Tag Archives: ESL

Premature Ejaculator? No Worries in Kuala Lumpur

Lights of KL

I was barely into my first big beer before some guy sat down at my table.

“Hello,” he may have said—“may” because his accent was so thick it was almost opaque.

This situation was exactly what I didn’t want: some possibly drunk and/or stoned boner twisting my ear in English more broken than his teeth. Besides, my friend and I were momentarily burned out on each other and, to exacerbate things, Chinese New Year in Malaysia was thwarting most attempts made at travel and lodging. We just needed some street noodles and beers to unwind. But while she was in the bathroom (and I was criminally eating her noodles), this stick of a man slithered into the open seat.

His black shirt, hanging onto his body only slightly looser than his skin, was tucked into his black jeans, at the front of which was an obnoxious, silver belt-buckle.

I have no fucking idea what he and I talked about before my friend got back. I was so peeved and pissy that I barely mustered the good nature to proffer one-word answers to his awkward chatter. It was during one of my space-outs into the fluorescent-lit streets of Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown that I saw my friend returning. I quickly shook my head to hint that she stay away, but she was already annoyed with me (seeing that I had eaten her noodles didn’t help—at all), so she plopped down at the table’s third seat. I braced for the terse conversation I was sure would follow.

Consequently, I also have no fucking idea when we all started to have a great time.

Lights of KL, and some broad

All of a sudden, the three of us were cracking up. David went from a unwelcome, Johnny-Cash-looking pain in the ass to the remedy for our travel malaise. We had bought ourselves a round and were laughing away as the wait staff sat and watched.

David insisted they were jealous. I’m still inclined to agree.

Petronas Towers

He was thrilled when he learned we’re English-language teachers. He told us about his English lessons; apparently, he was at the top of his class.

“That’s right! Number one!” he said.

But what he said was much less memorable than how he displayed ‘number one’.

Whenever he’d get excited and need to emphasize something’s supremacy, David employed a very specific motion: his left arm would lift, his arm perpendicular to the ground before his elbow would rise away from his body, and his loose fist would flutter before his gangly index finger rose from the shaky mess into a rigid, erect indication of what he meant.

(He made us promise to bring his gesture worldwide. Now that you know about the motion, consider yourself implicated.)

“Number one!”

Why was anything number one?

“It has P – O – W – E – RRRRRRRRRRRRRR,” according to David.

Fucking everything was number one to this guy: English; our beer; his English; his shit-awful cigarettes; our English. The man was nothing if not enthusiastic.

More to the point, my sexual prowess was tops too—at least until my friend told him I was a habitual premature ejaculator.

Cat Nap, and other puns

See, David refused to believe that we were anything less than bang buddies. It took us three minutes to talk him down from marriage:

“You married, no?”


“No? Don’t lie.”

“David, we promise.”

“But she’s your wife, no?


And so forth.

City of Street Art

When he heard “friends” numerous times, he finally settled on ‘special friends’. It seemed like a reasonable place to end the shenanigans. It also opened a window for a joke:

“Yea, but David, she has many special friends.”

I forgot that sarcasm doesn’t translate across languages so well—damn beers—and that my friend can give as good as she gets—damn beers. I just had to wait for the revenge.

My friend and I started to fabricate how we became special friends. It eventually came about that I was the artist for her back tattoo (a gorgeous cherry blossom, so I was flattered), and after those four hours getting tattooed in my chair, she was hooked.

“Four hours?!” David exclaimed. His excitement, barely containable, eventually exploded out of his left hand:

“Number one!”

Thus, the stage was set for my friend.

“Yea, but David, he lasts only two seconds,” she revealed, tipping her head to imply he think about this statement.

He didn’t need to think; his eyes, once proud, shot back to me with disbelief.

“Two seconds? No!”

I got too excited. I saw a hook, well baited: an opportunity to continue the laughs and general revelry, even if at my expense. I couldn’t keep it in. Without control, I quickly blurted:

“Yes, David. Two seconds.”

His jaw dropped. His shit-awful cigarette nearly ended up on his obnoxious belt buckle. Sure, I could get a pretty girl in four hours, but I was finished after two seconds.

