Issuu on Google+

Chickens Disaster: Contest winners announced

d. 13/05-2013

Karen Risager

By Lars Sand, Mads Kirk Thøgersen, Mads Hamann, Anders Sørensen and Jeppe Smed


Risager divides the concept of cultural understanding into three important aspects. Knowledge, attitudes and behavior. The three aspects are mutually dependent on each other, and none of them can be attained if neglecting another. “Knowledge” is the term for what we can learn about a given country’s cultural and social conditions. This counts for both the country of the studied language but also for student’s country of origins for comparison. However, the teacher must be also be aware and teach that even what may be considered as knowledge about a country can vary from one’s perspective. “Attitude” is the term for what can be learned about a target country’s feelings and attitudes towards people and conditions in the country and in one’s country of origin. This includes awareness of others’ and one’s own identity. The teacher should focus on values, morals and ethics, prejudices and stereotypes, and development of the ability to have sympathetic insight into the situation of other people. “Behavior” is a term for knowledge of the cultural rules and conventions that apply in the environment in which one finds oneself as well as the ability to follow such rules. This is about social interactions, daily communication, clothing, eating, the relationship between two sexes, etc. Risager mentions a list which can structure the aspect of cultural understanding that has to do with knowledge. Notice that it is taken from Michael Byram. 

Social identity and social groups, e.g. various social and ethnic groups, various business groups.

Social interaction, e.g. verbal and non-verbal behavior in various situations.

Belief and behavior, e.g. unconscious values and norms that determine behavior.

Socio-political institutions, e.g. the health system, and the values that characterize them.

Socialization and life-cycle, e.g. family, school, work.

National history, e.g. events and periods that are important for the national consciousness.

National geography, e.g. regional differences.

National cultural heritage, e.g. great authors.

Stereotypes and national identity, e.g. that which is typically Danish, etc. (Byram and Morgan 1994, p. 51f, my interpretation).

In the text she states that the internationalization and the softening-up of national borders is having a profound impact on this paradigm at present. The world is globalizing more and more, which means more people will need to learn the different cultures of the people in the vicinity of them. It also means they have to find a way to communicate. Risager brings up that English has for a long time been seen as both a national language and a lingua franca, in other words a language of communication used between people who do not have English as their mother tongue. One problem with the cultural understanding compared to the national understanding is that it is harder to define how to assess the acquired knowledge since it naturally will vary from student to student. Risager suggest that assessment should be acquired through discussion and argumentation rather than through e.g. a multiple choice test. Through a discussion-type test it will be the ability to reflect in the student and the given cultures feelings and attitudes that will be emphasized instead of just the ability to remember feelings of others. In the last part Risager points out that one of the most effective ways for a student to obtain cultural knowledge would be by traveling to the country. By becoming an ethnographer themselves and combining all three aspects at the same time.


By Mads Kirk Thøgersen As we gather to discuss the position of English in our separate societies today, we might want to start talking about language development in modern society. What happens with the English language as it spreads from one country to another, and how are we to respond to the changes as teachers? We may want to become wiser on how students process the avalanche of English expressions that are here today. Which elements should we be especially aware of to properly socialize our students in the English classroom while they are bombarded by an omnipresent English media? What language strategies do we need to teach the students in order to keep up with global Americanized or European ideas and developments? For as Jennifer Jenkins says in The changing Role of English in Europe from 2003 And for the time being at least, it seems, those who speak English will have better access to such material success, hence, in part, the current popularity of learning English among Europe’s young that Chesire (2002) documents. Customize your English And it is true that the language in many countries is developing/ fading, depending on your point of view, in the favor of English. Jenkins explains that during the twentieth century English started to centralize in Europe and became more or less the lingua franca. This shows today through what linguist Jenny Cheshire (referred to in Jenkins’s article) calls code-switching and codemixing, which basically can be considered as a vocabulary mix and match situation with more or less understanding of the words involved. She explains how this phenomenon most often takes place amongst the adolescent population, who use code-mixing to better formulate a specific subject in their identification in a social context since the English language is infinitely bigger than for an example the Danish language when it comes to developing modern social expressions. The English media simply make it easier to categorize specific subjects amongst the young in Europe. Being a preference among the youngsters it also gradually become a necessity to not only to understand common English as a professional business tool, but also to be

aware of the many variations and sociolinguistic customizations of the English language.

