December 8th, 2010
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!
To be honest, I’m probably one of the very few who enjoyed and appreciated my high school education. Despite the many many flaws in our education system, I hope we can all agree that it has its merits as well. I entered college extremely well-prepared in subjects like Math and Sciences (despite me not majoring in either), and I was actually thankful that I was made to memorize those damn formulas. True, we weren’t made to think enough but I also can’t deny that those rote memorizations have given me an edge compared to them Americans who surprised me with their inadequate mathematical and numerical knowledge.
I’ve had this conversation with many people, usually people deemed to be at the further end of the intellect spectrum. Each time, the conversations disappoint me again and again. Talks about frustrations with our education system, talks about how we’re headed towards doomsday if nothing is changed etc etc. I’m always left at the corner where I came from, battered with anger and injustice, drained with my own thoughts and conviction.
I hear them talk about our poor education standard, and I think about the increasingly wide education gap between the urban and rural in our country, the alarming illiteracy rate, the low preschool enrollment. We (the elitist, privileged urban folks) do not make the entire country, and just because we speak louder than the rest does not make everything we say right.
I think it’s time we take a step back and realize what can be done, instead of whinging about what should be done without lifting a finger. I’m a beneficiary of our “poor” education system, and I think I’ve gotten pretty far ahead despite its “flaws”. Education is how you make of it, and I think it’s time people take individual responsibility for their education.
p.s: don’t get me wrong, I’m all for thinking that we DO need to reform our education system but i’m just saying it’s not really all that rotten and bad. If you think something needs to be done, then let’s all do something about it. Not blindly criticizing it is one thing you can start with.