Dec. 29 (NBD) – A Polish young man who raps in fluent Chengdu dialect, and a designer/vlogger who was born and raised in Japan are set to visually present the city of Chengdu from their unique perspectives.
The Short Video Competition – Tianfu Through the Lens, hosted by NBD, has drawn plenty of creative talents including those with international background to participate since its call for submission two weeks ago.
Filip Kobuszewski, one of the participants, who came to Chengdu five years ago and intended to be an English teacher, did not expect that he would one day become a popular rap singer in China.
Filip, born in a Polish town, listened to rap music for the first time on the radio when he was eleven and was deeply attracted to this genre of music.
Ten years later, he became interested in Chinese when studying English in a Warsaw university. Intrigued by the development and mysteriousness of China, he decided to come to Chengdu, a city he knew nothing about.
Then one day, while teaching English in a training school, Filip happened to hear songs by Fat Shady, one of the most famous local rappers, and was immediately attracted. He started learning Fat Shady's songs, and in the process found the charm of Chengdu dialect, so he decided to learn the alternative Chinese.
Language embodies the culture of a place. The better you know the language, the better you understand the place, said Filip.
Tianfu, meaning the land of plenty in Chinese that refers to the Chengdu region, was the name of Filip's first song, in which he fervently expressed his love and praise of the city. The song hit 10 million views on the day of release.
His second rap song, about local breakfast, was another instant hit. Now Filip is a received member of Chengdu's vibrant hiphop community, working together with a famous rap group to perform and compose songs.
Filip partners with Chengdu rappers to perform on China Central Television (photo/provided by Filip Kobuszewski)
"My best work is always the next one," said Filip. His goal is to present the essence underlying the famous laid-back lifestyle of Chengdu, which he thinks is difficult to capture.
Now Filip is enjoying a status of a celebrity, which he confessed he previously wouldn't even dream of. "I want to be a performer, because I want more people from home and abroad to know Chengdu better through me," said Filip.
Maki Ryu, another participant, likes to call herself a Slash Youth, as she shifts seamlessly from the role of fashion designer to short video blogger and to Chinese – Japanese translator.
Maki was given birth by Chinese parents but grew up in Japan, and she would describe herself as a fusion of two cultures when asked about her identity.
The fusion of different things in one is also Maki's impression of Chengdu, and naturally she wants to present the inclusive character of the city in her video.
In Maki's eyes, Chengdu is very modern and fashionable, but at the same time it's a city with long history and rich heritages. "You can walk slowly in the CBD and nobody would hush you, while you can also choose to start your own business and live a fast-paced life. Diverse lifestyles coexist in the city, and that's the 'slash' feature of Chengdu," said Maki.
Maki already has some ideas about the style and content of the short video. She thinks that viewers like the content that meets their expectation but goes further.
For example, when talking about food in Chengdu, hotpot will be something that Japanese people expect, but they do not know about the spicy bean sauce and Sichuan pepper used in hotpot soup, and that would be the unexpected content.