My love for quiz shows is not so secret. Perhaps a result of the 10 years’ training in the Korean education system. If a question – usually a multiple-choice question in my days – is presented in front of you, you answer. You just can’t ignore any of them. I am the worst case. If a pop-up ad is made in the question form, I become very tempted to click to go through and answer, even though I know it’s a bait. Tut, tut, what have they done to me…
So, I quietly developed my plan to participate in one of the British quiz shows before I graduate. Last Thu, there was a selection trial to compose a RHUL team for University Challenge 2007. Based on what I had tasted from watching the programme on the telly, I didn’t have high hopes. Still, it’s the experience that counts, isn’t it? Perhaps I just wanted to write about it on my blog. See, I even took a snap!
There were 20 short-answer questions. The coordinators said it would be safe with a minimum of 7 questions right. I was totally put off by the first question asking for the names of the four kids in ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. Managed to answer 6, among which I have no intention to tell you how many was/were right. 😦
What I was most surprised at was the fact that there were 2 questions about Chinese cuisine out of 20. As I was the only ‘oriental’ person in the room, I guess some of the participants might have thought, ‘Ah, that girl is lucky. She must have got at least these 2 right with ease.’ No, I got neither of them. As a comment made after an earlier post also pointed out, our cuisine is very different from Chinese or Japanese ones. Why am I still pouting then? Look at this question.
Originally made from fermented fish broth, its name being derived from the Chinese word for this, which salty, spicy pureed condiment is now more usually made from sugar, vinegar, seasoning and tomatoes?
For a second, I thought of the sweet and sour sauce that I often go for in a Chinese restaurant as a safe choice, but eventually left it blank. The answer was KETCHUP!!! How could I not get this one? I love ketchup. I always advocate it with my usual catchphrase “Ketchup should be more appreciated” against my friends who shake their heads about my not-so-sophisticated taste when I ask for ketchup for everything. “Ketchup was from China?!” I howled after the session.
The next day when I was having lunch with a friend from Singapore, I asked him whether he had known so. He said that he hadn’t but was not surprised as many things had indeed originated from there. He went further and introduced to me a book ‘1421: The Year China Discovered America‘. In this book, the author Gavin Menzies claims that a massive Chinese fleet made a two-year extensive exploration of the globe including the Americas, nearly a century before Magellan and Columbus. The author’s argument supported by alleged evidence is that Columbus discovered the American continent with a help of a map made by the Chinese. Hmmm, the domination of ‘made-in-China’ products dates that far.
I haven’t read the book, but what I understand from articles about the book I’ve read online is that his work is methodologically challengeable. Chances are that this book aims at provocation. My impression is, in any case, the rest of the world do see China as a dragon holding its fire breath. Better be friendly with?