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February 23, 2019

Poems, storytelling contests incorporate ethnic languages at Myitkyina Children’s Literature Festival

Students compete in the storytelling contests in ethnic languages at the second day of Children’s Literature Festival in Myitkyina.

The Children’s Literature Festival in Myitkyina continued yesterday, incorporating poem and storytelling contests in ethnic languages.
Primary and middle school students from Lisu, Jinphaw, Larchid, Yawan, Taisar, Tailai, Tailong, Zaiwah, and Lawwaw ethnic races competed in the contests. The contests aim to promote ethnic literature and culture and to raise awareness among other ethnic races.
Ma Jar Naung Sai, a Jinphaw student from B.E.H.S. 1, said this of the contest: “Today, I entered the contest with a Jinphaw story ‘Cha-ga-rong Htae Sagu Kashar Alam’ which translates to ‘The wolf and the little sheep’ in Burmese. It was more about raising awareness of my language than competing. I’m happy to be able to participate in the contest and I want to know more about the stories from my other friends and ethinc races.”
Daw Jar Mai, a teacher, said, “We were notified that ethnic language could be used in the storytelling and poem contests. We teach Jinphaw language from Grade I to Grade 4 in school. The children were eager to enter the contests so we brought them here. The children are happy which makes me happy as well. It’s not just for the competition, they have a lot to learn from here too.”
Maung Chan Day Vis San Long from B.E.H.S. 8 competed in the storytelling contest using Yawan ethnic language. He said, “I have never told stories like this in front of friends from other ethnic races. We sing in our language in church. This was both exciting and happy for me. It was a story but I felt like I was speaking on behalf of the Yawan people. I wish for more events like this in the future.”
The contests also featured group storytelling in both ethnic languages and Burmese.
Maung Sai Myint entered the group storytelling using his Tailong language. He said, “I used my people’s language while my friend Nan Mai Mai used Burmese. We told the story of the monkey rescuing the moon, which is called ‘Lin Taung Lain’ in Yawan language. After the contests, I explored the festival with my father and friends. We have never seen something like this before and we were pleased. I will compete again if they hold the festival again.”
The poem recitation competition yesterday also saw entries from ethnic students using Tailong, Taisar, Tailai, Zaiwah, Jinphaw, Yawan, Lisu, and Lawwaw languages.

—Shin Min / Photo: Htein Nan Naw
(Translated by
Zaw Htet Oo)

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