“Bow! Help me out here,” one of my English teachers called me to see her outside of the class.
“Are you interested in some kind of debating?”
“Well, come and see me in the teachers’ room after this period, ok? We want creams of school here.”
I went to see her and found out that the debating contest was coming. Our school had to compete with Mahidol Wittayanosorn School, school full of science genii. The debate would be in English on the topic of “Learning English before going abroad.” There were some mistakes with papers telling about the competition’s details and we knew when there were only a few days left so teachers couldn’t set any competitions in school first and asked for those known to be good at English instead. I didn’t think I was that good, I mean I can communicate but to express my ideas suddenly like that on some kinds of debate, I didn’t think so. I only participated one speech contest at school. I couldn’t even win the first prize – -” and after a while of ‘audition’ :p ~ I knew I wouldn’t be chosen. I mean, we, who were called, had to discuss ideas about the topic. I couldn’t think of anything whereas my friends kept talking constantly; “Socialization, financial expenses and etc!”
At the end of it, two of us were chosen, not me of course :p but I got a chance to put a name in a paper to go and cheer them at American Embassy.
When we arrived, we had to take out or ID cards for officers to check. All the progresses were very strict but those officers were not scary, unlike other stricted teachers (jk!), anyways. The place is absolutely gorgeous. The first thing I noticed before getting in the building was a little garden filled with cute colourful flowers. Well, we got in, some of us used the toilets, some walked around a little and we then came to sit al-together.
People there welcomed us warmly with nice words. Some head there had some speech and then we were brought to discuss about ways to learn English, “The Englishes” and new forthcoming TOEFL.
We got a chance to learn English in a fun way where I never gained when learning English in Thai schools before. We learned how one sentence could be said in various ways and they could mean something differently. For example, “Beautiful” ~ if we got flat tire somewhere in the country far away from gas station or garages.. if saying “Beautiful” in this situation can lead everyone to understand the meaning right away and no one will take it in a way of saying beautiful when watching the sunset. We learned to say it in some tones and that was pretty funny. Right, there was nothing gotta do with grammars but it was fun and I really understood it. No one taught me that before although I knew I could use them in different circumstances but I never noticed until it was mentioned that time.
Then, it was a time for, “Why did we learn English just now?” and “Why do we have to learn English?” It’s true that Chinese is becoming the most speaking language worldwide but it’s English, which is really controlling this planet. We speak English when doing businesses. We watch American movies, which are in English. Lots of Asian songs have English words in. And of course, loads of countries are now having English as their native language. We now have Singlish, Indian English, American English and etc! Don’t you think so? And we still have to move on with this world, so we shouldn’t ignore how important English is.
After that, we were told about new coming TOEFL. Eventhough, I used to think about them changing coz people gain scores too easily compared to SAT and something else, I now understand why it’s changing. It’s because those people at ETS do realize. They realize about “The Englishes” thing so they improve their tests. It’s not about making it more difficult to gain more money like somebody is thinking about right now, it’s actually about giving real advantages to the test-takers. In the tests, there will be loads of accents in listening part; Chinese accent, Indian accent, British, American, japanese accent, perhaps Thai and a lot more. Is it malicious? No! It’s for us to be used to different accents as people are speaking English more and more everyday. When we can understand it all, then it’ll be our benefit to communicate with them all. And what will be the by-product from this at last? Yes, peace.. will come when we all talk and start understanding one another.
In the afternoon, time for the debates, it was so fun and informatory. My school won. The other team did kick ass anyway :p However, I learned a lot that day although I wasn’t chosen to compete. That time, I thought I didn’t think I was smart and quick enough anyways. But after a visit there at the Embassy, now I’m sure I’m a lot wiser 🙂
Well, I am Thai and so proud of my nation. I will do my best in the future learning other languages and spreading my language because deep inside, I’m still looking foward to seeing if there is a time for “The Thais.”