Monday, June 29, 2009

News Tidbits

A round-up of the day's news from the Land of the Morning Calm:

1) Well, first of all, the morning wasn't all that calm, as I arose at something before four AM to watch the final of the Confederations Cup, in which the USA appeared, against all odds, to face off with Brazil, arguably the strongest international on the scene. The game started well for the US, scoring twice in the first ten minutes to take a 2 - 0 lead to halftime.

When is the last time someone was up two goals on Brazil? Well, I don't know either, but I bet it was a long time ago. I was elated, but realistic--that score would not hold. I dunno what the coach said to his squad at halftime, but it worked--Brazil scored in the first minute of the second half, and ended up winning 3 - 2. Well, it was really 4 - 2, since one goal didn't count as the linesman, er, assistant referee, was out of position. The game ended before 5:30 and I caught a few winks until my usual wake-up time of 6:05 (6:00 is just too early).

2) About 30 seconds after I left the building for my walk to school, a slight patter of raindrops began. In five minutes, it was a downpour that continued all the way to school and for a good three hours. The sky outside my window was positively black. By lunchtime it had blown by us, and the sun was beating down hotly by the time I walked home--you could see the humidity jumping from the ground into the air.

3) Two stories in today's Korea Times combine to send signals even more mixed than usual from the government. In Story A, the Korean Education Research Institute unveiled a plan to reduce costs for Korean families crunched by private academy tuition that would force 'hagwons' to close by 10 PM.

In Story B, "More Teachers Hone English at Private Institutes", also known as hagwons ... wait for it ... with subsidies from the government. Since, obviously, the best way to make something go away is to throw government money at it.
Many teachers say they are feeling growing pressure to strengthen their proficiency, as they are required to conduct English-only classes by 2012 as part of government-led programs to boost English classes at public schools.

Good luck. I can't even have English-only classes in the English Only Zone with an English-only teacher ...

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