Posts Tagged ‘interview’

M and Mx Interview with the China Daily Cartoonist: LuoJie

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

luojie06 M and Mx Interview with the China Daily Cartoonist: LuoJieWe sat down with LuoJie over e-mail a while back and talked about what some people might not understand:  Chinese Political Cartoons.  LuoJie recently started selling his comics on Daryl Cagle’s Professional Cartoonists Index.  Of course living in China and reading China Daily I had already heard of LuoJie (English name: William) a long time ago.  I was pleased to see that he was getting more and more press around the world.  His clean art and humorous style makes him on par with any Western political cartoonist today.

We asked him 11 questions:

1.  Where are you from in China?  请问您是哪里人?

我是南京人。 I’m from NanJing.

2.  How did you get this job at China Daily?   您是怎么找到中国日报这份工作的?  

当时任中国日报社的美术部主任的张耀宁先生在网上看到我的漫画后,认为我非常适合政治漫画创作,所以经他撮合,我加入了中国日报,专职画政治漫画。
The former director of Art Department of China Daily, Mr. Zhang Yao Ning read some of my comics online and he thought that I would be a perfect fit to start drawing political cartoons for the paper. That is how I came to the China Daily and I became a professional political cartoonist!

3.  Do you do other cartoons or only political cartoons?  Why Political cartoons? 您除了画政治漫画之外,还画其他主题的漫画吗?为什么选择政治漫画?

除了画政治漫画以外,我偶而也给出版物画一些插图,我有一个四格连环漫画系列,叫“一只愤世嫉俗的鸡”,在我的博客里有:blog.sina.com.cn/luowill。算是不属于政治漫画,不过由于职业习惯,我的四格多少会跟时事挂上点勾。
为什么选择政治漫画,是因为天生很喜欢老外画的政治漫画:智慧、幽默、夸张
讽刺,让我有一种模仿的冲动,我总是期望我能画出跟美国政治漫画家们一样水平的漫画。
Besides political cartoons, I also draw some illustrations for some publications. I have a comic (4 frame cartoon series*) on my blog : bog.sina.com.cn/luowill, named “Cynical Chicken”. I guess I wouldn’t say that “Cynical Chicken” could be considered a political cartoon, but since I enjoy politics then my 4 frame cartoon series actually is connected to some of the current issues of the day.
Why did I choose political cartooning?  I guess the reason I chose political cartooning is because I really enjoy foreigners’ political cartoons.  They seem full of wisdom, really very humorous, often exaggerated, and ironic. When I saw those kind of cartoons I just wanted to learn from them and imitate them and I hope that one day I will be able to draw as good as those American political cartoonists!

*4 frame cartoon series- this is the literal translation.  Mx told me that usually in China, comics come in a series of 4 frames, either in a row or 4 frames creating a square.  I asked, “All comics in China are 4 frames?”  She said, “Not all but nowadays the 4 frame comic series is pretty popular.”  I then used my American “buck the system” attitude, “What if there just three frames?”  She then went on to tell me about how in China balance and harmony are important and 4 frames, 2 on top and 2 on the bottom, are balanced well and work well.

4.  You said that your boss saw your work online, how?  When was that?  What did you use (website, personal blog) so that he could see your work?  Do you still use a personal blog? 你说你的老板在网上看到你的卡通,那是什么时候? 你是不是用个人网站或者博客的方式来让大家看到您的作品?您现在还用个人博客吗?


