Tuesday, June 10, 2008


From Tim Johnson of China Rises:

Anxiety is rippling through China. Millions of people know that what happens over the next two days could be a crucial turning point in their lives.

Think I’m kidding? Then you don’t understand the pressure that builds every year at this time before the annual college entrance examinations across China.

It’s a pressure cooker out there.

He's not kidding. Mingyu, who you may remember for his extraordinary musical talent, recently finished his gaokao (college exams), and now the waiting begins.

Mingyu may be able to hit a high C, but he has deficiencies when it comes to book learning. He's taken these college exams once already in hopes of entering a highly respected national music school -- and failed. This time around, he needs to score 285 to qualify for the Beijing Music School, a mark that isn't considered very high. I mean, it's not like he's going for Tsinghua University, or some other school in the top 30. But as to whether he'll make it...

Jiujiu said to me at lunch today, "I asked him how many of those ancient poems he's memorized, and he replied, 'None so far.' So at that point I thought" -- and give Jiujiu credit, he said this with a laugh -- "it's gonna be a close call."

All Mingyu needed was to average about 60 percent, and it looks like he might not get there. Yikes. The results won't be in for a while, but for now I can only feel a little stress with (for?) him. I remember my SAT-prep days, and they weren't very fun.

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