Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yearbook photo and LC invig

Wayne's the kind of friend who will lend you the shirt off his back. Literally. I needed a proper shirt to wear for the staff photo shoot today 'cos the one I was wearing would have looked absolutely hideous with a tie. Trust me to forget the College yearbook shoot ends today.

The photog had rather mundane ideas for our poses. They were basically police mugshots, two each of full-frontal, and left 'n right 3/4 shots. The only difference was that we didn't have to pose carrying our own serial numbers and we were made to smile like a North Korean in the personal presence of Kim Jong Il himself.

Today was also Listening Comprehension invigilation day. The radio I signed out must have been defective. In order to receive a clear signal the radio insisted that I place myself directly behind the antenna and remain completely motionless until the broadcast ended. Any slight movement I made resulted in static. Anywhere else I stood in the room resulted in static.

The kids seemed quite amused as I arranged myself in different configurations to ensure optimal reception. Standing on one leg didn't help, thank God. Eventually, the radio and I negotiated for a sitting position, both palms flat on the table, elbows akimbo, and I remained roughly frozen in place for the duration.

Oddly enough, I actually understood three of the four stories read in Mandarin over the radio. I'm quite proud of myself now. The first story was about a guy and a seashell he picked up on the beach and then some philosophy about shells being used as money and something about aesthetics which I couldn't quite get. Number two was some guy lamenting that his college buddy's standard of Chinese language was deteriorating with every pretty postcard he receives every year from him. Three was a vignette of a 4th grade student volunteer at a library who was so dedicated to his job, he kept on working there every day even though he had to move elsewhere to live and attend school. This dedicated little tyke turns out to be little Billy Gates whom we know better as an adult than as a 4th grader. The final story was this bizarre father-son bonding activity in which the father plays "trust me" mind games with his 9 year-old. The results of this bonding session will probably be analyzed thoroughly by a professional whom the kid will inevitably be consulting once he gets older.

Wonder if my Chinese is getting better or if today's paper was exceptionally easy?

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