那大概是2002年时候。那个时候个人网站不太多,博客好像还没出现,我是把我的作品放在了一个漫画网站上的(我朋友开的)。
我的博客有两个,一个是新浪的:blog.sina.com.cn/luowill。一个是腾迅的:http://user.qzone.qq.com/404991
My boss saw my work back in 2002 and at that time there were very few people using personal websites in China.  Come to think of it, I don’t think there were even blogs back then!  I put my work on one website which was started by a friend of mine. Now I operate 2 blogs, one is a SINA blog blog.sina.com.cn/luowill and the other is QQ http://user.qzone.qq.com/404991

5.  Who are your  major western influences?  2 major Chinese influences?  哪位西方人对你的影响最大? 哪位中国人对你的影响最大?

影响最大具体到某人是很难说的,只能说是文化影响了,中国现代的年青人一般都受到美式文化与中国传统文化的双重影响。
说影响不如说喜好吧,比如政治家来说,像美国,奥巴马就是我很喜欢的,在中国,周恩来总理是我所喜欢的。
就漫画家来说,对我影响最大的就是以下几位:Macnelly,Jeff Parker,Steve Breen,Steve Sack,Michael Ramirez
Oh, wow, it’s pretty hard to give you a specific person who has influenced me but I can tell you which culture influenced me most.  For most young Chinese I think American culture and Chinese traditional culture are two major influences.  In terms of influence though, I can also say which politician I like most.  Like in America I like Obama and in China I’ve always liked Premier Zhou Enlai.  For political cartoonists, I guess the ones who have had the most influence on me is as follows: Macnelly, Jeff Parker, Steve Breen, Steve Sack and Michael Ramirez to name a few.

6.  What is your opinion of cartooning in China?  Past and present and future.  (is it a good business, is it just a hobby, is there a future?)
你对中国卡通的看法是什么呢? 过时了, 现代, 未来的。有没有很好的市场呢? 或者仅仅是个人的爱好?漫画在中前途吗?
在中国卡通分几种,1是传统漫画,包括讽刺漫画,市场有,但不规范,不注重版权,不景气,从业人员少,大都是业余美术爱好者,光靠画讽刺漫画能生活的人极少极少。
2是现代漫画,我们叫动漫,是给青少年看的,比如日韩类,美国动画大片类的,中国青少年很喜欢。中国政府好像在投资搞动漫产业,做国产漫画大片,进程不太清楚,希望能好。
我觉得整体来说市场是有的,不过要加强规范,加强版权保护,提高从业人员收入,有前途的。In China you can divide cartoons into a couple different catergories: First is the traditional cartoons.  These use satire and irony.  There is a market for these kind of cartoons but highly irregular and nobody takes the copyright seriously.  On top of that, those kind of cartoons are not so popular right now plus there are few people who do those kind of cartoons, just a few amateurs and people who do it as a hobby.  There are very few people who rely on only this kind of cartoon for a living in China.  The second kind of cartoons in China is what I call the “modern cartoon” or “animated cartoons”.  Kids all over China love these animated cartoons whether they are from Korea or Japan.  They also love the big animated movies from America too.  All Chinese kids just love those!  The Chinese government has recently invested a lot into our domestic animation industry here in China.  Soon we’ll see animated movies that are made in China!  At this point I’m not sure how the investment and development is going but we have high hopes for it!  I guess in end there is a market in China for cartoons and comics but there needs to be more effort in some of the rules, protection of copyrights, we’d also like to see the income of these cartoonists go up but all in all the prospects are looking good! 

7.  Do you encourage young people in China to work hard in their art and cartooning? 你是不是鼓励中国在艺术方面有天赋的年轻人向艺术方面发展?

当然鼓励。中国有才华的人很多,只是缺少平台展示。

Of course I encourage the young people in China!  We Chinese are a very artistically talented bunch!  The only thing that is lacking is the proper platform to be able to showcase our talents!

8.  Webcomics (comics only on the web, making money through printing books and other things) are pretty popular in the U.S.  Do you think that could be popular in China?
网上漫画(自己出书销售)在美国很流行,你觉得在中国怎么样,一样流行吗?
中国网上漫画一样很火,也有从网上火到出书赚钱的。
Yeah, in China Webcomics are also pretty popular and yes there are some who do Webcomics and then publish books and make money.
9.  Do Chinese people like comics?  你觉得中国人喜欢漫画吗?
中国人喜欢漫画,不过中国人不喜欢被讽刺,哈哈,中国人爱面子。说别人可以,说自己有点难度,哈哈。

Yes, Chinese people do like comics.  But, Chinese don’t like to be mocked.  HA HA Chinese people love “face”(Chinese people are proud of their reputation).  If you want to talk about other countries or other Chinese people that’s ok, but if you want to mock and make fun of yourself, Chinese don’t like that.  HA HA.

