Blame it on the middle class?

There are about 6 more weeks before the end of the semester at AIU.  I'm teaching two history classes this semester.  One class with the word 'history' in it, while the other has an indirect historical reference in the course title.  Nevertheless, two history classes.  Fun much?  You tell me. 

My class just finished talking about the Renaissance.  Really, we have the Renaissance because of the rise of the middle class.  The bubonic plague literally wiped out all the laborers, and those who survived ascended the social ladder.  Yay?  Then, we have the explosion of knowledge, thanks to Caxton who introduced the printing press.  Before long, everyone had a copy of something.  Everyone was translating something into English.  Everyone then realized that everyone was borrowing words from everywhere else.  Everyone, and I mean the English people, began to complain.  "Why do we have to borrow from Latin/French? Ain't our English good enough."  Apparently not.  I mean come on, how can we ever thank these lexical borrowers.  Because of them we have so many synonyms to choose from! Yay?  Well, everyone complaining about borrowing words is a little far-fetched, these people were just out-of-job lazy purists who couldn't find a niche to fit their nose.  The desire to maintain the preexisting pool of words faded away and everyone embraced new words with open arms and open mouths.  A century later, the English were writing prolifically in the Sciences.  Then LIGHTBULB! They realized something.  They've been so anal in the past about borrowing words, and they completely forgot about syntax! Perhaps one reason for this forgetfulness was that English was a synthetic language-high inflectional, with the spotlight on what fixes a morpheme gets.  Then all of a sudden these words a bare-naked, literally! These linguist kids have a game to play!  Let's play arrange the words to form a 'correct' sentence.  Whose definition of 'correct' should we use?  Who knows? Who cares! The linguist kids (p.s. the Royal Society) claim that they never imposed their desire for scientists to write in an dispassionate manner and for language to lack emotive qualities since good science REALLY calls for objectivity (total nonsense).  Some people picked their vibe like Swift, who was like totally against hipster's use of language like shortening words, e.g. totally = totes, or even getting rid of the 'e' in wick'd.  :P  I think English seemed to go downhill after this, or is it just exhaustion affecting my sanity?

Regardless, with the establishment of the middle class, more people could afford what was once exclusive only to the rich-school became 'normalized' during this period.  Further, since this was the age of 'reason,' people saw it necessary that the language they spoke reflect the almost perfect lives they live.  Now now girls, make sure your pinky does not stick out while you sip your herbal tea from your English China. Ha!


The Problem is

As I approached Muak Lek, the van driver turned back and asked to confirm with us two passengers that we REALLY are going to AIU.  I said yes, but the other passenger whose name or gender or nationality I will not reveal said, "No."  The driver then said, "But you said at Victory Monument that you were going to Mi-Chan (Thai pronunciation of Mission).  The passenger clearly did not understand Thai because the driver's statement was followed by silence.  I translated for the driver and the passenger said, "Yes, I told them Mi-Chan but I need to get off at Australia Village."  I told the driver, who had driven past the entrance to the residential area.  He said that the passenger had to pay an extra 20 baht to drive into Australia Village.  The passenger said, "asshole" very quietly, but loud enough that my ears perked up and the driver turning to us wondering what was said.  The problem is, curses are gradually losing its 'umph' because it's communicated so frequently (I'm using communicated here in the Old English sense - being made common).

Then the next problem is... the string of burglaries on campus.  A lost laptop, a lost purse and a lost iPad.  So much for having guards, so much for having street lights, so much for being a Christian school?  Maybe we're getting to comfortable.

Saturday with Kids and a Hike

Spent the afternoon donkeying around with my neighbor's kids.  Truly a bundle of joy.  The highlight of the day:

Caleb (in the toilet): Excuse me, I have to poop.
Caleb (still in the toilet): I counted two!

We went on a hike, I told them stories about Fred and Frank the frogs, they told me stories about poop and underwear.  They bit my hands and arms, and crawled all over my thighs/legs without the remotest knowledge that that is inflicting pain on a fully grown man. 

Honey I lost the kids!
We don't need so much space.
Caleb :)

music students ain't like what they used to be

A music history book I read two years ago talked about how simplified music composition has become.  Trust me, it only sounds complex because of the myriad of instruments thrown in together.

Don't talk to me after teaching piano because I am still burning with annoyance.

I have two more piano students left, whom I meet once a week.  They just did their first piano exam from an external examination school based in London.  They did fairly well.

But I'm starting to think that what I am teaching, and what they are assessed on does not quite fit in with today's music scene.  Yes, this external music examination school which I have faithfully kept up with has tried to incorporate more contemporary music by revamping the third section of the performance pieces to reflect more modern composition, but that substitution alone, I think, is not sufficient.

The piano student who came for lesson today LOVES One Direction.  A Boy Band.  They must look like Justin Bieber.  I remember a month ago, after this piano student had her piano exam, we went off to Siam Paragon.  I brought her and her dad to Kinokuniya.  The first thing she wanted was to look at all the magazines which had One Direction as its center fold.  Bleh.  How do you teach a kid to appreciate the ol' classics if what she wants is One Direction.

It's pathetic, week in and week out, to listen to students royally mess up timeless classics.  Maybe I'm just an anal-retentive music purist.

Me and my 2007 summer hit: Chopin's Op 10 No. 4

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Please do not let the title mislead you.  My level of shopping is not that extravagant.  I go loco at the malls only on special occasions, like Christmas and the sorts.  However, the costly damages compels my mother to label me as one.  This, and a Starbucks addict.  But I only have a cup every fortnight!

Regardless, some of you may know how "unfriendly" I can be with other people.  Some of you have called me a __________ - which I have no objection to.  Having been in Bangkok for a number o years, I have had many encounters with Chinese tourists.  Two of which I distinctly remember are:

1.  I was getting out the Sky Train at National Stadium and walked past a Chinese couple.  The lady was wearing skinny jeans and her fly was wide open. 

2.  I was sitting at McDonald's in Paragon and a group of Chinese were trying to order in CHINESE.  I felt sorry for the Chinese tourists, and for that McDonald's employee. 

Today was different though.  I was at McDonald's again.  Eww to fast food but what can I do if I only have 30 minutes to eat before catching the van?  After placing my order, I waited as the staff put my burger together, and up came some Taiwanese ladies who ordered Number 4, which was a McChicken burger.  The Taiwanese lady should've just stopped speaking after saying Number 4, but she continued to say McChicken, which the staff did not understand.  This fun banter went on for a while, and I decided enough was enough and butt in in Thai, "Luk ka sang McChickennnnnn burger na krub."  The staff understood, punched a few numbers like Bon Qui Qui and then threw the receipt on the tray. 

Before McDonald's I was at Samsung on the third floor.  There was a Middle Eastern couple who was looking for iPhone (in a Samsung store?) and a museum.  This was an obvious example of ESP at work.  I don't think the Samsung staff were taught the word "museum."  I then again butt in (I really like butting in) and asked them which museum they were looking for.  The lady said Discovery.  I said, oh Madame Tussauds! She said, No! Museum.  I said yes that's it! Get out of Paragon, walk through the court yard and Siam Center, then you'll be at Discovery! Go to the top floor!  The lady said, Museum.  Then I said yes!  Then she left.