外師專欄FET Special Columns
【外師專欄】童年回憶:Teacher Jon


My childhood took place in South Africa during the 1980s. South Africa was very late to introduce television – only introducing a multiple channel satellite service in 1996 (Television was first introduced in a limited capacity in 1976). As a result of this, most of my childhood was spent playing outside or at school.

My family woke up early and ate breakfast together around 06:20. My father left for work around 06:45. We had to be at school by 08:00, but the government did provide early morning cartoons on television around this time, so I would watch cartoons for half an hour or so. I left for school at about 07:30. I used to walk to school and my school was more or less one kilometer away from my home.

My school day lasted from 08:00 until 14:20. For 3 days in the week, I played sport at school after classes. I would practice rugby from 14:30 until 16:00 and then I walked home and took a shower.

During summer afternoons, I often played in the swimming pool in my backyard. It is very common for South Africans to have swimming pools in their backyards because we have a lot of space and our summers are hot. On cold, winter afternoons, I would stay inside and read a book or play with my toys.

There were some other families in my street who also had children in my age range. On some afternoons we would get together and play games in the street. We often played a game called “hide and seek” where we hid away and someone had to try to find us before we could run back and “block” ourselves. We used an entire street block, so we had about 200 meters of space to play! We hid in trees or under cars!

I grew up in a family that spoke English, but a lot of my friends were from families that spoke Afrikaans (a language that grew out of a Dutch pidgin language) and so my childhood helped me to become bilingual (just like many of my students here speak both Mandarin and Hakka or Mandarin and Taiwanese).

Sadly, children in South Africa today have access to cellphones and computers – just like children in Taiwan. Children today don’t spend enough time playing games or learning from their friends, although children in Taiwan still live in a very safe country where they can go outside and play!