The rise in the popularity of audio books has triggered a growing number of livestream hosts on many popular audio book platforms in China.
Statistics say that each year, over 20,000 candidates participated in the audition of Ximalaya FM, one of the applications for audio books. Another platform Qingting FM has a total of 350,000 professional hosts. On We Read, a reading platform developed by China’s technology giant Tencent, professional livestream hosts and agencies are the main providers of the audio reading services.
The hosts, each with their own characteristics, tell or read the stories using microphones, and they even play multiple roles in one story.
With different life experiences and professional backgrounds, the anchors have their own reflection on how to attract listeners with their voice and how to work together with the platforms to improve their services.
“It’s very challenging yet interesting to immerse the listeners in the stories only with my voice, since there is no image in audio works,” said Zhang Anqi, a professional dubbing artist who has voiced a couple of animations.
Zhang took her experience in recording a children’s book called “Daddy in the Pocket” as an example to illustrate how to handle different characters in the book. She studied the features of the speeches and the frequently used expressions of the characters such as students, teachers, and parents beforehand, and differentiated them through different tempo and mood during recording.
“The dubber switches roles when performing multiple roles, to help listeners identify different characters,” Zhang introduced.
Besides, the hosts also add their own emotions to their narration based on the original works, as many of them come from different professional backgrounds and have different life experiences.
Li Xiaoyu, a high school English teacher in north China’s Hebei province, recorded his first audio book in 2009. He started in his study, with merely a laptop computer and a cheap microphone which was only 15 yuan ($2.1) and the tone quality was bad.
Today, he has shaped up to be a successful livestream host on Ximalaya FM with nearly 400,000 followers. A historic fiction he recorded has been played 190 million times.
“For audio books, the capabilities of the host outweigh the recording equipment,” he said, adding that “the hosts must choose different tones for different types of works. For Chinese martial arts fictions, the voice of the host must be imbued with enthusiasm and passion, while a mild tone and a slow tempo fit romantic fictions.”
“What I have gained from recording audio books is not just professional skills. I feel satisfied when I see the messages of the listeners, some call my performances heart-warming, some say they could sleep well after listening,” said a student surnamed Wang in Southwest University in China’s Chongqing municipality.
Wang, who ekes out time to narrate audio books every day, hopes to help people see the bright side of life.
The performances of the hosts upgrade the reading experience of the readers, giving them new understanding of the original texts. The interaction between the listeners and the hosts could in turn inspire the hosts to improve their service and flesh out the content. It is a virtuous circle, revealed Cui Cui, a product manager of We Read.
“As sound has the advantages in spreading messages, it offers opportunities for different genres of book resources, especially classical literature and academic works in liberal education to get closer to a wider range of readers, Chang Jiang, a distinguished professor at the School of Media and Communication at Shenzhen University remarked.
The radio play of The Three-Body Problem, winner of Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2015, was launched on Ximalaya FM at the end of 2019. It was produced by a professional dubbing team called 729 Voice Studio.
Liu Cong, one of the dubbers, said that the whole procedure, which included adaption of the script, assigning roles, recording, post-production and launching, almost lasted a year. To adapt the science fiction for radio play requires imagination, the professional knowledge in the original work, and looking for the right dubbing artists for the characters. The radio play had been perfected again and again before it was launched.
So far, the book has been played nearly 20 million times, receiving many positive comments such as “all the characters are great, making the radio play very attractive.”
“The rights of audio adaption of literature works are not expressly written down in most of the copyright contracts and contracts for publication. As the digital publishing sees continuous development, the capacity of the market of audio books and habits of the users keep evolving, too. Therefore, we hope the rights of audio adaption will be clearly defined,” introduced Yu Jianjun, founder and CEO of Ximalaya FM.
So far, the platform has forged cooperative relations with over 500 publishing houses and next to 200 online literature organizations.
EXPOSED: How BUA Shortchanges FG Billions In Sugar Imports
One of the three investors in Nigeria’s Backward Integration Plan on sugar, BUA Sugar Refinery has allegedly been shortchanging the Federal Government to the tune of billions of naira, which the company enjoys as concessions on import duty and levy for raw imported sugar, by not producing an ounce of sugar since the BIP was initiated, findings have revealed.
