Section 1: English-Chinese Translation (英译汉) (60 points)
Translate the following passage into Chinese. The time for this section is 120 minutes.
A few weeks back, I asked a 14-year-old friend how she was coping with school.
Referring to stress, she heaved a big sigh and said: "Aiyah, anything bad that can happen has already happened."
Her friends nearby then started pouring out their woes about which subjects they found hard, and so on. Pessimism again, in these all-too-familiar remarks about Singapore's education system, widely regarded as too results-oriented, and I wonder why I even bothered to ask.
The school system of reaching for A's underlies the country's culture, which emphasizes the chase for economic excellence where wealth and status are must-haves.
Such a culture is hard to change.
So when I read of how the new Remaking Singapore Committee had set one of its goals as challenging the traditional roads to success, encouraging Singaporeans to realize alternative careers in the arts, sports, research or as entrepreneurs, I had my doubts about its success in this area, if not coupled with help from parents themselves.
The new Remaking Singapore Committee is a brainchild of the Singaporean Prime Minister, formed to make Singaporeans look beyond the five C's: cash, condos, clubs, credit cards and cars, to help prepare the nation for the future.
It is good that the government wants to do something about the country's preoccupation with material success. But it will be a losing battle if the family unit itself is not involved because I believe the committee's success is rooted in a revamp of an entire culture built from 37 years of independence.
This makeover has to start with the most basic societal unit -- the family.
Parents should not drown their children in mantras of I-want-hundred-marks. Tuition lessons are not the be-all and end-all of life. And a score of 70 for a Chinese paper is definitely not the end of life.
If ever I become a parent, I will bring my children camping. I will show them that cooking food in a mess tin over a campfire is fun. I will teach them that there is nothing dirty about lying on a sleeping bag over grass.
In fact, it is educational because Orion is up there in the night sky with all the other bright stars whose shapes and patterns tell something more than a myth. For instance, they give directions to the lost traveler, I will say.
And who knows, my child may become an astronomer years down the road. All because of the nights I spent with him watching the twinkles in the sky.
That's my point. Parents should teach their children that there's more to life than studies. Better still if the nation's leaders echo that idea as well.
This way, when their children aspire to be the next Joscelin Yeo, they won't feel like they are fighting a losing battle against a society that holds doctors and lawyers in awe.
However, the culture that babysits economic excellence is deeply ingrained and so are the mindsets of many parents. But parents can take the cue from the new Remaking Singapore Committee and be aware of giving their children the right kind of education.
It is now wait-and-see if, say, 10 years down the road, more would choose alternative careers. Hopefully, by then no one would think sportsmen or musicians as making too big a sacrifice in chasing their dreams.
Section 2: Chinese-English Translation (汉译英) (40 points)
Translate the following passage into English. The time for this section is 60 minutes.