Why is it English? Why it is English instead of any other language, is a question beside the point. In his article “The African writer and the English Language” Chinua Achebe states: There are not many countries in Africa today were you could abolish the language of the erstwhile colonial powers and still retain the facility for mutual communication. Therefore those African writers who have chosen to write in English or French are not unpatriotic smart alecs with an eye for the main chance – outside their countries. They are by-products of the same process that made the new nation of Africa. It is not necessarily the specific language that defines the situation, but more in the manner it is used. Whether it came from old European imperialism or through the modern mainly English mass-media matters not. The language influence of not only our professional identity but also our own respective main language communications are the same regardless of the language background, but we can consider ourselves privileged that the influence is now focused on mutual benefits and a motivation for linguistic creativity and not at all similar to the African experience during the colonization. Regarding the English language teacher. However, a basic understanding of original English must be present, in order to correctly create the language strategies needed for further development. A student


cannot claim to understand a word, without being able to relate it to the original English root. Many words are misused or misunderstood so the meaning of the communication will be dysfunctional, and this can turn to a serious problem because of parallel language patterns. The English media do not teach English, it only shows it to us. As a result we produce thousands of basic language problems, from misinterpretations to serious spelling mistakes and unrecognizable pronunciations. So the role of the language teacher stands out quite clearly. Language creativity must not be considered as unlimited language freedom. As Chinua Achebe puts it: The African writer aim to use English in a way that brings out his message best without altering the language to the extent, that its value as a medium of international exchange will be lost.

Above all else. As language teachers we must not turn a blind eye on the fact that the language will change for the bad if not properly treated, to state it clearly in one’s curriculum that there is awareness on the importance of correct adaption from the original English. We teachers must be able to pick the students up where the media and their social networks leave them off, and try to not only guide them through the wilderness of different kinds of English, but also give them strategies on how to properly use their personal English preferences without being completely impossible to understand. Because, the creativity and curiosity are here to stay and this will not jeopardize our culture or our language. This linguistic creativity will only make our understanding of language bigger, which is why I personally as a language teacher would like to see more focus on sociolinguistic theories and teaching practices in the future.


By Anders Sørensen “The Tower of Babel”, is the story in the Bible about the people of the Earth trying to construct a tower that would reach Heaven. Up until this point in the Bible, there was only one language, which made it easy for people to work together. God however did not want this, and made everyone speak different languages and scattered the people all across the world so that they would not be able to cooperate. Whether you believe in this story or not, the point remains that ever since people have been trying to find one language in which they can speak, share and connect with each other all across the globe. Attempt have been made, like the constructed language “Esperanto”. Is Esperanto the answer? Made in 1887 by a Polish Jew named Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof, this language is supposedly the easiest language in the world to learn. Other than the easy accessibility, there is a social idea behind Esperanto, in that everyone is equal and can participate, no matter what their mother tongue is, on a level playing field. An example could be an American talking with a Thai in English. Because of the American speaking English since his birth, he would be superior almost no matter how much the Thai had practiced his English. The problem this could lead to is the American also feeling superior to the Thai as a person and a human being, even though this has nothing to do with language. Even though Esperanto is a great idea, the fact is that English is already widespread across the globe, and as such should be considered to be the international language of the world. Sweet or Candy? However some adjustments must be made about the way we think about English. In Denmark4 the children

start to learn English by 3rd grade. Already at this point problems begin to surface. Some of the children refer to sweets as candy. Sometimes the teacher refers to the pupils as kids, and sometimes as children. Some teachers don’t mind that the children mix up the American and British English, however as they get older and go on to high school some of them may encounter a teacher who might prefer one over the other and even get a bad grade because of this. Another problem is that students tend to think about learning English as a chore, because they automatically assume that because it has to do with school, it is boring. English for the people There are multiple solutions to these problems, and I have come up with two ideas inspired by the text5: ”The changing role of English in Europe”, by Jennifer Jenkins. One idea would be to de-Americanize, and deAnglicize English so that everyone spoke the same kind of English. This would probably cause some fierce battles among the highbrow6 intellectual’s native speakers of countries such as Australia, Canada, England, America and so forth. Other solutions could be that every country had their own variation, which seems to be the trend right now. This is probably the case in most countries, but from personal experience in Denmark, I have noticed how people are beginning to use English slang when speaking Danish and the other way around. This is very common especially among the younger generation, and learning and using English this way would also help to maintain their social identities at the same time. No doubt everyone can see the great benefits of the world having one international language. Nevertheless, from a personal perspective I think it would be easier to make people, especially children, interested in a language they can use both to communicate with other people from around the world, but also in their own country when creating their own social identities and lives. People should be able to express themselves just as well in English as in their native tongue, so that maybe someday we can all work together on that Babel tower again and reach God or Heaven in our own way, through cooperation in science, business, and teaching.


