Joined: 24 May 2003
|Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 6:11 am Post subject: more memoirs
|Sir Cecil Doughty
‘Two Seas’ Retirement Home, Bognor, UK.
Our Motto: “For the Noble Needy”
While waiting for Nurse Jones to bring my happy pills and give me a bed bath, always the highlight of my day, I jotted down a few notes which might interest you.
As my grandfather the first C. Doughty said, “Where there is information, there is Intelligence”, meaning the Secret Intelligence Services, and if the truth were known, half the TEFL teachers around the world are spooks of one colour or another.
While I was in the field, all the major powers were represented in the motley crew of apparently decrepit old chaps who shared the staff room at one certain Arabian institution I could name. It was a gentleman’s club, but among the members were some quite ruthless gents who thought nothing of having their own fellow countrymen thrown in jail,
blown up, framed for distilling Siddhiki, shot accidentally while out hunting, beaten half to death by so-called burglars, or thrown out of airplanes over the Rub Al Khali, the Empty Quarter. This was sometimes done to encourage our Arab friends to take us seriously, or to wake them up to the presence of Intelligence in their midst. The civilian populace has to be kept on their toes too. This is the price one pays for national security. Sometimes the small people have to go to the wall, for the sake of the rest of us, or to secure a longer term goal.
I can’t really say that we English teachers were involved in Education as such. Keeping order among forty or more teenage boys in a class, keeping them off the street and under the watchful eyes of the authorities, giving them a sop of an allowance, giving them a glimmer of hope that one day they might have a job and a secure income, we were more like goatherds or sheepdogs, rounding up the boys for roll-call. Under highly regimented conditions and using old fashioned materials unsuited for the students’ abilities, the system was expressly designed to prevent them learning anything useful. A culture of failure was deliberately cultivated so the boys were destined to disappointment. With exams that were too difficult, pass marks set impossibly high, selection at high school level that essentially determined their rest of their careers, and most painful cut of all, the whole enterprise was carried out in the language of the colonizer: American English.
Of course this was all in the bad old days. I am a bit out of touch with what is happening today, and my memory isn’t what it was. The happy pills have taken their toll. Ah! here comes Nurse Jones with my bedbath!