Dimash Kudaibergenov tries to feed a panda, in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan province, Feb 18, 2017.
[Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
How does it feel for a foreigner to become famous in China? The 22-year-old Kazakh singer Dimash Kudaibergenov, who recently shot to fame in the country, may be the best person to provide the answer.
Kudaibergenov rose to fame in January when he first took part in "Singer 2017", a singing competition TV show. His voice instantly won hearts of Chinese audiences. Before he came to China one of his three wishes was to see pandas. And that came true on Saturday when he was named the ambassador for "I'm in China" in Chengdu in Southwest China's Sichuan province, the first stop of the "I'm in China" program.
"I'm in China" is a cultural exchanges project initiated by China International Communication Center and related institutions, in which foreign stars, online celebrities and volunteers will be invited to visit different places in China and experience local culture and custom. The opening ceremony of this event will be held in Chengdu on Friday.
His other two wishes were taking part in the TV show and meeting Jackie Chan. Now all three have come true. But that's not all. He even got a chance to feed pandas, received a gift from Jackie Chan and became a household name after the contest.
"I'm grateful that the visit to Chengdu provided me an opportunity of close contact with pandas. I hope I can travel across China to see its different landscapes," said Kudaibergenov. "I love China! I'm in China."
Apart from feeding pandas, Kudaibergenov was also invited to savor Sichuan hotpot, a famous local dish, and visit Wide and Narrow Alley, where ancient buildings dating back to the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) are still preserved.
During the tour he also discovered the close cultural connection between China and Kazakhstan. "I was so impressed by the face changing art in Sichuan Opera and was surprised to see that costumes in Sichuan Opera share similar decorative designs with Kazakh dresses."
He said he was inspired by the tour and plans to hold a concert in Chengdu, a hometown of many Chinese pop stars and winners of talent shows. "The Kazakh people are very fond of Chinese culture, and I think people here will also enjoy our Kazakh culture."
Kudaibergenov was born in a family of singers and was the winner of the Grand Prix Slavic Bazaar 2015 in Vitebsk in Russia.
The organizer of "I'm in China" said the project is an innovative effort to introduce China to foreigners. Apart from stars like Kudaibergenov, all expats living in China are welcome to join the project and they can register through the organizer's official WeChat account.