Irish boy wows China story contest


An Irish boy has this afternoon come in the top five of a national storytelling competition in Hangzhou, China.

Tiernan Murphy (9), representing the bilingual Yew Chung International School in Shanghai where he is a pupil, won judges’ hearts with his rendition in Mandarin of Little Red Riding Hood.

It is the first time a non-Asian child has made it to the final of the competition, which is organised by the Chinese government’s department of education.

“We’re so proud of Tiernan,” said his father Eoin today. “To be the first non-Asian child to reach the final in the history of the competition is just fantastic.”

Tiernan is now fluent in the language having studied it for three years. Mr Murphy said the judges looked for storytelling ability, technical skills in Mandarin and stage presence.

Speaking to The Irish Times as Tiernan was receiving his award this afternoon, Mr Murphy said: “In China, the story is called Red Riding Hat  and the wolf gets cut open with scissors. Tiernan loves acting and it was no problem to him to deliver the drama on stage.”

The Murphy family, from Woodford Co Galway, moved to China three years ago when Tiernan’s mother Cliona took a job with Pepsi in Asia.

Tiernan and younger brother Ronan are members of the Le Chéile Kids group which sang for President Mary McAleese during her visit to the World EXPO in Shanghai in June.

Mr Murphy is president of the Le Chéile Irish association in Shanghai.

He added: “His nana is recovering from a bypass in the Mater (Hospital) today, so this win is for her”.