Iain McDaniels

1 June 2020

Of course Mark has been a huge influence on my life as a teacher. He pushed me to focus on tones in a way that no one had explained to me before and the Newspaper Chinese class helped me land my first “real” job at the US-China Business Council.
But who would have thought that the 1995 Asian Music festival would have had an impact on my life. I wasn’t even supposed to be there, but the chance to hang out with Mark (and Anita) and learn some Mandopop songs was too good to pass up. It was fun, of course, to sing “A-Mei”, but the message of trying to woo your sweetheart while lacking any measurable means of support (虽然我没汽车洋房…) hit a little too close to home. The real stand out for me was the Zhang Xueyou song “你给我的爱最多”. It was fun and felt like rock and roll, albeit by 1995 pop standards. Fast forward about 15 years. Sitting at a banquet table, we were trying to close a deal over far too many shots of 白酒. My negotiating counterpart stood up, rather unsteadily, and sang a pretty fine version of “Country Roads”. When it was my turn, I busted out Zhang Xueyou and somehow all the lyrics came back to me. What I lacked in talent, I made up for in enthusiasm and the whole table joined in by about the second verse. Whether it was because of or in spite of my singing that we closed the deal, I will probably never know. But anyone that was there and heard me sing at the original event in 1995 could probably make a well-informed guess…
Thanks, Mark! Hope to see you and Teri in the not too distant future.