Stumbling blocks | Ben Bartee |

I recall an illustrative accompaniment to my 100-hour ESL training course, taken when I was a younger man in the waning months of 2010. The stick-figure teacher is at the head of the class with a pointer stick, giving instruction. The students are seated, faced forward, with good posture, paying full attention, receiving said instruction. It is a beautiful diagram of efficiency, wherein the teacher and learner commune in uninterrupted, flowing exchange of knowledge. I have long since graduated

Bangkok’s Class Divisions: An Outsider’s Opinion

Inequality to some extent seems an inexorable law of civilization, present everywhere there is concrete. Some landscapes, though, paint a more graphic depiction of poverty than others. Such is the case in Bangkok. In 2019, Thailand floats in limbo between economically developed and developing. The World Bank cited Thailand’s distinctively brisk poverty reduction “from 67% in 1986 to 7.8% in 2017 (as measured by the upper-middle income class poverty line of $5.5/day)”. The positive upward tren

Patient-Centered Care Offers Solutions for Thai Medical System

Doctors In Thailand practicing primary care medicine in 2019 have likely met this familiar greeting from a patient: “I Googled my symptoms and I think the problem is [insert condition].” Obviously, this can be unsettling for many providers – doctors in the past were often the first point of reference for patients who otherwise had no way of researching their health concerns on their own. Considering the increasing web access of the Thai population and the proliferation of online medical informat

Jungle Gallivant: Koh Kood

Back in 2010, we were all there together in Saudi Arabia -- a collection of Western “teachers”, some with questionable backgrounds -- with a clusterf**k of an English agency. My tenure ended with a 3 a.m. sweaty panic attack suffered by my tubby ex-Marine supervisor who had found out that I had been visiting and speaking with a local Imam about topics sensitive to the Sunni Kingdom like Wahhabi blasphemy laws and the Saudi role in 9/11 – all while under the heavy influence of many milligrams of

Corporate Media to Midwest Corn Farmers: ‘Just Say You Fell Down Some Stairs’, ‘Maybe If You Didn’t Nag All the Time Then Stuff Like this Wouldn’t Happen’

TV news actors in makeup ask the public to set aside all skepticism — come on guys, cut it out, I’ll pull this van over, don’t make me call your father — and accept that CNN loves them and just wants them to be happy. You made them smash that wafflemaker on your face that resulted in second-degree burns! The truth, though, which Jake will never acknowledge while he’s couch-fainting over Donald Trump’s Twitter© etiquette, is that the entirety of establishment news is complicit in the dysfunction

Notes from Exile: An Extraordinary Brief Tenure at Buranat Christian School

P’Jat had all the well-developed sense of humor befitting an Asian administrator at a private Christian school, which is to say none at all. She was not prepared to discuss humorously the savior Jesus Christ. She scowled and motioned for me to follow her. My employment had not begun well. I followed her awkwardly into the teacher’s office, and felt something like a misbehaving student being led outside to the whipping stable to pick my switch for the beating, which would not be the last time I f

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