Sunday, July 31, 2005

Soccer, Coolio and dirty white sluts...

The weekend of the 23rd and 24th were spent in Taipei. It was my first time attending the Taipei Summer Cup soccer tournament. It was a decent weekend but bloody hot!
Our trip began with the typical Tainan Phoenix 40 seater bus filled with some young, and other young at heart, beer hungry folk. A garbage can full of ice and beer kept everyone satisfied until about 2am when we ran out and still had an hour before we got into Taipei. I made sure we did not stop for more and kept rolling straight to the hotel so we all could good get a half of a good nights sleep before play the next day.
Saturday went well for our team. We had a 4-0 win over the B-52's, a team of old engineers in Taipei, as well as two ties. We tied a hard fought match with the Celts, a team of Gaelic footballers who play quite hard, and also a tie with the Animals from Taipei. That game was a nasty affair with two reds and a lot of chippy football.
In the evening we all headed out for some Mongolian style food. All you can eat mongolian grill was what we needed after a day of football in the 30something degree sun. Later me and Cindy took in the closing of the Nokia "Totally Board" event at the CKS memorial. It had been a day of x-game-type sports with BMX, and big air skiiing and snowboarding on real snow!! Sadly we only caught the closing concert where Coolio delivered a tremendous performance of "If you're happy and you know it...". The crowd was ok with "clap your hands" but lost on "stomp your feet." The crowd was short of Bushiban kids I think.
On day two we played our Taichung compass in the quarters and knocked them out in a shootout. The coach of Taiwan's national team, a former brazilian pro-player, who was in the Taichung squad missed his penalty when he tried a trick penalty by kicking with his left foot around his right. Loser.
Afer Taichung we played the Taipei Lions in the semis. We took the field against former Phoenix bald Paul who now plays for the Lions after moving to Taipei. It was a long-ball air battle with not many chances for either team until about the last minute when the Lions crossed a ball from left to right and Khaled( of the Phoenix) decided to shove a Lions player in the box. The Lions subsequently buried the penalty and we lost the game. DAMN Khaled.
We ended our tourney playing the Taichiung Teletubbies for 3rd place. We beat the fine lads from Taichung in penalties. The game was played in good spirits as they usually are with the class-act Tubbies. Their name doesn't exactly call to mind a team of ruthless brutes does it?
The Animals ended up winning the tournament in penalties. The penalties of course were great fun as the Animals took jeeers and boos and the worst name calling from all sides especailly the Phoenix.
SIDENOTE--- At the hotel we found a lovely map of Taipei with a picture of some Taiwanese singer named Vivian. On her shirt are the words "Dirty White Slut". Nothing better for tourists coming to Taipei. A true city of class!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

From swamped to submerged...

We got hit by a typhoon over the weekend. Typhoon Haitung hit on Sunday and brought sheets, buckets, kitchen sinks, god ...swimming pools worth of rain in every drop it seemed. School and work were cancelled on Monday throughout Taiwan. It was the first full out Typhoon day I have experienced. The winds were strong enough to blow down a large number of trees in Tainan and rip off some rooves even though the Taiwan hit further north around Hualian. The storm struggled with the central mountain range for a number of hours and strong as it was (classified a super-typhoon---category 5) it had to retreat and come back before getting over. It actually did a 360 degree loop before coming around and crossing the mountains!
Today we were still feeling the after effects and got completely dumped on. When I drove home from Tainan I ened up driving through some serious flooding. East of Tainan in Yong Kang a small river had broken its banks and a large area was flooded. The water was between waist and knee height. I didn't want to double back and take an alternate route so I braved the waters and drove the bike right through it. The tailpipe was underwater for most of the ride but my trusty Yahamha 150SR kept on chugging. After slinking my way through some back alleys that I thought were going to be a bit better off than the main road, but in fact were worse, I managed to get out of the taiwan/venetian-esque nightmare that had coalesced around the Kuan Shan University are and was back on a road where I could actually see the ashphalt. I wonder how the rat I saw swimming through the streets fared. It wasn't looking to promising for him when I passed.
I wish I had pictures!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I am swamped these days...much like this boat I found a couple of weeks ago...

While I may not be in such distress as a fella shipwrecked on a strange island I am feeling a bit out of whack.This week and next I am busy teaching at a high school in Tainan from 9-3:30 Mon to Friday and I still have my regular hours at my school in Xin Hua. I am absolutely swamped with work so I doubt I will be posting anything special in the meantime. Here is an article that I wrote about a Phillipino fella who got shipwrecked in Tainan. It is from a mag a guy is trying to start here in Tainan. Everything is still in the development stages.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

I found some old propoganda posters...

I found these posters I messed about with last year. I read Phillipson's Linguistic Imperialism as well as Graddol`s English as a Global Language and I was trying to figure out how political my role as an ESL teacher really is. It's just a means to communicate. While language does shape your thinking people also shape the language. English is not going to brow-beat the world into anglo-western thought. It will probably succumb to the thinking of billions of non-native speakers.
Whatever may come of it in the future, currently, English is one hell of a force. It has stormed across the globe in the last 100 years riding the back of commerce. English has been the language of money and globalisation. Those that had and controlled the money were English speakers. (One could argue this is still the case.) England's formal Empire melted away slowly but an informal Empire of it's tongue has stayed. English is the first truly global lingua franca and is very unlikely to fall the way the British Empire did.
The development and spread of English will increasingly sever what control over the language's development that native-speakers have. English will likely transform itself into a variety of languages as it is adopted by more and more non-native speakers.Take a look on your computer. You can already choose from 13 different varieties of English if you use windows xp.
The spread of English is not a great threat as some may believe. It is not going to stamp out other cultures and transform all global minds into Anglosized ones with western thought. English is simply another necessary tool needed in the arsenal of any globally competitive citizen.
While I believe all of the aforesaid I must confess at times I feel like a missionary or a soldier in an unrelenting wave of English teachers. Equally intense is the desireof Taiwanese for English. English has a sort of cult following in Taiwan. From the poorly written english-teaching shows on TV, to maniacal English students and locals who coninually feel the need to apologise for their self-professed poor English`, you meet you cannot help but sometimes be scared of the power of the language.

The Future of English--David Graddol

The Changing Global Economy and the Future of English Teaching

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The Future of English--David Graddol