I was in China for the finals of the Chinese Bridges international competition for university students of Chinese in early August. I was amazed by the language and drama skills of the top 12, who performed to an audience of 100 million TV viewers.
But I’d only heard about, hadn’t seen, one of the pre-finals “tests” the students had to take, making it through Hunan TV’s water maze. Now I think learning to speak Chinese looks easy, compared to this!
Video is from the web site of Li-mu, who is my son, aka Liam Bates, but who was also one of the three top winners, taking the prize for “eloquence”. I’m not too sure how eloquent he was while doing the maze to shouts and a clock counting down!
Allow time for the video to load. The “test” to get through the maze starts after about 40 seconds of video.
And here’s a link to TSR’s interview with Liam, in French. The Swiss public TV station sent a team from Beijing to film the finals and interview the local lad.
Kudos to what is now known as the tenthousandmiles (Mao, Motorbikes and a Yak) team, putting together a documentary on their adventures riding from Lhasa in Tibet to Shanghai on motorcycles: Global Times in Beijing has just published a feature article on them. GenevaLunch hosted an event in September 2009 with Liam Bates talking about the trip (he occasionally contributes travel stories to GenevaLunch).
I thought I might be sensible and do a couple minutes on the stationary bicycle, a few stretching exercises – the kind of thing you should do regularly if you spend too much time in front of the computer, right? And then this came in from GenevaLunch contributor Liam Bates, in Vancouver, ouch: