Mike Beversluis

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Chinese Driving Exam

Driving Them Crazy [By Elizabeth Williamson, Washington Post Staff Writer]

You are motoring down a stretch of Chinese highway outside Chengdu, when, glancing at the side-view mirror of your Xiali 2000, you notice flames shooting from your gas tank.

Quick -- do you:
a. Strip off your cotton clothing and use it to smother the flames.
b. Toss water on the blaze.
c. Dig out your trusty carbon-dioxide fire extinguisher.
d. Call the U.S. Embassy for help.

The answer is definitely not (d). Only a handful of the hundreds of U.S. diplomats posted in China, we're told, (and none in the Chengdu consulate) have passed the Chinese driving exam, from which the slightly-modified question above is drawn. The "correct" answer, by the way, is (a).


Jian Huali, first secretary at the Chinese Embassy, had no pity for our sweat-hog foreign service officers. "You think this is funny? I don't think they are studying," he said. "Washington has a half-million people. Beijing has 3 million cars. . . . We need people to be more aware of what they are doing on the street.

"Ninety-five percent of Chinese can pass the test. I passed with only one question wrong."

Well. It seemed only fair to test Jian Huali with three sample questions. Wrong, wrong and wrong.

"If you asked me in Chinese, I could do better," he said. "Also, I haven't been in China for four years. . . . The traffic regulations change every day."

Then he asked: "Are you going to put my name in the paper and say I have gotten three questions wrong?"

Check out the article for a bunch more questions. Via Book of Joe.

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