Vodcast # 29 - Connect with a Different Culture with Storytelling by Jan Kot
Jan shared with us her experience travelling alone in Africa the 1st time. She recalled feeling scared after hearing a lot of stories about the dark continent.
In East Africa on a random street, she was called out by a group of African guys asking - “Do you know Kung Fu?” Jan thought it’s a hilarious question. But she turned around, stroke a pose and said - “Of course I do, don’t you guys dare mess with me?”. They laughed and asked again - “Do you know Jackie Chan?”. Jan shared as much information she knew as possible.
They love the stories Jan shared and she was invited to lunch with them. Subsequently, she was taught the traditional African dance.
For Jan, stories with humour transcend gender, race and culture. For sure, real dangers can exist in Africa but when we told stories of our daily lives, we could develop cross cultural understanding and bring peace & tolerance to the world.
Let’s use Hollywood as a case. They also adopt cross-cultural elements, such as producing movies like Kung Fu Panda. When the series came out, it prompted serious debate on China. It lets them think about what’s chinese culture is like. But in the end, these are not the concerns. Because what matters most is things like laughter, inner peace and pain, all of which are shared across cultures.
Next time when we meet someone from different cultures, share a story to break the ice.
About the Speaker:
Jan Kot is a certified coach specialising in intercultural storytelling with her S.T.O.R.Y model. The former journalist was born and raised in Shanghai, educated in Hong Kong and the US. With a bachelor degree in journalism and a master degree in creative writing, Jan has over the years taken a ring-side seat in witnessing and documenting China’s rise to a global power. During her earlier career, Jan worked as a reporter for a number of news and business publications in the region with a focus on China’s social and cultural transformation as the country in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. She was also one of the first Chinese writers to report on Chinese in Africa. In 2011, Jan became a founding member of Juwai.com, an international property portal for Chinese. In 2019, Jan founded The Tale Blazers in Shanghai, a consultancy agency that empowers brands and businesses to tell better stories. Jan speaks English, Mandarin and Cantonese.