Home > family, weekly whah? > ni hao kai-lan – the weekly(ish) whah?!?

ni hao kai-lan – the weekly(ish) whah?!?

February 9, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

OK, Nick Jr has a new show. It’s called “ni hao kai-lan”. I’m sure they are hoping that Kai-Lan will do for Chinese language and culture what Dora the Explorer has done for Spanish. Here’s my problem. Here’s a picture of Kai-Lan. Is there anything about her that seems a bit odd for a little Chinese girl?

Now I applaud Nick Jr for creating a show about a Chinese girl. The show looks great and the thoughts behind it are wonderful for a biracial family like ours. My daughter is nuts for her after only two episodes and I’m sure the merchandise is soon to start flowing. But I don’t understand why we have to give the Chinese girl the biggest, roundest eyes of any character on Nick (except maybe Spongebob). Maybe it’s too subtle for young kids to catch, but doesn’t it tend to reinforce the “differentness” already experienced by Chinese girls (especially adopted ones) in white culture? Rebekah is only three – she won’t get it now, but one of these days. . .

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  1. cheeseyking
    May 5, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Kai-Lan’s eyes do seem big, but at least they aren’t as if they were squinted shut. I’m guessing that the artists wanted to make Kai Lan as cute as they could, and many people consider big eyes to be very cute. I personally say she’s cute, and there’s nothing wrong with her big eyes. But even if you’re right and they made her big eyes just because she’s Chinese, they would have to have given her some Chinese features so the audience could tell she is Chinese.

  2. j
    May 5, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    I agree that she’s cute, but aside from the way they do her hair and the fact that she speaks Chinese, there is nothing to identify her as Chinese from looking at her. My issue is that this reinforces to the Chinese girls that are watching that “cute” = big round eyes. A standard my daughter and other Chinese-American girls can’t attain. As a dad who once had someone ask me if we were “going to get her eyes fixed”, I have a problem with that. I don’t know if this is what you are saying, but your comment almost makes it sound like the artists didn’t think they could make her cute and have almond shaped eyes.

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