BUA’s performance in the BIP already rated as poor and unacceptable by the National Sugar Development Council after the initial 4 years of BIP implementation continues to dip by the day, but its import quota on the other hand is rising, as the company appears more focused on importing raw sugar for its refinery which has been expanded recently.
In 2020 BUA got a 360,000mt presidential quota allocation, out of which it utilized 313,700mt and has now applied for 600,000mt import quota for 2021, without a complementary investment in backward integration, which is a pre-condition for enjoying increased import quota under the concessionary tariff.
At the end of the First Phase of the NSMP (2013-2016), BUA reportedly raked in N66.5billion profit from accrued tariff concessions and ploughed back only N9.3billion out of that into the BIP, a far cry from other investors who channeled a minimum of 50% back into the BIP.
Despite a 2017 radical review of the entire BIP strategy as well as the entire reward and sanction regime of the National Sugar Master Plan, which has placed emphasis on cultivation, jobs creation and local manufacture as a pre-requisite for quota allocation, BUA is yet to produce sugar locally like other stakeholders in the industry.
Cumulative Satellite monitoring data obtained from an anonymous source in the NSDC shows gross discrepancies between the self-reported performance figures (amount of land cultivated for sugar cane) by BUA’s Lafarge Sugar Mill with what is actually on the ground verified by the satellite imagery.
BUA claims to have developed 6,500ha of land by May 2020 with 2,220 ha cultivated with sugar cane, however satellite images show that since 2016 only 473ha were developed and cultivated, despite enjoying billions in concessionary rights Nigerians are yet to see or have a taste of BUA sugar. A sugar factory without sugar cane represents a smoking gun for the Federal Government to investigate.
A 2015 dated letter from the NSDC shows that BUA was slammed a suspension from enjoying the privileges of tariff concessions for failing to follow the examples of productive backward integration programs under the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan. Where other stakeholders were in re-investing profits from the tariff concessions into local sugar factories, BUA sugar rather was investing in the building of a new import-driven refinery in Port-Harcourt in flagrant disregard of the suspension of further sugar refinery development in the country.
What the country clearly needed at that time according to NSDC was an investment in sugarcane to sugar production to move the country out of its dependence on sugar imports, save foreign exchange and create jobs for Nigerians.
In another letter BUA was also denied an additional quota for raw sugar imports to service the new Port-Harcourt refinery by the NSDC, citing the need to protect the policy that was put in place to halt import dependency while stimulating investments, such as would harness the nation’s natural endowments for production of sugar from sugarcane.
The council also chided BUA for failing to demonstrate the level of commitment expected of him to justify the incentive being enjoyed from the federal government.
How the suspension after 2015 was lifted is still shrouded in mystery, as there has been no demonstrable commitment from BUA to drive the BIP, aside from projections and future dates of production, while it currently continues to enjoy tariff concessions on imports and has requested a quota increase from 313,700mt in 2020 to 600,000mt in 2021.
Given the gravity of infractions from BUA and seemingly no penalty from regulators, would-be investors would be right to assume that there is no level playing ground in the BIP initiative.
The policy still has room to accommodate more private sector players that can ultimately turn the table from importation of raw sugar to local production, to self-sufficiency and net exporter of sugar if the government can show that it is carrying out its regulatory oversight function without fear or favor.
See Documents: NSDC Letter to BUA_Refinery Project
Buhari: The General On The Verge Of Defeat By Bandits, Terrorists – By Abel Augustine
Since the inception of the present administration headed by the retired military general Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria and Nigerians have had different opinions about governance and the rule of law. The nation had never had it worst when it comes to economic meltdown, unproductivity and under development.
This is the first administration, be it military or civil that had festered poverty riddled with death due to the incessant actions of terrorists, bandits, armed robbery and the likes.
Buhari’s tirades before the elections that ushered him into power were that of a know it all demi god due to his past experience as military Head of State in the early 80s (1983-85) when he and the late Major General Tunde Idiagbon toppled the democratically elected second republic President, Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Shagari, God rest his soul.
Buhari’s promise despite his three pronged approach to was like in Trumpish English is to make ” Nigeria Great Again”. This rhetoric was swallowed hook, line and sinker by naive Nigerians as they had grown delusional of the the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as well as the ruling elites.
