Monday, December 6, 2010
I teach English here in Shanghai. One of my classes is a Travel Club where we study a different country each week. This week we did New Zealand. I found a photo of a popular sport there called Zorbing. It looks like loads of fun! Apparently you can do this in Shanghai, but I'm still trying to find out where.
Anyhow, since it is such as unsual object, I decided to use it as a creativity exercise. The students were to imagine that this huge plastic ball was something else. To get them started, I gave them some ideas. I said that it could be a new mode of transportation that will eventually replace cars. Or it could be an alien spacecraft that has landed on earth. Or it could be a man caught in a soap bubble.
They laughed at the thought of driving one of these around the streets of Shanghai, & they enthusiastically began adding to the story about the aliens, but that last one simply confused them. They couldn't understand how someone could get caught in a soap bubble. It's just not possible in their minds. Bubble cars? Possible. Soap bubble traps? Not possible.
But here in China, I guess they've never seen cartoons like this. They've never been exposed to the idea of flying through the air in a soap bubble. So for them, it's just not possible.
So I left them to come up with more appropriate uses for the Zorbing ball. One group said it was a new medical treatment for heart disease - the rolling around helps with circulation. Another group decided it was protection against falling debris during an earthquake. A third group said that it was a vehicle to travel under the sea. All wonderfully creative ideas. Still, the soap bubble idea never caught on, & it leaves me to wonder what kinds of things I think are not possible because of my own cultural background.
What about you? What do you think is impossible?