Today brings us to the final round of the group competition, team Asia vs. team Chengdu. Chengdu, despite not particularly impressing me in the first round gave an amazing performance yesterday, and I’m not sure whether to pull for them or team Asia who I feel have gotten some discrimination for being Asian (i.e. everyone says they have an easier time learning Chinese/I know the directors don’t really want an Asian face to win. Which I feel is unfair, since as far as I know southeast Asian languages don’t have much relation to Chinese. There is the Korean girl who grew up in China and is definitely their strongest member, so I suppose that gives them a bit of an advantage, but I know she must have needed to work hard to maintain that language maintained after she went back to South Korea (I have to specify because there is a North Korean contestant) and be at the phenomenal level she is now. Like damn she good.
I had been liking team Hangzhou, but the Iranian girl I mentioned brown nosed too hard and lost my support. Like every sentence out if her mouth was sickeningly sweet and crafted to win audience support. Made me kind of happy when they didn’t move on.
Neither did team Africa though, which was a little sad, but they weren’t the strongest team.
Related, I also learned how to say brown nose (the verb) in Chinese. It’s 拍马屁 (pai ma pi) lit. to pat the horse’s butt. It makes me happy. This girl went past patting, more like trying to beat the horse to death with a bat.
The “story” portion of the competition, which had been skits for us, were switched to dubbing for round two, is now poem reading, which makes me wish we had made it to this round if only to get the training on how to read poems out loud in Chinese. What’s more, I had studied both of the first two poems this past semester! They’re quite good, I’ll put them up in a future post.
All of the female contestants thus far though have been injecting a lot of loud volume and emotion into their readings, which in both of the first two poems I thought wasn’t particularly necessary or effective. Or in the classical poem. It sounded like reading these poems was causing them physical pain.
The quiz portion was also very interesting, and had a lot of poem questions that would have been fun to try to answer.
Special guest judge was Li Jing, a crosstalk performer who gave us a 快板 （kuai bar，fast boards) performance that was pretty great. He even did the tongue twister I did about a mute and monk. Obviously better than me. Here’s a video of another guy doing it in the same style, skip to about 5:40, you should be able to tell when it starts. Lot’s of lama, laba, yaba, tama etc.
The first bit he does is listing all of China’s ethnicities which is pretty impressive.
I realized I never explained how it goes. The easier/more straightforward version goes “from the south came a mute, with a horn at his waist. From the north there came a monk (lama) with five pounds of tama (a kind of fish) in his hand. The monk with the fish wanted to exchange his fish for the horn of the mute with a horn at his waist. The mute with a horn at his waist didn’t want to exchange his horn for the fish of the monk with the fish in his hand. It’s not clear whether the mute with the horn at his waist hit the monk with fish in his hands with the horn, or that the monk with fish in his hands hit the mute with a horn at his waist with a fish. The monk went home to cook the fish, and the monk played his horn.
And Chengdu won! They were only ahead by 1.9 points, which meant it was pretty much entirely decided by audience vote.