26 January 2020
Li Yang (right) converted to Buddhism last month but says he is a businessman first. Photo:
Li Yang (right) converted to Buddhism last month but says he is a businessman first. Photo:

‘English Godfather’ to take his skills to Shaolin Temple

Popular mainland educator and language instructor Li Yang said he plans to teach locals “Crazy English” and foreigners “Crazy Chinese” during language sessions at the famous Shaolin Temple.

Foreigners coming to Shaolin to practice kung fu will be charged 30 yuan (US$4.89) for each Chinese word they learn, said Li, who is known as the “English Godfather” in China for teaching English to hundreds of thousands of Chinese.

Li, who devised a highly popular language instruction method known as Crazy English, said it will be very good for people to learn a new language, have vegetarian food and practice kung fu at the Shaolin Temple, Apple Daily reported Tuesday, citing a mainland newspaper.

The 45-year-old converted to Buddhism last month. But he said that he is first of all a businessman and that everything is about business, including the conversion to Buddhism.

Li rejected criticism that there is too much commercialism at the Shaolin Temple. In fact, there is room for more commercialism, he said, adding that Crazy English needs to have long-term business cooperation with the Temple.

In September 2011, Li was accused of domestic violence by his American wife Kim Lee. Supporting her charges, the American posted some photos online of bruises that she purportedly suffered at the hands of Li.

Li later admitted that the accusations were true, and the couple filed for divorce. The incident kept Li in the public spotlight.

Li was an English broadcaster and host at a Guangzhou TV station in the 1990s before he started to promote Crazy English in 1994, which places heavy emphasis on practicing the language orally and reading out in a loud way.

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