I thought this was pretty provoking.  It was strategically placed right at the beginning of the introductory chapter of Culture, Curriculum, and Identity in Education (Milner, 2010, p. 1).

White teachers sometimes do not believe and fully understand that they have a culture [...] or that their worldview and practices are culturally grounded, guided, and facilitated. They struggle to understand that they, like people of color, too are cultural beings and that their conceptions, decisions, and actions are culturally shaped and mediated. They sometimes classify others as “cultural beings” or “diverse” and sometimes do not recognize the salience and centrality of their own culture, and how it is woven through their work as teachers. Culture is steeply embedded within and around each of us, is in and among all groups of people, and is especially shaped by the social context of education. 

What do you think? I wish I knew more white teachers whom I can discuss this.

In the later sections of the introductory chapter, the editor discusses the "null curriculum" - which is what teachers choose not to teach, but is learned.  This is not even those implicit lessons that we sneak into our teaching.  This is really what we don't teach.  Unbeknownst to many, what the teacher does not teach in the classroom is learned by many.  The editor uses a racist interchange to exemplify this point.  If students are not taught to 'speak up' in an (intercultural) interaction where racism is present, they will learn that it is okay for them to keep silent in situations as such.  This prompted me to think of the many times I have used real-life situations as a basis to teach conversation.  Never in my teaching career of 3 years and 9 months did I ever teach my students how to communicate in negative situations (how to respond when you are being scolded, how to respond when someone says something really bad to you, how to respond when someone cheats you).  Have we, English teachers, become fazed with the ideals that language materials portray and forgotten how brutal the real world can be?


Milner, R. H. (Ed.). (2010).  Culture, Curriculum, and Identity in Education.  USA: Palgrave- MacMillan.

Pitter Patter

I'm walking down the street, daydreaming.  I think of being next to a gentle stream, where the water takes its time enveloping each rock with a hug.  I walk further down/upstream and the sound of gushing water crescendos.  Wait, I'm not daydreaming anymore.  I smell rain.  I start running, and the rain chases after me.  It overtakes me and I run into a few droplets of rain.

I manage to run into the administration building before all (wet) hell breaks loose.  Torrential rain is dumped from heaven.  It's like, here's all the rainwater you need to fill up your drying ponds.

That was this evening.

This morning was a whole different story.  It was less dramatic.  Well, it did start off dramatically.  I got a little bummed on my way to work because I realized that I had spilled my protein shake all over my shirt.  I was feeling my abs when I discovered that my shirt was sticking to my torso.  I looked down to my fingers, and there were remnants of protein shake.  I came into the office fuming, and of course the first thing I saw was (wow an ambigram!) a news on the opening of an ASEAN center in Chonburi.  This irritated me even more.  ASEAN being so idealistic and everyone putting in (happy) efforts to learn more about cultures of the ASEAN member states.  Of course, I dump all this angst on a very good friend of mine, who patiently listened to me ranting away.  He is always patient, well sometimes I do tick him off, but he is mostly patient with me.  After I had my talk-out, I felt silly afterwords.  Good friend said at least I ranted about this to him, instead of someone else.  He knows I'm silly so that helps me recover from my silliness in no time.

The afternoon was a little uneventful - me trying to revise the evaluation scale for senior students who did their senior research papers.  It was sad.  But what would be sadder is if I stuck to my original evaluation plan and failed them all, I would have to see them again in the future.  No, I ain't doing that.  Sometimes teachers will need to make the compromise.

This evening, I was the designated driver for a colleague who is flying to Canada for two weeks during the mid-academic year break.  She decided she needed a whole new wardrobe for this trip.  Some time away from campus would be good for the soul, and she said she would pay gas, so I drove her.  She brought some of her girlfriends along and we all sang to a thousand miles by vanessa carlton many times till we got to the pak chong factory outlet

The ladies did their shopping while I sat in Starbucks trying to appear un-bothered by the overpriced coffee.

My decaf soy latte.  

