Steven Jiang, is the absolute embodiment of what it means to be an entrepreneur for Good, and he is not really an entrepreneur.
He has no business model for his work, and he is not trying to sell a product, but he is picking up the tools that he has to fix a problem that he sees and doing something about it.
More than many other interviews I have done to date, Steven’s attitude, grit, and the way he attacked the challenge, is an amazing inspiration.
Be prepared to be inspired, and if you are, please remember to like, share, and comment.
How can you laugh at us? We are just like you. What you can do, we can do.
What you can achieve, we can achieve.
– Steven Jiang, Filmmaker
About the Entrepreneurs For Good Series
Through this series, we speak with Asia based entrepreneurs whose mission it is to bring solutions to the environmental, social, and economic challenges that are faced within the region to learn more about their vision, the opportunities they see, and challenges that they have had to overcome.
It is a series that we hope will not only engage and inspire you, but catalyze you and your organizations into action. To identify a challenge that is tangible, and build a business model (profit or non) that brings a solution to the market.
Driven by the belief that change begins with a single step, Richard Brubaker has spent the last 15 years in Asia working to engage, inspire, and equip those around him to take their first step. Acting as a catalyst to driving sustainability, Brubaker works with government, corporate, academic and non-profit stakeholders to bring together knowledge, teams, and tools that develop and execute their business case for sustainability.
Full Interview Transcript
Hi, my name is Steven Jiang. I’m a videographer and cinematographer here in Shanghai. I’ve been living in Shanghai for 10 years. Beside my job I got a lifetime companion. It’s called Tourette Syndrome. Last year I spent a year filming, editing my very first documentary serious. It’s called the happiness of Tourette Syndrome.
Tourette Syndrome, I’m not a doctor but basically based on my understanding it’s a neurological problem that causes people to do involuntary movements which they call tics.
First these two types of tics. It’s a motor tic and a fawning tick, which is basically called a vocal tic. It sometimes bothers people because we do it involuntarily where it is uncontrollable. We can control it in a certain amount of time, but after this control and where we’ll get them released. So when we do the tic, actually this…some part of our muscle or whatever it feels sore or a little bit uncomfortable. That’s why we use tic to release this un-comfortableness. So that’s why we do the tic all the time.
IGNORANCE AND INSULTS
Yeah, I mean every day … mean my Tourette Syndrome is not that severe. But, I first know sometimes every month I saw people with Tourette Syndrome. Also I face which, maybe it’s called a so-so stigmatization and people have missed a misunderstanding about it. Because people are ignorant of Tourette Syndrome.
If you ask a hundreds of Chinese people, youngsters, you know educated, whatever, they know nothing. But they know ADHD, they know OCD, but they don’t know Tourette’s. So that’s a problem.
For me the most insulting behavior, um the word is, they mimic me. They copy me. I wanted to makes noise and they were makes noise. Someone asked me did you hear you are like a frog Craig, or something? But, yeah I mean there were two reasons. Maybe, maybe it’s my tic sounds really like a frog. So they just do you think well, what is a frog in here or maybe they know is it’s my tic, but I don’t’ know what’s going on. They just, they’re just too fun. So I basically, this is something about, I know this case can be worse, like even people, the thing you bother them and they asked no reason. They think you’re weirdo.
BE TOLLERANT OF THE IGNORANT
We are very sensitive about how people look at me sometimes. I mean, I don’t think it’s good because some if you’ve get over sensitive, and you will mess up all this friendly behavior.
Sometimes you just look at you. It’s care. Either you too sensitive ,I think while they heck you look at me? So this is something that I told my friends with Tourette Syndrome, don’t go extreme. Because again, it confuse us that, these ignorant people should be forgiven. They’re ignorant. Why don’t you just, just be tourists? They know nothing. Just don’t fight with them. Yeah.
IT’S OK TO BE PHENOMENAL
Even if your kids had Tourette Syndrome, it’s ok for them to be phenomenal. Even our kids have Tourette Syndrome. If we have good education, if we know the trust an old properly, the tics can be healed before or after adolescence. Then there’s a fewer. Why don’t you see tangle with this because they don’t want to spend time to study the hardcore… I mean the essence of Tourette Syndrome. They still think it’s AIDS. This is something really awful.
So that’s the thing to be sad about. That’s the thing I want to change you know? Even I’m a little individual. I mean my documentary is not a blockbuster. It’s not a boom, a week and billions of hits. No. It needs time to empower. To let people, to elect people to ignite people’s heart.
