Japanese woman wins Mandarin speech contest in Taipei
Central News Agency
2014-05-17 10:02 PM
Taipei, May 17 (CNA) A woman from Japan took first prize in a Mandarin speech contest in Taipei on Saturday, bagging NT$100,000 (US$3,317) and a trophy. Ayana Shirai, one of the 21 finalists, won the annual contest with a fluent presentation about Taiwan's herbal medicine interwoven with ukelele music. Dressed as a Chinese medicine doctor, the 27-year-old Japanese wowed the judges and audience with her near-native-Mandarin accent and vivid gestures. She was also the only non-resident contestant who made it into the final round. Radio Taiwan International (RTI) has been hosting the speech contest for foreign residents in Taiwan since 2004, but the event was expanded this year to include non-resident foreign nationals who were willing to travel to Taiwan for the contest. The 21 finalists from some 30 countries were required to base their presentations on the theme of professions in Taiwan. They portrayed policemen, teachers, traditional Taiwanese opera performers, pilots, weather presenters, cleaners and other workers in jobs representative of Taiwan. Shirai told CNA that she will use the prize money to travel south to Kaohsiung with her friends before going back to Tokyo on May 25. Meanwhile, in second place was Ukrainian Sergiy Popovych, who portrayed an express delivery man and used the topic to talk about the things in Taiwan that he loves most. He won a NT$50,000 cash prize, while Charlotte Oke of Canada took third place with her fruit vendor speech, bagging a prize of NT$30,000. The best audience award was presented to Vietnamese Le Thi-phuong, who talked about Taiwan's nurses. The prize for best costume and creativity went to American Michael Hoffman, who portrayed the life of fishermen in the eastern county of Yilan. Hanguang Education Foundation, a co-organizer of the speech contest, also selected the winners in a separate poetry recital competition, presenting the top prize of NT$30,000 to Japanese Suzuki Yudai for his outstanding performance. The event took place at Zhongshan Hall in Taipei. (By James Lee)
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