1. People often recognize you as an experienced English news reader on TV, do you think your TV image has formed part of your social identity?
Yes, of course. Everyone has his social identity, whether he is literally "within" or "without" the society. Even a hermit who lives in seclusion or a bank robber has his social identity.--"Non-social" or "anti-social" is his social identity. There's just no way for us to escape. There are some people whose social identities seem to be more "social" than others because they represent public images, and I am supposed to be one of those. For many people, my social identity is the guy who reads something on TV in a language alien to theirs, and they know me by face, but don't know what I'm saying. I'm just joking. But "identity" is indeed an interesting word, it refers to something that identifies with your true self, something that makes you what you are. In this way, it seems, one should only have one identity, the one and only. But that's apparently not the case with us. We often find several, if not many, identities linked to us that depend upon different situations: when you are with a lot of people, when you are with relatively fewer people, when you are with "that specific person", or, when you are alone, with yourself. So which one is supposed to be true? Or perhaps they are all true? And this means we all live in schizophrenia---or schizo-personalities---in some sense.
2. To what extent has this professional role set your course of life?
To a great extent. It may be accidental what you choose to be your profession at first, but once you make the choice, you have blocked the way to other choices, and everything is set to go along the track you take. There might be points in my life---and in anyone else's life---when chances were equal for me to become a TV anchorman, a hermit, or a gang member. I don't mean I've ever considered being a gang member. What I'm trying to say is that a person has all the potential, or hidden energy (benign or malignant), to realize himself, but he has to choose only one way at a time, this or that, and he will live the kind of life that best suits his choice. No viewer's life would be affected if I was not doing this job, but my course of life would certainly not be the same.
3. The TV business has made what you are, and you have also made the TV program what it is. How do you make TV your means of personal fulfillment?
TV really gives me a sense of fulfillment, but it's not personal enough. If we're talking about fulfillment as accomplishment or consequences, as a kind of effort to change something, then TV-making is perhaps on the top of the list. No other business has ever had such a great influence on people's way of living and thinking than television. As a TV worker, I'm certainly glad to see that my work is producing such tangible results. But, wait, it's not my work, it's our work. TV production is highly social, it involves collective labor rather than personal creativity. That's why I say it's not personal enough. But there's still some personal side in it: sometimes when I'm on the street or in a restaurant, I would hear people say: "Hey, look! That's the guy who speaks English on TV." At that moment, my little vanity gets satisfied. That's human weakness, and it's fairly personal.
4. If you prefer some other media of expression, what are they? And why?
It may be one of those more conventional and private means of expression, like writing. When you write, you don't have to think of anything other than what you want to express. You can be wholly faithful to yourself without offending others, and that's an absolute sense of freedom. You can say writing is the kind of game that allows much space for individual wisdom and creativity, though not so gorgeous and dazzling as the game of television.
5. It seems that you are widely read, what is the book that has influenced your life most and how?
It's really hard to name a specific book that has such a magic power. Truly, reading is like magic to me, but no single bible in this world can do that. It's like preparing a magic potion: you need to mix up all kinds of herbs and minerals and maybe animal bloods to get a powerful liquid that changes life. So, before I'm given the power to know, to love and to think wisely, I still got a lot more to mix and drink.
6. Looking back, how will you describe your trajectory of thinking influenced by the Chinese and Anglo Cultures?
My pre-college reading was largely based on traditional Chinese literature, combined with limited access to Western classics as Greek mythology and Shakespeare and some other familiar names. My college major was English language and Anglo-American culture. That opened a door for me and led me all the way into a deeper space of Western culture. Years of omnivorous reading has made me a cultural internationalist. My thinking is now the result of an interaction between different cultures and traditions, each of them having its unique charm and wisdom, each of them telling a truth of itself. I don't like to be a disciple of any single tradition or thought, whether it be Chinese or Anglo or Latin or Indian, Buddhism or Christianity or atheism. I have equal faiths in all valuable spiritual sources and I draw from them, 'cause I believe that great minds never conflict, they only echo, and complement each other. And in this way, I'm proud of being a cultural hybrid.