Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Better Late Than Never

A fellow teacher was complaining about his teachers for not teaching him how to study effectively for his exams. He didn’t know how to strategize properly; he recited, memorized, and recalled every fact, sentence, and figure he learned; he studied hard but he didn’t do well in his public exam.

It was a big blow for him. He saw and heard of his friends furthering their studies locally and oversea.

He resigned to his fate and entered a teaching college. Years later, he began his teaching career. He got married and settled down, with sons and daughters.

The children had grown up and were furthering their studies locally and oversea. The fire and desire to learn then rooted deeply in his heart; he decided to come back; he wanted to continue his study.

It wasn’t an easy decision but he finally made up his mind: It’s better late than never.

We were supervising exam when we had this conversation. We were discussing why students today give up so easily half way through their study. We were disheartened and disillusioned with the discipline problems in the school.

Why can’t they see the importance of study?

We have learned through experience the importance of knowledge. Now that we are wiser, we seek more knowledge and understanding.

Maybe we need to instill this knowledge into the students before it is too late: Knowledge is the bridge to a brighter future.

It’s better late than never. But why be late?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

When Will We Come to Him?

Adam was lonely until he met Eve.

So are we.

We move and have our being, and we share everything with our loved ones.

We spend time with our family and relatives.

We enjoy meeting our colleagues and fellow workers.

And we move around happily with our neighbors and friends.

We share our problems and difficulties. We need listening ears and understanding hearts; we need those who can help analyze and solve problems; and we need those who can alleviate our pain and suffering.

We share our love, enthusiasm, joy, hope, and care. We desire to preserve and strengthen family ties, mend broken friendships, and restore long lost relationships.

We share our visions, missions, and goals; we desire motivation and direction; we desire assistance and cooperation; and we desire them to wish us well and to pray for us.

But I wonder how often we spend time with God our Father.

We come to Him only when we have problems and difficulties.

We come to Him only to seek His grace, mercy, and abundant blessings.

We praise Him only in public; we have no room for Him in our private life.

We desire to do things our way and we don’t want Him to hold our hand.

But when we fall, we cry; more miserably when our feeling is very hurt.

Yet we never realize that God our Father is waiting.

He is waiting for us to come to Him.

God also wants to be our friend.

When will we come to Him?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Winning The Game

I was watching a badminton match between Malaysia and Denmark.

It was a quarter final match of the Thomas Cup.

I had a good look at the player I loved.

I enjoyed watching him playing his game. I examined his footwork and studied how he initiated his attacks, how he smashed, lopped and netted unhurriedly, and how he executed his powerful and explosive shots. It was very unpredictable sometimes as to what his next moves would be and where the shuttlecock would land.

I looked at the opponent, interested in knowing how he adapted to the game. He was very good in defense and very fast in counter attack. I enjoyed watching his various moves to regain control of the game.

Maybe that is how things work in life.

Life is a competition and a challenge.

Sometimes we may take the lead; sometimes others take over.

Of course, those of us who are leading will try our best to maintain our lead.

And those of us who follow will wait for our turn to take over the lead.

In the end, one of us will win the game.

And it all depends on who can play the game better, who will make lesser mistakes, and who is more eager and determined to win.

Winning a game is a serious matter, and we don't make fun of our opponents.

But what happens after the game is another story.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Someone Must Take The Blame

I have seen how some parents punished their children when something nasty happened. I have seen how they walked around carrying a cane, and how the children cowering in fear in a corner. I have seen how they interrogate, threaten, scold and punish the children in front of my eyes. These are unforgettable experiences and I do feel the pains from time to time until today. And when I remember how the prisoners are caned, I will close my eyes tight and feel the shrieking cries and the searing pain on the body. I never like the cane!

But I believe right is right and wrong is wrong; right is never wrong, and wrong is never right. And I believe parents must reward their children for doing right and punish them for doing wrong. But often, it is easily said than done.

It will be easier if we can identify the trouble makers, deal with them personally, and settle the problem once and for all. But often, things are not simple at all. There are times when children just wouldn’t listen to us and own up. While the parents are trying hard to nab the culprits, the children are keeping a tight lip. And that is where problem arises and trouble begins.

Then parents scream in anger, "Someone must take the blame".

Some parents become impatient and walk straight to the older children, punishing them for not helping to take good care of the family. Sometimes they punish the usual trouble makers. And sometimes they just punish everyone around, and so begin the crying and screaming sessions, and then more caning.

"Someone must take the responsibility", the parents scream again, this time in rage.

And that is how we learn to be parents, down the centuries. It is practiced widely and by almost everyone. Nobody seems to ask whether the practice is wrong. The principle is the same: wrong is wrong and wrong must be punished. And someone must take the blame.

The decision is final. Everyone is happy except the victims. The parents are happy because they think they have the situation under control. The trouble makers are happy because they have gone unpunished. But the victims are sad, really sad, because they are punished for a crime they have not committed. They are confused, really lost because they don’t know what to do next. They have been taught that right is right and wrong is wrong. And now they are taught that right is also wrong and wrong is also right.

Some children just give up in the fight. They become losers and loners. There is no reason to continue fighting. The parents are always right, the other children are always right, but they are always wrong.

Sometimes we parents have to wait before taking any action. They are all our children. We don’t want to make the wrong decisions.

Clinging to anger is not healthy. So is favoritism in the home.

But worst of all is the decision we take that someone must take the blame.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What Looks Beautiful May Not Be Beautiful Inside

The room that I was in had two rows of fluorescent tubes. There were 15 lights in all; one had blown out.

They looked bright enough for everyone to do their work or daily activities.

Some teachers were enjoying their meal and drink; some busy checking students’ progress; some doing last minute preparations before entering the class; and some reading alone or talking together with laughter and friendliness.

There were 12 ceiling fans, 10 were turned on.

The room was very cooling with enough air conditioners, matching window curtains, and the tinted black windows.

I liked the room; ideal for work and concentration.

I was here because the building I worked in was undergoing rewiring.

There were frequent blackouts for the past many months. Technicians and seasoned workers were consulted to determine the causes and the solutions to the problem.

Nothing much could be done; the building was old; the power was overloaded; the wires were concealed; the roof was leaking… you named it.

What looks beautiful may not be beautiful inside.

I had a good look of the staffroom again.

It would be easier to learn of the causes and the solutions if there was a power failure.

Maybe I am more suited to the ancient styled room, I sighed.