At the Beijing International Students’ Chinese Contest, the Saint Paul American School (SPAS) Chinese Rock Band and xiangsheng team stunned the audience with their musical performance and witty xiangsheng dialogue. The two-day contest took place on Monday, November 19 and Tuesday, November 20, and SPAS had two of 35 teams from schools around Beijing to show off their talents and superior Chinese skills.
SPAS Chinese Rock Band and xiangsheng team represented the Number 2 High School attached to Beijing Normal University. SPAS band members stunned with a love duet called Liang Shanbo yu Zhu Liye. I was the band’s pianist, and performed with guitarist Jack Lee, 17; drum player Kevin Wang, 17; and vocalists Tiffany Woo, 16, and David Yoon, 18. After the performance, Tiffany said with a smile, “I’m so proud of our band members! Although we didn’t have enough time to practice, we still made it, and I’m overall very satisfied with how the performance went. Singing on this big stage with our members was a nervous but exciting experience I’ll never forget in my life.”
Along with musical talents, comedic performances also took center stage during the event.
Xiangsheng, also known as a comic cross talk, is a type of satire that is unique to Chinese culture. The comedians often perform as a duo, and toss funny remarks back and forth to criticize social issues in a jocular manner. For this contest, the SPAS xiangsheng team practiced for months and finally performed Dahuapengdou, in which two xiangsheng roles, dougen and penggen argue to see who is more important; dougen speaks more and tells jokes, while penggen embellishes the jokes with comical reactions. In this xiangsheng, Chisom Onyishi, 16, a Nigerian student, played dougen, and Suzy Kim, 16, Korean student, played penggen. Their hilarious gestures and lines continued to cause laughter in the audience the entire time. “I feel so lucky to have this opportunity to perform in front of a large audience. And I’d like to thank Chisom and our Chinese teacher especially for helping me to turn this stage into a success. Thank you so much!” Suzy said, after performing on stage.
The contest, which was sponsored by Beijing Hongxin Huihuang Technology Development of International Education, international students from many different schools in Beijing came together to showcase their showed off their talents and superior Chinese skills. Other schools present at the competition were from Beijing Fangcaodi International School, Beijing Jingyuan School, Beijing Bacui Bilingual School, Beijing Dongfang Decai School, Beijing Wangjing Experimental School, Beijing Huiwen Middle School, Beijing Number 39 High School, and Beijing Ticai School.
Often times when studying Chinese, international students forget that a big part of language is simply learning to enjoy the culture of the country. This contest was a forum for students to kick back, laugh, sing, and appreciate the unique culture of China they have been immersed in for their high school experience than merely showing off how many characters they recognized.
Sally, 17, is the beijingkids student correspondent for Saint Paul American School. She is in her senior year and has attended Saint Paul for five years. Currently, she is the co-editor of the student newsletter, the president of the volunteer club, and a girls’ basketball player. Through her blog posts, she hopes to share unique and exciting experiences at Saint Paul!
The beijingkids student correspondent program gives high school students with an interest in writing and journalism a resource for guidance, feedback, and real-life training. If you are a student interested in becoming a beijingkids student correspondent, or you know a student who is, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos courtesy of SPAS