China’s Wrap-up Music

My favorite quirk here in China is the song ‘Going Home’ by Kenny G.


There is no way there’s anyone living in China who doesn’t know this song, but it’s also unlikely many of them know what the song’s called or who plays it.
The reason this song is so well known nation-wide is because it plays to signal the end of everything, when a mall is closing, when a train is coming in to its final stop, when school is letting out, anything. This song is played throughout the evening in so many places around the country that it’s almost like the end titles of a daily TV show of peoples lives.
I’ve actually had a problem at work recently that was solved by this song.
When I travel to a school to teach I always set up in a hall or studio, and the kids I’m going to teach drama or dance to are shuffled in by the teachers, then shuffled out again once I’m done.
The problem lately is that when I’m done I wave goodbye to the students, wish them well and hope they leave quickly only to see them just stand there unheeding my well-wishing. The teacher hasn’t realized the class is over because she was busy messaging or with another project on her phone.
Sometimes I come over and tell her quietly that it’s time to go but I feel awkward, and there’s a limit to the volume that you can scream “GOODBYYYYE” without looking like a jack-ass.
So I just started playing ‘Going Home’ by Kenny G at the end of my classes and I’m completely serious when I say some of the teachers look up straight away within the first few bars of the song, and even if they’re still zoned out or in another world in their mind they start shuffling the kids out of the room assuming it’s over. It’s like magic! Some of the teachers hear it and start laughing because they know exactly what I’m trying to do, and some just smile because it’s a great song.

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