Dashan

There’s a short article today about Dashan in today’s Toronto Star, the A section.

I first saw Dashan on TV when I was flipping through channels, and I saw this white guy on a Chinese comedy show, speaking fluent Chinese during a skit. He was cracking everyone up. I was astounded.

A couple of days later I heard him interviewed on CBC Radio One, and I put two and two together and figured out he was the same guy.

His name is Mark Rowswell, he is from Ottawa, studied Mandarin in Beijing, and became a star doing comedy. He lives in the Toronto area now but does a lot of entertainment work in China still, in TV and advertising. I just think it’s neat that he is so famous in China but probably no one knows who he is in Canada.

4 Comments so far

  1. wyn (unregistered) on November 16th, 2005 @ 2:46 pm

    i heard about him, it seems like it was more than a few years ago. does he play something of a slow-witted character? his stage name is a kind of a goof, meaning “big mountain,” is is not coincidentally made up of two of the simplest characters known in the chinese language.


  2. lorraine (unregistered) on November 16th, 2005 @ 4:26 pm

    as far as I know, he does impressions of regional dialects, which is impressive for a non-native speaker


  3. Yunyo (unregistered) on November 30th, 2005 @ 4:06 pm

    I heard about him today from my professor during a short oral examitation in chinese pronounciation.

    I have been studying Chinese Language now for nearly two month, and this was the first oral examination in the pronounciation course. At first I had to read some sentences in chinese characters and then some words in pinyin-transscription. One of the words was “dashan”. When I read it, the professor said:
    The meaning of this word is “big mountain”, and there is a Canadian Comedian using it as an artist name. He is well known in China by about 1 billion people, but hardly anyone does know him abroad. He is probably the most fluent foreigner in Mandarin, while his writing is not at the same level. (that’s about his words)

    I was very enjoyed about this episode, since I was very nervous, it lightend up the athmosphere, and I decided to search the web about the “dashan”-guy.

    Here are some sites I found:
    http://www.dashan.com/en/index.htm
    http://members.aol.com/lumabner/china/Dashan.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dashan

    Greetings from Vienna!


  4. Allan Clark (unregistered) on December 9th, 2005 @ 3:07 am

    Dashan became famous after his first skit, in which the character he plays, that character’s name was changed at the last minute to be the nickname of the cook at the school where he was acting. So now there is some poor cook who doesn’t understand why he is so famous.

    Mark hit China at a time that an Anglo here has quite a difficult time; he should be applauded for surviving this alone! I often comment that as much as foreigners in China need to learn about China, Chinese need to learn a bit about foreigners too. …but that’s in my Daily Rant, my blog, and the acidic nature of my comments sometimes blurs my message!

    Mark learned Putonghua, the standard (Putong: common) dialect, but in 23 provinces, there are probably 50 dialects, and he has mastered some of those as well. Indeed, he sounds more like a Shanghai-nese person than a real Shanghainese! (or so I’m told, my own ability in Chinese is really very poor).

    In essense, he’s nothing more than a guy who went to China at the right time, and applied himself to the one thing that made him really stand out: An Anglophone speaking fluent dialects of Chinese, and making Chinese jokes. Nothing more than the rigt guy, right time, right place, and with some good business sense — either then, or he developed such over time. If only we could all be so skilled, dilligent, and aggressive to be “nothing more” :)



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