Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Myeongdong has a cathedral. It is not to bad, but they are working on it, renovations I think. The odd ting about it right now is these odd coverings that are painted with the image of the cathedral itself. It is a bit of a strain on the eyes.
The think I loved was the statue of Jesus in the front...
Taiwan reckons Koreans believe they invented the world. It seems that Yahweh send his son forth from Incheon to bring his lost Jews back to Koreanism.
Monday, 29 September 2008
I recently went to the War Memorial in Seoul. The very first thing I saw as I approached the museum was this statue.
It is of a soldier holding someone else, helping them. The other person might be injured, but I am not sure. From this angle is looks a bit like two "loving" soldiers. In general I was quite impressed with the statues at the Memorial and it is certainly one of the best museums I have been to in Seoul.
Saturday, 27 September 2008
Friday, 26 September 2008
This post from Brian struck a cord with me.
I have recently been struggling to care about the students whom I teach. There is the odd few that I want to help, no matter what, but…
My part of the curriculum in this middle school counts 10% of the final mark. The only speaking evaluation that they get counts ONLY 10% of their final mark. The ability to actually communicate in the language that they are studying counts ONLY 10% of their final mark.
For me to calculate this mark I give an oral test every two chapters as well as assignments/homework. Most students could not care less about the homework. They will either leave the homework, untouched, on the table as they leave or they will just throw the paper away at the door.
“Surprisingly” these are the same students who feel that “YES!” is the best answer to “What is most important in your life?” They feel that the two sentences they have to study over one week is just too difficult, because they “don’t understand” me. I suppose their Korea must be really bad as well, because they are unable to understand the Korean that their English teachers speak, which means they can’t ask them either.
These students will inevitably get a mark of about 20% from me. This they get for actually being in class. The mark will then get adjusted to be out of 10, with 6, 7, 8 and 10 the only options. Yes, there is no mistake. You are not allowed to get 9. A student who turns up in my class and willfully does nothing will get 60% and a student who deserves a 9 will get an 8. On the plus side, I can say: “Truly, I am an amazing teacher to be able to say that not one of my students scores less than 60%.”
Add to this that students know it doesn’t matter if they are never able to speak English. In Korea they don’t need it and even when they travel they do it with Korean tour guides, go to Korean restaurants and watch Korean TV. Basically, they will never have to Speak English because they will effectively never leave Korea.
There are up to 40 students in a class. A period lasts 45 minutes and students are unable to arrive on time so I am lucky to get 40 minutes. Some students, as I already said, don’t care. Some students do. The ones who don’t care make it almost impossible for me to teach the ones who do, so I have started sending out the students but disrupt the class. Recently the one group has been getting FUCKING RUDE about their IDIOTIC DOKDO KAK as well. Last week I was told I am not allowed to too send students out of the class any more. I was told by my teacher “I don’t want you to send the students out any more”. I DON'T WANT? You don’t lift a finger to help me with discipline even after I asked for help, and now you think you get to tell me what to do for discipline? You allow student to disrupt the whole class and then you try to take the moral high ground by saying it is unfair to send them out? What about the students who behave themselves and try their butts off every week?
My new philosophy is “Do as little as possible”.
If a student asks for help then I will help. If they don’t, then I won’t. I will teach the students who care and claim there wasn’t enough time to give everyone individual attention. The end result will be the same, so why should I stress myself out in a system that cares more about making everyone look good than about what the students learn?
Thursday, 25 September 2008
Still on the South African theme, I am going to post a clip that is sometimes funny, not in a good way, and sometimes sad. White people tend to think this situation is terrible because they look at in a context of “We had it and it was taken away,” and not in the context of “There are millions of others who never had it and are still worse off”. I look at it and think that most of this is not because the people featured here did anything wrong, but that the government laid them off for being white. Fantastic actions for a party that claims to have fought for equality, isn’t it?
Look out for Pahad. He is more interested in fighting and being the racist than he is than actually answering a question sensibly. I admit that the questions are misguided, but that does not make his relies any less racist.
If you get a chance, read some of the comments on YouTube. It is amazing the rubbish people post there.
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
In honour of National Braai Day in South Africa, I thought it would be good to help everyone remember the rules of the game:
*Braai is an Afrikaans, and likely also a Dutch word that means "to roast". In South Africa we say Braai instead of BBQ.
