Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Americanization of Zach

8 year old Zach (named after my younger brother), started in my class two weeks ago after moving back to Korea after 2 years in Eugene, Oregon. I took him and the rest of the class for ice cream the other day and three teenage girls came and sat down (within hearing distance) at a table a couple feet from ours. Zach takes one look at one of the slightly overweight girls and says to me matter-of-factly, "Aly Teacher, she's real fat!". I proceeded to tell him that he needs to keep those sort of comments to himself and what he did was extremely rude. He replied, "It's okay Teacher, she doesn't speak American!". Time to bust that myth of his before he gets in trouble. Unfortunately though, I've encountered many expats, GI's and travelers that share Zach's belief that most Koreans don't speak English and therefore proceed to have disrespectful conversations any time or place. I've seen it too many times to deny it. The truth is that most Koreans understand at least some English, especially in Seoul. And even if they don't understand English, it's quite obvious when you're being talked about on the subway by a group of foreigners. Let's hope Zach has learned his lesson and doesn't get beat up by the next teenage girl he calls a chunk.