NATIONAL

Chinese boy fuels Korean language boom in Harbin

By 이종민
  • Published : Jun 28, 2011 - 20:27
  • Updated : Jun 28, 2011 - 20:27
The latest strand of the Korean wave isn’t coming from the usual pop culture, but Chinese parents sending their children to learn Korean.

Leading the boom is 10-year-old Liu Ming-feng who took home the gold from the Homtamin Cup Korean Chinese Children’s Broadcasting Culture Festival, in the category for narrating children’s stories in Korean.

The seventh contest held by China Radio International and a local Korean-Chinese broadcasting network in Harbin, Heilungjiang Province on Sunday was not the 10-year-old Chinese student’s first win at a Korean competition, according to Korea United Pharm, which sponsored the event. 
Kang Duk-young (right, second row), CEO of Korea United Pharm, poses with award winners at the Homtamin Cup Korean Chinese Children’s Broadcasting Culture Festival in Harbin, Heilungjiang Province on Sunday.

Liu’s parents, who work long hours as street vendors, hoped that by enrolling Liu in the Ningan Korean Chinese Elementary School, he would learn Korean and be offered more opportunities.

Taking to heart Liu’s situation, Song Mi-hwa, a teacher at the school, took him in and started to teach him Korean.

Under her guidance, Liu excelled in Korean. In the first grade, he recited 176 Korean proverbs within 25 minutes in the school competition in April, 2009, after having studied Korean for two years.

Liu’s achievements have sparked interest among other Chinese.

“Liu Ming-feng’s fluency in Korean and his awards became such a hot topic in the surrounding areas that we have since had 60 to 70 more Chinese students enroll at our school,” Song said.

“Learning Korean is such a popular trend right now that recently Chinese parents sought me at my home requesting that their children be admitted into the school,” she said.

“The Homtamin Cup Korean Chinese Children’s Broadcasting Festival, held since 2000, has been of a great help for Chinese as well as Korean Chinese kids to learn the Korean spirit and culture, and has been giving positive a influence to the Chinese community in general,” said Kang Duk-young, CEO of Korea United Pharm Inc.

By Robert Lee (robert@heraldcorp.com)