Reading a book at Starbucks earns you a few more hi-so (sophistication) points.  Not necessarily points for intelligence.  

What the...

I didn't run after the two #75 buses (airconditioned) that drove by the bus-stop without stopping.  Perhaps my graceful waving needs to be refined.  The third #75 bus did stop, it wasn't airconditioned, but it was the Free Red Bus.  I'm Chinese so anything free sounds good for me.

I hopped on the bus and noticed that I, along with another youngish boy, were the only youths on board.  Everyone else was aged.  I initially had a seat to myself, but, being the good boy that I am, I offered my seat to an old lady (and in the process of offering, I stepped on an old man's foot).  I scanned around the bus for empty seats and found none.  There were four other old people standing up as the bus raced through Suksawad road.  The other young boy though, was still seated with an old man standing precariously next to him.  Perhaps the old man was hinting that the boy needs to give up his seat?  I don't know.  Here is a picture of his back.  If you recognize him maybe you should give him a talk on respecting the elderly on Bangkok's public transportation.

I got off at Saphan Thaksin BTS and made my way to Elite Bookstore at Phrom Phong.  I recently rediscovered the joy of reading non-academic materials, thanks to James Bowen's A Street Cat Named Bob.  Even though it took me about a month to finish that book, I appreciated the escapes it provided when I'm overwhelmed with my PhD readings.

When I got to Elite Bookstore, I was disappointed.  They had discarded all their English books.  They now sell Japanese books only.  Bleh.  I wasn't in the mood to go do Dasa Bookstore down at Sukhumvit 26, so I went to Kinokuniya at Paragon.

Arriving at Kino, I wasn't really in the mood for reading-for-pleasure books.  I went to the SEA literature section, hoping to find some local works to be included in my critical reading course next semester.  I found a few potentials but nothing really sealed the deal.  I went and checked out Kerouac and Kafka and they were both ridiculously priced.  I'm sure there are second hand copies somewhere in BKK.  The Chinese kicking in again.

Having given up hope on SEA current issues and literature, I headed to the language/linguistic section.  There, I saw the most appalling sight EVER!  What I saw literally made my eyes pop.  This is what I saw:

Omigosh how could you ever put a 1 Direction book next to research books?!  That 1 Direction book has no positive impact on society! All it does is make young girls ________________.  It was so traumatizing that I instinctively took hold of the book and threw it into a nearby trolley.  Then, I thought I should take a picture of this so I put it back on the shelf, took a picture, then threw it into the trolley again (really, this really happened).  Seriously, whoever did this needs to be stoned by none other than 1 Direction.  How could the group be reduced to the lower rankings of academia?

I had no other "what the..." moments throughout the rest of the morning, until I drove my Mom to TESCO in Saraburi later that day.  This is what I saw:

In Thailand, nobody knows how to park.  Moreover, in Thailand, even a trolley needs a parking.

Chasing Taxis

How I wish I had as many readers as I had 3-4 years back.  I even had a serial stalker whom I was never able to identify, called Bloghopper.  Bloghopper where are you?!

Yesterday I chased after buses.  Today I chased after taxis.  I seem to be chasing after things so very often, don't you think? Maybe I'm not chasing, maybe people are running away from me instead.  Anyway, this morning I had to be at a place before 8:40 am.  I live across the river, about 15 kms away from the city center.  Fifteen kilometers may not seem like a huge distance (by car/bus), but Bangkok traffic seems to render everything to a snail's pace.  What makes it worse is that there's nothing scenic to enjoy along the way.

Chasing taxis.  I left my apartment at 6:15 am, and head down to the bus stop where I can hail a cab.  It was raining.  Normally there would be a few taxis waiting at the entrance of my apartment complex, but this morning, there were none.  Perhaps they were afraid of the rain? Why would they be afraid of the rain? They don't need to wait for passengers outside their taxis.  I checked and it was still raining.  I get to the bus stop, and two #75s passing by.  Others who were at the bus stop who wanted to take the bus waved for the bus to stop, but neither of them stopped.  Meh.

