The polarization between China and the United States is increasing and Americans and Chinese with multiple identities are being affected. But MO * writer Sing Lin Pang is happy to see that comedy still bridges the gap and reconciles cultures.
WIt was reassuring to know that someone could build a bridge between China and the United States. As I wrote last week, it is not easy for Chinese Americans or American Chinese to embrace both cultures.
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Eileen Ku’s claim to be an American in the United States and a Chinese in China was not well received by all. The two superpowers live more and more in parallel worlds, each with their own perspective, their own values and above all: their own right. That polarization negatively affects the mutual feelings between the American and Chinese peoples.
Not so long ago – the concept of ‘connection’ led to a very ‘disconnection’. There is no doubt that Chinese or Americans with multiple identities will fall victim to this. They are forced to show their colors and choose between one country or another. Anyone who compromises both cultures and lifestyles is viewed with a skewed perspective.
Despite the adverse weather, some still turn their many identities into an advantage, thereby connecting with the Chinese and American peoples. Especially with humor.
Douyin, Chinese TikTok
It happened to a young man named Griffin Ku in his twenties from Beijing. While studying economics at Boston University, he became a ‘steam’ star on Chinese social media. During his 2018 graduation year, the exam pressure became so unbearable that he distracted a short video about the difference between a Chinese and an American flight attendant.
He released the video on Diktok’s Chinese counterpart Duin. It has been viewed less than 3 million times. Most notable: in the video he spoke only English, no Chinese word, no Chinese verses.
Other attempts to reconcile the success of the film with the realities of his daily life were later dull. Until he realized that his Chinese audience was particularly motivated by cultural differences between Chinese and Americans. A classic – sorry for the spoiler – is the frustration of an American employee when a Chinese customer orders a glass of hot water instead of tea, coffee or other hot beverage.
He magnifies cultural differences between impeccable English and the appearance of “fresh meat”. (For the Chinese slang word for pretty gender neutral guys, I wrote about this in this column last year.) As a result, he grew into a real influencer on Chinese social media and went viral many times.
Despite that success and excellent English knowledge he did not go to TikTok. Someone else followed one of his jokes on Dictok, which was widely acclaimed. Ku interrupted and urged the copyist to apologize and stop. But at the same time he was grateful to his followers. He now knew that his comedy would appeal to both American and Western audiences.
The connection between cultures
So he is in Dictok now. However, he could not blindly copy all the pictures of his Chinese copy. For example, he is more likely to change pieces for TikTok The difference between an American and a Chinese mother⁇
What works for Chinese and American netizens (“Internet citizens”) English difference He attended school in China and spoke English, which Americans speak in everyday life. Since Kovit-19, its popularity has increased. He has 1.4 million followers in Duine today and 92,200 in Dictok.
What I like about this: How comedy acts as a lubricant for better cultural understanding, even in dark polar times.
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