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Christian Routin happy to be home

By Huy Nguyen in HCMC
Wednesday,  Nov 23,2011,20:42 (GMT+7)
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Christian Routin happy to be home

By Huy Nguyen in HCMC

Vietnamese French TV star Christian Routin - Photo: Huy Nguyen
Armchair viewers will have no doubt spotted a French actor who can speak the local language like a Vietnamese native on TV in recent times.

That man is Christian Routin who also works as an MC for TV program ‘Vietnam – my beloved country’ and ‘Vietnam’s smile’, as well as his role as an English teacher on VTV2.

Routin was actually born in Vietnam in 1966 and moved to France aged nine but his love of his birth country never faltered despite his time away from Southeast Asia.

His father is French-Italian, his grandfather 100 per cent French but his grandmother is Vietnamese so as a child, he lived in a Vietnamese family.

Throughout his time in France Routin kept up his Vietnamese speaking with his mother and often eats Vietnamese food.

In Binh Minh (Dawn), he played the French father of a Vietnamese heroine at a time of French colonialism. In Hai gia dinh Tran Nguyen (Tran and Nguyen families), he plays a chef in a Japanese restaurant while in Cham toi hoang hon (Touching the sunset), he stars as a French garment industry expert who tries to save a Vietnamese firm from bankruptcy.

Because Routin’s face is well-known to local people he often appears in advertisements.

Next month, he will teach English at a model training school, Allure, in HCMC.

“I am really happy to come back and help Vietnamese people and to contribute to Vietnamese society,” he said.

Routin admits if it comes to choosing between France and Vietnam culture there is only one winner.

He said: “When you grow up with two different cultures, naturally you choose the most suitable one and I feel the Vietnamese culture influences me more than French. I don’t feel quite comfortable in France as Vietnamese people are friendlier and Vietnamese culture is warmer.”

He can speak five languages including English, Italian and German. After graduating with two MBA degrees at business management and political science at Universite Paris Quest Nanterre La Defense, he applied to work at the cultural office of the French Embassy in Hanoi.

In 1991, Christian came to Vietnam for his applied work and covered at improving French for students in Hanoi and neighboring provinces of Nam Dinh, Thanh Hoa and Hai Duong. “Everybody was surprised at my Vietnamese speaking skills and as I knew a lot about Vietnamese culture, it was very easy to get closer to others.”

When the contract ended, Christian came back to work in France, then India and Germany. However, he always felt something was missing so he quit and arrived in HCMC in 2009 to work as an English and French teacher at Idecaf for Vietnamese students.

“When the plane landed at Tan Son Nhat Airport, I felt like I was coming back home and I spent a day tramping around familiar streets around town,” he said.

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