Shengliver’s Note: Chenglin the Chinese teen learned a lesson the hard way on the art of listening.


Last week, the organisation sponsoring me gave me a bank card once again. My teacher asked us to go and have the password changed as soon as possible. At the meeting it was a bit noisy so that I did not hear the directions very clearly. After the meeting, I thought we must activate the card as we had done the last card before we could use it.


Fortunately, the card was issued by Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), which has a branch just next to the school. Without a second thought I left the campus for the bank office. When I found myself in front of the clerk, she said, “Boy, you must be here to activate your card.” I gave her a nod and handed the plastic over. In a minute she said, “We cannot activate it this time. Please go and tell your schoolmates about it.” Hearing what the clerk said, I was upset. Then I asked her where I should turn for help. Kind-hearted, the lady directed me to try the next bank office on Beijing Road. I said thanks to her before I went off.


While trying to locate the next ABC office along the road, I found I was lost. What luck! Instantly I noticed somewhere ahead a man in the police uniform. I went over to him and made an inquiry. The officer patiently told me where to find the office. Thank Goodness, there are still more kind people than unkind ones in this world. Following the officer’s directions, I very quickly reached the bank office. Upon entering the premises, to my greatest relief, I saw merely two people queuing up at the counter. It was not long before my turn came. To my chagrin, the same problem arose: the bank card could not be activated at the office. After several desperate attempts, I asked the clerk politely what I should do next and where I could make it. Shooting a glance at me, the woman snapped, “It’s none of my business.” Oh, my God. There should be such a bank clerk under the sun. I was in despair. What should I do next? My mobile phone was not with me, to make matters worse.


Having come out of this office, I looked about and spotted another police officer in the crowd. The rest was history. He gave me a ride in his patrol car to the next bank office without delay.


However, more trouble was just awaiting me there. As I walked into the last bank office and handed over my card across the counter to the clerk, she demanded my ID card. After reading the credentials for a while, she simply told me that I could not activate the card alone, without an adult accompanying, because I was born in 1999. My God. I should have run into so many barriers today that I just wanted to cry on the spot.


In the end I had no choice but to give it up and start for my dear school, the best high school in the world. Just before I turned around at the counter, it occurred to me that there was no cash at all on me because I had hurried out of school earlier in the afternoon. Automatically I took one of my cards out of my wallet and inserted it into the slot of an ATM at the bank office. After I keyed in the code and pushed a few buttons, a couple of banknotes flowed out of the slot. The transaction done, the card was ejected. When my eyes fell on it, I could hardly believe it. It was the very card that I had been trying so hard to activate but failed. A miracle had happened, man!


All of a sudden the scene at the meeting came back to me vividly. When the teacher was telling us how to use the card, I had been chatting with others. I had missed the instructions. I needn’t have gone through the hassle of activating the card at all. What I needed to do was no more than change the password! That was all.


My reader, as you can see, when there is a speaker around, keep silent and listen up. Otherwise, you would be subjected to experiences similar to mine.


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