■ 09:30 (UTC+08:00), 02 NOV 2011 | CHN HARBIN
■ ITEM FIRST POSTED BEFORE 07 FEB 2014
Our train tickets are with us: we’re headed back to Beijing in the next few days. I leave behind a Harbin I’ve found more crazy Chinglish in (and even up north in Bei’an), but also a Harbin I’ve tried to de-Chinglish-ify as much as possible.
I have to say that I’m happy with Harbin and the lessons. I spent time teaching groups — be they just four people or a class filled with dozens and dozens on end. There was no real multimedia service, so I had to rely on a blackboard and plenty of body language to engage them. Which is good, as nobody really does that here in China…
There was one thing that kind of made me upset, though: the fact that some English courses stress excess politics or religion. The way I see it, you’re learning English not to realize this or that ideology, or to dump, or glorify, this or that god, but rather, talk to people. If Saudi Arabia has signposts in both Arabic and English, that’s a sign that English is the big lingo in this world. China has a head start this day and age, home to both Mandarin, spoken by over a billion, and to English, spoken in Hong Kong. And that gives China an edge, provided it can dump its “Peking duck” kind of forced learning. ■ ■ ■