiser Kuo wrote to the effect (I’m paraphrasing) that: “Dashan seems like a nice enough guy, but for some reason every once in a while I have the urge to punch him in the face.” I thought that was a pretty fair statement. There has always been something of a Mr. Rogers quality to the Dashan character – he’s such a nice guy you sometimes wish he’d make a cameo appearance in a horror movie just so you could watch him get ripped to shreds, and then replay it over and over on YouTube.
I often say that being a celebrity or a public figure is not who I am, it’s just what I do. So it’s important to be able to stand aside and analyse your public image as objectively as possible. That’s why I often speak of Dashan in the third person; he is me, yet he isn’t.
And, no, I don’t eat children (human children, at least).
Read the rest of his incredibly long and articulate response here. (Via Micah Sittig.)