A Book Dedicated To Our Youth: Chapter 1.3

Qi Qi is on a roll! Though she may not have good grades, she is actually quite smart and quick witted. Also, Luo Qi Qi makes friends!!!

3. I Turned Into A Four Eyed Panda.

Not learning a subject because you dislike that teacher and get bad grades, who bears this outcome? In an adult’s eyes, a children’s rebellions may seem laughable and childish but it’s the only method we know.

Although mom urged me to go apologize to Teacher Zhang, I didn’t. I have no regrets towards this vicious old witch.

After going through my face-on revolt from the homework copying incident, all fear I had towards her turned into extreme hatred. In her classes, I brazenly started to sleep on the desk or read novels. If she threw a piece of chalk at me, I would lift my head up high and stare fiercely at her. Don’t you want me to listen to the lesson? Then I will now ‘concentrate deeply’ and listen. I stopped doing my homework. Since she thinks that I copy, then I have to uphold this false reputation  so I might as well stop doing my maths homework and copy it all instead.

Perhaps things in the world are like this, the soft are afraid of the hard, the hard are afraid of the perverse and the perverse are afraid of those who don’t fear dying. Although at the time I was small, my hate for Teacher Zhang definitely wasn’t small and with an appearance of being willing to risk everything without fearing death, gradually, Teacher Zhang stopped bothering me.

What was funny yet sad was, when I first wanted to copy homework, I wasn’t able to find homework to copy. In this class, I had no friends, everyone who I could borrow homework from were only those sitting in front, back, left and right of me but they all didn’t want to show me. As I was laughing bitterly inside of Teacher Zhang thinking too highly of me, Zhang Jun swaggered over and without a sound, threw his homework on my desk.

I wasn’t able to react for a moment and stared at his homework in a daze. He saw that I didn’t move so assuming that I didn’t want to copy his homework, he said annoyed: “I copied Chen Jin’s work.” Chen Jin was our class’ gifted youth, he always got full marks for maths and even if he did a test with his eyes closed, he was still be able to beat everyone by a long way.

I immediately flipped open his homework and started copying. Not knowing why, I felt very grateful inside but I wasn’t able to say “thank you”. With my head buried in the homework, I said in a small voice: “If you did it, I would still copy it.” He snorted sardonically. I don’t know what what he was being sardonic about.

I thought that he had already walked off but after a long time, his voice suddenly came from the top of my head: “Is there anyone who copies like you? Please! Can you at least slightly adjust it?” I immediately scrambled to change it and after I was done, I looked up to ask if it better but he had already long gone.

–First paragraph talks about the spread of Taiwan and Hong Kong’s pop culture into Mainland China and the drama characters they were in love with, how Luo Qi Qi secretly sneaked up to watched dramas when her parents were asleep and how her classmates would fervently discuss it the next day.–

Among the singers from Taiwan and Hong Kong, the Little Tigers were the most popular group. Their stickers and posters were spread around the class and all the girls would discuss them. All three of the Little Tigers had fans and who was the best looking was a much debated topic. Their cassette tapes were passed around the class, the guys and girls all hummed the tune to ‘Green Apple Park’, ‘Date of the Stars’ and ‘Love’.

As I had no friends, I could only enjoy these from a distance. My only friend were books, all kinds of different books and as long as I could get my hands on it, I would flip through it from beginning to end, no matter if I could understand it or not. When the temperature was warm, I could randomly choose a place to read but when the temperature turned cold, I had nowhere to go.

I acquired a strange hobby: regularly going to the game house to read. I’d spend 20 cents to buy a cup of orange flavored soda, sit curled in a corner reading a book and take a tiny sip after a while so by the time I leave, I’d have exactly one last sip left. To be honest, I didn’t like that orange juice one bit, but inside my tiny heart, I had a strange exchange standard. When I buy a cup of juice, it would seem like I’m not occupying your space for nothing, I have spent money so I have the right to sit here and read novels.

As time passed, I gradually became familiar with the three people playing pool last time. The one who was watching the game is the owner of the business, surname Li, the people around him all call him Brother Li; the one who called me little sister is a teenager called Xu Xiao Bo, he goes to the best middle school in our city, everyone calls him Xiao Bo [Little Bo]; the other was older than him, surname Zhai, but everyone called him Wu Zei [means squid], he goes to technical school.  China’s technical schools could in a way be called “camp for bad students” as it is the place where those who aren’t able to pass entrance examinations for high school or don’t want to study go.

