Jessica Hsuan Forgets Her Name in Mandarin

A few days ago, former TVB actress, Jessica Hsuan (宣萱), traveled to Taiwan to record a promotional clip for the action drama, Tiger Cubs <飛虎>, which premiered on Taiwan’s TVBS Entertainment Channel on September 28.

Jessica had numerous outtakes while filming the one-minute clip, as Jessica frequently mispronounced her character’s name in Mandarin. Jessica apologized and laughed, “The first two words of my name have retroflex consonants, so I can’t really pronounce it. The cameraman also gave me only six seconds to say my line. This is even harder than memorizing dialogue!”

The 42-year-old actress admitted that it has been nine years since she has last been to Taiwan, and that she never had a chance to practice her Mandarin since then. Her last visit to Taiwan was in 2003 when she had to promote Square Pegs <戇夫成龍>.

When Jessica came to Taiwan to promote A Step into the Past <尋秦記> in 2001, the crew took her around the streets of Taiwan and introduced her to Taiwanese cuisine and night market dishes. It was an unforgettable experience for Jessica. As Jessica expressed her wishes to try Taiwanese dishes again, a crew member surprised Jessica with a dish of duck tongue, which she immediately devoured. She sighed, “It has been ten years since I’ve last tasted Taiwanese food. I want to try and eat everything!”

Jessica humorously added, “If I can have more chances to come to Taiwan for promotions, I will be able to talk about the lovely food, and I’m sure my Mandarin will improve tenfold!”

Tiger Cubs premiered on Taiwan’s TVBS Entertainment Channel on September 28, and airs five episodes a week. Launched in 1993, TVBS is a subsidiary of TVB that is based entirely in Taiwan. TVBS occasionally produces their own Taiwanese dramas as well, such as Love Contract <愛情合約>, which starred Ariel Lin (林依晨) and Mike Ha (賀軍翔), and I Do? <幸福的抉擇>, which starred Annie Liu (劉心悠) and Blue Lan (藍正龍).


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  1. Random: lol 飛虎– Fei Hu, means Flying Tiger but it became Tiger Cubs…I like Flying Tiger name more

    Back on topic, I look up her Mandarin name and it was 宣萱 xuan xuan means Jessica, it have the same sound so hm.. i don’t get how she forget her own name but it’s funny.

    In addition, a girl who can eat is dazzeling, girl+guy keeps going on crazy diet… -_-

    1. She did not really forget how to pronounce her own name in Mandarin. It’s her character’s name in TC that she couldn’t remember.

  2. What xactly does Jessica do? She doesn’t film for TVB, nor for any other Cantonese stations. But now she’s saying she never uses Mandarin so she doesn’t film in Mainland either?

    1. I am about to ask the same question. WTF did she do when she filmed in Mainland if she could only practice Mandarin when she was in Taiwan?

      1. @ Hannah

        Yes, they all get dubbed. But their mouths move like they are speaking Mandarin – I think. And anyway, how does she communicate with the rest of the cast and crew?

      2. Maybe that was why she got into all kinds of misunderstanding and bad blood with the crew and costars while filming in Mainland.

        From the Chinese’ persprective, getting these HK actors/ actresses are really no differnent than getting Koreans, it seems.

      3. I think they have the option of speaking mandarin or cantonese when they film in China. they will be dubbed afterall

        I watched an episode of happy camp with Ada with the cast of Zhen Huan Biography, and they said she starts her lines in mandarin, with the main gist of it in cantonese, and finishes in mandarin.

  3. She is not a mandarin speaker so not able to speak mandarin even her name is understandable although I am surprised because I always thought she does her homework.

    1. We bash Christine and the other newbies for not being able to speak cantonese, but how about these veterans who can’t even speak mandarin properly after years of filming in mainland!?

      1. Good question. However, I fear irrational answers are soon to follow 😉

      2. Simply double standard? Because these newbies are newbies, its perfectly to bash them and many ppl will join. But to more established artists, there will have excuses.

      3. “We bash Christine and the other newbies for not being able to speak cantonese, but how about these veterans who can’t even speak mandarin properly after years of filming in mainland!?”

        Because Christine and other newbies are not dubbed in series. Veterans in china are dubbed. And some do prefer them dubbed.

        Frankly some HK artistes can’t even speak cantonese properly despite being cantonese speaker, more so mandarin and not being mandarin speaker.

      4. But is not their fault that tvb is too cheap to hire good dubbbing artists! Christine really sounds so bad I can’t understand half of what she says. It’s like garbled orcish

      5. Why should TVB hire any dubbing artiste? They of course have their own dubbing dept. The actor or actress should strive to work their accent rather than depending on dubbers.

      6. And please Christine wasn’t that bad. King Kong was worse and no one condemn him for it.

      7. I thought Christine was worse than King kong mainly because King Kong doesn’t have to make long speeches. Like his role in King Maker. But Christine had quite a few monologues in GJ2, like that one when the man died in her clinic.. that I have to rewind to watch the subtitles. Thus I didnt feel that his cantonese was worse than Christine. Christine.. Well, I can understand when it’s 3 -5 words, beyond that .. forget it.

