LiBeL Column

Sunday Morning Rant

Columns from The Nation newspaper

Knocked out in thirty minutes

During a private class – out of the teachers mouth come the words :

” OK Nok, can you tell me what Susan Jones is going to do next? Remember she has just arrived in a new town. Let’s hear your ideas”

But what’s going on in his subconscious?

They come to you – “Please teach me” “Me and my sister want to learn English with you Mr ****”. Great you’re onto a winner you misguidedly think – a few hundred baht an hour for humouring this bunch on a Sunday morning. That’s over 3,000 a month – I could do with that. It’ll pay for a couple of nights out. Sure it will, if you ever teach 4 consecutive weeks – ” Teacher my sister must to go shopping – tomorrow we cancel” and then when they do deign to honour me with their presence it’s not like they’ve done any homework or if they have then it’s only because they had nothing better to do on the bus over here. How about doing something on your own just for once in your life? Do you do to the toilet together? – No, then don’t do your homework together.

Look at the book, follow the examples – ” Do you understand?”- ” Yes” “Are you sure?” Yes” . . . . . .” Then why are you holding the book upside down?” For f#&@’s sake! You’re an accountant with a farang company – is being brain dead suddenly a job requirement or do you have an ‘On/Off’ switch which activates itself before my class?

Read the passage – answer the questions – for some questions you will have to be creative, use you imagination – the answers aren’t included. You have to try to predict what will happen next . . . . ” So what is she going to do?” – ” No” Here we go again – “No” isn’t a valid answer. Why not just reply “Sausages” or “Mahatma Ghandi”? – it’d make more sense.

Try again ” So what is she going to do?” – 60 seconds is a long time to endure the sound of stony silence. For the final time – there is no correct answer – don’t look for one, you have an IQ don’t you – or did you leave that at home along with your notebook & pen? I’ll tell you what I’d do if I was this woman who’s sitting in the café thinking about her future . . . .if you two were featured anywhere in it then I’d be off to the nearest tower block for a cordless bungee jump.

Let’s try another tack to get you to utter a complete sentence – that’s OK I’ll allow one sentence between the two of you – it’s like teaching Chang & Eng Bunker only you two are more dependent on each other for survival.

A brainwave – what’s been splashed over the TV the last few days? For sure they watch TV – and with a bit of luck they might have seen the news – no point asking about anything outside Thailand – or inside Thailand for that matter but here goes:

” What do you think that nice Mr Thaksin is going to do next?”

Is he going to give lots of money to the poor so they vote for him? Is he going to proclaim that Thai Rak Thai will rule for 1000 years? Is he going to invade Burma in attempt to bring back the glory days of Suriyothai? –

” Yes”

Care to elaborate a bit? . . . . . . . obviously not – another discussion topic to cross of my list just for future reference. Make a mental note.

My final attempt to conquer space – the final frontier between these girls’ ears. Make it personal, encourage the students to talk about themselves – they love to do it – just as well because they know sod all about any other subject.

“What about you – what are you going to do next weekend?”

No, no, no, no, no, say one more sentence that includes the words sleeping, shopping or eating and I’m going to have to kill you both. How in God’s name can you go through life having absolutely no interests or hobbies at all? What about collecting used bus tickets? What about doing the laundry? What about surfing the net for porn?

At this stage I’ll accept any answer that’s a noun. Jesus, got to drag this out for another 5 minutes, don’t know what’s happened to the space time continuum in this room but I’m pretty sure that times slowed to a standstill.

” Come on Ning. Do you have any plans to meet your friends? What about going somewhere with your boyfriend?”

Now there’s a guy I feel sorry for. She reminds me of the Scarecrow – just hope he can find the Wizard so he can give her a new brain. Wonder what she talks to her boyfriend about – unless they share a mutual interest in shoes and mobile phone ring tones & logos – meal times must be pretty dull affairs.

“I’m going to see a movie.”

Now there’s an exciting day out. Bet you’ve never done that before. Your man really knows how to treat a lady. Been going out 3 years and yet to hold hands in public – what’s going on there? Screw culture – he’s gay or the most patient guy since Buddha. All I know is that I want my money back for that stereotype of Thai girls I bought into.

“Very good. Now for homework I want you both to write about your plans for next week.”

Might as well ask them to write about the meaning of life. I wish they could clue me in a little because there’s got to be more than this to look forward to every Sunday until I die.