Meet Daniel—a Spiritual Advisor, Actor, and Martial Artist.
"“It’s comforting to those I minister to when I can speak their language.”
Languages: Mandarin Chinese
Grew Up In: Huntington Beach, CA
College & Majors/Minors: Asian Studies at East Los Angeles College & California State University Long Beach
Study Abroad: Taiwan
Additional Experience: Worked at a Chinese restaurant and went to a Chinese church, as well as auditioned for acting roles in the Chinese entertainment industry
How do you use your language skills in you work/career?
I use language skills to help me speak at Chinese entertainment industry/red carpet events. I have also sung Chinese songs at different public events… Knowing Mandarin Chinese has helped me in the martial arts world as I am a practitioner of Kung Fu and Karate. In addition to entertainment and martial arts, I am a pastor and work directly with the Chinese community in San Gabriel Valley and Irvine. It’s comforting to those I minister to when I can speak their language.
What is the biggest misconception Americans have about learning languages?
The biggest misconception Americans have about learning languages is that it is difficult. Any skill you are learning for the first time takes time and effort. You are not going to get the language overnight, especially if you did not grow up speaking the language at home. You are a lifelong learner of the language.
Do you have an interesting, moving, or humorous anecdote featuring your language skills to share?
I was in Chinatown, San Francisco, and I overheard a woman singing a very famous Mandarin song titled “The Moon Represents My Heart” by Teresa Teng. There were not a lot of people watching at the time… I instantly started walking up to the woman that was singing and started singing along. She handed me the microphone and everyone was shocked that I knew this song. A huge crowd gathered around in the middle of Chinatown like never before. The performance was powerful because I was then able to perform dance right alongside viral sensation “Grant Avenue Follies.” These Asian Grandmas were able to rap in English and I was able to sing in Chinese. While doing this we were able to promote Stop Anti-Asian Hate and Black Lives Matter at the same time, being united together with a genuine cross-cultural exchange.
Then tell us how you put your language skills to work @LangConnectsFdn on social media.