Chapter 286: Going to Peking University’s Chinese Department as a Lecturer!
Beijing, at night.
It was already past 11 P.M. by the time he reached Caishikou.
The cold wind was blowing on the streets. The temperature here was colder than it was in the South.
Zhang Ye found his way through the dark to his parent’s district. He looked up and saw their apartment lights were still on. His father and mother were obviously still up waiting for him to return. Zhang Ye suddenly had a feeling of homecoming. He stepped into the building and quickly climbed up the staircase. He was humming “Wishing We Last Forever” as he ran up.
Dong, dong, dong.
He knocked on the door and it opened up very quickly.
“Dad, Mom” Zhang Ye smiled, “Happy New Year.”
Mom pulled him into the house, “Come in first, isn’t it cold outside?”
Zhang Ye put down his bags and took off his coat, “It’s OK. It’s warm enough at home, has the central heating started already?”
“Look at the date. The heating has been turned on since the 12th.” Mom squinted at him, “Beijing is still better, right? There’s no central heating in Shanghai.”
Zhang Ye had deep feelings about this, “Yes, we can only use the air-conditioner over there. Switching it on room by room, I was really not used to it. It feels very different from the warmth of central heating. It just didn’t feel right. The air outside is so damp that I get goosebumps. Hai, don’t talk about it anymore.” Having arrived home, Zhang Ye felt that everything was good and pleasing to him, “Also, unless the sun is shining directly, the clothes hung outside won’t get dry. Even if it gets dry, there’s a mildew smell that sticks to it. The air there is too damp, we’d have to use a clothes dryer to dry the laundry. It’s really troublesome.”
Mom probably missed him a lot and said, “Then don’t go back.”
Zhang Ye smiled, “I have to return after the lunar new year at latest. There’s still work waiting for me. This year, I’m definitely staying home for it. I managed to get many days off.”
His dad got up from the sofa, “Have you eaten?”
“I had something on the flight back, but I’m still hungry.” Zhang Ye said.
Dad instructed, “Bring some warm water for our son and heat up the leftover food too.”
Mom made a sound and stared, “You’re commanding me now? Why don’t you go instead.”
Dad looked up and said, “You heat up the leftovers. We are having a father and son talk about his work. What do you know?”
“As if only you understand, hmph. Our son’s now a big star, a famous host. Do you still think he needs your advice?” Mom nagged as she went to heat up the food for him.
After eating, his father and mother started asking him about his job.
Zhang Ye did not wish to talk about his work, as he was afraid he would worry them. So he answered them superficially and changed the topic, “Where will we be going tomorrow for the New Year?”
Mom scooped some dishes for him while saying, “We went to your paternal Grandma’s place this afternoon. Only you were not there. Tomorrow we will be spending the day with your maternal grandparents, but they will be coming to our house instead. Don’t laze in bed tomorrow. Wake up early and help me buy groceries and prepare food. When my family comes over, we’ll need to feed over a dozen mouths. That’s not simple work.”
Zhang Ye said shamelessly, “I won’t be able to wake up.”
Mom could not help but hit him on his head, “You’re lazy!”
Dad said, “Little Ye has been busily working outside for so long. Let him rest a little, it’s rare for him to get days off.”
“You make it sound so simple. Are you going to help me buy groceries and cook then? You wouldn’t even help!” Mom rolled her eyes, “Just my luck to have encountered you father and son duo!”
Zhang Ye picked up the dishes to wash.
“Little Ye, your dad and I will be turning in already.” Mom yawned, “Huu, I still have to battle to fight tomorrow. It’s really not easy having a festive holiday get together.”
His dad also stretched himself and went to the bathroom for a shower.
Then Zhang Ye suddenly remembered. Turning his head, “Dad, Mum, wait a while. I have something to discuss with you both in a bit.”
Dad asked curiously, “What’s the matter?”
“If you have anything to say, spit it out. I’m tired.” Mom said curling her lips.
