Beijing trip lifts language skills

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 August, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 August, 1999, 12:00am

The winners of a Chinese essay-writing competition got a chance to improve their Putonghua skills on a two-week study trip to Tsinghua Universi ty in Beijing.

Seventh former Lucia Chan of St Paul's Convent School was one of the 19 who took part in the summer programme run by the Better Hong Kong Founda tion.

'It was wonderful. The en vironment there was good and we made a lot of friends,' Lucia, 17, said.

'Mandarin is not that difficult. But the problem is that we do not have many opportuni ties to practise it in Hong Kong.

'Cantonese learners are of ten tempted to translate the di alect into Mandarin, but the sentence structure is different from that of Cantonese,' she said. Fellow participant Kwok Man-yi, 17, of Buddhist Sin Tak College, said: 'I got a deeper understanding of Chinese cul ture when staying in Beijing.' Better Hong Kong Founda tion chief executive George Yuen Kam-ho said he was im pressed by the response to the programme and it would hold another one next summer. The students, including three boys and 16 girls, were aged between 12 and 18 and came from 19 secondary schools. There were more than 600 entries for the essay competition.