By Mads Hamann As time goes by, the technology is being developed faster than ever, and so is a couple of different language in the world. The English language is getting a world language and there is nothing we can do to stop it. As it is today “English is the most global of languages” and we use it more than we know in our daily life. Words like computer, iPhone and website is being used almost everyday in a Danish persons life. Everything we do today has something to do with English, if you go to a shop and buy something there will always be a description on English, even if you buy something in China or Turkey, they will still have descriptions on English.

When everything we buy includes us something on English, it starts teach more people how to understand English, which also can be seen by the number of people who speaks English. “Different authorities put the number of people who speak English as a first language at anywhere between 300 million and 400 million.” This shows us, that even if you don’t live in England, you might know the language anyway. But this is just the number of the people who got English as their first language. It says that up to 1000 million people got English as a secondlanguage, which tells us, that almost every fifth person in the world knows how to speak or read English.

At the same time as the world is in transition, so is the English language itself getting developed. ”Three languages dominate – English, French and German.” The English language has changed a lot in the last few years or so of its use, reflecting patterns of contact with other language and the communication needs of people. A lot of places in the world, English is getting used into the fabric-life and the social-life. English is also getting used for more purposes than ever before. Everywhere it is at the leading edge of technological and scientific development, new thinking

in economics and management, new literatures and entertainment genres. These give rise to new vocabularies, grammatical forms and ways of speaking and writing English. Nowhere is the effect of this expansion of English into new domains seen more clearly than in the communication on the Internet.

English language is taking over the newspapers in other countries. No matter where you are in the world, everyone will be trying to speak or read the English language. In the newspapers “The Prague Post” we see the headline “Border Pact Blocked” and we start thinking, why do they write their newspaper it in English. The newspapers around the world are trying to socialize and connect all the people who could be possible readers. When they choose to write in English, they challenge the people who don’t understand English to learn how to read and write the language. This is one way to see that we cannot control the language developing in other countries around the world. Another way to communicate is the radio. I many countries they got radio stations on English. In this way, the people will also start learning how to speak the language and say the words correctly. But in these ways you just teach the English by reading and listening to it, which can make the people talking English like they think it is supposed to, and then they will probably not understand the English grammar as well as they should, but they know how to communicate which somebody think is the most important thing.

The English language is at a critical moment at its global career, within a decade or so the critical number of the people who speaks English as a second language will exceed the number of native speakers. The consequences of this are likely to be far reaching. The center of authority regarding the language will shift from native speakers, as they become minority stakeholders in the global resource. Their literature and television no longer provides them the focal point of a global English language culture, their teachers no


longer form the unchallenged authoritative models for

By Lars Sand ”(…) English is the most global of languages. Products are deemed to be more exciting if they carry English messages (…)” – Bill Bryson, bestselling American author and Chancellor of Durham University In this quote by Bill Bryson, he states that English is already a global language, but will it continue to grow and become an internationally accepted world language? As an English teacher I see the reasons as to why the English language should be taught worldwide as many, but I am also aware that there are those who see no real reason or desire to learn English. So should English even be a world language? English today It is no secret that, as an English teacher, I would like to see this language spread as far as possible, but how far has it spread so far? In Europe there are eleven official languages, but three of these languages are seen as dominant (English, French and German). These three languages are all taught, at European schools, as global languages, but by now English has become the biggest of the three.

the learners.

in the world I will use a model by David Crystal, a well-known linguist, academic and author. This circle represents the spread of the English language throughout the world. The inner circle includes the countries where English is the primary language. This includes USA, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The outer circle represents the earlier phases of the spread to countries where English is not the native language. These countries now use English in their chief institutions. This includes Singapore, India, Malawi and over 50 other countries.

The expanding circle represents countries which recognize the importance of English as a world language, but have not given it any special status yet. This includes China, Japan, Israel, Greece, Poland and increasingly more. As language teachers we are passionate about our profession, and as an English teacher I hope the spread will continue and increase, both in Europe and the world. English; yes or no?

By the end of the twentieth century, however, a single one of the three ‘big’ languages, English, had become the ‘biggest’, the de facto European lingua franca – Jennifer Jenkins, Chair of Global Englishes and Director of the Centre for Global Englishes As Jennifer Jenkins states, English is by now the biggest global language in Europe, although German is still widely used. English is not only growing inside of Europe though. To illustrate the spread of English

