Scholarship and education
Posted by Joel Martinsen on Friday, June 8, 2007 at 10:04 PM
It's time for the post-game analysis of this year's gaokao essay questions.
Each year after the college entrance exam, pundits, noted bloggers, and the general public offer up their own compositions while trying to guess the motivations behind the topics.
This year, a number of questions share the theme of overcoming adversity - from the country-wide topic ("There's been an accident"), to Shanghai's question about moving beyond bumps in the road, to Ningxia's question concerning an unrelenting spirit. One commentator in the Shanghai Youth Daily noted that his friends had identified a number of topics with problems currently facing day-traders, but other than that there seems to be no over-arching theme this year.
A few questions were self-referential: students in Jiangxi wrote about language arts, while students in Chongqing were asked about the gaokao itself.
Below are translations of some of the essay questions as reported by the Beijing Evening News and the Xinmin Evening News; they may not be accurate or complete.
· National I
An image of a child surrounded by three adults representing Society, Family, and School. The three are all saying "There's been an accident" (出事了) Choose a format and a title. 800 characters.
· National II
2. Xiao Li, a student at Huannan Agricultural University, donated money to a charity school by collecting and selling trash. However, not long after, she was diagnosed with leukemia. The school solicited donations from its students. One fourth-grade student gave ten yuan, and when asked why she donated her New Year's money, the girl said that we should remember Xiao Li's words: "We must learn to help those people who need help. We must help others."
Write an essay according to the above materials.
So one could say that everyday, we experience our mother tongue, study our mother tongue, and use our mother tongue.
In other gaokao news, Reuters reports that three people have been detained by police in Jilin Province for running a wireless cheating scam from a van parked outside of a testing center. The answer service cost students 12,000 yuan apiece.
Links and Sources
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Henry on The Eurasian Face
Caroline W on Big in China
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Brandon K. on Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
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The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
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+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.