From Don’s Blackberry…
Be it their manner and ethic, one may find that the Chinese avoid conflict. I will attribute this trait to old gentile customs but more so to socialist systems where no one is fighting for an entrepreneurial market driven bottom line.
How different we are – due to culture and the economic systems. I finally locked on to an image – the phonetic english pronunciation of TOE refers to the very lowest human extremity. The chinese pronunciation of the same sound (TOU) refers to the Head. We are together upside down at times.
The avoidance of awkward moments is greatly helped by their assumption that – its in chinese so they won’t care.
What’s my point? Today casually the jiazi translated my introduction to the man at the camel stand and sand dunes as the director of The Lion King. (They were trying to save me from paying 50 kuai each for 8 cast members riding camels over the dunes.). I casually objected and corrected the title as Associate Producer of the live musical. We didn’t get a discount on the camel, but the party leader called in a waive of our 20 kuai park entrance fee.
After climbing sand for 2 hours we hit the parking lot and I lingered to give them flyers to our show. Various chinese tourists came to request a photo and after a string of 6 or so we pulled away.
At the theater one then another then another came for photos and then signatures. Finally surrounded by 20 or so young girls with rolled up sleeves requesting me to sign both arms, I heard what I now recognize as chinese for The Lion King
. And I heard Daoyan which means director. And the 2 were in the same sentence.
And then I realized that my past beijing’s custom of exaggerating everything crossed the autonomous region border. If you follow the scandalous news you read about one professor after another lied, forged and printed degrees from harvard an MIT. In promotion in China, there is no line between truth and more truth. And since articles about party supported events are printed as the event writes them there is no journalist fact checking.
So our notices, press and tv reports introduced me as the famous Director of The Lion King. – who came all the way to Ejina. Mind you, given her world travels in the far east and her cross cultural curiosity Julie Taymor may well indeed come to Erjina – but NOT THIS YEAR!
My objection tonight was met with – mmmmm an avoidance of conflict – hao de. Sure. Ming bai. We understand. They have no understanding at all how embarrassing this is.
Toe to Tou!!!