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In 1922, the Church of St. Paul in Canada and China signed a cooperation project, and the church sent doctors to China to treat people’s illnesses.
Among the dispatched doctors, a couple came to Shangqiu, Henan Province to treat the local people. Because the couple are willing to help others and have excellent medical skills, they are affectionately called “Dr. Rao” couple by the local people.
“Doctor Rao” and his wife have been practicing medicine in Shangqiu for three years and have developed a deep affection for China.
They would not have thought that 66 years later, their grandson Dashan also came to China and forged an indissoluble bond with China.
Dashan, whose real name is Mark Henry Roswell, was born on May 23, 1965 in Ottawa, Canada.
When Dashan was young, his parents often told him stories about his grandfather and grandma practicing medicine in China. These stories made Dashan yearn for China.
This yearning made him choose the Department of East Asia without hesitation when choosing a major in university, and he chose “Modern Chinese” in his freshman year. In his sophomore year, majored in “China Studies”.
Dashan’s academic performance is very good. When he graduated from university in 1988, he received a full scholarship and was selected for the Canada-Canada Exchange Scholars Program. He was sent by Canada to Peking University to study Chinese language and literature.
After arriving at Peking University, Dashan found that the Chinese he had learned in Canada was too “rigid” and difficult to use in daily life. In order to integrate into the life of the Chinese people and to learn Chinese better, he sacrificed the school’s preferential treatment for international students, and instead of going to the dining halls of foreign students, he went to the dining halls of Chinese students every day.
In the canteen, he paid attention to learning Chinese classmates’ movement habits and daily language, chatting with Chinese classmates, and truly integrating with Chinese classmates.
Through understanding and learning Chinese, he likes China and Chinese culture even more.
His efforts were not in vain. In 1989, he performed well when hosting the International Singing Competition and was invited as a representative of overseas students to perform the sketch “Night Return” at the CCTV New Year’s Day Gala.
The role Dashan played in the sketch is called “Xu Qiujia”, but everyone thinks that the name is a bit confusing.
In order to find a suitable name, the main creator of the sketch and Da Shan were discussing with Da Shan in the Peking University Canteen, and heard someone say: “Da Shan, hurry up and serve food.”
Hearing this name, everyone screamed, and they unanimously decided to replace “Xu Qiujia” with this name. During the official performance, Dashan said “Magnolia, please open the door” which caused the audience to laugh.
His outstanding performance made the name “Xu Dashan” popular all over the country overnight. Dashan also took advantage of the heat and changed his Chinese name from “Lu Shiwei” to “大山”.
The New Year’s Day performance not only made Dashan known to the audience, but also let him hear the cross talk “Big News” said by Jiang Kun and Tang Jiezhong.
He liked this cross talk very much, and even recorded it and listened to it repeatedly. In the process of listening repeatedly, he had the idea of worshiping Jiang Kun as a teacher.
Dashan did not indulge in imagination, he acted, contacted Jiang Kun many times, and expressed his determination to learn cross talk.
Seeing Dashan wanted to learn so sincerely, Jiang Kun promised to accept him as a disciple.
At the end of 1989, the 24-year-old Dashan formally worshipped Jiang Kun as his teacher. In the apprenticeship ceremony, Li Jindou and Liu Wei were witnesses to the apprenticeship. Tang Jiezhong, Jiang Kun and Dashan also performed a cross talk.
Although Dashan worshipped Jiang Kun as his teacher, Jiang Kun did not have much time to guide him as the leader of the China Radio and Rap Group. For more time, Da Shan is studying cross talk with his master Ding Guangquan.
In order to learn cross talk well, Da Shan is very serious.
Some traditional cross talk shows are related to history, and Da Shan often doesn’t understand the metaphors, so he keeps asking Ding Guangquan. For example, “Eight Screen Fan”, he first understands Zhang Fei, Kong Rong, Zhou Yu, Sima Guang and other historical figures and allusions, and then understands the hidden content in the paragraph, so that he can better understand the points that move the audience.
