I had no idea that we were expecting an audience in the thousands. In fact, I had never hosted a fashion show before! At 19:00, we were ready. The four of us went onstage — I was joined by radio station co-hosts Joyce and White, as well as another presenter. As you can see in the picture, my outfit, sponsored by Smart Garments, didn’t work out too great as I was 1.91 m tall!
Speaking in front of over 1,000 people, though, was electrifying. All eyes were focused on us — two presenters speaking in Chinese, and two (me included!) in English. Later that night, I would completely wow the audience — when I tried speaking Chinese onstage, applause came suddenly and unexpectedly, as if they wondered if this Chinese-looking presenter (me!) actually spoke the national language in China!
This was an event that I thought I could never pull off “just like that”. But when you host 600 people (late last winter) and are on university radio, I guess you just take what they give you! ▶
1. I am honoured to become a host at the radio station of the University of International Business and Economics. I will host the news every alternate Friday, and the “PopOnLine” programme every other Wednesday. Both will be hosted in UK English. I’d like to thank all my friends for their support, and I’d also like to thank all those who have made this possible at the university.
2. Have an iTrip, but can’t listen to music? Make sure you set your volume at around 50% when changing radio stations. ▶
My history of being a host was rather short. I first hosted an event for foreign students at my university on December 20, 2002. That was a Christmas and New Year’s event. It was pretty fun playing host to the whole thing, even if I was a newbie holding a mike for the first time in front of so many people.
In the autumn of 2003, my English teacher recommended me on the basis of my perfect English to the university’s English department, and to the vice-coordinator of the department. She really wanted me to take part in a nationwide English speaking contest. Sadly, out of nationality reasons (I had a Swiss passport, but they needed someone with a PRC passport), I couldn’t be included. Still, I did the next best thing: host the event at my university. So I became a host on the afternoon of October 30, 2003. I hosted an event which brought out a talent to face others in the nationwide contest.
November 28, 2003, was a very ordinary Friday — till 4 PM. A phone call out of the blue asked me to be a “pingwei” or judge at the university’s English contest semi-finals. The time: 7 PM on Friday evening. The answer: I’m there. A quick dinner was followed up with me jamming the accelerator and getting to the university — fast.
During the break at the event, a student asked me if I would want to host the finals coming on Friday in a week’s time. My immediate answer: YES! I had no idea why or how I would think of hosting the event – but the YES came out just like that. It was a YES, though, that I would never regret. ▶
It’s been pretty close! I promised to host the final part of a China-US culture event on the very last day of the year, and this meant that I had to be quick to complete my exams!
Thankfully, the topic I had that day was relatively easy; I was quite familiar with the topic, so I could easily finish it early. Then it was upstairs to the room where I would be hosting part of the show all the way to the end.
And thus closed out the year 2003, a year that started on an encouraging note after the many active events of late 2002 — and that had a very unexpected development in the spring with the onset of SARS. Things then started to turn back to normal following the autumn, where I started taking on some English courses, plus hosting events. ▶
The one thing you might not have noticed with me is — even if I seem to be typing out English the way they do in, say, New York, the accent (especially if amplified by a microphone) is distinctly London-ish.
And that’s exactly what throws people off.
It makes them go nuts.
And I think I did just that a few days ago… just today I downloaded a “secret recording” I made when Ms. Chang, the teacher who usually gives us English lessons, couldn’t come. (The water pipe burst at her home, or so as I was informed…) Therefore, I was left driving to school to take over the class, which was well-attended by a great number of students… only to find out that halfway through the morning, the Chinglish Ms. Chang wasn’t here and that I was taking over for her.
It drove them crazy.
I had complete control of the class, with the whiteboard behind me, the microphone (on!) in front, and a copy of New Concept English. But I instantly set out to make this class totally different than “the usual”. ▶