Write on!

Chinese Writing Contest

It’s time to be creative

Learning Chinese is to be creative!

Students toy around elements of Chinese language and create interesting stories or beautiful poetry. It’s like playing with small pieces of Lego. We are only limited by our own imaginations. This creative field should be open to students from day one.

However, the theme of learning Chinese is often dominated by the question “how many characters have you learned?” This question has led many students to focus on accumulating Chinese characters, spending so much time and energy either to look up characters or to memorise them. But accumulating characters for the sake of accumulating them does not enhance students’ learning experience, nor help them develop their Chinese skills, or bring any sense of delight. This is unfortunate.

The real question we should ask is “how much Chinese reading and writing have you done?” With this question, students’ focus is turned into reading for ideas and writing for creation. Amazing learning results can be achieved. 

Therefore, in order to encourage students to read more and to write more, learners of Chinese worldwide are invited to participate in this Chinese Writing Contest, and to show their creativity using 320 Chinese characters.

Beginner students are encouraged to compete with the advanced ones, and the older students are encouraged to compete with the younger ones.

This is a competition that no one suffers from stage fright. Have fun!

The prize

  • MSL Master

    The winner wins a Complete Beginner’s Chinese Reading and Writing Course Kit

The Complete Beginner’s Chinese Reading and Writing Course Kit helps beginner students build solid Chinese reading and writing skills, and experience the delight of reading and writing Chinese, from the very beginning.

  • DC

    The first runner-up wins one year subscription of Du Chinese

Du Chinese is a powerful Chinese learning app. Many built-in features help students practice Chinese naturally and provide assistance when they need.

  • MC

    The second runner-up wins two copies of any titles from Mandarin Companion

Mandarin Companion publishes Chinese story books written specifically for Chinese learners using carefully controlled characters and grammar.

  • MA

    The winner, the first runner-up and the second runner-up each win six month subscription of Maayot

Maayot is a great resource for graded reader, sending students bite-size stories daily to help them improve their Chinese reading comprehensions.

  • IM8

    The best 10 to 15 submissions will be published by Imagin8 Press

Imagin8 Press is dedicated to publishing high quality and enjoyable books for people who want to read and understand Chinese. The best 10 to 15 submissions (depending on length) will be assembled and published as a collection of short stories. Each contributor gets two free copies, and wins the rights to tell friends that he or she is a published author!

Guidelines

Character requirement

Writings are limited to using 320 Chinese characters (see below).

19 of them are listed explicitly as special characters which have two pronunciations. There are other special characters in this selection. But they are not to be used as special characters. For example, the character “”, only one pronunciation “hé” is allowed to be used. Other meanings which are associated with other pronunciations are not allowed to be used.

The rest 301 characters are considered as regular characters with one pronunciation, even though there are occasions when their pronunciations are changed. For instance, neutral tone reading of a character in a word or a sentence is expected. 

All 320 characters and their related words/combinations are presented in these online video lessons, which are free to watch.

Words and combinations which use these 320 characters but are not included in the online video lessons are accepted.

These 320 Chinese characters are:

  • 19 special characters

便差长处当发分干还华教空了哪为校行只种

  • The rest 301 characters

八班包边车吃出穿春冬东都多方飞高哥跟工喝黑花欢机加家间江今斤经京开妈期七千秋三山身生声师收书说思她他天听西先些心新星衣一因英真知之中白别才常成船从得读儿国孩河和红黄回来蓝零〇楼毛没门们名明拿男南能年平其钱前情球全裙然人如谁什实十时条同头完文无学颜宜游鱼员直昨矮把百北本比场此打等点短法给拐果海好很己几姐九可口老冷里理两马买美每你女跑起请少手水所体晚网往我五午喜想小写雪也已以泳有雨远早怎找主子总走左爸半报被不步部次大带到道地弟第电店定动对饿二饭放个贵过号候后话会价见叫进就看课客裤快块乐累力六路绿卖慢妹面那气汽去让热日入色上事是四太外万问夏下现向谢信姓样要业意用又右月在再这住赚自字最作做坐吧的吗么呢着

What to write

Anything. It could be a short story, a mini play, or anything else a creative mind fancies.

Length

299 - 700 Chinese characters, excluding punctuation. Or poetry at any length.

Sample writings

Four pieces of reading exercises are available as sample writings.  

In the sample pages of Chinese Reading and Writing 5, in Exercise 2, the first reading uses 386 characters, and the second reading uses 525 characters.

In the sample pages of Chinese Reading and Writing 6, in Exercise 2, the first reading uses 128 characters, and the second reading uses 158 characters.

The average number of characters used in these four readings is 299 characters, which serves to be the lower limit of this contest. The upper limit of 700 characters is just something sounds nice, which also gives plenty of room for people to write in length! :-)

However, we make exceptions for poetry, where the length requirement does not apply.

The process

Time line

  • Submission starts - August 1, 2021
  • Submission ends - September 30, 2021
  • Announce the winner - November 1, 2021

Method of selection

  • The initial assessment is done at MSL Master, to make sure that the guidelines are followed and that writings are intelligible.
  • The best ones will be published on MSL Master website. 
  • The winner is selected by votes on Twitter.

