Renaissance Monkey: in-depth expertise in Jack-of-all-trading. I mostly comment on news of interest to me and occasionally engage in debates or troll passive-aggressively. Ask or Submit 2 mah authoritah! ;) !
For the past year and a half, I’ve been working on a master’s thesis — and now, a PhD dissertation. I’ve stayed up into the wee hours writing tens of thousands of words and I’ve pored over dozens of books. But I won’t get a degree for any of it. I will, however, get paid. That’s because I’m writing them for someone else — more specifically, a student from an oil-rich country in the Middle East who’s studying in the UK. He pays me by the hour and hands the work in to his instructors as though he did it himself. So far he’s paid me about $11,000. (via The True Story Of How I Wrote Someone Else’s Master’s Thesis)
It’s not a full-time job. When I wrote his Master’s thesis last year, I’d only work on it for three or four hours a week, although now I’m working on his PhD, I’m finding it takes up more of my time.
Sayed had moved over to the UK a few months earlier to pursue a postgraduate degree. He’d gotten an undergraduate degree in his home country in the Middle East, and must have figured that further education in the UK would look good on his resume. But he was struggling with the work and needed more than a little help. We agreed on a price. I’d advertised a low rate on the tutoring website to try and undercut the competition — about 15 dollars an hour, but I figured I could bill him for a few more hours than I actually spent on the work.
Every couple of weeks I’d send Sayed a few pages of the thesis and he’d show his university tutors — the British version of a thesis advisor. He would meet the tutors to discuss the work, so he would sometimes have me explain parts he didn’t understand. I asked him if he wanted me to deliberately put some errors into the thesis to make it look like an ESL student had written it, but he refused, and asked me to write as fluently as I would normally.
I don’t really believe his tutors didn’t realize what Sayed was doing. There’s just no way a guy who struggles to write a coherent one-line email could produce 10,000 words of a perfectly fluent thesis. My suspicion is that they deliberately turned a blind eye. He wasn’t exactly attending a renowned college, and with budget cuts, these schools need all the foreign students they can get. International students pay about three times as much as domestic and European students in the UK. So Sayed’s college fees were keeping his professor in a job. In many ways we were all winning from the situation. The professor and I both had work, the university was collecting high international fees to stay in business, and Sayed was getting his British degree without having to do any actual work. The only loser, I guess, was the integrity of the British education system.
we’ve never met or even spoken on the phone. Everything is done by email. He added me on Facebook once, but unfriended me a few days later. I think he was just curious about who I was. The only thing I found out from his Facebook page was that he supported Liverpool football club. Every so often he mentions meeting up for drinks some time, but I think deep down we both know that’s never going to happen.
By the time the thesis was finished, he’d paid me about $5000 for the work. He was always very prompt with payment, and we staggered it so he paid for every few pages I gave him.
Calls to companies offering speech tutors have soared in recent years as job seekers worry their accents are holding them back and parents fret their children will miss out on places at elite private schools unless they speak “posh.” Some tutors are working with children as young as two years old, often charging up to $90 an hour for their services. (via Accent-shy Brits anxious to talk ‘posh’ - The Globe and Mail)
“It is a class statement, I suppose, in many ways,” said Nathaniel McCullagh, who runs Simply Learning Tuition, which works on speaking techniques with young children in London, including many who come from wealthy immigrant families.
Robin Woolridge deals with many of those people all the time in his speech practice in Birmingham. The surrounding area is home to a particular “black country” accent, a dialect that originated in the West Midlands where gritty industry thickened the air with black smoke. Mr. Wooldridge said it is among the most difficult to understand in Britain and many who have it are eager to lose it.
It is easy to forget about the 2005 Terrorism Act and its damaging effect on civil liberties and human rights. Act Of Terror puts the spotlight back on this murky law, and demands that we keep vigilant in the face of ever increasing state power.
An animated journey through the labyrinthine world of English Justice, the sinister caveats of Terrorism legislation, and the shocking cronyism of the police complaints system, Act Of Terror is about strength in the face of powerlessness and finding the courage to fight back.