Feature: 11 years, 290 episodes and a good wish

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, December 9, 2021
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by Xinhua writer Xue Ying

BEIJING, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Around 5 a.m. every morning, 62-year-old American Laszlo Montgomery gets out of bed and starts his daily routine of doing his China history and culture podcasts -- replying to listeners' emails, reading and writing, or recording and uploading, etc.

Before retiring from a trading company two years ago, he would never let go of the early hours each day that he could spend on podcasts before heading to work. This habit persists after his retirement, and the hours usually extend to an entire day because he enjoys it so much.

His 290 episodes of podcasts, with 2.5 million downloads a year now, cover a wide range of topics including ancient and modern Chinese history, well-known historical figures, tea culture, idioms, etc. On his Teacup Media website, he divides his episodes into three categories: China History Podcast, Tea History Podcast, and Chinese Sayings Podcast.

Montgomery began studying Chinese in 1979, the year China and the United States established diplomatic relations. He has an excellent command of the Chinese language and speaks fluent Mandarin.

Thanks to the large number of books he has read over the last 40 years, both in Chinese and English, as well as the knowledge he has gained during years of working in Hong Kong since 1989 and frequent trips to the Chinese mainland, Montgomery has become a very popular Chinese history and culture podcaster.

It has been 11 years since Montgomery launched the first China history and culture podcast in English in 2010. The posts and emails from his listeners have encouraged him to forge ahead.

Now he has 250,000 listeners all over the world, with some 46 percent in the United States, 9 percent in the Southeast Asia, and others in Europe, Africa, Latin America and China. Many listeners thank him for having provided such enlightening and free contents about China that are free of politics and innuendo.

Some Chinese descendants are particularly thankful for his podcasts as they have helped them know better of the country from which their forefathers came. Some listeners have been his fans for 10 years, one of them being a 22-year-old girl in Edinburgh, Britain, who is now a volunteer to help him collect Chinese idioms for his Chinese Sayings Podcast.

Montgomery is working even harder now. He is now increasingly concerned about China-U.S. relations. "Many Americans know little about China. And some politicians and media are keeping on putting gasoline to burn down the bilateral relations. It is burning out of control," he said.

Like a quiet foot soldier on a mission to foster friendly relations between the United States and China, Montgomery said he has doubled and tripled his efforts to present these history programs to advance mutual learning and understanding.

"My message is for people, not just Americans, to learn and understand first, then decide whether to reject or accept -- Do not reject for the sake of rejecting. Learn a little first," he said.

Deeming history "the best way to introduce a country and people," Montgomery said: "Who are their heroes? The people on their stamps? The ones portrayed in movies? Who were the great political and military leaders? These kinds of stories are a nice window for a 'mass audience' to gain a basic understanding."

"Hopefully all like-minded people who value this relationship can overcome the toxicity of the current times and we can start all over. We did it in 1972. Maybe we can do it again," he said. Enditem

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