You too can do it in 3 easy steps!
For any Canadians that come to China, one of the first things that Chinese people will mention is “Ah, Canada. Dashan is from Canada.” Dashan, otherwise known as Mark Rowswell, is indeed from Canada – and according to Wikipedia is probably the most famous Westerner in China. Why? Because he is one of the few Westerners who has successfully mastered the Chinese language. Many Chinese people will readily admit that Dashan speaks much better Chinese than they do. Bigger than Elvis, bigger than Michael Jordan, bigger than Jesus himself is Dashan (literally translated as big mountain). To see Dashan in action, check this out.
Is he just famous because of the novelty of a white guy speaking Chinese? While that does play a big part, he is also skilled in the Chinese art of crosstalk (xiangsheng), and that’s a pretty impressive feat. But today, after a conversation with my brother, I started thinking, “Man… There has to be a laowai out there somewhere who can do better than that.”
My brother is a huge Megadeth fan, and sent me a link to this youtube video. It turns out that former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman has been practicing his trade in Japan, and regularly performs and chats on Metal variety shows. The above link shows Friedman on one such show, casually chatting in fluent Japanese and explaining how he’s a big Puffy fan (Me too!). I think Marty qualifies as a true metal ninja for sure…
Similarly, a Japanese friend told me about Monkey Majik, a band which includes Maynard and Blaise Plant, two brothers from Canada. They’re fluent in Japanese as well, and have become pretty huge in the land of the rising sun. And if I may say so, they put Dashan’s entertainment skills to shame (sorry Mr. Rowswell), as shown by this song, called “All Around the World”. Very catchy little number.
I can’t help but wonder how far away is the day when we see something like this in China. Are all those Gaijin (means foreigner/laowai in Japanese) across the water in Japan any cooler than us China Expats? Is it just the big red media machine holding us back? Who knows? But happily for us the day has arrived when even no-talent punks like the Backdorm Boys can become famous. In this video they lip-sync to a really gay Backstreet Boys song. Come to think of it, did the Backstreet Boys have any “not-gay” songs?
But to get to the point, I figure that the time has come for some Foreign Devil to claim his 15 minutes of fame in the Chinese spotlight. And here’s how you can do it in three easy steps:
Step 1: Make a video of yourself using a simple digital camera. If you actually have musical talent and Chinese language skills, all the better. If not, then resort to the Backdorm Boys plan of lip-syncing a song. Now, it should be a Chinese song. But even a song that’s half in English, half in Chinese can be pretty catchy too, as shown by Monkey Majik. If you add English lyrics, make sure that they are insanely simple, and talk about love and romance using every overused vomit-inducing cliche you can think of (ala Take me to your heart).
Step 3: Put your video on a blog. And then submit that link to Digg.com, as well as the chinese counterparts/rip-offs Digg.cn and Dingr.com. Or you can submit the video link directly as well, I believe.
So there you have it. Your one-way ticket to fame in the Middle Kingdom compliments of LostLaowai.com. If anyone out there actually does make a video, please let us know, and well update this post by adding your video. Thus marginally increasing your newfound fame. Watch out Dashan! You’re soon gonna have company.