China Daily holds 21st Century Cup English-Speaking Competition in Bangkok

By YANG WANLI and LU WANQING in Bangkok | | Updated: 2023-08-19 19:58
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Participants from both Youth and Junior Group of the competition took a group photo after the event in Bangkok Saturday. [Photo by Yang Wanli/]

The regional final of the "21st Century Cup" International English-Speaking Competition--also known as the fifth China Daily Belt and Road Youth English Speaking Competition kicked off in Bangkok on Saturday under the theme of "AI, a blessing or a curse?"

Having nailed rounds of preliminary selections, a total of 10 competitors from both Thailand and Myanmar beat hundreds of contestants. These competitors, who are still in their teens yet well attuned to gripping declamation and a critical mindset, had finally forged ahead onto the regional final.

Su Yati Eain from Singapore International School and Makhawan Wiriya from Varee Chiangmai School were crowned the champions of Myanmar and Thailand respectively, representing their countries to the grand final expected to be held October in China.

Methas Ruttanaburee, a 17 year old competitor from Siam Singapore International School, said the competition helped him to open up his mind and explore a field that he had never tried before. "Through the competition, I was able to speak in public without fear and I also got to know many friends," he said and explained that it's his first time to participate in a competition related to China.

"I've heard about China a lot since Thailand and China have been close friends for years, although I've never been abroad. But I know about some Chinese cities through the media, such as Beijing and Shanghai. Moreover, young people in Thailand also love Chinese mala food a lot," he added.

Ian Robinson, Assistant Primary and Secondary Coordinator from Siam Singapore International School who is among the judging panel, said participants showed a great diversity in different languages and backgrounds.

"We should not only take the event as a competition, but also as an opportunity for cooperation, as the core value that the Belt and Road Initiative conveys. Those young contestants gathered today and engrossed themselves in various fresh takes on mankind's shared future amid the recent AI frenzy, which is very encouraging," he said.

"The competition is a testimony of the power of language and communication. All the competitors are ready to be the citizens of the world and they have resorted all their efforts to overcome cultural barriers and contribute themselves to build a better world," said Robinson.

"Today's competition is beyond the competition itself, but is a chance to boost mutual understanding beyond nationality and a process of learning on cooperation. Winning or losing, friendship will be formed and knowledge will be gained," he added.

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