For English to really become a world language people have to want to learn the language. In Europe that is the case, for the most part, but what about other parts of the world? Chinua Achebe has written “The African writer and the English language” wherein he says: So my answer to the question: Can an African ever learn English well enough to be able to use it effectively in creative writing? is certainly yes. If on the other hand you ask: can he ever learn to use it


like a native speaker? I should say, I hope not. It is neither necessary nor desirable for him to be able to do so. So there is a problem of wanting to learn to use the English language as a native speaker, but does the world really need to use English as a native speaker does? Perhaps not. English is becoming an increasingly big world language, so it would be good to be able to communicate in English, but not necessarily as a native speaker. Chinua Achebe goes on to say that it is not right that a man has to abandon his mother tongue for someone else’s, which may be a widespread problem, and a consequence we all face as language teachers when we teach a second language. This needs to be recognized, but it also needs to be accepted, since it is important to have a globally shared language to ease our communication, and that language should be English. Why English? At one time or another, every language teacher gets the question of, why that language is important to learn. If we take this out of the classroom and instead think internationally, then here are some reasons for a country to use the English language. If we consider the economy, then a reason could be that USA has a dominant economic position, and therefore plays a great role in international business. So if organizations want to go international they most likely need to use English. Furthermore the tourist and marketing industries are often English based.

English is also the main language in popular music, computer and videogames. Some reasons never change, this was published in 1765: (‌) it can be said that there is scarcely any worthwhile body of knowledge which has not been recorded today, adequately at least, in the English language. - An extract, translated from the Latin preface to John Wallis’s Grammatica Linguae Anglicanae (Grammar of the English language) This is still a good reason today since most knowledge, both from the internet and books are in English. So if you happen upon something which you cannot seem to find in your own language, chances are that it can be found in English. Conclusion There are some disputes whether or not to exchange your mother tongue with the English language, but you do not need to. To live in a world where English is a globally shared language, you need to be able to understand and use English, but you do not need to use it as a native speaker. Since English is used for so many things, the reasons to learn it are also many. So English should definitely be a big priority to teach. English is already on its way to become a world language, and since it is used so much globally, it is an important language to learn in order to fully communicate with the world. I hope that we language teachers will support that fact, and help by teaching it and secure the English language a place as a globally accepted world language.


By Jeppe Smed As an English teacher in Denmark, one is obligated to teach our pupils to speak a native variety of English, and prepare them to use English as a communicative means, in a global world. As English has evolved in Europe to be a common second language, concerning at least most of the countries, that has become a rather attainable job. But if English continues to develop, caused by different varieties influencing each other, as Henry Widdowson suggests in “The ownership of English”, how are we to determine what a native variety is, and how can we teach the pupils to communicate in a “global language”? The fact that “English” is divided into different native variations, is commonly accepted, due to the history of the language, which has separated it into American and British English. But due to the colonization, the language has spread to all around the world, and that has created a whole new scale of English varieties. Surely, globalization is an important factor, but when colonization forced a new language down the throats of the people of Caribbean eg., like described in the play “Man Friday” by the English poet, novelist and playwright Adrian Mitchell. English became a new native language, and people did not pursue to speak any of the known varieties of English like American or British English. So why is that a problem? The reason why is that all these different varieties are moving in different directions, which means, that one day the different variations will no longer be capable as means of communications across the globe8. The varieties will become individual languages, only related to all the other varieties by history. This means that if we wish to have a global language, we need to agree on what language that is. As described in the text by Widdowson “The ownership of English” Great Britain has some historical claim of the language. In the Danish school system, the pupils have to choose either a native variety of English, in most cases either British or American English. That is why we can choose between “English (USA)” and “English (GB)” when we change the autocorrect function on our computers. In our work as English teachers, we have to pursue teaching our pupils, mainly, either American or British English. But why these two? Well, a good argument is, that those are the biggest native English-speaking countries, but since they both have developed in different ways, and have evolved into two very different variations, I think that one day we will have to pick one.

As widely described by Chinua Achebe in “The African writer and the English language”, we have a problem concerning how to define English. Is it the language of the British and American people, or is it a means to everybody, to which they can use to communicate with the world? Obviously English has become a global possession, but we still need to define what is correct English and what is not. And that’s why we need to define what English really is. Chinua Achebe speaks English as his second language. To him, it was a necessity to learn English, due to historical factors, but he now prefers writing in English. He thinks that anyone can master a second language to such a degree, that they can fully express themselves. He is happy that Africa now communicates with the rest of the world, a global world, in a new language, but he thinks that English should be changed, so that it will be able to match the new globalized Africa: “I feel that English language will be able to carry the weight of my African experience. But it will have to be a new English, still in full communion with its ancestral home but altered to suit its new African surroundings.” I fully understand his opinion, but what happens if we get Asia in on it too? If we would have to change the global language every time a new part of the world joins our pursue of global understanding, then we would wind up with either one language that only half of the “global” world understands, or some varieties, that in the end will become different languages anyway. For the world to be able to communicate, we need a common language. That is why Ludovic Zamonhof’s idea of one second language is very fascinating. One lingua franca. According to the article “Speaking Up for Esperanto” his language is five times easier to learn than English, but the fact that Esperanto is five times easier to learn, also indicates, that it’s five times harder to express deeply complicated matters. Ludovis Zamenhof’s idea of uniting the world with this single lingua franca is really beautiful, but if we do so, and if we wish that English should be that language, Henry Widdowson makes a vital point on this matter. To ensure that this common language can be used without misunderstandings and such, we need to have a certain standard. The only possible way to maintain this standard is, to agree that the global language is a second language to everybody. If the world has to share a language, no one can possess it. Thereby, the global lingua franca has to be an independent language.