At that time, every time Dashan learned a cross talk, he understood a section of Chinese history.
Dashan’s efforts were affirmed by Master Jiang Kun and Master Ding Guangquan. They often take him to perform all over the country. Through the performance, Dashan is known by more and more people and has more performance opportunities.
In 1991, Da Shan was invited by the crew of the TV series “The Story of the Editorial Department” to act as a foreign businessman named “Wat Jeff” in the play for Hou Yaohua.
Also in this year, Da Shan served as the Public Affairs Assistant to the Ambassador of the Canadian Embassy in China.
Even if he went to work in the embassy, Dashan still did not give up his acting career.
In 1998, Dashan’s acting career reached its peak. Together with Pan Changjiang and Hei Mei, he performed the sketch “A Stamp” on the Spring Festival Gala. In the second year, Da Shan performed cross talk “Long Joy and Joy” in the Spring Festival Gala.
His popularity at the time was no less than the current Guo Degang.
However, Da Shan, who has been smooth sailing in his acting career, changed his course because of Feng Gong’s words.
Feng Gong said to him: “You are here, Dashan, and you have entered our cross talk circle. This is amazing. The next thing you need to do is to get out of this circle. If you want to continue to succeed, you must jump out of this circle. This circle.”
At that time, Dashan also wanted to create his own program, but found it difficult to achieve his goal.
Feng Gong’s words made Dashan suddenly clear. Since he can’t move on, then try another path. He decided to take the cultural messenger line based on his achievements in literature and art.
He reduced the performance time and put more energy on promoting the friendship and exchanges between China and Canada.
He began to turn to cultural exchange projects. He became a “bilingual host, cultural messenger, and China-Canada goodwill ambassador.”
His efforts have been affirmed by everyone.
In 1998, Dashan, as one of the most influential foreigners in China in the past 20 years, was included in the “New Weekly” 20-year history of figures.
In 2002, Dashan was officially included in the “Who’s Who in Canada” upon invitation.
In 2004, he was elected to the sixth “Beijing Top Ten Outstanding Youths” and became the first foreigner to receive this honor.
At the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, Dashan delivered a speech on “Multiculturalism and Global Village” as the general representative of Canada. In his speech, he described his various feelings in China for more than 20 years.
In 2012, the Prime Minister of Canada officially awarded Dashan the title of “Canada-China Goodwill Ambassador”.
Dashan is undoubtedly very successful in the cultural exchanges between China and Canada, but as he grows older, he has regained his goal of creating his own program.
After that, he started to do a solo comedy special for “Da Shan Kan Da Shan”, combining Western stand-up comedy with Chinese stand-up comedy.
Dashan started from a small bar and a small theater, directly facing the audience. He also went to more than 40 colleges and universities to do charity performances and actively participated in the talk show clubs in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
For Da Shan, he not only achieved his own career in China, but also found his own love.
In 1990, Dashan was invited to perform in Liaoning with an American band. At that time, the Chinese girl Gan Lin was in charge of the reception and coordination of the band. Before the performance, the band’s guitarist and the lead singer had a quarrel, and Gan Lin didn’t know what to do. Da Shan came forward to resolve the contradiction between the two and left a very good impression on Gan Lin.
After the performance, when he returned to Beijing, Dashan found that Gan Lin’s home was near Peking University. The two lived close, so they often chatted and dated together.
The two young men quickly got together and got married on January 23, 1993.
When they got married, both Dashan and Gan Lin’s parents had certain concerns. They were afraid that their cultural background and living habits would be different, which would affect the relationship between the couple. Fortunately, Da Shan and Gan Lin were very affectionate, and soon had a son and a daughter. They used practical actions to dispel their parents’ worries.
Today, Da Shan is 56 years old, and he still goes back and forth between China and Canada every year, loving China. He often posts short videos and reads aloud works on social platforms, and often interacts with netizens and shares his life clips.
Although he is no longer active on the cross talk stage, he has other goals and pursuits, and his life is very fulfilling.