Chapter 557 Changing the script?
In the afternoon.
At Peking University’s Centennial Hall.
“It’s about to begin.”
“Let’s hurry up, everyone.”
“The delegation has already arrived.”
“Don’t squeeze, line up properly.”
A security team was stationed at the door.
The students were lining up in front of the main entrance for admission while teachers and staff of Peking University were entering the hall from the side.
After Zhang Ye entered the hall along with the others, he separated from Professor Zeng, Su Na, and the rest of the Chinese Department teachers as he had a seat reserved at the front row. Since he was slated to give a speech later, he needed to be close to the stage. He was also put at the front so that he could entertain the foreign guest mathematicians who were the elites of their respective countries’ math worlds. There were even two world-class mathematicians among them who had come from afar because of Zhang Ye’s recent proof to Dale’s Conjecture. It was already quite unfitting that Zhang Ye did not take part in the verification process, so if he did not entertain them today, it would be quite the outrage and would not bode well for their country’s hospitality to guests.
In the middle of the first row.
Zhang Ye saw a person calling for him.
Xin Ya waved her hands and said, “Over here.”
“We’ll be sitting on the first row?” Zhang Ye asked.
Dean Pan, who had left a seat beside him empty for Zhang Ye, said, “Sit over here. It’s all been arranged already. The Japanese delegation will be seated upstairs.”
Zhang Ye nodded and sat down firmly in his seat.
Han Henian, sitting three seats away from him, asked, “What happened earlier outside? Why did the students block the bus from moving on such an important occasion?”
Zhang Ye said, “It was just a minor misunderstanding, not a big matter.”
Han Henian said, “If that’s not a big matter, then nothing else is.”
Dean Pan said, “It should have already been resolved.”
Although they had been in the hall entertaining the foreign mathematicians, they still knew quite clearly about what had happened outside earlier. There was probably someone who informed them about it.
It seemed that even a French mathematician knew about it, as he asked Zhang Ye about the matter. “I heard that Professor Zhang has a photographic memory?”
A foreign translator translated his words into Chinese, which sounded very stiff to Zhang Ye.
Zhang Ye laughed and waved it off. “That’s not true. I’m not that capable.”
Behind them, four rows away, a female teacher from the Fine Arts Department, who was present at the scene of the incident, asked curiously, “Teacher Zhang, how were you able to memorize that newspaper report?”
Zhang Ye turned around to the female teacher and said, “Because that news report had mostly numbers in it.”
The Fine Arts department female teacher asked, now even more curious, “Wouldn’t it be more difficult if there were more numbers in it?”
Xin Ya spoke on behalf of Zhang Ye, explaining, “Hur hur, we are engaged in the field of mathematical work, so of course we are more sensitive to numbers.”
“Oh, so that’s why,” said the fine arts teacher. “You math people are really great!”
A young teacher of the Math Department laughed. “Teacher Kong, I don’t think that has anything to do with whether or not we’re engaged in math work. The main reason is still down the Teacher Zhang himself. I checked the article online just now and read through it once, but if you ask me to repeat those numbers again, I would need two hours to memorize them and might still get it wrong.” They knew of the incident that happened outside as well, and were discussing it before Zhang Ye had arrived.
Several teachers started chatting.
Zhang Ye also occasionally joined in, but still focused more on speaking in English to the foreign mathematicians.
The crowd in the hall gradually increased, the noisy chatter of people getting louder. It was so loud that one might not even be able to hear the person beside them.
At this moment, a Peking University staff member came looking for Zhang Ye.
“You’re looking for me?”
“Can you come over for a while? There’s something we need to tell you.”
Zhang Ye followed the youth, and noticed that Professor Yan and another Peking University teacher had been called over as well. The four of them went together to a quiet spot in the backstage. Although Professor Yan and Zhang Ye were both Chinese Department teachers, because of their enmity, they did not talk much even when they met.
Professor Yan asked, “What’s the matter?”
