Chapter 58: Tales of military training
Carrying the camouflage uniform worn in military training, Lu Xu asked his roommates: There’s just one belt here-should it be wound on the inside or on the outside?
No one told him that he could actually just wind one of his own on the inside.
Yanzhou University’s military training was really a serious one. On the first day that the instructor arrived, he imparted to them a set of military punching techniques. As this segment was usually only present in the final observance ceremony at the end of military training, the freshmen initially felt excited about it. Only afterwards did they discover that it was actually a stamping down of authority upon them.
The new Vice Principal of Yanzhou University who was in charge of military training had been a soldier when he was young. As this elderly man nearing the age of sixty performed a perfect drill at the start of the opening ceremony, a ‘bang’ sound emitted from the ground as if a wooden pole had been drilled straight in…
The ‘tragic’ fate of this batch of freshmen had already been decided.
“Kids nowadays are too weak. If we don’t grind you a little, how can we old bones feel safe handing the country over to you?” The old Vice Principal said.
Performing drills under a temperature of 40 degrees, people collapsed and were carried off one after another to the medical tent pitched up right at the training grounds. As the torrential rain persisted, after having been drenched thoroughly, the cafeteria just sent some ginger decoctions over. The frail girls cried, and they were punished to train for half an hour more…
The first day having ended, everyone collapsed on their beds, wailing mournfully. Only now did Xu Tingsheng realise that he had continually overlooked something following his rebirth-training his body. While simple, it was actually a very important thing.
Li Xingmin complained, “Did you see it just now? Six of the female soldiers opposite us collapsed, and the instructors were rushing over to be the one to carry them away. I wanted to go as well, but I wouldn’t be able to beat them at it. After all, they’ve trained.”
All his thoughts this day had been spent on the girls.
Old Wai said that with all of them wearing the same baggy camouflage uniforms and headgear, there was no way to tell how they looked. Tan Yao thought that who cared about face; not being able to see their figures was much worse…
Out of goodwill, Xu Tingsheng reminded them, “You’re all wrong. Actually, this is precisely the best time to be observing the girls. If even without makeup and wearing the same military uniform as everyone else, a girl can still stand out, she must really be a great one then.”
“How do we look at their figures then?”
“Look at them during simultaneous running. A mountain range looks greatly different when viewed from above and from the sides; waves ebb and fall amidst the waters of a lake.”
Xu Tingsheng’s roommates were greatly inspired by his words. During drills the next morning, they stared shamelessly at the girls lined up opposite them. Li Xingming stared at one of them, mouthing the lyrics: Look over, oh girl opposite me…
Tan Yao flexed his muscles like the Korean star Rain.
Distracted, the girls opposite them messed up in their movements, several of them receiving a scolding.
Aggrieved girls going off to complain was a very usual thing. They told on them, telling the main instructor that the boys in the row opposite them were playing hooligan and teasing them, interfering with their training. The main instructor came over and said a few words to the instructor in change of this row Xu Tingsheng was in.
The instructor said, “All of them did, actually…take out your faces. The female soldiers opposite will be coming over to identify the culprits.”
Xu Tingsheng didn’t know how to take out his face, and it was the same for the people beside him.
“Raise your heads, all of you,” The main instructor elaborated as he came over with a few girls, “Whichever ones they are, just point them out. I’ll pull them out for you.”
The girls were all shy, as if the main instructor was asking them to choose their husbands.
And this was precisely what the main instructor said, “Stop wasting time; it’s not like I’m asking you to choose your husbands.”
Li Xingming, Tan Yao, Old Wai, some guys from next door, as well as some from History and the other courses…they were called out by the instructor one by one, the several of them standing there at attention. A girl from the same class walked towards Xu Tingsheng, walked past him and turned back again, now standing before him.
“Reporting to instructor, there’s still this guy, Xu Tingsheng.”
“Me?” Not even having glanced over at the other side, Xu Tingsheng was totally confused.
“Yes, you,” The girl nodded, then turned and walked away.
“Get out here!” The instructor roared loudly.
Xu Tingsheng was the last guy to have been pointed out as hands behind his back, the instructor now paced a lap before them, “Very good, very manly. You don’t have to eat lunch; you’ll be standing here till training in the afternoon.”