“But David, I can have sex, like, twelve times a day.”

He seemed impressed, at least for a bit. Then, I think, he did the math:

2 seconds x 12 sex-romps = 24 seconds of sex-romps. That number’s still far south of stellar. David, much older than myself, knew he needed to proffer some wisdom.

“Two seconds no problem. You know what you do?”

I did not, and I needed to know.

He removed his shit-awful cigarette so he could stick his tongue.

“Lick,” he coyly whispered, pointing to his, apparently, most prized muscle.

Shit officially got weird.

After we three nearly pissed ourselves laughing, we got back to our basic patterns of discussion: being number one, what does and does not have POWERRRRRRRRRRRRRR, the virtues of speaking English (David was a full-on acolyte), and the reported special friendship between my friend and me.

Looking back at our trip to Malaysia, all events—the 9-hour bus ride with one pit stop at a flooded bathroom; the undulating verdure of the Cameron Highlands; the self-inflated, giant, German doucher who tried to ruin said undulation; the expensive but rejuvenating hotel at which we stayed there; jelly-pla stings and non-overreactions in Batu Ferringhi, Penang; tremendously helpful cabbies all over Penang; the silence of Georgetown on the night of Chinese New Year—pass through and/or recall the memory of David. He picked us up when we were down, and continued to hoist us when we needed a quick chuckle elsewhere.

Overcast with a chance of awkward

Until, at least, shit got too weird.

My friend and I were two or three big beers deep and David had arrived already half in some bag, so things devolved kind of quickly—as they are wont to do—after the premature ejaculation talk. We two travelers were hitting a wall as David’s pronunciation was coming up to its own. These two events would have been enough to warrant an exit, but the lack of David’s topics expedited the shit out of the process: he kept returning to cuming early and going down on a chick afterwards.

The conversation had clearly peaked. It was time for a quick cleanup and for us to collect our things so we could bounce. There would be no conversational cuddling after the fact.

Nevertheless, once back in our room, David’s shadow had already begun to cast itself:

“Hey, tonight: number one!” we said with fluttering fists and indicative index fingers.


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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in Happiness, Malaysia, Misadventure


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“menstruate = The blood red day”

For those keeping track, you’re probably still on the edges of your seats in anticipation of Ayutthaya, Part 2. Well, get comfortable, because my busy ass is busy. Time consumption and promised posts aside, my blog would be bereft if left without irregular posts about my students. I’m a farang because I’m an ajarn, after all.

Earlier, I addressed how I felt about teaching university students. To use a vocabulary word from the third fourth of the semester, I was—and still am, I think—a little anxious about the whole bestowing-knowledge thing. If there’s one person who perpetually lives in a cloud of brain fart that stifles the nostrils of edification, it’s this guy.

Thankfully, a lot of my students have yet to catch a whiff. In fact, my English 2 academic class melted my heart last week when half of them cornered me after class and said, “Teacher, you teach English 3 and 4? We want you for all Englishes!” They persisted even after I assured them that I’m significantly harder as the levels progress. That, readers, was a good afternoon. (In fact, it was my birthday.)

English 2 has been the most revelatory of my classes. Their English proficiency is the lowest of all of my classes, so the insight they give me into how Thai students perceive and construe English has been invaluable. They also bust their asses for me—at least most of the time. As opposed to my conversation classes, which meet only once a week, I see my English 2 students three times a week, which has permitted me to watch both them and myself develop as the semester has progressed.

But enough sappy, I’m-a-rewarded-teacher stuff. It’s time for the meat of this post, which are, rather, memorable trimmings from my first semester here.

I think that idioms and expressions are a crucial aspect of any language; understanding the inner workings of the semiotic structures of anything is an invaluable procedure that any serious language user—native or not—should pursue with appropriate levels of rigor. Also, it’s just fun to explain ‘to kill a bottle’ and ‘to play the field’ to 19- and 20-year-old English-language learners.