The young staff member immediately responded, “The heads of the school have instructed you to ensure that the content for your speeches later are appropriate for the occasion. They want the speeches to emphasize the friendship between China and Japanese. Because the blockade of the buses earlier caused quite a negative effect, with the Japanese delegation’s leaders and persons-in-charge voicing displeasure over it, you may all add some criticism of the nationalistic behavior of the students involved in the incident or similar incidents affecting the relationship of our two countries into your speeches, if it is appropriate. But do not talk about or bring up any details of today’s incident.”
Professor Yan and the other teacher both understood the intent behind this. The Japanese Prime Minister was currently in China for a diplomatic visit with the focus on such issues being discussed. Yet on this same day, during the Sino-Japanese University Exchange, an unhappy incident had taken place. This was quite an embarrassment, or perhaps to put it into perspective, could potentially be a dangerous incident since it was a sensitive issue. Being the top institution in China, Peking University definitely did not want this to send the wrong signal, and as such, wanted to express their attitude towards such sensitivities by criticizing such anti-Japanese behavior or similar incidents. They wanted to remind everyone to stay rational and objective when it came to such things and to promote the friendship between the Chinese and Japanese. As for the reason to not mention the incident from today, it was understandable since there were so many reporters present. It was better that they not bring it up to avoid any potential misunderstandings.
The other teacher said, “Is there still time to change the speech?”
The staff member said, “There’s no need for major changes, just a few words or sentences to emphasize these points will do. You may decide for yourselves what’s appropriate. I won’t interfere since I am just passing along the school’s heads’ message to you.”
That teacher nodded. “I’ll think about it.”
However, Zhang Ye wasn’t too happy about it. “I won’t be changing anything. I am just giving a speech about mathematics and all that doesn’t have anything to do with me.” After he said that, he turned around to leave.
The staff said, “Teacher Zhang, it’s best that you touch a bit on it. Just add a few words during your conclusion, like after your speech on academics, praise the Japanese mathematics world a little and express that you are looking forward to working with the Japanese universities for the long term. That will be good enough.”
But Zhang Ye did not hold back and just said, “I’m not looking forward to it though.”
Look forward to working with them? That Japanese mathematician was already snubbing me from the moment we met and kept doubting me about many things, not wanting to believe that Dale’s Conjecture had been proven by a Chinese person. With that attitude, how would you expect me to want to work with them? And you think I’d look forward to it? Look forward, your sister!
The staff: “……..” F**k, you being too direct!
Professor Yan glanced despisingly at him and went off elsewhere to make changes to his script.
The other teacher who was also lined up to give a speech was tickled funny by Zhang Ye. “Teacher Zhang, I will go back first. Why don’t you just randomly add a line or two. After all, this is a political task.” He seemed to be alright with the arrangements and was willing to say whatever the heads wanted him to.
Today’s Sino-Japanese University Exchange was a rare event in the history books. It was also one of the more recent cooperations between the two top institutions from both countries and carried a significant meaning. If anything were to go wrong, heads would roll. With so many Japanese reporters turning up, it could be said that many in Japan were paying attention to this event as well. An important event on an important day like this, the speeches would definitely need to be comprehensively and diligently given. It was different to those speeches given at a school’s opening ceremony or a graduation ceremony. If anything goes wrong, so be it? If it said with negligence, so be it? That’s absolutely not tolerated! Of these sorts of politically motivated speeches, other than stuttering, no other mistakes could be allowed! If anything went wrong, it would have a great effect!
This was the reason why the heads of the school had such strict requirement for the speeches. It was so that any necessary intents could be added into the scripts!
“Teacher Zhang, come on,” the staff member said to him.
Zhang Ye shook his head and said, “We’ll see how it goes. It’s too late to change the script.”
The staff member was getting impatient with him and said, “You’re a teacher of the Chinese Department. Just adding a few more words shouldn’t be difficult for you, right? Anyway, this is a request by the heads of the school. I’ve already passed the message to you.” Everything that needed to be said was already said and his task was complete. As he still had other things to do, he went on ahead to busy himself with work.
Zhang Ye gave him a look before going back into the hall.
I already couldn’t be bothered to give a speech about academics, now you even want to add this and that? Get lost!