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Author Topic: "We'd like to speak English with you..."  (Read 12526 times)

kevcom1

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Re: "We'd like to speak English with you..."
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2011, 06:54:04 AM »
I think there is a difference betwen the foreigners that are her for a short time and the ones that stay for an indefinite period of time.
i have noticed that ones that are here for a short time do not really care if people interrrupt them, point out the lao wai, say hello or other thigs that can be thought of as rude. Because they are only here for a short good time it is easier to just let it go and do not really get it when a longtimer complains about it.
The people that have been here for a while that have been bombarded with these things for years takea more negative stance on it and get frustrated when foreigners around them do nothing to change the behavior.
I agre that as teachers our job is not only to teach English but also correct thigs that are just plain wrong. I like being here enough to take the time out to explain to people what exactly the problem is. It is hard to not get angry and lose my patience but I realized that anger doesnt do anything helpful. when i walk my dog i pick up her poop and have been noticed by people in my neighbourhood. some folks with dogs have started doing t as well. For the ones that do not i have started handing them some toilet paper and just saying saying that i am sure they forgot or ran out and I wanted to help them.

Kangaroo

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Re: "We'd like to speak English with you..."
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2011, 09:26:22 AM »
My sympathies go both ways on this one. When I'm out and about and someone sits down at the dinner table next to me (without asking) and then starts practicing their English on me, it pushes a few buttons.

On the other hand, just the thought of my wonderful students innocently crashing into another foreigner's day, wanting to practice English in our somewhat laowai-deprived one horse town... and getting someone like me in a bad mood... doesn't bear thinking about! Must make a mental note to incorporate something into a class about 'how to approach strangers' to prevent this possibility.


Part of my problem is the long vs short term viewpoints, (as identified by Kevcom1). When I'm out and  in a small group of foreigners with different attitudes toward this sort of thing, I don't want to embarrass my friends by telling off an over eager 'We'd like to speak English with you" person but I also don't enjoy getting stuck with that person for the rest of the day or evening, just because the others are...

a. enjoying the attention
b. think our would be English student is 'cute' (interpret the word as you will)
c. think it's our moral duty to uplift the dull, dreary, disappointed locals with our English speaking charms.
d. are genuinely nice people.

chanhonam

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Re: "We'd like to speak English with you..."
« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2011, 11:57:20 AM »
This has reminded me one of the benefits to being a BBC (British version of ABC). Nobody asks to speak English with me. Downside is taxi drivers think I am retarded for my poor Manderin.

mkate

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Re: "We'd like to speak English with you..."
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2012, 07:15:27 AM »
Whenever I see Chinese people on the street back here in the US I have to hold myself back from going up to them and asking stupid questions in extremely basic (and of course broken) Chinese. It would just be so self satisfying.

I have EVERY intention of doing this when I go home! My students have taught me a few sentences. I'm actually going to film it for them.

The blessed things were very surprised to hear that we don't stand and point at foreigners in my town, and have asked me to prove it, mission accepted!

Chinamick

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Re: "We'd like to speak English with you..."
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2012, 12:23:44 AM »
It happens quite a lot in Beijing, especially in the Wangfujing area. Many of them think that weekends are 'open-season' for free laowai lessons. They have no real concept of the fact that sometimes I like some private time. So, I usually tell them I'd be very happy to talk with them.

Then I ask them if they know a good coffee shop where they can be me a coffee, and tell them I charge RMB150 an hour.

They leave me alone then.

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: "We'd like to speak English with you..."
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2012, 01:32:21 AM »
I THINK NONE OF THEM ARE AWARE IT IS AN IMPOSITION.

Bingo. This is why I don't generally get ugly with them, as long as nice works out for everyone.
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we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

Ruth

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Re: "We'd like to speak English with you..."
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2012, 02:39:59 AM »
Yesterday I was minding my own business and enjoying myself skating around an ice rink. A woman called me over to the boards. I was going fast enough that I had to put the brakes on and back-track. [Yes, after years of not skating I can still skate fairly quickly without falling down and can still manage to stop, not quite on a dime, but passably without killing myself.] What did she want? She was with two men (all of them Chinese) and had a car manual, of all things to have at a skating rink. She wanted to know what 'drive cylinder' meant in Chinese.  ahahahahah She picked the wrong laowai to ask for Chinese translations of technical stuff. She had a picture. They all knew what it was. She had the English words. Not sure why she thought I would know the Chinese word  mmmmmmmmmm I apologized for not knowing, she thanked me and I went on my way. Weird encounter, but little surprises me any more.

