Vices we love: All I know about teaching I learned while watching Vietnamese porn

Saturday, May 14, 2005

All I know about teaching I learned while watching Vietnamese porn

An eventful weekend. There was a conference on teaching EFL (English as a Foreign Language) in the port city of Busan and like the budding professional I am, I made the trek down south. Because the train was scheduled to leave at 6 AM, I spent the night in a jimjillbang- Korean sauna. Now, I have been to a few already, but this place was special. What made it so special? This, friends, was the official sauna of old homeless Korean men. A sour mash of soju and body odor hung in the air as aging bone heaps stumbled about au natural. Sleeping was out of the question due to the volume of the snoring so I wound up in the company of fifty-something destitute Korean men and we did the only thing that made sense at the time: We watched Vietnamese porn flicks.

Vietnamese porn is unlike any other- it mixes the delicate nudity of truly breathtaking young women with serene Buddhist ceremonies and throws in the odd rape scene here and there. The rape scenes were a bit jarring- imagine watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and having him host a segment of "America's Most Wanted" right in the middle of it.

"Now children, what did we learn today?"
"To share our toys because sharing is caring."
"That's right. And what else?"
(blank stares)
"We learned that Michael Canuellio of Philadelphia gunned down officer Eddie Young in broad daylight after holding up a liquor store. Canuellio is armed and dangerous. He has a scar on his right cheek. Do not approach Canuellio, a casual LSD user prone to violent flashbacks. If you see Canuellio, I repeat, do not approach him. Instead call 215 MR ROGERS."

After a good night's viewing I took the train to Busan. All of Korea looks pretty much the same, an ode to the soul-crushing conformity obsessively imposed upon all. (A Korean saying puts it best: The nail that sticks up will get hammered down.) Busan did have one thing going for it-beaches. If I stay here another year, I'll probably look for a public school job in Busan. Give me a beach, some curry, Yahoo launchcast, a couple of books and a mobile phone and I'm set.

Oh and the conference was fab. It was the sort of "let's masticate over the obvious in the most pretentious way possible" get together that other professions live for. (Sample session: "Linguistical issues involving Chinese speaking youths from Hebei Province who are members of the Communist party in good standing: An analysis of the prevalance of lisping among party members." Okay, I made that up. But it was pretty close.) I'm glad they are acting just like doctors or lawyers. That may mean that this is an actual profession after all.


Blogger Adalmin said...

I still remember Mr. Rogers. It took me 4 years to get over my irrational fear of old men.

4:54 AM  
Blogger asiatown77 said...

I'm still afraid of old men. They remind me of the filthy creature I will one day become. What's your take on old women?

6:59 AM  

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