Why Chinese?

Welcome back! Basically, this is a bit of background about me – talking about how and why I wanted to learn more about the Chinese culture.

A lot of people have asked me over the years, “You’re Vietnamese, right? Why are you learning Chinese?” And my answer actually begins with my Vietnamese heritage.

I’m definitely proud to be Vietnamese (most of the time) – the language, culture, food, etc., but the Chinese culture and language have definitely been more interesting to me in my later adolescent years.

Whether it be the thousands of years of history, the greatly diverse culture all throughout the different regions of China, or honestly, just because it was something different, around 2008 or so, I started getting really interested in the Chinese culture actually through watching what I, at the time, thought was Vietnamese tv.

One of the big past times for my families was renting and watching Vietnamese TV on VHS tapes. #flashbacktothe20thcentury #whenpeoplestillknewwhatVHSwas. Every week, my mom, sister, and I, would drive to the Vietnamese markets, always stopping at the video store where we had a running tab with the owner. It was  a pretty common thing as far as I could tell.

It was the same as Blockbuster used to be. We’d go in, look at their selection of shows (which were just the covers of tape cases inside a giant binder) and we’d pick one or two shows that looked interesting. The owner would give us a


bunch of VHS tapes, each of which had one to two episodes of the show we wanted to watch recorded onto it.

Every time we left, we’d be carrying this huge back of black tapes home, watch them all, and then be ready for the next few episodes by the next weekend.

The first one I saw and remembered the best (and have subsequently watched in its original language) was the super popular, 2005 Taiwanese drama, Prince Turns to Frog (王子变青蛙 / Wángzǐ biàn qīngwā) starring one of my now favorite onscreen duos Ming Dao and Chen Qiao En.

I was young, so I was obviously a bit naive about love and relationships, but I remember watching it and just wanting that kind of relationship in my own life. The story is pretty predictable filled with dramatics that are just too easy to pass up, but yet it was the drama with the highest number of viewers per episode until 2008 when Chen Qiao En came out with another drama, Fated to Love You (命中注定我爱你 / Mìng zhòng zhù dìng wǒ ài nǐ).

Regardless, I still love this drama and it’s one of my go to’s whenever I feel nostalgic.


I didn’t actually realize that this was a Taiwanese drama until probably around 2009, so in all actuality, my first, in Mandarin (with English subtitles of course) was really another 2005 breakout hit, Devil Beside You (恶魔在身边/Èmó zài shēnbiān)starring the adorable (and another favorite onscreen duo) Rainie Yang Chen Ling and Mike He Jun Xiang.

It was a bit different in terms of  the background, but overall had a fairly  basic love plot line. Again, regardless, one of my all time favorites because of the quirkiness, the jokes, the amazing chemistry between the main two, etc. Step-siblings who fall in love with each other as well as the sometimes overused, but always entertaining, rich/evil boy and the poor/innocent girl.

This continued on and on as I continued watching dozens of more Taiwanese dramas (and Japanese and Korean as well). While it’s obvious that the Korean music/drama trend is picking up more in the western world, my first love always was and is Chinese/Taiwanese music and television.

Especially now that I am learning Mandarin officially (previously, I picked it up bit by bit just watching all of these different TV shows), it makes it more exciting when now I can understand full sentences and short conversations while watching, rather than just a few words here and there.

At this point, I’ve probably seen at least two or three dozen different TV shows and I’m always watching new ones, as well as rewatching old ones over and over. And the fact that I will be heading to China to eventually learn the language even more makes me even more excited because it means that one day, I won’t need the English subtitles xD.

I guess that’s it for now. Please keep following me and reading along with my blog!


Catherine 凯瑟琳


3 thoughts on “Why Chinese?

  1. The descriptions of you being able to understand full sentences instead of words here and there is similar to how I feel. It feels like you gain a small victory every time you understand something in a foreign language. But how you were introduced into Chinese language and media is also similar to my experiences, except I was just introduced last year. I wish you much luck in your lingual journey. 🙂

    好運 !

    • 真很谢谢!I’m glad that other people have the similar experiences to me. It’s always fun finding other people who love Chinese as well! Hopefully I can become fluent in this language one day.

      • I became interested in it by watching the Chinese dramas and wuxia, then listening to the lovely Teresa Teng and Jiang Ling. I’m hoping I can become fluent one day, as well, and I’m going to try my hardest to get there, because I want to visit China one day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s