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
We rarely translate English in to any other language, the exception being educational programing for small children. South Park is not for children by any stretch of the imagination, but someone decided it needed changing in to their own foul mouthed, racist and over the top translation. Basically it is just like the English version, just in Afrikaans.
Monday, 22 September 2008
Because of a book we were reading, I thought I would let my students hear what a Yorkshire accent sounds like. After class I was wondering if there would be anything on South African accents. I found this by a radio presenter called Wackhead. In this he tells you how to do the Afrikaans accent. It is completely over the top and sometimes even offensive, but that comes with the territory, so I just chuckle and am glad I don't sound like that, usually.
Unfortunately I can't embed the clip, you so will have to listen to it here.
I actually have a t-shirt that reads "I are wearing a Jean Pant"
Sunday, 21 September 2008
Saturday, 20 September 2008
Friday, 19 September 2008
Thursday, 18 September 2008
My favourite history teacher, the one who seem to knows a little about everything and the truth about nothing comes, up to me today and asks me if I know Nelson Mandela. It is the fourth time he has asked me this since I started working here.
I am South African, so I “vaguely” recall hearing that name. Maybe it is because every town had a Nelson Mandela Street or a Nelson Mandela Square or a Nelson Mandela Township and sometimes all three. Maybe it is that he was one of your presidents and revered the world over. I’m not sure, but it might just be the same man.
Every time he tells me that Mandela is a GREAT man and every time I ask him what he thinks of F.W. de Klerk, and every time he ask who the hell that is. Seems he still hasn’t heard of the name, even thought I told him three times already.
Don’t ever come to me and tell me that Mandela is a great man if you don’t even know who De Klerk is. That means you just assume Mandela was great but the reality is you don’t know what you are talking about. If there was no De Klerk then there might not have been any Mandela to rule South Africa. Don’t you find it strange that the Great Mandela received a Nobel Piece Prize together with De Klerk for the same thing?
Then the teacher goes in to how Mandela was in prison for 27 years. What everyone seems to forget is that quite a few of those, towards the end, was more like living in a private guest house where you are just not allowed to leave. Call it House Arrest, if ou will. People also seem to forget that he was not the only prisoner on that whole rock we call Robben Island.
This is the same History Teacher who knows only what is needed to prove Dokdo is Korean, despite the text surrounding the prove that DISPROVED your statement. This is also the same History Teacher who says chilies came from China and who needs to point out every single physical trait on me that he finds attractive at least once a month. (He seems to think that Koreans love their fathers and Westerners don’t, because I said I don’t know, or care, if my wrinkles are the same as my father’s, whereas he knows his own, ever single one on his father and now ever single one on me as well.)
Next time he asks “Do you know Mandela?” or “Do you know Dokdo is Korean?” I will just say “Who is that? What is Dokdo? Really? WOW! That CAN’T be true! You are LYING!”
** Don’t get me wrong, I think Mandela is a great man, but his imprisonment has noting to do with my opinion. I don’t even consider the fact that he was engaged in terrorist activities/freedom fighting an issue. I have my reasons because I made a tiny effort to know more than “27 year makes you great.” He has done a lot that does not become a Great Man as well. Feel free to read a bit more about him.
Monday, 15 September 2008
Despite only about 30% of the population being Christian, South Korea has the distinction of having the most Christian missionaries per capita in the world. I myself have been approached by Christian on about five occasions now, the weirdest being the Church of God who wanted me to know that there is also a Mother God. Why are Korean Christians so over active?
“Man cannot live by bread alone.”
- Moses, Deuteronomy 13:7
What does this verse tell us? For one thing, you need to eat a variety of foods. The other things it tells us that the people to whom Moses was speaking had a starch staple of bread.
Why is this significant? Koreans have a staple of rice, not bread. Sure, they like their pastries and stuff, but it is still very far from being an actual food. Moses was clearly not talking to rice eaters and I feel it is reasonable to assume that he never intended for rice eaters to follow his words.
Just maybe it is this that makes the difference. If rice eaters with money gets a hold of the religion started by Moses and renewed by Paul, then you get these over zealous people that feel is it a good idea to go in to places like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia to evangelise or to bother innocent foreigners(and Koreans) on the streets.
