Every year, numerous students in China give their all during the entrance exams so they can test into the best high school within their reach. This year, one particular essay not only got a perfect score, it reached thousands of computer screens as it was shared from person to person.
The topic for the essay question this year is: “What is love?” (問世間情為何物).
The answer reflects how the new generation in China views their world, a world where dating shows dominate television ratings and the guy to girl ratio is getting to be a little crazy. Here is my translation attempt so you can see it too. Just know that in Chinese, it rhymes and is sometimes in an amusing archaic language. It’s also a great example of how just a few Chinese words requires a whole English sentence to explain.
Cars yearn for roads, plants thirsts for rain,
Souls desire salvation, spirits yearn to return,
Yet all I desperately want is a wife.
I searched for her hundreds and thousands of times in the crowds, flattening the roads beneath me,
Suddenly I turn around for a close examination, to see numerous aunties.
They say that a man’s tears don’t trickle down
But that’s definitely because they’re not heartbroken yet.
Who knows how many times the windows to my heart have been blurred with tears?
Besides we are all just a drop in the ocean,
So why can’t I land on the shore of love?
And I can only keep eating vinegar (= be jealous)?
Life is short to began with,
How can I silently fritter away my time?
So that I’ll find a home to return to soon,
I decided to pursue at all costs and by any means necessary.
This kind of thinking ultimately led to my inescapable fate.
Who would have thought that my momentary lapse in judgement,
Would result in such a tragic play.
That was because I had reached the end of the road,
And seduced a married woman.
Who knew that my crime would be exposed,
And I’d be captured at the scene.
I just regret that I don’t know martial arts,
And wasn’t able to fight my way out.
Tragically meeting with physical vengeance.
They flew into a rage out of humiliation,
Attacking with a sense of justice that does not allow a chance for reflection.
The knife blades looped around again and again,
The bricks greeted me repeatedly.
Blood poured out like a fountain all over my body,
And my two legs continued to twitch.
Having wrongfully taken that sinful step,
I almost would have died with my eyes open (with unfinished business).
It’s truly fortunate I was still able to keep my life.
That self directed and self acted episode to serve as an example for others,
Have deceitfully and deeply moved me.
The past experience clearly flashes before my eyes,
I currently trace my past back to each event.
The awareness I achieved after my experience with pain and struggles,
Finally raised me to the height of salvation as never before.
To ask What is love,
I’m really at a loss,
When it comes to love, it looks like you really can’t be too blind.
If it’s yours you can’t prevent it from happening, if it’s not yours you can’t keep it no matter what you do.
No matter how wonderful other people’s girlfriends are you still shouldn’t rashly approach them.
The learned texts say without the skin the hair has nothing to adhere to (a thing cannot exist without its basis),
If I finish playing, where would I go to find my virtuous good wife?
What’s more life is short,
There is still a lot of things worthy to be cherished and protected.
Even though the halo of love is dazzling,
Still it isn’t everything in life.
After writing this much, seems that the word count is not enough.
Then allow me, to fabricate some more.
After all this discussion, I couldn’t help to reveal my heartfelt thoughts.
On Double Seven Festival (Chinese Valentines Day) dudes all have plans, I a bachelor, is on the verge of suffering from stabs of pain.
Aiya oh no!
The test is almost over, there’s still numerous questions to answer, and I’m a getting restless.
At the end a sentence to summarize, then I’ll end the essay right there。
Answer to what is love, to quote the Book of Songs: useless, useless.
我算是 髲卮笪颉 br>