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Chinese background

Updated: Dec 3, 2019

For the Asian character, I have chosen for a familiar cliché combined with a less known type of ancient technology.

Taikonaut Wang

The most recognizable animal figure for China would be of course: the panda. Like in most names I try to include some reference in the name to a celestial object or a cultural aspect and a hint about the animal character. For those who know some Chinese will recognize the common family name Wang (王), the elegant structure of using three syllable names, being the first as family name and second and third as given name. The given name reveals what kind of animal we are talking about: Xiongmao (熊貓), meaning panda in Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua). The choice of Wang (in essence meaning 'king') is more than picking a common Chinese family name. This character is female and is inspired by the second Chinese female Taikonaut Wang Yaping (王亚平). Although she is not the first one, she might be the most famous one among teachers and kids in China because of her space lecture experiments.

My kungfu father is Chinese and I spend living 5 years in China, while learning Chinese for even longer years, so I am kind of proud witnessing the Chinese advancements that China is doing in space. My master thesis was focused on ancient Chinese astronomical instruments, so witnessing the footsteps this country is taking into the future is very exciting to me. I am not a China-lover in the obsessive sense, but spending a lot of time being immersed into its culture, makes me kind of feel like China is a part of me, like families do. Even though, in the past I had a love-hate relation with China, especially its mentality in individual restrictions stemming from its communist trademark. That is mainly a socio-cultural difference in political awareness and education. Other than that, I consider myself to be 50% European, 30% Chinese and 20% Indonesian. Genetically I am half European and half Asian, although not Chinese. Nevertheless, to me this woman is special, because she brings China and space eduction to life like never before.

Wang Xiongmao (王熊貓), AstroNavigator for Asia (Diego Sanchez)