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How did an English Language Assistant from the UK working in China suddenly find himself before an audience of millions?Robbie Stanley-Smith tells us what he discovered during his moment in the spotlight.I find myself crouching on a small, circular platform, clutching a microphone, breathing heavily and trying to listen to the voices of the hosts and the previous contestant, but understanding nothing.I'm surrounded by scaffolding, cables and stage machinery, dimly illuminated by fluorescent lighting.For the background video segments, I was told what to say and given several attempts at recording each sentence.By the end of the show, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed.
But my teaching schedule is just 18 hours per week, so I’ve had a lot of time to invest in learning Chinese.
At the beginning of last November, a Chinese teacher and colleague at my school sent me a message on We Chat (the Chinese near-equivalent of Whats App) asking if I was looking for a girlfriend in China.
There followed an application and an interview for a TV show.
This was the sign I was about to emerge from a narrow tube onto the studio floor to blinding lights and the screams of the audience.
That was the worst part, but after one hour – intense and surreal in equal measure – it was over. Not many Westerners can say they've been on a Chinese TV show.
To be honest, though, I was more nervous about speaking Chinese than anything!