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Last Sunday morning at 8am sharp, in the freezing cold winter air, 15 boys from the Junior School, dressed in their winter uniforms, shining shoes, and with tidy hair, were ready to rehearse and walk through the Adelaide Zoo Panda habitat for the most significant event you can ever imagine. They were going to perform in front of state government officials and, more importantly, China’s Premier Li Qiang. What an amazing and significant event for anyone who would have the opportunity to contribute to! After three rounds of rehearsals and walk-throughs, it was finally our moment.

At 10:45, it was their time to shine. Mrs Taylor welcomed Premier Li and introduced our Panda song and panda tongue twister to him. Then the music started. The choir boys stood on the stage, the morning sunshine shining through the tree branches behind them. Premier Li, the whole delegation from China, and the state government officials were looking at them, listening to their singing, and smiling at every boy on the stage. At that moment, time seemed to stop. The lyrics of the song showcased our love for the lovely pandas, floating in the air with the melody. It was such a memorable moment for everyone present.

The boys delivered an extraordinary performance in front of everyone. What a beautiful memory we have created for everyone, including Premier Li in Adelaide! He couldn’t hold his laugh when the boys sang “round round belly,” and he recited the tongue twister with the boys together. At the end of the performance, Premier Li praised the boys, saying, “What a beautiful song and how well you sing!” Hughie Manifold from Year 6 represented the group and received a panda toy from Premier Li’s hands, with Mrs Taylor standing next to him. This moment was captured by the journalists and photographers at the event. The smiles on everyone’s faces were stunning.

The panda is a symbol of kindness, friendship, peace, and perseverance. Through learning various facts about pandas this semester, our boys have gained a deeper understanding of a colorful China, inhabited by hardworking and friendly people, living in a thriving country. The boys in our Chinese class will learn not only this ancient language, the only surviving one among the four great ancient civilizations, but also gain a comprehensive understanding of a modern China, a trendy China, and a thriving China with a long history and cultural heritage. We should really appreciate the bridges for cultural exchange between China and Australia, just like the national treasure, the giant panda. Different languages should not be barriers to communication but should become multi-lane bridges for mutual exchange.

Mrs Shelby Baker
Chinese Language Teacher (Junior School) / Specialists Coordinator