Chapter 8

The Promise Sealed with Our Lips Guan Gai Man Jing Hua, 冠蓋滿京華 2022/9/13 16:52:21

Senior high was no longer dominated by a single enterprise’s children. In the face of the recruitment of children from large, state-owned enterprises, some compet.i.tiveness would inevitably arise. But Hei Nuo’s results have always been above average, so it wasn’t difficult for him to meet the requirements for enrolment. It was rare for him to have to burden his parents. They didn’t even have room to breathe after they repaid their debts when Fourth Brother tested for college and enrolled in a university situated in Bashu1. Fifth Brother was in his third year of senior high, while his two little brothers had just entered junior high. After struggling with himself for a long time, Hei Nuo still couldn’t bear to give up on his studies, so he enrolled in senior high.

The difference in travel time between senior high and elementary or junior high was only about 10 minutes. Even though it was slightly further from home, it still only took about 25-30 minutes to reach on foot. On the first day of school, Hei Nuo reached especially early. It wasn’t as crowded as junior high, so he could avoid coming into contact with others. Hei Nuo was used to keeping his distance from other people. After finding his name in the name list of the Cla.s.s 2, he followed the instructions and made his way to his cla.s.sroom. Surprisingly, there were already quite a few people in the cla.s.sroom, and they were currently retrieving their learning materials. From the looks of it, everyone came early, so it would be good enough if you weren’t late.

Laoshi2 asked the students who had retrieved their learning materials to randomly look for a seat, and once all the students had taken their books, Laoshi gave a simple speech. Tomorrow was the school’s formal opening ceremony, so Laoshi told them to head straight to the main hall to gather and reminded the students to be on time. Laoshi then announced the name of 6 students, and explained that the cla.s.s will be split into 6 groups; these 6 groups will be working together on all future group activities for the next 3 years, and the names she had announced were the group leaders of these 6 groups. The last task Laoshi entrusted the students with before leaving was to have the group leaders take their own group’s name list and familiarise themselves with their group members, then discuss with the other groups about the arrangement of the cleaning duty schedule from Mondays to Sat.u.r.days. The group who has duties on Friday should stay back after cla.s.s today to clean the cla.s.s, because today was Friday.

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The children of the county’s top few enterprises were all in this senior high, and the leaders of these enterprises naturally had a lot of power and say in the county. Thus, before the start of the school term, the form teacher had already investigated the backgrounds of the students in his cla.s.s to see who were the children of Leaders. The princ.i.p.al even had to take into consideration the proportion of Leader’s children in each cla.s.s in order to minimise potential conflict amongst them. Almost every cla.s.s’ cla.s.s president was the child of a Leader. Hei Nuo’s seat was situated at the back, close to the wall. He was flipping through his new learning materials, waiting for his name to be called.

Shi Yan should be considered the child of a Leader. His father was one of the few university graduates of that time, and because he married a woman of high social status, he managed to avoid political persecution3. After the Cultural Revolution, the superiority of his higher education easily suppressed the rest, and he jumped from being a mere director to the second-in-command of the largest state-owned enterprise in the county. People who were highly educated were particular about their quality of life, so his father decided that having one daughter and one son was enough way before the government’s family planning policies were announced. Shi Yan was lucky enough to be the “one son”, and he had an older sister who was 5 years older.

This little young master was pampered since his birth. Don’t blame everyone for spoiling him, Shi Yan was a smart little one. He wouldn’t talk when others did and he was an absolutely beautiful baby. When he attended nursery, all the nursery aunties were fighting over him, and this wasn’t entirely because of his father’s influence. This little kid had his own charisma, which made other kids listen to him and follow him. No matter which cla.s.s he was in, that cla.s.s’ auntie would be able to relax and do her own things. Shi Yan would gather the kids in his cla.s.s in a circle to tell stories; or lead the group to sing, dance and play in the courtyard. They didn’t need the auntie to follow them, because Shi Yan would bring the cla.s.s back at the preallotted time for afternoon breaks for their afternoon naps. Who wouldn’t love this kind of child?

Along with his father’s rising status in society, Shi Yan appeared increasingly outstanding. His elementary school teachers were full of praise for him; in junior high he started understanding how to make use of his privileges. His teachers adored him, and his schoolmates idolized him – he was the G.o.d’s favoured one. His teacher gave him special privileges – he could sit with whomever he wanted. Both boys and girls felt that it was an honour to be his desk mate. He was beautiful, handsome, and he enjoyed the affection-laden stares from the girls that followed him wherever he went. In the end, within the 3 years of junior high (aside from the uglier ones) he should have sat with every girl in his cla.s.s. He had also experienced a few puppy loves, though it all ended rather easily. There was a countless stream of people throwing embroidered b.a.l.l.s4, including those from other cla.s.ses, or from the senior or junior levels. So after the period of novelty was over, he would be hopelessly enticed by another embroidered ball.

During the summer break that had just ended, he was in a pa.s.sionate relationship with one of his junior high schoolmates, but they separated before school started. Because he understood that he was about to enter senior high, and senior high still had many girls he could get acquainted with. As for his summer fling who couldn’t even enter senior high, it wouldn’t be appropriate for her to be seen with him again.

2. Means teacher. It’s the chinese version of “sensei”?

3. I think the author was referring to the Socialist Education Movement. The goal of the movement was to cleanse politics, economy, organization, and ideology (the four cleanups). It was to last until 1966. What this movement entailed was that intellectuals were sent to the countryside to be re-educated by peasants. They still attended school, but also worked in factories and with peasants. The campaign is described by Donald Klein in the Encyclopedia Americana 2007 (Grolier Online), as a “nearly complete failure.” Mao’s dissatisfaction over this program’s inefficacy set the stage for the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).?

4. In ancient times, Xiuqiu was used to symbolize love. As such, if a girl handmade an embroidery ball and gave it to a boy – it meant that she had given her heart to him. If a girl was in seek of a fated life partner, she would toss the ball high where a bunch of boys were. The boy who caught the Xiuqiu would become the husband to-be. Nowadays, Xiuqiu tossing is a traditional game in festivals marking the blooming season or harvest time.?

TN: I just finished reading volume 1 (~100 chapters). It was……eventful….. ;_; Hei Nuo is a cinnamon roLlLlLl. ALSO, WTF, apparently Hei Nuo’s Hei is p.r.o.nounced as He – the author only mentions it in the next chapter but I’ve grown attached to the name Hei Nuo ;_____;