SINGAPORE - Russian-born Olga Bessarab, has always had a keen interest in Chinese culture.
She lived in Taiwan before coming to Singapore at the age of 9 to study, took Higher Chinese in Primary 5 and continued to have a keen interest in Chinese drama and literature as she grew up.
Ms Bessarab, 25, who became a Singapore permanent resident when she was 15, returned to Taiwan for university, completing her studies in June last year.
Accompanied by fellow members from the Han Culture and Education Group Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), Ms Bessarab was among those on stage yesterday (Fri) performing a 10-minute Chinese skit at the opening ceremony of the Singapore-China Youth Arts Festival.
Now into its second year, the festival, which will continue till August 11, aims to provide an opportunity for young people as well as their families to immerse themselves in Chinese culture and the Chinese language.
A series of programmes, including performances and school workshops, have been planned with the highlight being oratory performances - such as crosstalk and clapper talk - which are traditional Chinese art forms.
The opening ceremony at the China Cultural Centre featured crosstalk performance group Sin Feng Xiang Sheng Society and the China National Theatre for Children.
Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, was the guest-of-honour at the ceremony.
"This event is supposed to be a very lighthearted and funny one. I hope those who attend can see the Chinese culture and language in a different light - it's not just about studying non-stop," said Ms Bessarab.
She added: "I also hope that the international audience, and not only those who are Chinese, will feel a bond with the Chinese culture."
The festival is co-organised by the SPH Chinese Media Group and the China Cultural Centre (CCC).
Support from the Chinese Language and Culture Fund has meant that tickets to all the performances this year are complimentary. Interested parties can still redeem their tickets by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.