This billionaire is trying for the 27th time to clear his college entrance exam

In the Asian country, this exam is the test of a lifetime, especially for the most modest.

In a country where academic competition is fierce, places are limited and family pressure is strong, only high-scoring students can access top universities. A diploma from a recognized university equates to social status and a virtual guarantee of being recruited by a good company.

“Cauco’s Irreducible”

This year, in order to compete among the 13 million candidates in line, Liang Shi says he led a “monk life” for months. He got up early every day and immersed himself in textbooks for 12 hours.

“It’s unpleasant to think of not being able to go to university,” he told AFP. Because “I really wanted to go there and become an intellectual”.

Over the past four decades, he tried his luck 26 times, but each time his score was not good enough to open the doors of his desired university. The local media made him a celebrity. “They call me ‘Gauco’s Irreducible,'” he says proudly.

He was 16 when he appeared for the first time in 1983. Then, for nearly ten years, he picked it up again to improve his grades, before throwing in the towel in 1992. At the time, authorities limited access to Gaoco to high school students or students under the age of 25. Once this restriction was lifted in 2001, Liang Shi thought he had a new opportunity.

Back to Mahjong

He has appeared for the exam 16 times and even the Covid period, marked by strict health restrictions that have complicated the conduct of the exams every year since 2010, has not deterred him.

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His case is interesting. Some netizens even wondered if he did it just for fame or as part of a publicity stunt. “What’s the matter?” Mr. Liang replies. “No sane person would pass up decades of cocoa for a publicity stunt.”

A sign of his motivation, he jokes: While preparing for the exam, he stopped drinking and playing mah-jong, a traditional game very popular in China. His son passed the gaokao in 2011, sometimes a bit embarrassed by this multi-recidivist father. “At first he didn’t really agree (I retake the exam many times), but now he doesn’t care,” says Liang Shi.

After clearing the exam for the 27th time, the eternal candidate planned to take some rest after all these months of work. “I’m going to play mah-jong with my friends for three days and three nights!”, he says.

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