ARTS / CULTURE & LEISURE
'Say Hello to Life'
Second season of CCTV travel show wraps up in Xinjiang
Published: Jan 24, 2021 05:35 PM

Promotional material for Say Hello to Life Photo: Courtesy of Yu Wang

Promotional material for Say Hello to Life Photo: Courtesy of Yu Wang

The second season of China Central Television's (CCTV) travel program Say Hello to Life aired on Wednesday. The 12-episode season saw its hosts travel to a variety of places in China to interview locals and introduce local culture, but a major highlight was its focus on Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. 

This season has proven to be very popular, earning a total of 1.4 billion views. Numerous hot topics about the show also went trending on social media in China since the season debuted in late 2020.

CCTV host Neghmet Rakhman, a Xinjiang native, finally was able to return to Xinjiang with his friends, including host Sa Beining, during the latter third of the season. 

The two hosts arrived in Xinjiang during the second half of the seventh episode. This trip, which dived into the region's local customs, attracted numerous fans and aroused people's love for Xinjiang.

In the last episode, Sa and Neghmet sat down for dinner with three adorable children they met and talked about their lives, asking them if they missed their friends at school during the pandemic lockdown and what they want to do in the future.

The last episode maintained the style as the rest of the season, using slow steps to measure the beauty of life, which is consistent with the slow pace and healing feeling presented throughout the season.

The show's main aim is to help audiences get to know a place. To this end, the second season tried to answer questions such as "What is the real Xinjiang?" and "What is the life of local residents like?"

The two hosts stepped into the homes of ordinary Xinjiang people such as a family living on the grasslands and a young tap-dancer. They used the stories and perspectives of ordinary people to lead audiences to a better understanding of China's Xinjiang. These real stories allowed people to see the real changes that have taken place in the autonomous region and were a return volley of fire toward false statements about the place.

Living a simple life under the starry skies of the grasslands is the basic color of life enjoyed by Xinjiang residents.

The variety show has a 9.0/10 on major Chinese media review platform Douban, where it received numerous positive reviews.

Lots of Chinese netizens were reluctant to say goodbye to the show. "Why did it end so soon? I want to see more beautiful scenery in Xinjiang and more friendly local residents," one netizen commented on Sina Weibo.

"After watching the TV show, I learned how to compromise with myself," another netizen wrote.

A Beijing resident surnamed Wan from Urumqi told the Global Times on Sunday that the show made her miss her hometown more. 

"I am working in Beijing and cannot celebrate the Spring Festival this year with my family. What the program showed about Xinjiang made me long to taste the local snacks and instantly go to hike up the Tianshan Mountains," she said.

Lü Yitao, director of the variety show department at CCTV, said that Say Hello to Life is an experiment to test a new mode to air shows first online and then on TV. It is not only innovative when it comes to content creation and broadcast mode, but also took advantages of the various strengths of different platforms. 
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