New Front Opens

Some months ago I was investigating the spread of the English language. I can't remember exactly why. It might have been to investigate why there was a chronic lack of non-Anglophones on the Iraqi blogs, but I really don't know. I have an idea now that it would be great to combine the 70% penetration rate of the internet with near-universal English language knowledge to produce a global debate amongst citizenry so that we can resolve our differences.

I stumbled across somewhere that said that there is a massive shortage of native English speakers, and that if you were a native, there was a place for you. And somewhere along the line I realised that if I had the appropriate qualifications (which are a degree plus a CELTA certificate), I could effectively work anywhere in the world, except for English-speaking countries such as America, where my services are not required. A new form of freedom in fact. I now have that CELTA certificate.

I had zeroed in on Taiwan as the place to go. The reason for this is that this is the final confrontation. All the enemies of the free world can be overthrown with minimal fuss, militarily, except for China. So the end game that I envision is the entire world in NATO, and NATO in Taiwan, letting China know that if it wants to conquer Taiwan, it has to do it over our dead bodies. And then basically wage a Cold War against China.

But it would help bolster the cause if we could have some Taiwanese telling the world that freedom isn't just for white people, and that whites should be taking an active interest in Taiwan's freedom. I wanted to know why the only thing we got from Taiwan was silence. I wanted to go to Taiwan and get Taiwanese to start English-language blogs and be active participants in this ideological war.

However, I decided to see if I could get work in Sydney. And to my surprise, I finished my CELTA course on a Saturday, one of the other students recommended a particular job website on Wednesday. I went there Wednesday night, fired off an email, was rung on Thursday morning, interview on Thursday afternoon, was offered a week's work starting on Monday, with the option of observing a class on Friday unpaid, which I did. That was two weeks ago.

In Friday's observation, the subject was "special occasions", and the 4th of July came up. The teacher explained that independence was when you got your freedom. So on Monday, I corrected that, and gave 3 definitions of freedom - "independence", "democracy" and "not subjugated". I explained that for some people, Iraq was free under Saddam (independent), while for others they got their freedom as soon as the statue fell, because they were no longer subjugated (in their opinion), while for others it came when Iraq had democratic elections.

I have suggested to my students that they should practise English by talking to strangers on the bus/train, and to use IRC, and to start their own blog. I hope I will learn what is motivating these people. I had to present some songs too, and presented John Lennon's song "Imagine". I told the students that a lot of people thought that we could have world peace if America would stop fighting. Did they want America to stop fighting? Yes! I told them that that's exactly what happened, and the North Vietnamese rolled over the south. And would the South Korean students be happy if the North Koreans rolled over the south and reunited Korea? No, they didn't want that. Hopefully I planted a seed. I don't think they have well-formed political opinions, and it's inappropriate to insist they come up with something! Hell, in one class, I wrote up "world peace" and "world freedom" and asked which was most important, and one person said they were the same!

I'm having a ball at this job. A Japanese girl was having trouble answering the question "do you speak more than 2 languages?". I asked her how many languages she spoke, and she said "one". I asked her if English was the only language she knew, and she said "yes". I asked the person sitting next to her if she thought that this Japanese girl was telling me the truth. "No". The next day I asked her the same question, and she still reckoned English was the only language she knew. So I wrote the question on the board, and asked again. Still "yes". I asked her to ask her fellow students the same question. When I came back, I asked her if English was the only language she knew, and she said "no". Apparently she speaks Japanese too! I suspected all along that her parents had probably taught her that.

In an exam the students did (and I stayed up till 00:30 one night and 01:00 another night marking - I wake up at 06:30), they had to combine two sentences using "but", "so", "then" or "because". One student combined "I felt fed up" and "The weather was bad" into "I felt fed up so the weather was bad". I thought it was really great knowing people whose mood changed the weather. Forget the American Indians with their stupid rain dances. Go to Thailand for real inspiration!

After that exam, I recommended 5 students go up a level. One of the students actually spoke to the Director of Studies saying that he wanted to stay at this level. He said he liked the class. But when the Director asked him why he liked the class, he said it was because the teacher was soft, while he knew that the teacher at the next level was hard. The Director talked him out of it. Soft teacher? Good grief. I really hope I can help these people.

I gave my first week's paycheck (plus some extra) to Waheed (Afghan Warrior) to pay for his internet expenses so that he could chat to some of his "Muslim brothers" to find out just how little they cared about his freedom and human rights. Negative "care" in fact. They only see him as a useful tool to hurt America. I want him to see that, and then formulate a plan on what to do about it. And I am seeing if I can use my second week's paycheck to get some more Afghan bloggers online. I'll see what eventuates out of that. Unfortunately the South Korean guy who served 2 years in the South Korean Marines is one of the ones moving up, before I had an opportunity to extract his ideology from him.

Oh, and all this, plus the fact that I've made contact with Taiwanese via an alternate method and am chatting at length to one in particular, to extract his genetic information, means that I've given up participating in the blog comments, at least for now. It's not really productive. There's no new arguments coming up that need to be countered.

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