Contributor, Editor, Regional Coordinator, User Manager
June 20, 2018
The Contest that Brings Europe Together (Or Not) - The Story
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Good Day, Language Enthusiasts!

May is the month of festivities and also the month of Europe! In that spirit, it is only appropriate to talk about one of the biggest pan-European festivity! On Sunday, 20 May 2018, we introduced our 50 strong meetup participants to the biggest song competition in Europe and also one of the longest running television programs, Eurovision Song Contest!

The opening presentation highlighted what Eurovision Song Contest is about and the idea behind its creation. The competition was introduced in 1956 with the idea to unite Europe after the catastrophic World War II and was based on the ongoing Festival della canzone italiana di Sanremo at the time. The contest was administered by European Broadcasting Union and broadcasted by public service broadcasters within the European Broadcasting Area and their associate members abroad.

Next up was the introduction to the contest winners from 1956 up until the present day, a total of 66 winners out of 63 editions, including several famous acts such as Celine Dion, ABBA, Bucks Fizz, Dana, Vicky Leandros, Johnny Logan, etc. Wait, what? 66 winners out of 63 editions? Yes, because in 1969, there was a four-way tie and there wasn't any established rule on a tie-breaker, so four countries were declared as winners. But showing 66 performances in a single meetup would have taken too long, would it not? Well, in this case we only showed a montage of the performances so it did not take too long.

After we covered the basics of Eurovision Song Contest, we asked the participants about their thoughts on the contest. Will it be a good thing to do a contest with the same format in Asia Pacific? What is their favorite winning song of the contest? Our participants, who were divided into Italian Table, Spanish Table, French Table, German Table, Dutch Table, Japanese Table, Korean Table, Mandarin Chinese Table, and two English Tables, gave a varied response. Half of them agreed that a contest with the same format held in Asia Pacific region will be interesting to watch, while the other half felt that it will be difficult to do in Asia Pacific. Also, interestingly, none of the tables chose the same winning song as their favorite.

At the end of the meetup, we watched the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest held in Lisbon through its YouTube channel. We also did a game that tasked our participants to create a Top 10 from the two semi finals and grand final and then we compared it with the actual result. The table who matched the most won the game.

Special thanks to Sky House Exhibition Center, Chubb Square, Menara UOB for the amazing venue! Hope to see you again on another Polyglot Indonesia Jakarta Chapter's meetup! (For the photo documentation, please check our Facebook fanpage album)

About the author

Fajar graduated from Japanese Studies, Universitas Indonesia in 2013, and currently works for Australia Awards Indonesia. His interests else than language including doing part-time work as liaison officer or interpreter, reading novels or manga, and browsing through spotify and youtube for music, preferably European or Asian music. He is also a big fan of Eurovision Song Contest. Currently he can speak Indonesian, English, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, with French, Portuguese, Czech, and Russian in progress. To a certain degree, he also able to understand Javanese and Sundanese.

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