Please Get Ready For Your Arrival! Teaching the Beijing Subway Proper English

Please Get Ready For Your Arrival! Teaching the Beijing Subway Proper English

The Beijing Subway is an epic element of “daily life” (as they say here in Beijing) my end. Whilst I don’t ride it day in day out, I do ride on it religiously enough that I’ve been to most stations (though not all, unlike London at the moment), and I’ve seen a few Chinglish fails.

So City Hall got me the chance to speak to 90 of the Beijing Subway’s “Ops-3” (Third Operations) company. These guys manage Lines 2, 8, 10, and 13, which included the city’s two loop lines, and the arc line as well. We also went over the basic, included ten phrases used in ten situations — gateline English, at the platforms, to deal with interchange routes, and many others.

But we saved the best for last. I treated Subway crew to nearly a hundred phrases or so used at major interchanges and stations across town, in mock situations, and to deal with horrendously complex transfer situations.

Get Out Into the World: Jijiaying, Miyun

Get Out Into the World: Jijiaying, Miyun

“Get out into the world. (F*ck yeah you good thing.)” My new cuss-included iPhone weather app liked the weather in this part of remote northeastern rural Beijing. We went to Jijiaying, Miyun, one of the slightly more remote and less advantaged parts of the Beijing suburbs — to bring our English lessons there and to show that we cared.

First off, we had the bit where Alison Zhou, who co-hosted not just the radio shows at Radio Beijing in 2013 with me, but plenty of these pro bono English public talks as well, did a lesson on English and the Winter Olympics along with me…. Then onto the main event: shooting some kind of publicity video, pretty much to get everyone excited about learning English for 2022. Everyone got their 15 attoseconds of fame.

I can tell you that even if this was early-to-mid-May, it felt scorching hot. No wonder at all, in actual fact: I remember 2001 temperatures this time of year (early May) to be probably 30+ Celsius. At least 31°C. I read that on one of those digitised displays (whether it got correctly calibrated would be another issue, but still the writing is on the wall).