Zhang Ye continued washing the dishes and said, “Earlier on the plane, I met someone called Wu Zeqing. She said she was…..”
Before he could finish, his mother and father interrupted him.
“Wu Zeqing? The one from Peking University?” Mom said stunned.
Dad obviously knew who she was, “That Vice President of Peking University?”
Zhang Ye blinked, “You know?”
Dad said, “I don’t know what she looks like, but I know she’s a woman and rather pretty. She’s one of the youngest presidents of an elite school. She did not come through the education system so she can’t be considered as someone who is in the literary field. She came through as a civil servant instead and transferred from the Education Bureau to Peking University. Didn’t they mention her on the news before? Did you not see that? Although she came through the civil service system, her literary skills were rated very highly too. She has published a large number of works and the television even stated that she was a practiced calligrapher too? She’s a person who has a lot of prestige within the education world.”
Mom nodded and asked him, “You met her?”
Zhang Ye laughed and said, “More than met her, we chatted for a long time on the plane. After we landed, she suddenly invited me to go teach at Peking University.”
Dad was stunned, “Ah?”
Mom was also stunned, “Go teach at Peking University? Invited you to teach what?”
Zhang Ye replied, “The Department of Chinese Language. I don’t know what I’ll be teaching though. It’ll definitely be either Chinese culture and poetry or Chinese history, stuff like that. I wouldn’t know how to teach other things anyway.”
Mom said excitedly, “Do they really mean it?”
Zhang Ye threw up his hands, “Of course, they have already officially invited me.”
Dad was also very excited, “Why did Peking University find you?”
“I heard that from President Wu that there was a vacancy at a relevant course in Peking University. Anyway, that’s what I think she meant, so I’ll be standing in for a while. It would only be as an adjunct professor though. I can choose when to conduct the classes according to my schedule, so it wouldn’t affect my main job. Vice President Wu even promised me that if the response was good and the students were satisfied, they could even give me the title of Assistant Professor at Peking University. Of course, that would also mean that if I don’t do well, then I’d have to pack up and leave.”
Mom quickly asked, “Then how did you answer?”
“I have not fully considered it yet, so I did not reply. President Wu asked me to give her an answer tomorrow. This is why I wanted to discuss it with you two before I decide.” Zhang Ye said.
Mom got anxious and slammed the table, “What are you even considering for! Quickly accept! If you don’t go, then don’t call me your mother anymore!”
Zhang Ye, “…”
Holy sh*t! That was uncalled for, Mom!
Who knew Dad also stood on the same side as Mom this time, “Son, you need to listen to us this time. Go, you definitely need to go! Do you know what kind of place Peking University is? It’s a world class instituition! I know your goal is to become a famous celebrity, but this wouldn’t conflict with that, and instead will give you a special boost. No matter how successful you are as a celebrity, or how popular you are, that’s all just on the surface. However, if you have the title of Peking University’s Assistant Professor, it is something completely different. This is the highest affirmation of your ability in your studies. With this backing you, your popularity will enjoy a more solid foundation, and it can even be considered an official form of recognition. Didn’t many Writers’ Association people think lowly of the poems and prose you previously wrote? When you’re hosting, didn’t those people from the SARFT cause a lot of trouble for you? If you become an Assistant Professor, what more a Peking University Assistant Professor, then with such a solid backing, who would dare to find trouble with you in the future? Then when it comes to your literary accomplishments, no one would dare question you anymore.”
That was true.
In the field of literary arts, it did not matter that it did not appeal to the masses. More of it depended on the recognition from industry insiders and qualifications.
It was very philistine and illogical.
But that was how it was. This was the situation in this country.
Zhang Ye listened, but still had some worries, “What if I don’t do well?”
