Students from Hsinchu County’s National Chupei Senior High School took top honors in two of the main five divisions of the Competition of National Languages that recently ended. The three champions included two high school juniors — Chung Wen-ting and Chuang Yung-chun — and one sophomore — Chu Sai-yu, winning first place in Chinese essay writing and reading aloud Hakka and the Aboriginal language Saisiyat respectively, bringing glory to Hsinchu County.
Chung, who commutes from Baoshan Township to Jhubei Township every day for school, also won top honors in a national contest in elementary school. She expounded upon the essay topic — “a future without limits” — by discussing Chinese Song Dynasty poet Su Shih, herself and Nick Vujicic, a handicapped Australian motivational speaker and writer.
Chung is shy and modest. She believes that by having dreams, love and courage people can have a future without limits.
She used the anecdote of Su Shih never getting discouraged after he was banished from the capital, continuing to dream of returning to the capital and working as a poet, writing verses that have stood the test of time. Chung says that her family’s love, her friends’ support and the admiration of her teachers have given her confidence about her future’s limitless possibilities.
Without arms or legs, Vujicic’s bravery has allowed him to overcome the disability of having no limbs, and his book Life without Limits is even more inspirational. Chung used these three examples to express her thoughts regarding the topic.
Chuang grew up in the countryside. He was given the topic which he feared most — “birch seed kids” — which is the story of an author recalling the destitute times of his childhood, when he and his elder brother cleverly used a product of nature. By planting birch seeds, they eventually make traditional spinning tops from the wood once the trees have grown. Since he did not grow up during that era, Chuang was afraid he would not be able to read the story in such a way that tugged at people’s heartstrings.
Chu hails from the Saisiyat tribal village near Hsiangtien Lake in Miaoli County’s Nanjhuang Township. Being able to speak a language that is on the verge of extinction, Chu feels like she must shoulder the responsibility of carrying on the language. Winning first place in the Competition of National Languages was therefore both an honor and a bittersweet triumph for her.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)