I spotted a taxi, and waved gracefully.  The taxi stopped and I hopped in.  It was still raining.  I told the driver my destination.  He laughed.  He said he's only driving this stretch of road.  I was flabbergasted.  He drove to the front a little bit so when I exited the taxi I would be directly under the roof of the bus stop where I was before.  I stepped out.  Stupid Bangkok taxis.

I ended up on another #75.  It took almost an hour for me to get to Charoen Krung (where Asiatique is located).  This stretch is always jammed because of there are so many schools along this stretch.  Instead of waiting in a stalled bus, I jumped out of the bus and ran.  I was running in the rain.  Thankfully I was smart enough to wear my jogging attire, and had packed my formal attire in my backpack.  I ran.  It was raining.

As I was running across the entrance of a school, I spotted a motorbike taxi letting off some passengers.  I didn't even wait for him to acknowledge my presence.  I jumped on and told him to take me to the BTS station.  He did.  It was STILL raining.

I made it, albeit 5 minutes later.

The rest of the afternoon, I was running errands.  It was still raining.  I felt like one of those office boys whom you send out when you're too tired to do your own work.  Hmm, an office boy.  I am a boy to so many people.

I have another appointment at 9:00 am tomorrow.  I hope I won't need to chase after taxis.  Or wear my jogging attire.  I'd like to blend in with the hi-so crowd on Bangkok's BTS.  Raining, it was still.

Chasing Buses

You know buses in Bangkok - they are everywhere.  There are too many buses, as many as other types of road vehicles.  The sudden urge to be frugal this morning saw me chasing after Bus No. 75 at Charoen Krung road.  Those drivers don't care if you're waving wildly, trying to jump into the bus.  Why? Because soon enough another bus will pass by.  But no.  I am not waiting.  I want THIS bus.  So I ran, and I waved, and I jumped in, and I got myself a seat.  I had the smuggest look plastered across my face in the whole 45-minute journey.

I got to my Bangkok apartment a little after noon.  For lunch I had a chicken nan and a bowl of salad.  I told myself I need to lessen my rice intake if I ever want to see any of my six abs.  I'm not fat or anything, just a little soft in the tummy area.

The afternoon/evening was pretty much academic.  I read, and read, and read, and fell asleep, and read some more.  In between reading I was able to handwash some delicate garments, clean the whole apartment, do some major pull-ups and sit-ups (sorry soft tummy!), and walked to uni to borrow a book.

University.  So many nice things to say about tertiary education, but so many not-so-nice things as well.  I'm not sure if you can relate with me, but you know how in your first year, when you're doing all your general courses, you never seem to get it? This is one of the not-so-nice things.  I was just having this conversation with my Mom last night.  She was in a state of disbelief when I told her that I got straight Bs in almost all my general courses (and straight As when I finally started my major courses).  That's just how things go.  You never start off a superstar.  Even those born with a silver spoon up their rear end will attest to this.  Well, maybe let's be reasonable and have a few exceptions.  But these exceptions are a little weird, perhaps.  Hmmm.  I want to be categorized as weird, too.  I'm doing a PhD for crying out loud.  Who does PhDs these days anyway?

So, University.  I walked to the University wanting to loan the book Intercultural Communication and Ideology by Adrian Holliday (2011).  When I got there, I met my classmates G and P at the elevator lounge.  They told me the librarian was not in and so, the library had been closed since 3 pm.  Well, I thought, there are supposed to be other library staff, surely they are in.  No.  None of them were in.  All of them went to this huge retirement party going on in the Uni cafeteria.  The head librarian, bless her soul, is nearing retirement.  But the other staff? They all look twinkish like I do, how can they be retiring so early? Now this was a not-so-nice thing.  This retirement ball for our elderly librarian totally crushed my academic spirit to read Holliday, even Adam Levine couldn't soothe my bitter heart.  Oh, there goes another person chasing after a bus.

p/s: I don't hate librarians.  My Mom is a librarian.  Heck she was head of a state library once and I freeloaded on all the perks she got at her office.