OK, so finally I’ve managed to upload some videos to my computer… that only took… one day?! Oh well, let’s blame it on the flu.
The TV show shooting went OK. Unfortunately I didn’t get to speak as much as I had expected though, and I don’t think that did me any favors. Rather, I believe I look a bit like a dumb, blonde just sitting there, wide-eyed, not understanding so much… Aooch, not an impression I love to make, but I’ll tell you why it went like that.
The show was about teaching foreigners some Suzhou-hua to emphasize the difference between this local dialect and standard, Mandarin (putonghua). The foreigners that had picked were me and a 5-year old girl who had a Danish dad and a local, Suzhou mom. I was happy when I heard about the half-Danish girl, and tried to speak to her (seeing that Danes and Swedes normally have no problems understanding each other. Besides, I am from the ‘Danish’ part of Sweden –the very south!), but to my surprise she didn’t understand anything.
-Oh she doesn’t speak Danish?
-No… just some words. She speaks Chinese.
So… basically. The 5-year old girl knew quite a bit of Suzhou-hua (her mommy had done a good job teaching her some), meanwhile I knew nothing. Result: the little kid looked like a whiz kid and the grown up blonde looked like an airhead. Oh well.
Still, before the show I was quite hopeful. I spoke to everyone involved in the shooting and received praises and compliments for my Chinese. Then the 2 hosts arrived: two middle-aged, heavily made-up Chinese men that, when I looked at them up close, reminded me of 2 scary kind of white faced clown. They weren’t very friendly, and it was kind of obvious that they regarded themselves as big TV-stars, and us as…. Extras.
They show consisted of two short interviews, one with the cute little half-Danish girl and one with me. First up was the little girl. She’d already won the heart of everyone simply by being adorable, and as a result, everyone ‘ooohhhed’ and ‘aaaahed’ to every little movement she made. When the dropped one of her flip-flops halfway through the interview, she almost received a standing ovation.
However, it took a while to shoot her interview. While she rocked the ‘Suzhou-hua’ part, the hosts also wanted her to speak some Danish. She practiced saying: “Hej mit navn er Catherine!” (Meaning: "Hi, my name is Catherine!”) with her mom 5 times, but once the camera was rolling she got all nervous and didn’t get any further than to ‘hej!’. For being 5-years-old, however, I still think she was a star!
The hosts then taught her some phrases that I have no idea what they meant, seeing that they didn’t translate them to mandarin.
Once they were done it was my turn. I had by then swallowed so many painkillers, throat relief pills and hot water that I felt a bit… out there. But up on the stage I went and was blinded by the strong lights. I was seated in the middle of the two clown-looking-hosts and then we were rolling.
Funny, because they knew I didn’t know any Suzhou-hua, still, as soon as we started shooting they said:
-Oh so this young girl is from Sweden, let’s hear her speak Suzhou-hua!
-ehhhh… ehhh… Ne he?! I tried (Ni hao = hello, in Suzhou-hua).
Roar of laughter.
-Please introduce yourself in Swedish!!! They urged.
-Hejsan allihopa! Jag heter Jonna och kommer från Sverige!! (Mening: Hi everyone, I’m Jonna and I’m from Sweden) I said, flashing the camera my biggest grin.
-HEJSAN ALLIHOPA!! Said the clowns. (their pronunciation wasn’t bad!) What does that mean?!
Big smiles from all three of us.
-OK, let’s teach you some Suzhou-hua, shall we?!
-OK! So, do you know what this means: 4872jsfkpgdsfiu9bf 89f724rbipnduv7vp92v7?! (yeah, seriously, that’s what it sounded like. A long line of words I had nooooo idea of.)
-Eh, no, sorry?!
-ehhhh, can you say it once more?
The completely new line of words was said and the clowns looked at me expectedly.
-I’m sorry, I have no idea!!!
Roar of laughter.
-Well it means “where do you live here in Suzhou!” Now repeat after me!
I then had to repeat this totally new line of words and I could tell just from listening to myself that I didn’t do a good job. The clowns, however, loved it.
We went on like that for 3 more phrases, and in between they engaged in heated discussions in Suzhou-hua, leaving me sitting in the middle, looking like a lost misfit.
Still, I was waiting for them to turn to me and ask me what I thought of Suzhou-hua, how it compared to Mandarin, or at least give me a chance to say something more.
But then, suddenly, we were done!
-Thank you so much! You did great! They clowns said.
-ehh, that’s it?!
The show will air in 1 or 2 weeks (yet to be decided apparently). The producer was happy with my effort, despite me not saying that much, and asked if I would be available for future shows.
-Sure, but only if they are in Mandarin, I replied. The whole airhead look just isn’t for me.
I asked if they would put the show online but the answer is no… so I don’t know how I could record it? (seeing that VCRs are not ‘in’ anymore). I don’t even know how much of the footage of me they will use, seeing that I wasn’t that good.
Anyways, I recorded some short, 20-second footage with my mobile phone (not of myself though) that you guys can enjoy. I pointed the camera towards myself once just to get some evidence of my actual presence!
All in all, it was a fun experience but I wish I could have gotten a chance to say some more things. Oh well, maybe next time!