Eason Chan Refuses Fan’s Mandarin Request, Ignites Debate

When a fan shouted at Chan to speak Mandarin, he refused and chastised audience members

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7:03 PM HKT, Thu October 19, 2023 1 mins read

Hong Kong Cantopop icon Eason Chan scolded fans at his concert in Macau, after they demanded the artist speak Mandarin instead of Cantonese.

In a viral video clip circulating online, a fan interrupts Chan’s comments about the inspirations behind his tour, requesting that he “speak Mandarin.”

However, Chan didn’t receive the comment well. He responded in English, saying, “I love speaking in whatever way and language I want.”

Eason Chan responded further, addressing the comment by saying, “You can say, ‘Do you mind speaking in Mandarin?’ But you said, ‘Speak Mandarin!’ Yes, I can speak Mandarin, and I can do so fluently.”

“You can ask nicely, say ‘excuse me,’ ‘please,’ and ‘sorry to trouble you,’” he added. “Don’t misunderstand me. Even if someone speaks English to me like this today, I'll tell them to shut up!”

His comments were met with a largely appreciative response from the crowd in Macau, where Cantonese is the primary language spoken.

“If it were David Bowie performing here today, would they ask him to speak Mandarin? It’s so strange!”

“I think I better put my headset on and continue singing,” he finished, joking that his focus was on his performance rather than on giving a lecture.

Chan was Spotify’s most-streamed artist in Hong Kong from 2016 to 2020

Eason Chan’s reaction to the incident garnered mixed responses among Chinese netizens. While some sided with him and criticized the audience members for being impolite, others had different opinions.

“Chan’s statement conveys the sentiment that while attendees are indeed consumers, there is an expectation of courtesy," read one Weibo post from a major music channel. “It encourages individuals to remember the importance of basic human decency, such as saying ‘please’ or ‘excuse me’ when making requests, before asserting their rights as consumers.”

The account drew parallels between this incident and past impolite behavior by fans at concerts, like stealing glow sticks and blocking view of the stage in order to take photos.

Not all netizens shared the same opinion, though. Some felt that Chan’s response came across as arrogant, commenting that it would lead to a disconnect with his fanbase.

“For the upper class, the most serious form of arrogance is when they forget their humble origins, perceive themselves as distinct from ordinary people, and begin to look down upon the working class,” wrote one Weibo user. “It can lead to these individuals distancing themselves from the masses, and eventually being abandoned by the people they once connected with.”

Images via YouTube, Wikimedia Commons

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