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Shenzhen expats encouraged to provide comic relief

Posted: 09/24/2011 2:00 pm

Any expat that has been in China a while has likely been encouraged to sing a silly song at KTV, drink a little extra baijiu at the banquet, or slam back glasses of red wine like they were shots of jaeger. Yes, Chinese love to see laowai be entertaining, so why not institutionalize it?

The Shenzhen Standard fills us in on plans for the Expat Talent competition:

A second Shenzhen Expat Chinese Talent Competition will be held at the InterContinental Hotel. The competition will consist of a Chinese language speech section and a Chinese talent portion. Foreigners living in Shenzhen and nearby Pearl River Delta cities can enter the competition.

The contestants will engage in a five minute Chinese language section, with the topics given to them by a judging panel. The Chinese talent portion of the competition, contestants will recite Chinese poems, standup comedy, Chinese kung fu drama and sing Chinese songs. Semifinals for the competition will be held Oct. 22 and the finals Nov. 7.

Yes, this is the *second* time this has happened. What’s notable is the official purpose behind the competition:

The talent completion is to help encourage the expats in Shenzhen to learn Chinese by speaking the language so that they can be more involved in the local life and culture.

Hmmm…. sounds noble. Or, more likely, it could be to wildly entertain the local audience. Excuse our skepticism, as the event was successful in its first year and learning Chinese is an admirable goal. But we’ve done many of these things in the past (TV commercials, emcee jobs, public speaking in Chinese) to know what’s really behind it. (Or, we’re just comically bad at these things.) Also, it’s still better than the Mr. Laowai competition held in Beijing.

If you are still interested in taking part, you can visit the Shenzhen Daily‘s website.



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