Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Why I hate electronic translators . . .

. . . and why I feel certain the world will continue to need English teachers

From a paper I recently received:

One is not the how profound movie, even is simple so has divorced from the reality, does not have the too winding strange plot, has not the magnificent scene which the human is dazzled, has not made the stunt effect which one praises to the heavens, only then simple black and white, actually because of had him and she among, but lets us immerse, the feeling time is unable to cancel purely and happy, closely is affecting the innumerable happy young moods.

Remembered is on 12 year-old Sunday warm afternoons, first time looked the [movie title], all of a sudden completely is charmed. Has been infatuated with the purity which the Hofn graceful makings are ignorant of affair, but has been infatuated with the parker erudite Confucian scholar the humorous gentry charm. At that time, only thought she was in this world the most perfect female, but he is in this wolrd the only perfect man. Because of [the movie], I have remembered the Hofn pure beauty, also has remembered the parker affection look.

Ten points to anyone who can name the movie this paragraph is about!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Love Story: A Fairy Tale by Cherry and Vivian

Once upon a time, there was a group of animals in the forest. A tiger named Rake was very ferocious. He lived nearby the river, and ate many animals around the river. All the animals were afraid of him.

Another rabbit’s family lived near the river. There was a rabbit named Mary lived in this family. She was very beautiful. Her hair was very white which looks like the white snow. Her eyes were like rubies. She was the most beautiful rabbit in the forest.

One day, while Mary was walking along the river, Rake was going out of his house. Rake watcher her for a long time and was fascinated by Mary’s beautiful eyes. At that time, Mary didn’t know anything. She bent her head and was taking a walk slowly. Suddenly a loud voice came up to her, “hello.” Mary raised her head quickly. She saw the tiger was dumbfounded. The tiger’s appearance made her so frightened that she fell into the carelessly. Rake quickly ran into the river and then saved her. Later, Mary was moved and they fell in love. After that, Rake never ate in animal.

Every afternoon, Mary and Rake would meet beside the river. They loved each other very much. They would play together and chat together.

After 3 years, Mary and Rake decided to marry each other. The Mary told her mother the whole story, but her mother didn’t allow her to marry Rake. Mary was very say. She asked her mother why she couldn’t marry Rake. Her mother told her that Rake was their enemy. Fifteen years ago, Rake killed Mary’s father and then ate him. After hearing the truth, Mary cried sadly and ran out of the house. She ate an poisonous mushroom. Because she blamed herself so much, she killed herself in order to make up for fault.

Mary’s mother was very sad, she told Rake the bad news. Rake suddenly dumped into the river and also killed himself. At last, Mary and Rake became two mandarin ducks and lived together forever!

Dave (weeping mixed tears of sorrow and joy)

P.S. That's the last of my student fairy tales. Hope you liked them!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The King and the Tiger: A Fairy Tale by Sylvia and Yvonne

Once upon a time, in a far country, there lived a king who was very bad and despotic. He did not love the inhabitants in the kingdom at all. He killed many animals. He was very aggressive, and always declared war on other countries.

The years went by, the inhabitants couldn’t bear having such this king, so they went to the fairy’s house. The fairy was nice and provided with bewitchment. When she heard that, she used the magic to make the king become a tiger. “You did a lot of bad things, as punishment, I make you become a tiger. If you can do three good things, then you can become the king again,” said the fairy to the king.

The tiger knew that he was wrong, so he wanted to offset his offences. The first thing he did was planting a lot of trees around the country to make the country clear and beautiful. Then he killed the worst man in a country close by and saved many proles. On his way to the kingdom, he saw a girl was seized by some bandits. He killed the bandits and saved that girl.

The fairy knew the tiger had done three good things already, so she used the magic to make the tiger the King again. Then the King became kind and loved his inhabitants.

A few days later, the girl saved by the King came to the kingdom. Actually, she was the princess of another country. When she knew the tiger was the king, she was very surprised. In the end, she married the King.