In the beginning, when I went to the store to read, Xiao Bo’s belly nearly burst from laughing, Wu Zei looked at me, his face stated ‘unbelievable’ and he had a ‘you have a mental problem’ expression. He crazily mocked me but no matter what he said, I pretended not to hear anything. To a person who doesn’t want to go home or stay at home, this warm place is beyond a doubt a good place to stay. Although there were many people, they didn’t look at me as a bad student so everything allowed me to be at peace.

Brother Li was actually used to seeing situations like this and didn’t mind me borrowing his warm heating and lighting. He only smiled to Xiao Bo: “Your little friend is very interesting.” Having the boss’s acceptance, I stayed in the game house with a peace of mind.

In the game house, I pretty much finished all the books at home: ‘Legends Old and New’, ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’, ‘The Book and the Sword’, ‘The Eight Immortals Cross the Sea’, ‘Expedition to the East’… Of all the books, my favorite was a damaged novel by Gu Long so I remembered his name firmly. [Gu Long is a wuxia writer.]

When I read, I’ would be completely absorbed n the story. There were some books that I couldn’t stop until I had finished so I would stay up late reading with a torch inside the blankets. As I read more and more books, the words on the blackboard turned more and more blurred. My parents realized that I had turned short sighted when I needed to sit close to the television so they took me to the hospital to get a pair of glasses.

When I went to the game house wearing my glasses, Xiao Bai who was helping to look after the store froze for a moment before continuing to work indifferently. As he worked and worked, he couldn’t resist anymore and collapsed on the counter laughing. After he laughed for a while, he straightened up and continued to work indifferently.

When Wu Zei saw me, he didn’t bother to be polite and burst out laughing immediately, saying to Xiao Bo: “This four eyed little sister won’t mock you for being shortsighted anymore.”

None of the people there were shortsighted, I was a rare animal and as Wu Zei mocks: “Intellectual! National treasure! National treasure!” National treasure was an extended meaning for panda, later, Wu Zei started to directly call me “four eyed panda” and even until I was a 16 year old teenager, he was still able to call me “four eyed panda” in front of a group of people.

In primary, it felt like only hard working, diligent students wore glasses. Ironically, I was last in the class [in terms of grades] yet I was one of the first to wear glasses and be “four eyes”. Once, when we changed seating, I was on the same desk as the prodigy Chen Jin. He had just started wearing glasses and couldn’t help but ask: “How did you become short sighted?” I laughed: “By watching TV.”

As I completely forget the outside world as soon as I start reading, I was a stupid book loving idiot in Xiao Bo and Wu Zei’s eyes.

The game house would often play popular songs. Once, when the Little Tiger’s ‘Green Apple Park’ started playing, I suddenly raised my head from my book and turned my head sideways, listening very attentively. Xiao Po asked me: “Do you like the Little Tigers?”

I shook my head, then nodded, then shook my head again, I haven’t even listened to their cassette tapes before, how would I know if I liked them or not?

Wu Zei laughed: “Four eyed panda has turned stupid from reading, she doesn’t even know likes or dislikes anymore.”
I glared at him, not speaking.

When it was time for me to leave, Xiao Po handed me a used cassette tape: “For you”. The cover of the cassette tape were the Little Tigers. I took it and happily looked at it for a while before putting it down, silently looking at him. He laughed: “This is for primary kids to listen to, we don’t listen to it much. It’s already old, even if you don’t want it, we’ll probably throw it somewhere in a few days and forget about it.”

I retook the cassette tape and without saying “thanks”, I ran out of the game room. That night, I hugged our little small tape recorder and listened to the Little Tigers repeatedly, humming the tunes that my classmates had hummed numerous times and listened carefully to all the songs I had not heard clearly in the past. In midst of the Little Tigers music, I had an absentminded feeling, as if I wasn’t the bad student my classmates had excluded.

When my little sister heard the music of the Little Tigers, she came voluntarily to my side for the first time, enviously asking me where I got it from.

I smiled and proudly told her that my friend gave it to me. When I said the word “friend”, there was an indescribable warmth inside my heart. That year, I didn’t understand what it was but I subconsciously knew that it was a very, very precious thing.

One afternoon, I was curled up inside the game house reading with the sounds of the game machines whirling around me. Occasionally, there would be the sounds of someone swearing in anger over losing a game.

