Friday, February 09, 2007

Chinese reality

A schoolmaster told me that he was preparing one of the boys for an interview to read Chinese at Oxford. They were discussing Chinese characters and talking about the descriptive elements within those characters. In the textbook they were looking at, there was the character for "reality" which was composed of three elements: a table at the bottom, an eye above it and the number 10 above the eye. This was supposed to mean that in the view of the Chinese, something is considered to be real if 10 eyes (presumably 5 people) agree that they see it. In the interview, the question about the make-up of Chinese characters came up and the boy trotted off that example. "Oh not that old bluff!" the interviewer exclaimed, "Give me another example!" Who was bluffing whom?
Rather different from my friend's daughter's interview the other week for St Paul's Girls' School. She was asked to comment on a photograph showing Father Christmas holding a kit kat bar with a sign at the bottom saying "Only 106 calories". I don't know how obsessive Paulinas are about their weight.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I thought David Blunkett had said there would be 'Read my return to selection by examination or interview'? Be that as it may..

I would have thought there would be a fair bit of mileage in 'Father Christmas'. For starters, the fact that 'Saint Nicholas' as we know him is in a large part a vision of the Coca-Cola advertising department [red coat etc.]

Also the debate on whether junk foods should be 'banned' from TV advertising or whether that creates as many problems as it solves. I suspect many young women would be aware of the poor ethical standards of Nestle, and may well consider that before purchasing Kit-Kat bars these days. That said, the 'baby milk' row has hurt them, and I think they have started taking steps to address this situation.

I suspect if she was smart she may have mentioned that knowing that a product is 'only' 106 calories is meaningless until you know how big the bar is.

Otherwise they could make decreasingly smaller bars with, say, 'only 99 cals.'

7:28 pm  

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