This weekend began with a trip to Futian district for participation in the badminton "Friendship Cup" that was organized by Shenzhen's foreign affairs department. I was told that this was going to be a fun event for foreigners. I'd like to state for the record that I was misinformed.
The group from my university included myself, one Chinese staff member, and three PhD candidates from Pakistan. There were 10 other foreigners in the competition--mostly from Shenzhen University. Not a single one of us won a game. It's not that we were all poor badminton players (OK, I'll admit I sucked, but some of the other foreigners were good), it had more to do with the large number of Chinese who were involved in the competition. We were grossly outnumbered by a group of people who appeared to spend all their free time playing badminton. They looked like they were in training for the national team.
Probably because they felt bad for us, all the losers got a prize--some cheap sweat bands that are made in Shanghai (I couldn't believe they didn't find a brand made in Shenzhen). To really make us feel better, they ensured that the sweat bands had the initials "LP", which we guessed stood Loser Prize.
Aside from the humiliation of being thoroughly defeated by the Chinese teams, we had a nice time meeting some of the students from Shenzhen University. It was also nice to talk with the Pakistani students--they're a great group to talk with, and I don't get to see them on campus much.