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Excerpts – English Tutoring



If you ever meet one of those overly friendly ladies who invite you to stay in their palace, just assume there is going to be a catch!

Another excerpt from my travel journal to the land of smiles circa November 2001. It involves my being so naïve and just assuming that I was a very fortunate chap to bump into good quality Thai folk. My first date with Beth (What is a Thai Woman 29/9/2003) was at the palace and the second one was to Chiang Mai to Visit her Aunt and then get stuck with a 12-year-old niece of hers whom I spent countless hours teaching English to. And yes, they are good quality Thai folk nonetheless. She has this huge house complete with a pond full of Koi fishes and yet if this house was in the USA it would have been torn down due to many construction defects, then again I assume there is no such thing as a building inspector in Chiang Mai. There is something to be said about would be millionaire homes in Asia compared to America and for that matter Europe. Asia tends to be more big and loud with no regard for quality and efficiency.

No kidding! When I was walking in the hall way on the second floor of this house I swear that I felt the house buckling and that if I jumped up I would fall right thru the floor! The plumbing! What plumbing? Someone might as well pee on my head in the shower! And you better let it run for a few minutes to get that brown color out!

And then there is the tutoring! A private English tutor apparently cost 300 baht per hour! Since it was my first time in Chiang Mai, I thought I was going to get a tour of the whole city with Beth, hand in hand and romantic. Yeah right! Instead I am with her Auntie and her daughter named Tum who is twelve years old and getting groomed for a life in a western culture.


Tum is very shy and I cannot get her to talk very much around her mom and Beth. Out of frustration I decided to ask her questions like does she know what “Jerking my Chain” means? Right of the bat, we are off and running on the right foot as I finally peaked her curiosity as she did not know what I was talking about as she researches her dictionary for the translation of what I was saying. I told her I am no English teacher but I will teach her English that will “blow away” her English teacher once she uses the phrases I teach her in real conversation! She already has a good grasp of proper English, but the way I was talking was completely foreign to her. I did this on purpose as I know it was the only way to get her interested since I realized that I was stuck with her for a few days anyway. Beth was totally in limbo as she had no clue what I was talking about and what I was teaching her little cousin.

So for all the English that Bar girls learn, here comes Tum speaking valley girl talk. Not really, but sophisticated gibberish that only other westerners would understand.

Try and explain these phrases to a Thai person and teach them to use it in a sentence.

Skeletons in the closet! Jerking my chain! & Toying with me!
Blown Away! Thick headed!
Totally dense! Brown nosing!
Back-handed complements! Back stabbing!
Get off the right foot! Get off the wrong foot!
Sophisticated gibberish! Totally in limbo!

I would love to see the look on Tum's Thai / English teacher's face when she uses these phrases. The start of the conversation I told her to say to her teacher was “Guess what! I met a farang who taught me some sophisticated gibberish!” “ Mom was brown nosing up to him to coerce him into teaching me and he said he wasn’t going to jerk my chain and teach me English, But instead we got off the right foot as he said he would teach me stuff that is actually used in everyday chit chat in his country”

Well since she was only twelve, I was not about to teach her any romantic stuff but the ones I did teach her was my way of getting even for being deceived as to what my trip to Chiang Mai was actually going to be like. I would have gone anyway if I was asked to teach the little one but that is another story.

I still enjoyed myself actually as we went to a nice restaurant with a traditional Thai dance show.


Stickman’s thoughts:

You'd fit into teaching in Bangkok just fine…