‘Safety, it's 100% here,’ Cameroonian dance teacher says of his life in Shenzhen

Writer: Yang Yunfei  |  Editor: Liu Minxia  |  From:   |  Updated: 2024-04-19

Video by Lin Jianping

"Safety, it's 100% here," said Kevin Chris when talking about his life in Shenzhen.

The Cameroonian is a dance teacher and works in Nanshan. But he lives in Futian and relies on taxi to commute every day.

“Something I notice about Futian is it’s a very peaceful place,” Chris said when walking in a picturesque community park in Futian in a sunny morning two weeks ago.

“Safety, it's 100% here. Let me shock you. I used to go out to run at 11 p.m. and come back at 2 a.m. I used to run nearby. So for me, it's like safety and relaxation. I can do whatever I want in the street at night and Futian is really a place to be if you want to focus your life.”

Kevin Chris

He said that every day when he comes back after work and look at “these people’s peaceful life, doing things and dressing good, he would ask himself “what about you? Are you sure you’re supposed to be [part of] here?”

Chris has been living in Shenzhen for four to five years and is quite satisfied with his life right now.

“Life is pretty good in Shenzhen and I love it,” he said. “And I think it's a new city. I appreciate that everybody is working hard. And we have a high level of young people really working hard and I really like it.”

Before moving to Shenzhen, Chris used to work in Zhuhai, teaching kids dance in the coastal Guangdong city after his stay in eastern China’s Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, for a very short period of time.

However, after “I realized that Zhuhai is not a big city,” Chris decided to move on to seek better opportunities in a bigger city and he soon got a call from a friend in Shenzhen.

“Somebody just told me, hey, Kevin, why don't you come over here in Shenzhen? You know, we have many young people [here in Shenzhen], everybody wants to be a superstar. And I think you are really good. Why don't you come here and show your skill?”

So he decided to move to Shenzhen to explore new career opportunities in this southern China booming tech hub widely known as China’s own Silicon Valley.

“When I came here, I fell in love with the city. Shenzhen is one of my best cities right now,” he said.

Kevin Chris

According to Chris, people in Zhuhai want to move to Shenzhen because they feel Shenzhen is more developed compared with their city.

“Zhuhai, according to me, is a place where after working so hard you can go there to relax,” he said. “After working so hard, like one year nonstop, if you want to go to relax, you can go to Zhuhai and then relax. You can relax in Shenzhen also. But Zhuhai, for me, is the best place to relax.”

Compared with Shenzhen, Chris said he can feel more relaxed in Zhuhai because the pace of life in Shenzhen is definitively faster and Zhuhai is “very calm and you have fewer people in the street.”

But he said Shenzhen offers more opportunities compared with Zhuhai because “Shenzhen is a developing place.”

Chris is currently teaching kids dance at a training center in Nanshan and he is lavish in his praise of his students, describing them as “very hard-working” and “really, really amazing.”

“I really love them and it was easy for me to get familiar with them,” he said. “No matter what I talk to them, they always listen to me and they take my words to consideration.”

Chris said the atmosphere in class is very good and he and his students have no language barriers as most of the students are attending international schools and are “really good at speaking English.”

“Some can even speak French. So I was shocked,” he marveled at two of the students’ proficiency in French.

Chris said he can speak a little Chinese and most of the time he communicate in English with his students. But when his Chinese is not so good, some of the students who can speak good can help him by translating what he says into Chinese for others to understand and follow the class.

“Everybody is good to go. The young people here are very serious when it comes to learning,” he said. “So I have the best students ever in my teaching dance experience for years. So my students are really, really good students.”

Kevin Chris

Chris said he has been beset by making a plan for his future personal development as he has been in Shenzhen for five years.

“Every night after I finish my job, I go back home and ask myself: should I keep staying here and I’ve been here for quite long or should I move on?”

He said the question of moving on somewhere or staying in Shenzhen “is bothering me every day.”

“But I think before the end of the year, I'll make up my mind whether to move on somewhere or maybe stay here in Shenzhen and settle down, that's for sure.”

He said as a dance teacher, he clearly knows that he has a limited period of time because “when you are young, you have the energy, you have the experience and you have this opportunity.”

But people right now look for young people, especially in Shenzhen, he said.

“So for me, it's like I have to use this opportunity, this young age to make a better decision” and “if you pass that age without making a better resolution of yourself, I think it’s going to be late.”

Chris said he’s very satisfied with his life here in Shenzhen. “100% [satisfied], no pressure.”

He said his life in Shenzhen is more relaxed compared with other cities he has been to. Because in Shenzhen, his boss is giving him full responsibility of the training center and she trusts him.

“So whatever I do, she really believes in me. So I'm just doing what I feel and I think it's moving good. So I think my job in Shenzhen and my life in Shenzhen are 100% relaxed. Because nobody gives me pressure. Honestly speaking, from the parents, from the students, from my boss, everybody respect me.”

Chris said he is so grateful to have this opportunity Shenzhen gives him.

“The people, the city, they really respect me. The people here really respect my talent and they respect my skill.”

Cameroonian Kevin Chris, a dance teacher, said "Safety, it's 100% here," when he talked about his life in Shenzhen.