By TIANTIAN XIANGSHANG
SHENZHEN (China Daily Show) — An English teacher’s decision to stage an act of individuality in front of his creative writing class Tuesday resulted in 14 maimed students and one dead poetry teacher.
Students at No. 2 Dongguan Polytechnic arrived for class expecting a colorless continuation of Monday’s lecture on iambic pentameter, only to discover that their teacher, William Carlos Wallace, 27, of Lancaster, Massachusetts, had spent all night arranging a pyre of firewood beneath the whiteboard, upon which he had drawn in large letters “CARPE DIAN” (“Seize the Electricity”) in Latin and Chinese.
“He was upset that the university had cut the electric in his dormitory,” said English major Li Song, 21, who happened to be with Wallace when his power stopped working.
In an interview with China Daily Show, Li said the two had been watching Wallace’s favorite movie, Dead Poets Society, which stars Robin Williams as a literature teacher who encourages his class of New England students to carpe diem or “seize the day,” rather than follow the staid orthodoxies of the traditional educational establishment, when the juice suddenly failed.
“It was at that moment that he decided to show his power against the school,” said Li.
The next morning, Wallace welcomed his students, locked the door, stood atop the pyre and lit a torch he had constructed and labeled “Prometheus.” He then called administrators on his mobile and was quoted as saying, “To thee misguided nanny state Confucians, desist and cease your human rights abuses. Restore the use of nightly lumination, else face the wrath of fiery retribution.”
When administrators failed to understand Wallace’s English, they called police, who arrived moments later and promptly tear-gassed the classroom.
These are the facts:
- The flammable tear gas set Wallace and 14 students on fire.
- As students fled for the door, Wallace leapt from the six story window, declaring, “You may take away our power, but you will never take our freedom!”
- Wallace’s last words were cut short when, according to one of his students, “he landed in a migrant worker’s red wheelbarrow, stained with rain water, beside the white chickens.”
Administrators have employed grievance counselors to help students come to grips with the teacher’s senseless act of Western ignorance, and have recharged the late pedagogue’s electricity meter, which had inexplicably run out of credit four months ahead of schedule.
The 14 injured students from Wallace’s class are currently lying in the burn victim’s ward at Shenzhen’s Last Hope Memorial Hospital.
In lieu of flowers, their parents have asked mourners to donate a steady supply of traditional, status quo-promoting examples of Chinese cinema.