Jan 15, 2011

Simple things

I was on the subway today waiting for the train like usual and some random Asian guy just approached me out of nowhere and began talking in his broken English. He's in his 20s and looked fresh off the boat. I was expecting a Christian missionary but turned out that he wanted to practice English with me.

I could barely feel the words he stammered he stuttered quietly in the subway but still I kept the conversation going with the usual fluffs. 3 minutes were all he had before the train arrived and took me away. He disappeared as fast as I could recall.

I couldn't help but feel pity. For myself. I doubt I would have the courage to do the same thing given the same circumstances. He came here 2 months ago, originally from China.

While we spoke, he couldn't looked me in the eyes and it seemed like he just repeated a set of questions and answers to me. I doubt that doing something like this would help his English but still I can't help but wonder about myself.


30 comments:

  1. credit to you for helping him practice

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  2. There is a large community of Mexican migrant workers in my town. I always think how courageous they are to go to foreign lands, work, make a life and try to become part of the community.
    That was a fine thing you did!!

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  3. Here in the UK, I work in a hospital. We get many Polish people in, and none of the staff can talk to them. I got a Polish guy to tecah me one sentence, "Where does it hurt?". It's been so useful.

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  4. He had courage to do that! Many people can't go up to someone and start a conversation!

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  5. I think that's great of you to do! brave of him to just go up to someone too. If he couldn't look at you, I imagine he felt a bit embarassed about it but knew he needed some sort of practice or something.

    To be honest, I'd have probably reacted the same way as you; awkwardly saying sure why not then leaving as soon as I could really... :X

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  6. I hear its rude to make random conversation on the tube in England, but I guess you weren't on the train yet.

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  7. Very nice of you to help him :)

    Good song too!

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  8. I guess sometimes we are guinea pigs for people practicing this or that. Well, I can't blame him for wanting to get out of China...the men greatly out number the women there so it is hard for average schmoes to find a girlfriend... Only trouble, looks like the excess males are migrating which will make it harder for schmoes like me to get a girlfriend now in my country, cuz too many males....darn it.

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  9. It's tough when you're sharing an apt with half a dozen other Chinese speakers and working in a Chinatown sweatshop or warehouse. Good for him making an effort.

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  11. that was nice of you to talk back to him... maybe those 3 minutes made his day that much better! that karma will come back soon enough my friend

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  12. Don't think I could do that either. If I could I'd probably be in another country by now.

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  13. That's cool, you did your good deed for the day

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  14. It's a good think that you helped him.

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  15. It's cool you weren't mean to him. Not everyone is that patient

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  16. It's good of you to help out like that.

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  17. Respect to him, it's the best (and most terrifying) way of learning a language.

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  18. One time I put my last yen in an automatic ticket machine in a train station in japan. It got stuck and I didn't want to hit the machine cause I thought they might throw me in jail. Finally a gap guy came over, I signed out the situation, so he went over and did what I would have done and banged on the machine. That didn't work so he found someone that armed there and got me a new ticket. But for his kindness I would have been stranded. Wasn't another roundeye in the whole place.

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  19. Well, I guess he really wanted to learn English, good for him !

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  20. interesting stuff. I suppose any conversation would help in that case. You did the right thing.

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  21. Definitely nice of you to indulge the guy

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