Wednesday, June 25, 2008

National College Entry Exam

I still remember when I took the National College Entry Exam in 1981. It was in the hot summer of July 7-9, when the dates had been set for all Chinese high school graduates across the country. All exams from 1979 to 2002 were taken during these three days. They were such important days for all Chinese high school graduates and their families that I don’t think we could ever forget it. So if you ask me when I took that exam, I can tell you without a second thought!

For anyone who has been to China, you know how hot it becomes in early July. Regardless of how hot it was, millions of graduates had to take the exams in sweltering class rooms that did not have fans, much less air conditioning! I cannot use a hand-fan either, because we had to focus on taking the exam. Of course, water was not allowed into the examination room either, so we couldn’t drink anything until the exam was over, one exam lasting 2-3 hours in the morning and another one in the afternoon, totaling 6 exams in 3 days! When it was over, what a relief it was for graduates and their families! Yet, the anxiety would continue because we didn’t know if and which university we could get into! I still remember that there were only 9% of graduates who could go to universities during my time, but now that number of Beijing graduates who attend university has risen to 73% in 2007.

Anyhow, every year people would complain how hot each July was and that such important exams really should not have been taken in such intolerable heat. Finally, in 2003, the government changed the examination date to June 6-9 which is so much cooler than in July. How lucky all these graduates are now, they are allowed to take the exams during cooler months and some classrooms even have electronic fans or air conditioners!

I just received an email from a Chinese teacher who shared these “creative answers” from this year's entry exam for the Chinese language. When I first looked at the questions, I thought they were too difficult for anyone who should fill out blanks. But then I realized that we all have learned these ancient poems and should have known the answers if we had prepared for the exam for so long! When you read some students’ answers you can see the difference from the past to now in how young Chinese students have become so creative and materialistic. They don’t seem to care about whatever answers they could have. Now I have to share this in Chinese because it will be hard to translate these “creative” and "fun" answers!

高考創意答案 看一组语文试卷中的填空题吧—

1,_____,为伊消得人憔悴 同学答:宽衣解带终不悔 (正解为“衣带渐宽终不悔”)

2,问渠哪得清如许,_____ 同学答:心中自有清泉在 (正解为“唯有源头活水来”,咱还是和水粘了点边)

3,何当共剪西窗烛,_____ 同学答:夫妻对坐到天明 (正解为“却话巴山夜雨时”) 4,蚍蜉撼大树,_____ 同学答:一动也不动 (正解为“可笑不自量”,一动也不动,赫赫,很符合事实阿)

5,君子成人之美,_____ 同学答:小人夺人所爱

6,穷则独善其身,_____ 同学答:富则妻妾成群  (正解:达则兼济天下)

7,_____,天下谁人不识君 同学答:只要貌似萨达姆

8,后宫佳丽三千人,_____ 同学答:铁棒也会磨成针 ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄ (正解为“三千宠爱在一身”)

9,身有彩凤双飞翼,_____ 同学答:拔毛凤凰不如鸡 还有个同学答:夫妻双双把家还 (正解为“心有灵犀一点通”)

10,东边日出西边雨,_____ 同学答:床头打架床尾合 还有个同学答:上错花轿嫁对郎 11,_____,糟糠之妻不下堂 同学答:结发之夫不上床

12,但愿人长久,_____ 同学答:一颗永流传 (正解为“千里共婵娟”)

13,西塞山前白鹭飞,_____ 同学答:东村河边爬乌龟

14,我劝天公重抖擞,_____ 同学答:天公对我吼三吼 (正解为“不拘一格降人才”,龚自珍)

15,天生我才必有用,_____ 同学答:关键时刻显神通 又有同学答:老鼠儿子会打洞 16,天若有情天亦老,_____ 同学答:人不风流枉少年! (正解为“月若无恨月长圆”李贺《金铜仙人辞汉歌》)

17,洛阳亲友如相问,_____ 同学答:请你不要告诉他 (正解为“一片冰心在玉壶”) 18,期末考试出对联,上联是:英雄宝刀未老 初三同学对下联为:老娘丰韵尤存

19,良药苦口利于病,_____ 同学答:不吃才是大傻瓜 人生自古谁无死,_____ 同学答:只是死的有先后

20,床前明月光,_____ 同学答:李白睡得香

21,管中窥豹,_____ 同学答:吓我一跳 (正解为“可见一斑”)

22,_____,飞入寻常百姓家 同学答:康佳彩霸电视机

23,葡萄美酒夜光杯,_____ 同学答:金钱美人一大堆

24,_____,路上行人欲断魂 初一学生的杰作:半夜三更鬼敲门

25,老吾老以及人之老,_____ 同学答:妻吾妻以及人之妻 (那个同学特别具有奉献精神)




Xiaomei Pollan said...

Those answers indeed cracked me up! To be honest, I won't be able to fill out all those blanks except one, because I graduated high school in Guangzhou in 1974. The most of my schooling period was during the Cultural Revolution - you know what I mean. We have only learned very little classic Chinese poetry. I admit that I would never be able to be as creative as these Chinese new generations, because we were taught to be "conservative", ha ha. What a great post! Hope you post more.

By the way, as you mentioned in "About Me" in your Blog, you started to enjoy the western cultures right after the Cultural Revolution, which reminded me about that very exciting period. That was the time that we started to embrace not only the western cultures but also our own wonderful cultures that were banned during the Cultural Revolution. That was the time that I started to learn and enjoy a lot of different things, literature, arts, music, operas etc, western and Chinese. I still do until today.

Xiaomei Pollan
From Port Washington, NY