Star of the show
But Elmoiez was not the only Sudanese to shine on stage that evening. For many, his Sudanese compatriot Ghofran Shamseldin, who goes by the Chinese name Li Can, stole the show. On stage, the dainty 17-year-old Sudanese girl blind from birth told the audience, in fluent Chinese, her most cherished dream: to become a Chinese language interpreter. “Many people told me it was not possible or realistic because of my blindness; many tried to discourage me from learning Chinese; but I did not listen to them,” she told the audience.
Never letting her handicap slow her down, she enrolled in Chinese classes at the Confucius Institute of the University of Khartoum, where she studies four hours every day. Unable to read or write, she took to singing to perfect her knowledge of the language. She blew the audience away with a faultless performance of Angela Chang’s Invisible Wings, a song that perfectly embodies her determination. In what was the evening’s most emotional moment, Shamseldin was told she had passed the level-three Mandarin proficiency test, allowing her to realize her long-time dream. In tears of joy, she was presented on the spot with a proficiency certificate by Chinese star news anchor Hai Xia.
“If you stick to your dreams, you will be able to find life’s purpose. Our dreams may have different meanings for different people, but I hope that ‘Chinese Bridge’ Chinese Proficiency Competition can make our world more peaceful and harmonious,” said Xu Jialu, former head of the College of Chinese Language and Culture at Beijing Normal University, encouraging participants to follow the young girl’s example.
Elmoiez, who is a senior classmate of Shamseldin at the University of Khartoum, said he was touched and impressed by her persistence in the face of so many hardships. “I really admire her, because she can only rely on speaking and listening to learn Chinese. In her shoes, I think a lot of people would have given up and stopped doing what they like,” he said. Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org