“Michelle, I love you so much!” I was surprised by this sentence from President Barack Obama’s in his public speech of Remarks at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. This sentence is never ever spoken by Chinese government officials in their public speeches. In Chinese public speech, people seldom talk about love, and they never express their emotional feelings.
The speeches given by any government leaders are always macroscopic and abstract. There is no humor and personal emotions in traditional formal Chinese public speech. In Chinese people’s mind, politics should be very serious and the government is distant.
Now it comes to presidential election time. Different from Chinese ways of speech, I noticed that American officials like to talk in a more personal and conversant way, which helps to shorten the distance between government and the people, and to gain their support. They use more personal and concrete examples to express their feelings. They would say they have four boys and they also had a hard time supporting their family and so on. In Chinese public speeches, people don’t take their family as examples nor their emotions, which we think are too personal and informal to say in public.
The American president also did a lot of things which would never happen in China. For example, they invited ordinary people to have dinner together, and recorded their family time for a short while to let people know the life they had. And Michelle, the first lady, also gave a speech and answered the questions asked by people. It seems that people can know everything about the presidential couple. In China, we would never know where the chairman couple live and what their life is like. The first lady never made speeches in public, and we never saw their kids together with them. What a pity!