I contently raised up my cup of orange juice to drink when all of a sudden. I heard the sound of crying from the outside.  Those earth shattering cries that could scare evil spirits away were too familiar, whenever my dad and mom heard it, their voices will change, first soft, second back away and third agree to everything.

Who else could it be other than my delicate little sister?

I calmly put down my cup and pretending not to hear, lowered my head and continued reading. However, this was the outside world, little sister’s cries won’t be able to call dad and mom here, there’s no one to spoil her and satisfy her every want, so after a few minutes, she was still crying, getting so breathless that she was possibly ready to faint at any moment.

Wu Zei was unable to stand the brain haunting sounds any longer, he lifted up the door blinds and looked outside. Although my head was still down, I couldn’t help but look towards the outside.

Two girls wore middle school uniforms. The one with a side fringe blocked my little sister by the street. Perhaps they were threatening little sister for pocket money, perhaps little sister had offended some classmate so the students had come to teach her a lesson. Little sister’s classmate  was curled up in a corner trembling, not even daring to fart. The two girls were speaking viciously to little sister but little sister took no notice of what they were saying, only raising her head up to the sky and cried loudly. The scene was very comical.

Based on little sister’s style, they probably haven’t finished what they wanted to say, as soon as they looked viciously, little sister started bawling loudly to the skies. The two girls had not even got to the point yet they’ve already attracted a bunch of bystanders. They kept ordering little sister to close her mouth and stop crying but they didn’t understand my little sister, not only did she not listen to them, her cries got louder. The slightly fatter girl probably thought that her reputation would be severely damaged if she couldn’t even control a little brat so feeling shameful, she raised her hand and give little sister a slap.

I kept telling myself “it has nothing to do with me” but when I saw her slap, before I had realized, I had already charged out the door like an angry bull. Using Wu Zei’s words afterwards, he had only felt a murderous aura pass by his side and when he looked clearly, I had already brought down the girl.

I lowered my head and rammed straight for the fat girl, slamming right into her chest. Girls of that age were still developing breasts so getting hit hard, she immediately crouched down in pain. The other girl froze for a while before getting her senses back. Seeing that I was shorter than her, she swelled up with arrogance and raised her hand, wanting to slap me. I dodged nimbly and rushed at her, head butting her while kneeing her. She was taller than me so she grabbed my hair and yanked upwards. Me who was fighting for the first time learned immediately, I grabbed her hair and with force, pulled downwards.

At the time, I felt pain all around my body but my ruthless drive came back and I wanted to use all methods to attack her. She pulled my hair so I used more strength to pull her hair back,  she pinched me so I used more strength to pinch her back. When we rolled on to the floor, she tried to use her nails to scratch my face. I showed no sign of weakness and used my hand to scratch her back, evenusing my mouth to fiercely bite down then no matter how much she hit or struggled, I refused to open my mouth. The smell of blood in my mouth grew stronger and stronger but I still did not open my mouth, using all my strength to bite down.

Suddenly, she started to cry, crying even louder than my little sister.

Wu Zei and Xiao Bo grabbed one person each and separated us. When I was being dragged away by Xiao Bo, I still used both my feet to keep kicking the middle school girl I had made cry.

Wu Zei and Xiao Bo both looked at me stupidly, as if they were looking at a little monster.

There were scratches on my face and neck, my glasses had broke and a patch of hair by my ear had been pulled off while for her, a big piece of meat was close to being bitten off, the blood flowing out without stopping. Her friend turned pale from fear and also started crying. I carefreely wiped blood from the corner of my mouth and smiled bitterly at them.

Brother Li’s expression changed when he saw the girl’s injury and he immediately took the girl to the hospital on his motorbike.

On the contrary, my little sister stopped crying, she stood stupidly on the side. Xiao Bo took me into the game house and put iodine on my wounds while looking at little sister who hadfollowed us in and asked: “who is she?”

I sighed and said reluctantly “my little sister”.

“You have a little sister?!”
“You have a sister?!”

Xiao Po and little sister’s classmate both exclaimed at the same time. I turned my head away, little sister lowered her head. Because my grades weren’t good and my nickname was “three hands”, even though we were in the same school, my proud little sister refused to ever tell others that she had a sister. Occasionally when she saw me in the school grounds, she would always immediately turn her head and look elsewhere, pretending not to see me. I was fine with not recognizing her as my little sister since I didn’t like her anyway.