10.  Can you introduce to our readers some other modern cartoonists in China that you like? 你是否可以给我们的读者介绍你所喜欢的中国现代漫画家?

说实话,我对中国大际现代漫画家还真不太了解,我想 猫小乐应该算一个,我喜欢的还有 黑贝,像中国台湾的river,彭永成,朱德庸,蔡志忠都很喜欢
I have to tell you the truth, I’m not very familiar with many modern Chinese mainland cartoonists.  I mean, I guess one could be Mao XiaoLe.  I also enjoy HeiBei, similar to Taiwan’s “River”.  Peng YongCheng is another one.  Zhu DeYong is also one.  Cai ZhiZhong is a famous cartoonist from Taiwan who retells old Chinese classics.  All those I really enjoy.

11.  How do you get your ideas for your cartoons? 你画漫画的灵感是从哪里来的?

嗯……怎么说呢,可能我看的美国政治漫画比较多,看多了就自然而然地形成了一些固定的“创意库”,还有就是喜剧电影动画片什么的。

Oh… how can I say this… I always look at lots of American politcal cartoons.  After looking at a bunch of these comics then automatically in my head there forms this storehouse of creativity!  I also use comedies and animated movies for inspiration.

For more of LuoJie’s (William Luo) political cartoons please go to Daryl Cagle’s site or China Daily.

Learn Chinese Everyday.com Interview with the Creator!

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

learn chinese everyday Learn Chinese Everyday.com Interview with the Creator!There are so many learning Chinese sites out there.  So many.  But recently I came across a relatively new website that is appropriately called LEARN CHINESE EVERDAY.COM.  This is what I tell my friends who are learning Chinese and what I should try to remember myself.  If you do something everyday how could you not get better at it!

The site has a daily character that is big and bold and it has an animation so that you can see how to write the character.  Next to it they have an audio soundbite that helps you to hear the pronunciation of the word.  Under that there is a list of the radical, traditional, strokes and the English translation in addition to other variations that this word can be used for.  Under that is usually a couple sentences using the new word along with the pinyin and English.

learn chinese everyday2 Learn Chinese Everyday.com Interview with the Creator!Over the last couple months I’ve been subscribing to their RSS feed and I’ve been really enjoying them.  Everyday there is a new character that comes and it’s one of those RSS feeds that you don’t HAVE to go to the site.  Lots of good sample sentences and audio tracks.  There is also a great way to really practice the characters.  There are posts of WORKSHEETS that are PDF files that you can download, print and practice.  Great for students!  The other day I noticed that they had a great post introducing radicals.  Great work!

MinMin is the person behind the website.  She is a native Chinese speaker.  This is her twitter account.

1.  How do you write your Chinese name?
My Chinese name is 敏敏.
468 60 Learn Chinese Everyday.com Interview with the Creator!
2.  What was the reason for starting your site?

First of all I like Chinese language very much. It is my mother tongue. I learned it since primary school.  And I hope to help others in learning Chinese as well.
I have a good friend who tells a joke a day in blogspot. Here is where my idea “Learn a Chinese Character a Day” comes from.
Secondly, as a web developer, I wish to own a website and see how far I can succeed in the world of internet.

3.  Do you come from a family of teachers?  What do your parents do?
No. My father is a mechanic and my mother is a housewife.