Dad said, “If you don’t do well, then that’s that, but you can’t let go of this chance now.” The reason he tried so hard to persuade his son to develop further in the educational field was because he placed a lot of importance on education. He was an older person and had a more traditional way of thinking. When he was young, there were no such things as celebrities. They were just called entertainers in the past and were not well respected. Although this had changed in modern times, to a person from his generation, there was more pride and glory at Peking University. It was even a glorious title of being an Assistant Professor. He did not object to his son’s goal of becoming a celebrity but if he could achieve both statuses, wouldn’t it be even better?
Mom saw that he was still hesitant, so she told him, “You were not even afraid to cause trouble during a live broadcast, daring to scold your leaders and the SARFT. Now it’s just being a lecturer and you’re scared?”
Zhang Ye hesitated for a moment before finally nodding. He had decided, “Alright, I will listen to the both of you. I’m going! I don’t care whose mother it is!”
What was there to worry about!?
We’ll talk about it when the time comes if I don’t do well!
Besides, with so much knowledge from his previous world, how could he possibly mislead the future generation!
Having decided that there and then, Zhang Ye was no longer confused and conflicted. Peking University lecturer, that was such an awesome halo! It could also be considered as a form of venture and challenge. Zhang Ye felt that he could do this. Besides, he had nothing much to do during these two weeks that he was back in Beijing. Since his goal was to become the most famous celebrity in the world and he had very little positive characteristics himself, he could do with more accolades. Zhang Ye could no longer delay a moment longer, only then would he have hope to create this miracle and fulfill his dream!
“Then quickly inform Vice President Wu!” Mom was even more anxious than him. She urged him, “What if she has other choices as well, go inform her quick!”
Zhang Ye looked at his watch, “It’s almost midnight, she might already be asleep?”
His father advised, “Send her a message to give her well wishes for the new year. Then mention your decision. If she has already slept, she will still see your message tomorrow morning.”
Zhang Ye understood and accepted their suggestions. It was not like he had any other choice. His parents were already staring at him. If he did not do what they said, they’d probably beat him to death!
And so, he sent the message to Wu Zeqing.
He wrote: President Wu, I wanted to wish you a Happy New Year. I hope I’m not disturbing your sleep with this message. Well, I will be accepting your invitation. I am very honored to do my part for the education system.
Soon after, the other party replied.
Wu Zeqing: Thank you. Happy New Year to you too. It’s good that you have considered it. You can come to the Peking University on the 2nd of January at 9AM to look for me. I will arrange the curriculum plan and teaching contract. Let’s discuss it in detail then.
Zhang Ye replied: Sure, please rest early.
Wu Zeqing said: Give my well-wishes to your parents as well.
The exchange of messages ended.
Zhang Ye showed his cellphone to his parents, “Look.”
Dad was overjoyed when he saw it, “Great! Great! Great!”
Mom was also overjoyed and couldn’t keep her mouth closed, “Hahaha, my son really does not disappoint! He’s even going to teach at Peking University! He’s really doing me proud!”
Zhang Ye was not as overjoyed as his parents were. He picked up his cellphone casually, rolled up his sleeves and continued washing the dishes, “The two of you should go rest, it’s getting late.”
Mom suddenly shouted, “Put that down!”
“Ah?” Zhang Ye looked over with his head tilted sideways and nearly lost his grip on the bowl in his hands, “What’s the matter? You gave me a scare. What do I put down?”
Mom pushed him aside and broke into a big smile. She picked up the dishes and utensils, “Mom will do this, you go and rest.”
“Don’t. I’m already half done.” Zhang Ye wanted to grab the dishes back, “You guys go rest.”
Mom did not allow that, “If I said I’ll do it, I’ll do it. Don’t argue with me. Haha, my son’s now a lecturer of Peking University. How can I make my son do the dishes!” as she washed the dishes, she hummed a Peking Opera song. Mumbling to herself, she said, “I can go boast to the neighbours again tomorrow! When my son had his hosting license revoked, that bunch of people talked behind my back about my son’s career ending? He was done for? Ha! I’ll show them who’s done for this time! My son will become a Peking University lecturer! Can they? Tomorrow, I will go and tell them why the flowers are so red!”