The Butterfly Effect; the idea that a very small cause may have large effects. To illustrate this theory, it is said that a butterfly flapping its wings in one country can cause a hurricane in another. This article highlights China’s ESL black market and takes a look at the effects that such a market place has on its players.
As English becomes the world’s “common tongue” China finds itself importing mass numbers of foreigners each year. Foreigners are welcomed into China’s education sector on the condition that they voluntarily follow the rules, regulations and laws of the land.
Mass numbers of foreigners flood the English teaching workforce. Foreigners of all different countries and cultures. They are employed on a nation-wide basis with the common aim of spreading the “good language” to the people.
The rate at which English is encouraged and entertained at schools and within the Chinese household has grown substantially over the last few years. There has also been an increase in student pressure which in some cases resulted in student suicide.
A large number of university students choose to study English as their major, they are determined, they persevere, they befriend a foreigner to do so. Some will tactfully entertain the foreigner as a guest their intent is to add a few more English slangs to their vocabulary. Others will pay foreigners for their weekly English fix. English has become China’s drug!
Many foreigners are interrogated, jailed, and deported in the name of English. Chinese employers value employees with it, Chinese schools value any student that has a good grasp of it and the foreigner treasures a Chinese friend that can effectively use it. English has become a drug that the Chinese must have each week, it has become a staple in the Chinese household.
An entire black market for English has been created, it is quite common in this market to trade fragments of the English language for Chinese yuan. Such trade takes place at coffee shops, restaurants and in recent times, over WeChat. The foreigner is usually paid by the hour, for some English vocabulary and dialogue structure, with a heavy emphasis on pronunciation. No official transaction receipt is given to the buyer and no contracts are discussed there, but the number of buyers and sellers in this market, meet if not surpasses those of “legally traded English in the country”. The desire to speak fluent English spreads as molten lava about to swallow a city. The ESL butterfly has flapped its wings in China and English speakers in every continent has caught wind.
THE SIDE EFFECTS OF THE ESL BLACK MARKET.
To feed the demand for English, more and more foreigners are allowed through the port of entry but often penalized after they have entered.
The foreigner is paid an extravagant salary to teach the English language and to train the local Chinese teachers how to do it themselves, once this is done, the foreigner is no longer needed.
Students are pressured by both parents and teachers to learn. Many of them are called stupid if they don’t match up to the English level of their peers.
An increase in illegal teacher arrests.
Employee disputes arise between foreign and Chinese employees; the foreigner is granted a higher salary than the local Chinese for the same job done.
The ever-burning fire of racial tension between “white and black” is reignited. Whites are generally found to receive higher salaries than blacks for the same job done.
Foreign men date and in some cases marry Chinese women creating masculine tension between the foreign man, in some cases death.
An unnecessary scare is created in Chinese parents. Chinese parents spend excessively on English for themselves and their Children.
The traditions of China are slowly being replaced by western ideals in the minds of the Chinese youth.
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