4.  What is your opinion about more and more Western people learning Chinese?
现实来说,很明显的中国在世 界的地位已提高。汉语顺理成章变成了外界与中国数亿人口沟通的重要桥梁。我想西方人也开始察觉到学中文能提高自身价值而为前途铺路。
此外,我觉得西方人的思想比较开放,比较能接受不同的文化。他们可能为了兴趣或是需要或是好奇而学习中文。反观东方 人就比较执著于本身的种族文化。比方说日本人,他们只用日语,这是他们表达爱国的方式。

It’s pretty clear today that China’s position in the world has been elevated.  The Chinese language has naturally become a bridge to aid in communication between both China and the outside world.  I hope that many Westerners will become aware that studying Chinese will not only improve one’s worth but also it will pave the way for many future opportunities.  Plus, I believe that many Westerners are very open to new ideas and are able to receive and understand different cultures.  Whether they are interested in studying, or they need to study or they are just curious about Chinese I think it’s great!  In contrast, Asians are generally focused on their own culture.  For example, Japanese will only use their own language which is how they demonstrate their patriotism.

5.  Give us your thoughts: “I don’t need to study Chinese characters to learn Chinese!”  Do you agree?
许多人认为只要懂得拼音,就能掌握中文,因此学不 学字并不重要。我并不认同这一点。
汉语带着五千年的文化历史,每一个字从形到音都拥有它独特的根源 及意义。再说,汉语有同音字也有多音多义字,因此单靠拼音并不足以让学者正确辨认不同的字。
再说,若 学者单单只学拼音,就不能阅读与书写中文。要知道所有的文章都是以中文书写,而并非拼音。学会越多字会令学者在阅读文章时更能了解其 中的含义。

Many people think that if they can only learn pinyin only then they will grasp Chinese.  Unfortunately, Chinese characters are then not important.  I absolutely do not agree.  Chinese and Chinese characters carry a history of over 5 thousand years.  Every character, from the the appearance to the pronunciation, possess a unique origin and a distinct significance and meaning.  Again, many Chinese characters have the same pronunciation or are homophones and some have several ways to pronounce them and several meanings.  Thus, the scholar of Chinese cannot only rest on the inadequate pinyin to correctly identify and recognize those characters, meanings and true essence of Chinese.  At the same time, the Chinese scholar who relies on pinyin won’t be able to read Chinese books or even write a letter in Chinese!  If the Chinese scholar wants to read a Chinese book or articles or writings, they won’t be able to because they are not written in pinyin.  The more characters you learn the more you will understand the implied meaning that is in many of our Chinese writings and articles.

6.  What is your favorite Chinese writer?
现代散文方面,我喜欢张曼娟和张小娴。 小说方面,我喜欢金庸。

In respect to modern prose, I like Zhang Manjuan and Zhang XiaoXian.  In terms of novels I like Jin Yong.

7.  What is your favorite Chinese quotation?
吃得苦中苦,方为人上人。  chī de kǔ zhōng kǔ, fāng wéirén shàng rén.

Here are a couple translations:

“Work really really hard and you’ll be able to excel among others.”
“Only those who endure the most become the highest.”
“If you are unwilling to suffer through a real hardship, you will not grow into a better person.”
“A person may become stronger by overcoming hard-ship and suffering.”
“To endure hardship may pay off in the long run.”

8.  What is your favorite Chinese movie?
我并无特别喜欢的电影。但我个人比较喜爱喜剧片。

There isn’t one particular movie that I really like.  But I’m a kind of person who really likes comedies.

9.  Do you have a part time job?  Or is this site your full time job?
This site is considered as my part time job.  I have a full time job which required me to sit in the office from 9am – 6pm. I work as a web developer.

Thanks Min Min and good luck with the website!  Do you agree with what Min Min said?  Give us YOUR opinions via twitter or comments below!

Definitely head over to her website and LEARN CHINESE EVERYDAY!

