Pang Ka-chi, a 19-year-old history student at South China Agricultural University, is one of two remaining professional storytellers in Guangzhou. The other one is his master, Ngan Chi-to, 65. The young storyteller performs three times a week to raise interest in the art. What made you interested in storytelling? My grandparents always told me stories when I was a kid, so I loved listening to stories. Of course, they are not professional storytellers - they told me fairy tales and about historic events, in a casual way. I read an article in a newspaper about master Ngan Chi-to teaching young people and, because of my interest in storytelling, I went to see him. What was your training like? My master was the only practising storyteller in Guangzhou back then. That was six years ago when I was 13 and he was 59. He recruited five apprentices. We listened when he told stories and repeated them back afterwards. He would comment on the performance. He also taught us the language, the facial expressions and body movements. Storytelling is a live performance that borrows body language and facial expressions from Cantonese opera. We put on traditional dress and have a paper fan in our hand every time we are on stage. It is important to understand what we really are because many times radio hosts who specialise in telling stories are lined up with us. What kind of stories do you tell? Legends, historical stories and the history of Guangzhou and Cantonese. I inherited some of the stories from my master and some are from my own reading. I read extensively about local history to enrich my performance. In order to make my performance more solid, I also go to see some Cantonese opera masters and learn from them. It sounds like being a storyteller is rather time-consuming It is time-consuming, not only because I have to prepare for my performance, but also because I am an apprentice. I don't call [my master] my teacher because our relationship is more profound than student and teacher. We are doing it in a traditional way, so I treat him as my father and his other apprentices are my siblings. When one of the younger students fails in school, I have a duty to remind him to be a good student. It is the tradition of the storytelling business. Many of the skills are unwritten and must be learned from the master. We cannot go on stage unless our master thinks that we are mature enough to face the audiences. What are your plans for the future? Will you become a full-time storyteller? I love telling stories very much, but I am afraid I am not going to be a full-time storyteller. The audience is not big enough for us to earn a decent living. The contract with the teahouse forbids me from disclosing how much I earn but, in my master's case, he earns less than 3,000 yuan (HK$3,400) a month, despite his status and experience.