Chapter 342: Zhang Ye's Closing Speech!
On the podium.
The first program of the gala unfolded.
It was a song and dance performance. The opening dance began with primary school students appearing in gorgeous attire. Following that, a bunch of middle and high school students slowly joined in the dance as the musical rhythm became more intense.
Professor Yan got off the stage and returned to his seat.
"With experience comes wisdom."
Yan Jiantao waved his hand and smiled, and said some modest words.
The surrounding professors and colleagues continuously flattered him.
The others, meanwhile raised the old topic, and talked about how Zhang Ye's literature and education was incomparable to Yan Jiantao. Compared to Professor Yan, who walked a orthodox and traditional educational path, Zhang Ye's literary qualities were useless in this realm. Many Peking University teachers believed this was the gap from different levels, and also the difference in realms. Teacher Zhang's works were more popular than Professor Yan's works. He was popular too, but so what? In literature and education, it was not a competition for so-called popularity. It was not a competition of who stirred up more interest, but the meaning and significance behind it.
Could Zhang Ye do it?
He had not demonstrated skill in this before!
The Peking University teachers were mostly concentrated in the right side towards the front. Some of talk ended up reaching Zhang Ye's area. When the music from the stage stopped, Zhang Ye heard it.
I'm inferior to Yan Jiantao? Zhang Ye laughed without a word.
Su Na also heard it and whispered, "Teacher Zhang, don't take it to heart. They are just casually talking about it and joining in on the buzz. Don't take offense."
Zhang Ye shrugged his shoulders. "It's alright."
The students in the auditorium were nearly falling asleep!
This is what an education standard was? This is what a literary standard was?
Zhang Ye was at a loss of words. He admitted that literature was not something that depended on popularity, but it was not something that does not take into account popularity, right? If people rejected watching or listening to it, then who was this literature for? What was the meaning behind literature? Narcissism? Everyone is drunk, while I'm the only one awake? Without any transmission ability, the so-called literature was not worth even a shit! Yan Jiantao's speech was indeed very orthodox. The reasoning behind it was good, but to say that he did a good job? Zhang Ye did not agree!
One program followed another.
One performance followed another.
Suddenly, just as the gala was ending, a secondary school student walked up the stage. He surprised everyone with a talk show performance. Everyone found it quite novel.
The students were very interested in new things.
"Isn't this Teacher Zhang's creation?"
"It's not bad."
"Is it? It's a far cry from Zhang Ye's."
"Isn't that nonsense? Zhang Ye is the creator of such a program format. Furthermore, he is a professional host. There's no way to compete. This person is already doing quite a good job."
"Hai, listening to this makes me want to listen to Teacher Zhang do a Talk Show again. Isn't he a Peking University teacher now? Will he do a segment for us today?"
"No chance for that. Teacher Zhang isn't a primary or secondary school student."
A talk show program aroused the discussion amongst students of other provinces. Of course, there were a large number of people who had not heard of talk shows. There were even more people who did not know who Zhang Ye was. Hence, when they saw this program format, they thought it was a mono crosstalk. Only when the surrounding classmates explained to them did they learn that this was a talk show style performance. No wonder it felt different from mono crosstalk. There was no main theme, and the style was very different.
In the front row.
A few people did not have the mind to listen to the talk show program onstage.
A Peking University staff member ran over and crouched down, to avoid the cameras or affect others. He hurriedly said, "The President can't make it!"
A Vice President was stunned. "What happened?"
Wu Zeqing also said, "Is the President still not feeling well?"
"Yes, we just found out about it on the phone. The President is still hospitalized. He was supposed to be discharged just now, but now, it doesn't seem to be the case." The staff said, "The hospital said the President has elevated blood pressure and needs to be put under supervision while on drip. So, he definitely won't be able to come. The President got them to pass the message to get someone else to stand in for the closing speech."
A Vice President, who had a white beard, said, "That is the only thing we can do now. President Wu, you are eloquent, why don't you do it?" With that, the staff said, "What about the closing speech's script?"
The person was stunned. "Script? Oh, there's no script."
An old professor said, "Didn't the office type out a script for the President?"
"No." The staff said, "It was written by the President himself. I was in a hurry and forgot to ask the President where the script is."
The old professor said, "Then hurry and get it!"
Wu Zeqing said, "There's no time. There are only three programs left!"
The staff wiped his sweat as he said, "It will take an hour to make a round trip to the hospital. The President seldom uses a computer and hand writes his things. There's no way of transferring it over. I'm not sure if the hospital has any fax machines either."
The old Vice President looked at his watch. "It looks like the faxing wouldn't make it in time either. President Wu?"
Wu Zeqing shook her head elegantly as she said, "The closing speech isn't just a simple word or two. It needs a topic and a summary statement. It also needs statements that fit the situation. It will need a lot of preparation time in advance to prepare the script. To speak without a script is unrealistic."