Interview with the creator of the SLOW-CHINESE podcast

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

A while back I was able to have a conversation with Xinyu from the Slow-Chinese podcast. (Not to be mistaken with a similar sounding site SlowChinese.com)  He’s really cool and quitelogo Interview with the creator of the SLOW CHINESE podcast an interesting guy. If you don’t know about the SLOW CHINESE podcast we both highly recommend it.  Mx actually really enjoys it.   Not for the slow part, which is probably as annoying to her as VOA slow English is to me, but she likes the podcast for the culture, his own experiences and the fact that it doesn’t sound like some boring language monologue.  She even learns a few things from each one!  (and she’s from China!)

Difficulty level
We both agree that the podcast is on the intermediate level.  There are many new words here and there but he provides a transcript for a low price on the site so you can follow along.  For beginners, it’s always good to try and immerse yourself in the language, get the pronunciation, and his is good, and the inflection and the tones and the general feel for Chinese.  Elementary learners try and pick out a few words that you might know here and there.  Advanced, um… well, you can listen to it sped up to a Mickey Mouse voice and see if you understand it!

But it’s SLOW…
Some out there say that SLOW CHINESE might not be a good idea.   The rationale is that “Slow Chinese isn’t natural.”  Totally understood and totally agree.  But one of the most common complaints about learning Chinese is that those Chinese people just speak so darn fast! Well, now they don’t.  I just chock it up to the plethora of amazing resources that all of us Chinese learners have out there on the world wide web.

Now the interview…

1. Where are you from?
Taizhou, a seaside city in Zhejiang Province.

2. Can you tell us your favorite thing about your hometown.
We have a kind of noodle with ginger juice in the soup and more than half of the bow is filled with sea food, like crabs, schrimps and clams. It’s my favourite food, and is definitely nowhere to find outside my hometown. Another exciting thing is, when you have normal meals (rice with dishes) in my hometown, to have 2/3 of the dishes sea food is quite normal, we have the greatest sea food production in Zhejiang.

3. Are you in school or are you working?
I’ve just finished my bachelor study in Beijing and am going to study industrial design in Germany in October.

3a. Will you continue your SLOW CHINESE PODCAST while in Germany?
Yes, of course.

4. What are you studying? Where do you work?
Germanistics. I don’t work, I’m in Beijing at the moment, but will go home soon, to stay with my family before I leave for Germany.

5. What do your parents do?
They are workers.

6. What caused you to start the website and podcast?
I know Slow German and have heard of Special English from VOA, they’ve helped me quite a lot during my language study, but then I realized there’s no Slow Chinese, I thought it should be quite easy and fun to do in my spare time, so I wanted to do it. I have experience in running websites and am not bad at graphic design, and by recording my songs I’ve learned how to make midi melodies and mix tracks.

6a. Will you do a podcast about your hometown of Taizhou?
It sound like a good idea.

7. Do you have a lot of visitors to your site?title Interview with the creator of the SLOW CHINESE podcast
Yes I think so, but not enough. I have never advertised for it, there’re still great numbers of Chinese learners who don’t know Slow Chinese. Most of my visitors are itunes users so they may not need to visit my page but subscribe the podcasts.

8. There are many people studying Chinese but your podcasts are for people who are somewhat advanced in Chinese. Why did you choose to do more advanced level?
First, I have seen or read some Chinese-learning materials, they’re always so funny and affected, always starting from Ni Hao and Xie Xie. So I think there should have been many people who are waiting for materials of some higher levels. Second, I haven’t studied teaching Chinese. What I can do is write how I normally write and write what I think may be interesting.

9. Where do you come up with the topics for your shows?
Since opening the website, I began to observe everything around me. What we do and say in daily life may be interesting for Chinese leaners. Readers also write to me and tell me what they want to know, and these topics are always prior to mine.

10. Do you think of yourself as a kind of ambassador for China to people learning Chinese in other countries?
No. When I’m writing and recording podcasts, I may be like an ambassador, introducing China. But I actually do it like I’m simply telling friends about my life in China and share interesting things with them. I talk about everything, likes and dislikes. An ambassador say only good things about his country.

