Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Chinese with British accent = weird?



With my new found interest in photography I have been looking through some videos on YouTube about the topic. One of the video channel I've been frequent is Digital Rev TV. It is basically a web series with the format that is not too dissimilar to Top Gear except featuring cameras instead of cars. Although it is based in Hong Kong the entire series is presented in English by a British Chinese guy Kai Wong, who described by many viewers as the Chinese version of Jeremy Clarkson. His presenting style is humourous, cheeky and very articulate but one thing that seems to fascinate people is the presenter's flawless 'British' accent. This is not a big deal to us and Kai is most likely a BBC who was brought up in the UK, speaking with a regional English accent is as natural as walking on two legs. However for others it seems to be something unbelievable or impossible. Although most of the comments are camera related, but you get remarks directed at Kai's accent popping up once in a while. Here's a collection of  some of them:
Jeez do people expect him to speak like 'fly lice you plick'?
I wondered too....he might have picked it up from a Jamaican?
And there's some positive ones:


At least a few people have some common sense:

So you get the picture. Whenever people see a Chinese face they often assume we speak English (or none at all) with some stereotypical Chinese accent. It seems even the American accent is more acceptable on an Asian face, maybe because we used to seeing them on TV and films more often than British Chinese. At least this is mostly the case for people outside the UK. I know we get told how people are fond of the typical British accent (mind you many also hate it too), however when it's spoken by a Chinese person it somewhat becomes an alien concept. Thus why we see the ignorant comments and reactions like above on the Digital Rev videos. The British Chinese population (especially ones who speak with an English accent) is so minuscule in the global community we barely get much recognition at all and our existence appears to be an anomaly to many.

6 comments:

  1. This is exactly why we need british born chinese media. because of the agenda to show hapas and fobs ..us bbcs get lost in the mix

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  2. Nothing wierd about this for me, I've worked with plenty of BBC's. What freaks me out is Chinese people with a Scottish accent. Again, it's probably nothing strange if you live in Scotland.

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  3. Nothing strange about this for me either (being a UK resident).

    By the way, there is no such thing as a British accent.
    There is an English accent (Kai - Southern England), a Welsh accent, a Scottish accent and a Northern Irish accent......all are very different and all are British (for now....Scotland).
    Again, all of these accents vary a lot within the same country.

    I am a photographer myself, and I find Digital Rev videos very informative and entertaining.

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  4. How about BBI and BBP who speak beautiful English? There is not so much controversy.

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  5. Kai W is an intelligent, witty and convivial person and a great presenter, without the typical "I am more important than the subject I´m waffling about" approach of many presenters in today´s media.

    DigiRev TV presentations are succinct, and informative, providing a quick, but fairly comprehensive overview of the products, in interesting applications and everyday, non-sightseeing scenarios.

    He also doesn´t hesitate to mention the inherent caveats and drawbacks of some of these products - which is is also central importance, but which are often subdued in some trade magazines. Kai´s laid-back, non-in-you-face-hard-sell approach is a refreshing contrast to a lot of presenters and experts in say, info-, or edutainment programmes on TV, where the protagonists often ham-it-up to the point of virtually having widely-gesticulating orgasms about a grain of sand or an Amoeba.

    I, a German-speaking Englishman, find Kai´s English voice and East-Anglian accent as very pleasant and the fact that he can speak it so well as logical (for an intelligent person growing up and studying in England) and practical (I and many of the viewers unfortunately don´t speak Chinese).

    I find the sneering and snide comments about Kai´s English and accent to be below-the-belt, extremely insulting and offensive. Unfortunately there are too many primitive ignorant people who regardless of their education or social standing, harbour resentments about people with other ethnic appearances speaking better English than themselves (Kai´s probably got more brains in his little finger than you too!). Such people often suffer from deep-seated inferiority complexes, believing that foreigners or people of other ethnic appearance, are and have to be inferior human beings. Too many people seem not to realise that Phrenology and Eugenics have long-since been discredited.

    Gawd Blimey Kai, keep on trucking and letting us enjoy your show and yer English mate.

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