A young Chinese-speaking Irish boy has reached the top five of a national storytelling competition in Hangzhou, China.
Nine- year-old Tiernan Murphy, representing the bilingual Yew Chung International School in Shanghai where he is a pupil, won the judges hearts with his pitch perfect 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 prestigious competition, which is organized by the Chinese government’s department of education.
'We’re so proud of Tiernan,' his father Eoin told the press this week. '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 Mandarin language having studied it for three years. In the competition, the judges looked for storytelling ability, technical skills in Mandarin and stage presence.
'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,' his father added.
The Murphy family, originally from Woodford County Galway, moved to China three years ago when Tiernan’s mother Cliona took up a job with Pepsi in Asia.
Tiernan and younger brother Ronan are members of the Le Cheile Kids, an Irish group which sang for President Mary McAleese during her visit to the World EXPO in Shanghai in June. Eoin Murphy is president of the Le Cheile Irish association in Shanghai.