Lunch with the FT: Lang Lang
The worldwide celebrity that the pianist Lang Lang enjoys makes my initial reception at the Chinese restaurant in Paris he has chosen a little disconcerting. The waitress appears not to understand when I say the table is booked in the name of Lang Lang. As I am led to a small table at the front of the restaurant, I fret that I have mangled the tones – so crucial when speaking Cantonese and Mandarin – in pronouncing his name. While the two words look identical in English, his given name means "happiness and sunshine" and his surname means "educated gentleman" in Chinese.