Dave (nodding approvingly at the moral recovery of the King)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Oriental Health Safety Abomination: OSHA East

To be honest, I've never considered myself much of a safety nut. I mean, sure, I'm afraid of heights, so ramps without handrails make me queasy, and yeah, I did injure myself at work seven years ago, but that was my own stupid fault. A lot of the guys that I've worked with over the years seemed to regard safety regulations as the evil twin of Orwell's comparatively benign Big Brother. Especially when I worked for a year at a construction-related company, guys were always griping about how much easier/better/cooler things would be if we didn't always have those OSHA party poopers breathing down our necks.

What a difference a little comparison can make. Shanghai is in a constant state of construction. I can see cranes from any window I look out of, and the dulcet tones of drills and jackhammers are never far away. They're putting up an entire apartment complex and shopping center (I think) across the street from our school, and they're building a new bridge across the canal behind the school. And no matter where you are, new construction is never more than a block away.

All that exposure means that you're bound to run into a few things that are different. Now, I'm no expert, but there are some . . . common practices, we'll call them, that just strike me as downright crazy. I'll let it go that they build all of their scaffolding out of bamboo tied together with twine, no matter how tall the building is. I guess it must not actually collapse, and I'm sure it's light and cheap. Just seems a bit less sturdy than it might be otherwise. And while leaving huge piles of rubble everywhere rather than carting it away might not be aesthetically pleasing, it's probably not unsafe.

No, I'm talking about things like setting up said scaffolding on a building face and leaving space for people to walk into the front door underneath it. Doesn't sound dangerous? No, I didn't think so either, until the workers above me started dropping their wrenches and screwdrivers down to their mates while I was walking by. I'm talking about pushing brick-laden wheelbarrows over the bamboo slats above . . . with bricks falling off.

The real killer was the time that we saw a crew of guys cutting plywood. They had a circular saw set up on the edge of a table at the bottom of a short flight of stairs so that they could cut a few pieces and then pass it up to their comrades working at the top of the stairs. Of course, these stairs were also being used by people walking in and out of a building (including yours truly). I watched incredulously as the entire group of workers carried some wood up to the front of the building, and then sat around, chatted, and took a break. While saw was still running. Unattended. On a waist-level platform. At the bottom of a flight of stairs. Broken, uneven stairs.

All it would have taken was one misstep, and I'd have been dictating this blog post. So the next time that you see some poster urging you to work safely, don't roll your eyes. Be thankful—it beats going through life being called 'Stumpy.'


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Meet Unexpectedly: A Fairy Tale by Becky and Alisa

There was a pig in the forest and she is the only one in the world. She had no friend because all other animals thought she was so ugly that it had no qualification to be their friend, so she felt inferior and sad. Thereupon, she decided to leave this forest. When she walked along a river, she became sadder and sadder. At that time, it became dark gradually. She suddenly had a thought that she wanted to commit suicide. Then she walked to the river. The moment the water had submerged half of her body, a farmer suddenly held it in his arms from the river and gently put it on the riverside. She turned round and saw the farmer. To her surprise, the farmer was her husband in the past, but he didn’t recognise her and she can’t be acquainted with him because there are something happened between them in the past . . .

In the past, she was a fairy. She came down to world, and she fell in love with this farmer. Even she got married with the farmer furtively. However happy life was very shot. Her father knew her thing and he was furious and asked her to come back, otherwise they will be punished. She was not willing to come back, so they receive penalty together. The cruel penalty is that the farmer can’t recognize her and she become a pig.

When she saw the farmer again, she didn’t want to die and she bent on following the farmer and protecting him. Marvellously, the farmer realized her thought. Then farmer lived happily with her as a pet.

Dave (sniffing and wiping his eyes)

P.S. Here's a gem I missed from the last test: "When two people love each other, they can destroy everything." I think she was going for "overcome anything," for what it's worth.