i have the joy of looking after our students at work – something i really do enjoy it. most of the time.
i had an e-mail from a german client last week, who sells south africa as a destination, expressing surprise that it is winter in south africa now. “because we’re going into summer, and it’s nice and warm”.
so i put it to the students. did they know which season it is in germany at the moment? they replied with that hesitant uttering of a word, the one you want to let out slowly so that you can swallow it quickly if you sense that it is wrong. so that if the lecturer’s face begins to show signs of disagreement, you can take it back, unuttered, and give the opposite, correct answer.
so it was that ‘”s-s-sum-m-mer…?” slowly edgedd out. i agreed and asked them “why?”
more confidently came the answer this time – “because of the time difference.” smile.
i can live with that (only just, but i can). the world is not everyone’s cup of tea.
this week i asked for an indication of the GDP per person for various countries. I was told that they couldn’t find that, but they have got it per capita.
i can even (just) live with that.
but when the number representing the area of a country (1.212.912 square km) is read out as “one comma two one two comma nine one two square kilometres” or when someone is physically not able to read out the number 244’908, because they don’t know where to start, then i struggle with that.
i really really do.