Chapter 14 – Pass!
Two days later. Morning.
Qu Yunxuan’s apartment living room.
Dong Xuebing and his mother had wanted to ask Aunt Xuan along to buy groceries in the southern part of the city. The meat and vegetables there were cheaper. But when they entered her apartment, they saw Xiao Dong and his mother, Mrs. Xu, sitting in the living room chatting with Aunt Xuan. Dong Xuebing’s mother pulled a chair over and join in their conversations. The Dong and Xu families were not on good terms, especially Dong Xuebing and Xiao Dong. But Beijing people had lots of pride and tried to be nice to each other. Even when they dislike each other, they will still chat for a while whenever they met.
“Xiao Ping, I heard that your son Xiao Bing had been revising these few days.”
“That’s right. The National Civil Servant exams are in 6 months. What about your Xiao Dong?”
“He is also doing his revision. If the questions are not too difficult, he should be able to pass.”
“Sighed… You do not need to worry about your son, unlike me. My Xuebing had never been good with his studies since young.”
Dong Xuebing sat there quietly drinking a glass of coke given to him by Aunt Xuan. He did not take part in their conversations. He knew that his chances of passing the interview were slim. The main interviewer had something against him, and most likely he will fail the interview. Dong Xuebing had been feeling down and had been quiet the past two days.
“Drink slowly.” Qu Yunxuan took a tissue paper and helped Dong Xuebing’s mouth. What are you thinking?”
Xiao Dong saw the way Qu Yunxuan wipe Dong Xuebing’s mouth. He glared at Dong Xuebing.
Dong Xuebing smiled: “I am thinking about the exams.”
Qu Yunxuan sighed. “Don’t give yourself too much pressure. I am worried about you.”
Mrs. Xu said with an air of superiority: “That’s right. I had said previously. The chances of fresh graduates passing the Civil Servant test is too low. You should get a job and have a few years of working experiences first. After 2 to 3 years, you can try again for the national exams. Treat this few years as training. One of my colleague’s kid had taken the National Exams for a few years after he graduated but had not passed. He had wasted his time.”
Qu Yunxuan does not like the way she speaks. “You can’t be so sure.”
Mrs. Xu nodded. “If you are lucky, you might pass the written test after a few tries.”
Qu Yunxuan rubbed Dong Xuebing’s head and said: “Our Xiao Bing is very smart. He should be able to pass the next National Exams.”
Xiao Dong took his eyes away from Qu Yunxuan and looked at Dong Xuebing. After one month, he had regained his confidence. “My written test results are out. I got 85 marks for the administrative aptitude test. I heard that very few candidates got more than 90 marks for this year. How much did you get?” 85 marks for AAT? That means Xiao Dong did not score any marks for the essay test. If not, he would have met the minimum required marks of 100 to qualify for the Custom’s interview.
Dong Xuebing replied without even looking at him. “I forgot.”
Xiao Dong sneered. “Your results are not good? Do you need me to give you some tuitions?”
“No need. I can do my own revisions.” Dong Xuebing was not interested.
Maybe it was because Qu Yunxuan was around and Xiao Dong tried to leave a good impression: “Ok. You can always ask me if you have difficulties answering any questions.”
Mrs. Xu smiled happily and patted Xiao Dong on his back: “My son is very good in administrative aptitude test. I asked all the neighbors around here who’s kids had taken part in this test. None of them had scored more than 80 marks. The best was only 65 marks. But my Xiao Dong had not done very well for his essay questions. At least he was better than a lot of people. Many of them did not even get 15 marks.”
Dong Xuebing’s mother sighed: “Your son will definitely be as successful as Section Chief Xu in the future.”
Mrs. Xu laughed proudly: “Who knows what will happen in the future?”
Ringringring…… Dong Xuebing’s phone rang. He took it out from his pocket and answered: “Hello?”
“Hi, are you Dong Xuebing?” It was a man’s voice. From his voice, Dong Xuebing could not tell his age. He might be in his 40s, 50s and even 60s.
“I am. May I know who’s calling?”
“I am calling from West District’s State Security Branch Bureau, Political Section. The City Bureau had sent the results of your application in the morning. I am calling to notify you. You are required to report to West District’s State Security Branch Bureau on next Monday, 9 am. You can take down the address. Western district, Zixin Road East, south of the 50 meters mark. You will see a building with no signages. Because we are a special unit, we will not be issuing any written notification to you. You only need to bring your identification card, Household Register, the original and a photocopy of your school’s certificate.”
Dong Xuebing was in a daze. “Ah? You are saying…… saying……”
The man on the phone said in a firm tone: “You have passed the Civil Servant test and interview. We are short on manpower. This is why we need you to report earlier than other departments. If you have any other reason that prevents you from reporting latest by next Friday, we might cancel your application. Do take note.”
Dong Xuebing anxiously said: “No, no. I have no problems. I will surely be there on Monday.”
“Good.” The sound of paper rustling could be heard over the phone. “The section you are being posted to is General Office. You will know the detail when you report on Monday.” State Security was different from other government agencies. Applicants for the other agencies could write down the specific section or departments on the application form. But for State Security, the applicants can only write “Administrative Department” or other general terms. It was up to the office to assign the applicant.
“Yes. Yes. Thank you.”
“That’s all.” Too, too, too…… The line was cut.
Dong Xuebing kept his phone and return to his seat. His hand was shaking.
Dong Xuebing’s mother looked at him concernedly: “Did you find a job? What company is it? How is the benefit?”
Mrs. Xu said: “That’s right. Get a job outside while trying for the test or exams again. I am being frank with you. Even if you are not able to pass, at least you can still support yourself.”
Xiao Dong looked at Dong Xuebing arrogantly: “Is your salary more than 2,000 RMB?”
Dong Xuebing can’t be bothered with him. He turned to face his mother. “Mum, I need to tell you something.”
His mother looked at him: “What?”
Dong Xuebing cleared his throat. “Ermmm…. I passed the test, and I am a Civil Servant now.”
Dong Xuebing’s mother almost choked on her tea. She coughed and put down the teacup. “What did you say? What did you pass?”
“I said I passed the Civil Servant test and I am a Civil Servant now.”
“Nonsense.” Dong Xuebing’s mother stared at him. “Do you think it is funny to trick me?”
Qu Yunxuan and pinched Dong Xuebing’s arm. “You are not even call up for the interview, how can you be a Civil Servant? Since when did you become so humorous? It’s fine. You can retake the test. Just work harder and stop thinking about the past test. Cheer up.”
Dong Xuebing raised his voice. “Mum, Aunt Xuan, since when did I lie to you all? I really pass the test, and they have already notified me over the phone.”
“Ah?” Dong Xuebing’s mother, Aunt Xuan, Mrs. Xu, and Xiao Dong were all stunned.