Sunday, 28 February 2010

Bad English and Bules

Okay, another random week teaching English in Jakarta. I'm not happy with my employers because they didn't pay me what I was expecting to get paid and they didn't let me know about it until payday. They also still need to send me to immigration to finalise things with my residency here and sponsor me for a bank account. It is becoming apparent that they are far from competent when dealing with issues like this.

One of my classes are of quite a low ability in English but they are really nice. Although they aren't really bothered about learning and want to play games rather than learning English. It doesn't help them that the material in the curriculum – what they are tested on – is of a higher level than their ability. The problem with the progression system at our 'school' is that they are pushed through and can't fail. Nobody fails exams at out school. Does that not render the whole process pointless? I'm being quite pessimistic here, but I'd given up trying to teach that day because the school had pissed me off... I was supposed to be teaching an elementary level class the ins and outs of letter writing. Instead I set them a task where they worked together and pretended that they were sorry for not speaking English very well. They saw the funny side and the results were quite humorous, so I'll quote my favourite one: "Mr Lee, how are you today? I think you're not fine because your face are too handsome so, there are many girls want to kill you. Misterrrrr, we want to tell something to you about speak English. We very very very very very sorry because we can't speak English well! Thanks with love Jessica and Adel." That was quite funny and made me smile, so I let them off with their horrible grammar... A fair exchange seeing as they think I'm handsome and I didn't even have to tell them to include that in their work.

Yesterday I went to the swimming pool and as we were walking in all the kids inside the pool were staring at us. First, one shouted "Bule!" - which is a racial term for white people Indonesian for honkey I suppose - and then a chant erupted... "Bule, Bule, Bule...", that was quite nice... I wasn't sure whether we should be offended or honoured?! Effectively they were chanting a racial slur, but they were so happy about it, I'm not sure they meant it with any intent or malice. But could you imagine being in the Ken Marriot Leisure Centre at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon and a chant of "P*ki, P*ki..." occurring? The wonders of life in Indonesia! ;)

That aside, I also got to teach my Saturday business class and they are cool. The lesson is four hours long, but it flys and they really enjoy it. So that's always nice. Although I was tired because I'd been at work all week and it starts to show towards the end of the lesson. One of my students – a 41 year old middle class business lady – suggested that I was probably tired due to my high-percentage of body fat... I just sort of said that maybe she was right?!...

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Singapore photos and fat quotes...

Today was a bit of a mixed bag. I'm posting on a Tuesday because it feels right. I'll start with the quote of the week so far, this came from a mid-level 10 year old: "excuse me Mr., what does fuck mean?"... I wasn't quite sure what to say, I laughed and told him it was a bad word. I had a relatively good day... although I was tired because I'd been to a blues night the night before. I'm having a good time here and I can't believe I'm in my fifth week already!

It is starting to become apparent that my school is not so much interested in anything else as it is in making profit. The office boy Aldy, who works from 10am-9pm every day and weekends as well, has fallen ill. He makes next to nothing and sleeps with the other office boys in a room at our head-office... I think. This is purely what I think is the case. The poor dude has fallen ill with dengue fever. Now, I think it would cost a couple of months salary for him to pay his hospital fees, and the school won't even so much as front him the cash. This isn't much trouble for them surely as they are a citywide business consisting of about 6 schools – they charge high-fees and have plenty of demand for students – instead, the school has nobely asked the teachers to donate money towards Aldy's hospital costs. I don't really know how that makes me feel, but I know that I'm far from confident that my employers value their staff... maybe it's the age we live in, the age of the capitalist monster? Or, maybe it's the way of the third-world, those with money are looked after and the rest have to make-do?... Not the nicest of sentiments to perceive from an employer.

Anyway, that's enough socioeconomic insight for one post. To end the post on a lighter note I'll include my three favourite fat quotes so far, in descending numerical order: (3) "Oi fatty..." – Indra, aged 10; (2) "I think Mr. Lee is humorous because he's so fat." – Blessia aged 10; (1) "Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee... why are you always so fat?" - Audrey, aged 5. I'm starting to get a little paranoid ;) There are of course the rather innocent but tedious sumo comparisons and being compared to the Big Show (a big American wrestler); One of my favourite ideas one of the kids has had about my size – it's just a shame that it was in a class I was observing so I don't know the child's name – "Mister, can you wrestle my dad? He's really strong...

Here are a few shots from Singapore. They're pretty random...

Peace out... ;)

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Singapore, Guinness and passports! (who can spell Guiness?!) ;)

So Thursday, I didn't sleep...

Friday I was picked up at 4am by the school driver Ilham. There were four of us making a trip to Singapore in order to get our work visas at the Indonesian embassy there. What I actually mean is that we went to Singapore, met a dodgy looking geezer, and then handed over our passports...

