every Monday, for two midday hours, seventeen of us sit in a stuffy classroom for ‘Writing Features: Narrative Journalism’

there are four clusters of tables, and by clusters of tables i really mean clusters of people sitting around chunky rectangular tables — the only way to could make this classroom look more like a primary school was if you chopped off half the height of these tables, and pasted finger-painting art across the walls.

our lecturer, M, had been nursing a raspy throat from his bout of asthma. but he had a point he wanted to underscore for our classmate, who had written about China’s economic sanction of South Korean pop music.

“Korean pop is hyper-American, but stylized for Asian audiences…it’s this quasi-American pop thing repackaged into a Korean form” he declared.

when the author of the article looked unconvinced and slightly uncomfortable, M tagged on a qualifier: “That’s the impression I have, I could be wrong.”

the author, our classmate, explained that Korean pop was its own thing, and —

“Well, it certainly seems like there’s influence from American pop.”

finally, M made the point he was really trying to make without having to make it: “I can see Korean pop’s popularity coming from how it’s an illicit consumption of Western culture, which China’s controlled government and sense of national identity would be unhappy about.”

our other Chinese classmates reserved comment, swiping on their devices in a minute of silence for how ignorance is child’s play.