Chapter 110: Beijing Couplet Competition Begins!
Zhang Ye was discussing with Xiao Lu about the program recording in a few days time, when suddenly, some people from the advertising department came.
"Teacher Zhang," a youth said politely.
"Oh, Teacher Liu." Zhang Ye went over. He had seen these people before. They had worked together on the public service advertisement.
"Don't, Hur Hur, don't call me Teacher. Although I'm older than you by about three years, I do not dare to be addressed as Teacher in front of you. Well, the results of the advertisement are out. The reception was extremely good. I believe that you must have heard of it. We came over to thank you. Thank you for all the help," the youth said in friendly manner.
Zhang Ye smiled. "You're welcome. It was nothing."
Another lady chimed in, "If we encounter a tough problem in the future, we might even consult you. Please don't be stingy when the time comes and give us your guidance."
Zhang Ye replied helplessly, "I'm just a layman. How can I give any guidance?"
The third youth gave a wry smile, "If you are a layman, then no one in the country is a professional. I also saw the slogan for the lawn on your Weibo. Although it cannot be used, it was really well-written. Also, the electricity conservation public service advertisement's creativeness are things we need to learn from. I don't think that it is too much to write them in advertising textbooks. You have opened a new path for creativeness in advertisements. It is extremely meaningful!"
Zhang Ye waved his hands, "You are putting me on a pedestal. There's no need. Really, there's no need."
After the people from the advertising department gave their gratitude, they left.
Xiao Lu gave him a big thumbs up, "Teacher Zhang is indeed Teacher Zhang. This is the first time that I have seen people from the advertising department seeking someone from the program teams for advice."
"Stop making fun of me." Zhang Ye returned to his seat.
"Hey, look at Weibo!" Hou Ge shouted out suddenly. As he was very loud, no one was prepared for it, so they were greatly shocked.
"You gave me a fright."
"What's on Weibo, Hou Ge?"
A few people asked.
Hou Ge pointed to the computer, "I followed Teacher Little Zhang's Weibo yesterday. I saw that many of Teacher Zhang's fans were @-ing the Beijing Writers' Association, right? They wanted to get him into the Writers' Association, and there were people questioning why the Writers' Association did not let Teacher Little Zhang join. It seems like it has been stirring quite a buzz for days. Look, the Beijing Writers' Association's official Weibo account has replied. They said that they have the intention of inviting Teacher Zhang to join and were doing the final inspection and approval. And the Beijing Writers' Association's official Weibo even posted an invitation. It invited many people. Probably in the tens, and the last one is Teacher Little Zhang."
"Entering the Writers' Association is good. With Teacher Zhang's ability, he should have entered long ago. What's there to inspect? There's no need to inspect. Anyone with eyes knows Teacher Zhang's literary foundation!" Xiao Lu said in a displeased manner.
Indeed, although this world's Writers' Association's admission criteria was stricter than in Zhang Ye's world, with the minimum criteria very high, with Zhang Ye's poems, essays, novels and fairy tales, the minimum criteria was not something that could faze him. Besides, the Beijing Writers' Association was just a province's Writers' Association, so was there a need for them to take so long before they announced their intentions of inviting him? There was something subtle with their attitude.
"Invitation?" Zhang Ye was concerned about something else.
"What invitation?" Dafei also asked.
Hou Ge was unable to explain it properly, "Aiyah, just check yourselves."
Zhang Ye and the rest opened Weibo and understood!
The annual Beijing Couplet Competition was being held tomorrow. It was held in Peking University's newly renovated hall. It was a grand couplet competition, jointly organized by the Beijing Couplet Organization, the Beijing Writers' Association and several other organizations. Every year, the leaders of the broadcasting companies, officials from the Beijing Education Ministry, members of the Couplet Organization and Writers' Association, etc would be invited as guests or competitors.
What was a couplet competition?
To be simple, they were to match verses!
There were all sorts of one-to-one correspondence in matching the number of characters on a line, etc. It was very profound and had many rules to adhere to. It was a traditional component of Chinese literature and had more than a thousand years of history.
The traditional Chinese literature of this world may be inferior to commercial entertainment programs in terms of popularity, but compared to Zhang Ye's original world, it was much superior. Chinese literature received a lot of attention. Although Zhang Ye's world would have couplet competitions or poetry meets frequently, where they might even be on a national level, organized in various states, their scale was very small.
It was done very simply. Sometimes it would even be held in a crappy classroom with about 20 people participating. Even if it was a couplet competition at a provincial level, there were not many who paid attention to it. However, this world was different. The number of people who paid attention to it was considerable and the scale was large. It was held in Peking University's hall, and the entire process was broadcast live online. It was considered an annual grand meet in literature in Beijing. At least, many professionals paid a lot of attention to it.
Seeing nearly a hundred members invited as competitors, Zhang Ye could recognize a few old familiar names with his sharp eyes. Alright, they were considered old enemies. They were those people from the Beijing Writers' Association who had gone to the Beijing Radio Station to trample on Zhang Ye, but ended up being smacked in the face by him!
He did not know any of the other contestants.
Many of them were from the Beijing Couplet Organization or were grassroot members.
Zhang Ye finally saw that the last person to be invited was him!
"But I didn't register! Why are they inviting me to be a contestant?" Zhang Ye frowned slightly. Do you really not care about me? When you ignored me, you ignored me. When you cared about me, you didn't ask for my opinion to put my name in there? Do you know what respect is?
Xiao Lu said, "Who cares? You should go."
