The Diary of Adeline Foo in Beijing April 26 2012

Hello from Beijing!

Here are some participants who attended the China-Singapore Publishing Symposium. From left to right, Daniel Ho from People’s Trend, Evelyn Chia from Pan Asia Publishing, Catherine Khoo from Janus Education, (me) Adeline Foo and Edmund Wee, CEO & Publisher from Epigram Books.

Here’s a household name in MediaCorp Channel 8 dramas, Edmund Chen (the other Edmund, also the other author, on this trip).

I remember when I was a teenager, I used to watch Edmund on TV.  I envied him for his easy switch between use of English and Mandarin in speaking; I was never comfortable, nor good, with my mother tongue. Preparing for this trip had been a nerve-wrecking experience. For someone who prepares for a school presentation just the night before the talk, I’ve had to rely on quick thinking to get through speeches.  But this is China, and this presentation is in Chinese!  I can’t think and speak fast in Mandarin!  Arrrghhhh!

So what was the hardest part in preparing for my talk?  Well, what do you call Amos in Chinese?

The original computer-aided translation was 阿莫斯 李的日记, but I thought it sounded really weird!  I had to work on sooooo many permutations before coming up with this, something that sounded like ‘er mo xi’. But how do you write that? My son, Ben, helped me to install an app for Chinese word recognition.  I went through hundreds of characters before deciding on 儿模施的日记. The last word was inspired from the names of one of China’s four greatest beauties, Xi Shi. Then what about ‘I Sit, I Write, I Flush’? I liked this one which a friend suggested:  我上大号、写日记、冲马桶!It sounded really cocky, something naughty that Amos would say in Mandarin!  I’m also pleased with the other translations for Book #2 and Book #3:

Girls, Guts & Glory: 有女生真烦! 要成名太难!

I’m 12, I’m Tough, I Tweet!: 十二岁的我很威风,因为我会发微博!

There’s more than just translating titles in the presentation, of course, but for this blog, I thought it’s enough to share this. So, after surviving the presentation, how did we celebrate? In Beijing, over Peking duck of course!  A quick check with locals led us to this quaint, run down Peking duck restaurant called ‘Liqun’ (definitely an ‘F’ rated dining place for hygiene, see pictures!) But we’re all good foodies, we eat everything that’s served, and we don’t ask if the cooks ever wash their hands!

It was a really eventful trip, thanks to the Media Development Authority and organisers from EonBoo Publishing who made it possible. Hopefully, this first symposium would pave the way for more authors from Singapore to enter the China market.

Work aside, how did the Peking duck rate? I gave it a five-star, while Edmund (not the author, but the publisher) said Singapore still has the best Peking duck.  But he’s not telling where because he doesn’t want the place to be swarmed by people.

Cheers from Beijing!

Adeline Foo