—–

I made my little sister go home first whereas I stayed in the game house in a daze. The incident this time wasn’t small and I wasn’t sure how I would face my parents yet.

Wu Zei suddenly took out a folding knife and opened it with a flick of his wrist: “Your fighting method isn’t right.”

He danced with the knife and did a few poses at me. As he was going to go into more detail, Xiao Bo grabbed his wrist and lightly turning it, he took the knife out of his hand. With a flick of his finger, the knife went back in the case. Evidently, if this was a real fight, even if Wu Zei had a knife, he still wouldn’t be able to defeat Xiao Bo.

Xiao Bo threw the knife back at Wu Zei and asked annoyed: “Have you turned crazy?”
Wu Zei chuckled: “At least it’s better than her using her mouth”. Then, he half jokingly said to me: “Let Xiao Bo be your brother and let him teach you to fight, in the future, no one will dare to you for sure. ”
I rolled my eyes and ignored him, my concern right now was how I should face my parents, not how to fight.

When I couldn’t delay the time anymore, I went home. The house was brightly lit, the girl’s parents were sitting furiously in the living room. Her mother was like a frog that had been burnt with boiling water, jumping up and down while croaking at my parents, scolding them. Mom and dad repeatedly apologized to them.

When they saw me come in, her mom’s shouting turned even more resonate, seemingly as though if she wouldn’t be satisfied if my parents didn’t behead me on the spot. I ignored her and turning towards dad, I l loudly spoke out about the incident in detail. I avoided the major part to dwell on the minor, emphasizing on how her daughter’s companion bullied little sister, how they slapped little sister. Little sister was on the side tearfully nodding, the imprint of a hand on her face serving as evidence.

Her shouts turned smaller and straightening up, said: “my daughter wouldn’t do this kind of thing”. I didn’t refute her point of view but instead. stated how her daughter had been standing on the side the entire time but due to her friend’s instigation, accidentally hit me in the end and I, completely out of self defense, accidentally injured her. Basically, I wasn’t wrong, her daughter didn’t do anything bad, the most hateful one was her daughter’s friend.

That woman’s arrogance decreased a lot. She sat on our sofa wiping her tears and spoke of how her daughter’s artery had been injured and had lost a lot of blood, the doctor had said that if she had been sent to the hospital any later, her life would’ve been in danger.

Mom and dad started apologizing again, dad said that we would pay all costs while mom took out a lot of health products and gave it to them, saying that it was to help their daughter recover. The atmosphere gradually turned calm and finally, they left.

This time, as a person’s life was nearly in danger, dad and mom were both given a fright. They agreed that although bravely protecting little sister was right, fighting was still wrong so they made me kneel on the washboard for half the night.

—–

Under mom and dad’s compromises and yielding, the adult matters were successfully resolved. However, the problem between the children were still not resolved. Not only did the fat girl want to to help seek revenge for her friend, she also wanted to save face. So, she went out and found two female gangsters to teach me a lesson.

That day, I had just finished school when I discovered that there were two girl dressed seductively following me. I immediately realized that they were here to attack me so I started running. Afraid of going home, I rushed for the game house. At the time, my thoughts were very simple, there were less people on the road home whereas there were many people in the game house so even if they wanted to hit me, they wouldn’t dare to.

I ran panting into the game room. Wu Zei and Xiao Bo looked at me surprised but before they asked me anything, the two gangsters walked in, one blocking my front, one blocking my back, clearly not wanting me to get away this time. I was like a little wolf surrounded by hunting dogs, although scared, I refused to to back down. My hands were gripped tightly into a fist and I stared at them directly.

Just as they were about to deal with me, Wu Zei tapped on the counter and smiled deviously at one of the girls: ” Senior sister*, since we’re from the same school, I’ll give you a friendly reminder that before you stir up trouble, you should first find out who’s shop it is. ”
*[used to describe someone from the same school]

The girl, who had a well developed face and body, looked suspiciously at Qu Zei, her expression seemed a bit confused. As it seemed like she did not know Wu Zei, he immediately reported loudly his name and the faculty he was studying in at the technical school.

The gangster blocking my back said “He really is your junior!”

The girl smiled and asked: “Whose store is it?”

Wu Zei gave Brother Li’s first name and the girl let out an expression of surprise. It took a while before she returned back to her senses. She pointed at me and smiling, asked: “However this girl has nothing to do with you right?”