Friday, 12 September 2008
Thursday, 11 September 2008
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
The ChosunIlbo posted a story about cost sharing of education in Korea, as compared to other OECD countries. The last paragraph said something interesting and read like this:
The average number of students per teacher is 26.7 at elementary schools, 20.8 at middle schools and 15.9 at high schools, again much more than the OECD average of 16.2 at elementary schools, 13.3 at middle schools, and 12.6 at high schools.
When do I get these numbers? My smallest class is 35 and the largest is 40. At least I don't have to worry about the classes getting largerer.
Tuesday, 09 September 2008
I swear this is the most fun I have ever had with my clothes on. The most fun you can have with your clothes off is, of course, a long hot bath in the middle of a snowy winter.
Because the Jukdo are padded, you have to hit quite hard to do any damage. This meant we were hitting the shit out of each other. After laughing at the young ones, I was asked to spar with high school student. Being old enough take the blows, so I was going for it and it seemed like he wasn’t trying to be nice to me either. Apparently I am quite good at this, considering it is my first time, because I was much faster than my partner and hit him quite a few on every legal spot. I was trying my best to keep the form I was taught earlier, but correct motions and footwork goes out the door when someone is gunning for your head with no consideration for your noble efforts.
I wonder if my girlfriend wants to play Jugdo with me. Next time we have an argument we can settle it like
padded men adults.
After training I continues my quest for a motorcycle licence. When it is resolved I will post about it.
Friday, 05 September 2008
I while back I handed out a bunch of warning letter that were addressed to the parents of students who were extremely disruptive in my classes. The fact that the students were coming to class without book, week after week, was also annoying me. A whole table without books is impossible to teach when they actually need to use it. One parent replied to my letter.
In teacher English
I am the father of volume sickbed army.
Also the book which the student studies studying without encounters as the father highly and startlingly.
Is knowing with the fact that the sickbed diatomic play is serious and as identity of the student the fact that also the book studies without from warfare the gun without to fight, with it goes the thing and E it is cold it picks up.
The map of the parents mistake is the big army,
Again there is not like this work, in order to give an attention, in order, and little more frequently great disaster and nearly polyvalent water shortage there to be a sickbed, it endeavours and [sup] it is a [ni].
From father of volume sickbed……..
I suspect the parent typed the letter in Korean and fed it into a translator, the students name and all. Who would have thought that one of my students was named Volume Sickbed (Army).
When I first read this letter I was thinking: “My student’s father was a prisoner of war and is now bed ridden with the student having to go find water for the sick parent? That is why he is disruptive in my class?”
Thursday, 04 September 2008
...with the caption reading "Where's LEGdO?" My first thought was "Where's Dokdo?", but I am pretty sure the author didn't mean that at all. However, I am very sure that this was the question on the lips of many people when Koreans recently tried to bring The Rocks to the attention of the American on the Street(cant find a link to the story).
Wednesday, 03 September 2008
Tuesday, 02 September 2008
A while back a guy whom I don’t know asked to be added as a friend in Facebook. I thought that I might know him somehow, so I added him to see what happens and then promptly forgot about it.
Last night I quickly showed Master Jo my photos of Two Thousand Town when he popped up on Facebook’s instant messenger. I apologised and said that I was unable to chat just then. He asked another question and I said that I was not actually behind the keyboard, so I would chat later. Amazingly this fool’s next message was “So, where are you?” Demmit, dude! I CAN’T TALK NOW!
Later the evening I send him a message saying that I was now able to chat. He said hello and the next message gave me his phone number and said we should chat some time. I said I was in Korea, not South Africa, and not going to call him. A few lines later he said “Can I ask you a question?” I said “Sure” and he said “Can you sponsor me a ticket where you are?”
WTF!? I don’t know the guy from a bar of soap, we’ve been talking for two minutes and he asked me this? I gave an answer thinking he was joking, but he said he was serious. I asked what he was thinking and he told me to forget it. No matter what I asked, that was his answer.
What a weirdo! His profile said he in engadged and interested in women, but almost every person on his list is male and many of them in nice shirtless photos. I am getting the feeling this guy is trolling Facebook for, er, I can’t think what. He goes by the name Joseph Cornelis Swart.