To deepen the youth’s awareness and understanding of the “Belt and Road” Initiative and strengthen the communication between Chinese and Kyrgyz students, and to provide a platform for the students to show their skills and improve themselves, the Confucius Institute at Osh State University in Kyrgyzstan organized the “Silk Road & China Dream” Southern Kyrgyzstan Speech Contest. Students responded positively, with more than 200 of them from Confucius Institutes all over Kyrgyzstan taking part. In this issue, we would like to share the essays from some of the most outstanding contestants with our readers.
Meeting the Silk Road
By/ AMANBEK KYZY NURPEIIL
The camels, sand, footprints of different depths… have lent a moving tempo to the melody of history, which has been echoing through ages. Right now, we are at the different end of the road, but the same sounds from it blow in the wind, and it is on that road that we meet and come to know each other.
Today, skyscrapers stand over the places where camel bells jingled, and flowers bloom where once sand-blown cities stood. A thousand years of legends about the Silk Road have been known in Kyrgyzstan, silent as part of us. And I am lucky enough to have been born like a tiny grain of dust in this wide desert of history, to be someone who sees and experiences the development.
After I graduated from high school, when I was hesitant in choosing my major, my father pointed to a way for me. That was also the time when the Confucius Institute at Osh State University was founded three years ago. Each time I recall that I was one of the first group of Confucius Institute students, my heart beats with a pride beyond expression. Three years ago, I knew nothing about China, and I thought people who studied Chinese were, if nothing else, courageous, because to most people, learning Europe’s five major languages would take four or five years, so learning a language like Chinese would surely take at least 4-5 years, but now I can understand what is on Chinese television, know how Chinese people think, watch shows like Happy Chinese and compare myself to other students in Chinese proficiency so that I can see if I might make the same mistakes. And of course, like most young people, I like Chinese popular music, but I cannot sing it very well.
As I learn more about China, the distance between China and myself grows shorter. I stopped there for a time, and then I left. Looking back, I take this stay predestined, and it was too perfect to describe it. The goal that three years ago seemed impossibly far-off has become my lifelong pursuit. Today, I will devote my prime years to the wonderful culture of China, and walk forward with firm steps as I build my own “Silk Road”.
Where dreams begin
By/ BAKYT UULU DASTAN
Chinese is one of the world’s oldest and most dynamic languages, and two years of studying it has brought me many unexpected gains and surprises. Through Chinese, I have come to know Chinese martial arts, papercutting, painting, and calligraphy, seen huge change in Chinese cities, tasted no end of traditional dishes, and above all, formed a hobby I intend to pursue for a lifetime – playing guzheng . The first time I heard a string of beautiful notes flowing from it and the first time I saw my teacher strumming the guzheng with fluid smoothness, I felt the surge in my blood, and it urged me to explore the beautiful music on it. After that, my love for guzheng was impossible to contain. I hope I will play it for all of you someday, so that my friends and my family as well as strangers can experience the beauty of guzheng music.
My dear classmates, my dear friends, let us study Chinese as if it’s our dream. Let’s study Chinese as if it’s an adventure. Let’s go into the world of Chinese, and discover more surprises, and more about ourselves!
With the Silk Road in our hearts, let’s realize our China dreams
By/ MANASBEKOV TALASBEK
I remember when watching Chinese Kung Fu movies at a young age, I always wondered how they could fly back and forth. How was their Kung Fu so good? It was at that time that I got the idea of visiting China. That was also the first impression China left on me. Later, when I studied history, I learned that the Silk Road originated in Ancient China, and that it was an important commercial route linking Asia, Africa and Europe. As one of the most important stops on the Silk Road, and one of China’s neighbors, Kyrgyzstan has had all kinds of exchange with China since long ago. That made me even more curious about our ancient neighbor to the east, and thus I got my China dream.
I dreamed of understanding the mysteries of Chinese and the essence of Chinese culture, of feeling the majesty of the Forbidden City and the magnificence of the Great Wall, and of witnessing the spectacular terracotta warriors and horses. I dreamed of climbing Mount Taishan and seeing the mounds described in “Wang Yue” (Viewing the Hills), and of stepping onto a boat on the West Lake to take “a journey of a thousand years”, and immersing myself in the teachings of Confucius in Qufu. I dreamed of becoming an outstanding envoy of exchange between China and Kyrgyzstan, and leading a life different from that of others!
With so many dreams, I chose to study Chinese at the Confucius Institute after graduating from high school, and I went to China to study for half a year in 2014, where I improved my Chinese and experienced the depth and breadth of Chinese culture. At the same time, I also made quite a few good friends, and my interaction with them deepened my love for the Chinese people. Now, I’ve come back to the Confucius Institute to continue my study. I believe that it won’t be long before my dream comes true.
My dear classmates, let’s all realize our China dreams with the Silk Road in our hearts!
A long road, an irrepressible dream
By/ SOVETBEKOVA ELIZA
Two thousand years ago, the beautiful Silk Road stretched out in stunning scenery and along ancient paths, and guests from afar came to my homeland Kyrgyzstan. Along that road, nature was as primitive as the days before man, nomads were friendly, and people from China and Kyrgyzstan were like brothers and sisters. This road was more than just a trade route for physical goods, but a path for the spread of knowledge and dreams.
But even a thousand years have passed, the friendship enhanced by the Silk Road remains unchanged.
There is an old saying in China: a minute on-stage takes ten years of hard work offstage. Two years ago, when the Confucius Institute at Osh State University was founded, I came to learn Chinese and to learn about Chinese culture. In the past two years, I have progressed from “a, o and e” to Chinese words, then from words to sentences, and finally from sentences to this stage today. It has been a long, difficult journey, but I have never given up.
Many friends ask me why I chose to study Chinese. I believe that some things don’t need a reason. In Chinese, I’d simply say it’s all of ming (fate). I’m not just studying Chinese for the sake of learning the language, but because I wish to use it to know more friends, and to help more people understand Kyrgyzstan. I also hope more of the people around me in Kyrgyzstan will understand China, and the friendship between the two countries will last forever!
Finally, I’d like to say “thank you” to everyone who has offered me help, and I’d like to say “good luck” to everyone who, like me, has a China dream!
My dream of Chinese
By/ TOROKELDIEVA ZHANYL
When I was in high school, a friend of mine was injured in a car accident. After that, he taught himself tai chi , and day by day, he recovered, which seemed miraculous to me. I wanted to learn tai chi as well, so that I would know how it was able to give him a new life. I wanted to go to China and see how Chinese people did tai chi . That’s why I chose to come to the Confucius Institute to learn Chinese. By learning the language, I came to know martial arts, paper-cutting, and much more about Chinese culture. By learning Chinese, I made quite a few Chinese friends, and heard many of their stories about China. I wanted to fly away to China, for example, to Qufu, Confucius’ homeland, or to Shaolin Temple to experience the soul of Chinese martial arts, or to the Great Wall to gasp in amazement at its might and the greatness of the Chinese people. All of these dreams only solidified my desire to learn Chinese and know more about Chinese culture well. I want to do my graduate student: in Sinology, and use everything I’ve learned about China’s culture and language to share with others how I feel and help the people around me, so that they will like China as well. I will become a bridge between Kyrgyzstan and China. Just as Laozi said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I’ve already taken the first step, and I will continue to take firm steps forward in my study. I believe that with my persistence, my dream of Chinese will soon come true.
Published in Confucius Institute Magazine
Number 47. Volume VI. November 2016.