14 August 2009

Hua Ren

Listening to: Faye Wong, "I'm Willing." My favorite Chinese singer, and not just because I know like only one or two. I know like three. Anyway, Faye Wong is an amazing singer, actress, and style icon. It's a bit ridiculous how talented she is.

Look Ma, I made it! As I prepared to leave San Diego to go back to the Bay, I stopped by 99 Ranch Market and dug through their piles of newspapers to find an article about me. I found it and um, well, just wished I'd smiled without my eyes going all tiny. But hey, what can you do you know? I can't really read Mandarin, despite years of Chinese school, so the only thing I could glean from the text was my name (楊兆安) and well, that's about it. I did the interview about two weeks ago and had a really good time talking with the journalist from The World Journal. I'd often seen this particular paper in my house and the houses of my Chinese friends so that was kind of cool.

Dominic, the writer who interviewed me, had quite the story himself. He was in the Chinese army for twenty years as a war correspondent before moving to the United States. In 1985, he wrote a book about a soldier who lost an eye in battle and eventually moves to America. However, the soldier dearly misses his homeland and is torn between the two countries. Dominic said they printed 90,000 copies of the book at the time. That's a huge number. If a book sold 90,000 copies nowadays, that would be a best seller. Due to a larger population and less competition for publication, it was semi-normal for a book run back then. I think nowadays if you had an initial print run of half that much it would be pretty impressive.

I gotta say, talking about myself in interviews is something I am not used to. I tend to ask just as many questions as I answer and I'm not sure if that's what they want. The idea of meeting someone new and just talking about me, me, me is unsettling and unnatural and I start wanting to know their lives and stories. I hope that's okay.

Earlier in the week, I had the chance to sit down for another interview, this time with a Chinese magazine, and my Chinglish was really put to the test. Key words that I don't know how to say in Mandarin include "exclusively" and "adoption." Gotta work on that.