IN THE PAST two months Oliver Derum and Storm Murphy have become much sought after. Every weekday at lunch time, and even on Saturdays, youngsters queue up for the chance to meet and hang out with them. They are hardly celebrities - just two students from Australia working temporarily at Ng Yuk Secondary School as English language teaching assistants (ELTAs). Oliver and Storm meet students during recess and lunch time, helping Form Five and Seven students prepare for their public exams in oral English. The programme was organised by the school's native English-speaking teacher Paul Dobson. Oliver and Storm are one of four pairs of students to come to Hong Kong during their summer holidays. On their return to Australia, Storm will begin her first year of university and Oliver will complete his final year of high school. The two visitors have sparked a frenzy in the school. Many students are intrigued and eager to talk to them. 'A handful of them try to hang around as much as possible,' said Storm. 'Some of the younger students go home and try to think of something to say before coming up to us.' 'Some of them even read from cards,' Oliver added. Mr Dobson is impressed with the students' response. 'On Fridays students stay in school after class to speak English,' said Mr Dobson. 'More and more of them are willing to hang out with them [Storm and Oliver] on Saturdays. There is even a queue for it. You don't normally find students queueing up to speak English on a Saturday.' Mr Dobson believes that the way English is taught in Hong Kong has made a lot of students resent the language. 'We are making it a little more fun.' Form Seven student Chan Ka-hin said the ELTAs have helped him a lot. 'My listening and oral skills are better because of the extra practice,' he said. 'Their encouragement is very motivating.' Oliver and Storm are also learning Cantonese from a group of Form Six students. 'It helps students to feel better about learning English by seeing how difficult it is for others to speak Cantonese,' said Mr Dobson. Learning Cantonese is definitely tricky. Storm once called Ho Hau-man, the student she stayed with, 'you, hippo' when what she really wanted to say 'how are you?'. 'It was great fun having Storm at my house,' she said. 'I have expanded my vocabulary and learned some Australian colloquial expressions.' The programme has been so successful that principal Pang Chi-chuen hopes to organise another one next year. 'They have created a nice atmosphere here. Because they only stay for two months, students really treasure the opportunity,' said Mr Pang.