Most schools expect their students to attend classes punctually and students are commonly penalized when they fail to do so. At a certain school in China, a teacher used to punish his students by making them write English sentences when they were late for class, until he came across the “most complicated” Chinese character, which now has become an effective measure in keeping his students on the ball where punctuality is concerned.
If you’ve ever faced such a punishment and felt that writing “I will not be late for class again” over and over again was a dreadful experience, try writing this!
School teaches us about many things apart from academic subjects, and punctuality is one of them. Wang Sijun, an educator at the Chengdu campus of the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, is very particular about his students’ attendance and punctuality.
Wang used to make his students copy 1,000 English words whenever they failed to be on time, but he realized that although 1,000 words may sound like a lot of work, it is in fact barely a challenge as his students are used to writing English words repetitively as part of their curriculum.
On a trip to Xi’an, Wang came across an unusual Chinese word which the locals claimed to be the most complicated character in the Chinese language. He was then inspired to change the contents of his little punishment from 1,000 English words to 1,000 repetitions of this writing nightmare:
Made up of a whopping 56 strokes, the onomatopoeia word, pronounced “biang”, was derived from the sounds produced during the traditional making process of the locally famous noodles commonly known as Biang Biang Noodles.
▼ The word is commonly seen on the signboards of Biang Biang Noodle stalls in the Shaanxi area.
The first student who received a serving of the big “biang” treatment initially thought that Wang was joking about the change. In terms of page count, 1,000 Chinese characters is definitely less than the same number of English words. However, the student reportedly broke down and threw in the towel after writing the word 200 times, pleading her teacher to let her off the hook and promising never to be late again.
There have been disputes over whether biang is indeed the most complicated Chinese character of all, but Wang has remained loyal with his choice of word, explaining that the motive of this exercise isn’t punishment.
We’re not sure what subject Wang teaches at the institute but we can be sure that there are two things the students in his class will learn: to be punctual, and how to read that 56-stroke monster of a word, “biang”.
Source, images: ETToday