■ 22:53 (UTC+08:00), 31 MAY 2014 | CHN BEIJING
I joined fellow Radio Beijing co-host Alison Zhou onstage at the Tuanjiehu community’s English event, when we were given the stage not only to promote the newly-created Handbook of Everyday English for Beijing residents. The event was held in the morning hours of 31 May 2014 at the Tuanjiehu local community activities centre.
When you come to think of it, it was a big deal at the end of the day. Both city authorities in charge for international affairs and Radio Beijing, as well as leading English experts in town, took the time to come together and to create a book for the rest of us, telling people how English should best be spoken and used. To me, as someone who didn’t quite get served well last night at the McDonald’s in suburban Beijing’s Daxing district (they had to get a second guy to take my order in English — wasn’t ready to switch to Mandarin mode yet), this book will hopefully be what’s going to be a bridge for locals — between Mandarin Chinese and English.
The event saw me continue on a trend which proved very popular last time I hosted hundreds at the main stage at the Beijing Foreign Languages Fair: to pass the microphone to the audience. Everyone got together in groups to choose one role play module they loved the most. We had about 5 groups play. My favourite was the one where we had people teach one other how to dance! It made all the learning “leap out” from the otherwise boring “dead ink” on the handbook.
Kids, seniors and local residents all joined us in the free two-hour session to get people more and more excited about learning English. Many said they loved listening to our spoken English as they could really learn from this. The event finished at 11:30 with a commitment to take such events to more places around the city. ■ ■ ■