A new ongoing trend with young Lebanese people is their interest in China and the Chinese culture, from food to language.
Chinese food chain restaurants are one of the most popular food chains in Lebanon, with Chopsticks and PF Chang having branches all over Lebanon to name a few.
We may not know how to perfect the Chinese language, but we do use chopsticks effortlessly!
Other than having a huge Chinese food chain, Lebanese people have shown interest in the language for years, with universities in Lebanon opening various Chinese language courses and even degrees in Chinese.
To be able to study translation in the Lebanese University, students enrolled must know three languages beforehand (Arabic, English, and French) and are then taught the fourth language throughout the B.A. years.
It has become of no surprise anymore that the Chinese language is the most common language the students choose as their fourth language due to its importance, especially in the trading field.
In collaboration with the Embassy of China, a Chinese singing competition was organized in Beirut with 27 Lebanese youth participating in singing and performing Chinese traditional music and songs, showing their proficiency in the Chinese language.
The Second Session of the Ambassador’s Cup Chinese Singing Competition for Lebanese Students was divided into two groups of young people, one under the age of 13 and the other above 15.
Despite that the participants were from different ages, one of the categories being the children’s category, the difficulty of the Mandarin did not seem like an obstacle at all for the Lebanese participants in the singing competition.
Mariam El-Amine, age 11 years old, ranked the first in the children’s category. She expressed her love for the experience and said that she will continue learning Chinese and practicing Chinese.
“This is a very nice experience. It allows us to learn about another country and its culture,” she said.
Serena Jelwan, age 18, won first place in the older group. Upon winning, she said that Chinese songs have helped her enhance her Chinese language skills.
Chinese Ambassador to Lebanon Wang Kejian stated, “We hope that such kinds of activities will allow the Lebanese to learn more about China and understand its culture better so that they can make greater contributions to the cultural exchange between China and Lebanon.”
To all the Lebanese learning Chinese, and to the Chinese expats living in Lebanon we tell you: Huānyíng guānglín! (Ahla w Sahla!)