TRAVEL : CULTURE
IMD's INSIDE CHINA:
The Middle Kingdom Blog
Most people these days regard ESL teachers as a particular type of loser. While perhaps 20 years ago they were still a rare breed of intrepid travellers, these days they are everywhere, multiply like roaches at a Coney Island hot dog eating contest, and are looked down upon by a Western expat culture caught up in the worship of money and status (in an Asia where the stories are about billionaires and cray cray rich).
However, just leep in mind that there are really two or three kinds of foreign teacher these days in China and not all of them fit the stereotype of a western dude who couldn't make it in the West.
This lept to the top of m list of things to blog about because I saw on Reddit the pervailing attitude towards ESL teachers is that they must be somehow Happy Giraffe dorks who aren't making the big bucks and thus are worthless castaways on the island of Misfit Eucators.
Well, there is one kind of teacher I dislike: the sexpat. Guys who were incels in America or the West come to Asia thinking that their height advantage might do them some good. And to some degree, it does! However, the Pick Up Artist attittude they cop is even more pathetic than not being able to get laid at all. Case in point, this asshole who thinks its funny to become son of Cock-Tucker Max around Hong Kong by harassing and mocking the politeness and supposed gullability of Asian women in the New territories and defends himself pathetically by saying "men have to be men." Ha ha, if only this dweeb knew what makes a real man. Girls, if you see this guy, just pepper spray his ass out of your face like a mosquito.
Sure, Asian women are lovely and kind and less confrontational often due to the cultureal mores of old Asia, but that doesn't mean they exist for you to exploit in order to get another notch on your youthostel toilet door. A real man, who is all grown up and stuff, actually respects people as a rule. These cocks believe that sex is a game played to win and that a solopsistic view of "nature" authorizes them to have empty encounters and treat human beings with insensitivity for Youtube clicks. It's pathetic and they don't even know why. Like baby Trumps who entertian abusively misogynistic ideas about the object of their rape fantasies, these clowns grab and go for now but will someday face the consequences of their actions or, at least if they make it out of high peuberty, will one day grow up to regret how sociopathic they were. Don't believe me? I bet they will just like psycho Tucker tried to extend his five minutes of fame with a half assed mea culpa. Hey kids! You will regret being such a jackass later on in life, I guarantee it.
One interesting side note: I contacted the South China Morning Post author of the article linked to above to get her take on why the paper would give such a scumbag the attention he craved and the poor paradigm he perpetuated with his antics. Her reply was that women in Hong Kong needed to know that this predator was out there so the could identify him if he crept around their ankles. Hopefully, if they can ID him as he scuttles their way, they can kick him in the balls and leave him on the street for the sweepers to come by with their straw brooms and deposit him into the landfill where he belongs. 'Nuff said about him.
This one's for you, kid:
Sugma ovaries, you
To anyone with a modicum of decency, these scumbags who treat women like objects of conquest are devoid of any real humanity. Sure, I like sex and I think Asian girls are beautiful. If I go to a club and see some gyrating young thing in hot pants, I enjoy the show. But I assume they are consenting adults and I don't harbor any alterior motive to try and get famous on Youtube by shooting them my leers with a smirk and some cash like a jerk. It's just not necessary unless deep down you're insecure.
Another example: the older over the hill British divorcee sexpat who teaches in the daytime and then goes to the massage parlours or Bangkok's Soi Cowboy in the evenings. Don't you think they're the type who wind up molesting kids sometimes? If they see women as just a set of knuckles to wrap around a joystick, won;t that subliminally seep into their work? Maybe, maybe not, but when a five year old pees on the sidewalk in China these are the types that probably try to sneak a peek, in my experience. The first teacher I met in Guangzhou, within twenty minutes of initially shaking his hand, told me proudly he knew where I could get a rub and a tug if I wanted one. Little did he know that all the other teachers and staff at the school were giggling at him behind his back because he coouldn't keep it in his pants. Do you think that some of the hairdressers in the backroom he encountered were possibly sex trafficked or there because their situations were grim and they were vulnerable to the worst exploitation of their dignity that money could buy? If it is even a possibility, who would you in good conscience want to perpetuate a cycle of societal violence towards real human beings who deserve better. Hitting it off with party girls is one thing, having to stoop to paid masturbation is another. Why bother? Save your money and cook at home, it's cheaper and cleaner too.
Meanwhile, now that is cleared up, let's move on to the good people who do what they do for reasons ranging from making a few extra kuai to trachers who are out to make the world a better place one kid at a time.
Sure, teachers in ESL or Tier 2 teaching jobs have some small amount of what you might call loser contingents just like most places. Yet probably most of them are just college graduates who want to see the world. Some in the bunch will be brilliant. Maybe one day they will move on and chase the silver dollar. Maybe some actually get a sense of reward knowing they can impart their wisdom to others.. Hence, being an ESL teacher in China should get about the same respect as it gets anywhere. Which means, often not as.much as it should if you value education. Anyway, at the end of the day, for some the profession in China earns them a middle class status if you.look at pure.economic mobility.
They are definitely not upper-class lawyers and business big swinging dicks, of course, and they eat well and save their pennies instead of throw it away on shark fin soup, and that may suit them just fine. It's true, of course, that foreign teachers by and large are treated even today better in China by and large versus the average citizen who probably makes less than half of what they do a month, so it's all relative. For every BMW driver in "the Guo" there's a hundred thousand riding an e-bike to work and eating out of a plastic container filled with rice and pickled cabbage for lunch.
In a way, teachers are often minor celebrities who get deference and invited out more than they stay home anyway because they are rare creatures of a sort. And China's students and education system actually still respect Big bucks and hotpot feasts are nice but always be aware that, as the Greek Diogenes one put it, I think, "With excess, even the greatest pleasures soon cease to please." Somehow, even in status-conscious Asia, where the billionaires live in luxury unimagined by the proles like me and you, there might be something more than money that motivates people to find what they do reward.
Look at it this way: wherever you go, there you are. Fulfillment comes from leaving a legacy of doing good work you can be proud of, not how much money you grab from the crappy drone job you probably suffer for when you work in the world of corporate greed and fat bottom lines. This is borne out by people like me and Jack Ma, who once he made his nut, decided to retre from it all and start using his wealth for something greater than satisfying insatiable share-holers. (See more on that below).
Always do a job that you enjoy and think of it as a partnership not a master and slave arrangement. Money is a tool to do great things, not an end in itself. That is one of the first things I write on the board when I start a new class of students. Should I be making millions? Sure, why not. My wife and I started our own education company so we're not exactly spring chickens holding up flash cards all day and teaching B-I-NGO. But I've been visiting China since 1994. While I would not live here permanently without better comp and more freedom of speech, it is sure an interesting place to visit and teach. Hao ma?
That said, the education field.is crowded but the migration online is just beginning. I keep thinking of building a guanxi network to whip up a start-up online tutoring app platform, etc, with me as the featured actor. Who"s got a spare million or two, lol?
Slogan courtesy of Happy Giraffe Preschool ad, Guangzhou subway
Kevin J Salveson is the founder of Ideas Million Dollar.