“MY Chinese is now better than any other language. It may be not better than my English, [but] it’s not so far away,” Alex McCutcheon laughed during the interview with Shenzhen Daily.
His way of speaking was perfectly like any other Chinese person would speak i.e. tone, language and accent.
The 40-year-old Australian with a Chinese name “麦子” says he was always interested in languages and had learned several including little Chinese when he was in Melbourne over 16 years ago.
On the recommendation of his Chinese friends, McCutcheon arrived in China in 2005. He first attended a language study course in his two-month staying period in Beijing. Later, he moved south and found a position at an English training center in Xiamen, Fujian Province. Four years later, he thought that he needed to look for a more interesting job with more growth potential. To fulfill that, he decided to move to a bigger city.
He made a small list in his mind, and the five cities of Shanghai, Bangkok, Taipei, Hong Kong and Shenzhen were the places he most wanted to live.
In 2009, McCutcheon came to Shenzhen. In fact, he had been to the city before. In his initial impression, the city exhibited a friendly, tolerant and open atmosphere everywhere.
“For the first three months I was sharing an apartment with a German friend, we were both looking for jobs and trying to make friends,” McCutcheon endeavored to adapt to the new life when a chance came to him unexpectedly. “The apartment’s landlord knew the Hong Kong Satellite TV Shenzhen Office in Luohu District was recruiting presenters through one of his friends, so he introduced me to her.”
McCutcheon was lucky to get the opportunity to join the TV station with his excellent ability to speak in Chinese. He was open to learning new things related to this work and enjoyed doing his job as a presenter.
During his leisure time, he sometimes works as a host at events in and around Shenzhen.
Having been in the role as a presenter for over 10 years, McCutcheon said that he is still learning Chinese especially through the programs including news broadcasts and cultural talk shows he hosts. “In my role speaking Chinese all day, and aside from writing content I also receive a lot of scripts from my colleagues, so I have a constant supply of ‘reading comprehension tests’ which is a really good practice for my Chinese. I can learn about words and grammar that are new to me through the daily work,” he said.
Besides the shared bikes, Metro and green scenery in the city impress McCutcheon most. He pointed out that compared to over 10 years ago, “Shenzhen is no longer ‘dependent on’ Hong Kong in any way. Even in the last year with basically the border being cut off, the city has still been able to attract a lot of investment and it’s still able to maintain its economy.”
“You see a lot of start-up companies, new ideas and influence all concentrating in one place, these are very important for the future of our society. I do hope that I can stay in Shenzhen and continue working on the projects that I’m involved in,” McCutcheon concluded.