Global Times is running a neat feature on its Facebook page (yes, Global Times has a Facebook page) in which it posts sample questions from China’s National College Entrance Exam, i.e. gaokao. Its headline asks:
So you think you’re smarter than a Chinese high school student?
Oh hell no, no one thinks they’re smarter than Chinese high school students. We’re all reeling from years of alcohol abuse and our heads are no longer filled with facts.
But even if we were smarter, would we be able to answer labyrinthine questions such as…
“High school must have been a wonderful time” — just a little leading and presumptuous, eh? Hey, question-maker: do you know how long they studied for your stupid, shitty exam, wasting away their youthful vigor and creativity? Have the common decency to not rub it in their faces while they are taking your exam, wouldja?
We’ve always known that gaokao questions were insane, and that you have to train yourself to be the perfect little tool to score well on them, but did you know some gaokao questions were thought up by third graders doing thought experiments? Look:
“If Edison was able to visit the 21st century” is a short stone’s throw away from, “If Jesus were alive today,” or, “If dinosaurs landed in San Diego…”
WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Old McDonald’s farm was glorious and prosperous, except for foreign agents who hated cell phones. Explain your high school existence, keeping in mind Isaac Newton loves apples.
In conclusion, WHAT WOULD YOU DO if donkeys could mate with the skeletons of pigs?
And check out this explosive diarrhea of a question:
Everyday [sic] we strive for what we think is important, but there are more important things in this world. People have different opinions on the matter. Please select a point of view and write an essay about your thoughts.
Can I pick the point of view of a rubber duck?
Every day, afloat upon the patchy waters of Victora Harbor, I wake to a red sun that speaks to the cold flame of my solitude. There is an everlasting sadness that you cannot know, burning fierce in the east where the schoolchildren of our country once tilted their heads to sing. Where is that joy, now?
I look west, and the pebbly eyeballs which glance back are not round with a child’s wonder but flat like a jianbing, grown-up but not mature. The adults that stand at their side flick the butts of cigarettes at me, as if my skin, though made of rubber, does not react to the embers of their scorn.
They speak to me, too. They squawk and squeal and cluck in coarse imitation of language, but I do not understand because I am a duck and do not speak Cantonese. I turn my back, face south, the tears glistening behind plastic eyes, yet they do not stop. Nothing stops them. They come. More of them come. Like a great tsunami, the waves do not wane, they come, oh they come.
I am a duck. What do they want? What spiritual void can a duck fill? What dialectic truth can we discern, them on the shores, me on these choppy waters of Victoria Harbor, staring into a horizon that reflects the recesses of the human condition? Boundless, bottomless, what is the difference? Infinity that wallows, sinkholes of the soul which drag us down, past paper bills that flutter like falling butterflies. Their problems are copper, less real than these eyes under God’s blue sky.
I am a duck, a humble duck. The sun sets in the west and the cool comfort of night’s veil is pulled over my head. In this silence, I listen. There is the sound of water. The faraway exhale of a tugboat. And if I really try, something sweeter, something like laughter, from a child who was here, and thought it important.
Holy shit I would’ve flunked so hard.