Hello hello, fellow learners of English, how are you doing out there? This is Kristian here, nice to be with you again, and welcome to the Learners of English Podcast, episode number 21.
You are listening to this podcast because you want to improve your English, so you can fulfil your dreams in life, whatever they may be. As always, it’s an honor for me to help you to get from where you are right now to where you want to be.
Before we begin, let me just remind you that you can find the transcript of this episode on my website learnersofenglish.com.
OK, in the last episode we talked about Leonardo English, a podcast I use to improve my English. But to be honest, I learn much more than only English. Today I want to show you a perfect example of what I mean by this.
I’m going to read out loud a part of episode #93, called “The Opium Wars”. In the first part Alastair, the creator of the Leonardo English podcast, explains what actually happened, and while that’s interesting, the second part is where the podcast really starts to stand out from the crowd.
In the second part Alastair tells us what the Opium Wars actually means in today’s world.
So, without further ado, let’s start:
Firstly, the story of the Opium Wars is something that isn’t well known at all in the UK. It’s not taught in history classes, it’s not something that’s in popular culture, people just don’t really know about it.
In China, everyone knows about it. Children are taught about it in school, it’s often referenced by government officials, and it has most certainly not been forgotten.
You might think that this is strange – normally the victors in any battle or war are the ones more likely to continue to talk about it, not the party that came off worse.
For China, the point is to never forget this humiliation, never forget how a once great country was forced to give in to these unequal demands, and forced to do something against its will.
This was the first time that China had been conquered, it was the end of ancient China, and it was hugely embarrassing. All Chinese should know about this so that it can never happen again.
There’s a saying that Chinese students still learn today about the Opium Wars, and literally it means something like “if you fall behind, you will be beaten”.
In the case of the Opium Wars, China did fall behind, and it was beaten. The British were superior militarily, and that was in a large part because the country had got rich through trade.
China was closed off, closed to outsiders, and hadn’t modernised in the same way as European powers had. It’s estimated that the Chinese military was about 200 years behind the British, which explains why it was defeated so quickly.
That must never happen again.
So, that’s how Alastair explains the significance of the Opium Wars for all of us who live 200 years later, in a world where China is becoming a superpower. The story continues, but I don’t want to give away all of Alastair’s brilliant storytelling on my podcast.
What I do want to point out now, is that you’ve just witnessed how I improve my English speaking while living in the Czech Republic. I repeat out loud a super interesting story that I’ve heard on Leonardo English.
It’s not really that complicated, it it? I’m sure you can do it, too.
Of course I also do other things to improve my speaking skills, but I’ll tell you about that in another episode.
For now this my top-tip for you: if you want to listen to interesting and wonderful stories while improving your English at the same time, go to leonardoenglish.com and pick one of the many interesting episodes that are available for you.
All right, That’s it. Let me know your thoughts on this episode in the comments or via email. Take care of yourself, and each other and I’ll catch you in the next episode.