China Radio and Television 2001.12 (the second part)
Except for her age, all other information about Sha Bihong is clear: writer, poet, playwright, member of China Writers Association, student returning from abroad… Her drama script Untitled Drama ABC has been highly praised by industry insiders; her film script Catch the Hands of Dreams has been broadcast in CCTV for many times; her film script True Love for This Life and her TV cartoon series Little Red Child. Sha Bihong has also published collections of poems, collections of essays, novels etc. In 1994, she entered China Central Television. Since then, she has shot more than 500 series and episodes of documentaries and feature films. Now she is hostess of the program Story.
I had asked to meet with Sha Bihong for many times, but the meeting had been delayed again and again because she was too busy. One day, I got her phone call, in which she asked me to go to her office at half past three in the afternoon. Afterwards, our meeting was delayed by half an hour. We chose a place with big trees and lawns for our talking. Though there were no chairs or tables, Sha Bihong’s continuous topics attracted me to go into her inner emotional world.
A Loving Heart
No matter in front of or behind the camera, Sha Bihong always talks neither hastily nor slowly. Her well-arranged telling makes you maintain a peaceful mind led by her.
She says she is too busy now, but she is pleased to do every single thing. She is not content with just acting as host. She also works as program writer, director, producer etc. she says she shouldn’t be a struggler tightly oppressed by time, but a singer and dancer full of pastoral charm, which she dreamed from childhood.
Sha Bihong’s ancestral home is in Jiangsu Province. The beautiful landscape there has endowed her with exquisite appearance and witty temperament, while the broad and rich Northeast Plain has brought her a generous and chivalrous personality. She is a romantic and pragmatic woman being influenced by various regions.
Sha Bihong says she pursues beautiful things, but not doctrines. She advocates beauty, because beauty includes sincerity and kindness. Sincerity and kindness defines what she is in life. Last year, the feature documentary Social Care- A Follow-up Interview of a Female Reporter on the Campaign Against Human Trafficking (twelve episodes) was directed by her to record the work of her colleagues and her. In the documentary, she had a heart-to-heart talk with a criminal. Her sincerity made the criminal give up hiding his sins. Moved by her, the criminal revealed all circumstances of crime, so that the recording of dialogues between them became the basis for trial. This shows that she is not a person who draws a clear line between love and hate. The kindness in her heart makes hate nowhere to hide.
She says her kindness has been given by her mother. She always has much to say about her mother. Sha Bihong’s mother was a doctor. When Sha Bihong was very young, she had seen her mother offering free treatment to patients from impoverished villages in Northeast China for many times. Mother’s character was highly respected by villagers. Before mother was transferred from the countryside, countless villagers came to see mother off kneeling along the way. Since then, she has been regarding mother as a great and kind person. Mother always taught her to tolerate the whole world and contribute to others. The relationship between mother and her is true friendship. After she grew up and left her, mother kept sending the first new leaf and the first fallen petal in her yard to her every year. Mother often promised her: we would watch and admire the moon together at a certain time of a day. At that time, Sha Bihong always felt excited. When she was watching the moon, it seemed that she could see mother’s eyes looking at her, which often made her burst into tears at that moment.
As she grew up, she hardly encountered any sad things. Only her mother’s death in 1998 left her in sorrow for two years. During the two years, sometimes when the wind was blowing her clothes, she would suddenly feel like mother touching her gently. As she came to herself and recognized the wind, she would again start weeping. Last year, the reason that she had the courage to direct Social Care- A Follow-up Interview of a Female Reporter on the Campaign Against Human Trafficking and participated in fighting human trafficking, in her words, was the strength given by mother. When she packed her bags and started off, she prayed to mother like this: Mother, I am going to rescue a group of suffering women and children! Under the most terrible conditions, as long as she thought of mother, she could overcome any difficulties.
She says the pain of missing mother has been with her until today. This year, though she often thought of mother, the painful memory has transformed into a deep missing.
At the age of 45
Sha Bihong has a special longing for the age of 45. She doesn’t long for the success, recognition or a bumper harvest, but leisure and peace at 45. In her imagination, at the age of 45, she would have plenty of quiet and secluded time to sow all kinds of words, from which all kinds of pure, beautiful and touching stories that can achieve harmony and happiness around the world can be grown. She always has a strong wish for writing. Currently no matter how busy she is, she still keeps writing, on the plane, in the hotel or in the journey. She never regards writing as a heavy task. Instead, she says writing is refreshing and such a good thing which will be her first priority at 45.
At the age of 45, she will also grow some flowers and plants when she is not writing, so that she can beautifully decorate her small garden. She will pick up painting brushes, needles and threads to draw paintings and do embroidery, which are her unique skills. If she has more time, she will tailor and sew all kinds of clothes. She says just at one sight of beautiful clothes, she can immediately reproduce one that is totally identical with the original one. All in all, in Sha Bihong’s eyes, the age of 45 is a middle-aged period like a colorful fairy tale. In fact, Sha Bihong has an innocent heart at any time. In 1993, she was studying in Germany. Suddenly one day, she heard the news that fairy tale poet Gu Cheng had passed away. She cried bitterly for a long while, even wishing people not to blame his behaviors from legal and moral perspectives. In her opinions, Gu Cheng is a figure in fairy tales, who regard life and death as two closely connected gardens.
Being Host for the First Time
Being a program host was an unthinkable dream to Sha Bihong four months ago. However, suddenly one day, producer Xiao Xiaolin invited her to participate in a preparatory meeting of the program Story, during which all the participants were in dilemma about choosing a host. The chief editor Zhang Guofei had an inspiration without making any efforts in an instant: “I’ve got it. Sha Bihong is the right person.” Xiao Xiaolin’s eyes brightened: “Oh, yes! Why didn't I think of that?” All the trust had pushed Sha Bihong to be a host. Since she had some work at hand, Xiao Xiaolin gave her a deadline: formally take up the post after four months. However, just after twenty days, Xiao Xiaolin suddenly noticed her to be on the program the next day. Although she had been an on-camera correspondent and had calmly interviewed presidents, millionaires and various celebrities, she still felt nervous about being host for the first time. The light lit up in a flash, she nearly misspoke the first sentence by saying “welcome to the program of Half the Sky” instead of “welcome to the program of Story” (she had once worked for Half the Sky). But after all, Sha Bihong was such a passionate woman that after a momentary confusion, she immediately concentrated herself on stories on the stage. Her profound cultural background, quick wit and elegant temperament all shone brilliantly in the program. After the program recording, all the audience in the studio had been moved. Xiao Xiaolin and chief editor Liang Hong all went to congratulate her by hugging and exchanging high-fives. Soon Sha Bihong had been working as a host for more than four months. During this period, unlike the confident her in the past, she always patiently asked her friends for advice. Her friends all joked with her about her modesty, while she smiled in return: I am in pursuit of perfection. Before the National Day, during a symposium, she asked for pertinent advice from her superior-Director of the Social and Educational Center Gao Feng in CCTV: “I only want to listen to your advice about my weak points. I can accept any sharp words.” Gao Feng pondered for a moment with his hands on the chest, and then he said seriously: “You are excellent, really excellent.” After hearing Gao Feng’s evaluation, she was full of emotional thoughts besides being touched: The first step towards being a host has been recognized by leaders and experts, but how about the audiences? Now she is considering the advice from audiences that she has to speak faster. She says she will learn widely from others' strong points while maintaining her own style. She cannot say that she is the best host, but she hopes to become one of the best. (Editor: Wang Ying)