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Bad math learner, good logical thinker

By Xian Jiangnan (People's Daily Online)    15:30, January 13, 2021

Qian Zhicheng cries as he is stumped over a Math Olympiad question. (Screenshot from the official Weibo account of Sidu Video)

Is life always this hard, or is it just when you are a kid? For a boy in Jinhua, east China’s Zhejiang Province, the answer would be: the hard life begins at age 10.

The 10-year-old primary school boy named Qian Zhicheng, stumped over a Math Olympiad question, compared his suffering with the ill-fated career of Li Bai, a famous Romantic poet in ancient China.

Qian argued that as Li Bai failed to get a position in the government even in his fifties, he should not be forced to solve the math problem at the age of 10.

His father, sitting beside his son to help him with homework, asked the boy to look at how good Li Bai’s poems are and to compare himself with Li in writing poetry, while Qian retorted that he’d win if compared with Li in reciting poetry.

“Oh, the road to Shu is as hard as the blue sky to scale!” Qian cried while reciting a line from one of Li’s most famous poems, “The Road to Shu”, which depicts the perils of traveling on the roads to the State of Shu, an ancient Chinese state in what is now Sichuan Province. The “road to Shu” was also used by the poet as a metaphor for his dream of being an official, which was as hard to accomplish as scaling the sky would be.

Going viral on Chinese social media, the boy’s words set netizens off laughing, some of whom gave the boy a thumbs up for his rigorous logical argument.

“Take it easy, boy. Li Bai can’t solve this math problem, either,” read one comment. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Hongyu)

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