Buhari”s Messianic chants were too good to be shelve aside because many believed he is a man of integrity hence, the man for the all important job.
Nigeria as a country has now witnessed an enormous leap back despite trillions spent by the Gen Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in fighting corruption, revamping the economy and terrorism.
All the gains made during the Goodluck Jonathan administration had been dashed on the alter of mediocrity and a new wave of terror, hunger and assumptions had been engraved in the minds of Nigerians.
Looking into some of Buhari’s uncanny tact for non understanding of administrative procedures as well as reasoning are how he thought. In a chroncled pattern, Buhari had been known to have been single handedly nominated by Boko Haram to moderate in there discussion with the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Nation Online newspaper one of the leading news outlet specifically reported “Boko Haram picks Buhari to moderate talks with government,
The Nation,November 2, 2012 https://thenationonlineng.net/boko-haram-picks-buhari-to-moderate-talks-with-govt/
In another report, Buhari had been on recording telling the Federal Government not to kill Boko Haram terrorists ” Stop killing Boko Haram members, Buhari tells FG
PointBlank News, June 2, 2013
Mr Buhari also faulted the FG’s clampdown on terrorists which begs for understanding what he had or is having in common with them “Buhari faults clampdown on Boko Haram members
The Nation, June 2, 2013
A major stroke a defeatist is urging his comrades at arm to thrown down there weapons and let their guards down. This was clearly shown by Buhari’ s action as he, in June 3, 2013 said that “Military Offensive Against Boko Haram, Anti-North – Buhari
All Africa News, June 3, 2013
While taking over power from Goodluck, the first major action he performed in his administration is to chase out the South Africa mercenaries who had already degraded Boko Haram, hence allowing elections to hold peacefully in Borneo State and all of the North Eastern parts of the country.
“How Buhari stopped us from fighting Boko Haram – South African mercenary
The Guardian, November 26, 2018
With some of the actions manifested by the Federal Government, dissention set in, in the nation’s armed forces as soldiers started crying “foul” to some policies taken by the Buhari administration.
Chief amongst this are the setting free of confirmed captured Boko Haram fighters as revealed by the cable online medium. “FG is setting our killers free – soldiers kick as 1,400 Boko Haram suspects are released
The Cable, February 11, 2020
Despite the hue and cries from Nigerians especially those in the security circle, Buhari started releasing those tagged ” Repentant Boko Ha ram terrorists” back into the society.
Now who does that with even a thief talk less of some one captured as a terrorist and expect to have peace in his dormain? But Buhari and his gang did just right that.
“Nigerian government to release 603 repentant Boko Haram terrorists back to society in July
Sahara Reporters, June 11, 2020
There are consequences to every action and the first sign of trouble started when over 300 soldiers in an Army that is not large and mobile retired at a go.
This already experienced battle hardened individuals are also have gone into circulation in most parts of the country as some had been arrested in one form of criminality or the other.
This actions had shown that the Nigerian military despite it successes abroad is yet to lean the basic rule of soldiering which is keeping the troops contented.
“356 soldiers tender resignation to Buratai, cite loss of interest
Punch, July 12, 2020
Other actions which had shown that the present administration of Muhammadu Buhari does not give a hoot about the well have also being chronicled as the economy of the nation as well as it social wellbeing had been taken over by bandits and other soldiers of fortune who have been visiting untold hardships to the people.
“601 ex-Boko Haram combatants graduate in Gombe
The Nation, July 26, 2020
601 repentant terrorists graduate, paid N20,000 each
Punch, July 26, 2020.
Despite the massive poverty in the land, Buhari’s administration had continues to play the Ostrich with the lives of Nigerians.
From a little more than 90 naira per liter of fuel, six years later the pump price has gone close to 200 naira and cocounting.
He, Buhari was once seen weeping in the media claiming that the rate at which the economy and especially the price of fuel calls for extreme concern.
He told all who cared to hear and know that he was once heading the petroleum industry which birthed the Kaduna Refinary and help in improving the refining of fuel in the country.
He blabbed about repairing all the refineries in the country as well as making Nigeria an exporter of refined fuel product.
