An Engineer in the Philippines and the UAE, Part 2

Part 1 was about Mike’s work in the Philippines, particularly his creating a bridge between the Filipino worker and modern technology—the CNC machine, which he calls the Swiss army knife of manufacturing. He advises using Filipino shops to build prototypes for new products.

By Part 2 Mike has moved on to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, where he waxes enthusiastic on a number of things he’s come to admire about the place. We talked via Facebook Messenger or Skype while he was in Abu Dhabi and I was in the Philippines. Thanks to Mike for the photos.

Mike’s Read More

An Engineer in the Philippines and in the UAE, Part 1

In teaching workers how to do their part of the production process, Michael Sanders uses some of the same principles I’ve used for decades in language teaching. Meet the students where they are, not where the university catalogue says they should be, take everything down to the simplest level—including advanced concepts—and start there. But Mike has ideas which could transform the Filipino economy.

We spoke over Facebook Messenger while he was at home in Abu Dhabi and I was home in Tagaytay.

Mike’s story

 Why don’t you start by telling us why you came to the Philippines?

What brought me … Read More

A French Girl in the Merchant Marine

Thanks to Audrey for the photos. At the end of the interview there’s a brief account with videos of the cable ship, Île de Sein, recovering the black boxes from the wreckage of Air France 447. The video provides a good look at the ship, the personnel on board and some of the equipment. Another video is a documentary about the plane crash in the middle of the Atlantic.

Audrey’s story

Becoming a sailor wasn’t an obvious choice for me. I grew up in Orleans, in north-central France, definitely inland, and I had no seafaring relatives. But I wanted contact … Read More

Teaching English in Taiwan and Japan

My first experience in language teaching was in 1966, when I taught German with the Audio-lingual Method of repetition drills, substitution drills and communication exercises—a close relative of the Direct Method or Berlitz Method—all conducted in the target language and reinforced in the language laboratory. It can be extremely effective with most beginning language learners, so that students can produce a few short sentences after the first hour of instruction.

John’s experience with language teaching includes classic novice mistakes followed by proper training, success, administrative duties and finally the frustration of apathy and “chalk and talk.”

John and I spoke Read More

Finding Contentment in Japan—and Once in Korea

I first met Mark in the early 1990s at the Lotus Lantern Buddhist Center in Seoul. I was teaching English at Dongguk University, the Buddhist school, and he was studying philosophy at Seoul National University, the country’s top university.  It was a time of intense student activism which greatly affected the climate on university campuses and in the country as a whole. Mark had some decided views on the subject, as he told me in an interview, (Link) After graduating from SNU in 1992, Mark stayed in various Buddhist temples in SE Asia, then returned to Korea to Read More