December 21, 2009

on the fun and pain of studyin

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:11 am by changisme

Now, the popular culture is that we have to have interest in what we
learn. It’s interesting what he said in the letter 非学无以广才,非志无以成学 used
to be quoted either in its entirety, or just in its latter half, which
pertains to hardship. Nowadays however, only the first segment is
commonly quoted.

These two views are often seen as opposing to each other. Each side of
the argument condemns the other side as the culprit for failure in
education. Either, we are making learning a fearful task, or we are
eluding ourselves by thinking children can be educated just by watching
Magic School Bus. (oops…)

In China and India, people commonly believe that studying is supposed
to be painful because there is a large population to compete within.
However, I don’t really believe that’s what drives the perspective.
Back in 诸葛’s time, there was not that much population, and yet the
perspective and intensity were already there. In the west, there is
Beneath the Wheel (oh but Hesse is German… hmm).

Looking at today, how many would admit that studying is not difficult
even if we choose the area we enjoy, unless someone’s area of interest
is to not do anything. Is it then, the difference between the two
simply "short term" vs. "long term" vision? Namely, we are now studying
for a goal that is closer in time, while in the other view, we study
for a vague and far goal? I don’t think that’s the case. For one, even
without realizing, everyone has short term goals, be it finishing a
book or going through an exam. Long term goal is an interesting subject
to examine. It is of my belief that long term goals are more meaningful
when society/family gives no choice in the matter. Otherwise, it’s
delicious mind candy.

A more reasonable explanation is that these two views are not opposing
each other. There are always hurdles and pleasure in studying, past or
present, East or West. It’s the dynamic of life, like riding a
rollercoaster. Children are just as much subjective to the cycle as
adults. The only reason such a dichotomy arose is that our society now
is much more specialized. We no longer encourage people to study hard
to 广才, be well rounded and perfect in all areas, we encourage deeper
understanding and achievements in one field.

The consequence has two folds. One is that the belief that there is one
field that is right for each person becomes more prevalent. There are
people for whom this might be true, but for most, it might not.
Secondly, once encountering hardship, it is hard for one to know
whether to go forward or sideways, and hence the chackered career.

What’s my point? There’re both parties and … studying parties whichever way we choose, so it’s all good, march on.


December 6, 2009


Posted in Uncategorized at 7:43 pm by changisme

 Why the sun lightens our hair, but
darkens our

Why women can’t put on
mascara with their mouth closed? 

Why is ‘abbreviated’ such
a long word? 

Why is it that doctors
call what they do ‘practice’? 

is lemon juice made with artificial flavour, and dishwashing liquid made with
real lemons?

is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?