To get some creative juices flowing, I had my students invent their own expressions in English after playing a Jeopardy-style game introducing the concept. I asked for an expression or idiom, its part of speech, an explanation of its usage(s), and a sample sentence. Below are five of the better ones (unedited), where ‘better’ means the spectrum of what ‘better’ means.

1) big face (adj.): it means to show off

ex: The old woman has a big face when she merits in the temple because there are so many people.

—Poor people cannot use it.

—Rich people can use it.


2) Milk spill = the chest of woman.

When you see another woman’s chest             example: when the women wear the jerkin [jersey/ tank top, I later learned] and they are not be careful enough then the other people will see their chest easily

I heard the boy beside me talk about her milk spill. that sit opposite me.


3) Beam without collumn [sic] (n.)

— Meaning. Beam and collumn is a thing that is need to come together. And it can’t missing each other. So beam without collumn is like. When you missing something that is very important.

Situation – when you go or do something. But you forgot a something which is very important.

Example – That fisherman look like Beam without column. He forgot a rod.


4) Pick a flower – take a leak.

During a driving, when a woman want a toilet but cannot find. She’ll go to the glass [grass] inside [beside?] the road for take a leak. Her act is like she is picking flowers.

Example – While I’m driving, I saw Malee’s picking flowers inside road.


5) menstruate = The blood red day

ex. The blood red day is coming then I feel upset.

This idiom should use with the women because only women will have the menstrual period and the menstruation is red and all women will get upset so then the women have a menstruation we called the blood red day as women menstruate.

This last expression stunned me, and in an absolutely great way. Before she handed it in, the student asked me if this was a good answer. I told her it was excellent. Fine, it’s not an idiom and probably only slightly a metaphorically grey expression, but fuck, who cares? I loved her candor, enthusiasm, and originality. Besides, for 3.75% percent of a grade—the assignment was to fulfill their Special Project grade—I’ll happily give her credit for her gusto, even if she did miss the various intricacies and shades that go into an idiom. Fucking whatever. Way to go, student.

Tonight is a dinner out and a very reluctant good-bye: one of the first people I met here—a vet who took was always ready with friendly guidance—is off to America before a jaunt in Australia, which itself is a prelude to India. She will, quite obviously, be goddamn missed.

Here's to you.

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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in ESL, Thailand


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Like a Tropical Jesus, I Walk between Islands

Although I’m working on less than five hours of sleep—I would set insomnia on fire if I could—I am here, at my keyboard, bringing you another installment of Suddenly Farang. That’s how much I care, people.

Besides, I figure you all want to hear about my long beach-weekend that was undoubtedly sandier and more picturesque, despite the monsoon season, than your typical-length weekend. So now that I’ve jammed my stomach with a minced shrimp omelet, it’s time to describe.

Last weekend was extended thanks to Wan Khao Pansa—or what’s translated as ‘Buddhist Lent’—which gave us off on Friday and Monday. The association with Lent seems like a mildly silly and denuding connection, but such cross-cultural borrowings are for a post where a four-day weekend isn’t involved.

The short teaching-week was much appreciated and fairly easy, since the bulk of my students had only in-class presentations. On Thursday, one level had to present a business plan for a predetermined type of company. Two of the more standout plans worthy of a blog were for a massage parlor and an airline company. The former named their business “Climax Massage Parlor” and began their PowerPoint slideshow with a picture of a woman with an especially red O-face. Their slogan: “Our Fingers. Our Palms. Your Climax.” I’m thankful these students are so good at English; otherwise, my lack of professionalism would have been very unprofessional.

The latter chose to make their airline company a luxury line, catering only to the wealthiest in Thailand. But, because of one student’s heavy-ish accent, I couldn’t quite make out his tag line. I could have sworn he said, “Our airline will get you high like Jesus?” I was rather proud of the oblique Beatles reference and sheer audacity of the statement, even if slightly confused. But, when I pressed the student further, I realized he said “high like a G6.” So much for my knowledge of popular music said through a heavy Asian accent.

