A Pox on You Charles of Super English Force

Who says you can’t make any money teaching kids? According to a 2010 article in the Christian Science Monitor, a top “Star Tutor” in Hong Kong can make up to $1.5 million annually. One got so rich by helping children in the education-crazed city state that he has his own fleet of Ferraris. That’s a lot of coin for an educator. And awfully Magnum-like of him.

Star Tutors aren’t your typical after-school help. They command large audiences and market themselves as if they were pop-stars. According to friends of mine in Hong Kong, however, a Star Tutor’s special skill doesn’t really involve learning as much as “telling” kids what, in all likelihood, the questions will be on their tests. Cough up the cash for a Star Tutor and your chances of earning an “A” on your next exam skyrocket. When I was in school, we called that cheating. And we didn’t have to pay for it.

I’ve often (half) joked to my wife that if we ever move to Hong Kong I’d like to become a Star Tutor. Either that or the next drunken master. So you can imagine my horror when I discovered there was already a white dude named Charles banking lots of HKD. That’s right, Charles is part of K. Oten’s “Super English Force.” Super English Force you ask? I’ll let the photo speak for itself. Yes, this ad is on the side of a bus.


I’m an Anglophile. Guilty.

I’ve loved most things British since I was a kid (with the exception of hooligans, binge drinking and saying that one goes “to hospital.” Don’t they know you go to the hospital?). At first it was new wave music: Echo and the Bunnymen, New Order, even Depeche Mode. Then in 92-93 I studied acting at this place, and fell for Shakespeare. After I returned I liked to use the word “whilst” in sentences.

Mostly though, I love British comedy. The Goons, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, Blackadder, The Mighty Boosh and especially Alan Partridge. (Strange thing though. Never got into Python. Hard to believe, I know.)

On a recent flight to Hong Kong I watched all six of Partridge’s latest Mid-Morning Matters videos on Cathay Pacific’s wonderfully plentiful in-flight entertainment system. What’s particularly amazing about Steve Coogan and his team of writers is that they can hold your attention with only three cameras and one setting. Hats off to them for making me chortle and annoy my fellow Cathay Pacific passengers.

The episodes used to be on YouTube, but were recently removed. What remains are a few outtakes from the series.

Looking for British comedy online? Click here. An Anglophile yourself? Try this.

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