Dear Editor. I widely agree with you when you state that East is East achieves to get under the skin of the Khans. I too believe that the film manages to portray specific complexities in a mixed family environment and also manages to humanize all the character instead of just introducing stereotypes, at least, almost all the characters. The father is, considering his central role in the film, a rather flat and predictable character. The father’s character impersonates the central conflict which is why it’s rather disappointing that he is the character least accounted for. As a western audience I wonder if we really need so much focus on the children in the film hence that is not where the central conflict and therefore also the source of enlightenment in a cultural themed movie would spawn. Few minutes in the film the audience is already introduced to each of the children, cute and interesting as they may be, they aren’t really the main issue.

The drama of the forced marriage is the main catalyst of the plot’s climax; however, again the sole focus is on the children, and even mostly by themselves instead of with the parents. So I disagree with you on the premises that all the characters are believably human, because in a film you need to be introduced to what’s behind the face in the canvas, and in this film I would say that the vision we get from the introduced yet poorly executed inner conflict from the father’s character is lacking the human touch. Thereby not said that he is good or evil, but simply rather indifferent; more like a dogma or rule rather than a character with thoughts which is weird considering we as the audience, knowing a classical drama, know that thoughts of the situation must be in him somewhere. Best Regards Mads Kirk Thøgersen


Dear Editor. I have just seen the movie, ”East is East”, and though I found it, at most, mildly amusing, I did see the purpose of it.

cultures’ possible advantages. He sees his own culture as the best, and only culture to live from. His character may be a little extreme in his ways, but as I see it, it is done so in order to clearly show the differences between him and his sons.

As a man with no cultural relation to this movies’ characters, I can’t bring a professional view of how things are in real life, and if it is accurate in this understanding. However, there are two cultural groups presented, and in the main, Pakistani, family the father is the one that is holding true to his culture. His children, who have grown up in England, do not think of themselves as Pakistanis, perhaps with the exception of one. They represent the integrated cultures in England, as they see themselves as Englishmen rather than Pakistanis.

Lastly there is the Englishman, who is constantly complaining about the Pakistanis. He is representing the same as the father, but from the English point of view. He is the English cultured man, who sees his culture as the best and only culture.

Their father, however, is holding true to his Pakistani culture, and he is blind to other

Lars Sand

The movie, in itself, was not to my liking and I will definitely not see it again, but it did have some good and clear points to make. Best Regards


Dear Editor. I really don’t understand those people who criticize this movie. East is East is one point of view on the life of an immigrant in England. The movie starts by showing us an Islamic wedding, which gives us an idea and understanding of the culture that the family in the movie is coming from, or at least the culture that the Pakistani father comes from and how he wants his family to be. The family are divided in two groups, one group with the mother and father and the second groups with the children. The children doesn’t want to live their life as a Pakistani, which is unacceptable for their father and he starts to explain them, that he knows what is best for them and they just have to do as he say. The children are taking a lot of chances in the movie, especially the scene where all of

them are eating bacon and pork while their parents aren’t home, is a very good way to show, that they doesn’t want to live their life as their father tells them too but do whatever they want too. Of course not all immigrants are like this, but this movie tells us, that some people try to bring their culture with them when they move to a new country. In this movie it just doesn’t work for the father because he wants too live his life through his children, which the children doesn’t accept and tells him. By watching this movie, you have to remember that this lifestyle of an immigrant is only one way of many. Best Regards Mads Hamann


Dear Editor Watching East is East in 2013, I did not find the film to make an impact on me at all. I would imagine that when the film was released, it might have sparked some debate with its provocative themes and language. With themes such as arranged marriages, racism, domestic abuse, cultural belonging and rejection, you would imagine the film to make some sort of impact, but the matter of fact is that it did not, at least for me. Granted I have watched many films over the years, and have seen these various subjects portrayed and tackled in many different and often better ways.

