When our client emailed requesting for a writer who “can speak and understand Chinese, isn’t fussy about what she eats, and can take decent photos”, there was only one Material girl for the job.
Our clients always expressed surprised when they find out that co-founder Debs (DT) could speak and write in Mandarin quite proficiently. Although she’s not had the opportunity to pen an entire article in Mandarin, Debs’ knowledge of the language and interest in Chinese culture were put to good use recently with Tiger Tales, Tigerair’s inflight magazine.
In April, she visited Wuxi and Suzhou to write a travel story to promote the carrier’s new flight route there. Soon after, in May, she was sent to Zhengzhou to for the same purpose. Her thoughts on the project below:
So why did Tiger Tales need someone who could speak and understand Mandarin?
DT: The guides on both trips spoke primarily in Mandarin. I think it was for the better that the tours were conducted in Chinese because this allowed the guides to fully explain the meanings behind some of the attractions and why they were built in a certain manner. For instance, Wuxi was named as such because the ancient Chinese who lived there had a saying, “有锡有兵，无锡有宁” (Direct translation: “Got tin, got soldiers. No tin, got peace) . The area was once rich in tin deposits and that led to many wars being fought there. It was only when the tin was depleted did peace return to the area.
What are some things that irk you when you travel?
DT: 1. Fussy, unadventurous eaters. I’m a strong believer that food is one of the best ways to learn about a place and its people. This said, there are stuff I draw the line at: dog meat, sharks fin, and any exotic stuff that’s been cruelly obtained.
2. People who are only out to get a good Instagram shot. Sure, I get that taking photos is an integral part of travelling. However, I think if you are only focused on taking pictures and neglecting to learn more about an attraction or the history of a place, you have travelled for naught.
3. Flyers who lack self-awareness. As the saying goes, “We’re all in this together”. Flying Economy for hours is uncomfortable and passengers who only think of their own comfort make life miserable for everyone.
Any tips for flying with Tigerair?
DT: If you can afford it, pay the extra for a seat upfront or for a seat at the emergency exit. You get more legroom and more personal space. On the flight back from Shenzhen (the route to Zhengzhou hadn’t been launched yet), I “upgraded” my seat to one in the first row and had all three seats to myself. I was also the first to get off the plane, which was awesome cos I really couldn’t wait to go home at 4am!