(In the event of any unexpected scenarios, teacher April, the organiser, has the authority to make the final decision.)

Check your writing before submitting

If you wonder whether or not you have involuntarily used one or two Chinese characters which are not included in the list, you can check it quickly. 

Contributed by two talented Chinese language learners, two alternative ways are available.

  • The Demonic-Duck character checker

Click this link https://regexr.com/60vqa 

Paste your writing under “Text”. Characters which are not included will be highlighted, as the example shows.

  • The Betty character tool

Click this link: https://bettyjj.github.io/limited-characters/ 

Paste your writing into the space provided, then click “Submit”. Characters which are not included will be screened out. If some punctuation marks also show up, don’t worry about them.  

The quest for excellence

Votes have been counted, the winners have emerged. Congratulations!

Read more about the winners and what inspired them here.

Winner: 有个理想叫成就

       当上男班主长后,我能力怎跟别人一样,都半斤八两呢?主长不常是第一名,大家所说的人才吗?我比别人用心,怎么个个可到国外读书报课,我只能在本国上大学呢?我有理想,想进入出国的大门:北京、英国都行,体会去外国的心情,想马上飞到国外,在冬天穿身冷衣看雪花;秋天穿秋裤坐热气球;夏天穿短裙吃果实;春天穿新衣听毛毛雨声......

        我真想出国,和其他人在同起点出发,谁知在跑道上,我还差得远,无法和他们那样快。学业是我对不起学校和教师;没成就是我对不起爸妈。爸妈每天早出晚回做生意只为赚几块零钱让我上最好的大学。现今,拐卖又网住千万个女孩和老少,动手打老百姓的不法分子,年年无收入的行业,工作没钱拿的员工太多,是因没成就才如此。

        天空蓝;高山绿;花儿红;江河黄。大自然都能有理想中的颜色,那我呢?大海让鱼儿放心地游泳,给船子道路;星月给人信心,和平。为什么我不如大海和星月一样,带给我家人一点欢喜──成就。见到头来我就是种没用的东西,到处没这机会。我人生如一条直往很黑的道路,本以想要加点颜色,如美美的写字楼只给贵客用。

        饿了,先开口吃些方便面、白饭包,喝着水,多次谢过被问东问西的客人,心想我是如此矮人一等!别人能从〇,向一二三四步步往前走,已经过五六七八,直到九十。别人可买汽车、电话、住家,可和姐弟哥妹过着快乐的日子。只是成就不是定价贵不贵,手里再有钱也不能在哪儿买到,全是自己完成理想事后,宜得到的。

        请把出国心思找回来吧!昨天过了,今天到了,明天来了。短期间,我从一场空做到了上下左右都是贵客的华文写字楼。早上如小河东去,下午如南部热情,晚上如店家叫卖。总之,我,你,他(),是时候得到成就了。

(By Toh Jun Tian)

1st Runner-up: 给我的女儿一个信

- 在中国

所有的爸爸都是不同的。

有些爸爸天天加班,还是在很远的地方工作,所以不经常在家里。

可是还有很多爸爸他们天天跟他们的孩子在一起。

还有些爸爸,

从你出生以后,他们每年只见一次他们的孩子。

可是......

还有一些爸爸,

在你出生七年后才进入你的日子。

这有时候不是很理想的,还是平等。

不过有意思的是,你可以有两个爸爸。

可能有些人有三个爸爸? 四个爸爸也可以?

你的同学已经说了,你爸爸是一个外国人?怎么可能?!

你现在已经快十年,你的新爸爸,我,只在中国住了三年。

可是他会说中文。

我跟你见面之前,我就一个人住。 我住在中国没有自己的家人,

可是我新的家让我很开心。

你们让我加入中国的文明。

现在我有道理成为我最好的自己:

因为我有你,还有你妈妈。 

我有动力给你们两个最好的我。

我想要你快乐、开心的长大。

你知道你有妈妈和我。

可能你不把我当你爸爸

可能你真的把我当你的爸爸

都可以

因为我一直会把你当我的女儿。

(By Jaap Grolleman)

2nd Runner-up: 年

春天来报喜,

一年又一年, 

大路高楼穿红裙,

男女老少穿新衣,

孩子手拿红包真欢喜,

吃了年饭喝了汽水真得意!

夏天知了声声起,

热天气,穿高山,飞大海。

鱼儿河里游,人们海上泳,

让我们从蓝色的海边跑起,

夏日说:我很快就过去。

秋天到,

红花儿干了,黄花儿也谢了。

全球游子思千里,

秋冷的星月也明了。

谁家的哥哥姐姐大声叫!

可请明月带着我们回家。

如今冬又回,

绿色大地已成雪,

白白雪花处处飞。

冷冷小手也累了,

想起吃喝最美好,

吃个包子,心情实在好。

一年已过,

快快乐乐,

欢欢喜喜。

如鱼得水心向往,

百花新开又一年。

(By Germaine Di Pey Qi)


CONTACT

April Zhang
Chinese Teacher
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(852) 9739 8065

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