CARRIE CHEN JUN
This month we talk to Shanghai-born, Auditor, Financial Broker, Professional Singer, Author, Multi-lingual interpreter and Business Advisor, Carrie Chen Jun.
- What brought you to Madrid in 2002?
An aeroplane! I felt like taking a break from my hectic financial career in order to focus on developing some of my other talents and having been greatly inspired by Pedro Almodóvar’s depiction of Spain as a very colourful and exotic country I decided to come and see it for myself. I was really keen to learn Spanish in order to sing Bolero songs, having been totally blown away by the Bolero song “Piensa en Mí” from Almodóvar’s film: Tacones Lejanos.
- Your life to date includes a fascinating financial and theatrical career; do these careers share any common skills?
Ah yes, juggling lots of books! I’d say you need several qualities: self-discipline, a sharp as well as an open mind, an inquisitive spirit and a knack for looking at the bigger picture. You can learn broad skills and then hone them in detail with dedication and practice later on.
- You have gone from being a shy young girl to an actress and opera singer, how has performing enriched your life?
Sticking to a script has been very instrumental in helping me overcome my shyness.
- As an experienced speech giver, what are your top tips?
Keep a positive attitude. You are on stage to share an experience with your audience. Enjoy yourself and people will enjoy it too.
- What inspired you to write books?
I have always like writing as a way of sharing stories with people and I find that writing books fulfils my creative side.
- What is your secret Madrid? Somewhere that has a special meaning for you
Ooh, I can’t reveal that, as it would no longer be a secret!
- Do you have any stories about adapting to life here in Madrid?
Well, 18:00 is evening time in China, yet it’s still afternoon in Spain. That means I live longer in Spain since I have more time in the day.
- Has anything surprised you about Spain/Madrid and its people?
The Spanish are great at improvising and love focussing on the present whereas the Chinese tend to make longer-term plans of a 5-10-year time frame. As in Spain, the Chinese value friends and family very highly and there is a strong gastronomic culture.
- How has this city changed you?
Madrid has taught me to cherish the present.
- If you could wave a magic wand, where would you go next?
I would like to stay in an underwater hotel made of glass and watch the fish.
- What Spanish customs have you absorbed into your own life here?
Consuming substantial quantities of jamón.
- You have witnessed enormous change in China over the last decades, how easy has it been for the Chinese to keep up with the enormous ongoing transformation of their country?
It has not been easy but the Chinese are flexible people, down-to-earth and hard-working. Understandably, the Chinese aspire to being better off and improving their standard of living. However, now people are beginning to realise that having a good quality of life is not always about having more money. China will continue to transform and Chinese people are an intrinsic part of this amazing process.
- What’s in store for you in the next 5 years?
Even more grey hairs…
Photo captions include Carrie’s public-speaking career; with Almódovar actress, Marisa Paredes; performing on stage and in schools and interpreting.