A new school year means new beginnings and it’s no different here at beijingkids. Over the summer, we said goodbye to former Managing Editor Kara Chin and Deputy Managing Editor Ellis Friedman (whom many of you also knew as the old School Editor). As we kick off the 2013-2014 academic year with a new team, we figure we should properly introduce ourselves. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be spotlighting a different beijingkids staff member each week.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A teacher. In the early 1990s, Beijing was way less modernized than today. You had instant access to villages and farms by just stepping over Second Ring Road. My family lived outside Fourth Ring Road, which would have positively shocked the tianzi jiaoxia (天子脚下 or people who live close to the Forbidden City). So, most of the people I knew back then were farmers and teachers (and I didn’t want to be a farmer).
Do you have siblings?
No. Most of Chinese kids of my generation enjoy the privilege of the "one-child policy,” which means all my toys belonged only to me.
Who was your childhood hero?
My grandpa. When I was young and he was visiting from Shandong, he walked with me after dinner along the narrow street in front of our courtyard. Back then, the sky was really clear and the moon was very visible.
As we looked at the shady patches on the moon, my grandpa told me that it was a tree. Underneath the tree, there was a vicious old witch who enjoyed harming people. She would often come down to Earth and kill people just by pointing her finger at them.
My grandpa claimed to have encountered the witch. He was somehow immune to her incantation and managed to kill her with one blink of his eye. After this story, I admired and always listened to him. I did everything he would ask me to do.
What was your favorite childhood food?
Strawberry-flavored popping candy. It just made my childhood! It’s a pity that convention grants more candy to kids.
List up to three of your favorite childhood books.
- The encyclopedia. It was full of knowledge and colorful pictures, and broadened my world.
- Doraemon. This blue robot cat from the 22nd century had an arsenal of magic tools that he pulled out from the pouch on his belly: the Bamboo-copter, Diminishing Light, Invisibility Poncho, Time Travel Machine, and more.
- Gourd Brothers (hulu wa). I can still hear the theme song in my head. The excitement that I got from reading the books made it seem like I hadn’t seen the TV series a 100 times.
Tell us an embarrassing or little-known childhood anecdote about yourself.
My dad took me to a tiny, remote amusement park and somehow lost me. I was 8. I didn’t panic at all. Quite the opposite – I had a very good day pretending to be part of whichever family was nearest and joined them on rides.
When it started getting dark, I started thinking of all the ways cartoons depict getting out of being lost. I started crying tired tears in front of the man at the entrance. He took me to the police, who drove me home in a fabulous van. I was treated to a fabulous feast that evening.
Tell us about your parents’ quirks and how they’ve shaped you.
My mom speaks perfect Shandong dialect, so perfect that she doesn’t have a clue how to say things in standard Mandarin. So in primary school, I was often mocked for my strong Shandong accent.
How many kids do you want (if any)?
I think one is enough. As I grow older, I find it’s not just about impressing others with the size of your family. There is so much care and responsibility that parents must give to their kids. It’s not easy. For a kid to turn out great, first the parents must be great.
Native Beijinger Morgan Shang is beijingkids’ editorial assistant. An avid learner, he is currently taking English and French classes. When he is not learning how to be sarcastic with beijingkids Staff Writer Oscar Holland, Morgan enjoys snacking and eating out.
Photo courtesy of Morgan Shang