“Milk Tea Cutie” Refuses Zhang Yimou Film; Goes to Tsinghua University Instead
Second year high school student Zhang Zetian first came into the spotlight early last year, after an admiring classmate posted a photo of her holding a cup of milk tea on Chinese social networking site Mop.com. Zhang’s photo quickly made the rounds on the Internet, earning her the nickname “Milk Tea Cutie” (“奶茶mm,” pronounced naicha meiemei).
It wasn’t before long that the creepy contingent of Chinese netziens discovered her name, school (Nanjing Foreign Language School), Zodiac sign (Scorpio), and the fact that she was a nationally-ranked gymnast. Her celebrity reached the point where she even received a film role request from Zhang Yimou, director of To Live and Hero… which she turned down! According to Ms. “Milk Tea Cutie” in a QQ.com video report (in Chinese), “When I was going into my third year in high school, I was preparing really hard for the college entrance exam. I didn’t consider Zhang Yimou’s offer for too long (in the sense that she was busy). I decided to turn it down.” Her parents, too, were adamant that she continue her studies.
And now, Ms. Zhang’s work ethic has paid off. Tsinghua University, arguably the top school in China, has confirmed that she has been accepted early into their humanities program for the coming school year. However, Baidu Beat reports that “some netizens have voiced concern about her ability to adapt to a new school environment where all of her classmates – or the boys at least – already have extensive, and perhaps somewhat perverted, virtual relationships with her.” Others have been more supportive, impressed by Zhang’s academic pursuit.
In China, the pursuit of education is still king. This brings us back to Amy Chua’s “Chinese mom.” Why is there a particularly stronger emphasis on education with focus in academics? Zhang Zetian’s story also reminds me of the Imperial Examination system. For thousands of years, this is one of the greatest social equalizer the world has ever seen. Regardless of one’s socioeconomic background and as long as he or she demonstrates academic competence (Confucian thought emphasized), there is advancement. Before the recent emergence of the West, China was viewed favorably by the Europeans. The British and others tried to adopt this examination system as well.
A smart decision, you think? Certainly, Zhang’s 15 minutes of fame would not necessarily clinch her success. Her entrance into Tsinghua seems a more reliable safety net — and if she truly loves learning, then all the more power to her. And if Zhang is truly that much of a “cutie,” and not merely a one-time viral hit, she needn’t worry about not receiving more offers in the future.
[via Baidu Beat]
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TAGS: Academics • Chinese parenting • Milk Tea Cutie • Milk Tea Sister • Tsinghua University early acceptance • Zhang Zetian • 奶茶mm
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