Students of all levels, from Chinese 001 (Survival Chinese) to Chinese 901, entered and we all sang songs in Chinese. I'm currently in Chinese 201, I've been studying for about 6 months, so my Chinese ability was on the lower end of the spectrum, but by far, not the lowest.
My singing ability..... now that's another story. Although I am a bit of a karaoke junkie, I am fully aware that I am completely devoid of any talent for singing whatsoever. I don't think I could sing an entire song in key if my life depended on it!
That being the case, it would NEVER even cross my mind to sign up for a singing contest back in the US; however, as I've said before, the minimum level of talent required for a public performance here in Taiwan is significantly lower than back at home, so I figured... why not!?
I signed up to sing Tian Mi Me (甜密密) the first Chinese KTV song I learned here in Taiwan. It's not exactly the most hip song (I think it's from the 70's), but I've sung it about 1,000 times, so I figured better to stick with the tried and true, than to switch to a new song that I don't know as well.
When signing up for the contest, everyone drew straws for their position in the line-up and I was the lucky person to draw the first slot of the competition, but I wasn't too nervous about it... I just figured 'what's another karaoke performance?'
THEN I show up at this little venue on campus where I discovered that I'm wasn't the first performer... I was the first contestant, but just before me they had a special performance scheduled: A Taiwanese voice student - someone who not only speaks Chinese as their first language, but also SINGS WELL!
Needless to say, it was a tough act to follow! As he sang, my nerves mounted and I began seriously begrudging the fact that I had to sing first, but as they say, the show must go on.... and so there I went!
I did make a few mistakes, so I was feeling a bit bummed out about my performance; that is, until I heard the other students sing.
I WISH I had had the opportunity to sing after one of the actual language center students because... well, some of the performances were pretty bad!
Actually, the Chinese teachers were all judging the students based on both our singing ability and our proficiency in Chinese and at the first break (after about 6 singers) I was in first place!!! (shortly thereafter I was knocked down by a bunch of really good students from Indonesia)
Never in my life would I have imagined that I would not only enter a singing competition (in Chinese!) but also be COMPETITIVE!
This truly is a crazy place!