Back in the teaching trenches...

Wed Aug 6, 2003

Yep, war metaphors are always appropriate in ‘teacher discourse’. Well, being back at work isn’t that bad. I’m beginning to find that a little caffeine continuously flowing through ones veins allows one to keep up with even the most frenetic kids. Of course I officially have no life, so being a slave to one’s current occupation doesn’t seem a great sacrifice at this point. Well, let no-one accuse me of being a pessimist, that’s what I say.

Although my ‘official’ Korean name is “Lee Ki-Chan”, some of my more enterprising students have named me “Ghemihanmarie”, which translates as ‘a single ant’, it’s literal translation being “ant one”, a play on the phonetics of “Antoine”. And on the subject of amusing naming anecdotes, one of my new adult students wants his English name to be “Car”, because he likes driving fast cars! I had a “Swan” in my class once, that’s a cool English name, but “Car”, mmmmm….I mean the guy is 45 years old, do I detect a mid-life crisis? Or am I just being a cynical bastard, even though I say these things in jest?

Perhaps you have seen this on the news recently. The president of the Hyundai corporation committed suicide after being embroiled in a political scandal. What happened was, he paid the North Korean government a few million dollars to sign a peace treaty a while back. After this was revealed to the public, his honour was severely compromised and his only recourse was to end his life. It’s alarming to think that the negotiations between the North and South are underscored by corruption and bribery. Peace seems so tentative right now, especially with the U.S. adamant that they “will no longer ignore the North Korean threat”. I must say that anti-american sentiment in Korea is particularly high right now, a lot of the time for the wrong reasons unfortunately (too complicated to explain here). I’ve witnessed some large demonstrations in Seoul with rank upon rank of armed riot police poised tensely on the sidelines. Anyways, that’s, er…it. I’ve just run out of steam.

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