Fascinating listen. It was really interesting hearing Kaiser's story in particular. I think the running theme of wanting desperately to blend seamlessly into Chinese culture, only to encounter a "STOP" sign along the way popping up abrutly, so to speak, really resonated with me. Try as we may, foreigners will always be foreigners. As an Argentine who lived in England from the age of thirteen and speaks with a British accent, has a taste for British music and a British sense of humour, people were often dumbfounded to hear I wasn't British. Though I retained my Argentine-ness as an inextricable part of my identity, I managed simultaneously to blend in seamlessly and be treated the same as anyone.
Yet no mater how well-acquainted I may become with Chinese culture, be it contemporary, traditional, or even ancient, or how fluently I speak the language, or how long I've lived here, or how many Chinese friends I make, I will always be a foreigner to China.
On another note, I think the part that touched me the most was when Kaiser told the story of the lead singer saying "We will no longer be bullied by America" and turning to give him a distinct look as though the statement was meant for him. And just like that, a friendship of over a decade could fade in away in an instant.
I have no idea how close they remained after that, but I've seen that happen between Chinese people who have been not just friends, but comrades if you will, for years. Yet, a single utterance can threaten to shatter a friendship that has been fostered and held tight since their teenage years and which lasted well into adulthood.
Perhaps I'm barking up the wrong tree, and maybe my experiences are not representative. But if they are, where do they stem from? Could it be the importance of guanxi, that when the "value" of a frienship is spent, it's deemed no longer necessary? I'd be really interested to know not only what other foreigners think of that, but also what Echo and Amber's thoughts are.
EDIT: About the TV part, I was also interviewed for local TV during the Dragon Boat Festival last year. I spoke in English, and had a translator. I never watched it, but my Chinese friends saw it and said I was portrayed as an American who was giving away free gifts to some orphans - none of which is true. It was a truly bizarre experience!