Sophomore competes in Chinese speech contest

By Jack Goldfisher

Sinclair Cook ’14 competed in a Chinese speech contest in Beijing last week after placing first in the regional preliminary round during spring break. Cook and his team are now vying for points against teams from across the world, and as of press time, Cook’s team had more votes than any other team in the contest. Polls were opened for voting on the Chinese bridge website on Sept. 29, and will remain open until Oct. 29. If students want to vote, they should contact Chinese teacher BinbinWei.

Cook first heard about the Chinese bridge competition, an international Chinese proficiency contest for non-native Mandarin speakers, from Wei.

The Chinese National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, which sponsors the competition, says the competition, “aims to arouse the enthusiasm of students in various countries in learning Chinese and strengthen the world’s understanding of Chinese language and culture.”

The preliminary round, which took place at the Confucius Institute at UCLA, consisted of a five minute full-Mandarin Chinese speech round and a talent round, during which he played the saxophone.

For winning, Cook got the chance to go to China and represent the United States internationally. For the final round in China, Cook was paired with two other non-native speakers and they competed for votes cast online. Teams could earn points by writing blog posts in Chinese, posting pictures relating to Chinese culture, or by people casting votes for them. “This time around, my focus isn’t on competing. It’s more on enjoying myself,” he said.