opinion, it also seems like the film tries to work with and portray too many conflicts, never really managing to come up with a solution. The film tries to portray some very serious issues, but at the same time tries to be funny and engaging, which can be hard to do well, as I think is evident in this film. I do however, as earlier mentioned, believe that at the time of release, the film would have been very interesting to watch, but in 2013, the film has not aged well. I probably would recommend this film to some of my friends, but only because I know they appreciate another type of humor than I. Best regards,

It is also very hard to remain serious about these issues when you are constantly bombarded with poor toilet humor. In my

Anders Sørensen


Dear editor

I watched your movie East is East with much delight, and thought that it was extremely funny. The way the language is portrayed in the small suburbs in this period is hilarious, and the characters bring so much vividness to the story. Especially the two local British girls shows a contrast to the Khan family, which is also done in a very humoristic way. The way the local kids act when a shop window is broken is both realistic and funny, but also, it shows how the community functions in a very quick and clear sequence. Despite the humoristic site of the story, it also manages to brighten a very serious issue, with

the multicultural society, and a family of two religions and cultures. Mr. Khan has obviously adopted some of the manners of the British society, which is showed through the way he treats his wife and family in the everyday life, and also in his language. He does not demand that his wife's hair is covered, and he calls his own children bastards (which they harshly could be seen as), even though it isn't always said in a hateful tone. I think that it's a great movie, and i hope that it will raise some questions.

Cheers Jeppe Smed


Four became Five! Originally we had to choose four winners of our writing competition, but because of the high quality of articles that we have received, we have been forced to choose five winners. The winning articles can be read at the following pages. Enjoy!


The Chickens Disaster By Anders Sørensen One of the events that still haunts me to this day is “The Chickens Disaster”. When I think about it now the word “disaster” might be a bit exaggerated, but at the time, it was the one and only word, which could describe the event. Still, I believe that this particular day changed a lot in my mind, and is a great part of who I am today. It all started a beautiful Sunday morning. For most people Sunday was the best day of the week, but for our family it was the worst. The reason for this was, that every Sunday our dear English neighbors, the Larson family, was away on a picnic. My siblings and I really adored the Larson family, even though they were different and sometimes Mr. Larson could be mean. During the years, I have become to understand Mr. Larson more and more, and would love nothing more than to talk with him again, to explain, to discuss, but alas, he is no more. However, this particular Sunday was different, because our family also had something to do, other than wait for the Larsons, which were our usual activity. We were going to pick Maize, a rather dull activity, but when you are with your brothers and sisters, everything is fun. As usual the mood between us children were great, however I noticed my dear mother had a cloud hanging over her head. I do not think any of my other siblings, or even my father, noticed this, and even though I have never discussed this day with any of them, I still believe only I know what really transpired on this day. When we arrived back at the house, the Larsons were still gone, so we began to unpack our things. All my other siblings had already ran into the house with their belongings, only my father, mother and I remained. “Dammit! I forgot one of the baskets!” my father said.

“Are you sure Mike? One of the children may have already taken it…” my mother replied. “Nah I’m sure, I remember I left it beside the three where we ate. I’m gonna head back there Suzie, just unpack and start supper without me.” “Alright Mike, see you soon dear.” My father then left and my mother turned to me and said: “Tommy, please take this and run into the house, I’ll be there in a few minutes.” She handed me some blankets, and I sprinted towards the house. However suddenly an idea struck me and I stopped. Mr. Larsons chickens! The chicken eggs were due to hatch any day now, Mr. Larson had told me, it may even have happened today while both families were out and I would be the first to see the new chicks! I changed course and ran towards the chicken house. However when I came close I noticed the door was unlocked. Classic Mr. Larson I remember thinking to myself, he always forgot to lock his things, and he got so upset when we borrowed them, even if we did it so no one would steal his stuff. I was just about to turn the handle when I heard something inside. “And this is for ALWAYS blaming my children! And this is for ALWAYS thinking you are better than us!” My heart stopped for a moment. It was my mother voice, clear as day. I heard her heading towards the door and quickly hid on the other side. As soon as shed leaved, I peeked into the henhouse. All the eggs were destroyed. All the small chickens were dead. I began to cry. I knew Mr. Larson would be furious, but this was not the reason I cried. I cried for my mother.


