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I’m glad I had put myself in a totally Chinese-speaking environment; it's the best way to learn a new language.But an hour of being grilled by twenty-four female contestants and three presenters was a wake-up call, to say the least.Even the name of the show in Chinese 非诚勿扰 (Fēi chéng wù rǎo), emphasises the cultural difference – the phrase actually means ‘serious inquiries only’.Just how good my Chinese is (or isn't) Part of my motivation for becoming a British Council Language Assistant was to learn Chinese.But just the fact of being a foreigner in China can make you feel like a celebrity sometimes.My experience of going on the show was an extreme example of a feeling familiar to any foreigner living in China.

There isn't always a fairytale ending I have just got back from my free holiday in the Maldives.

In imperial times, there was a go-between in traditional Chinese marriages, who would act as negotiator between the two families involved, a bit like an estate agent.

Although things have clearly changed since then, it's still common to hear talk of 条件 (tiáojiàn – conditions) in connection with relationships, as though dealing with a contract.

The most important conditions are usually whether the man owns a car and a flat, which were always specified on the contestants' online profiles.

What it feels like to be a star On the show, I got a taste of real showbiz: having my hair and make-up done, being on stage with a mic, and playing cello and table tennis in front of an audience of millions.

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