What is KTV?
KTV/卡拉OK (KalaOK) is a staple of Chinese nightlife. Your Chinese friends and work colleagues may invite you out to what is basically a nightclub to Karaoke. You’ll pay for a room usually for at least a few hours and then you get to sing, drink and dance the night away!
My first KTV
I first went to KTV almost 4 years ago. I had just arrived in Nanjing and was still getting used to the culture shock of living in China, when before I knew what was happening a bunch of us were heading out to a KTV. The experience was intense, it started off with our two Chinese friends each singing a Chinese pop ballad extremely well, which would make most people feel nervous.
Luckily for me this was also my first time trying 白酒 (baijiu) – Chinese rice wine, which took the edge off! Soon we were all mumbling along to the pop songs we knew most of the words to and by the end we were singing full belt to Queen. We left at 5 am, after close to 6 hours of singing. It was one of my fondest memories of my first time in China and since then has become one of my favourite pastimes.
Some people’s Marmite
Love it or hate it KTV, can certainly make or break friendships. Often the first-time can be nerve-racking, and whether you need some liquid courage or just the support of friends, it’s important that everyone feels relaxed and not judged, as at the end of the day 90% of people don’t have golden pipes! You’ll probably discover who is accepting of other people’s music taste and who presses the skip button when they don’t like something. Most importantly you’re not auditioning for The Voice, so the emphasis is on fun!
What to expect
There is a plethora of choice when it comes to KTV. Sometimes it will be a palatial structure full of mirrors and disco lights, or sometimes it is just a simple affair with a cosier feel. Based on how much you are willing to pay you can book a small room or a huge auditorium with a balcony. You pay for the room, so the more of you there are, the cheaper it will be!
They may provide you with drinks and even food for free. There may be instruments such as tambourines and maracas in the room and even a bar and toilet. KTVs will have Western songs, however the choice may vary from just famous pop songs all the way through to a vast collection of classics!
KTVs in Zhuhai
Usually it is helpful to get a Chinese friend to help you book a KTV in advance, so that you don’t get there and find it is fully booked!
Below is a list of some of the best KTVs to visit in Zhuhai:
- GTWO 量贩KTV
- 音乐匣子（Yinyuexiazi）- Music Box
Whether you give a heart rending rendition of your favourite ballad or scream into a microphone as you attempt to make up for your lack of pitch, either way it’s going to be a laugh!
First Impressions of Zhuhai
My name is Alizée and I am currently doing an internship in Zhuhai through InternChina. At the end of my Bachelor’s degree, my need to explore new horizons automatically brought me to China. It was the most logical choice, being the farthest country and, by all standards, the most different. But after only a week, I already felt right at home. Here are a few of the first things I discovered about Zhuhai.
InternChina – View from BanZhangShan Mountain
1. Guangdong is the land of the Cantonese
Zhuhai situated in Guangdong, and being so close to Hong Kong and Macau, has quite the Cantonese influence. Along with the language (both Mandarin and Cantonese), comes delicious Cantonese food! It is the most populated province in China, Guangdong’s capital is Guangzhou. It’s hard for me to believe, coming from France where we are 66 million people in total, but Guangzhou hosts over 50 million habitants, in one city only. In comparison, 10 million people live in Paris. These proportions are hard to grasp.
2. Beware of the Karaoke!
Here, it’s called KTV (short for Karaoke TV, as you might have guessed). Basically, you gather all your friends into a private room and sing loudly together. In China, KTV is a cultural institution, suitable for all generations and social backgrounds. The name for us westerners can be quite off putting. Since it is not being broadcasted, why is it called TV ? It originated when new piracy laws from the GATT’s Uruguay round shut down it’s predecessor in 1988, MTV (MovieTV, Netflix’s ancestor). The company, not put off in the least, then simply switched it’s market to a less regulated sector; the music industry, and changed the first M to a K, with little regards for it’s meaning.
My first experience with this strange practice was during my company’s party, reuniting over 30 people from different branches, in a large pandemonium of beer and music. It was quite fascinating to watch my colleagues, usually so assiduous and solemn, turn into such party animals. The classic studious and hardworking stigma that is usually observed, was largely proven wrong during those few hours of letting loose. Unfortunately, knowing no Chinese music, I relied on a good ol’ Beatles song, and got away with it. My second experience was in the home of my host family daughter’s friend. In a smaller setting, it was indeed quite a different mood, and I got to pay greater attention to the meaning of the songs. In order to be prepared, I could advise everyone to learn one famous Chinese song; it’ll make them laugh, and make you practice your pronunciation!
3. Menu Tasting & Furniture Shopping
My company is on the verge of opening its new vegetarian restaurant. So for lunch, Juan (another Indonesian intern) and I taste tested the new menu. My personal favourite is the tangyuan, which is the Chinese version of the Japanese mochi, a glutinous rice cake filled with various pastes or nuts. Part of the Japanese Washoku, listed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, it’s Chinese equivalent is just as delicious.
