Thursday, May 30, 2013

Another China TV Commercial!

Here is my second Chinese TV commercial just received:   Because of some technical difficulties, I had to concentrate on keeping my lines simple because my translator was less proficient in English, so I couldn't indulge my Italian accent.  The TV station also flew me to Dalian, China, the following weekend to do several more TV commercials.  They covered all of my expenses and I got a nice honorarium.  I do these commercials late in the evening after a full day of teaching. 

Attached are a few backstage photos of my second TV commercial.  Lily, my translator, is a Chinese national who has become our good friend.  We enjoy helping her with her English.  We met her on a crowded bus when she asked a middle-age women to give me her seat since China has a tradition of being nice to the "elderly."  In gratitude, we carried on a conversation with her to help her English fluency and in less than two months, she did a paid  TV commercial with me.

We have helped this 23 year old Chinese college graduate experience some 'FIRSTS' in her life.

  1. Wore makeup. The TV station makeup artist did the works on her face and hair.
  2. Ate with a knife and fork.
  3. Ate at a fancy restaurant.
  4. Ate pizza.
  5. Ate at McDonald's.
  6. Ate Korean food
  7. On TV
  8. Rode a high-speed train.
  9. Traveled outside of Jinan & her village.
  10. Spoke to a foreigner.  Now she has spoken in English to not only Americans, but people from the UK, Singapore, Ukraine, India.
  11. Attended a live music concert.
  12. Went to a museum.
  13. Went a zoo.
To illustrate how conservative her life style has been.  Here are a few luxuries we Americans take for granted that Lily has yet to experience.

  1. Never had a shower or a bath tub in her home or apartment and has to go to a public bathhouse a block away and pay for such services.
  2. Never had in-door heating or air conditioning in either her home or apartment.  Jinan gets very cold in the winter like Denver and hot and humid in the summer like St. Louis. She has permanent frost bite on her right hand just to show how cold it can get in-doors. 
  3. Has never had a refrigerator.
  4. As a working college graduate, she has four roommates and shares a bedroom with another girl in a three-bedroom apartment.  Our college dormitories house 6 students per room with no showers in the dormitory.  Again, public showers are in another building and students have to pay to take a very public shower.
  5. Has never had a TV, but now uses her computer.
Check out the aggressive training Lily experienced with TV personnel in preparation for the commercial.  Lily hung in there and took their rather stern advice like a trooper.

Below are some photos that I took of the action backstage.

They always sell their quota when I've been part of the show.

Monday, May 27, 2013

BYU Young Ambassadors Concert in Jinan, China

Roslyn, Lily and I all attended an outstanding concert at the spectacular Shandong Cultural Entertainment Center here in Jinan.  The choreography, light-show and dancing to the foot-tapping music of an expanded jazz combo was exhilarating.  The large auditorium was packed.  The BYU Young Ambassadors were the first USA performing group to perform in China after the China Cultural Revolution in 1978.  So BYU's reputation is established here.  The Ambassadors have a ten-day concert tour including Shanghai, Hong Kong, X'aan, Tianjin, Beijing and other cities in addition to Jinan.

Here's what the concert looked liked along with the spectacular light-show.

Below are some (most shaky) photos taken from a distance without flash. 

To our surprise, 10 of our students from far away Shandong University-Old Campus were allowed to be volunteers backstage with the performers, ushering and other duties!!!!  You'll see photos of them  included as well.

Between the musical vignettes there was thematic commentary provided via projection on a huge screen behind the band. All kinds of people spoke about their personal thoughts on family, love, service, life, happiness; and it was all tastefully dubbed into Chinese. So, it didn't really matter that much if the audience members couldn't understand the English lyrics to the songs that were being sung; they understood the message and enthusiastic with which is was delivered.
There was also some incredible choreography that WOWed the audience.

Near the end an excellent musical of popular Chinese folksongs was performed with splendid costuming. The Chinese audience LOVED it!!!

Our students were absolutely thrilled to work with these fine BYU students their own age. This is diplomacy at its best!