Perhaps you can't see what is attached to the edge of this building and that's OK because I'm going to tell you: they are loudspeakers - part of a public address (PA) system on the campus. These are used thrice daily to give news, celebrate birthdays, and make local announcements. They are useful for waking eager students up in the morning. However, they also wake not-so-eager students who don't have class until 10 a.m. They were used a week after the earthquake to project the sounds of that terrible day while students stood silent and motionless. They are probably the most normalizing aspect of my life here because they unconsciously tell me what time it is (either between 6:30 and 7:00, 12:00 and 12:30 or 6:00 and 6:30). The fact that I can barely understand the cracklings of the thin voice is ok with me, I am merely content that it plays regularly.
There has been talk that the foreign teachers will take an active role in these broadcasts. Within a few weeks we will be invited to give a short presentation in English about a topic of our choosing (I will chose "How to Study English"). After our presentation they will open a single hotline for students to ask follow-up questions. I'm already looking forward to the first phone call:
Caller: Hallo, I jab schion oregn echier - hwn you say zhat pelo, hao do you mine?
Translator: Excuse me, would you please speak Mandarin?
Caller: Oh, shahry, [more unintelligible speech]
[several minutes of back and forth]
Translator: Oh, what he wants to ask is, "How can [he] study English better?"
Me: Ummm... I just gave a presentation about that.
Translator: [Obviously confused about what to say] Oh.
And so on.
Actually, it will go much smoother than this (probably), but I am always suspect of things that have been organized in the Chinese fashion in Guizhou Province. Typically it means that either some or a lot of preparation has been done, but there are always wild cards that make one think, "Did they even begin to think about this event; where is the organization?"
I'm excited for this broadcast. My speech will have three main tenets: Practice, practice, practice.
Posted by Concerned Citizen at 8:22 AM