Chapter 297: A Different Peking University Teacher!
The students were in high spirits!
"I have a question!"
"It's my turn!"
"Teacher Zhang Ye, here, here!"
It was time for the third question, and there were only three questions left. The chance to ask was decreasing, so no one wanted to ask something trivial. This was Peking University, and they were students of Peking University. They had some pride in them, and did not want to be belittled by Zhang Ye. According to their own practices, not the school's, they had to slightly deliberately make things difficult for their teachers. They also wanted to see if this legendary new teacher really had the ability. They wanted to know if the internet and television had been exaggerated in boasting about his prowess.
A few third-year students raised their hands high up!
Zhang Ye scanned downwards and pointed at someone, "Let's have this student."
The Junior-year student, with a mustache on both sides of his mouth, chuckled while standing up.
"Why did he call him?" Yao Mi pited, "If he dares to make things difficult for Teacher Zhang, I'll not let him off! Teacher Zhang is my father's good friend!"
There were people engaging in whispers.
"Hehe, Teacher Zhang will be put in a difficult spot."
"Right, this senior's questions aren't easily answered."
"Didn't he infuriate the new teacher last time?"
"Senior Zhou, others would be okay, but don't make it difficult for Teacher Zhang. He is a nice person."
There were students who liked Zhang Ye and were very supportive of him, but there were also some who were unconvinced. For example, Senior Zhou. Of course, he did not really plan on doing anything, he just found it fun. Zhang Ye was now pretty famous, so if he could stumble Zhang Ye with a question, he would become famous too.
Chang Kaige glanced at the student. He also knew him. He was quite a troublemaker in the department. He had past records in the department, where he made things difficult for the teachers, and was not very obedient.
Senior Zhou blinked, "Teacher Zhang, can I ask any question?"
Zhang Ye nodded, "Yes, anything will do."
Senior Zhou paused before saying, "Alright then. Hur Hur. My question is if your wife and your mother fell into a river at the same time, who would you save first?"
The moment everyone heard this, they were speechless!
What sort of crappy question was that!? There was no solution! And it was overused!
Chang Kaige and a few teachers from the department frowned. Indeed, this trouble-making student was too disobedient. He was deliberately doing this!
Then Senior Zhou said, "This isn't just some random question, Teacher Zhang. Since you will be in charge of teaching us literature, and answering our doubts, then this question is also considered a literary challenge from a certain point of view. Can you give us an answer? Don't answer with things like you don't have a wife."
Zhang Ye did not mind this sort of questions, and instead said, "I can answer this question, but you need to first answer my question before I can answer you."
Senior Zhou said, "If I answer, you will give me an answer?"
Zhang Ye said, "Yes."
Senior Zhou did not hesitate, "Alright then, as long as it's not that question, any would do."
"Hur Hur, don't worry, it's definitely not the same question. My question is..." Zhang Ye looked at him and said, "Your wife is pregnant, but has complications during childbirth, would you save your wife or the child?"
Senior Zhou said it matter-of-factly, "Is there a need to ask? Of course I'll save the adult!"
Zhang Ye carried on, "Then at that moment, what if your mother jumps into the water, insisting that you save the child?"
Upon hearing this question, Senior Zhou nearly vomited blood. Pfft! Go to hell!
The surrounding students also burst out in laughter upon hearing this!
"Aiyah, that's a divine question!"
"Teacher Zhang's brain moves too fast!"
"This question is ten thousand times harder than the question of your mother or wife jumping into the river!"
"I have a feeling that this question will replace the question of mother and wife jumping into the river, and become a brand new divine question that gives men nightmares!"
"Haha, I've remembered this question. I will ask my boyfriend this in the future!"
Professor Zeng also laughed.
Amongst the few teachers, who had their reservations about Zhang Ye, two of them could not help but laugh. This question had indeed amused them.
Senior Zhou knew this was not a matter about answering the question. He had been ridiculed by Zhang Ye. He had wanted to bring Zhang Ye down a peg, but who knew that he ended up being teased. With a gloomy expression, his heart convinced, so he sat down ashamed. He finally understood that Zhang Ye was the real deal. For him as a student to try to beat a talk show host in eloquence was him being overconfident.
Zhang Ye smiled, "Time for the fourth question?"
Immediately, there were countless number of people who voluntarily raised up their hands.
"You then, the one in yellow." Zhang Ye pointed to a person.
This was a Junior-year female senior. She was good in her studies and was one of the top students, even in Peking University. She was well-liked by her teachers, and she was well known amongst the students. However, this bespectacled girl had a problem. She liked to dwell on a problem, and was a cultural hipster. She liked to ask teachers technical questions, stunning them without any forewarning, hence the teachers both loved and hated her.
"It's Senior Song."
"Man, this question will probably be profound!"
"That's right, Senior Song has the nickname of "Half a Teacher" in Peking University."
