Monday, March 1, 2010


As promised. This morning I jump-started research on the CELTA program in Hanoi for their fall sessions. Several options for this intensive month long training.

Also, snuck a peek at options in China. With one billion people and the party's ruling that all Chinese under 50 must learn standard Mandarin and English in addition to their ethnic tongue. So the entire country is desperate for teachers. So is South Korea and southeast Asia. Fierce competition to train ESL staff. Lured by their willingness to provide room, board, transportation costs ... plus sign up/contract bonuses to stay in-country. Caveat: You get what you pay for. Literally.

Trepidation seeps through my soul that I am even considering being at the mercy of a non-Western Communist government. You WILL like it here. No complaints. Off with her head, the Red Queen screeched.

Know the drill only too well. The lack of 'stars' on student housing. Sub-par for Americans of a certain age! Food? They love scorpion satay! But, what really is the deal breaker, the breaking point, are the freakish salles de bains pour les femmes. Holes in the floor. Watch your step. Squatters we are not. My hair, however, will be well treated. That I already know. You do too.

China needs fluent English speakers. We all know that. English is the way of the world. Business especially. Tours are offered in two languages: Mandarin and English. Translators for translators required for those unfortunate tourists not fluent in my mother tongue. Too bad for the Poles, the Ruskies, the Brazilians ... anyone who doesn't know either.

Two truisms re China: (1) Not only are they overtaking the global economy, but (2) their signs are hilarious. Younger, English speaking Chinese know how to translate. But the whole face saving aspect makes them reluctant to correct their managers.

The results are hysterical:

  • A road sign on Beijing's Avenue of Eternal Peace warns of a dangerous pavement with the words: "To Take Notice of Safe; The Slippery are Very Crafty".
  • Emergency exits at Beijing airport read "No entry on peacetime".
  • The Ethnic Minorities Park is named "Racist Park".
  • At one of the bigger train stations a huge sign which states simply "Question Authority". Eeeks. What is this incredibly heavily controlled officially Communist state saying? LOL ... the sign points to the Information Booth.
  • Menus frequently list items such as "Corrugated iron beef", "Government abuse chicken" and "Chop the strange fish". But the one that really gets to me: worm pig stomach. Now you understand about my free board issue!
Thumbs up to teaching English in a foreign land ... and god help me for not knowing their language! Cheers!

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