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Young Chinese piano virtuoso raised by Kuwaiti family steals limelight
October 19, 2013, 3:07 pm

“My sister noticed how easily I picked up on the notes just by listening while she played the piano, so one day she asked me to try the keys and that’s where my passion to study the instrument started, I was then four years old” said Li Haiwei, a nine years old Chinese boy, raised by a Kuwaiti family and currently known to the music scene a young “virtuoso” in the country.

Li could not recall his first pieces but definitely remembers the best performances he had in the past. He won several piano and violin competitions in Kuwait and the Middle East including the most prestigious Young Musicians in the Gulf and have been offered several scholarships by different educational institutions and individuals. Li has accomplished five major recitals and prepares to acquire his diploma; he has also been performing for his school British School of Kuwait annual concerts as solo artist where he usually receives standing ovations and applause. Li also excels in violin, which he plays side by side with his piano.

“I spend most of my time playing the piano and violin at home and in my spare time I attend my Chinese classes. I don’t go anywhere on weekends to hang out with friends like most of my friends do, instead I use my hours in school to play and have fun,” commented Li. He dreams of becoming a lawyer or a doctor someday and teach piano and violin on the side but if he passes a scholarship abroad like his sister who now is a scholar at Manchester School of Music, Li definitely will take up music as his main career. “I have met several popular personalities and prominent people during my performances in Kuwait and I have received several citations and honors form different events and citations, but the meeting the Ambassador of China to Kuwait and the Governor of Ahmadi have been my most unforgettable experiences. I don’t aspire to be famous or popular someday but simply inspire young people to achieve what most think and believe is impossible,” added Li. When asked if he is nervous prior to his performances, Li said that when he was younger he was uneasy but experiences and frequent public performances have given him courage to face huge crowds.

Li was born in Kuwait in 2003 when Kuwait was under threat from Iraq’s second invasion and a result of an unwanted pregnancy and was then a violation of China’s one child policy. “I got pregnant and I already had a daughter, it was a tough life for us since my husband had an unstable job as a laborer and my daughter then was in China. I could not have abortion since it was illegal here in Kuwait,’ commented Zang Feng, Li’s mother. Li was adopted by a Kuwaiti family with promise to support his education and needs. “Mama” who Li called raised him up five years until she passed away that terribly left Li devastated and crying every time he remembers her. He now receives support from the children of his Kuwaiti family and spends his time with them. Zang is proud of her children and thanked the Kuwaiti family who continuously and generously support Li. Li has also been registered in China under the law that allows couple based overseas to have other children.

“I urge all mothers to be responsible for their children. Dedicate their time in educating them. It is essential for children to keep learning not because they want to be popular or known in the society but an investment of a lifetime which is good education. Bringing them up to be very materialistic will not bring about good children but teaching them to appreciate of what little they have is most important” commented Zang.

Ricky Laxa
Staff Writer
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