Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Panel discussion debut on Chinese television


Haha, I just love life in China! It never turns out to be the way you thought! Remember how I told you I was going to be in the audience of a TV show? Well, as it turns out, I ended up being in the “Swedish panel” –answering questions in Chinese instead.

The Swedish panel consisted of three guests. When one woman suddenly had to cancel, the TV team (that I had met during our initial meeting) called my colleague and told her that they wanted me to take her spot. I was something between terrified and exhilarated, and said yes. I was then given a script and three questions that I needed to prepare answers for.

The program was being filmed in Changxing, as it was a program about the friendship between the Chinese city Changxing and the Swedish city Kalmar. Changxing is located some 2 hours drive from Shanghai, so it took a while to get there: the TV team sent a bus that they packed with Swedes that they picked up from several different companies.

We arrived one hour late and I was taken straight to a room where a rehearsal was taking place between the Chinese guests and a producer, acting host. Since I could speak Chinese I was allowed to participate and we went through our answers. I soon, however, noticed that one of my questions wasn’t asked and raised the issue with the producer.

-Oh, the questions we gave you are just something we put together. What the host will actually ask you we don’t know. It depends on his mood!

Right.

The host was in fact a minor celebrity host (Ji Xiaojun) from CCTV. I realized this by looking at my Chinese colleague who got rather hysterical when she saw him. Nice.

Going through the program took a while, and then it was suddenly just 20 min before we were going to start shooting. I had neither done my make-up or my hair, nor had I eaten since 11.30am (it was 6pm). Dinner was just being served. I was starting to feel stressed.

I prioritized looking good and threw some rice into my mouth before I headed to the hair & make-up room, which was a large room full of pretty little Chinese girls aka make-up artists. When I stepped in they freaked out. First came a war of giggling, and then no one dared to come up to me. Not until I said to one girl in Chinese that I they didn’t have to be scared of me did a girl work up the courage and started applying thick lawyers of make-up to my skin. I’ve never had TV-make-up on before and I have to say that it’s a kind of special feeling. My workmate who later saw me reacted pretty badly: “my gosh Jonna, what have they done to your face?! Rubbed it in clay?!”

I did my hair myself (simply brushed it, no time for anything else) and then I ran up to the stage and took my spot at the most uncomfortable wooden chair I’ve ever sat on. I then sat there for 2,5 hours, while we shot the program. It was completely over there top with a guy warming up the audience, telling them when to smile, when to clap, and so on. Fortunately it wasn’t being sent live because the team had a lot of difficulties with the sound. All in all we were 6 guests on stage: 3 Chinese and 3 Swedes, + the host and then the mayor of Changxing made an appearance every now and then. There was also a phone interview made from a TV studio in Stockholm.

Now, as for the questions I had to answer… eh…. Well, let’s put it this way. All my preparations and practice was in vain: I didn’t get to answer anything I knew how to answer. Instead, I got questions like:

-So, Little Youna! (the host nicknamed me 小友 “xiao you” because he thought my name was funny), what do you know about the local culture in Changxing? Do you know anything about our traditions!?

And there I was, thinking I was going to speak about Swedish design, Kalmar sightseeing and crystal glassware? I had to improvise, big time! (Well at least I got the audience to laugh twice, without the “audience warmer’s” help. Touchdown).

Although I was really nervous at first I eventually calmed down, and in the end it was kind of fun. I understood everything that was being said, and although my Chinese was probably quite shitty at least the host understood me and we could keep the conversation going. All in all I’m pretty proud of myself!

Afterwards I was interviewed by Changxing’s local news, and I also had to translate for another Swedish guest who was being interviewed. I got a lot of compliments for being able to speak Chinese, and although it was a long (and hungry!) ride back to Shanghai I was filled with happiness when I eventually came home. What a day! And how much fun is life here in China?! You never know what to expect! I love it!





These performers were in the audience. I thought they were so cute so I later asked if I could take a picture with them

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, very interesting post, greetings from Greece!

ewaffle said...

Sounds like you had a great time--you look very relaxed in the photo with the performers.

Those chairs must not have been designed for sitting on.

Shanghai MiFeng said...

Jonna , you really are having too much Fun !
You look very Pro.. on Stage there , something I can't say about the other's . haha

Anonymous said...

My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

nova said...

What the...how do you get into all these situations? Haha

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fun experience. When will it be broadcast and on which channel?

Jonna Wibelius said...

Thanks for all the comments! It will be broadcasted this Sun, Dec 12 at CCTV 4 at 4pm. I don't know if I dare to watch myself! Maybe they will edit me out.. who knows?!

MKL said...

I wonder how the finally version of the show will look like :) We have CCTV here, so I may have a peek. I'm proud of you Jona, you're also an ambassador of the EU ;)

조안나 said...

Ahhh... sounds like how I was/ will be on Arirang TV soon... They gave me the script the day of the shooting, it was completely in korean because they heard that I could speak Korean, so clearly they didn't need to translate anything for me, even though Arirang is an English TV station, which meant I spent all of my downtime frantically trying to translate a script that was way over my head into understandable English. Then they filmed me talking with people. Now, I was chatting with some Koreans at the event we attended on my own, but as soon as you stick a camera in my face (or the random korean faces too for that matter) and say, hey, talk about something interesting now please, I freeze up, my korean goes to crap and the Koreans freak out cause they are on camera and don't know what to do. What a stressful 8 hours. -_-. But hey, if you get arirang TV, maybe you can see me on their Today's Blog segment next week or so...

Anonymous said...

Very nice indeed I’ll probably download it. Thanks

Hang said...

I saw you on CCTV4 at around 4:30 pm today! You're going to be the next celebrity! ha,ha.....

reader fr M'sia said...

I am an avid blog reader of yours from Malaysia and I nearly squealed in excitement when I saw you appear on my (cable) TV screen (CCTV4 channel) awhile ago....you speak pretty awesome Mandarin LOL and the guy acting as the host of the programme does speak fantastic English hehe....

冰蓝 said...

Congratulations! I just finished watching the tv show城市一对一. I didn't know this program before, I just happened to switch to that channel. But I instantly recognized your face, Jonna, just one look, I am pretty sure it must be you. I am even more sure when I learn that the program is about Sweden . When I turned on the tv, Jonna seemed just finished her talking, and I patiently watched the show for about half an hour till its end, but unfortunately I didn't hear Jonna talking again. Although I saw your face several times on screen. Hope the program will be replayed soon, so that I can see how good your Chinese is. You look really graceful on the stage. I think you will have a lot of Chinese fans after this show and become a celebrity in china too, like the host.

Jonna Wibelius said...

Hang -hahhaha, thanks.. I doubt the celebrity thingy though...! It was a fun experience!

Malaysia reader -thanks for your comment, I cannot believe u saw it from Malaysia, that's so cool! The host's eng is perfect, yes, I'm happy that u thought my Mandarin sounded OK. I was super nervous!!

冰蓝 -Yes, that was me u saw, silent or not... :) Thanks for the comment!! I don't think it will air again as it aired twice last night already... and that's more than enough, hihi! I don't think I will manage to get Chi fans after that show, it's not a super popular show I think.. but it was great fun!! :)

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

WOw! you looked great on stage. Tho you had butterflies in your tum, this must be a real , cool experience. To the new celeb!!