Weird Chinese Language Teacher


While enrolled at Columbia, I took several semesters of Chinese language classes. My teacher was man whose name literally meant Dragon King of the Sea. How badass is that? King Sea Dragon has been teaching at Columbia University since 1996. This post is a tribute to his eccentric class commentary because even I can’t be this funny.

  • [while drawing a map of China on blackboard] “Oh, I won’t forget Taiwan.”
  • [talking about the time “Little Bush” visited Columbia University] “也许有恐怖分子每天想杀他。 如果他被杀死了,那美国人就 (Terrorists may want to kill him everyday. If he gets killed, then Americans) get in big trouble. 我们要保护他, 就像我们要保护 (We have to protect him, just like we have to protect) panda.”
  • “Some people have six fingers. They want to trim it off. But some people might want to keep it. They say ‘Look when you scratch an itch you only use four fingers. I use five.’”
  • [while looking for volunteers to a question] “I’m going to ask some freshmen or freshgirl. How about you? She’s very fresh…not even one month.” “I still need a freshgirl, very fresh…”
  • [speaking about how Confucius was so studious and read the same book over and over again that the leather strap binding broke three times] ”特别是如果你能把词典读烂 (Especially if you can read the dictionary so much that it becomes mush), you’re coolest guy on this Earth.“ [sic]

Sea Dragon has authored many textbooks used to teach “advanced beginners” of Chinese. Students who can speak at a high level but whose writing sucks. He even published some of his books in mainland China, but not before China’s Central Propaganda Department censored the chapter on topics like Tiananmen Square.