Su Fei's World

Friday, September 25. 2009

To me, one of the most worthwile things in the world are unconventional ideas, especially if some brave and slightly weird – in a good way – people decide to put them to the test. Let's say for instance that a thirty-something Jewish American Girl living in China and remotely inspired by Sex and the City would go on a hunt after the perfect match in Beijing and would use this as pretext to ask complete strangers about love, marriage, their lives, Chinese traditions, pop culture and so on. Well, this is exactely what Anna Sophie Loewenberg a.k.a Su Fei and the crew of Sexy Beijing have been doing since 2006 and it is wonderfully entertaining. In less than 10 minutes per episode Su Fei wanders about the place, wearing her easily recognizable glasses, and conducts mini-interviews with people of all ages and social classes about a certain topic (Valentine, Matchmaking, English names...).

Though not actually into the whole „marriage business“ myself and absolutely no fan of Sex and the City (in a word: boring), I can think of many reasons to watch this show. First of all, Su Fei has been living in China for many years and speaks what seems to be perfect Mandarin and that is an accomplishment one should acknowledge. Of course, as I don't speak a word of Mandarin, I can't judge how good hers really is, but I think, that if you speak a foreign language and people understand you straight away, never laugh at you because of your prononciation and you are able to conduct such interviews, then you've certainly made it to a high level of mastery of said language.

Another strength of Sexy Beijing is that, while exploring seemingly private or minor subjects in a lighthearted fashion, which gets the interviewees talking, it actually conveys a lot of information about today's Chinese society. And as Su Fei, who is perfectly aware of her own cultural background, reflecting upon it many times during the show, doesn't fear getting into unexpected and sometimes rather ridiculous situations (the episode about Hip hop in China is hilarious), the overall impression is that of a refreshing and non-judgemental ethnological and sociological inquiry. And that too is a performance worth mentioning. And last but not least, Sexy Beijing is tremendously funny and quite addictive. I really wish more people would have such ideas (if you know about anything like it, please let me know) ;-).

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