Imagine going from working in insurance in Liverpool, to becoming a pop star in China. That’s just what Barry Cox did, according to an article on the BBC News website.
He was bored with his insurance job and wanted to try something different. After a visit to his local Chinese chip shop, he decided to have a go at learning Chinese. So he made friends with the guys in the chip shop, and began to learn Cantonese from them, and also at the Wah Sing Chinese Community Centre in Liverpool. Then he went to work in a Chinese supermarket and a restaurant to work on his language skills.
One of the guys gave him a pile of Cantonese music CDs. Barry found the tunes quite catchy and learnt to sing some of songs, even though he had no musical background and didn’t listen to music much before that.
Before long he was singing regularly at karakoe nights around Chinatown, and eventually moved to Hong Kong to pursue a singing career under the name of Gok Pak-wing. After building up his reputation over a number of years, he was offered a residency at the biggest casino in Macau.
So there you have a slightly unusual reason to learn a language – to become a pop star!