Tuesday, 28 May 2013

My "precious" students ... the new abinitio ATCOs ...

I love being with new ATCO students ... and it is not so much because we as teachers might be confronted with questions that only abinitio students will  come up with but because we ourselves do get carried away (almost inevitably) precisely due to their enthusiasm.

One does not often realise to which extent one becomes "repetitive" as a teacher ... and how important it is to be asked things we wouldn't otherwise ... it is then and only then that our "experience" as "facilitators" makes sense ... not to mention how proud we can get in the process of conveying the information and expertise we have acquired throughout the years to these future colleagues of ours.

Each student who walks into these classes is liable to become a friend and a "teacher" in his or her own right ... as we very often tend to also forget that we "learn" with and from them, as much as they learn with and from us ... though at a different level.

This particular group has been with me for almost a month now and despite the fact that they still have a fairly long way to go ... I feel (know) they will do well ...whichever the difficulties ... and challenges in their future career.

It may not sound "right" to say we have been having "fun" within the classroom ... as many people I know (teachers included) don't understand (and never will) that teaching and learning is about having "fun" as well ... fun in whatever one is doing, might it be a communication transcript or a picture description ... but this is what we have being doing ... having a less "sullen" approach whilst preparing for a test in which they will be assessed as far as their overall fluency in the Aviation oriented English Language and General English is concerned ...

For future reference ... and in case I don't get any other opportunity, here are the faces (... and smiles) of our future Air Traffic Controllers ...

May they be blessed in their career ... and may they be equally blessed for sharing such "precious" teaching-learning moments with me ...

 Rui (left) and Mara (right)

Denise (left) and João (right)

Ivo (left) and Ricardo (right)

Monday, 27 May 2013

Macao -" Ink remembrances" at Museu do Oriente, Lisbon - The 26th of May 2013

This temporary exhibition on Macau in the form of ink paintings brought back not only memories of my stay there still under the Portuguese regime (1998) but also the sense of peace I felt then as I wandered along those streets with Portuguese names but distinct Chinese flavour and above all the group of air traffic controllers to be, I had the privilege of teaching Aeronautical English to, but who in return taught me to love their country.

Charles Chauterlot's ink paintings vaguely reminded me of George Chinnery's well known drawings and paintings of Macao (of which I have a few copies), and though they are naturally different I must say they both "captured" the country's soul ... and the details ... the details of a multi-faceted city that anyone falls in love with (... at least I did, and so did everyone I have met who has ever set foot on it) ...


Note: Because of the paintings' glass protection I just managed to take very few photographs.

Chinese Propaganda Posters- Art at the service of Politics - Temporary exhibition at Museu do Oriente, Lisbon - The 26th of May 2013

I felt I shouldn't miss this temporary exhibition, once I was at Museu do Oriente and although I am not particularly keen on Political oriented Art, I must confess that this display of over 100 posters organized by different themes, most of which related to the Mao Zedong period, the prominent figures of the Revolution, the examples to be followed and even some of the popular references used in posters over the New Year was rather interesting, especially if one envisages the important role some of the ideas conveyed in them must have had in the people of China around that period and even later or the values and perspectives passed onto everyone through this Artistic form.

Can one say this particular Art served a purpose? ... One may have to admit it did, or at least it played its role in the course of time.

Of the series of people whose strong commitment to the cause led others to follow suit, I only chose two female figures, whose courageous actions will always be remembered by those who witnessed or heard of the circumstances they were involved in, one of which ended up in martyrdom. 

Liu Hulan (1932- 1947).

Ding Youjun (1931 - 1950)

Lei Fang (portrayed on the left) was brought up by the Party, having joined the People's Liberation Army at a very early age. His utmost desire was, in his own words - "to become a screw which won't ever rust in the revolutionary process".

"Heading towards Victory under the guiding light of Mao Zedong's thinking".

"The future lies in Agriculture and we are determined to being role- model peasants" (left). "The soldier, the son and the peoples' of China younger sibling" (right).

The Cultural Revolution in China, as it is well known, determined to break some of the old traditions ended up suppressing all forms of theatrical performances, having replaced them by revolutionary operas and dance performances.

Having gone through a harsh period of decline, the Shadow and Puppet Theatre manages to incorporate revolutionary oriented performances and create a whole new form so as to "survive" within the ongoing political  reality.

The "White-haired girl" was one of the revolutionary operas allowed in the Cultural Revolution, in as much as it described the misery and suffering the peasants had to go through during the Qing Dinasty, though it was adapted so as to have a happy ending (the moment the characters joined the Party).

The New Year's paintings represent one of the most important iconographic groups of the Chinese Propaganda posters because of the way in which they blend the messages conveyed by the Communist Party and the symbols of folk Art, such as happiness, wealth, abundance and longevity.

"Night of Celebration" (left). "We love President Mao" (right).

"Let us expel American Imperialism from Santo Domingo".

Maoism was made popular in Portugal  due to the role played by student and youth movements, especially from 1964 through to 1974.One of the galleries pertaining to this exhibition is precisely dedicated to that and the posters which came out during that period.

It is really worthy being visited (it will be on till October) particularly because it provides us with an insight into the whole propaganda process during the Mao period in a rather visual way.