It’s a film that you should watch with your friends, with a relative. So It’s something….I’m not so hassled to wait for the outcome because I’m sure others not perfect, but I think it’s possible the best one-man crew documentary I saw in China. I mean I’m confident about that.
A lot of people say, don’t do it alone. I say ok, I only have 60,000 how can I have a crew? And if I bring a crew, this heroes they don’t think they don’t feel comfortable. Like the girl a mother would never quarry, fine with me. So there have to be one man crew. They have to but again those have two sides, coins have two sides. London crew has it’s own disadvantage, but also it gives you the advantage. But that you are so close with them.
I used to be a cartoonist. An illustrator and also a probeist…I mean taking photos with strobes and finally I found myself. I still love something…the motions.
Then that’s why I became a videographer and I learned from the tutorials. Thanks for my knowledge about English because this tutorial is that, there’s no in Chinese subtitle, but they usually force myself to use English software with Photoshop, Premier Adobe, whatever because you learned lingo and jargons with the software.
You don’t have to learn, you don’t go to freakin English first to study about it, you know? This software gave you all the professional terms. Also and I think this my lighting skills with taking photos with strobes, helps me with I think this strobe lighting tech excuse or the techniques, but similar very similar to the lighting skills in a film. Just two different lights.
My camera is simple. I only have two camera. One camera is Canon Cinema 100. It’s a professional camera, but it doesn’t have slow-motion functions. So Sad. But it’s a professional camera and it’s a light, portable. Because I’m a one-man crew, so I can’t, I cant take huge camera. Also, the price for that camera is affordable.
Also a second camera is called backup camera. It is a Cannon 60D…just like the, you know the LR camera. I use it for cam laugh or some other angle with do the interview, whatever. So and a tripod, a monopod and also a slider.
That’s why I say I travel with three cities…with three packages. This is not…I think it’s almost nearly twenty kilos or something. It’s so heavy, but again you know the power is sometimes I do, I did in the middle way I want to equate. You know it’s.. I’m not a hero, you know? I’m an ordinary people. Sometimes why do I do I do this, nobody pay me You know like I think it’s out of the love and a care of the Tourettesy. If everybody knows Tourettes like what American people did and Canada did, there’s no need for me to make the documentary.
So Every time I think about is sad stories that there are companions of facing. Think about the ignorant people I mean, they need to be educated. I don’t think in my film will change every Chinese People to think about, you know? And also now there are still some people insulting my film. They think it’s a tragedy for Tourette kids. I don’t care about it. So sometimes you have to be stopped in a good way.
I think everybody has a small universe inside your heart and this stubborn idea or stubbornness what figure out is a small universe. And you will possibly, you make you do some behavior that this behavior will exactly will influence people we’ll ignite a society and maybe it would even change the world.
You can’t say I’m a small person and I’m just individual I can’t do nothing.
FINDING THE RIGHT COLOR
I choose heroes because I said there was all about 50 or 60 people like a candidate. I found that some of candidate their stories really sad. So again, I saying what kid of team what kid of color I wanna give my film. It’s kind of warm. It’s not like kind of dark and black because I found, not every…even most of the Trans people in mainland China are facing problems. But I don’t want my film to show they’re really kind of desperate kind of people.
Although I choose this person these four heroes, they have trauma, but they overcame their trauma. Or they can work with the trauma pretty well. So like the first episode is a guy from Taiwan. He’s 37year old flower arranger artist, called a florist. His syndrome is the worst one. The most severe one. He was crazy. He was yelling out all the time. But he was the first Asian florist, who win the number one French, like a flower arranging competition.
The hardcore message from him is to be yourself. Do not let others people’s opinion judge you. Everybody is different individual, even though you have Tourette Syndrome, just let it go. He never covered his syndrome. Sometimes I covered it sometimes in an appropriate location, whatever. But you see in a film where he was doing flower things. When he’s teaching students. He releasing this all the time.
But this thing can be an advantage because interviews are some of his students and said well I like the tic of my teacher because the most of the flower teachers are really boring, monotonous. When he do oohh, it’s funny because sometimes you tired and a tic makes us wake up. So he didn’t notice, but his students find well this is a characteristic of my teacher. So, although some people say well maybe he say well the God or whatever it seems like a challenge for him, or unfair treatment, but it’s good because he never take himself as a patient. Because the story we have specific term for the actors, heroes.
