Opinion / From the Press

Too much celebrity harmful

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-10-29 08:04

Speaking at the closing ceremony of a literary symposium in Beijing on Oct 25, Mo Yan, the winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature, hinted that he might look for a "hideout" next year to write, which he has failed to do since winning the prize. Humorous or not, Mo's confession reflects the bitter truth of excessive focus on celebrities in China, says an article on Excerpts:

As the first Chinese to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, Mo Yan has hardly had any time to continue his writing since the 2012 prize was announced. In fact, he "did not finish reading even one book last year".

Instead, Mo has been preoccupied with all sorts of "social activities", including delivering public speeches, acting as consultant for events and even commenting on soccer. Mo's hometown too has become part of the "Mo Yan craze", as the local government plans to renovate his old house and promote it as a tourist site.

Mo's awkward cross-professional activities should serve as a wake-up call not only for him, but also those who have tried to cash in on his celebrity status or intend to exploit it in the future. For a writer like Mo, writing should neither be an activity that requires a "hideout", nor come second to unnecessary social activities.

To get himself back on track, Mo should refuse invitations to events and programs that have nothing to do with literature or arts. And more importantly, people who only intend to benefit from Mo's celebrity status as a Nobel Prize winner need to respect his profession and freedom to write.

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