"Then, I'll do it?" The old Vice President gave it some thought and shook his head. "But I did not prepare a script either. I can't just use the speech I used in the past. With the internet so well-developed, it would definitely be exposed by others. People will say our Peking University is lacking in sincerity by doing it so haphazardly."
Another school leader said, "But someone has to stand in. The closing speech is more important than the opening speech. This gala has political significance. We can't just end it without it, or all of us will look bad. It would be bad for our reputation too." He was also worried. Regardless of anything, someone had to go up, if not this would be a political problem. He looked at the people behind him. "Who will stand in?"
Yan Jiantao looked and did not say a word.
A few old professors looked at each other, but no one answered.
At this critical juncture, no one spoke, nor were they able to talk. How were they to deliver a closing speech without any preparation? Of course, the speech could not be be easily given. What if they misspoke? If the closing speech was unideal, then they would have to bear responsibility!
The old Vice President began naming people. "Old Yu, you do it!"
Professor Yu immediately said, "Old Vice-President, I did not prepare either. I can't just say some stuff in passing. It has to be something with substance. Who can do it without a script?"
It would not have been a problem for them to talk about academic material, as they had done it thousands of times and had already burned it deep within the recesses of their minds. However, for a closing speech for primary and secondary school students, they had never done it before. The things from the past could not be used. They needed at least an hour to write something.
Wu Zeqing said, "Old Yu, your writing is good. Can you write one now?"
Professor Yu smacked his lips. "I’ll need at least half an hour."
The old Vice President said, "There are only a few minutes left. There's no time to write!"
Professor Yu said, "Then I can't do it. I don't dare to think so highly of myself. I really can't do it without a script."
Without a script?
This sentence made the old Vice President exclaim. He looked at Wu Zeqing and said, "President Wu, isn't there a host in the Chinese department you are in charge of? His name is Zhang Ye, right? I heard he never uses a script when hosting programs. When he lectured 'Dream of the Red Chamber' in his elective class, he never once prepared a script either, right?"
Wu Zeqing nodded. "Teacher Little Zhang has always been lecturing off script."
Another Vice President frowned and said, "Is that true? A new class with so much information in his head, he can actually say it without any script or teaching material?"
A lecturer said, "It's indeed the case. I heard Zhang Ye's class before. Other than bringing the documents to show others, he really did not use a script. He does not even look at the information projected on the screen. He can go on like a reel! Also he has a lot of impromptu works. I heard that all his poems were created on the spot. They were never written in advance. Back then at the Shanghai SARFT press conference, Zhang Ye had given a speech on site. It was named 'The Last Speech'. It was quite popular on the internet. I watched the video once and he did a really good job. It was easy to tell at a glance that it was done in an impromptu manner."
The old Vice President decided, "Then let Zhang Ye stand in. President Wu, what are your thoughts on this?"
Wu Zeqing thought for a moment and smiled. "If Little Zhang does it, there will definitely not be a problem. Alright, we'll get him." Hence she signal to a staff. "Go back to look for Little Zhang. Give him a heads up. Tell him to do the closing speech well. Then inform the hosts, and make sure that they know who to welcome later."
The person obeyed the order. "Alright!"
Yan Jiantao frowned. Let Zhang Ye do the closing speech? He was an unorthodox literary person who only knew derision and cursing. What could he say!?
In the third row.
The Peking University staff crouched down and squeezed over. "Excuse me, excuse me." Very soon, he found Zhang Ye. "Teacher Zhang!"
Zhang Ye asked in surprise, "You are looking for me?"
The staff hurriedly said, "The President is having an infusion at the hospital and is unable to deliver the closing speech. There's no script now, and no one to deliver it. President Wu and company got me to get you to help save the situation!"
Zhang Ye waved his hand, "I won't do. I don't have a script too."
The man said, "But don't you always deliver impromptu performances? President Wu said only you will be able to save the situation. The program is almost ending. There's no time!"
Zhang Ye did not want to go, as there wasn't any benefit to doing something so problematic. "President Wu named me?"
"That's right. There are many Peking University teachers and professors here, but the only person who can do it off-script is you. Others don't have that ability." The person was afraid Zhang Ye would not agree, so he began to flatter him.
After some hesitation, Zhang Ye said helplessly. "Alright then. I'll give it a try. I don't dare to say it will be done well. Well, what should be said?"
The person said, "Anything will do. Hopefully something that can leave a deep impression. The leaders said the closing speech cannot be too weak. It's best if it was a conclusive and relevant speech that relates to a primary and secondary school's gala atmosphere."
"Got it." Zhang Ye said.
The person heaved a sigh of relief. "Then thank you very much. Sorry for troubling you."
At this moment, the penultimate program just begun. The staff left with his back bent. He then ran over to the side of the stage with his back bent to the hosts and whispered a few words to them. The male and female hosts nodded and gave Zhang Ye's direction a glance. They understood.
Translators’ Notes: Just click it. ‘Nuff said.