Enter Friday, a day jam-packed with getting ready for the beach. I took the university’s free shuttle bus to Bangkok with my beach buddy to crash at another friend’s apartment close to the Ekamai bus station. Settling in, we got some amazing food at Coconuts, a place with an extensive vegetarian menu. And the food was about half the price of what I pay on campus. Bangkok definitely does have its upsides.

After a total lack of sleep (which is becoming a trend, apparently), the four of us

I'm on a bus

woke up at 6:30 a.m. to be to the station by 7 a.m. It took us about five hours to arrive at the pier, where we picked up a fifth member. Once on a ferry, it was another thirty minutes to reach the island. The whole trip was pretty easy—just a mix of interrupted naps, reading, listening to music, and vamping a playlist on which I’ve been working (cough NERD cough).

Cloudy Koh Chang

We left this early in the morning so we could eke out a day at the beach, but we were beach-blocked on Friday. About halfway through the bus ride, we began to drive into periodic and heavy rains—rains that didn’t stop until sometime on Monday, when we left. The rain didn’t preclude either time on the beach or awkward sunburns, but it did lead to a change of plans on Friday. Instead of a forced beach-day, we walked around our area—we ended up staying along White Sands Beach—and ate and ate and ate. Things could have been worse.

Because it was Buddhist Lent, however, obtaining alcohol over the weekend wasn’t a guarantee. I’m not a huge drinker—and have been described as a teetotaler—but I did want a beer or two on the beach. While most shops and restaurants didn’t mind selling booze, more regulated places—7-11, for example—had signs posting their refusal to sell alcohol because of the holiday. One wine store had its doors shut entirely. But if one could finagle and proffer a charming, demure smile—two of my specialties—one could enjoy an aforementioned beer or two on the beach.

The beach buddy and I rested in the same room all weekend: a 350B hotel room with an industrially powerful fan (I would wake up cold), two large beds, and detached-but-private showers that was across the road from the beach and our favorite place to eat, Cookies. The hotel was completely without frills, but for that it was perfect.

We all went to bed early—probably between 10 and 11 p.m.—with full stomachs and overwhelming exhaustion. We had big plans for Saturday, anyway.

But before the big plans could kick off, I woke up at 4:30 in the morning and was unable to fall back to sleep. DSLR in hand, I decided to walk around town and take night photos; I love dicking around with long exposures and insomnia lends the perfect excuse to do so. There were even potential sunrise shots in my future, at this rate.

The photos, as you can see didn’t turn out so great. Because it had been so rainy, there were few surfaces on which to rest my camera. Sunrise pictures were phased out as well since I was beginning to remember that it was 5:15 a.m. and my ass was actually tired.

All was not for naught, though, since I got to enjoy a 7-11 breakfast on a plastic chair outside of the store while bathing in the luminescence of the storefront sign. There was a weird kind of serenity to it, my probably strange tableau.

Back in bed by 5:45 a.m., I grabbed three more hours of welcomed sleep.

Rejuvenated, I squeezed in an ass-kicking hill run, glorious shower, and second breakfast, this time done right at Cookies with a soothing view of the beach.

Remants of a morning well spent.

Once again, I had the privilege of traveling with Tor, my friend’s Thai boyfriend. Another benefit of Tor I discovered regards travel: in Koh Chang, while other people were renting and wrecking motorbikes, we got to rent a badass pick-up truck. Aside from allowing a sequel to farang truck, our car proved to be much more reliable than the motorbikes on the switchbacks from hell, regularly slick with fresh rain puddles.

Thailand should begin training a bobsled team.

 After negotiating the often unbelievably winding and mountainous roads, we ventured into Bang Bao, a quaint—albeit touristly expensive—fishing village with cool piers to walk along and explore. There’s not much to be said about Bang Bao that isn’t conveyed better in pictures, so indulge below.

We wondered if we could buy this for 300,000B

Piers ventured, we drove to Khlong Phlu Waterfall. Thanks to my university ID, which somehow makes me a resident of Thailand that somewhat compensates for my skin-tone-and-language-based farang status, I paid only 40B as opposed to the 200B mandated from foreigners. Cha-ching.

