Saturday, December 15, 2007

We Are the Krue Farang

We are the Krue Farang, and life is good. In most aspects, we are not like teachers at all, we are just accessories to the Thai teachers that we work with.

We cannot really talk to students. Even my Masters’ Degree law students miss most of the simple sentences that I say to them so slowly and carefully. The Thai teachers can talk to the students, and do, including about us, in our presence, even if we can understand a little, they know it’s just a little, and they can function as real teachers, at least they know a lot more than the students do, a teacher only needs to be a week or two in front of the students after all.

One of us said, it seems so long ago now, that his co-teacher told him that he was like a tape recorder, the teacher pressed play and he spoke the English words, and he found this attitude confusing and aggravating. But it’s true.

We are just accessories to the Thai teachers, and for them. We don’t participate in the real processes of education, grading, evaluation and counseling, not really, and we are not invited to the meetings, all because the language barrier is almost never successfully crossed.

But life is good for the Krue Farang, although it is an incomplete experience of what it appears to be, much like the kept woman is an incomplete image of a wife. But, the champagne is chilled, the flowers are fresh, the rent is paid and we are only required to be beautiful when called upon to do so. The rest of the time we must only smile and put in our hours, waiting to serve. Like the woman cares for her hair and skin, figure and nails, I bide my time reading and writing, I do love the so-called English language, really an archaic dialect of German onto which has been grafted most of Latin and French, plus a vast treasure trove of words from all of the four corners of the globe. Like the woman I wait patiently and try to be useful when called upon. Not called upon I retreat, I have learned not to step forward too frequently to remind people of their inadequacies.

We are the Krue Farang.

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