Welcome, one and all, to the annual English & Arabic speech contest of Pasuruan! I know what you’re thinking, “why does HE get to go to all the hottest events in town!?” Well, the short answer is, I know people; let’s leave it at that. Truth be told, I don’t know how in the world I wound up at the contest, after another classic bout of miscommunication with a couple my colleagues. How I got there is of little consequence, however. What you really want to know is how it went, so let me learn you.
After the opening ceremony, which was nearly as long as the actual contest, the two
groups of language participants separated into two different venues. My school had two girls participating, one representing for English, one for Arabic. The topic for this competition was “Ramadan,” the Islamic month of fasting. If you’ve ever wanted to learn about Ramadan through the strained vocal cords of a repressed teenager speaking English as a foreign language, who likes to throw in Islamic prayers and break into song, all with the aid of a high powered microphone, you simply MUST attend next year’s performance! My ears were bleeding after the first three participants spit their fire, but thankfully, the panel of judges came to their senses and unplugged the mic for the rest of the participants.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the Arabic performance, but the good news is that both of my girls did fantastic! In the Arabic competition, our student got third place and our English speaker was able to take home first, no thanks to me (we’d just met that day, so everything she learned, she learned from my counterpart). Whatever you think about this type of thing, you have to give the kids credit for going up there and giving it their all. There’s no way I would’ve been up to giving a speech in say, Spanish, when I was in high school. It takes real cojones…the kind that weren’t fully developed on me back then. So, congratulations to all of the contestants and thank you for allowing me to drop in on your event!