11. If you could tell North Americans or European or Australians ONE THING about China that they should know, what would it be?
Not every Chinese is totally satisfied with his country but everyone does want it to be better.

12. Tell me one hero that you have.
No, at the moment. But I quite admire those people who stick to their dreams and never give up under the pressure of life.

13. What kind of music do you like?
Rock and classical.

14. What kind of books do you like to read?
All kinds of books except those teaching people to achieve quick success.

15. Where do you want to be in 10 years? What do you want to be doing in 10 years?
I want to be a designer. I want to have my own studio and do design for myself. Of course I will keep adding contribution to exchanges between China and the world.

16. What advice would you give to people studying Chinese?
Come to China, but don’t have to stay in Beijing, learn Chinese calligraphy and make a Chinese girlfriend. If your love of China is based on ancient China, then you may be disappointed because you can only experience it in classrooms and books. But anyway, modern China is very fascinating. A good way to understand China and learn Chinese is traveling through it.

17. What will you miss most in China while living and studying in Germany?
My family and girlfriend, and Chinese food.

Go check out his website today!

Interview with Mike from ChineseWithMike.com!

Friday, May 20th, 2011
41785 161765090505637 4500 n Interview with Mike from ChineseWithMike.com!
It’s amazing sometimes how you surf the web and then find something that you’ve never heard of even though it’s super popular already.  That’s what happened when I posted a comment, I think it was on ChineseHacks, and then looked around at some of the other commenters.  One was named Mike and he had a website listed with his comment so I clicked on it and the rest is history.  That day I discovered Chinese with Mike and have been going back ever since.  Mx and I liked is so much we even put together a comic about it so that people can know what it’s all about!  I was able to have a conversation with Mike of  ChineseWithMike.com fame and we wanted to share it with you all!
MandMX: Where did you learn Chinese?

Mike: I learned Chinese first through a university class and then by living in Taiwan for 2 years. I have been married to a Taiwanese woman for the past five years, and we often congregate with other Chinese speakers.

MandMX: Hmmm. I wonder what your wife thinks of your classes?  Does she help?

Mike: My wife thinks my classes are funny, but she thinks I spend too much time working on the project.

MandMX: Mx (my wife) didn’t notice a Taiwan accent in your voice so we’re impressed.  So you learn a bit from her but not her accent, right?

Mike: I’m doing my best to keep a standard Chinese accent. Beijing accents are too strong, and Taiwanese accents are too soft. I’m shooting for somewhere in the middle. I admit that sometimes it’s hard not slipping into Taiwan guoyu. icon smile Interview with Mike from ChineseWithMike.com!

MandMX: Do you know Characters as well?

Mike: I do. I originally learned to write traditional characters, so making the adjustment to simplified is a chore, especially since I prefer traditional characters.

MandMX: Obviously you’ve been to Taiwan, but have you been to China?

Mike: Yes.

MandMX: Why “Chinese with Mike” ?  What are your goals?

Mike: When people hear I speak Chinese, I invariably get this response: “Aww, no way. I heard Chinese is like the hardest language in the world!” I’m out to prove them wrong. With the right teacher (namely, one who can explain in a way the learner can understand) Chinese is not hard at all. There are many myths about Chinese that I’m out to debunk.

MandMX: How has the response been?  What are people saying?

Mike: People write daily with complimentary remarks about how Chinese with Mike is working for them. We have newcomers on an almost daily basis, and I couldn’t be more gratified.

MandMX: Do you have a lot of interested viewers?

Mike: In our first six months, we had about 33,000 site views, and we have viewers in over forty countries. I have to imagine that most are actually learning.

MandMX: Why do you do the videos in the basement in your parent’s house?

Mike: We shoot in a garage. We did a few in my producer’s basement when the weather in Chicago was very cold. Basically, this is the only location I have to shoot, and I like how it adds to the character I play.

