SIX middle-aged women in bright pink dresses dance to modern Chinese songs.
Among them was Debrah Roundy, a retired American teacher.
The performance yesterday afternoon brought to end the award ceremony of “Shanghai Get-Together 2016”— the 4th Writing and Photography Contest organized by Shanghai Library. Shanghai Daily helped in reviewing the essays from 63 countries.
Roundy, who wrote about her guang chang wu, or plaza dancing, experience in an essay titled “The Builders of a Nation” won the first writing prize.
Nguyen Ngocbich from Vietnam, who wowed the crowd with her Chinese, won in the Chinese writing category.
“We have a wider participation this year, from more countries, which reflects the continuous efforts of Shanghai in promoting Chinese culture on the international stage,” Chen Yixin, deputy director of Shanghai People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, said at the ceremony.
The winning photos of the competition touch upon a variety of scenarios and people in Shanghai, highlighting the metropolitan status of the city in the eyes of both Chinese and foreign photographers.
British participant Michael David Drew, who won a memorial photography prize, spoke of the “amazing super structures and the bright neon lights flashing like beacon shining and lighting up wonderful and unique architecture buildings.”
The writing prizewinners also illustrated the many aspects of the city with their words, in either Chinese or English.
“In writing about Shanghai, it is a question of your emphasis,” British participant Anthony Hugh Jefferson Cole said of his second-prize essay, “A postcard from Shanghai.”
“I like to emphasize the continuity of Shanghai as an international city with a long history,” he said.
German eighth-grader Sophia Roehr, who has lived in the city for nine years since the age of two, wrote of her true encounter in the city with Chinese language.
“I find Chinese people very helpful. I can always ask: can you help me now? And they usually do,” she told Shanghai Daily.
Roehr won the third prize with “Uncle ‘Cat’ of Shanghai,” written in Chinese, a real story of a subway employee helping her to rescue a cat that got stuck.
The competition, which was launched four years ago during the Shanghai World Expo, is part of the “Window of Shanghai” project of Shanghai Library that aims to promote Chinese culture around the world.
This year, the library added a photography contest so that foreigners didn’t always have to illustrate the city with words, but also with their lens.
First prize (writing)
“The Builders of a Nation” -- Debrah Roundy (USA)
“相聚上海” -- Nguyen Ngocbich (Vietnam)
“A Postcard from Shanghai” -- Anthony Hugh Jefferson Cole (UK)
“中国文化和中国文化对全世界的影响” -- Tarasova Ekaterina (Russia)
“Lonely city an ode to congyóu bànmiàn” -- Nina Powles (New Zealand)
“Lights That Surround; The Future We Behold” -- Hannah Schneider (USA)
“A Tour of ‘Magic City’: One Window at a Time” -- Robert Bao (China)
“我在上海——这个城市很美好” -- Alina Karalenka (Belarus)
“美中文化大不同” -- Cesar Eduardo Garcia (USA)
“上海猫叔叔” -- Sophia Roehr (Germany)
Third prize (Photography)
“帮助中国孩子们完成心愿” -- Ali (USA)
*There were no first and second prize winners in photography.