Tried and tested

ChinAfrica - - Lifestyle -

Held ev­ery year since 2002 by the Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute Headquarters (Han­ban) and Hunan Pro­vin­cial Gov­ern­ment, Chi­nese Bridge is a chance for young peo­ple from all over the world to com­pete while en­joy­ing an ex­tra­or­di­nary cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence for one month.

Ar­riv­ing in China in early July, th­ese young men and women went on to par­tic­i­pate in suc­ces­sive elim­i­na­tion rounds. Through­out the com­pe­ti­tion, they chat­ted, laughed, sang and cried all in Chi­nese, ef­fec­tively over­com­ing the lan­guage bar­rier. “I got to know a lot of peo­ple who came to this com­pe­ti­tion from all over the planet, and they be­came like my fam­ily,” said El­moiez, who was born in Dubai but raised in Khar­toum. “It doesn’t mat­ter who wins or loses, be­cause we will al­ways re­main friends.”

At the end, only five fi­nal­ists were left stand­ing, each rep­re­sent­ing one con­ti­nent: Zhao Zhi­hang (Mo­hammed El­moiez) from Su­dan, Sha Mier (Bin Muhamad Shah­meer) from Malaysia, Liu Siyuan (Anne-aelis Myr­iam) from Aus­tralia, Mu Chen­peng (Daniel Pa­trick) from the United States and He Bende (Bern­hard Haefner) from Ger­many.

On Au­gust 12, El­moiez and the four other fi­nal­ists faced off on stage in front of the cam­eras of Hunan Tele­vi­sion. Fac­ing a steady bar­rage of ques­tions, they demon­strated their lin­guis­tic prow­ess and their love of Chi­nese lan­guage and cul­ture one af­ter the other.

El­moiez set the bar high by break­ing into a rap in flu­ent Chi­nese on the im­por­tance of “hug­ging,” show­ing his pos­i­tive and tongue-in-cheek at­ti­tude to­ward life. His re­laxed yet flawless per­for­mance won the hearts of both the judges and the pub­lic. “At first, I was in­tim­i­dated by the other fi­nal­ists. I never thought that the level of Chi­nese would be that good,” he told Chi­nafrica.

But it was truly El­moiez’s ex­ten­sive knowl­edge of Chi­nese cul­ture that led him to vic­tory in the third round against Sha Mier. With­out a sec­ond of hes­i­ta­tion, he gave cor­rect an­swers to a se­ries of sharp ques­tions

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