Thursday, December 22, 2011

More winning quotes from Lina

We've finished their book early (somehow?) so the last few days have been just bullshitting about celebrities and me occasionally blowing their minds.  Lina started off ragging on Justin Bieber's fashion sense.

"His pants are terrible! can see his panties!"

And then just him in general.

"I hate Justin Bieber.  He's racist!"
"Racist? Why?"
"He loves Japan!"

Lady Gaga is racist, too.  But her clothes are better.  Also, Lindsay Lohan is a lesbian.  And crazy.

We spent a very productive half hour talking about why Japan is horrible.  (I am inclined to agree, or at least agree that the Japanese government has not taken the moral high, or even middle, road recently, but played neutral party to carry on the discussion.)  I also proceeded to explain the sad state of world (especially non-European) history in many American schools. The fact that we have "AP American History," "AP European History," and then just "AP World History" pretty much says it all: we privilege dead white men.

"Many history classes in America don't talk about Korea until America goes to war in Korea," I explained.  Stunned looks all around.  It's hard to convey in someone's second language that your country gets glossed over not because it's insignificant, but because our perspective is extremely myopic. (Hopefully that has changed/is changing/will change soon?)

"I don't think Korean women should marry American men, or Japanese men.  Only Korean men."
"But what if the American man is very handsome?"
"No.  Handsome is not important."
"Then what is important?"

At this point, a student named Christine interjected: "Money money money."  But Lina and the other girl in the class (Rosa) sort of rolled their eyes.  They came up with a list:

1. Loyalty
2. Kindness
3. Money
4. Diligence

These were ranked in order of importance.  Just for a laugh, I gave them my top four considerations for a man (four traits which my boy possesses in abundance):

1. Kindness
2. Intelligence
3. Sense of humor
4. Personality

"No money? You don't care about money at all?"
"I can make my own money."
"But raising a child! It's expensive."
"Well, maybe I won't have children."

Jaws dropped.  I could have told them I was a lesbian, or a space alien, and they could not have been more shocked.  Lina could not deal with this.

"Your family!  There will be no more!"
"I have a brother.  He'll probably have children."
"It's good to have a family, though.  It brings happiness."

Sometimes I don't know if she really means the stuff she says, or if she says it just to fool me into thinking that she really thinks it.  I can no longer distinguish the difference between earnestness and irony.  Her parents also don't believe in eating fast food or (if I understand today's discussion correctly) shopping at LotteMart (it's that Japanese thing again).  I'd be curious to meet her mother, I'm sure the two are very similar.


  1. Your kids sound very bright.

    And why is "diligent" such a popular word when Koreans speak English? It's so old-fashioned and I'm constantly trying to students to say "hard-working" instead.

    Even the cabbies who speak very little English like to ask me if I'm diligent, or if my students are diligent, or if Barack Obama is a diligent leader.


  2. My guess is it's one of those words that gets crystallized into their English lexicon because it's what comes up in the dictionaries, or what the textbooks all use. Though actually, this is the first time I've ever heard anyone (or at least a student) use it.

    This is a really smart class, one of the most advanced I've ever had. I like them a lot. Lina in particular is a pretty ambitious academic, between that and just generally being opinionated she usually dominates discussions.