Wednesday, November 7, 2012
The four of us headed out to the market along a narrow tree lined street alive with pedestrians, food vendors and depending on the block - sellers of ice, videos, books or clothes. I noticed Sheree behind me telling a longyi clad gentleman that we are from the USA. He explained that he is a teacher and that a branch of his school is down the block in a building that is over 100 years old and is slated to be torn down. He pointed out the brightly painted sign on the slightly mildewed taupe building. He was on the way into school from his bus commute and invited to come see it. We climbed a narrow wooden stair/ladder and slid through a narrow passageway where we encountered a classroom with 30 or so young men and women studying chemistry for an exam. He introduced a young woman who has two months to learn English before she heads for a job in Singapore. He ushered us up front and asked us to tell them to study hard and why English might be useful for their future. He then asked us to teach them some current slang. Out came their notebooks. That is how I found myself up on a wooden platform, marker in hand, progressing from "cool" to "slamming".