By: Clay Garner (11th grade)
I have been busy since the minute I stepped off the 13-hour flight here in Beijing on Monday. What started off as my simple idea to bridge the gap between the youth of China and America through music has now turned into a widely publicized cultural “journey”. Yesterday I was filmed and interviewed by China Radio International (http://english.cri.cn/), a government-owned radio station that broadcasts in the air and online in over 60 languages. Later in the day, I hopped on the subway and headed over to Beijing TV (http://btv.org/), a CCTV affiliate who have picked me up for their popular talk show series “Beijingke”. They took me down to the Central Business District subway station and I performed live for many completely surprised commuters on camera. The smiles on those passing by grew exponentially when I broke into the Chinese CCP patriotic song “Hong Qi Piao Piao” or “Red Flag Fluttering.” One thing I have found different here from America is that people genuinely respect patriotism for what it’s worth and are not afraid to admit admiration for their own country. After interviewing with China’s “Campus Magazine” (distributed in Chinese universities) this morning, I had a chance meeting with pop star Yue Xia (I just happened to know one of her songs), sang for her, and now I’m going to record a duet version tomorrow in her studio! After the recording session, I will rush (traffic is sooo bad here) to Beijing TV to film the live talk show in Mandarin with several other Chinese celebrities and perform some songs live. Part of the challenge and fun with all of this exposure is choosing the right words to say while simultaneously speaking a foreign language; as essentially a cultural ambassador for our country, it is very important to make sure that I make a good connection with viewers in both China and abroad.