"That's right. It will be interesting. We can decide when the time comes whether to participate or not." Hou Ge encouraged him too, "This is a grand literature event. It is much more important than the Mid Autumn Poetry Meet that you participated from before. Not just anyone gets the participation qualification. Even the entry tickets for spectators aren't easy to get."
With a smile, he said, "Teacher Little Zhang, aren't you fighting for fame? This would suit you perfectly. This is entirely broadcasted live on the internet. Not many people watch it, but the numbers definitely aren't low. If you can enter the final round and show your face, it can increase your fame. If your fame increases, it will help our new program, too."
What he said was right.
But... I don't f**king know couplets!
It wasn't that he didn't know. He only knew the couplets from his world. He had no idea what the situation and foundation of the couplets for this world were!
Zhang Ye suddenly thought of something. F**k, could the bunch of people from the Writers' Association know that he did not know couplets, resulting in them putting him on the invitation name list without asking him? They had lost in the poem competition last time, with the entire Beijing Writers' Association losing to Zhang Ye. They were indignant about it and wanted to take revenge? They wanted to use a literary area that Zhang Ye did not know to ridicule him? Put him to shame? Regain their reputation?
It seemed highly probable!
With the Beijing Writers' Association's Vice President Meng Dongguo's personality, what wouldn't he do!?
Ring, ring, ring. A phone call came.
Zhang Ye picked it up, "Hello. Who is this?"
"Teacher Zhang Ye?" It was a middle-aged woman's voice, "I am an employee of the Couplet Organization. I want to confirm your invitation for tomorrow's Beijing Couplet Competition. Do you have time to participate in it? If you do have time, I will inform my colleagues from the Beijing Writers' Association to print a contestant pass and entry pass for you. You were recommended by them. Tomorrow, you can just go to Peking University, and someone from the Writers' Association will attend to you."
Zhang Ye hesitated for a while before saying, "Alright then."
So what if he joined? He would analyze the situation first. If the Writers' Association had really planted a trap for him, or this world's couplets were things Zhang Ye did not know, then he would give up and not bring ridicule to himself. Of course, if he had a chance to show his strength, Zhang Ye would definitely not grab the opportunity to show off. Being an E-list celebrity could not satisfy him. His goal was even higher and further. He would grab tightly at every opportunity that could make him become famous. Writing novels? Writing poems? Writing stories? Writing essays? Making advertisements? Match couplets? He was never picky! He would devour them all, despite what they were!
Hu Fei, who was carrying a bunch of stuff, entered.
Hou Ge was the closest, so he rushed up, "Brother Hu, let me do it."
"Alright. Thank you." Hou Ge gave him the box. It was the information and documents needed for work. However, after Hou Ge took it away, Hu Fei reached into the box and took out a few tickets placed at the top. Then he said to everyone, "Tomorrow, the Peking University will have a Couplet Competition. It is very grand. The Couplet Organization has invited us from the television station to spectate it. They are middle row tickets. They are hard to get, but I managed to grab five of them. Tomorrow is Saturday; let's go together."
"Five tickets?" Xiao Lu asked in a baffled manner, "Aren't we short of one? With Brother Hu, we have a total of six people."
Hu Fei pointed to Zhang Ye, "Little Zhang doesn't need it, right? I heard that the Beijing Writers' Association has recommended Little Zhang to compete in the competition. All contestants have an entry pass, so he doesn't need a ticket to enter. Is that right, Little Zhang?"
Zhang Ye nodded, "Yes, someone from the Couplet Organization just called me."
Xiao Lu was happy, "That's good. Then, let's go tomorrow. Anyway I have nothing to do at home."
Hou Di snapped his fingers, "Right, we'll go tomorrow to cheer for Teacher Little Zhang. Do you think we should make a banner? With 'Teacher Zhang Ye, We Love You' on it? Pretending we are his fans? With that, it can show how popular Teacher Little Zhang is and how many fans he has!"
Dafei wiped his sweat, "...You really have nothing better to do."
Hou Ge also slapped his brother in the neck, "Does Little Zhang need to fake it? He has no lack of fans!"
Everyone happily chatted together. They came up with plans and joked around. Yes, they were actually too free. After being hired for so many days, their program had not begun airing. Since the planning for their segment had been mostly completed, they did not have much work to do. So whenever something interesting happened, they would be extremely passionate about it. They didn't feel good about not having anything to do all day, so naturally they had to find something to do!
Legge here. I hope you have enjoyed the releases so far for I'm Really a Superstar! I have enjoyed reading it myself and happy that you could enjoy the translated version too.
When I agreed to work on this with CK, we had some initial doubts on how we could make this work (fair translation to author's and the works featured in this story)
We had identified that the upcoming couplet arc would be the most challenging to translate. In Mandarin, all of these couplets are super interesting and meaningful. So to actually make it work in English, we had to rack our brains together and try to present it well enough for the reader to feel the satisfaction of a couplet duel.
I had a good time researching on them, learning lots in the process. No ready English resources were harmed in the process of translating (They weren't available anyway) So we would like to ask for some tolerance if we didn't do well enough. If you think that there were mistakes, feel free to contact CK, or actually feel free to discuss about the couplets if you know Chinese on Reddit, various novel forums or in the comments section.
Please do take time to read the couplets rather than skim through it. It would make us feel that our efforts were worth it. Our methods might be a little unorthodox this time. (you will find out why later)
As for what couplets are, please read the extract below, taken from Wikipedia.