Lonely Planet Writer

Aussie who woke from coma speaking Mandarin goes on Chinese TV

Anyone who has learned a new language knows it takes time and effort to master. But in 2013, a man in Australia woke from a coma speaking fluent Mandarin – and has now used those language skills to appear on the extremely popular Chinese dating show If You Are the One.

Ben McMahon is on If You Are The One.
Ben McMahon is on If You Are The One. Image by SBS 2

The reality TV show has a massive following in China and around the world. It recently ran a new special edition for Mandarin-speaking Australians. Luckily for Ben McMahon, his post-coma skill was enough to get him on the show.

SBS2, the Australian channel that airs the show, reports that McMahon was injured in a car accident in 2013, spending more than a week in a coma. While he had learned some Mandarin as a student, when he awoke, he could only speak that language. He regained his English and maintained his Mandarin, and since that time McMahon has continued to work on his language skills.

They were sufficient enough for him to qualify to travel to China as a contestant on one of the new episodes.

If You Were the One is the most popular dating show in the world, reports the Sydney Morning Herald, and has been extremely popular in Australia since it began airing a couple of years ago.

Promo for if you are the one.
Promo for if you are the one. Image by YouTube

The show involves 24 women and a somewhat complicated system where men try to win their hearts.

McMahon told the Australian Broadcasting Company: “It’s a good insight into Chinese culture and just some of the crazy things that go on and the requirements [Chinese people have] for relationships.”

McMahon’s turn on the show has proved to be successful, as the Herald reports he found a new girlfriend, Sydney lawyer Feng Guo. However, for now their new relationship is long-distance, as he lives in Melbourne.