Thursday, January 19, 2012
It's the beginning of a new semester again. As usual, I get to meet new sets of students. As part of the ice-breaking session, my students take turns to introduce themselves. As we went around the class, the students shared interesting information about their background and experience. I was glad to observe that they were having fun asking their friends questions. Moreover, they were using English. Then, we reached a male student who was sitting beside the window. He seemed rather quiet and reserved. He got up and shyly introduced himself before the other students interrupted and coaxed me into asking him about his marital status. Instantly, all eyes were set on me, triggering my curiosity. So I asked him the question. He coyly announced that he is married. I congratulated him. As my students like to pull my legs sometimes, I simply had to double-check his information. "So you are married, right?" I asked. He nodded. Wanting to know whether he has any children, I then asked, "with kids?" . The student looked at me in shocked. I was taken aback. Was my question too sensitive? Did it hurt his feeling? Was I probing into the part of his life that he wants to keep a secret? All these questions struck me as his face got red, either with embarrassment or with anger. With the same astonished look still apparent on his face, he firmly answered, "No madam, not with kids...but with a woman"!