2018-08-30 | By WANG LINYAN, China Daily
TV Host and Fashion Icon Who Introduced China to the World
Yue-Sai Kan broke the mold with her '80s travel show before launching an inspirational cosmetics line
Today, Chinese people travel and study abroad, watch blockbusters at cinemas, order international fashion brands online, and do business with people from other countries.
But 32 years ago, in 1986, Chinese people mainly saw the outside world only by watching television at home－starting with Yue-Sai Kan's One World.
The 15-minute show, which aired twice a week in Chinese and later in English, was the first travel program on Chinese TV. It brought Western society to an audience of 300 million Chinese.
Viewers saw the pyramids in Egypt, the Acropolis in Greece, the River Thames in Britain, baseball games in the United States, and much more. The show was also packed with ideas and issues.
"In those early years, we talked about ecological problems, environmental problems, housing for the poor, equal rights for women in Sweden. I talked about things like that, which they (Chinese people) hadn't even started to think about at that time," Kan said. "The goal was to give a global view to the Chinese audience."
The show lasted a year, running for 48 episodes on China Central Television, the State broadcaster, and covering 14 countries. It made Kan the most-watched TV personality in the country.
The most remarkable part, Kan said, was that so many Chinese had not seen anything about the outside world before her program. It changed "the vision and mindset" of the Chinese people, she said.
"So many people would say to me, 'I never knew the outside world was like this. You really inspired me.' Sometimes when I walked in New York, women would come up to me and say, 'I want to thank you. I'm here because you inspired me to do this.'"
The program put her in the spotlight, winning rave reviews in the media and countless letters from fans. One magazine called her a modern-day Marco Polo, while The New York Times wrote, "Yue-Sai Kan's work augurs well not only for China and the US but also for the rest of the world."