IN­SPIR­ING TALES IN AN EN­GAG­ING FOR­MAT

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

a tra­di­tional opera fam­ily in Shang­hai and be­com­ing a pro­lific ac­tress, who is widely re­spected in Hol­ly­wood.

Mean­while, the ap­pear­ance of Liu Shaolin and Liu Shao’ang, the half-Chi­nese half-Hun­gar­ian brothers who re­cently won the first Win­ter Olympic Games gold medal for Hun­gary since 1994, adds a touch of com­edy to the show with their Man­darin spo­ken in strong North­east China ac­cent.

The on­go­ing show is the third sea­son of Speak to the World. In the pre­vi­ous two sea­sons, a de­bate and knowl­edge con­test for­mat was used. But this year, the production team de­cided to use the first-per­son ac­count for­mat to make the show more friendly.

Speak­ing about the show’s new for­mat, Wang Jing­fang, the di­rec­tor says: “The over­seas Chi­nese are wit­nesses and ad­vo­cates of China’s re­form and open­ing-up as well as the other mir­a­cles that have hap­pened in the coun­try in the past four decades.

“These ac­counts are reflections of their cul­tural con­nec­tions, por­tray a true pic­ture of their liv­ing con­di­tions. And it is also a way to demon­strate cul­tural self-con­fi­dence.”

As for the choice of guests on the show, they go be­yond celebri­ties.

And among them is Chong Keat Aun, a Malaysian DJ, who has spent 13 years col­lect­ing folk songs — vo­cal­ized in south­ern Chi­nese di­alects — from 300 el­derly people of Chi­nese ori­gin in his coun­try.

“These songs tell us of our an­ces­tors’ strug­gles to set up new life,” says Chong. “And they also lead us in the di­rec­tion of home.”

As for Jacob Chieh-kuo Wood, an en­tre­pre­neur in Nige­ria, he speaks of his years of run­ning ho­tels and do­ing phi­lan­thropy for ed­u­ca­tion of lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

Thanks to his con­tri­bu­tion, Wood, a Shang­hai na­tive, is the first Chi­nese “chief”, an hon­orary ti­tle, in Africa.

Speak­ing about the larger goal of the se­ries, its di­rec­tor Wang says: “We want people to see the achieve­ments and con­tri­bu­tion of the over­seas Chi­nese to China’s re­la­tions with the world in dif­fer­ent fields.”

Giv­ing de­tails of how the guests were picked, she says the nearly 60 guests in the show were cho­sen from 1,000 can­di­dates.

Com­ment­ing on the show, Zhang Yiwu, a pro­fes­sor at Pek­ing Univer­sity, says: “These people’s lives show tra­di­tional Chi­nese cul­ture. And it helps cre­ate a com­mon iden­tity for Chi­nese all around the world.”

Con­tact the writer at wangkai­[email protected]­nadaily.com.cn

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