Thursday, June 4, 2009

Don't write my name in red ink

After I have marked the English Monthly Test, I will return the answers scripts to my students. Then I will go over the questions to provide the correct answers. Usually they will ask for the marks that they deserve should I mark their right answers as wrong.

I keep their test marks to monitor their progress. Yesterday, I did not bring my test records and wrote the name of the pupil whose answer script I had marked wrongly. I made the necessarily alteration to the marks and started to record it on a piece of paper using red-ink pen.

"Don't write my name in red ink. I am still alive, you know," said my pupil.

I replied, "I don't see any connection between your name written in red and your life."

"My father always asks us not to write our names in red. According to him, only dead people's names are in red," said the pupil again.

Suddenly it dawned on me that the name of a dead person is carved and painted in red on the tombstone as is the practice of the Chinese. That may be the reason for the Chinese to have taboo writing their names in red ink.

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