Ira­nian says he feels ‘more Chi­nese’

China Daily (Canada) - - EXPATS - By YAN DONGJIE

Pouya Amani said he does not know his com­pa­triot Arash Esti­laf, who has made a name for him­self on Chi­nese tele­vi­sion with his hu­mor. In fact, Amani, 18, is prob­a­bly even bet­ter known among Chi­nese TV au­di­ences as a re­sult of his ap­pear­ances on re­al­ity shows.

Some of his fans even call him “the na­tional lit­tle brother”, and his Twit­ter-like weibo ac­count has 370,000 fol­low­ers; Esti­laf’s has 70,000.

“It feels re­ally good that so many peo­ple in China call me brother, es­pe­cially given that I’m an only child,” said Amani, whose Chi­nese name is Puya.

Amani moved to China with his par­ents, both in­ter­na­tional trad­ing mer­chants, in 2009 af­ter he com­pleted high school in Iran. Af­ter ar­riv­ing, he en­rolled in Liaon­ing Nor­mal Univer­sity in Dalian, Liaon­ing prov­ince, to study Chi­nese, as did his par­ents, in their 40s.

“The hap­pi­est and most in­ter­est­ing thing is that my par­ents and I were in the same class,” Amani said. “It’s funny when you see three Ira­ni­ans, and from one fam­ily, too, seated at the front of a class­room, or to­gether in an end-of-se­mes­ter cer­e­mony.”

Amani said he ex­cels in oral Chi­nese, his mother is good at Chi­nese writ­ing and his father is the gram­mar­ian of the fam­ily.

In ad­di­tion to be­com­ing flu­ent in Chi­nese, Amani has mas­tered a cou­ple of Chi­nese tra­di­tional en­ter­tain­ment skills with which he has im­pressed au­di­ences: comic mono­logues, tongue twisters and a brand of hu­mor par­tic­u­lar to the city of Tian­jin.

More and more peo­ple in Iran have be­gun to learn Chi­nese, es­pe­cially over the past five years. The two coun­tries have so much in com­mon.”

Ira­nian TV host in China

He first came to wide pub­lic at­ten­tion in April 2015 when he be­came a host in A Bright World, a show on Jiangsu TV in which for­eign­ers talk in Chi­nese on var­i­ous sub­jects. He later ap­peared in sev­eral other TV shows, in­clud­ing Hello China on Guangzhou TV and Who’s Still Stand­ing? on Jiangsu TV.

In 2014 he took part in the Chi­nese Bridge lan­guage com­pe­ti­tion for for­eign stu­dents, in which he fin­ished fourth.

“I feel I’m more Chi­nese now, per­haps be­cause I’ve eaten so much Chi­nese food,” Amani said.

He hopes a Chi­nese me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tion will open a TV chan­nel in Iran one day so Ira­ni­ans can learn more about China, he said.

“More and more peo­ple in Iran have be­gun to learn Chi­nese, es­pe­cially over the past five years. The two coun­tries have so much in com­mon. We both like fam­ily get-to­geth­ers and events like Spring Fes­ti­val — and Te­heran has smog.”


Ira­nian Pouya Amani fre­quently ap­pears on Chi­nese TV re­al­ity shows.

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