MandMX: Do you do live appearances?

Mike: I teach face-to-face Chinese classes once in a while in the Chicago area. I volunteer at my local libraries by teaching free Mom-and-Tot classes, too. My friends and I were planning on staging an autograph signing for me and inviting the local media. I expect we will do it someday, complete with bodyguards and a limousine.

MandMX: What is your favorite China book?  or book about China?

Mike: I read a lot of poetry from the Tang Dynasty.

MandMX: What are your thoughts on the interest in Western countries with learning Chinese?

Mike: There is no overemphasizing China’s role in the future of the global economy. I think we’ll see more and more Western countries teaching Chinese along with English as a second or third language.

Thanks MIKE!  Check out his site and watch some of his lessons!  These lessons are great for kids (my 3 year old loves Chinese with Mike!) and anyone learning Chinese no matter what the age!

Chinese with Mike on Facebook!

Chinese with Mike on Twitter!

Chinese with Mike on YouTube! (for those outside of China!)

Chinese with Mike on Tudou! (for those inside China!)

Now as a bonus for all of our readers and new Chinese with Mike readers… we’re going to put our comic below and the pinyin romanization of the Chinese!  Hope it helps!

2011 05 19%20Chinese%20With%20Mike Interview with Mike from ChineseWithMike.com!

If you can’t read it you can click on it and go directly to the comic!

Panel 1: hei, wǒ shuō guò le bù xǔ zài wǎngshàng kàn shìpín.

māma, dànshì zhè shì “gēn màikèxué Zhōngwén

Panel 2: shénme? gēn màikèxué Zhōngwén shì shénme?

wǒmen gēn shì cóng tā de shìpín shàngxué Zhōngwén de

Panel 3: yī ge xiǎoshí zhīhòu

nǐ māma zhè shì zài gànmá?

tā yǐjīng kàn le yī ge xiǎoshí le.

zàiláikàn yī ge.

wǒ hǎo è ā

Interview with the Author of “Survival Chinese Lessons 生存汉语” @jkpittman

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

 Interview with the Author of Survival Chinese Lessons 生存汉语 @jkpittmanWe’ve done a bunch of interviews here on MandMx.com (Slow Chinese, Chinese with Mike, China Daily Cartoonist, Learn Chinese Everyday) but I think this non Chinese person has the most experience living and working in China that I’ve  Interview with the Author of Survival Chinese Lessons 生存汉语 @jkpittmanever seen.  I met Joanne Pittman years ago when I first began teaching English in China.  She taught all of us teachers a bit about China and the Chinese language and I’ll never forget some of her stories.  She urged us as we live in China to study the language because nothing is more fun than chatting up a taxi driver in Beijing about politics!  That became my goal in life.  So I was surprised when I saw that she put a book together from all her lessons to help those who are just starting Chinese.  Her classes those many years ago were memorable and I’m sure these lessons will give you a great foundation in Mandarin Chinese.

Don’t forget to check out her site here.  And follow her on Twitter which she is very active on!  Here’s a post where she mentions her book!

Now, to the interview:
MandMx: How long have you lived in China?

Joanne Pittman: That depends on how you count. I taught English in Zhengzhou, Henan from 1984 to 1986. Then, from 1990 to present, I have worked here most of the time, with a few periods of time out of the country for further education or family. So from start to present, it’s 27 years!

MandMx: Where did you learn Chinese?

Joanne Pittman: I studied Chinese full time for a year (90-91) at Northeast Normal University in Changchun, Jilin Province. After that I worked with a tutor ten hours per week for 4-5 years while directing a program for North Americans studying Chinese.

MandMx: Do you know Characters as well?

Joanne Pittman: My character reading is OK, but unfortunately my character writing is very 差 (lacking).

MandMx: Why did you write your book? What were your goals?

