- Do you like painting or drawing?
I don’t like either, to be honest. I’m just not artistically talented and really struggled in art class when I was little.
- How often do you visit art galleries?
Well, I try to every time I’m visiting a new city. I’m mostly into older periods, though. Can’t stand most contemporary art.
- What kinds of things do you like to draw?
Well like I said, I’m not big on drawing or painting. The best I can do is stick figures really. But I remember when I was in primary school, my uncle bought me a drawing book and I really enjoyed drawing one of the rabbits.
- Is it easy to learn how to draw?
For me, no. The thing is, you need to at least have some interest to learn and I never had that. I’ve never felt the urge to draw something so strong that I was willing to take a lesson.
- Have you ever learned painting in your childhood?
Well, yes. We did have a class in primary and middle school, and water colour and traditional Chinese ink painting were taught.
- Do you like art shows/displays/exhibitions?
Only the ones that I have an interest in, the older ones. I try my best to avoid contemporary art exhibitions. You can call me old-fashioned or uncultured, but a lot of contemporary art is utter nonsense in my eyes.
- Have you ever been to an art museum?
Yes, I have. I’ve been to many actually. The one I enjoyed the most was probably the little gallery in Bath, England. I can’t even remember its name now since it’s been too long, but some of the oil paintings there were really quite exquisite and some of the best I’ve ever seen.
There’s also a museum in my hometown that often displays traditional Chinese paintings and I go there when I don’t have anything else to do. It’s a nice little place to spend a quiet afternoon.
- Do you think a person can teach him or herself how to draw?
I guess so. Although I can’t draw myself, I guess one can learn all the necessary knowledge from books. I think the most important part is practice rather than taking lessons, much like most other skills in life.
- Do you think young children should learn to paint at school?
Yes, I do. Painting is one of the most important parts of any culture and every child should be given the chance to learn this great art. Admittedly, it’s not for everyone, but it’s a great way for those who are talented in fine art to find their niche.
- Why do you think some people buy wall paintings?
Well, there are several reasons. First of all, some people are art enthusiasts and it’s nice to be able to own something that you appreciate. Second，some people are what we call investors. They buy paintings as an investment that they can make a profit from. Also, I guess there are people who use wall paintings purely to decorate their homes.
- Do you like to wear hats?
Well, I kind of did when I was little, but not any more.
- What kinds of hats do you have?
I don’t have any hats right now. When I was in primary school, I had what we called a Lei Feng hat, which was very popular among school kids in winter up in the northeast. It was basically a very thick cotton hat with long flaps that cover a large part of your face so you don’t feel cold in sub-zero weather.
- Where do you like to buy hats?
There used to be a lot of shops that sold military supplies and that’s where we bought our Lei Feng hats. We don’t have those any more ‘cause I think the military’s not allowed to do business now.
- Is wearing hats popular in your country?
Probably not any popular as in the West and I have no idea why. It’s just never been a tradition to wear hats as a fashion accessory.
- On what occasions do you wear hats?
Well, I know people who wear hats as part of their uniforms on formal occasions. As for myself, I don’t wear them that often.
- When should people wear hats?
I think if your uniform includes a hat, you should wear it, like police officers or soldiers. And people working or buildings sites are required to wear hard hats. Apart from those, I don’t know any other occasions where hats are a requirement.
- How often do you buy other people gifts?
Not that often, to be honest, and it’s not because I’m frugal. I make a decent living. It’s just that choosing a gift can be such a difficult task, especially if it’s for someone you don’t know that well.
- Do you like to send expensive gifts?
No, I don’t. It’s kind of a tradition in China where people think the price of your gift equals a how much a person cares about the relationship. I’ve never found the justification for that. I don’t think my love for another person can be measured by how much money I spend one them. That said, I do feel excited when someone buy me something expensive. I guess that makes me a hypocrite.
- What kinds of gifts are popular in your country?
Well, this may sound very strange to people living in Western countries, but on important holidays like the Spring Festival, people buy each other food and drinks, like fruit and Coke. But the most popular ones are alcohol and cigarettes. I find that strange too, that some people would buy their friends or relatives something that slowly kills them!
- Why do people send gifts?
I think giving someone gifts is a great way to strengthen your relationship with them, because who doesn’t like gifts! Another less obvious reason is that a large part of our lives has been highly commercialized, so sending gifts has become something of a tradition in many countries, which not many people realise.
- Do you think it is important to send gifts?
Well, the practice itself is an important part of our social life but I don’t think it should be taken too seriously by people, e.g. getting upset when they don’t receive anything from a certain person. It doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like you.
- When did you last get a gift?
A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine bought me some really beautiful bookmarks, which had images of cute cats on them. She knew I loved cats and I had been looking for bookmarks.
- Do you send gifts to others for their birthdays?
Yes, I do occasionally, but like I said, I never enjoy it ‘cause it’s so hard to think of the right gift for someone. This may sound funny but I bought eye drops for my ex-girlfriend because she kept complaining about her eyes being dry. I’m not sure she was impressed by the choice. That may or may not be the reason I’m single now.