"This is the first time Teacher Zhang is meeting us. Please don't ask too serious a question."
The students were full of opinions.
Chang Kaige looked at the girl and smiled faintly. He apparently recognized her, and liked her a lot. She was someone worthy of being nurtured in the department.
Professor Zeng knew this person even more, because Senior Song was a student of his History department.
Senior Song stood up and nudged her spectacle frames with a deadpan expression. The moment she spoke, she said bluntly, "Teacher Zhang Ye, forgive me for saying, but I have doubts about your literary attainments!"
There was an uproar all around!
"As expected of Senior Song!"
"Holy sh*t, this is too direct!"
"Is there a need to be so serious? Senior Song doesn't have a sense of humor!"
Zhang Ye found it quite interesting, "Oh? Go ahead and tell me, what causes these doubts of yours?"
Senior Song nudged her spectacle frame again, "I will not talk about your other works, for I acknowledge them. However, although everyone says your 'This is also Everything' has managed to repress Teacher Wang Shuixin's 'Everything', I do not actually agree. One is pessimistic, and one is optimistic. It is just a matter of different attitudes. No one is better than the other, but from your attitude and the discussions online, clearly, it is believed that your 'This is also Everything' is much better than 'Everything', belittling 'Everything' too drastically. At least Teacher Wang Shuixin's 'Everything' has been put into textbooks before. Then does Teacher Zhang mean that you doubt the poems chosen by the educational textbooks' appendix and the collective wisdom of seniors and professors in the educational world? Do you think the seniors of the education world have a problem in their vision?"
This was a serious accusation!
Yao Mi exclaimed, "Senior Song is too damaging!"
Li Li said in a flustered manner, "Does she have a grudge with Teacher Zhang?"
"No, Senior Song has always been this type of person." Li Ying gave a wry smile.
Wu Zeqing did not interrupt. She just sat there silently.
Professor Zeng interjected, "Little Song, how can you say such things?"
Chang Kaige also felt that this student was eager to learn, but was a bit too radical. She was not tactful and accommodating. She even accused a teacher? Hai, there was really nothing they could do about her.
On the other hand, there were other students were were taking pleasure at his misfortune, and were waiting to see how Zhang Ye handled the matter.
Senior Song was very respectful to Professor Zeng. After hearing him cut herself off, she sat down, "Then that's all I have to say. Teacher Zhang, you can treat it as if I didn't ask."
Zhang Ye was not mad, but instead smiled, "This student, I do not know where you have seen me give such an opinion, saying that I belittled 'Everything'? That I doubt the educational world's seniors? Challenging the academic experts who produce textbooks?"
Everyone knew Teacher Zhang Ye was beginning to smoothen things out. He definitely could not assent to those accusations, or he would offend too many people.
"Teacher Zhang has never said such a thing."
Yao Mi and company began to speak out.
But of all things, Zhang Ye's next sentence dumbfounded everyone, "Did I say those words? I definitely have not! Of course, I have never said those words before. If there were such words, it was not said by me, but now, I want to iterate again, yes! I am belittling Wang Shuixin's 'Everything'! I am indeed questioning those academic experts who decide on a textbook! Even if it was in an appendix, this poem is not qualified enough!"
Everyone was stunned!
Even Senior Song opened her mouth!
No one expected Zhang Ye to say such a thing!
Chang Kaige said in worry, "Teacher Little Zhang!"
Wu Zeqing tugged at Dean Chang, "Let us listen on. Hur Hur, this is Teacher Zhang's class."
A teacher from the department said, "But he..."
Wu Zeqing interrupted, "In the field of poetry, Teacher Zhang Ye is a true expert. Others do not have the qualifications to say such anything, but Teacher Zhang Ye has."
Seeing everyone in chaos, Zhang Ye was not surprised, "Why would I dare say such a thing? This is because Wang Shuixin's 'Everything' has a problem. There are structural and textual problems existing within it!"
Senior Song stood up angrily again, "Regardless of his character, I love all of Teacher Wang Shuixin's poems. I can't pretend that I didn't hear what you just said!"
Zhang Ye smiled and said at an appropriate speed, "Do you still remember his poem?"
"Of course!" Senior Song began to recite it.
"Everything is fated."
"Everything is unreal."
"Everything has no end."
"Everything has no home to return."
"Every happiness doesn't come with a smile."
"Every suffering doesn't have tears."
"Every past is in the dreams."
"Every faith comes with longing."
"Every burst is preceded by moments of silence."
"Every death has a prolonged echo!"
Zhang Ye shook his head. He really did not think highly of Wang Shuixin's 'Everything', nor did he find it very good. Truthfully, he didn't even like his world's 'Everything' from Beidao. However, not liking it was subjective. "Everything" was one of Beidao's representative works. There was naturally no bones to pick in terms of literary content. Despite it not being as famous as "This is also Everything", Beidao's "Everything" was also a classic masterpiece that had been immortalized!
