Bulgaria — Bulgaria, renowned for its prestigious heritage for dance, music and culture, contains a population of 7 million people. The country, locating in southeastern Europe, encompasses the Black Sea coastline. The official language of Bulgaria is Bulgarian.
Singapore — Singapore, prominent for its wealth and development over the past few decades, contains a miniature land size of 721.5km2. The country is in south-east Asia located at the end of the Malayan Peninsula. Singapore contains four official languages; Tamil, Malay, Chinese and English. The most spoken language is English.
The sirens blare, the crowd roaring viciously! The first match of the quarterfinals has commenced! The two teams finally pitted against each other, both containing thrilling and enthralling stories set in different cultures.
Representing Bulgaria is Georgi Tenev’s Old Proud Mountain which delivers with splendid interpretations of the settings and the actions of the characters. It is evident that the scenery contains heavy snowfall depicted through descriptions such as “eyebrows were frosted” alongside “snow [sending] punctuated volleys against the windshields”. Without beating the bush, Tenev proposes that an incident has occurred but we’re unsure of the situation, only to exacerbate the audience’s curiosity. As the story progresses, more is revealed aided by a nail-biting plot entrenching the readers progressively. Eventually, we gain a taste of Bulgarian culture with the emphasise of alcohol as the character “[takes] another swig from his forester’s flask”. Overall, the story comprises of an astonishing and rich setting which alone can awe its audience. It’s 2–0 in favour of the Bulgarians!
Latha’s There Was a Bridge in Tekka is also a forced to be reckoned with, as it contains overwhelming emotions throughout the narrative. Containing harsh and solemn themes such as love and war, death is inevitable but the way Latha expresses her characters is what makes the story a true masterpiece. We’re immediately given the vibes of reminiscence as Rochor River had “always been left untouched” but now “it was no more”, suggesting that the location had a unique connection with the protagonist. What was once a small river, had become a patch of grass with people mindlessly walking by, unquestioning nature. At first, the husband evidently abuses his wife, the readers eventually develop a sense of sympathy as he obtains severe wounds in war. However, what’s more intriguing is the callous and stoic attitude of Akka as she remains emotionless even towards her kin. However, all this was a daydream of what happened in the past, revealing that Akka had passed away tugging heartstrings, flourishing an emotional attachment to the readers. Spectacularly and touchingly, the Singaporeans bring it back 3–2 as the final whistle abruptly rings! A comeback that no one saw coming from the start.
The underdogs prevail, advancing into the Semi-Finals! Bulgarians put up a tough fight but the Singaporeans newer faltered, remaining impenetrable, dominating their foes flamboyantly in the very end.