The 400-meter trek to the waterfall would have sucked if it wasn’t kind of funny. All of us were wearing sandals and the ground on the way to the falls was muddy, mossy, wet, or all three—making the steep drop to the left all that much more comic. I was happy we pressed on, though, because what was at the end of the 400 meters was pretty motherfucking spectacular.

Khlong Phlu Waterfall

Although I didn’t like sharing the Khlong Phlu Waterfall, the crowds eventually faded into the background. All I really remember was taking the first jump into the water and floating around for not nearly long enough, the sound of water crashing down behind me.


The waterfall was a huge victory, but Saturday had another surprise in store. Who goes shopping for prescription eyeglasses while on an island vacation in a tropical climate? Cool kids, obviously. Beach buddy needed eyeglasses something fierce and a shop on the island was having a 2-for-1 sale. She felt bad for taking up a portion of my night with eyeglasses, but I was perfectly content—and she would have been stupid to pass up the sale. Besides, I was treated to free juice and a sedate feeling of atemporal presence: high and relaxed. The eyeglass shopping was, oddly enough, as good a part of the weekend as any other.

Sunday was another early morning; two of our friends were leaving at noon and we had to walk to an island from our island.

Walkable island, from Koh Chang

Fo’ real.

Once on Kai Bae beach, it was probably a quarter- to half-mile walk to a nearby island, accessible by foot only at low tide. One of those in the group had been to Koh Chang a month or two earlier, so she told us about this walkable island on the bus. Needless to say, all of us had been excited about the possibility of marching to an island from the start.

Setting off.

Don't slip.

The walk itself took about twenty to thirty minutes and, once we hit the coral, became like walking on stilts—underwater. Much like the waterfall, the walk was a pain in the ass, but, unlike the waterfall, watching the island become increasingly closer was a persistent motivator.

Pii krap ani koh tao rai krap?

Once on the island—which is for sale, if you’re interested (although non-Thais can’t own land in Thailand)—we kind of traipsed around the shore, taking photos and climbing on driftwood. I wish I could better convey what it was to walk to island from an island, but I think that clause conveys what we did quite nicely:

We walked to an island from an island.

And while a ton of people tried to follow us path, maybe only a handful made it. Poseur wannabe bitches.

An offering?

Such an achievement meant it was time for street food. Admittedly, though, I’ll be goddamned if I know of an hour when it isn’t time for street food in Thailand. This meal was particularly tasty: a whole fish grilled on a skewer with two sides of sticky rice, or khao niao. I ordered the whole thing in Thai before hopping back into the truck and sharing the feast with my beach buddy. She and I sat in the bed of the truck eating moist, smoky, grilled fish and khao niao as we drove back to our beach—and loving the shit out of life. By noon, I was rocking a super-sweet tank-top sunburn, but whatevs. There was no opportunity to stress.

After some time in a café with coffee, tomato juice, and pineapple fried rice with my beach buddy, we spent the rest of the day hanging out, watching Fashion TV—it was really rainy and/or overcast out and we were effing exhausted—and taking pictures of the sunset over wine, the beach buddy and I met with the third friend for dinner, as the other two had since left. Once again, I ordered street food—two orders of som tom and two of sticky rice, all for 80B—completely in Thai. Ego inflated, we sat down to dinner with our third and were treated to an impromptu fire show. Check out these shots of the sunset and fire dancers.

And then the Apocalypse happened

Monday morning was spent on the beach—laying out, running up and down the shoreline, and romping in the ocean. (Walking into the waves, I said, out loud, “This is so irresponsible,” a fact for which I was thankful.) Plus, although I spent only a few hours on the beach, I was able to soften my awkward tank-tan into an overall redness. Score one for me? Hell, the whole weekend was score-one-for-me.

The bus ride back sucked—100% sucked—but I was able to play back the entire weekend in my mind. Not bad, kids. Not bad.

Next up: a trip to Chiang Mai, an area I’ve hyped up so much in my mind that I expect nothing less than a haven interspersed with elephants, vegetarian food, and colorful tapestries.

See you all then.

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Posted by on July 22, 2011 in Thailand


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