Mandarin Fractions

by Sherice Kong

In Mandarin, we denote fractions by their whole first, then by parts. In English, you say, One-third of all daughters resent their mother; in Mandarin, we say, 三分之一女儿憎恨她们的母亲. The three parts come first. In America, my individuality matters more than my uniformity, and everyone spotlights my mistakes, ropes my name into their mouths, claims my identity for their own. But in China, it doesn’t matter if individual cogs are broken as long as the whole machine is still predominantly well-oiled. Unfortunately, I really do like math, so when my teacher picks me in calculus class, I open my mouth and shatter my tongues to fractions, simultaneously splicing myself into the whole and the part.


Sherice Kong is a 16-year-old writer from New Jersey. She works at Midlight Magazine and Café Au Lait Magazine, and her work is forthcoming in The Aurora Journal and Superfroot Magazine. She enjoys playing League of Legends to an unhealthy degree.