friedrich zettl on Chinese TV

Chinese TV invited me for calligraphy

I was on Chinese TV 3 days ago 😊 Just a short sequence showing me writing a couplet for Chinese New Year and talking a little about my life and years in China. It was a 3 hours show and they invited people from different countries to write couplets.

I am always nervous when someone watches me while I am painting or doing calligraphy, especially with a camera on. And I only had 2 sheets of that red paper so it was a kamikaze act 😊 Well, next time I will do better, hopefully 🙂

As my TV appearance was so smashing 😊 I have been interviewed by the chef-correspondent of Guangming Ribao (Guangming Daily) in Austria. And the article made it to front page of the newspaper 🙂…/nw.D110000gmrb_20210208_4-01.htm

It is one of the largest Chinese newspapers which I always liked very much. It is the vertical article at the lower left side.

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14 responses to “Chinese TV invited me for calligraphy”

  1. Author avatar

    Hey friedrich zettl I’m new to wordpress and your posts are cool! and please do support & follow my website….

  2. avatar

    Hello, many thanks! Sure I will do. I just tried and it seems the my “like” did not count. This is not the first time and I need to figure out. Even liking your comment does not work. Very strange…

  3. Martha Kennedy avatar

    I could only understand a little. It was lovely to hear you recite the poem.

    I didn’t study Chinese formally, just enough to get around on a daily life basis, and I can’t read very well. I studied in Denver before I went to China, my teacher was a professor from the Beijing Gong Xue.

    In Guangzhou you know, most people speak Guangzhou Hua, and where I lived, in Shi Pai, north of the city, there were even more strange dialects — my best friends were Hainanese. It wasn’t until I traveled to Hangzhou that I was able to have a real conversation.

    1. avatar

      Hello Martha,

      yes, the first time in China we all had problems understanding anything, I think. Though I had studied Chinese for 2 years before I only coulkd understand very little. The “real thing” dound differently from what we hear in the classroom. I do not undertsand anything Cantonese. “Gege” is “gogo” in Cantonese and so forth so after I little while I get an idea of whatpeople are talking about.

      1. Martha Kennedy avatar

        My students didn’t know I spoke any Chinese, so one night we had to put on a performance and my ex husband and I did a skit where I was a peasant woman in the market and he was buying green vegetable. I had taught him some simple necessary things (how much? what is this? thank you. Hello. my name is…other things) His nickname was Xi Yong Cai (Western Green Vegetable) because he always wore a green, Gortex jacket. You should have seen the looks on my students’ faces. Then they corrected me, “Teacher, the peasants don’t speak pu tung hua.”

        I loved China. It was probably the great love of my life. I’m grateful I was there then.

  4. avatar

    There is a lot to criticize about China, sure. How one can criticize a lot of other countries and ethnicities. But if you’ve lived there and have been able to establish close contacts, things are completely different. I got to know so many people who were great in every respect that it certainly shaped my later life. How many people I know here in the West who have little to offer besides hollow words. And then you get to know people in China who live completely modestly and have incredible knowledge. So some experiences make you pensive.

    1. Martha Kennedy avatar

      I made friends for my whole life there. The government — once they realized I had no political agenda and was REALLY happy to be there — put no restrictions on me at all. There were only 100 white foreigners in Guangzhou at the time — and only five or six Americans. Chinese people mistook me for French or Swiss because they didn’t expect to see an American. I came back to the United States and spent years studying to learn something about where I had been. I was desperately homesick for China for at least 3 years after my return. Life here seemed very superficial after what I’d lived in Guangzhou, superficial. I had more culture shock returning to the US than I did arriving in China. The erhu solo, Homesick, can still make me tear up.

  5. avatar

    It all sounds so familiar 🙂 Of course, I am aware that my goings-on has been closely observed from the official side and I can understand that, because there were many reasons for China to watch out. But I was known for my enthusiasm for Chinese culture, especially painting, and thus harmless. In the 1990s when I started traveling to China again, 2-3 times a year, mostly to Shanghai, the old love awoke again. Every time I got into the taxi to my hotel the same feeling: Finally back home …..

    1. Martha Kennedy avatar

      I didn’t mind being “watched” and sometimes it was funny like when I made curtains to hang on the bedroom window and the heads all marched over to my apartment to find out why I’d done that and why were the curtains red? I explained that since we were newly married we wanted some privacy. That’s when I learned that the word “privacy” was kind of a dirty word in their China. Then they understood the red, but that was just a coincidence. It happened to be my favorite color AND there was enough in the market for curtains. At other times the fact that they knew where I was at all time kept me out of trouble. We were conspicuous and famous, and made the front page of the Yang Cheng Wan Bay when my ex’ bike broke down and some people came out of their apartment to help us fix it. I haven’t been back. For a while I wanted to, but pictures of Guangzhou today said to me that it isn’t just space I want to travel through, but also time.

      Several years ago an academic journal (Journal of Business Communication) invited professors who’d taught abroad to submit their stories of their experiences. Here’s mine. I put it on my blog some time back.

  6. avatar

    Thanks for sharing! Yes many stories to be told 🙂 Some of mine will be published in April. Good luck and keep on rocking!

  7. rose kern avatar
    rose kern

    Dear Friedrich,love the new site. Please can you translate for us the letters you wrote on the red paper.
    all the best to your work,When do you plan a new exhibition?

    1. avatar

      Dear Rose,

      many thanks for your interest! The meaning is:

      May your sails be billowing with good luck
      May all your wishes be fulfilled

      But of course in Chinese it sounds so much nicer 🙂

      As for my next exhibition. I think 2022 would be a realistic goal. My thoughts are already occupied with the conception of the exhibition. 🙂
      Good luck and stay safe!

  8. Cally Blind avatar

    Wow! I love this! Very beautiful!

    And thank you for sharing this with us! 😊

    1. avatar


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