April 16th marked an important day for the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland. It welcomed 30 young contestants from UCD, UCC, DIT and NUI Maynooth for the 15th International Chinese Bridge Competition for college students. Guests of honour included Chinese Ambassador to Ireland His Excellency Jianguo Xu, UCD President Professor Andrew Deeks, First Secretary of the Chinese Embassy in Ireland Mr Xiaochuang Wu, directors of the UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland and UCC Confucius Institute as well as local Chinese media representatives.
The qualifiers were divided into preliminaries and finals. Katherine Burke came first with her humorous performance and fluent Chinese, while Felix O’Mahony and Paul Cray won 2nd prizes, followed by Shannon Grace, William Gallagher and Terese Haney who won 3rd prizes. The prizes also included the Best Talent Award and Excellent Performance Award.
The contestants impressed the audience with their highly entertaining performances and excellent Chinese language skills. Katherine Burke completed her performance with the theme “I dream to become a perfect Chinese daughter-in-law”. For the Chinese speech part, she drew an analogy between herself and an egg which was yellow inside and white outside. She was determined to impress her future Chinese mother-in-law not only with fluent Chinese but also with beautiful and innocent looks. The audience burst into laughter by her humorous speech. For the talent show part, she impressed the audience by singing and playing on the guitar a Chinese song that she composed while studying in China. Another winner William Gallagher described his experience of table tennis training in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province in fluent Chinese. He’s now a qualified table tennis coach and showed off his skills by playing against the Chinese Ambassador His Excellency Jianguo Xu on the stage.
Throughout the competition, all contestants demonstrated their passion for the Chinese language and deep understanding of Chinese society and life. They even incorporated such popular cultural elements as wechat, “creamy tea” girls, “Lanzhou big baozi”, TV program “Where are we going, Dad?” and social media hit “The world is so big and I want to see it” in their speeches. Contestants showed off their unique talents, including Christoph’s accordion version of a Chinese pop song titled South of the South Mountain, George’s performance of Chinese song along with playing Ukulele and Paul’s hip hop song titled “Chinese Language”. Other talents such as Chinese calligraphy and Chinese poetry reading also left the audience mesmerised.