Singapore is a fantastic day out, we went to Little India and had a look around and mooched about Orchard Road which is a big shopping street, it has loads of shops etc. I really liked the city, it was nice and clean and not too congested, which as cynical as this may sound, was a welcoming contrast to Jakarta – if only for a day. Although Puri – where I live and work – is actually really pleasant, it's just kinda dull, but is cleaner than the rest of Jakarta. Life here appears to be a dichotomy between clean and quite or noisy, a bit stinky and vibrant. 

The rest of the Singapore trip involved four of us waiting in a McDonalds for some dodgy geezer to return our passports. He was about an hour late – I was cacking my pants – but he came good. I now have an Indonesian work visa until Feb 2011. That's a bonus, it's just a horrible feeling being in a country that you don't live in with no money and somebody else being in possession of your passport.

I arrived home at 11pm, having had no sleep the night before – I finish work at 9pm – so by this time, about my thirty-sixth hour with no sleep, I was tired. I slept about 9 and a half hours – which was much appreciated – and then started work at 9.30 this morning.

I'm feeling good though, I'm drinking some single-malt whisky that I got at Singapore airport – you can't get good booze in Jakarta at a reasonable price – and listening to Zakk Wylde... in my pants... I have tomorrow off. I'm a happy and relaxed soul... for now! I also have some photos, but I'll add them at a later date, because the internet here is ridiculously slow and I'm drunk, alongside the fact that it's a ballache to find the link to add photos on blogspot...

Selamat malam orang!

P.s. I either said good night people or called you all monkey raping bum nuggets... you decide ;) Oh yeah and I had a really good pint of Guiness, perhaps the best I've had, being deprived of western products makes the few you find seem orgasmic... and I'm not even joking ;) xxx

Monday, 15 February 2010

Amendment about last week!

Just a quick amendment to the post below – more of an addition actually – I probably forgot to mention the best thing that happened all week. Prior to me arriving at my first class on Thursday, a student of mine – who is a pain in the arse, and is aged 9 – decided it was a good idea to climb into a cupboard in the classroom. This cupboard contained a ladder, and this ladder led to the attic and the roof. Sufficed to say, he stepped on a spongey-type tile and fell through the ceiling! Or that's what I'm going with anyway... he at least put his foot through the ceiling and damaged the classroom... It's okay though he was fine... he just cried throughout the whole of my lesson disrupting it throughout... he was only concerned about being in trouble with his dad – nevermind the classroom that has practically been written off; or my lesson with ten other children that were waiting to be taught.

I would usually try to suggest that I'm concerned for his safety, but seeing as he is okay, and is a bit of a tit, I'll remain indifferent on the issue ;)

Friday, 12 February 2010

Photo of Dave...

Just a quick update really, as I'm not sure when I'll be blogging again in the near future... I'm going to Singapore (but only for a day), on Friday the 19th, and hopefully to Bogor or somewhere after and will hopefully have the opportunity to take some photos.

This week has been much more fun than my first. The teaching has been a little relaxed and I've been introduced to some more classes. I have had a couple of business classes scheduled into my timetable although I've only met one of them so far, but they are really cool, relaed and eager to learn – which is a welcome change at the end of the day. I've also had a young adults class added to my schedule – they are between 15-25 – while they are pretty relaxed and will do the work, they also want to play games and have 'breaks' as well. I enjoy both classes a lot more than young learners, although yesterday I had a pretty cool kids' class and everything went relatively smoothly. I was happy about that because my first class didn't go so well.

Not much else to report as I'm working part of this weekend and that rules out getting pissed on Friday...
I have a photo of Dave – he is cool! He's the man!... I think... The first photo is me with Ipon our maid, I like her because she washes my pants.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Teaching Week One...

So it's the start of my second week here in Jakarta, things have been very interesting. It's also been very good to know that England beat Wales in the Rugby, and even more fun when you live with a Taff ;)

My first week teaching had it's ups and downs. I covered for a couple of young classes and trying to keep 6 year olds entertained was an absolute challenge. They are interested in one particular activity for five minutes and then are almost instantly bored. Although they are generally quite clever and pick-up the language very quickly. I'm finding the young children the hardest classes for me to teach... I could probably do with studying the CELTYL! (That means re-qualifying to teach young learners!)

My second day entailed me being called into the office because I'd apparently made a 9 year old boy cry. This did wonders for my masculinity and made me feel really good about myself... or not! I was irritated and had to talk to the boy's mother and reason with her. I explained that her son was misbehaving and cheating during class and that I told him he was wrong... I was a little annoyed as I didn't shout at him and the reaction to my supposed overzealousness was somewhat ridiculous... although: “all's well that ends okay.” That was the highlight of the week – getting the two bob bits aside – the rest of the week went swimmingly.
This week has started well and I'm feeling good about myself because I've just taught my first business class and they were really cool. The day hadn't started so well however as I'd been teaching a group of 5 year-olds and they are really looney! An absolute nightmare to control! And I also have a beginners class who're really nice, but again very taxing on the eliciting and teaching front. So having an interesting time with varied experiences.

I've also seen Dave again, but he wasn't in my room. He's a bad ass though... And I killed some cockroaches! Yess...