Students face ‘Martian’ in test
The China Post staff
High school senior students taking the scholastic ability test and some scholars criticized some of the topics in the “Chinese” examination because they were questions related to the so-called “Martian language” seen only occasionally on the Internet.
More than 160,000 high school seniors in Taiwan and offshore islands started yesterday to take the two-day scholastic ability test required for their advancement to universities and colleges.
“Chinese” language ability was the first of the five required tests. The other four are English, nature (physics and chemistry), mathematics, and social science (history and geography).
Topics related to Confucius and Mencius, the two greatest sages propagating Confucianism in Chinese culture, continued to feature prominent in the Chinese test.
But the students also found signs like “::>_<::” and “3Q Orz” in the exam for Chinese ability.
Only avid Internet surfers know that by Martian language, the former means “crying” (resembled by tear drops on both sides and mouth in the middle).
“3Q Orz” literally means “Thank you very, very much” (3Q has to be pronounced with Taiwanese dialect with the sound like “thank you.”
But “Orz” cannot be pronounced because it only resembles a person facing left and kneeling on ground to show the utmost appreciation.
Some students said they have no problem to instantly understand these signs because they pop up frequently in online chatroom messages or emails.
But critics said such signs are called Martian language, because they are not even “loan” words that have been integrated into Chinese from other major languages used on earth.
The Martian language is an “alien” language, meaning the signs come from the Mars in the outer space.
How can you evaluate a student’s Chinese-language ability by posing quizzes about an alien language not commonly used?
This is especially unfair for students from poor families who cannot afford computer equipment and don’t have much time to spend on the Internet, the critics said.
Even students who have PCs and spent time on Internet for study but did not waste time on chatrooms cannot figure out what these signs actually mean.
But cram school teachers were not surprised by the topics about the “Martian language” because they already reminded students attending their cram classes of the possibility of encountering such topics.
Yet the teachers also expressed sympathy for students from low-income families because they can never understand such “Martian language” unless they own a PC and chatter away a lot of time on the Internet.