ad info

TIME Asia Home
Current Issue
Magazine Archive
Asia Buzz
Travel Watch
Web Features
  Photo Essays

Subscribe to TIME
Customer Services
About Us
Write to TIME Asia
TIME Canada
TIME Europe
TIME Pacific
TIME Digital
Latest CNN News

Young China
Olympics 2000
On The Road

  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia

Other News
From TIME Asia

Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

TIME Digest

TIME Asia Services
Subscribe to TIME! Get up to 3 MONTHS FREE!

Bookmark TIME
TIME Media Kit
Recent awards

TIME Asia Asiaweek Asia Now TIME Asia story
JANUARY 18, 1999 VOL. 153 NO. 2

What worked for him, he figured, should work for others, so he started tutorials in "Crazy English." He moved to booming southern Guangdong province, toning down the bass and treble to work as a radio announcer, and then set up the Stone-Cliz International English Promotion Workshop. Classes evolved into "Crazy English" events: language workshops that Li conducts as part inspirational rally, part rock concert. The audience is warmed up with loud, Western rock 'n' roll. Li, 30, takes the stage dressed like a pop star and starts exhorting the crowd via a thundering sound system: "You need passion!" Such events have been held in 60 counties across China, with enthusiastic crowds numbering from 1,000 to 30,000. Like Muzak-meister Yanni, Li has even performed within the hallowed walls of Beijing's Forbidden City. During a recent workshop at Beijing's Qinghua University, the crowd was loud in its approval. "English is quite important for most of us," gushed Duan Xin, an 18-year-old biology student who goes by the English moniker Duncan. "When I got the ticket I was so excited. He's so famous." Li claims 12 million people are studying his method; the Chinese government estimates that 100 million Chinese are currently studying English at various decibel levels.

To most Chinese, English can be a passport to an education abroad or a high-salaried job with a foreign firm in China. The notions that Li proselytizes--shout that word from a rooftop three times fast--are far grander. "Chinese have 5,000 years of history to be proud of, but the fact is they feel very bad about themselves," he explains. "Americans say you should speak our language, we don't have to bother with yours. But in China, the first sentence people say to a foreigner is, 'I'm sorry my English is poor.'" Conquering the foreign tongue, he insists, will allow China to face the world proudly and will bring untold riches. As he exhorts the students in Beijing: "Make international money! Make money from foreigners! This is the American dream--from rags to millions--and I want to make it a Chinese dream!"

Some people think Li's "Crazy English" is less method than madness. "Studying language is a gradual thing," advises Chen Shu, a professor of English at the Beijing Foreign Studies University. "You can't expect to do it in a short time"--like a two-hour shouting lesson. In 1996, English teachers in Guangdong complained that Li's methods were encouraging students to ignore their regular English studies. The local government prohibited Li from teaching for six months; a similar ban on "Crazy English" is in effect in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province.

Li couldn't care less. He eschews vacations and family visits for work, and is planning to expand his empire into bodybuilding centers and psychiatric counseling. "A tough mind needs a tough body," he points out. "Crazy Therapy" anyone?

--Reported by Mia Turner/Beijing

PAGE 1  |  2

This edition's table of contents | TIME Asia home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN

Back to the top   © 2000 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.