The following day, we went to buy furniture for the new restaurant. On the outskirts of the city lays a vast warehouse-like furniture store, specialized in traditional goods, which is actually composed of multiple little shops. From old locks, to carved doors, to tea tables and stone water fountains, it was quite a delight to the eye.
4. A Peak at the Local Life
For anyone wishing to truly experience the local life, I can’t insist enough on how great a homestay can be. I was extremely fortunate to intrude into the life of the Kong family. They have welcomed me into their daily routine and have been continuously generous and attentive. They have already promised to come visit me in my hometown, and I really hope they do! Having come to China to experience being a fish out of water, I quickly realized that all human beings are the same, no matter how far apart they seem to be. Sure, the food is different (it’s delicious!) and the language’s structure is arduous to grasp, but in the end, it’s a small world, after all.
5. Oh, one more thing:
Most public place doors here aren’t outward opening as they are in the west. So don’t look foolish (like I did for a week): open doors as you would in your house, inward.
If you looking to immerse yourself in Chinese culture whilst getting yourself valuable internship experience, apply here now!
Just like many other people, when I started to study Chinese, I had to face a lot of difficulties. I asked myself things like: Will I ever be able to produce those sounds and tones correctly? Or: How would I be able to learn all of those characters? Of course studying is a lot of hard work and if you want to study a language you will never stop learning. But then I found my ways to have some fun while studying.
This is basically about the spoken language, because there is no other way but to study the characters a lot, if you want to be able to memorize them.
No.1 Listen to music
Do you like music? Then find some good Chinese songs from your favourite music genre and start listening. Maybe you can find the lyrics in Chinese and pinyin, sometimes they have translations too. It also helps a lot to sing along, because you can practice your pronunciation and in music, as it’s all about the melody, the tones aren’t that important. Also remember going to Karaoke, or as the Chinese call it, KTV. This is one of Chinese people’s most favourite past-times, where you can make friends and have a lot of fun.
No. 2 Watch movies or TV
I started getting interested in China after my first Jackie Chan movie and I have always liked to watch movies. Then I also found my love for Asian television drama. When you watch Chinese movies you can put on subtitles first so you know what’s going on. Chinese movies and TV usually have Chinese subtitles, too, so if you’re already good, try to read along. Whilst watching you can practice your listening comprehension and also learn about Chinese culture. As Chinese love to make their own history into movies, you can learn about the main events in a faster way than reading a book. And if you meet Chinese people you will have something fun to talk about.
No. 3 Learn tongue twisters
I know it can be a little hard and maybe people will laugh at you first, but it’s still fun. It will help you with your pronunciation and studying the tones, because Chinese tongue twisters are also mainly about the tones. If you listen to the song 中国话Zhōngguóhuà by Taiwanese girlgroup S.H.E. you can hear some famous tongue twisters. You can also teach Chinese people your country’s tongue twister and laugh at them. 😉 Here is a really simple one for the first try:
sì shì sì, shí shì shí, shí sì shì shí sì, sì shí shì sì shí.
Four is four, Ten is Ten, Fourteen is Fourteen, Forty is Forty.
No. 4 Learn how to say and read your favourite dishes
As food is an important thing here in China and there are so many different dishes, you will have to find out which food you like and how to order it. In the meantime you can also study a lot of useful vocabulary that has to do with food, such as different types of vegetables or meat. You can combine studying and enjoying a delicious meal. Every city or region has their own special dish. The city I’ve studied in is famous for 扬州炒饭 Yángzhōuchǎofàn, which you can get in Chinese restaurants all over the world, but it still tastes the best in Yangzhou. 😉
No. 5 Find a language partner
Of course the best way to learn a language is to speak it and with a native speaker it’s the most efficient. So if you are still in University you should find out if there is a program to find a language partner or you can try to make Chinese friends via the internet. You can do all the fun things you do with your other friends and improve your Chinese at the same time. The easiest way to learn is if you come to China, because you will quickly find friends whom you can practice Chinese with.
Ready for some fun Chinese lessons? Combine an internship with language courses with InternChina and apply now!
Hey folks, this is Alex. I recently started my internship at the Intern China Business Exchange subsidiary in Zhuhai and it is really great so far. The entire team is very cool and they had just organised a cultural activity – a cooking class. Well, it was at least supposed to be one but it turned out to be an evening with lots of Qingdao beer and karaoke! To start from the beginning, when we arrived at the restaurant it was so packed that the chef didn´t really have the time to show us how to prepare local dishes; and instead the owner arranged a truly opulent dinner for us. The food was absolutely scrumptious and this event was a perfect opportunity to meet and exchange with the other interns here in Zhuhai. However, after that many dishes and bottles of beer it had become so late that the kitchen staff was already finishing work and powering on the KARAOKE machine. The good thing was that I was able to avoid singing and thus “enjoy” completely the performances of the restaurant employees. Nevertheless, we still got the chance to go in the kitchen and watch the chef preparing a fast dish. I really hope there will be more “cooking classes” while I´m here. 😉