The winner of the Chinese Writing Contest is …
Chinese Writing Contest 2023 is coming to an end. It has been fantastic to read so many interesting entries!
Thank everyone for your support. Without you, this event wouldn’t have had a chance. And you made it exciting. Thank you all very much.
Sometimes I wonder, if Dr. Seuss could write in Chinese, would he be able to writer better than this year’s contestants and all the previous ones? His ability of writing within a limited number of words was famous.
In 1960, Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham using only 50 English words. This book has been one of the best selling children’s books of all time. Although I couldn’t possibly invite Dr. Seuss to participate in this Chinese Writing Contest, I still thank him for giving us a good example of how embracing constraints leads to explosion of creativities.
This Contest gives quite a bit constraint on the number of Chinese characters that are allowed. The idea is not to check how many characters students have learned. It is how they can use characters to create meanings.
This aspect has gained a particular significance because of the rise of ChatGPT, a generative AI chatbot that can write brilliant essays and stories in a matter of seconds, and in more than one languages.
Yet, ChatGPT totally failed in this writing contest.
It’s not because ChatGPT can not write in Chinese. It can. It can write beautiful stories and poems. However, when I asked it to write using only 320 Chinese characters, it failed.
Indeed, only humans can do it. And this is our strength as humans.
Therefore, to compete with generative AI, we must be more humans. Rote memory must go. Machines are so much better in this regard.
Since the initial launch in 2021, this Chinese Writing Contest has entered into its third year. I am super glad that it has offered an outlet for students to have some fun with Chinese characters and words, and perhaps also, dare I say it, helps discover the best selling authors in the future.
Let me thank two outstanding Chinese language learners in particular, Demonic-Duck and Betty, two marvellous software engineers. They created character checkers, which make it easy to catch those characters that are not included in the required character’s list.
Now it’s time to reveal the winners.
This year, 23 submissions were received. Authors are from Trinidad and Tobago, South Korea, Switzerland, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, the United States, and China.
16 were qualified and published online. The selection process was conducted on X, formerly known as Twitter. People were invited to vote for the best four.
Public voting like this makes the selection process transparent. And transparency is good. And the more people participate, the better it gets.
So, after tallying all the acceptable votes, I’m delighted to announce:
- The winner is Germaine Di Pey Qi (Candidate #7):
Germaine is a fourteen year old student from Malaysia. Her winning entry is《我的天空》.
- The first runner-up is Janine Lutchman (Candidate #5):
Janine is a foreign language teacher and enthusiast from the picturesque Caribbean Island nation, Trinidad and Tobago. She is fond of Chinese culture, in particular, Chinese folk arts like paper cutting and knotting. Her winning entry is《蓝蓝学游泳》.
- The second runner-up is Jasmine Wang (Candidate #3):
Jasmine is a high school student from the United States. Her winning entry is《女人的卖力》.
Please join me to congratulate them for their achievements!
Chinese Writing Contest’s previous winner:
2021: Toh Jun Tian (Malaysia)
2022: Germaine Di Pey Qi (Malaysia)
Contact me if you’d like to sponsor the next Chinese Writing Contest.