But the poor continue to believe in the rhetorics of Mr Buhari and members of his cabinet who had openly continue to accused and point fingers in all the wrong areas.
Let the present administration leverage on its goodwill which is dwindling as the only hope its depending on is itself.
Much Ado About Tunde Sabiu’s Employment In NIA
These are indeed interesting times in Nigeria. I am beginning to believe that it is now an occupation for some individuals and groups to imagine things and pass their imagination to the general public without thinking of the implication of their actions.
The latest in town that got me on the floor rolling is the news making the rounds that the personal assistant to the President, Tunde Sabiu has been appointed an assistant director in the elite National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
This is indeed interesting and I dare say anyone that must have cooked up this story is indeed a legend for coming up with such that is capable of making Nigerians believe that we are still in the year 2020.
I must confess that after reading the news, I asked myself some questions about the challenges of mental health in Nigeria. I am of the considered opinion that some people are undergoing mental health challenges even without their knowledge. I say this because for anyone to have thought it wise that the personal assistant to the president would be employed as an assistant director in one of the country’s most strategic security outfit is a blow below the belt and possibly a sign of hallucination.
Several questions ran through my mind so much so that I wondered how we got it wrong and why some persons would take delight in spreading mischief in the country recklessly. I am not convinced that such a thing would ever happen because, for starters, Tunde Sabiu is not conversant with the operations of the National Intelligence Agency.
I am also aware that the NIA as an agency is tasked with overseeing foreign intelligence and counterintelligence operations. I am also aware that Tunde Sabiu does not have the requisite qualification or expertise to be employed in such an organization and with the position of assistant director.
Let us assume the news is true, what department would he fit in? Is he going to be redeployed from the Office of the President to the National Intelligence Agency? This is just one piece of awful news since the beginning of 2021. If not for anything I have my suspicion that the target is not Tunde Sabiu, but rather President Muhammadu Buhari in the attempt to paint him as despotic leader and promoting nepotism.
This might not be far-fetched in the sense that in recent times there have been scathing attacks on the personality of President Muhammadu Buhari with some insinuating that he is the president for a select few and not the generality of Nigerians. What more can be unpleasant than this.
And now, the polity is awash with news that Tunde Sabiu has gained employment with the National Intelligence Agency out of the blues, and even without merit. I am still in awe of how such a thing would happen in a country such as Nigeria.
When such anomalies are allowed to thrive in Nigeria the consequences might be severe in the sense that lots of misleading information would thrive at the expense of the truth. This is what aroused my concern with the Tunde Sabiu employment news. And to think that a large segment of the population believed the mischief was worrisome.
I think this remains unfair for the young man that is devoted to his job. I am not sure he has any reason to want to be involved in such mischief and I equally do not believe that President Muhammadu Buhari would encourage such under his watch.
This much Tunde Sabiu knows and why he would not undertake to be involved in such an anomaly that would bring disrepute to the administration. At this point, it is expedient that issues are put in proper perspective to douse the tension already created by the obvious fake news.
I will say this again, Tunde Sabiu cannot be employed in the National Intelligence Agency under whatever circumstance because he has no such experience in security issues. Moreover, the NIA is involved in serious business at the international scene and as such there the entrenchment of professionalism.
I am also of the considered view that Tunde Sabiu is the latest victim of the slander campaign of key members of the present administration. President Muhammadu Buhari has had his fair share, and likewise others. But in all of them, that of Tunde Sabiu is the most hilarious because it roundly defeats common sense.
Nigerians must do well to differentiate between truth and falsehood especially in this era of fake news where anything goes, especially in the social media space. This once again reinforces why there should be some form of regulation of contents in the social media space because we must be cognizant of the fact that people react to issues differently.
Having said all, it would be wise for Tunde Sabiu to come out and clear the air at the risk of giving the impression that after all the news is true. I don’t think that would be too much for him to undertake given the fact that his reputation and by extension that of his boss are at stake. And for those spreading falsehood, they need to get some mental health evaluation before things get out of control because saying Tunde Sabiu has gained employment as an assistant director in the National Intelligence Agency is tantamount to saying that the capital of Nigeria is Accra. A word is indeed enough for the wise.
Agbese is a an author and public affairs commentator writing from Abuja.
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