Notice, this is Beidao's "Everything" and not that of Wang Shuixin's!
Zhang Ye held onto the podium and began reciting, "If it were me, I would compose it as..."
Everyone focused their attentions. Teacher Zhang was composing another poem again? And it was another on-the-spot piece of work? Everyone listened in earnestly! This was because Zhang Ye's poems were too famous!
Professor Zeng also pricked up his ears.
Senior Song looked disapprovingly at him.
Zhang Ye breathed out and then used a calm, yet somewhat dejected voice to recite:
"All fates are destined."
"All clouds are fleeting."
"All beginnings are without endings."
"All searches are brief."
"Every happiness doesn't come with a smile."
"Every suffering doesn't have tears."
"All languages are repetitive."
"All relationships are first encounters."
"All love is within hearts."
"All past is in the dreams."
"All hope carries a note."
"Every faith comes with longing."
"Every burst is preceded by moments of silence."
"All death... has a prolonged echo."
The sentences were changed, a bit of wording had been changed, and there were a few more lines!
After Zhang Ye finished reciting, the classroom went silent!
Wu Zeqing's eyes lit up as she looked seriously at Zhang Ye.
After Chang Kaige relished the moment, his expression turned into that of surprise!
Even if the other Chinese department teachers taught History, they also had a certain level of understanding in literature. The moment they heard it, they were stunned as they looked at each other. President Wu had previously said that in the realm of poetry, Zhang Ye was a true expert. He really had the qualifications to say these words!
The two versions of "Everything" could not be compared in any way!
It was not each having its merits, but the difference between heaven and earth!
There were a few Peking University students who did not understand. They were blinking. The two poems were about the same?
But there were a few students who could tell the great difference. They all gasped. It sounded similar, but if one scrutinized it in detail, this gap was motherf**king huge!
Zhang Ye smiled and asked Senior Song, "Student, now what do you think about my 'Everything' against Wang Shuixin's 'Everything'?"
Senior Song was already stunned. After taking a few deep breaths, she gave a bow of admiration and respect, "I was being libelous just now. Teacher Zhang, I apologize. Your 'Everything', when compared to Teacher Wang Shuixin's 'Everything'...the literary value is many times better, and...is completely not on the same level!"
Zhang Ye said, "Thank you for your evaluation."
Senior Song said, "I should be the one thanking you. I was the one who has been ignorant all this time. Now do I really know...that there are people beyond people and heavens beyond heavens. I will learn dutifully from you!"
Zhang Ye lowered his hand, "We were just exchanging views, please take a seat."
Yao Mi was stunned. Holy sh*t, a rigid straight As student like Senior Song was won over by Teacher Zhang Ye!
Zhang Ye did not feel complacent after reciting his poem. On the contrary, he appeared very impersonal. It was as if he had done a trivial thing and did not treat it seriously, "Alright then, time for the last question."
At this moment, nearly the entire class raised their hands!
"Me! Me! Me!'
Zhang Ye causally picked a person, "This person."
It was an underclassman. He gave off an obedient vibe as he stood up excitedly, "Teacher Zhang, what I want to ask is...Uh, actually I do not know if I should ask this."
Zhang Ye said in amusement, "You can ask anything. There are no taboo questions in my class."
The underclassman grit his teeth and bolstered his courage to say, "Then, I have seen all your programs. We have also heard about you on the news, and I do not believe that I'm the only one who is curious about your legendary experiences. You have cursed your unit, been put in reprimand, derided the SARFT, and even saved a fan. Many people evaluate you in different ways, but I especially want to know, what's your evaluation of yourself? What sort of person do you think you are?"
This question was very standard, but was also very difficult to answer.
Zhang Ye thought for a second before gently laughing. Seeing how all the students were watching him with unblinking eyes, he could not help but use the words from his world's 'In Memory of Norman Bethune' on himself. It was shameless boasting, yet subtle in every way, "My evaluation of myself is - 'a noble-minded person, a pure person, a man of moral integrity, and above vulgar interests. A man who is of value to the people.' Just that."
A pure person?
Above vulgar interests?
Chang Kaige pondered deeply over it. The other teachers from the department also nodded their heads secretly. These words were a bit too boastful when used to describe oneself, but it was well said!
This Zhang Ye's eloquence was excellent!
Zhang Ye clapped his hands, "Alright, that will be all for today. We shall meet again tomorrow. As for the specific syllabus, I will let everyone know in our next class. I hope that we will have a joyful time together."
Immediately, roaring applause sounded out!
Some clapped! Some whistled!
The students were already greatly anticipating the lessons from this new teacher and were also extremely excited for what they would learn tomorrow!
It was too interesting!
This new teacher was a little different from all the other Peking University teachers!