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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.
On the Chinese show, called If You Are The One, instead of filming successful contestants on a date, a sponsorship deal with a travel agency gives you an all-costs-paid (and TV-camera-free) four-day holiday in the Maldives, one of the world's leading honeymoon destinations.
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.
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.
From the wide-eyed (and occasionally crying) children to the endless requests from strangers to take photos with you in public places, just leaving the flat is often enough to make you feel like a minor celebrity, albeit a slightly uncomfortable one at times.