Monday, March 23, 2009

#1005 Dan From The UK, Climate Change, The R Word

Show 1005 Monday 23 March
Watch today’s show at YouTube or BlipTV.

Hi, I’m Sarah, welcome to The Daily English Show. Today’s guest is Dan. He’s from a place called Surry the UK and he’s been working here in Niseko this winter as an instructor – he mainly teaches snowboarding, and he also teaches skiing as well.

I asked him why he decided to be an instructor.

I used to work in an office job in London, um, and just got fed up with being stuck indoors, um, and dealing with lots of stress, ah, and generally feeling like I wasn’t getting the most from my life so I wanted to some here and do something I loved and try and make this work for me. So here I am.


Kia ora in Stick News today a group in the United States is running a campaign to stop the use of the word retard.

Retard is a derogatory word for a mentally handicapped person.
It’s commonly used as an insult, similar to the words stupid or idiot.
But an organization called the Special Olympics is running a campaign to encourage people to stop using the word.
They call it the R-word and they say the word is just as cruel and offensive as any other slur.

And that was Stick News for Monday the 23rd of March.
Kia ora.

conversations with sarah
#632 What were you doing in London?

Step 1: Repeat Sarah’s lines.
Step 2: Read Sarah’s lines and talk to Dan.

Sarah What do you enjoy about teaching snowboarding?

Dan Actually, my favourite sort lessons are probably first time lessons. Ah, because there’s a … you see the progression that people go through a lot quicker. Ah, and there’s a point that you … when you see someone suddenly start linking their turns and they really start to love the sport and start to really love sliding around. And that for me is the greatest thing, is being able to share something that I really love and watch other people learn it and be able to get the same joy out of it.

Sarah What were you doing in London?

Dan Um, I was a climate change consultant. Um, so I worked for government, for the UK government for a while, um, on climate change and particularly emissions trading. Um, so I was a consultant and mainly my clients were the European Commission, the UK government - but also some, ah, private sector companies.

Sarah How did you get into that?

Dan I did an engineering degree, ah, um, and focused it on, um, climate change. And then I ended up working for the government. Um, I worked for the Ministry of Defence and then the Department of Environment. Um, and just built up my expertees and contacts through that. Ah, and then got offered a job in a consultancy so I went and worked for them

Sarah So you believe in anthropogenic climate change?

Dan Yes, in a word, yes. Um, our climate is changing faster than it’s ever changed before. Um, there is enough scientific evidence out there now to show that it is happening and that it is anthropogenic, so it is caused, ah, by, by human activity. Um, and the modelling has progress a lot in the last few years. Um, and a few years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, which is the UN, which is the international body that, that’s been tasked to look at climate change, agreed that, um, that it is definitely happening. Basically what they do, is they, they peer review all of the work, all of the research that’s been done on climate change, ah, whether it’s, you know, saying that it’s happening, or whether it’s saying that it’s not happening. And a result of that they’ve decided that it is. And that’s an agreement amongst, um, a couple of hundred different countries around the world and all their scientists. So it’s pretty definitive evidence.

Sarah What do you think about the UK’s response to climate change?

Dan Yeah, I think the UK is certainly, um … the UK and the EU as a whole is certainly trying to lead the way, ah, and doing an awful lot of the right thing in terms of policies and the attention that is being paid to, ah, being paid to climate change. But there’s always a long way to go, ah, and there’s always things they could do better.

Sarah What do you think about the plan to expand Heathrow Airport?

Dan I think that’s something that needs to be looked at quite carefully. I think, with all of these issues it’s particularly, there’s a lot of, um, there’s a lot of factors that needs to be thought out. Um, cause obviously that’s … there’s the environmental impacts related to that but there’s also the economic benefits of, of airport expansion. Um, and the jobs that it creates for the area. So there’s a lot of things to weigh up, um, and it’s hard to say, without looking into all the details, um, as to, you know, what I’d go for on that.

Sarah How do you feel about snow sports, being a climate change consultant?

Dan It’s an interesting place to be because obviously, I mean, this, this season we’ve … the snow has not perhaps been as good as what it might be … for Niseko normally. And it’s hard to directly attribute that to climate change. But certainly that sort of effect is going to increase over time. It’s an industry that is hit first by, by climate change. And it’s also an industry that contributes a huge amount to climate change. Because, you know, I’ve flown all the way over here from the UK. All of these people are flying from Hong Kong, from Australia, from New Zealand – ah, and they have an impact on the environment. Plus the energy usage for running lifts, um, and the fact that forests have to be cleared to run a lift on. Um, so it’s a difficult, it’s a difficult to sort of … it’s an interesting industry to be in, um, I think there’s great benefits in terms of getting people to appreciate the environment and, um, sort of tune into their environment a bit more. Um, but it obviously has, has a lot of negative impacts. And I think it would be interesting for me to anyway, to get involved more on that side and to see what are the ways and more creative ways we can, um, address some of those issues and try and link the two together.

Sarah Where are your parents from?

Dan My parents are Malaysian-Chinese but I was born in the UK so I guess that makes me a global citizen.

Sarah When you were a child what language did they speak to you?

Dan Oh, they mainly spoke English to me cause they wanted me to have a, an English accent, ah, which, which has worked well, but, um … and then … um, they speak a little bit of Hokkien, ah, and Malay, so … but I don’t speak those fluently.

Sarah Have you learnt any languages?

Dan Ah, yes, I speak French. Um, I speak a little bit of German and a bit of Spanish. Ah, I’m trying learn Japanese at the moment. I’m slowly getting there.

Sarah How did you study French?

Dan Um, I did it at school. Um, so I studied it for seven years at school. And then I did it as part of my degree at university so I did engineering with French.

Sarah Do you feel any special connection with Malaysia because your parents are from there?

Dan Yeah, I do. So when I, when I go back to Malaysia I always feel at home. I absolutely love the food there and culturally I feel I fit in there. Um, yeah, so, I do. I was just in Malaysia in December.

Sarah In Japan do many people think you’re Japanese?

Dan Hai (yes). Everyone thinks I’m Japanese, which gets me into trouble. Cause, um, they start talking to me and I last for about a minute, ah, before they realise that I’m not Japanese and then I have to say, wakarimasen (I don't understand).

Sarah What are you planning to do after winter?

Dan That’s a very good question. Um, at the moment I don’t have any plans. But, um, some of my options are going to New Zealand to instruct down there. Um, my girlfriend is living in Bangladesh and I could go and live in Bangladesh for a while. I’d very much like to stay here in Niseko, but it depends if I can get work. Um, or the last option, which is the least favourite, is probably going home, back to London and trying to find some work there.

special thanks to

Daniel Yeo


today's news
today's STICK NEWS pictures

filming notes

The interview was filmed on Sunday 8 March 2009 at Samurai Bar, Niseko Yurt Village, Hirafu, Japan.


show start
artist: Boom Tschak
album: Indietronic CCBit.
track: More Chocolate, Please
from: Former Yugoslavia

cws start
artist: Wolfgang S.
album: Indietronic CCBit.
track: Dynamite
from: Belgrade, Serbia, Former Yugoslavia
artist site

qa start
artist: ioeo
album: triptracks
track: triptrack2
from: Saint Raphael, France
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist site

qa bgm
artist: Triplexity
track: Afro Blue
artist at Jamendo
album at Jamendo
artist site

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