By Greece China Friendship Gate
Kevin really thank you for offering this interview for our official website www.greece-china.com. We also like to thank you on behalf of our country about the good job you do for promoting Greece in P.R. China.
How many years are you living in Greece? What did make you coming here? Where are you from? Anyway, tell us some things about yourself.
I have been living in Greece for almost three years. I came to Greece because of the relocation of my previous job – shipbroker in Maersk Broker, which made me the only Chinese shipbroker in Greece. My hometown is in Nantong which is a city in the East China, very close to Shanghai, and I attended Renmin University of China in Beijing, after which I joined Maersk as the management trainee. Then I worked in Beijing, Shanghai, Copenhagen and Athens, and experienced different cultures and markets, which have given me a international background. And my work in the shipping industry in Greece has also been proven to be successful.
How did you think about creating the “Meet Culture”? What’s the story behind the establishment – tell us details, please:)
I have been learning Chinese traditional culture since I moved back to Beijing from Copenhagen, and then founded the non-profit traditional culture organization Magnolia Chinese Culture Association in Shanghai (Magnolia is the city flower of Shanghai), which has turned to be one of the biggest culture organizations in Shanghai. So I had very rich resources in the culture area in China. When I moved to Greece, my wife resigned her job in Unilever to follow me there, and after several months, we started to think what she could do in Greece.
When we found that Greek people love Chinese culture but there was almost no Chinese traditional culture in Greece at that time, we decided to continue our traditional culture work from China to Greece. So we were told to be the first one to work on the traditional culture exchange between Greece and China, and we give the name to what we do as “Meet Culture” – the Chinese culture meets Greek culture. Under the name of Meet Culture, we organized many culture events, lectures, concerts, projects, etc to facilitate the culture exchange between the two ancient civilizations.
What do you think about the two civilizations? How we could find the “bridge”, the “gate” to make them come really close?
There are really many similarities between the two civilizations, such as relationship-focus, family-focus, philosophy, art, etc. We have found the bridge to make them closer, that is, the music. That’s why we have organized several concerts and music projects in Greece, and also the ancient Greek lyre promotion project in China. Through music, the two civilizations are easier to understand each other. Of course, not only the music, but also other arts and tourism, are also able to be the “bridge”. These are the only two existing ancient civilizations in the world, so we believe culture exchange is the most important bridge to bring Chinese and Greek together.
What is your impression about the Greek music? Do you have any favorite artists or groups?
Definitely I like Greek music! We have been cooperating with several artists and groups, such as the ancient Greek lyre musician Aliki Markantonatou, Cretan lyre musician Ross Daly, the ancient Greek lyre band Lyre ‘n’ Rhapsody, etc. The ancient Greek music makes us peaceful and falling into the historical journey, and the Greek ethnic music makes us joyful.
What about Greek cinema? Does it have any similarities with the Chinese one?
The modern cinemas are quite similar with the Chinese ones, and in China these days there are more and more cinemas open to the public. The special one is the open air cinema, which is now very rare in China.
Tell us about your plans for the future. What do you expect about the work of “Meet Culture”?
Meet Culture’s main work will still be the traditional culture exchange between China and Greece, and to make it practical, we have divided Meet Culture’s business to be three parts: music, travel and handicraft. We have established our own music label in China, and have published the historical Greek-Chinese crossover album AEGEAN in China, which was created during the Chang Jing Music Travel in Greece in last October. We are also the only Chinese travel bloggers in Greece with cooperation with almost all Chinese main online travel agencies and social medias, and we are also providing the customized Greece travel service to Chinese tourists. We have also started our handicraft projects to introduce both Greek handicrafts to China and Chinese handicrafts to Greece.
What do you want to transfer us from your recent tour in P.R. China where you were promoting Greece?
This year one of our main plans is to set up our base in China (Meet Culture is born in GreeceJ ), and so far we have established our Greek Culture Space in Chengdu, and have organized several sharing events about Greek culture, tourism, etc., as well as a live broadcast in Guangzhou Music Radio Station. We have also signed contract with a Chinese publication company to write a book about Greece through the angle of art. We are also cooperating with China Central Television to film a famous TV program VOICE in Athens.
Suggest us some Chinese music and movies which you’d want the Greek audience to listen and watch.
There are many good Chinese music, on top of which I would like to recommend our latest album AEGEAN which is the best mix of both Chinese and Greek. You can find this album in iTunes. Otherwise, I would recommend the Chinese music of Guzheng, Guqin, Erhu, Pipa and flutes, and there are many good musicians, such as Chang Jing, Wu Na, etc. If our Greek audiences like, we can make a list for them.
Tell us about an event or moment you had been proud about the work of “Meet Culture”.
One of the proudest projects of us is the Chang Jing Music Travel in Greece in last October. Chang Jing is one of the top musicians in China who performed in the Opening Ceremony of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and is also the teacher of the Princess of Thailand. In this project, we organized the creation and recording of the album AEGEAN, and also one concert in Athens and one concert in Santorini which were both very successful. Our partners including GNTO, Marketing Greece, Trip2Taste, Boutari, etc., and Aegean Airlines and Astra Suites in Santorini were our sponsors. More than 30 medias reported our projects including Kathimerini, Kontra TV, Athina 98.4, Artic, China Central Television, etc.
In this project, the musicians had very close communications with each other, as well as other artists and citizens, and many Greek people remembered the Chinese musicians Chang Jing and Zhang Di. Through this project, now Greek music and musicians are more well known to Chinese people.
From 2008 Greece – China Friendship Gate proposed a plan in the Greek Government and the Presidency of the Hellenic Republic (and we still are working on this) for creating a nationwide “Year of China in Greece”. We thought about it after the “Greek civilization year” that China offered to Greece before the Olympics of 2008. It contains a full series of cultural, touristic, athletic, educational and commercial events through the whole year. What’s your opinion for this proposal?
This is definitely a very important and meaningful proposal, and personally I hope every year in Greece is Year of China J Normally this kind of Year of China is organized by the government because it needs a lot of preparations and many resources to make it. We Meet Culture are very happy to involve and support this proposal.
Kevin, really thank you and, as we already agreed, our Organization starts full cooperation with “Meet Culture”. Let’s surprise the people together!