(Master Yun Long Zi’s, Honourary President of Chinese Teachers Literary Recital Society, speech at the 8th International Primary Students Mandarin Recital Contest)
I often ask Chinese compatriots, “What do we Chinese do better? How is China better than others?” They will reply, “China is big and we have a huge population!”
It is true that China is a huge country with a large population. But the large land area should be credited to Qin Shihuang, without whom, China would be in pieces instead of what it is today. But Qin Shihuang’s greatest legacy is not unifying China through violence means, but to standardise the writing system.
An empire will not last forever, like how no one can live eternally. But with a standardised writing system, there is a standardised communication tool and a shared history, which can record the shared memory of millions and billions of people over a few thousand years. As long as there is a Chinese in this world, the writing system will live on.
Are we just enjoying the heritage that Qin Shihuang left behind for a few thousand years, or are we going to build on his legacy and contribute to society?
The Chinese Teachers Literary Recital Society launched the International Primary Students Mandarin Recital Contest in 2002 and this is the seventh instalment. The aim of the competition is to encourage students to perform the sound and rhythm of words on stage through recitation, as well as to express the storyline and emotions of words through recitation on stage.
The Chinese writing system is a system that requires a lot of hard work to learn well, that’s why only people who study really hard will be able to have a good grasp of it. However, sound and emotion in language transcend nationalities and national boundaries.
We are very fortunate that Qin Shihuang allowed the Chinese writing system to overcome time and live forever. Today’s Recital Contest is trying to overcome time and allowing you to feel the enthusiasm, liveliness and greatness in the Chinese language. The Recital Contest strives to turn the everlasting Chinese writing system into the Chinese language of everlasting youth.
Thank you for your support, let’s continue to work hard!
-- Master Yun Long Zi, 2014