HCM CITY — A misspelling of London's famous Big Ben captured the hearts of judges and lifted eight-year-old Nguyen Song Anh to the first prize in the British Council's Young Learner's Art Competition.
Anh drew a picture of the famous clock tower at the Palace of Westminster but must have misheard his teacher pronouncing the name of the landmark, as he mistakenly labelled his artwork as "Big Bang Clock".
Instead of the error counting against him, the judging panel – including British Council teaching director Anna Searle and Paralympics competitor Susannah Rodgers – awarded him first prize, with his work to be displayed around the world.
"It's hard to second guess the judges' thinking, but either they were charmed by the innocent spelling mistake or thought that there was a deeper hidden meaning," said British Council Viet Nam director Robin Rickard.
"This year will see the London Olympics, and Anh's picutre also shows a winners' podium complete with medal-winning athletes," Rickard said. "So the ‘big bang' could refer to anything from the starting ceremony to the starters' pistols in each race. So, if it was a mistake, it was a very good mistake!"
There are now less than 200 days until the opening of the 2012 Olympics in London, and the British Embassy recently marked the milestone with an Olympic flag-hoisting and a reception for athletes at the ambassador's residence.
Anh admitted the misspelling and thought perhaps he'd become confused with the Swiss brand of watches. He said he was very pleased and happy when he found out he was the winner and thanked his British Council teachers for encouraging him to enter, as well as his parents and his art teachers at Luong The Vinh School in HCM City.
Anh's drawing has been printed by British Council offices around the world and is the front page of their new calendar, already sitting on thousands of desks in over 100 countries.
Along with the honour of having his artwork viewed internationally, Anh also won a selection of London 2012 souvenirs, including a plush toy of Olympic mascot Wenlock, an Olympic gym bag, and a cup showing both Wenlock and Mandeville, the Paralympic mascot. Anh also received 10 copies of the calendar to give to family and friends. — VNS