The Chickens Disaster By Mads Hamann It was at the end of the holidays and as usual the Johnson’s were to get back home from their holidays in south. Every holiday when the Johnson’s were at vacation my brother and I used to keep an eye on their house and their animals. Last year Mr. Johnson’s dogs had puppies and I was the first one to see them and he did not want my brother to come because he was too young and there were still blood on the floor. It was a very exciting moment and I really appreciated it. This year I was not the dog’s again but their chickens. Before the Johnson’s went on holiday Mr. Johnson told my brother and I to keep an eye on their henhouse because the eggs were just about ready to hatch. My brother and I were checking up on the henhouse every day to see if the eggs had hatched. The evening before the Johnson’s were coming home my brother and I sneaked into the henhouse just a quick look. We crawled very carefully over the fence and went directly to the backyard with the henhouse. My brother removed the door into the henhouse while he made sure that they stayed inside the henhouse. It was my favorite, Sarah, which were going to have chicks. She was always protecting her eggs when it

was dark and we had no chance to get her away, so we needed to trick her somehow. My brother and I came up with a brilliant plan. My brother should try to get Sarah away from her eggs by giving her some food at the other end of the henhouse. At the moment I took the eggs up in my hand to feel them, Sarah got very upset at started attacking to protect her eggs and I unfortunately dropped them on the ground and I thought that the eggs were ruined. My brother and I panicked and ran quickly back home and went to bed. Next day the Johnson’s came home from their vacation and as usual they just parked the car in front of their house and went over here for lunch. Our parents were talking a lot with Mr. and Mrs. Johnson about how wonderful a vacation they have had, but suddenly Mr. Johnson asked me about how everything was going with the animal. I got a very bad feeling in my stomach and I told him, that we have not been checking their animals today. My brother and I went back to our room, and started talking about, what if we had ruined the eggs, Mr. Johnson would find out soon or later, it was all a matter of time. Later that day, the doorbell ringed and my brother and I opened the door, there he was, it was Mr. Johnson. We thought he was going to be very upset because of the eggs, but he just looked at us with his very strange smile for a long time, and we thought that Mr. Johnson new what happened with the eggs.


The Chickens Disaster By Jeppe Smed I grew up in a loving home, and on a street with lots of kids to play with. We were the only Maori family, but still we were not outnumbered since there was six of us on the playground. We used to play cowboys and Indians almost every day of the week. Our neighbors, who we used to love making pranks on, were on picnic every Sunday, which was the only day of the week we would get bored. They had two lovely children, but none of them were up to much trouble like my brothers and sisters. I liked spending time with them because whatever we put our minds to do, I knew it would not get me into trouble with their father. He was a nice man, but he was quite old fashioned, and had a very single minded way of seeing things. He believed in rules and good manners, which i think he brought along from England. Once, we borrowed his bike to go down to the river. He got really mad when he found out that it was missing, and as usually, he had us figured out. Once again we had put ourselves in a bad situation, because he was not particularly nice when he felt wronged. But it did not took us long to sneak our way past his anger, because we understood that he did not really want to get mad. He just wanted to teach us a lesson. So all we had to do, was to make up a bad excuse, and he would let us of the hook. I do not think that he ever believed our silly stories, but he wanted to show us that he would not accept what he considered to be bad behavior. "So you saw some kid riding it did you? A real punk, right? Not like you?". And besides that, he feared our mothers anger in such a way, that he would not risk blaming us for something, unless he had firm evidence. But eventually, he did exactly that. He had a chicken house in the backyard, and he really enjoyed taking care of his chickens. One Sunday, when they were gone to picnic, I went inside the chickens house to look around. He had forbidden us to go there, so I had to do it while they were gone. We was told that there soon would be small chicks, so i wanted to take a look. As I carefully checked beneath one of the hens, it got afraid and began attacking me. I quickly ran out and back in the house, afraid that the noise would reveal my trespassing. About an hour later, the family returned, and suddenly there was a great argument between my mother and the awfully angered

Englishman. Apparently one of the eggs was damaged, and he had stupidly hid my younger brother, without any evidence that he had something to do with it. A mistake he would regret the moment my mother found out. As he later discovered that he had crossed the line, he showed his character, and went over to apologize. As he stood there, getting mentally beaten up by my mother, I saw the look in his eyes. He did not doubt that one of us was responsible, but he knew that it did not matter.


