Thursday, June 16, 2005

More Stuff From the Letter Pile

I basically get three kinds of letters about my Taiwan website: those with questions about English teaching in Taiwan, letters thanking me for the great pictures because the writer has been to Taiwan, and oddball letters with questions about Taiwanese themselves, usually either "manage my love life" or "what kind of person is this Taiwanese I know?" Here's one that didn't fall into any of the usual categories...

Michael, you don't know me, but I came across your website and thought you might have some insight for me. I currently have a Taiwanese exchange student staying with me for the summer in order to improve her English. I have tested her to be on a third grade reading level in English, and yet her summer assignment is to read Pride and Prejudice which is a 12th grade level book. There are approximately 90 new vocab words to learn for every ten pages. Is this normal for Taiwanese schooling? I want to help her progress, but I can't imagine going from 3rd grade level to 12th in two months! How many new vocab words do you expect your students to learn each week/day?

Here's a common one -- me in the Dear Abby role:

I am moving to Taiwan in two weeks to start teaching. I recently returned from South Korea where I taught for two years. Your web page has been extremely helpful. I had a question about Taiwanese women, and since you are married to one, you could probably help.

I am definitely looking for that certain someone to marry or at least date while I am in Taiwan. I plan on being there at least a couple of years. I am 195cm's tall and about 125kgs. I am tall but a big guy as well. In South Korea I didn't have a problem talking to girls. I did have a girlfriend for two years but we had to break up because her family hated Americans. We were going to get married. Anyway, enough of the sob story.....I was wondering what is the best way to meet women who speak English? I have blond hair and blue eyes. Do you think I will have any problem meeting women? I am outgoing and very fun. I am just wondering what I should be looking for. Like you I dated the darker skinned athletic Korean girl. Very beautiful. Like you, my Korean friends thought she was not pretty but you said that taste in women are different from us and what they think.

My question is, will I have many problems meeting women and what is the best way in asking out one of these girls. I know they are shy, but I would rather have the "beat them off with a stick" problem than the shy unsure of themselves problem. Like you said, these women are considered second class. Same was true in Korea. My girlfriend hadn't dated in over 4 years because she hated Korean men and how they treated their women. What do you recommend? I have attached a picture of myself with my girlfriend from Korea so you can see what I look like and what my chances are of finding a girlfriend and what would be the best way to find one. Also, are they loyal? Many women in America cheat on their boyfriends. Should I worry about that? I usually treat my girlfriend better than I do my mother, and I am a momma's boy; usually like a princess or a queen. Thank you for reading this long email. I look forward to your response. [emphasis mine]

The last few lines are the real issue. Many of the letters about love I get are from males who have trust problems. Or to put it another way, they look suspiciously like controlling types. What can you say to a letter like this?


Anonymous said...

What is the response to the first letter? Is the situation described typical of expectations of Taiwanese students?

Michael Turton said...

My response was basically "I don't know."

Yes, it's very typical for students to be given boring 19th century lit well above their heads intellectually and linguistically. So they come to hate lit and English, a signal achievement.


Red A said...

RE: the male trust problem.

Sometimes this problem is not the fault of the male, but that he has bad experiences with women previously.