Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Note to self:

“Don’t use the kitchen scissors to cut open super glue. Also, be more carefully with where and how much glue you use to fix things. Are you happy now that you have to buy new scissors and your problem is only halfway fixed, with no way to the improve situation?”

Friday, 20 March 2009

South African Law

Two recent court cases have earned the attention of newspaper readers in South Africa :

1. One person was fined R1 000 for not having a TV licence.

2. Another was released on bail for R500 after being arrested for murder.

The moral of this South African story:

If you do not have a TV licence and the inspector comes round, kill him.

You'll save R500.

It's the Right Thing To Do

*Sounds like an urban myth, but you will never know about these things

For your consideration

Dear Parent

Do you care about your child’s education? I am guessing you do, otherwise you would not be attending the parents meeting this afternoon. I have to ask though, do you think that interrupting the whole schools schedule is conducive to a good learning environment? Would it really that much of a problem to attend a meeting at 3pm rather than 2:30pm?

Kind regards
Otto Silver

Dear Principal

This school is not exactly known as the best organised in the area, so as per usual I was told today’s about the schedule change this morning. Apparently all classes will be 5 minutes shorter. If I plan my classes to run exactly 45 minutes and suddenly 5 minutes are chopped of, what would be the effect when I have to rush my class? Normally that translates to either I skip something completely or part of the class don’t get their one minute English practice with me.

When the paying adults who attend “conversation” classes have less time with me because no one told them about the changes, would that be good for the schools image. I was just wondering.

Kind Regards
Otto Silver

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Pardon the racism.

According to KEO:

A Springbok training XV will take on Namibia as preparation for the British & Irish Lions series.

The Boks were also meant to play against the New Zealand Maori as a warm-up, but the match seems to be abandoned due to a President’s Council ruling that doesn’t allow teams selected on racial lines playing against South African sides.

So, apparently it is OK to be racist when playing other countries, but not when playing South Africa. Why I can’t imagine. This is the same South Africa where race is the biggest issue in sport, the same South Africa where, at least once a year, the government sticks their noses where it doesn’t belong and says that there will be quotas for how many of each race will be allowed in a team. Why can’t you play a race based team against a legally racist country?

Friday, 13 March 2009

Go ahead. You have my permission.

It is something I have only noticed from older men, and one woman who happens to be my vice principal. In other words, I have only noticed it in Senior Koreans. Since I haven’t lived in Japan or China yet, I have no idea if it happens there.

I’m in the lunch room, plate filled with my Korean food, on my way to the area where I always sit, when I pass a Senior. What happens? I am gestured to sit down and eat. No, not to sit down next to said senior, but sit down where I choose. Really?! I have his permission to sit down and eat the food that is already served on my plate, to sit down and eat the food that I paid for, to eat MY food, anywhere I choose?

I see them do this to students all the time.

I’m at the petrol station, parked and ready to fill up my little motor cycle, when the older guy working there comes out and calls me over to another pump, closer to the office where he emerged. Maybe that pump is dry, but I suspect he was just too lazy to walk five more steps.

Obediently I go over to the pump that is more convenient for him and park the bike. He opens the flap to open the petrol tank, just to see that he needs a key to open it. He does this while I’m taking the key out of the ignition. As I am moving the key to the tank cap, obviously intending to open it, he gestures to it, seemingly saying: “Sure, you may open it.” Really?! You are so kind, letting me open the petrol tank, letting you top me up and take my money, as your business is suppose to do.

This man has seen me here many times, but for some reason it is the first time he topped me up.

I freely admit that I might be missing a cultural component here, but I suspect it is the kind cultural component that I wouldn’t care for if I knew, the kind of cultural component that does not fit in to the Diverse Global Culture that is Korea. At one point I was thinking that it might be a language thing where the gesture represents something you would normally say, but then why do I only get this from Seniors, not from people who are my “equals”? Am I missing something? Can anyone help me out here?

Thursday, 12 March 2009

English Note Books

The beginning of the year sees the return of the English note books. These are just normal school note books, but the cover has something that indicates that it is to be used for English. To be fair, most note books in the shops say that. It seems that English one of the few languages where you need to take notes. If you put in a few more minutes of browsing you will also find one or two that seems to be intended for Chinese or Mathematics.

There is a large shop in town that displays, quite literally, stacks of note book. I will sometimes go in when I have nothing better to do and read the cover pages. I also just wait for my students to come to class and then read their covers.

Some of the English is really good, to the point where the students have no idea what it means, because it is essentially a small essay on the cover. Some if it is really bad. Bad how? You know, confusing R for an L and vice versa, capitalization, punctuation, incomprehensibility, the normal things.

Then there are the "English" note books that display pictures of Paris or Rome. What exactly the French, who are not known for their love of the English language, are doing on the cover, not one will know. At least you can make the claim that it has something to do with travelling.

Today I saw the best of them all. The cover had something indicating that it was an English note book, but then half of the cover was filled with Dutch. I read it, I'm Afrikaans remember, and the whole thing describes the colonialization of the world by Europe and at that particular point in the text, how Portugal conquered some or another territory. What that had to do with English no one will know, but there it was.

Over the next week I am sure I will see a few more covers I didn’t notice before, and I can’t wait. It is always nice to have a distraction from the Noise Makers.

Monday, 09 March 2009

You disgust me.

You know, sometimes Koreans are just plain disgusting. I came out of the teacher’s room and was barely missed by a girl leaching on the floor. As if listening to boys pulling snort all the way from their navels and leaving pools of gwell on the stairs is not bad enough already.