Yang LAN: The Generation that’s remaking China (A); 杨澜:重塑中国的一代 (上)

这两天看到杨澜在2011年TED Global Conference上的讲演,看完之后有些感触,有褒有贬,还需要再整理,先忍不住把内容翻译了一下,之后,再写关于内容的看法和分析吧。

The night before I was heading for Scotland, I was invited to host the final of “China’s Got Talent” show in Shanghai with the 80,000 live audience in the stadium. Guess who was the performing guest? Susan Boyle. And I told her, “I’m going to Scotland the next day.” She sang beautifully, and she even managed to say a few words in Chinese. [Chinese] So it’s not like “hello” or “thank you,” that ordinary stuff. It means “green onion for free.” Why did she say that? Because it was a line from our Chinese parallel Susan Boyle — a 50-some year-old woman, a vegetable vendor in Shanghai, who loves singing Western opera, but she didn’t understand any English or French or Italian, so she managed to fill in the lyrics with vegetable names in Chinese. (Laughter) And the last sentence of Nessun Dorma that she was singing in the stadium was “green onion for free.” So [as] Susan Boyle was saying that, 80,000 live audience sang together. That was hilarious.

来苏格兰(做TED讲演)的前夜,我被邀请去上海做”中国达人秀“决赛的评委。在装有八万现场观众的演播厅里,在台上的表演嘉宾居然是(来自苏格兰的,因参加英国达人秀走红的)苏珊大妈(Susan Boyle)。我告诉她,“我明天就要启程去苏格兰。” 她唱得很动听,还对观众说了几句中文,她并没有说简单的”你好“或者”谢谢“,她说的是——“送你葱”(Song Ni Cong)。为什么?这句话其实来源于中国版的“苏珊大妈”——一位五十岁的以卖菜为生,却对西方歌剧有出奇爱好的上海中年妇女(蔡洪平)。这位中国的苏珊大妈并不懂英文,法语或意大利文,所以她将歌剧中的词汇都换做中文中的蔬菜名,并且演唱出来。在她口中,歌剧《图兰朵》的最后一句便是“Song Ni Cong”。当真正的英国苏珊大妈唱出这一句“中文的”《图兰朵》时,全场的八万观众也一起高声歌唱,场面的确有些滑稽(hilarious)。

So I guess both Susan Boyle and this vegetable vendor in Shanghai belonged to otherness. They were the least expected to be successful in the business called entertainment, yet their courage and talent brought them through. And a show and a platform gave them the stage to realize their dreams. Well, being different is not that difficult. We are all different from different perspectives. But I think being different is good, because you present a different point of view. You may have the chance to make a difference.

我想Susan Boyle和这位上海的买菜农妇的确属于人群中的少数。她们是最不可能在演艺界成功的,而她们的勇气和才华让她们成功了,这个节目和舞台给予了她们一个实现个人梦想的机会。这样看来,与众不同好像没有那么难。从不同的方面审视,我们每个人都是不同的。但是我想,与众不同是一件好事,因为你代表了不一样的观点,你拥有了做改变的机会。

My generation has been very fortunate to witness and participate in the historic transformation of China that has made so many changes in the past 20, 30 years. I remember that in the year of 1990, when I was graduating from college, I was applying for a job in the sales department of the first five-star hotel in Beijing, Great Wall Sheraton — it’s still there. So after being interrogated by this Japanese manager for a half an hour, he finally said, “So, Miss Yang, do you have any questions to ask me?” I summoned my courage and poise and said, “Yes, but could you let me know, what actually do you sell?” I didn’t have a clue what a sales department was about in a five-star hotel. That was the first day I set my foot in a five-star hotel.

我这一代中国人很幸运的目睹并且参与了中国在过去二三十年中经历的巨变。我记得1990年,当我刚大学毕业时,我申请了当时北京的第一家五星级酒店——长城喜来登酒店的销售部门的工作。这家酒店现在仍在北京。当我被一位日本籍经理面试了一个半小时之后,他问到,“杨小姐,你有什么想问我的吗?”,我屏住呼吸,问道“是的,你能告诉我,具体我需要销售些什么吗?” 当时的我,对五星级酒店的销售部门没有任何概念,事实上,那是我第一次进到一家五星级酒店。

Around the same time, I was going through an audition — the first ever open audition by national television in China — with another thousand college girls. The producer told us they were looking for some sweet, innocent and beautiful fresh face. So when it was my turn, I stood up and said, “Why [do] women’s personalities on television always have to be beautiful, sweet, innocent and, you know, supportive? Why can’t they have their own ideas and their own voice?” I thought I kind of offended them. But actually, they were impressed by my words. And so I was in the second round of competition, and then the third and the fourth. After seven rounds of competition, I was the last one to survive it. So I was on a national television prime-time show. And believe it or not, that was the first show on Chinese television that allowed its hosts to speak out of their own minds without reading an approved script. (Applause) And my weekly audience at that time was between 200 to 300 million people.


Well after a few years, I decided to go to the U.S. and Columbia University to pursue my postgraduate studies, and then started my own media company, which was unthought of during the years that I started my career. So we do a lot of things. I’ve interviewed more than a thousand people in the past. And sometimes I have young people approaching me say, “Lan, you changed my life,” and I feel proud of that. But then we are also so fortunate to witness the transformation of the whole country. I was in Beijing’s bidding for the Olympic Games. I was representing the Shanghai Expo. I saw China embracing the world and vice versa. But then sometimes I’m thinking, what are today’s young generation up to? How are they different, and what are the differences they are going to make to shape the future of China, or at large, the world?


So today I want to talk about young people through the platform of social media. First of all, who are they? [What] do they look like? Well this is a girl called Guo Meimei — 20 years old, beautiful. She showed off her expensive bags, clothes and car on her microblog, which is the Chinese version of Twitter. And she claimed to be the general manager of Red Cross at the Chamber of Commerce. She didn’t realize that she stepped on a sensitive nerve and aroused national questioning, almost a turmoil, against the credibility of Red Cross. The controversy was so heated that the Red Cross had to open a press conference to clarify it, and the investigation is going on.

So far, as of today, we know that she herself made up that title — probably because she feels proud to be associated with charity. All those expensive items were given to her as gifts by her boyfriend, who used to be a board member in a subdivision of Red Cross at Chamber of Commerce. It’s very complicated to explain. But anyway, the public still doesn’t buy it. It is still boiling. It shows us a general mistrust of government or government-backed institutions, which lacked transparency in the past. And also it showed us the power and the impact of social media as microblog.


Yang LAN: The Generation that’s remaking China (B); 杨澜:重塑中国的一代 (下)

4 thoughts on “Yang LAN: The Generation that’s remaking China (A); 杨澜:重塑中国的一代 (上)

  1. Pingback: Yang LAN: The Generation that’s remaking China (B); 杨澜:重塑中国的一代 (下) | Nuttyear's

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