      8. King kong gets a pass b/c he’s funny. Christine talks like a monotonous robot and u still can’t understand her.

      9. Remind me of one thing: Ytd I went to watch Resident Evil 5 and surprisingly, Li Bing Bing acts like a robot in this one, even that she is dubbed. It’s because she still has to speak English to fit the line when dubbing, it makes her acting forced.

      10. Very unfair to Christine. King Kong is worst in TVB in terms of speaking cantonese and yet poor girl got the flak. I didn’t think she was that terrible.

      11. So? Cantonese is terrible. You can be the best actor in the world but if no one can understand you, what’s the point?

      12. Errr sorry, who is King Kong and what was his role in King Maker?

      13. My aunt is watching GJ2 now. She thinks Christine’s acting is pretty good. She said Christine was awful in TC, but, improved a lot in GJ2.

      14. “So? Cantonese is terrible. You can be the best actor in the world but if no one can understand you, what’s the point?”

        Act in mute roles?

      15. The deaf US actress Marlee Matlin is the only one I can think of who has made a career out of it, but yeah, she’s definitely an exception rather than the norm.

        Anyway, back to the topic, I agree with Nicole that these veterans seem to get away with what newbies can’t. It seems to me that established names or veterans can be cast for a role regardless of their language proficiency or accent. Examples include the already-popular Korean stars who have acted in Taiwanese idol dramas despite speaking near-zero Mandarin, and even though Taiwanese dramas generally don’t do dubbing, exceptions are made for these stars.

    2. There are many non Cantonese speakers who are acting in Txb and their Cantonese are being bashed, like Nicole stated. So Jessica should be requested for good Mando as she worked in China years.

      1. Instead of bashing Jessica or christine we should be bashing tab who can’t afford to hire good dubbers! I love good quality china dubbing!

      2. I’ve heard Jessica speak mandarin on various interviews and I think her mandarin is pretty fluent. Maybe it’s because Taiwanese use a slightly different version of mandarin to mainland.

      3. I check out Jess’s Tiger Cub’s character’s name. The name is 莊卓嬅, pinyin will be Zhang Zhuo Hua. Not that easy to pronounce.

      4. If I’m not wrong, it’s “Zhuang” not “Zhang”, so yes, I believe many people will pronounce it wrong 😛

  4. I agree that some of these vets are let off the hook way too easily.

    Richie Ren and Shu Qi — I’m looking at you guys. Comeon, you’ve been in HK cinema for over 15 years. Well, Shu Qi’s accent is OK now but it tooka goddamn long time. Richie Ren however, I just have to shake my damn head.

    1. I don’t think richie ren spends as much time in Hk anymore so of course his Cantonese has gotten worse. Like I remember wu chun could speak some Cantonese before but now he can’t anymore. Shu qi’s Cantonese is pretty good, what more do u want?

  5. Jessica studied oversea when she was 11 pretty young. It does make sense that her mandarin is not fluent. She once posted on her fan web that she had hard time to learn mandarin script during film in Singapore. I have to admit mandarin is hard language to learn 🙂 Cantonese is easier probably I am vietnamese as vietnamese is pretty close with cantonese in term of words, gramma and pronounciatilon

    1. Not really and it really depends on the person… Mandarin can be easier for some than Cantonese is… It just varies.

    2. Actually Mandarin is easier. If you learn cantonese first and then mandarin, probably you will be ok. But if you learn mandarin first and then cantonese, there will always be that accent.

      1. I don’t find that to be true at all.

        Picking up canto first after living in HK for 5yrs as an expat, I had all sorts of problems later on in learnign Mandarin because I kept confusing the tones of the words. I had to work hard to completely erase my canto in order to perfect my Mando.

        Such is the price one must pay.

    3. Actually some of my friends finds mandarine much more alike Vietnamese, and they also said that mandarin is easier to learn than Cantonese :s

      But I think the same as you, Cantonese and Vietnamese does sounds more similar than Vietnamese and mandarin.

      1. It depends the word.. I know Mandarin, Vietnamese and Cantonese(but not as well as the other 2, but enough)and some words/phrases are similar, but a lot of them are different too…

      2. One example that I can think of off the top of my head where Cantonese sounds more like Vietnamese is the word for secret which in Vietnamese is: Bi Mat and in Cantonese is Bei Mut(sorry my Cantonese pinyin is very bad). While in mandarin is MiMi which sounds completely different from Vietnamese… There are many other examples but lets see if I remember them sometime…

      3. It can be me that should be better to listen to both the dialect before I say something but like heng fuk in Cantonese and hanh phuc in Vietnamese sounds similar. And both cantonese and vietnamese share the ng sounds. But like HTS already has been saying It depends on words. Plus after all it is two different language.

      4. Cantonese is easier to speak than Madarin.
        Madarin have a lot of tongue twister pronounciation.
        I prefer Mandarin than Cantonese, Cantonese people talking sound like they are “fighting”

  6. Ok, let’s start bashing these HK actors/actresses for their bad Mandarin just we had bashed some of the TVB newbies.

    At least the newbies got paid peanuts whereas China had to pay these linguistic retards a lot of money and all they got are people speak worse than Lee Dae Hae.

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