This incident occured a while back, but re-surfaced in memory while having a conversation with some of my more advanced students. We were talking about countries they wanted to visit. Most of the students wanted to go to America, England, Canada, Australia etc. – the fascination with everything western is obvious.
When asked where they DON’T want to go, invariably the answer was China. Obviously being Taiwanese, this is a knee jerk reaction – China is the accepted Public Enemy #1. But I wanted them to try and examine their reasons for this and come up with coherent arguments to support their stand. So I asked why?
On a side note, asking “why?” in a Taiwanese classroom sometimes leads to uncomfortable students and blank gazes. They don’t like to question what they are told is true. It is how it is – there is no “why?”.
Anyway, my students, now being used to my frequent “why?” questions furrowed their little brows in thought. One of the brighter ones spouted, “Because they are not polite.”
“Really? What do you mean?”
“They talk strong…never stand to wait…not polite.” she struggled. It was obvious she was pursuing a line of argument, but didn’t know how to express it in English. Wantng to encourage her thinking I said, “Ok, Chinese.”
She fired off a few sentences to the class, and one of the students who was better at English translated, “They don’t wait in line, they talk loudly and never act polite.”
And that’s when I remembered the horde incident. Here’s what happened. Continue reading ‘Face off with a Chinese horde’