“Reporting to instructor, I’m innocent,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“Wot?” The instructor leading them shouted in a strongly-accented voice.
Xu Tingsheng pointed towards where he had previously been standing, “I wasn’t looking; it was totally impossible for me to see.”
The person who had been standing in front of him was more than 1.9m in height, weighing more than a hundred kilos.
The instructor looked, considered for a moment and turned to look at the girl who had just testified against Xu Tingsheng, asking her, “Ya did na’ see wrong?”
The girl nodded firmly, “I did na’.”
Half of the occupants of Room 602 did not eat lunch this day, the other half secretly smuggling over a few buns for them.
After training had ended for the day, collapsing into his bed on his last legs, Old Wai said, “I won’t be switching courses anymore; I’ve fallen in love with Chinese…with my intelligence, I’d still be able to own those people from Computing even if I self-study it instead.”
Not being dumb people, everyone immediately realised that some girl from Chinese must have caught Old Wai’s eye.
They asked about it. The girl’s name was Li Linlin. While she didn’t stand out much, she was a simple and lovable girl, her looks also being pleasant to the eye. It was she who had testified against Old Wai today. Based on that, Old Wai was definitely guilty as charged.
Over the next few days, Old Wai continued staring unrepentantly at Li Linlin. She reciprocated this discourtesy in kind, directly pointing him out a few times.
On the twelfth day of military training, a major incident occurred. Having hidden a rock up his sleeve, a boy assaulted the assistant head instructor with it, smashing his head open and himself eating a punch.
The school did not suppress this incident, the truth of it very quickly spreading.
The boy was from Accounting. A few days into the semester, he had gotten friendly with a girl from the same class. Afterwards, the girl having fainted during military training, the one who had carried her away was the assistant head instructor. Yet afterwards, the girl had hooked up with him, a man well into his thirties, as she had then requested to break up with the boy.
The heat rushing to his head, the boy had exacted the most extreme reaction possible.
The assistant head instructor did not appear at the training grounds again for the next few days. That boy was absent as well. Instead, only that girl was still present.
If things went on as expected, she would soon have a new boyfriend, and afterwards an even newer boyfriend as she lived out a happy and joyful life.
Meanwhile, the boy would have to pay the price for his youthful ‘fit of intense passion’. Such was young, foolish love.
That night, Xu Tingsheng made a trip to the local grocery store in town and made a call. This incident had made him remember a major incident during the military training of his previous life. A good friend from the same dormitory room as him had wrecked a military vehicle…
The effects of this incident had only truly been felt a few years after its occurrence. After graduating from university, that friend had become a public servant. There, he had ultimately met an impasse due to his political records, unable to advance in his career at all.
Xu Tingsheng remembered his handphone number because it was really too special. It was the type that, years later in the future, could even be taken out and put on auction.
“I hope that he’s still using this number in this life.”
As the line connected and the other person said a ‘Hello’, unable to identify him, Xu Tingsheng said in a deep tone, “You are Zhong Ming, yes?”
“Yeah, who’re you?”
“I have no need to report this to you. Do you intend to wreck a military vehicle?”
Zhong Ming indeed intended to wreck a military vehicle over some girl problems. The problem was how the other party could know this. He had only just thought of doing it, not even having yet told it to his roommates in the dorm. He had merely mentioned it briefly over the phone to two friends from senior high.
“You underestimate the power of our country to enforce safety. The reason we are reminding you is that your usual performance holds no suspicion. Out of my personal goodwill, I hope that you do not make a wrong move, going down the wrong path.”
“Know what’s good for you.”
Xu Tingsheng felt that Zhong Ming would not be doing that deed anymore. He wasn’t actually reckless to that extent, his head just having been clouded by emotions at the time.
He guessed right. Not only did Zhong Ming give up on this reckless plan, even his very understanding of the world changed as a result. He would very earnestly tell his roommates that 007 movies were real, that the KGB and the FBI were more formidable than they thought. Fortunately, their country was even more formidable.
Who knew what he would feel upon learning of the Snowden incident in the future.