The Chickens Disaster By Mads Kirk Thøgersen It was not easy growing up. I was caught between two worlds, two worlds with so many contradictions and overlaps in them that they both ended up being both intimate and foreign to me. And the scolding, do not even get me started on the scolding. With a mother telling me one thing and a Pakeha neighbor telling me the other, scolding quickly became pretty much the only thing going on. Fortunately, it rarely turned out as bad as it did on the day of the chicken disaster. During that time my dear mother was in one of her moods, this time provoked by her overhearing yet another exchange of words between two fine Pakeha women about the local Maoris. Needless to say, the exchange was of rather demeaning character, “They just do not know how to act civilized!” Or, “Why would they do such an appalling thing?” Often followed by, “Something ought to be done about them and their wild nature!” Less than this brought my mother’s blood to the boiling point, and made it literally impossible to stay in our house. On the day of the disaster mother had scolded me badly for what for me, at that time, was a tediously small mishap. I had my fill of her foul mood and left the house. I did not think about it back then, but her frustration had grown a root in me too that day? that day, and I was furious on the whites and their ethnocentric approach to control our lands, to control us! I stood by the fence and glared at the Johnston property next to ours. A castle compared to ours and with fine installments such as a promising fruit garden and a solid and busy chicken house. I remember picking up a rock and throwing it after the chicken house; then another, and this time I threw harder and was closer to actually hitting the target. I grew angry because the Johnston family was right there silently judging us, telling us that me and all my siblings were raised as liars and savages. Today I actually consider Mr. Johnston to have been one of the most tolerant white men in the area; after growing up in this new world I guess I better understand how he could be so angry with us. However, my thoughts now do not change the thoughts of the little boy who finally had enough of throwing stones for no

avail. I knew that the family was out for their weekly picnic that day. I knew this because I ironically used to come over with my siblings to lure out the scraps of their lunch. “Are you here again?” Mrs. Johnston would say with a smile, while Mr. Johnston would give her a smile of approval over his book or newspaper. A kindness most other Pakeha would not share, however, a kindness completely forgotten to me at the time. As I stood in the chicken house, and saw how neatly it was organized inside, I could not stop myself from ruining the picture. I clashed some eggs of the finest hen in the house. Immediately after I regretted it and wanted to undo it. I ran back crying, knowing that I had only made things much worse. Things had been so good between my family and the Johnston’s lately, and now I had ruined it. Later that day I decided to go and apologize before things turned sour. Apologizing was rarely me and my siblings first course of action when we knew we had wronged the Johnston’s, or at least when we knew that the Johnston’s would fell wronged, but with my mother in her mood it could not get any worse so I might as well try and sort it out. It did not work as I had hoped. It simply was not easy growing up.


The Chickens Disaster By Lars Sand Tom was six years old and the youngest in his Māori family. He was a very quiet and sweet boy, but his siblings were very energetic. His mother was very defending of her children, especially when their neighbor, Mr. Anderson, blamed them for stealing. Mr. Anderson lived with his wife and two kids. Tom was sick so he had to stay in, but he and his siblings often visited their neighbor, and played with the kids. They were all nice, Mr. Anderson too, he was just not accustomed to the Māori way, so he often got frustrated with Tom’s siblings. Mr. Anderson was very fond of little Tom, but his siblings were much more prone to stealing and playing tricks, so he often blamed them when something bad happened. Mr. Anderson’s most cherished possession was his henhouse. It was fairly new and not very big, but he was proud of the results. Tom’s siblings had wandered into the henhouse a couple of times, and Mr. Anderson was very displeased when they did, so he had told them that the henhouse was a forbidden area. One evening, when he went to check on the henhouse, he discovered that three out of four eggs were broken, and in two of them he saw dead chickens. He immediately blamed the Māori kids, and as one of Tom’s brothers was coming his way, Mr. Anderson hit him and told him that none of the Māori kids were to come over ever again. When Tom’s mother heard of this she rushed to him, “How dare you lay hands on my kid! What are you blaming them for this time?” said Tom’s mother. “They have been in my henhouse, and they have broken three of my eggs,” said Mr. Anderson. Tom’s mother hated that he always blamed her kids, and she responded, “Which kids are you talking about? Whose kids? Oh of course, my kids. It is always my kids. They may have been in your henhouse before, but not this time! Do you even know what your own son did tonight, no? I will not tell you because that is not the Māori way, we do not talk about people behind their backs! Oh do not deny it - I know you talk about us!”. Straight after this, Tom’s mother rushed back to her house, leaving Mr. Anderson frustrated. A while later Mr. Anderson went to Tom’s house to apologize for his behavior. When he came in, Tom’s mom did not back down, but continued to scold him. At this point Mr. Anderson looked up at Tom, who had left his room and now stood at the top of the stairs, to see what was happening. Mr. Anderson saw that Tom had tears in his eyes, and assumed that it must have been him who did it. As he was the last person he thought would do it and he was fond of little Tom, he concluded that it must have been

an accident, and he left the house without saying a word about it. Mr. Anderson drew the wrong conclusion from the tears though. What he didn’t know was that Tom had seen what happened from his bedroom window. Tom had seen Mr. Anderson’s own son sneak into the henhouse, and he had seen him accidentally break the eggs. When Tom saw the dead chickens in the eggs, he began to cry as he felt sorry for them. Mr. Anderson never got to know this, but he still remained fond of little Tom, and the relationship between the two families eventually became well again.



Language teacher magazine