Student Focus: Y3D Marcus Tang

Written by: Andrea Griego, Primary Student Support Coordinator & Sissy Shen, Primary Head of Chinese Department & PD Coordinator

Marcus Tang in Y3D won first prize in the 2018 International Students Chinese Writing Competition. This is an external event which is organized by the ’Pudong New Area Education Committee’ and the ‘State Language Commission’. The compettion is open to all international students in Pudong who are interested in participating. This year, the organiser received 1174 Chinese compositions from students in Year 2 through Year 13. Nine primary students from YCIS received awards and Marcus received first prize. Let’s take this chance to find out more about Marcus.

Ms. Sissy Shen: Hi Marcus, nice to meet you. Please introduce yourself and tell when and why you came to Shanghai?
Marcus Tang: Our family moved to Shanghai from the US in 2013, when I was almost four years old. For a long time, I was not quite sure which country I was living in. In my US kindergarten, we had classmates from different countries. Mom and Dad spoke both English and Chinese with us, but Ayi only spoke Chinese with us. After moving to Shanghai, it was the same, so I was a little bit confused. Not until I started to notice the shop logos and restaurant menus, which are mostly in Chinese, did I slowly begin to understand that I was living in a different country.

Ms. Sissy Shen: Can you explain your experience with learning Chinese?
Marcus Tang: Mom and Dad have been super busy after moving to Shanghai, so grandma has helped me to do my Chinese homework. Our Ayi doesn’t read, but grandma is a college graduate and helps me to learn Chinese. I was enrolled at YCIS when I was seven years old and since then I started to learn Chinese formally. After learning Chinese for a while, I found out that I could read stories, like simple fairy tales, in Chinese without asking my parents for help. I could even order my favorite dishes in Chinese, which encouraged me to learn Chinese even more.

I think both Chinese and English are quite interesting languages, especially when I compare them with each other. One time, Mom and Dad accidently bought two story books but they were actually the same story, one in Chinese and the other in English. My younger sister Michelle and I were very happy to read both versions and compare them with each other.

I love reading and playing football, Michelle loves reading too. The most enjoyable time for our family is reading together during weekends. Mom and Dad said that I began to speak very late, not until I was two years old. Maybe it was due to the complicated language environment I was in. Grandma told me that my first complete Chinese sentence was, “Bowed my head remembering my old home,“ which is from an ancient Chinese poem taught to me by my grandma. One day, grandma was giving me a bath and she said, “Bow your head, bow your head, bow your head,” then slowly I replied, “Bowed my head remembering my old home.” Grandma is always filled with joy whenever she remembers this.

Ms. Sissy Shen: That’s interesting. Thanks Marcus. Could you tell me why you wanted to participate in the International Student’s Writing Competition? You know the theme of this year is: “Love in Shanghai”. The organizer received more than one thousand Chinese articles, most of them are about Shanghai’s culture and scenery. Your article, which is about your little brother Teto whom your family adopted in Shanghai, touched the hearts of many judging teachers. Would you please share more about your thoughts with us?
Marcus Tang: I never dreamed that I would be honored to receive first place in this competition. While writing the essay, I missed my little brother Teto very much. Not long after we moved to Shanghai, we adopted Teto and we all loved him very much. He had to move from Shanghai to the US in the early part of this year, and our whole family missed him terribly. I always ask Mom and Dad why we couldn’t keep him with us, and they told me that Teto would have better medical care in the US, maybe he would be able to walk in the future. Moving to the US is a better choice for him. We love him and hope that he can play football and run as we do. His new American family already adopted a girl who was cared for very well and cured. Mom and Dad were convinced that the family has the ability to take better care of Teto, and they convinced me to believe that too. I miss him quite often, but since I know that he is doing great in the US, I am happy for him. After finding out the theme of the competition, I decided to write an essay in his honor and to help me always remember him.

Ms. Sissy Shen: Thanks Marcus. Your words are simple, but I can feel your deep love for Teto. Writing is a chance to have a dialogue with ourselves, life and the world. Keep loving life and enjoy it with your heart, there is always something which can inspire and touch us. We wish that every child has a chance to explore life with all their heart, and encourage them write down the beautiful and loving things that touch their hearts.

We are also happy to announce the following students who have received an honour award (first, second or third prize):

Y3C 李馨元 LI Xin Yuan(Sophia)
Y3D 唐中元 TANG Marcus Z
Y4A 蔡尔慈 CAI Er Ci Alysa
Y4A 沈煜杰 SHEN Yujie Jason
Y4C 郭润泽 GUO Ryan Yun Chak
Y6A 鄭海鏵 CHENG Hoi Wah(Daphne)
Y6C 张及洋 DAKI Karim
Y6C 杜卓言 DU Zhuoyan
Y6C 吴逸洋 NG Ian