Wednesday, December 01, 2004

There was an amusing thing that American teachers used to say – they probably still say it, though it was bigger in the 80’s – that was supposed to frighten their children into buckling down and actually learning something in school:

In Asia, the children are quiet and reserved. Teachers are revered as gods. They sit quietly in school, absorbing every crumb of information, which they process in their brilliant minds over and over for the next 20 years of their lives. In the very near future, they will use the sum total of this information to strategically purchase the United States and everything in it. You will be lucky to get a job at the Yamaguchi Squid Processing Concern.

And the assumption was that the American kids would start hitting the books, lest they ended up competing for McCurry jobs in Thailand. Now, I don’t know about those countries, but in Korea, a significant portion of the children are psychopathically insane. They respond to two forms of discipline: 1) physical violence, or 2) public embarrassment. Since it’s far, far worse to be different than to be hit, the second one is to only be used in dire emergencies. The discipline is given out in the following amounts:

Age 0-14:
None. Kids are kids. They can do absolutely anything, because they are children.
Age 15-18: High school. Beat the hell out of them until they study 23 hours a day. If they fail to get into a good college you’ll never have a cushy retirement, so you’ll want a nice hardwood stick, preferably something with a good grip on it.
Age 19-Death: None. Not necessary. All friends made in college will keep them in cushy government jobs for the rest of their lives, unless they failed to make it into Seoul University, in which case they’ll deliver noodles until they die and you’re a failure.

I’ve spent the better part of the day tracking down the children who have been banging on my door and running away. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. They do this because I’m different from anyone else in this school, and different is bad here, and needs to be eradicated (or at least bothered to death). The last time I freaked out about this they stopped for a few months. That should line up just about with the time I leave, so no worries.


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