There’s a speech contest?

And we’re the judges.

The local Education Department has declared this to be cultural assimilation week (“Resistance is futile.”), to which end we had English Corner at lunchtime. It just involved a few kids from our classes, although I assume the rest of the school could come along if they wanted. From acquiring a copy of the programme for the week, I found that there’s going to be a speech contest on Friday afternoon and guessed at once and correctly that we’d be the judges.

Some of my little dears from Class 6 were absent this afternoon because they were in the teacher’s office dealing with the speech. They then turned up for the second class with a rather saccharine piece of English (pock-marked with Chinglish), which would’ve needed a certain amount of editing and desaccharinisation. (It’s a word, I’m telling you.) I said it wasn’t an ideal piece of English and went down to the office with them to do an on-line search for something a little more suitable.

They wanted some piece of verse, but needed something that would last up to five minutes, thus excluding sonnets from consideration. The Internet connection was diabolically slow, but I eventually managed to get onto Representative Poetry Online. Rather than browsing, I headed more or less for Andrew Marvell and picked out To his Coy Mistress (Luminarium). Yes, I know it’s a bit naughty of me, but the poem seemed to be about the right length. I’m going to have to do a lot of explaining, though. 17th century English (and poetry) is well beyond their current level of comprehension.


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