Another encounter at the rink had less to do with my English-speaking ability than my skating ability. I'm no Wayne Gretzky, but other than the guys who worked there and a group of little girls who had private lessons in a roped-off area and then skated rings around everyone else, I was doing better than the others for form and speed.  ababababab I grew up in Canada; learning to skate is a Civic Duty. Two guys asked me for help. This was not long after Miss Car Manual, so I assumed they wanted to "practice English". Nope. Could you teach us to skate?  [I was also by far the oldest person on the ice. Other than about 5 others, most of the skaters were less than half my age.]
If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.

kitano

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Re: "We'd like to speak English with you..."
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2012, 02:48:14 AM »
Ruth's post just reminded me of that phenomenon where some Chinese people seem to think that you know everything lol

In a similar vein going to the supermarket usually involves people checking out what I am buying and putting the same in their basket

Ruth

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Re: "We'd like to speak English with you..."
« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2012, 03:02:25 AM »
Bingo. This is why I don't generally get ugly with them, as long as nice works out for everyone.
Three years ago a freshman student stayed to talk with me after our oral English evening class. Week after week. Persistent guy. I'd shut down the computer, pack my things, turn off the lights, walk out of the building and down the street. He'd stick with me and keep talking. Always with the questions. We'd stand on the corner where our paths diverged and talk some more. I have to admit that often my thoughts ran to "How can I graciously excuse myself from this conversation so I can go home and relax?" Shame on me. I'm selfish. The questions became more intense and I invited him to my home where he could meet my husband and we could have a more relaxed conversation. Could he bring a couple of friends? (Just a few days ago he admitted that that request was for moral support because he was afraid of going alone.) This kid has grown into a serious young man who is as dear to me as my sons are. He still asks questions and he's still persistent. He's going to be a strong leader in his community one day, I just know it, because he already is. He and the friends he brought to our home that first time came to practice English. We let them. The relationships grew, and grew, and grew. There is now a core group of about 15 kids young adults committed to us and each other. I can't express in words how marvelous it is to watch them interact with each other. They share joys and disappointments, laughing and crying together. We get to be aunt and uncle, surrogate parents or grandparents, whatever. It is the first time in my life I've experienced community like this and I would have missed it all if I'd blown that persistent kid off.

My point? You just never know what blessings are there. Do I take time to get to know everyone who wants to practice English with me? No. I don't have the time. But I'm so glad I paused on that street corner week after week three years ago.
If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.

Escaped Lunatic

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Re: "We'd like to speak English with you..."
« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2012, 06:56:23 AM »
In a similar vein going to the supermarket usually involves people checking out what I am buying and putting the same in their basket

Damn. That explains why every time I find a new snack I like they start running out all the time. asasasasas
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zero

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Re: "We'd like to speak English with you..."
« Reply #25 on: January 17, 2012, 02:37:48 PM »
If they are of an appropriate age, and female, and cute, and willing, I speak English with them for a while, and then I make love to them. Sweet, passionate love.

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: "We'd like to speak English with you..."
« Reply #26 on: January 17, 2012, 11:49:31 PM »
Ruth, you never cease to amaze me with what a thoroughly beautiful person you are. bjbjbjbjbj akakakakak

In a similar vein going to the supermarket usually involves people checking out what I am buying and putting the same in their basket

Yeah, they do that.
At one point I was seriously considering marketing cloth shopping-basket covers. These would use sewn-in magnets to line the basket and cover the top, and would be emblazoned with the Chinese characters equating to "Fuck off!". ahahahahah

In the meantime...if you can find them, always buy a jar of green olives on such trips. Make a big ooh-ing and ahh-ing deal over them. The homeys don't generally care for powerful sour flavors, and green olives seem to be unpleasant to them to the point of borderline emetic. uuuuuuuuuu
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

BrandeX

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Re: "We'd like to speak English with you..."
« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2012, 01:12:02 AM »
I'd be thrown for a bit too if someone asked me about a "drive cylinder", but I assume that's what's known as a "drive shaft" in Intl' Standard English (US) hehe. ahahahahah

gonzo

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Re: "We'd like to speak English with you..."
« Reply #28 on: January 18, 2012, 01:25:41 AM »
A slightly new take on this one. Shanghai, Nanjing Road pedestrian mall, after dark, I'm on my own heading back to the hotel. Twice inside a minute, I was approached by two college aged girls - pretty, but not tarty, wanting to talk to me. Both spoke good English and both made significant breast to upper arm contact, and I've been around long enough to read that body language. Pimping? Working solo to pay off school fees or dad's operation? I didn't bother to find out, but one seemed genuinely upset I wouldn't converse with her.

On a different tack, I'll always spend time on a person who explains they are a junior or middle school English teacher. We chalkies need to stick together.
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old34

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Re: "We'd like to speak English with you..."
« Reply #29 on: January 18, 2012, 01:56:45 AM »
Yeah, Nanjing Dong Lu is known for that. Can't walk down that street without being approached. Once I was at (one of) the Pizza Huts on that road with two students. It was their treat so they got to name the place. I was talking to them about this "phenomenon" and they didn't believe me. SO I told them to walk 10 meters behind me when we left the restaurant and within a 5 minute walk, two different "girls" approached me. My students were a little embarrassed by their compatriots actions. They were a bit more embarrassed after they caught up to me and I told them the "girls'" English was better than theirs.

Oh yeah, and some middle aged guy came up to me once on Nanjing Dong Lu with almost flawless English and wanted to chat. He said he was an English professor from SIchuan University just in town for a few days, and he pulled out his card. Three years later, I'm again walking down Nanjing Dong Lu and the same guy approaches with the same story. Wow! What's the likelihood that he'd be back in Shanghai from Chengdu 3 years later? I called him on it and he scurried away. A year later I saw the same guy on the same street. Luckily he had already hooked up with a couple of foreigners for a "chat." Anybody else ever run into this guy on Nanjing Dong Lu?
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