The girl’s voice was very flirtatious , her “right” sounded so deeply moving that Wu Zei nearly fell behind the counter. He immediately clarified the relationship: “This four eyed panda has absolutely no relationship with me.” Just as the girl started to smile, Wu Zei added: “She has relations with him.”

The girl’s vision followed Wu Zei’s finger to the front of the counter, a student had just bought 10 dollars of game credit, Xiao Bo had his head lowered, focusing on counting out the game credits for him. The girl looked for a while before turning to me and apologized smiling: “Little sister, sorry, we’ve got the wrong person.” After she finished speaking, she dragged the other girl out.

Wu Zeu shouted: “Senior sister, let’s eat together next time, you can chose the place.”
The girl turned her head, gave him a side glance before walking away smiling. Wu Zei smiled ecstatically and wasn’t in the right state of mind for the rest of the day.

I knew that they had saved me, but although I understood inside, I wasn’t able to say “thanks” out loud. I could only use a different method to repay my gratitude- that afternoon, I heart achingly bought 5 cups of orange juice and went to the toilet countless times.

Wu Zei didn’t understand so he asked me: “Was there too much salt in your food? To drink this much water?”
I glared at him: “Does it matter to you?”
Xiao Bo smiled at me, I realized that he had already saw through my little idea but I felt embarrassed so blushing, I pretended to be oblivious and continued reading.

—–

After the “battle” of defeating two middle school girls alone, with one of them sent to the hospital due to being seriously wounded, I became famous at school.

Things in this world are very strange, for instance, if you borrow 5000RMB from someone, you’re their grandson but if they owe you 5000 RMB, then they’re your grandson*, they have to beg you. Being a bad student is pretty much the same idea. If you are an ordinary bad student, your classmates will all look down at you and will like to often condescend you. However, if you surpass normal circumstances, then things will change.
[*Calling someone ‘grandson’ can also be belittling them and regarding them as of little worth.]

I was currently in this situation. In the past, there would be girls who would dare to loudly call me “three hands” in front of my face but now, even when they talk about me behind my back, they would talk in suppressed tones. They would still look down on me inside but they never dared to let it out again, instead, they treated me very politely and respectfully. There were a few girls whose grades also weren’t good who would deliberately try to get close to me as if they wanted me to be their big sister. I found it very funny and also started to understand why Zhang Jun never lacked companions, he had surpassed the normal environment of a bad student long ago.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Am I the only one who finds Luo Qi Qi maturer than her age!? She has all these deep thoughts that it makes me sad she can’t enjoy her childhood obliviously like her classmates/ little sister. However, she has her game room mates to keep her company! Xiao Bo and Wu Zei are like her big brothers, always watching over her. Even though Wu Zei likes to tease her and is always joking, he does care about her! Just look at the fighting incident- he took out his knife and lightheartedly tried to get her to change to a better(!?) fighting style and how he stepped out to protect her from the two gangsters. When he added that she had relations to Xiao Bo, I squealed! It was “和他有关系。” which translates to- ‘she has relations with him’, ‘she has to do with him’… Wu Zei is there something about Xiao Bo that we don’t know yet!?!? Or am I thinking too deeply into this.. hehe..

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10 thoughts on “A Book Dedicated To Our Youth: Chapter 1.3

  1. sutekii

    “Little sister’s classmate was curled up in a corner trembling, not even daring to fart.” – LOL this sentence made me laugh.

    Xiao Bo seems to be stamping his mark on the girl. Implying she’s his girl? Such an exciting part of the chapter, with that fighting. You go girl!

    Reply
  2. Nina

    New reader here! I really appreciate your translation and absolutely adore Qi Qi! ❤
    How old is she here by the way?

    Reply
    1. Tofubyu Post author

      Hi! Thanks for dropping by, I’m glad you’re enjoying it 😀 In this part, Qi Qi is in Year 4 but since she started primary a year younger than everyone else, she’s currently 9 🙂

      Reply
      1. Tofubyu Post author

        Xiao Bo is three grades higher than Qi Qi so he should be 13.

        Zhang Jun was 12 at the end of Year 3 so he is 12-13 now.

        Later on (I hope this isn’t a spoiler) Wu Zei graduates from technical school at the same time Xiao Bo enters high school so I’m assuming he is currently 15 in this part. I’m not sure how old Brother Li is though.

  3. mango

    i find this chapter funny 🙂
    and i like this strong QiQi although she is more mature than average girl,
    Xiao Bo sure is mysterious!

    Reply

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