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Learn Mandarin, Lingerie style

Website offers chance to learn language in an unconventional way. -TNP

Fri, Jun 22, 2012
The New Paper

Surely, learning Mandarin is no easy task.

But after watching this video, you may want to learn it anyway, never mind its intricacies.

Named, the website offers you a chance to learn the language in an unconventional way. Bikini-clad babes take the place of conventional teachers, posing suggestively of course, teaching you the first lessons.

The brainchild of a Tokyo-born model and designer, Miss Kaoru Kikuchi, the project is aimed to make Mandarin more accessible, The Telegraph reported.

Miss Kikuchi, a University of Nottingham architecture graduate, said: "If you go the textbook way with all these Chinese characters, it just makes you intimidated. If you start with the colloquial way...or sexy clips, it is a different story."

The website has become a runaway hit since its launch late last year, the report said.

The course's first lesson - entitled "What time is it?" - is conducted by two lingerie-wearing models who make pillow talk while grappling with each other on a bed. Not surprisingly, this lesson has received more than 300,000 hits.

A lesson on cooking vocabulary shows a model sucking suggestively on a lime. Another class features female "tutors" cleaning a black London cab with foamy sponges.

Teachers who intend to teach Mandarin the "unconventional" way are asked to submit their full-size photo and "any relevant modelling or teaching experience".

But a touch of seriousness is introduced through "Mr Fung", a bespectacled cartoon schoolmaster who moderates the classes.

Even though many have taken to the website on a regular basis, some are not all impressed with its teaching methods.

Hong Kong's Association for the Advancement of Feminism's chairman, Ms Annie Chan, told a newspaper "exoticised" Chinese women.

Ms Sue-Mei Thompson, executive director of HongKong's Women's Foundation, told the China Daily newspaper that the group was "vehemently opposed to gender stereotyping, especially anything that objectifies women as sex objects".

Ms Wu Yue, a teacher from Beijing's Mandarin Connection school, said the site's teaching-style was "just about calling attention".

She said: "It is very entertaining and might be good for marketing and promotion, but (it is) not good for serious language learning. Students would get easily distracted during a class featuring sexual content."

Fun aspect

Mr Mick Gleissner, the Hong Kong-based film-maker who produces the videos, said the idea behind the website was to bring in the fun aspect while learning a difficult language.

He told The Telegraph: "Chinese is intimidating. You look at the characters, the strange melody of sounds. And then you watch a video like this and it's kind of ridiculous, but it's also fun.

"The fun aspect, I think, is what is very much missing in the existing approaches to language education.

"If you want to learn to play the piano and you try to play Chopin, of course you are going to give up. But if you see a kid trying to play kid's'll say, 'Hey that's kind of easy and fun.'" He said he was amazed when he saw children of some of his friends in Los Angeles learning Mandarin.

"It's a cool language because China is now becoming cool," Mr Gleissner was quoted as saying.

The website found supporters among ordinary Chinese, too.

"Guo Shibo" wrote on Youku, China's answer to YouTube: "The Americans are so happy learning Chinese. We would not go through so much pain if we learnt English the same way."

A user on the video website Ku6 wrote: "So eye-catching and heart-throbbing. No wonder they can learn it well!"

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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