Joanne Pittman:I originally put the material together back in the 1990’s for a summer language program that I directed for English Language Institute/China (ELIC). It has since been used by ELIC’s incoming teachers. The response internally has been very positive, so last fall I decided to publish the material. I know that survival-type Chinese language books are a dime-a-dozen, but my ‘beef’ with them is that they often try to teach too much at the ‘super-beginning’ level.  The result is that learners often get discouraged and give up. My goal with this book was to produce something that would keep learners going by teaching small, bite-sized chunks in each chapter, with very simple explanations. And because I believe that listening is the foundation to second lounge learning, the book includes an audio (mp3) CD that includes the Pinyin Sound Chart, and vocabulary and dialogs from each of the chapters.

MandMx: How has the response been to the book? What are people saying?

Joanne Pittman: Better than I expected, to be honest.  It has sold really well among folks travelling to China as tourists and those going to China on sort-term volunteer projects. It’s also been well-received among newly arrived expats in China, who want something simple to help them get started.

MandMx: What do you think about more Westerners studying Chinese today?

Joanne Pittman: The more the better. Given China’s emergence onto the world stage, I think it’s important that there be more westerners who are proficient in not only the Chinese language, but also Chinese culture.

MandMx: If you didn’t come to China, what do you think you would’ve done all your life?

Joanne Pittman: I probably would have gone to grad school and ended up teaching a a college somewhere.

MandMx: What is your favorite China website? China Newsite?

Joanne Pittman: Well, I enjoy YOUR website! For China news and analysis, I like China Digital Times (www.chinadigitaltimes.net), BBC, and The China Beat (www.thechinabeat.org). As for general information/blogs, I like World of Chinese (www.worldofchinese.com), Danwei (www.danwei.com), and China Media Project (www.cmp.hku.hk).

MandMx: What is your favorite Chinese movie?

Joanne Pittman: Shower.  It’s ten years old now, but it’s a great about generational relationships in a changing Beijing.

MandMx: What is your favorite China book? or book about China?

Joanne Pittman: My current favorite China book is China Road Interview with the Author of Survival Chinese Lessons 生存汉语 @jkpittman by Rob Gifford.  I also like River Town Interview with the Author of Survival Chinese Lessons 生存汉语 @jkpittman and Country Driving Interview with the Author of Survival Chinese Lessons 生存汉语 @jkpittman by Peter Hessler. And To Change China Interview with the Author of Survival Chinese Lessons 生存汉语 @jkpittman by Jonathan Spence.

MandMx: What’s your favorite motivational saying in Chinese?

Joanne Pittman: I’m not sure how motivational this saying is, but it’s one of the most useful ones in helping us foreigners make our way in Chinese society:  jihua meiyou bianhua kuai.  Plans can’t keep up with changes.  计划没有变化快。

MandMx: In only three words each please tell us what comes to your mind when I say:

(Example: I say Baseball: you say “Boston Red Sox.” OR “Boring but fun.” see only 3 words.)

MandMx: Bejing                            Joanne Pittman: my adopted hometown
MandMx: Shanghai                      Joanne Pittman: Different from 1984
MandMx: Chopsticks                  Joanne Pittman: What’s so difficult?
MandMx: Chinese food              Joanne Pittman: rice and peanuts
MandMx: Chinese literature    Joanne Pittman: Over my head
MandMx: Sina Weibo                  Joanne Pittman: an alternate universe
MandMx: Twitter                          Joanne Pittman: bursts of communication
MandMx: Sand storms               Joanne Pittman: Spring is here!
MandMx: Summer                       Joanne Pittman: Drip, drip, drip
MandMx: Great Wall                  Joanne Pittman:  What’s the point?
MandMx: winter                          Joanne Pittman:  Where’s the humidity?

End.

Don’t forget to check out her site here.  And follow her on Twitter which she is very active on!

Also we did a comic of one of her tweets last year which was fun!

2010 08 11%20Expat%20Tweet%20from%20Beijing Interview with the Author of Survival Chinese Lessons 生存汉语 @jkpittman