Monday, 31 July 2006

Celebrities, Languages and Interviews in a Nice Long Ramble


I've found I kinda like interviewing people lately. No, more specifically, I'm really enjoying doing one-to-one interviews where I have all the time in the world to ask questions, where I have no annoying PR agents breathing down my neck, no time limits, and definitely no inhibitions about what I can ask (which I sometimes have to be careful about, especially when interviewing celebrities).

Speaking of celebrities, its kinda surreal when you suddenly get to interview someone whom you've idolised for so long. You've been listening to a certain singer's songs for years and years, and suddenly, you're face to face with him or her, talking about his or her life, and chatting over coffee and tea. Very weird. But awesome.

Some of the celebrities I've met are nice, some are not so nice, but that's the fun of it all. After hearing so much about how so-and-so is so rude and snobbish, and can be so cold towards reporters, it sometimes turns out to be a pleasant surprise when you're actually face to face with that person and find that he or she really isn't like that after all.

Also, some of the people I've had to interview have been quite cold at first, but after a while, they tend to warm up a little and just TALK. It's actually quite fun to see how each different interviewee responds to the exact same question, and how each reacts in his or her own way when faced with a tough one.

After all, everyone has a story to tell. HOW you get them to tell those stories is a different matter. I'm starting to like talking to people and finding out THEIR stories (though this does not mean my social and flirting skills have improved one bit).

Now, interviewing celebrities is all very fun, but because they are more or less experienced in talking to the press, some of their answers DO tend to be a bit generic at times. Which is why I like interviewing normal people instead.

With celebrities, they tend to have an image to upkeep. But non-celebrities? I like talking to them because I can connect with them, and they also tend to be themselves, and are thus more natural and fun to talk to.

On a similar but not related note, everyone also tends afraid of telling strangers things, whether its a celebrity telling a journalist about his new album, or a fresh-grad going to a job interview and suddenly being asked about his hobbies and social life.

There's been a rather long discussion on a mailing list I'm in recently about how fresh grads can't seem to get a job. Some have theorised that it's the companies who are picky, some have blamed the fresh grads for being too dungu. Some have even blamed the government for it.

What do I think? It's all down to the presenation, dude. You may have a nice glossy certificate proclaiming your FIRST CLASS HONOURS in your Bachelor's degree, but it's no used to you if you can't even get pass the first interview because of your lack of confidence.

Your degree is just a piece of paper that tells you how much you're likely to earn lar. It's what you do with it that counts.

Language? Not an issue. One of my friends had ATROCIOUS English, but he made the effort to keep practising it, and was never shy to speak in public even with his broken English, and in the end, he got a job with a multi-national company.

You see, language is a funny thing. If you don't practise it, you're not likely to be good at it, and may even forget it. Which is what happened to the four semesters of Spanish classes I took when I was in UPM.

Anyway, I digress. Where was It? Oh, language. If you wanna improve your English, it's important to have an environment where you get to SPEAK English. Sticking to certain societies that where members only converse in you mother tongue is not gonna get you anywhere in improving your English lar.

To tie this all up with my original line of thought (about the interviewing people lar, what, forgot already ar?), I've interviewed certain celebrities who are based in Taiwan and Hong Kong, but are actually better in English than in Chinese.

Now, being celebrities in a Chinese-speaking world, they HAVE to converse and talk to journalists in Chinese, so naturally, their Chinese improves a lot. But then hor, I realised that there is a HUGE difference between talking to them in Chinese and in English. When interviewed in Chinese, they tend to take longer to answer, and always seem cold and distant when being interviewed.

But the moment I asked my questions in English, they automatically warm up, and are much friendlier and certainly more articulate.

So yeah. Look. If guys like David Tao or Edison Chen, who were not fluent in Chinese at first; or Jacky Chan, whose English is not that good (to put it mildly); are willing to develop their more publicly-scrutinised careers in an environment where language may be a barrier, then WHY THE HELL are our normal fresh graduates afraid of TRYING to speak a language other than the one they are used to in a FREAKING JOB INTERVIEW?!?!?!?

Just TRY lar! Don't try don't know right? So what if your England not good? PRACTISE LAR. How the hell is it gonna GET good if you don't even TRY to speak it?!?!??! SHEESH.

Anyway, sorry about the way this post just veers from one end to the other. I'm a bit miffed at the moment at a lot of things ,and my thoughts have been careening around a lot too, and The whole post kinda just free-wrote itself without me thinking twice or knowing anything about what I was writing about at the time.

So there. I've said it. Back to inane book posts tomorrow, I promise.

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