Thursday, 19 February 2004

The Director's Children And Other Stories

The director has two children: Karly and Kevin. Both attend the school, but aside from same mother and same school, all similarity ends, because I find it hard to believe two such different ends of the child spectrum can be of the same father.

Karly is about 8 and is very bright. Quite cheeky, but not too much so. She's a keen worker, very instinctive at English, very good at reading, and any inattentiveness is due to the ease of the work before her rather than laziness. She's a good child for any parent to have.

Kevin, on the other hand, is a disaster of a child. He's about 6 and is on some other planet entirely. He manages to have a continuously running nose and cannot ever keep still in class: he resembles a rag doll flailing about entirely at random. Flashes of intelligence occasionally hint at something other than an irritating, snot-nosed space cadet, but he's one of the kids that I have to just ignore sometimes. Some kids aren't worth the effort of teaching when their forced education is at the detriment of the rest of the class.

On a different note, but still regarding the director, is the approach of March. March heralds the beginning of a new term and a new timetable for me. This is a potential problem because with the departure of John means a whle set of teacherless classes. Which I worry they may try and fob off on me. So very tactfully, I yesterday asked my director about this, about how many classes I'd have next term. "Because any more than 40 would kill me" I said. I can handle 40. It's not easy but I can do it. More would just slowly tear my soul out.

Talking of souls, I was wondering something. People talk of going for a "number 1", ie a piss, and a "number 2" ie a crap. So what would a number 3 be? A lung? 4? 5? I reckon by the time you get to a number 7, you're literally evacuating your soul. I think I'll just stick to piss and crap.

I bought a camera yesterday. I promise not to lose this one in a week, like the last two I've had in Korea. I also bought a toaster but I think I'm safe from losing this.

Also, I bought some Korean dance music. It's numbingly bad.

I've been staying at the Manor full time now. What a difference it makes. Weeks in a noisy and small one room apartment do feel claustrophobic. But time and space seem abundant at the Manor.

Since John's left, there's a stand in teacher for his Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes. I don't yet know his name but I do know he's Australian, looks dashing from a distance but goofy up close, and has a festering smell about him.

He also made a pretty bad first impression with me. He said he was from Perth in Australia but had lived in Sydney recently. He then started to complain about all the foreigners there - focussing on the Chinese and Arabs. Now whether or not you agree with immigraton (and as Australians are all immigrants anyway I can't see how they couldn't), there are certain ways to act when you first meet a person. I happen to be fairly pro-immigration but I do understand the anti-immigration arguments and don't necessarily think they are racist. So I don't necessarily think less of a friend if they turn out to be anti-immigration for legitimate reasons.

But when you first meet someone, to immediately launch into a speech about too many Chinese and Arabs being in Sydney, and that being the whole reason you don't like the city, well that's stupid. And sounds pretty bigoted and ignorant. Whatever his reasons, it's not an introduction you should give.

And more significantly, for him or me or any Westerner to start moaning about foreigners in our country is astonishingly hipocritical. (hippocritical, how do you spell this word? Two p's in the word imply a whole different meaning). Because look at us, we're goddam foreigners in the Koreans country. We're here just because we happen to speak English as our native language, and for that we get paid better than most Koreans. And we're treated well over here, we're respected. And we have it easy, we're here by choice, not because living in our home country is impossible and we're running from persecution and god know what horrors.

Anyway, before I get ranting, I'd better go and do something else.

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