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Kazakhstan comes into the spotlight

    它们被戏称为“斯坦国”—— 这些国家的名字都以相同的音节“斯坦”作结尾。这样的国家总共有7个:阿富汗、哈萨克斯坦、吉尔吉斯斯坦、塔吉克斯坦、土库曼斯坦、乌兹别克斯坦以及巴基斯坦。对于许多人而言,这些国家缺乏个性。他们不如意大利和法国花哨,也不像埃及和阿根廷那样具有异国风情,彼此之间还很容易弄混。
    哈萨克斯坦有句著名的谚语:“歌和马是哈萨克人的两只翅膀”。从迪玛希的歌声中,我们得以一窥这个国家的音乐才华。而他们对马的热爱则来源于这个国家的游牧历史,人们一度十分依赖这种动物 —— 他们骑马,用马耕地、举行赛马比赛、吃马肉。
    作为世界上最大的内陆国,哈萨克斯坦或许将一直与游牧历史息息相关。毕竟,这一切都体现在这个国家的国徽上了 —— 一片蓝天之下,一座圆顶帐篷和两匹骏马相得益彰。

They are amusingly called the “stan countries” – nations whose names end with the same syllable, “stan”. There are in total seven of them: Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan. To many, these countries lack personality. They are neither as fancy as Italy and France, nor as exotic as Egypt and Argentina, and can easily be mixed up with one another.

It wasn’t until this January, when DimashKudaibergen – a 23-year-old singer from Kazakhstan – appeared on Singer (《歌手》), a TV singing competition, that Chinese people were driven to tell one particular “stan country” apart from the rest of the group.

And now, there are even more reasons for you to take notice of this Central Asian country. Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Kazakhstan from June 7 to 10. During his four-day tour, Xi also attended the opening ceremony of the 2017 World Expo in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital. It is the first World Expo to be held in Central Asia.
Only now are Chinese people starting to develop a curiosity for this neighboring country that we’ve been neglecting for so long.

In Kazakhstan, there is a famous proverb: “Songs and horses are the two wings of the Kazakh people.” From Kudaibergen’s singing, we have caught a glimpse of the country’s musical talent. And their love for horses comes from the country’s nomadic history, when people depended heavily on the animals – they rode them, used them for farming, raced them in competitions and ate their meat.

Even though many Kazakh people have now settled in towns and cities, leaving the old lifestyle behind, their love for horses never really changed. During the 2008 summer Olympics torch relay in Kazakhstan, for example, the torchbearers on horseback were one of the biggest highlights of the event. And Kazakh people still keep their habit of eating horsemeat, even if it’s hard for those from a different background to understand.

“Out of respect for horses, Americans don’t eat them. Out of respect for their horses, Kazakhs do,” wrote Ryan Bell on National Geographic during a trip to Kazakhstan.

Perhaps as the world’s biggest landlocked (内陆的) country, Kazakhstan will always stay close to its nomadic history. After all, it’s what appears on its national emblem – a yurt and two horses, against the backdrop of a blue sky.

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