“YES! I’VE BEEN PICKED! AHAHAH!” the old man attracted the attention of many villagers.
This is the childhood story of Wu Zing Zi and his teacher, Fan Lao.
He got down and started.
“Zing Zi. In the past, there were many wise people. Now it’s your turn. It’s your generation. You have to exceed your ancestors!”
Zing Zi froze.
“Zing Zi. Stop stalling!”
Zing Zi got up. “Father, do we have to be a government official to be successful?”
“If you study not to become an official, what are you studying for?” his father replied.
“Look at all the people working hard in the village, the seamstresses make clothing so we can have something to wear, the farmers work hard so we can have food to eat. There’s too much things in this world that needs to be done! It’s not just being an official. Why must we be an official?”
“HOW DARE YOU SAY SUCH DISRESPECTFUL THINGS. Why do people study so hard?! So they can be successful! Don’t you understand?!” his father said, exasperated.
“Why do we have to be an official..?”
“SHUT UP. You barely have any determination! If you become an official, you’ll be rich! You’ll get anything you want! There will be no difficulties! It’s simple. Don’t you understand?”
“Fine. I’ll send you to Sir Fan Lao to study! He’s in his seventies this year. He’s still taking the test for being a government official, I don’t know how much times, but he’s still trying! You need the influence of his determination!”
Fan Lao, the old man in the beginning, never got picked, even after trying for so many times, until that day.
“Sir Fan Lao, I present to you my son, please accept him as a student. Zing Zi. Kowtow to Sir Fan Lao.”
Zing Zi got on his knees and started to kowtow.
“Okay! Okay!” the old man said in his wheezy voice. “Get up! Get up! I’ve heard of his intelligence. He will undoubtedly be an official! I’m very strict to my students. I wonder if you’re willing?”
“Yes. Anything to get him to be successful. Please be very strict to him.”
“He will be successful! I promise!”
“What do you mean?” Zing Zi asked.
“You’ll get chosen. If you study hard, that is. Heheh.” he broke into wheezy laughter.
On the day of class, Zing Zi and his classmates were listening to Fan Lao’s lecture.
“Start writing your essays! You have to write about this specific topic, not anything you want.”
The students picked up their pens and started writing.
The topic of our ancestors’s behavior and successes. Hmm. Zing Zi thought. Nope. I’m writing what I think.
Hours passed, and Zing Zi was finally done. He got up to his teacher’s desk and tried to awaken him.
Fan Lao jumped up. The students laughed.
“WHAT IS THIS?” Fan Lao asked, obviously not happy for being disturbed.
“I’m done with my essay.” Zing Zi said.
“Oh, Zing Zi. You’re done fast!” He started reading. “Hm?! HOW DARE YOU WRITE SOMETHING LIKE THIS? WHAT DID I SAY ABOUT WRITING TO THE PROMPT?”
“I’m writing in my own way..” Zing Zi protested.
“HHMM?! YOU HAVE YOUR OWN THOUGHTS AND WAYS?” Fan Lao clenched his fists and stood up.
“I don’t understand- I was born with a brain, so why can’t I use it?”
“You have to look at our ancestors and their thoughts, not your own!”
“But they died, like, a thousand years ago! How would they know what I think?” Zing Zi said.
“RIDICULOUS! HOW DARE YOU OFFEND OUR WISE ANCESTORS!”
The argument continued, ending with Fan Lao telling Zing Zi to get out.
“You kneel here for 6 hours.” Fan Lao seethed. “Memorize this book! Don’t you dare get up!”
And with that, he walked away, leaving Zing Zi reading in the sun.
After a while, he got disturbed by a cricket, and put down the book. He prepared to catch it.
The cricket hopped away, and Zing Zi followed, forgetting about his punishment.
“YAY! I CAUGHT IT!” Zing Zi yelled with playfulness.
At that moment, Fan Lao came up to him.
“GRRRRRRRR! THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!”
“Sir-please, no, please!”
Zing Zi backed away, stammering.
“GIVE ME YOUR HAND!”
At that moment, a man came running in.
“Sir Fan Lao! Sir Fan Lao!” he was out of breath. “Congratulations! You’ve been picked!”
“AIYA! You’ve been picked!”
“Don’t joke around. I’m being serious!”
” It’s the truth! You’ve been picked! Listen! Listen!”
There was music in the background.
Fan Lao ran outside, without saying another word.
“Congratulations, Sir Fan Lao. You’ve been picked!”
Tears came to Fan Lao’s eyes. And he fainted. And he got up again.
“I’VE BEEN PICKED! I’VE BEEN PICKED!” And he ran down the street, yelling that over and over again, falling into a puddle of mud.
“Sir, are you okay?” Zing Zi asked.
“I’ve been picked, I’ve been picked.. HAHA! I’VE BEEN PICKED!” He ran again, leaving people wondering whether he was insane or not.
When he was 49, Wu Zing Zi finally finished writing a book- and you’ve just finished reading it.