Pronounced: línshí bào fó jiǎo
Literally: “to clasp the Buddha’s feet in one’s hour of need.”
Means: professing devotion only when in trouble; to desperately plea for help at the last minute; to make a frantic last minute effort (in lieu of proper preparation); what a lot of Chinese high school seniors (and their parents) are doing today and tomorrow as millions of Chinese students take the all-important gāokǎo (高考) — the college entrance examination. These are the two days of reckoning for which Chinese children sacrifice their childhoods to their studies.
“…parents were streaming into the vermilion gates of the temples, to burn incense and pray for good scores. (One friend told me today about a fellow mother who is so crazed that she has been visiting Catholic churches as well, just for good measure.) The city itself even got into the spirit, ordering drivers to avoid honking, which might disturb students, and, in some places, closing down Internet cafes in the days before, to encourage studying.”