Chinese Bridge Competition – Preliminaries in Guangzhou

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Last Monday, 3rd of June, I attended the 6th Chinese Bridge  Competition Preliminaries for Foreign Students Studying in China. Chinese Bridge is a competition for Chinese language learners and there are separate competitions for those studying abroad and those here in China.

From the preliminaries around China, 100 students were chosen to continue the competition in Beijing. In Guangzhou total of 31 students took part in the race and in the end only 3 were chosen to go to Beijing.

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First part of the competition was  self introduction of one minutes. After that two minutes talent show. I did taiji, but other students performed dancing, singing, Chinese story telling, xiangsheng, pingshu, playing Chinese instruments and so on.

Students from beginners to fluent attended the competition. Some of then had studied 15 years of Chinese, some only few months. Some didn’t understand the questions asked by three teachers, some had a perfect Chinese accent. Some had better Chinese skills than the Chinese themselves!

After the talent performance three teachers/judges asked different kind of questions from each student. Then they would each press a button for green light if they liked your performance. Three lights and you could continue to the second round that same afternoon.

I was lucky to be chosen to the second round too!

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On round too there was 30 seconds to impress the judges. Because I don’t really have any skills I recited a Chinese poem. Unfortunately I hold the microphone too far and no one was really able to hear it!

In the end they chose three students to fly to Beijing. One 19-year-old Malaysian who had studied Chinese for 15 years and performed dancing (number 7). Guy number 4 who had a perfect Chinese accent (better than the Chinese!) who performed Chinese Crosstalk. And then a girl (behind the host) who played Chinese guzheng beautifully.

I didn’t make it to Beijing but it was an interesting experience nevertheless!

  • Bryan

    Hi Sara, Great Job! for getting into the second round and I am impress that you can do Taiji. It is a great exercise for the mind, body, and soul. About me, I am a Chinese American living in California, but was born in Kaiping (Hoi Ping). The city is about 87 miles from Guangzhou. Kaiping is well known for two things: rice fields and Diaolou (UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 2007). These towers are a blend of Western (Byzantine or Roman) and Eastern architectural style. In the past, my family used one of them as a living quarter and my grandma (father side) still has the key to it. Many of them have a balcony that offers a nice view of the country side. I recommend you to visit Kaiping if you like ancient architecture and is bored of Guangzhou. I am disappointed in that many historical buildings (Beijing and Shanghai) are being destroyed. I consider history priceless.

    I speak Taishanese, which is a dialect of cantonese. Cantonese is the lingua franca of overseas chinese around the world.

    I had been to China twice (2000 and 2007) and it is mainly for family reunion. I did went to Beijing and visited the Ming tomb, Great Wall, and Imperial Palace. Currently, my family and I have no plans to go back to China anytime soon. Finally, I like your blog and good luck in your studies.

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    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Thank you Brian!

    I’ve been thinking of visiting Kaiping, like you wrote, it seems an interesting place not far away from here. It would be nice to get some photos of diaolou.

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  • Daniel McDermott

    I’ve been reading through your blog since I applied to Sun Yat-Sen for the degree program. Stories like this are a great motivator to learn as much as I can about the language and culture here in China. It seems this competition would be a bit nerve wracking, but a lot of fun.

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  • Peter Hu China

    It is an interesting story.I really enjoy your blog.Actually I watched the Chinese Bridge Competition(汉语桥)two months ago. Some competitors had a wonderful performance of speaking Chinese,but I wonder that talent show such as singing or dancing should not the main part of the Language Competition,we should focus on the using of Chinese, although playing Chinese instruments is not bad.

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