What Sucks in Southeast Asia

My friend Phone is teaching himself English. A cousin who now lives in China brought him an electronic Mandarin-English dictionary (he doesn’t read or speak Mandarin) and a book-cassette set called Crazy English! 100 Oral Sentence Structures. Here’s a sample:

A: New York City is a tough place to live.
B: Yeah, it’s so crowded and the pollution is so bad.
A: You know, I’ve had enough of this city. I’m going to quit my job and move to the country.
B: What will you do for a job?
A: I don’t know. I’ll do anything as long as it means getting out of here.
B: Well, I don’t think changing your environment will make things better. You should learn to be content where you are.

Phone is a fifteen-year-old novice monk from rural Laos. I am a recovering yuppie with a bad transatlantic accent. Nevertheless, we find we have lots to talk about.

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