Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The New England Aquarium and "Asian insulation"

My 3-word review of the New England Aquarium: over-priced, over-crowded, under-crittered. Tickets were $16 [ie overpriced] for a pretty small facility with not that many aquatic critters [ie under-crittered]. Throw in the fact that it was crowded with tons of school/youth group excursions and you get the over-crowded bit. Definitely underwhelming. Christina suggested something that I think would be pretty cool: give each group that comes in a set of headphones and a mouthpiece set to a particular radio frequency, such that they can only talk to each other and nobody else has to hear them. It would make the entire experience so much more pleasant ...

I also experienced the phenomenon of "Asian insulation" first-hand: when Christina was teaching middle school, she said she always put the most troublesome/loud kids in the middle of a bunch of Asian [Chinese/Japanese/Korean] kids, which served to basically muffle them because their antics would just be swallowed up and not reflected. I was a little skeptical about this until I observed two very different kids groups today: one was a set of mostly black & Hispanic kids that were on the subway with us -- it was like having a tornado inside a subway car, barely kept under control by the poor teenager who was nominally supervising them. The other was a group of Chinese kids that were also on the subway platform -- they walked two abreast, holding hands and were so quiet that it was almost impossible to notice they were there. There are probably a zillion other factors contributing to the difference in demeanour, but it served as a pretty dramatic demonstration for me that "Asian insulation" might indeed be an effective classroom control technique. That said, for a hilarious send-up of precisely this sort of stereotyping, go see "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle" ...

2 Comments:

Blogger Phil said...

I disagree. Just look at Eric (LTG), he's loud, obnoxious, and certainly would reflect any trash-talking you throw at him.

1:45 AM  
Blogger Piglar said...

I'm with Phil. Although, you do have to remember that LTG (The Taekwondoist formerly known as MackDaddy) was a white-boy-Catholic-school-going, pink-shorts-wearing kid, so maybe he picked up some bad habits in those rough Northern Jersey 'burbs.

4:15 PM  

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