Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Troubles of an Aspiring Chinese VJ

A little more information about this VJ job and why I'm totally unqualified to do it:

1) The live broadcasts are played on every video monitor (over 500) across the entirety of Victory Plaza, which I recently found out is the largest underground shopping plaza in all of Asia (and Asia loves shopping plazas). That means that should I stutter, or pronounce a tone-mark wrong and say "vagina" instead of "pen", literally thousands of people will be tuned in to watch.

2) Yesterday afternoon the Boss came down and had a chat with the hosting crew, reminding them that they needed to be keeping things fresh: new haircuts, new clothes, new styles, new personalities, make-up, flair, everything needs to be new and exciting every single day. "Remember, you are the face of a trend: you are the face of what's cool in your generation."

The problem is that I've never been trendy; I've always been cool in my own way, but never in accord with an established norm. To date, I don't think they've figured that out yet; they still think I represent cutting-edge American fashion. But I don't want to have to pretend to be someone else's cool: I prefer rocking Thai fisherman's pants and wife-beaters and being just as fly as I wanna be.

3) If I do this job, I would be the "Euro-American Pop Culture Host", which is laughable: I know NOTHING about pop-culture, at least not any pop-culture from the past ten years. They want me to talk insider-gossip about Justin Timberlake and some group called Westlife; I want to explain the social significance of Michael Jackson and Tupac. In other words, they want the "Jon Rechtman Euro-American Pop Culture Hour" and I want the "Jon Rechtman Old School Hip-Hop and Funk from the late 80s/early 90s Hour."

So I really don't know what to do. On the one hand, it's a fantastic opportunity, very cool and convenient: one hour a day, Monday through Friday, a little bit of pocket money, an enormous Mandarin challenge, very cool co-workers, and local celebrity status. On the other hand, I still feel unprepared and uncomfortable and a bit of a fake, and I wonder if I'll get real sick of it after the novelty wears off.

I know what I need to do is suck it up and make it happen: prepare my material, find my niche, and let time take care of the rest; if I work hard for a couple months, I'm sure I can make it happen and make it happen right.

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