TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Hong Kong singer Eason Chan (陳奕迅) rebuffed demands by Chinese fans to speak Mandarin instead of Cantonese at a concert in Macau.
On Oct. 13, Chan kicked off his "Fear and Dreams" concert tour in Macau. As is often the case with his concerts, Chan began to casually chat in Cantonese with the audience between songs.
During the show, several Chinese audience members started to shout and boo. They repeatedly interrupted him demanding that he "Speak Mandarin!"
At one point, Chan paused and glared sideways at the audience in silence. He then smiled and uttered a greeting in Thai before switching to English to say, "I love speaking whatever way and language I want," sparking applause and cheers from the audience.
Chan then took the opportunity to educate the fans on courtesy by saying in Mandarin, "You could say, 'Could you please speak Mandarin,' that would sound better." He said that when someone demands he "Speak Mandarin," it's not that he's unable to speak the language, but he is reluctant because of how the request was made.
He said the preferable way to ask would be to add a "thank you, please, or could you" to the question. Breaking into a combination of Engish and Mandarin, Chan said "No, don't get me wrong. If someone says, 'Speak English!' to me, I just say 'Shut up!' If you don't understand, that's fine."
Chan began to speak in Cantonese again and used the late British singer David Bowie as an example. "If David Bowie came to perform, would you also ask him to speak Mandarin or Cantonese?" Exasperated at the situation, Chan said "It's strange, it really is!"
After venting his frustration, Chan said that he should put his earpiece back in and focus on performing rather than lecturing. After the incident, "Eason Chan was asked to speak Mandarin during his Macau concert" became the top trending search topic on Weibo on Oct. 14, which resulted in heated discussions among netizens.
Some Chinese nationalists criticized Chan's reaction as rude and demeaning to fans from China, while some wondered if he avoided speaking Mandarin because he was "unpatriotic." However, the vast majority of netizens believed that there was nothing wrong with Chan's reaction, reported CNA.
In a related discussion thread on Weibo, some netizens asked, "Cantonese is also a language of China, why can't it be spoken?" Many netizens said that Chan spoke very well and argued that "you have to be polite while watching a concert," Others emphasized that Cantonese is the official language of Hong Kong and Macao, and "it is natural to speak Cantonese" in those places.