So also there is a British woman, I think her name is Jessica, something. Her name is Jessica. She have a website. It’s called To Rescue.com. So I think this person who dare to stand out and behave…relieve their tic in front of my camera continuously for month, it’s really encourages act, you know? I don’t think every Tourette sufferer or Tourette friend, they have this, these guts to do so. For me, they are my hero. They are a true hero because people tend to cover their trauma. They don’t want to relieve that’s trauma. To let billions of Chinese people know I have Tourette Syndrome. I mean in America, maybe in England, the situation got better, but here in China, mainland China this is really courageous.
YOU HAVE TO FIND THE BEAUTY
There are two hopes for Tourette sufferers here in China. I hope that this film is a bit to give them strength and power to face the situation, even if incurable. There is no cure for it. That mean you are not sentenced to die. You’re not into a life sentence.
So every coin has two sides. Tourette has this awful side of it, everybody knows, but also has this beauty. But you have to find out a beauty through whatever you can do. Don’t get beaten by us. Because if you’ve gotten beaten by us, the true ego will be killed. So just be yourself. Tell the world I am Tourette’s. I have Tourette Syndrome.
GIVE THEM HOPE
Sooner or later people will type of Tourette Syndrome on YouTube or whatever. Actually want I want to see is not see how sorrow we are is the real situation and justlike me years ago. I click Tourette Syndrome on YouTube. I don’t want to see how American Tourette
people feel. Like I honestly can I get some strengths. Is there a cure? We are looking for a cure, not a medical cure, but a spiritual cure.
If I show this sad photos and there it will quench their fire. They have a little fire inside. They have a little universe inside. These negative images will destroy them. So I don’t want to give them this kind of impression. So that’s why I even used the poster I found a good illustrator. So she made a painting of this, this for heroes and just tell them this….I’ll give them hope. Like the last episode that hero was…it was the only hero doesn’t have Tourette Syndrome. Her kid has Tourette Syndrome.
So this 33 year old woman, she healed her kids not through medicine, through love. Through behavior training and also this mental training so she’s Tourette Syndrome gone. And then people said, well she can stop because you try a lot of effort and your son is covered. You go, just do whatever you want. But she kept writing blog. She writes 8 years, hadn’t read diary for…record every second every minute.
She’s almost like a doctor, but she doesn’t have any medical background. And then she become profession blogger writing a blog, almost 900 articles to write about Tourette Syndrome. Not only diagnosis of Tourette kids, but also or every aspect to care, the maternal relationship, everything. And this year she is going to release her book. She is a blogger.
So in this episode, I give the people the answer, but how Tourette Syndrome inform you. How you should face Tourette Syndrome and how women changed her life and career out of the love of her Tourette kids. In the end she said someone else ask her why don’t you stop? No one pay you. She said I feel I have a kind of like an agreement with Tourette’s, with little Tourette angels and my mission is to tell these parents of these little angels that your job is to take care of this special angel. Do not blame them. It’s not their fault. It’s your fault because the key to help your children with Tourette Syndrome is you. It’s not a medicine.
EVERYBODY HAS TRAUMA
For the masses. The majority of the people in China, it’s like I want to trigger out the empathy, not sympathy because Tourette’s is not a handicap. Is like a body infection. Everybody has trauma. Everybody has “Tourette’s” in some ways.
How can you laugh at us? We are just like you. What you can do, we can do. What you can achieve, we can achieve. Even we do better when Mozart, he had Tourette Syndrome. There are some American athletes, they have Tourette’s. And you know there was a movie called The Front of the Class and Brad Coyne was the writer. Also the hero in that film, he was a teacher. It was the best teacher in that state.
We have Tourette heroes all around the world. So we are just like everybody. So just, and also for the ordinary people,
again for this film, Tourette’s is just clothes. It’s just a dress. Inside the bone is how people dealing with the trauma.
How you deal with the problem. Everybody has a problem. That’s why some people after the premier, after they see my video launched online, this ordinary friends, they told me hey…I saw myself in some of the episode.
They say right. You have problem, but you don’t have Tourette’s.
That’s why you give me the feedback. That’s the thing along my documentary is..there are still some problems there. I’m not happy with this, it is not a perfect one, but I think it’s …it missed what document the documentary spirit need to make people think.
To make people reflect even to make people change. Yeah
For more interviews from the “Entrepreneurs for Good” series, check out the playlist here.
Stay tuned for more clips and full interviews in the coming weeks.