Nothing is Written!

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Good grief, has it really been this long since I’ve updated this register of raucous China-related revelries? Well, dear Reader, please accept my earnest apologies. You must understand, gentle Reader, that the final exam season is upon us here at the HuaiHai Institute of Technology. And while this time of the academic calendar heralds the approach of the long-awaited winter holiday, this season also carries with it a lot of work.

One of the tasks set to teachers is writing final exams. In a fashion that follows suit with the school’s laissez-faire approach to classes, attendance, and well..pretty much everything else, the guidelines for concocting these exams are rather vague. In essence, the teachers are expected to create something more or less similar to the previous year’s exam. Copies of the old exams are distributed, but these are to be viewed merely as suggestions. It would be well-advised to adopt a format similar to the previous exam, but when it comes to content all’s fair. At least, that’s the impression I got. The nitty-gritty details of the exam process are more intricate and confusing than this general overview I’ve provided. But you, fair Reader, needn’t concern yourself with the big plastic hassle; just appreciate the fact that I’ve been given a considerable amount of leeway when it comes to drafting these climactic quizzes.

Here’s a sample of some exam questions I’ve come up with so far:

1) Common purposes of communicating include

a) Entertainment, wealth, and desire.

b) Survival, co-operation, and personal needs.

c) Disinformation, stealth, and clandestine activities.

d) Extortion, racketeering, and organized crime.

2) Based on in-class lecture, three cultural values that are common in the U.S. are

a) Low fuel prices, high wages, and extended vacations.

b) Fast food, hard work, and television.

c) Independence, hard work, and convenience.

d) Life, liberty, and the pursuit of celebrity status.

3) Which of the following can be defined as a cultural response?

a) Sleeping when you are tired.

b) Saying “God bless you” when someone sneezes.

c) Sneezing.

d) Giving birth.

(Think you know the answers? Test your knowledge! Leave answers in the ‘comments’ section of this blog)

All these sample questions came from the exam that I’ve written for my fourth-year students. These fourth-years are at the end of the road here at HHIT, and they’re set to be released into the wide world like a pack of voracious smelling hounds ready to sniff out decent work wherever it might be available. But the sad truth here in China is that good work is just as scarce for the recent graduate as it is back home in the States. I can only hope that the rigorous instruction that I’ve provided over the last four months will serve them well in the future.

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