Ni Hao, Kai Lan: The Mainstreaming of Chinese Culture

Ni Hao

In “The mainstreaming of Chinese culture, in a new kids’ TV show,” the Associated Press writes about Nick Jr.’s (as in Nickelodeon Jr.) new children’s animated show, “Ni Hao, Kai-lan“:

“Ni Hao, Kai-lan” (nihao means hello in Mandarin) premiered Feb. 7 to coincide with Chinese New Year. The mindset behind it —- and how it seeks to do with Chinese what “Dora the Explorer” does for Spanish — offers insight into how Chinese culture is ceasing to be exotic in America and taking its place in everyday life…”Ni Hao, Kai-lan” focuses on a little girl, Kai-lan Chow, and her friends Rintoo (a tiger), Tolee (a koala), Hoho (a tiny monkey) and Lulu (a pink rhino). Together they wend their way through American childhoods and Chinese cultural adventures —- including lantern festivals, campouts and playing in the snow —- and learn lessons on how to manage anger and cooperate.In an era when diversity is a buzzword, China remains, for many Americans, a broadly misunderstood culture. Many depictions of Chinese in American popular culture still suggest, if not overtly evoke, outdated notions of the “exotic Oriental” with the elaborate dynastic robe and even the wide-brimmed hat and slanty eyes.”

The cartoon is just too cute! I think that it’s pretty cool that there is a American animated children’s cartoon to teach Chinese and Chinese culture. I would have rather watched those cartoons than to have gone to Chinese school on Saturday or Sunday mornings while growing up! Though I really wonder how much Chinese one can learn from the cartoon. But I do still recall some of the lessons I learned from School House Rock.

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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