Exam fever and why cats would need to chase mice if there’s plenty of fish

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Chinese high school students went through the grueling university entrance exam called gaokao this week. This is one of the most important experiences in a young Chinese person’s life, and whole families and cities gear up for it.  Some of the more entertaining essay questions include:

National (I): Why chase mice when there are fish to eat?

National (II): What is light reading?

Beijing: Looking at the stars with your feet on the ground

Shanghai: Danish fishermen – “When Danes go fishing, they carry with them a ruler. When they catch a fish, they will measure it and toss it back if it is not long enough. They say, ‘Isn’t it better to let the little ones grow up?’ More than two thousand years ago in our country, Mencius said, ‘If fine nets do not enter the pools, there will be more fish and turtles than can be eaten.’ And in fact this principle runs throughout many areas of our lives.”

Tianjin: The world I live in

Chongqing: Tough problems

Jiangsu: Green Life – “Green is vibrant, visually pleasing. Green is intertwined in life and ecology. Today, there is a new concept of green, one that is closely connected to the lives of every person.”

Guangdong: Neighbors – “We are neighbors and rely on each other. You might be visible or invisible. It is impossible to avoid having neighbors, but you can make a choice.”

Shandong: Light and shadow – ‘”All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.’ – Leo Tolstoy.”

Hunan: Morning

Jiangxi: Recovering childhood – “Why do we want to recover childhood? Because society it too utilitarian, children have too much pressure, and childhood ends too early. Society needs innocence and required a return to childhood.”

Fujian: The birth of Grimm’s Fairy Tales – “The brothers Grimm felt that there was a connection between folk tales and human history, but after collecting many of them without finding that connection, they gave up. Later on, a friend chanced across the things they had compiled, and arranged with a publisher to have it published, becoming what we know as Grimm’s Fairy Tales.”

Sichuan: Points and Life – “A point can form a line, can form a plane, can form a body. Life is like a few unregulated points which can be connected into countless lines, which can then form different planes, which can then form different geometric objects.”

Shaanxi: Success and the environment – (1) A tropical fish placed in a fishbowl will only grow three inches long; placed in a pond, it can grow quite large. (2) Wolves are so strong and powerful because they live in an outdoor environment. (3) A psychologist picked ten people and told them they had extraordinary talent. They then went on to find success. Later, the psychologist admitted that they were just ordinary people.

Hainan and Ningxia: Participation

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