The Voice of (insert your country in here) has become a very popular singing competition show with latest viewing figures from the UK, which is based on the original version, The Voice of Holland, averaging about 8.5 million during 2015.
Here in China, the series is just as popular with some fantastic singers coming through every summer, anxious for the priviledge of being judged by household names in the business and perhaps acquiring stardom.
One evening, however I was lucky enough to find my own special Voice of China (Zhōngguó Hǎo Shēngyīn).
I was waiting at the bus stop at about 7:30pm. Traffic was flowing but not too heavy. Weighed down with shopping bags and tired after an early start and long day, I tried in vain to hail a taxi. Weirdly they won’t carrying any passengers, but no one stopped. It was as if I was invisible.
Eventually one pulled over. I got in, sank into the seat and gratefully offered my address. The driver drove off, taking the time to select a CD and adjust the volume. After the first few notes of introduction he opened his mouth and sang. There was no voice on the CD, it was all him, singing live, just for me and it sounded awesome.
He crooned an old Chinese melody, a soft, slow ballad that built to a powerful crescendo. Every note was pitch perfect and every word was filled with feeling. I was amazed and touched.
As we reached my home, in faltering Chinese I tried to express my admiration for his talent and asked him to continue driving so I could pay more and keep listening. He declined my offer of more money and more driving and instead sang another short song for free. Then he gave me a CD of his own personal recordings, wrote his number on it and told me to call anytime I fancied KTV (Chinese Karaoke). Yeah right, like I was gonna sing in front of him and embarrass myself!
It was a perfect end to the day and I was so glad that those other empty taxis had carried on driving and that this guy with the divine voice had chosen me to share it with.