Who is Dashan (大山)? Well he’s actually the most famous Westerner in China – quite literally.
His real name is Mark Rowswell. He’s a Canadian that studied Chinese at university and went to China in the 80s on a scholarship to continue his studies. Through a series of fortunate circumstances, he ended up on TV and was watched by hundreds of millions of Chinese viewers, most of whom had never seen a white person speak such good Mandarin before (or at all).
He ended up embracing this and continued perfecting his Mandarin and doing media appearances. To this day, he is still the most skilled Western Mandarin speaker most Chinese people have or will ever hear. I’ve had native speakers tell me that he’s the only person where, if they close their eyes while listening to him, they cannot tell he’s a foreigner.
Why he’s interesting
- Probably the most skilled Mandarin speaking by a non-native speaker that you will hear.
- He has a unique perspective and interesting views on issues in China and the relationship between China and the West.
- He’s funny! He likes to do a lot of comedy: stand-up, crosstalk , etc. For example:
Dashan - Solo xiangsheng - Eng subtitles