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Handsome Phrenology April 18, 2007

Posted by Michael McVey in Online Tools.

Phrenology   This is funny and something I can actually write about without alerting personnel, accounting, an ethics board, or the institutional review board. I will simply deal with State Department.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of Indonesian English Department Chairs from all over their country. The talk was part of a weeklong visit to the United States and funded by Fulbright. They were in Amherst, Massachusetts, a few days ago. Tucson, Arizona, was their next stop. In a few days, they will go to New York City and are deliriously excited about that.

My talk was entitled “Educational Leadership: The Challenges of Technology” and they were a very attentive audience. I shifted my usually rapid patter of speech to a gentler pace like the one I used to use in Japan when I was teaching English there. 

You know, it is a funny thing but every time I visit a new country I am told the native word for “bald” which is liberally used to describe my head. In Japan, I learned the word “ha-ge” from my students. When I came to Tucson, I learned “pelon” from my students. Very funny.

This group of Indonesians was very polite and kind. More so than I imagined. As I was driving home, I came across them walking single file across campus heading back to their hotel. I pulled over to wave to them. Several of them immediately came to my car in a gaggle and we chatted briefly.

To my surprise, one of them said, “You are looking very handsome today.” I was startled.

“Do you mean me?” I asked in genuine surprise. The men who were talking to me were all neatly tailored with open neck shirts and suit jackets. They all had thick dark heads of hair atop their slight frames. They were the handsome ones.

“Yes. Handsome. Very phrenology.” They all laughed as did I.

“Oh,” I smiled, “you mean my skull.” I pointed to my head and they all laughed again. I drove off to hear them chatting with each other in Javanese. I will bet one of them was explaining how the word for the study of personality and skull shape came into their conversation with their new friend on the other side of the world.



1. DB - October 23, 2007

I had this group after you and was supposed to give the same talk, but I bagged it and went on about the online courses I was working on. They smiled and nodded.

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