Friday, September 28, 2012

Oh Education..

It's a sad fact but I believe that I was quite possibly more brilliant as a child than I am now. It's true that children possess a natural inquisitive nature, eager to know about everything and anything about this world. An aunt of mine worked at Grolier, which was a publishing company. I used to be excited when she came bearing gifts in the form of encyclopedias and those trivia books, not to mention some disney picture storybooks. Time was spent flipping through these and if I ever had a query, I would go look it up in the encyclopedia. History used to be a favourite of mine, I had this one book which compiled biographies of famous historical figure, and I would go look up those of figures I read/heard about elsewhere. A TV show from the past, "Time Squad" (pun not intended) played a part in introducing said historical figures to me.

The Internet replaced these encyclopedias. Everything was now a search button away. Yet with all the convenience and limitless information, I'm not anymore intellectually stimulated. On the contrary, precious time has just been wiled away with all the Facebooking, Tweeting, and catching up on TV series. Not to say I don't learn other things, but it could have gone at a much more faster pace.

Pretentious as it may be, I felt that I used to have a larger advantage over my peers in our younger days, that I was already at a higher level in some academic aspects. I read up any thing that interested me so some historical or scientific facts we would learn later were mere general knowledge trivia to me, giving me chances to flaunt once in a while. Unfortunately, I never did expand this bank of knowledge. Soon enough, it was either the syllabus we were learning finally caught up or I started meeting people of equal or higher calibre. 

Our education system probably contributed to this deterioration, being so restrictive. Who knows how much untapped potential was never discovered, and will never be know as our brains age. But then, it's not only exclusive to Malaysia, we did model ourselves after the Brits.

Coincidentally, I just finished "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" today (or it was this book that prompted the post). Afterthoughts: what would I be like now, if I was handled more strictly in my youth? I know, I have my regrets, not continuing the piano or the violin, and maybe not swimming a bit more harder during classes. But then, would I have read as much or explored all the other enlightening aspects. Might I be like Amy Chua's daughter, attending college at Harvard or maybe in Oxbridge now if I was drilled harder? 

Who knows? And there's still time to learn. I might take longer than I would have in my younger days but there's still the opportunity, with the gap year and all. I can revert back to my free learning methods of the past, absorbing information from any source at my own pace. Schooling has disrupted most of my education, fortunately, not to the point of no return.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Keep it Personal

I'm gonna be cheating here. This may look like a pretty long post but most of the content won't be mine. Below is apparently from a writing competition but was submitted to some colleges for admissions too O.O, and it garnered quite a lot of attention:

"I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently.
Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row. I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.
Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I'm bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.
I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don't perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat 400.
My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me. I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations with the CIA.
I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid.
On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven. I breed prize-winning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin.
I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.
But I have not yet gone to college."

Whether it really got the author admitted into college or not, it is pretty cool >:D