Translation: True punk

A "zero mark essay" from this year's gaokao


In the Analects blog my newest post is about essays in China's university entrance exam that flop, getting no points. Some of these essays fail because they are too rebellious. In the post I quote a student from Shanghai, who in response to the essay prompt the "more important things in life", replied "to be a true punk". For the Anthill I've translated the whole thing. (The original is here.)

It’s 2.22 in the morning and I’m walking down an unfamiliar street, holding my girlfriend’s hand, feeling her sweat seeping through into mine.

It’s less than seven hours until the gaokao begins, but I don’t give a shit. There are more important things.

“Do you think my mum will call the cops if she can’t find us? Could the police come to take us back home? Is it really alright not to take the gaokao?” My girlfriend asked me nervously.

She was really fucking dragging me back, but what else could I do? I just reassured her, because a punk without a fuck buddy is no true punk!

So I told her: “No problem sweetie, we’re hidden here, no one can find us. Besides, you nicked 120 kuai off your mum! With money, what’s there to worry about! A true punk doesn’t need to go to university! You’ve forgotten your rock n roll!”

My girlfriend didn’t reply. I guess it’s because she was inspired by what I said.

I started going out with her in year 11. That was when I decided to become a true punk. So I practiced for ages how to spit well, and worried if playing the recorder counted as rock n roll or not. Then I realised I was sweating the little stuff, and there was something more important – get a girlfriend!

At that time, pretty much all the girls in my class liked Korean boys. I thought that was just incurably dumb. Finally, I found out there was a girl who liked [the pop band] Mayday. So I told her, Mayday is really rock n roll! Then she became my girlfriend.

One week ago, I told my girlfriend I don’t want to take the gaokao. With my grades I could only get into “One Man University”. She said that’s great, then I could meet [its founder] Prinicipal Tong! Principal Tomb is so cute!

I said there was something more important. I want to become a true punk, to live freely, to jaywalk on the street, get in a fight with metalheads, drink booze, then smash the bottle over their heads. I want to get tattoos all the way up my thigh, the kind that don’t come off when you rub them in the shower. Will you come with me?

Afternote: Some people question if these "zero mark essays" (零分作文) published online are genuine or not. While it's plausible that some of them are penned by netizens as satire, this one above smacks true to me.