Short Stories November Edition: Election, BSB, Black Friday


(Early November, in class 3)

Me: so you have all read what Mr. Trump had to say about women, Mexicans, immigrants, and Muslims. Do you think he would make a good leader for ANY country in the world?

Susan: HE’S RICH AND HAS A LOT OF HOUSES!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Recently I was summoned to be a judge at an evening “English Song Contest.” 13 students signed up to sing songs such as “Oceanside, You Are My Sunshine, Lemon Tree, etc”, and I had to critique them based on the following:

  • The Overall Effect (15 points)
  • Pronunciation and Intonation (30 points)
  • Intonation Sound Quality (30 points)
  • Stage Effect (15 points)
  • Show Originality (10 points)

I don’t even know what intonation means, let alone Intonation Sound Quality, but I did my best to give scores that I felt the singers deserved (the highest score I wrote was a 65 – yes I’m a big meanie, but it’s the tough teachers in life that push you to success!) Anyway I also did this to offset the ridiculously high scores other judges were giving out- handing out 95s and 99s like worthless post-inflation Zimbabwe dollars.

The big surprise of the night: Dean Jiang went up to sing Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” after all the contestants were done performing. He missed a few notes but I’ll cherish those four and a half minutes FOREVER. Of course I was called up to sing too, and I did my best “I Want It That Way” that I could come up with… and I am proud to say I actually remembered all the lyrics!

“Ain’t Nothin’ But a Heartache…” all in a day’s work of a PCV China volunteer!


My Thanksgiving Lesson was taught along these lines:

  • The Good: turkey, candied yams, string bean casserole, the Mayflower, and pilgrims
  • The Bad: ethnic cleansing of Indigenous Americans that shortly followed and continues to this day (ie. Dakota Access Pipeline)
  • The Ugly: BLACK FRIDAY

For Black Friday, I showed the students a video clip (titled “humans turn into monsters“) of troglodytes  – I mean basket of deplorables – I mean SAVVY SHOPPERS stampeding into department stores at the stroke of midnight, brutishly hoarding anything they could get their hands on: Flat Screen Plasma TVs, Samsung smart phones, B-list straight-to-DVD BlueRay discs, and the “must-have” toy of the season that their brood will only touch two or three times before moving on to the next big thing [as dictated by Kylie Jenner or whoever the fuck sets pre-teen trends these days].

My students were STUNNED. The expressions their faces developed while watching the carnage were priceless. “天啊!” (“My God…!”) I asked my students to come up with a game plan to survive Black Friday. Highlights:

  1. bring a portable gas burner to eat hotpot while waiting in line (this is actually brilliant)
  2. helmet and shield
  3. be “fast, accurate, and relentless!”

I clarified that I have never gone shopping on Black Friday

“I’m not materialistic, I only believe in real wealth – friends, family, and education. And so should you”

“But Teacher you have an iPhone!”

“No Misty, I have a Xiaomi phone that’s just really good at pretending to be an iPhone.  下课了! CLASS DISMISSED!”

Disclaimer: All opinions shared in this blog are the author’s own, and do not represent the views of any outside organization, including but not limited to the United States Government and the Peace Corps.


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