Competition Time Again

…and so soon too. I hate being forced to be on TV, it happens in China more often than desired, I promise. This time it’s a Tianjin city-wide Chinese language competition. It all began with a little, innocent phone call one month ago. A teacher that I know from the Chinese Language Department called me to let me know about a competition interest meeting taking place the next day. I’m not good at saying no, so of course I agreed and went to her office the next day. Little did I know the competition had already started; there were reporters and huge cameras from Tianjin TV station there, and only six students (including me) received the invite to the “interest meeting”. It turns out that each college in Tianjin is supposed to choose three representatives to participate. Which meant we were competing against each other that same day, I was glad that the other impromptu contestants were as surprised and unprepared as me. The competition has three parts: Self-introduction, Speech, and Talent. As is evident from other posts, I have learned the Chinese story-telling form, kuaiban shu, so I told them the story. Of course, being unprepared, I hadn’t practiced in months AND did not have my rhythm clappers. Nonetheless, that day, I got a call saying that I was chosen to be a Nankai representative, along with two other Russian students. Being a part of a Chinese program is so annoying, because you get all of the details last minute, we were told our speech topic, time restrictions and general rules a whopping 2 and a half weeks before the semi-finals. Nankai took it very seriously from there and I was given Kuaiban teacher (who happens to be the host of Tianjin Radio), a speech coach, and was forced to meet regularly. Of course, both of these things can only be helpful in learning Chinese; I just hated the fact that it ate away from my time when I didn’t really want to do it. The pressure was intense, but I am glad I went through it, I learned a lot, and made new friends along the way. For example, I hang out regularly with a Korean friend who was one of the 6 original nankai students before the three of us got picked. He carries his skate board everywhere, and has spent the last four years in Dongbei, China. He even speaks Chinese with their accent, he’s amazing and I want to reach his level someday. Not to mention he’s crazy funny, and I forced him to become my friend the same day we met, tehe.

Back on topic: The first competition took place last Tuesday. The competition last week was actually just a preliminary, there were 27 contestants and only 13 would be chosen to continue to the finals. (The picture below is us all, the one’s standing made it into the finals while the one’s crouching got cut…it’s a cutthroat world out there lol Nevermind my internet is acting insane and won’t let me). I was number 10, so I got to see some amazing, and not so amazing, performances. When I got on stage I was not nervous for once, just wanted to get it over with and not make my school lose too much “face”. To be honest I spoke too fast during my speech, it’s a big problem for me, and I always speak fast in any language. Everyone loved the storytelling so much, and when I was done I got the highest score of the day, putting me in first place. I was in first place for a long time, until near the end a very impressive Kenyan took first, Ruth. In a previous post, I mentioned singing for a TV program. That’s actually where I met her, so we were united again. She’s pretty famous in China for singing because she was on the Spring Festival CCTV show. Then second to last, was a very funny Xiangsheng performance by a male graduate student. Both Ruth and that guy’s speeches sounded like poetry, they spoke very slowly and the tone of voice was very soothing. I think that is what I am going to work on with my speech coach from now on. Now that I have all of the words memorized, I can focus on sounding angelic 😛 In the end, I received third place and therefore will be competing in the finals. It’s taking place December 13th, and I just received my schedule yesterday, they have practices and recordings for us almost every single until the competition….pray for me!

 

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