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ACT Subject: English ESL

Grade 10
Unit intro
Unit Code
Semester 1
Task 2
Weighted Score %
Test Date:
Short Response Test
(controlled conditions)
Time Allocation: 120 minutes (each)
Task: This test will be broken up and taken over two weeks. You will be given 2 short passages to read.
Before you start your test, take a few minutes to read the excerpts below about the author and the
interviewees whose stories are being told. Each question paper will have two sections: the first is meant
to be answered before you read the passage and the other section covers reading comprehension and
contains questions to be answered after you read the stories.
Take note of your instructions/questions and make sure you answer ALL the questions in an in-depth
and comprehensive manner. You may bring a dictionary to class to use to look up any new words that
you do not know.
Sang Ye
The Book, “The Year the Dragon Came” was written by Sang Ye . Sang Ye was born in 1955 in Peking, and
was a secondary school student when the Cultural Revolution broke out in 1966. In China he worked as
an apprentice at an electrical engineering plant and studied mathematics before beginning a career as a
journalist in 1980. He came to Australia in 1987-88 at the invitation of the Literature Board of the
Australia Council and the Australia-China Council, and moved here permanently in 1989. He writes
regularly for publications in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China, and his work has appeared in a number of
Australian magazines. Sang Ye is the author, with Zhang Xinxin, of Chinese Lives (Macmillan: London ,
1987). He also wrote, with Sue Trevaskes and Nicholas Jose, The Finish Line, a mosaic of travel stories
published by UQP in 1994. His most recent book publication is The Year the Dragon Came (UQP 1996).

The Year the Dragon Came is “…an oral history of Chinese in Australia”, in which interviews were given
by Sang Ye to Chinese living in Australia in the 1990’s, who he met through varying ways to research
their adaptation to a “western country” and culture. The interviewees requested to remain anonymous
for security reasons.

1. The first Interview given is called “The Salt of Life”, and involves a young woman’s trek from
China to Australia before she disappeared. She was the last person to be baptized in her
community before the Cultural Revolution began in China and all church activities were banned
by the government. The revolutionaries at the time were determined to exterminate every faith
except the fanatic belief in Marxism-Leninism (Communism) and all churches were closed by
order of the government. This girl began studying at a bible college in Australia, while working as
a waitress at night.
2. The second interview is with a young, arrogant boy who successfully escaped to Australia as part
of the “education for export” project, and on arrival found himself in a series of problems. The
second interview is called “The First Step”.
Grading Crtiteria:
 Clear expression of ideas
 Clear adherence to correct sentence structure and grammar usage
 Originality of ideas or way of expressing opinion
 Higher Order Thinking
ACT English (ESL)
The Year the Dragon Came: The Salt of Life
By Sang Ye
(Non Fiction)

Before you read


Many people in their teen years experience a ”crisis of faith” when faced with situations that challenge
their thinking and beliefs. Can you think of a time where the things you believed in were suddenly being
questioned by you or someone else? How did you feel? How did this effect your beliefs in the future?
Briefly share an experience where your faith was challenged.

After you read


There are four components in a story: Exposition, Crisis, Climax and Resolution. Identify each of these
components in this story.


1. What is your overall feeling about the story? Can you identify or sympathize with the girl? Why
or why not.

2. What is your impression of the way the girl in this story grew up? How do you compare it to the
way you grew up? Are there differences or similarities?

3. What are the dreams this girl has for her life based on her story. Thinking about this girl’s
background, do you believe she will succeed or fail in accomplishing these dreams? Explain why
or why not?

4. What do you think of this girl’s impression of Communism ? How was her life probably effected
by the change of government and politics in her country?

5. If you were in this girl’s situation in China at the time of her story, would you have acted and
lived differently? Explain.
ACT English (ESL)
The Year the Dragon Came: The First Step
By Sang Ye
(Non Fiction)

Before you read


Imagine life in China in the 1980’s and 1990’s: political upheavals, demonstrations, the Tianmen Square
Massacre. Imagine yourself as a young college student caught up in this madness. How might this effect
the way you think about China and another country like Australia? How might this effect the way you
see the world and yourself? How would you link this to the mass exodus of Chinese world-wide in the
twenty year period from 1980-2000?

While you read


How do you see the background of the boy influencing his behavior in Australia? Do you think he will
ultimately be successful in his studies and in life? Why or Why not? Think of causal relationships
between his past in China and his potential future in Australia.

After you read


1. What does the boy mean by “Australian dream” and why do you think he does not have one?

2. What does the boy mean by “self-exiled drifter”? Why does he use this to define himself?

3. What surprises waited the boy on his arrival? How might this have affected his outlook and
mindset toward life in general, and life in Australia?

4. Explain how the boy survived his first months in Australia. Was it what he was expecting? How
could he have made it different?

5. How did the boy compare his situation with that of an ‘Australian drunk or bum”. What does
this mean? How was his situation different?

6. What does the boy say about dreams when discussing that he doesn’t have an “American
dream”? According to the boy, what do dreams do to us and how do they transform our lives?
Explain this.