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Thursday, June 11, 2009

My school plays the Mamma Mia! soundtrack on a continuous loop

Having mornings off is fantastic! Today I woke up, ate my usual peanut butter-and-banana toast and took an hour-long walk to E-Mart. It turns out it doesn't open until the surprisingly-late time of 10:00 so I was a few minutes early. 

There were a lot of people standing just inside the main doors but being held back from crossing the threshold into the actual store. I could see all of the employees taking position, one standing at the end of every aisle. Finally 10:00 rolled around and suddenly, a God-like voice boomed from the loudspeaker.

I couldn't understand what he said beyond repeatedly saying "Thank you," but each time he said it, all of the employees chanted something and bowed. This happened for about a minute straight, the chanting and bowing. It was a fascinating ritual that could never happen back in America.

And then I entered the store and had another laugh. As I perused the frozen spinach, the song playing sounded familiar. What was it?

"Happy Talk" from South Pacific! It was in Korean and the English chorus sang about E-Mart but it was the same tune. I couldn't stop laughing to myself -- the song is pretty stereotypical about Asians so I wonder who had the bright idea to use it to promote E-Mart.



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Speaking of random songs, a ton of kids over the past few months have been singing this song (in Korean, natch, besides the "bibbity bobbity boo"). They will literally break out en masse as we walk to and from class or in the middle of a lesson. I've even heard children singing this on the subway.

It must be in a commercial here or something... I can't imagine that Cinderella has gained such a massive following overnight. 

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One student's English name this week is Obama (a very popular celebrity name ranking right up there with Rooney, Beckham and G-Dragon). Every time Obama sees me -- pretty frequently, since I've been teaching all of his evening classes -- he says loudly, "I love you." 

This happens multiple times a class. Even today, he said it when class first started, when I called his name during attendance, during the experiment AND when I gave out stamps at the end of the period. 

Sucking up? Teacher crush? Possible Mary Kay Letourneau situation?  

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I recently started teaching Science class. Yes, go ahead and laugh. I know absolutely nothing about science but since the entire lesson plan consists of explaining solid-liquid-gas and then doing an easy experiment, even I can handle it. You'd be surprised.

Most of the students this week are pretty low-level so it's more "repeat after me" and less actual teaching. But I got through to at least one student today.

As we were cleaning up, one very quiet girl was in the corner playing with her pens. She hadn't said anything during class. When I walked over to her, she showed me her highlighter and said something in Korean. 

"What?"

She repeated the Korean and gestured toward the small puddle of green goo on the table -- clearly, the highlighter had broken and the chemicals inside were spilling out.

And that's when she surprised me. 

"Liquid," she said.

YES! If I've accomplished nothing else this week, one 12-year-old Korean girl now knows what a liquid is. Success!

1 comment:

  1. I can clear up one mystery! A dubbed Cinderella was shown (more than once, I'm guessing, from the general effect) on public television over a holiday several months ago. I hear the chorus in my hogwan, frequently.

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