Friday, February 26, 2010

Sixth-grader question of the day

[The Peril is perched on the desk of Rusty's sixth-grade teacher, talking to the class about Kazakhstan, which he was asked to do by the teacher on the grounds that the class was studying Central Asia this week in social studies. While undergoing the third degree by some very interested and curious young persons, Peril calls upon one young man and is asked:]

INQUISITIVE SIXTH-GRADER: Are there any Asians living in Kazakhstan?

[For the benefit of the Gentle Reader, a map of Kazakhstan's location on the globe is duly provided below]


I should add, however, that shortly thereafter I was asked to say Rusty's name in Kazakh. I explained that Rusty's name was actually a Persian name, not a Kazakh name, but then went ahead and pronounced "Rustem" for them. And at that point one of the girls in the back of the room raised her hand, announced that she was herself Iranian, and proceeded to provide the class with a deft three- or four-sentence summary of the career of Rustem, Slayer of the White Demon. So, we had sitting four desks away from each other a young man who had to ask whether Asians could be found in Central Asia, and a young woman who had at least a passing acquaintance with the Haft Khân-e Rostam...though, to be fair, a little gentle clarifying of the boy's question established that all he really wanted to know was whether one could expect to encounter Chinese people on the streets of Almaty.


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