“Gatsby” is a college student at Stony Brook University in New York. He is also a rapper. During the pandemic, he was unable to complete his college courses in-person in New York, and particcipated in a Go-Local program at Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), where he is taking several in-person courses, instead.
He shared the following folklore with me during an interview when we were having dinner together.
The Main Piece:
In Chinese universities, a lot of students will hang a poster of Detective Conan on their walls before taking exams. This is like a ritual, and the students are hoping to pass the exam by doing so.
Hanging the poster of Detective Conan is said as “hanging Conan”
in Chinese：挂（hang） 柯南（conan）
Gua Ke Na
The sound “Gua Ke Nan” is also the pronounciation for “it is difficult to fail”
挂科（fail the exam） 难 （difficult）
Gua Ke Nan
So Chinese students hang posters of Conan to hope that it is going to be super difficult for them to fail, which implies that they will pass.
The kids draw connection between two events that are entirely unrelated to one another through their identical pronounciations.
Exams are in deed a painful thing. Although a poster cannot really help students pass the exam, making fun of it is a good way to relieve pressure. It is being spread rapidly through the internet where college students communicate with each other, and it reflects the students’ anxiety for exams as well as their humorous ways of making fun of exams.