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(i’m sure i’ve had worse actually =x And the subtle punchline of the comic: Wait, woah, talking squirrel???)
It felt like a point where good morning, good afternoon and good night converged. I went to bed at 5 – in the morning. I woke up hazily feeling it was only 8am, but wishing it was already 12 noon. It turned out to be 10 — talk about compromise. By some misfortune, I drank too much water the night (or morning) before. As usual, I couldn’t go back to sleep.
Most who know me would inadvertently know that I have this history of screwed up sleeping hours. But not anymore. Ever since a year ago, the regimental sleeping hours on The Island and the need to wake up at zerofivethreezero readjusted my sleep hours to those of a normal person. The latest I gone to bed would have been around 1am, if I got home late that day. In short, I haven’t felt this sensation for a long time.
1. Subconscious experimentation: The sleep-deprived state is a doorway to the subconscious. As your mind drifts into a semiconscious state, your conscious inhibitions are lowered. A doorway implies two-way movement. In one direction, the sleep-deprived soul is more honest and less pretentious, as pretences need a conscious effort to upkeep. In another, your mind’s defences are weaker and more susceptible to external influences.
So what was I doing? Attempting to programme my mind with a pack of new vocabulary. The retention seems improved. Same goes for the book I was reading after midnight. Contrary to expected, my reading focus actually goes up — because the fatigued mind has less ‘white noise’ that distract.
(pst, note: the above was my secret in ib. I slept little, but also spent little of the time staying up on work properly. Most of it was spent mucking around over msn — its the productivity of the Witching Hour that counted.)
I actually like these pseudo science of mental engineering and psychology — it’s predicated on premises that cannot be proven. But it’s plain fascinating.
2. A test of willpower in overcoming temptations: when you’re right next to the bed, the sleep demon is an alluring figure. plus, there is the constant dilemma that results from feeling hungry after having brushed teeth. Sleeping later by six hours means enduring another six hours of hunger as well.
My mum disapprovingly labels such a practice as “trying to be god”. I would add that habitually having such practices speeds up the process of meeting god.
3. Surrealism for the sake of surrealism: actually, it’s a just a sophisticated way of saying drugginess. Everything slows down and you’re left in a stoned state, both while try to stay awake and the next day. One is left in the perfect state to contemplate life.
4. The nua aftermath: This is a branch of point three, with a slightly different nuance. It’s a bit more of the unromanticised downside in that I become too enervated to do work and too unproductive. This contradicts the second point on building willpower. Resisting temptations a few hours earlier was accomplished, but simply getting out of bed was difficult. I probably won’t do this very often — it contradicts my general mindset of not doing anything that unnecessarily expends energy or anything that compromises on mental concentration. i haven’t even touched alcohol for quite a long time apart from a celebratory glass of wine on christmas eve.
My hope is that the sleep debt doesn’t spill over to Sunday, when I am supposed to go out to play. It is even worse if it spilled into the working day after a three day weekend. I ought to go sleep now unless i want to feel like crap on monday. hopefully i can.
Allow me to sum up the problem of maths in quotations:
1. I previously called math the devil’s subject in jest — but this guy outdoes me : The good Christian should beware the mathematician and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematician have made a covenent with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of hell. – SAINT Augustine.
I have no idea on what grounds exactly he demonises mathematicians — probably some childhood trauma. it’s a long-running Christian tradition to demonise those things.
2. Math isn’t real: “As far as the law of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” - Albert Einstein.
Not really….to me at the moment, math is simple. These are the rules. No questions asked, just follow. It is for this reason that I think the mathematical aspect of economics is too full of fluff also. you want to turn the aggregate human behaviour (think
women capricious people) into equations — predictability is not going to happen. The state of equilibrium is like asking for heaven on earth.
Actually I (and probably most of my friends, even those science-y ones) still have no idea what’s so mind-blowingly brilliant about Einstein to have his brain kept in jars decades later.
3. And finally, my main point: “An equation has no meaning unless it expresses a thought of god” – srinivasa ramanujan.
Okay, I have no clue who srinivasa is, as compared to Albert Einstein and St Augustine — but you get the idea: spiritual mystic sounding hindoo guy. As always these phrases like, “thought of god” cannot be taken literally — otherwise many things would have no meaning.
So what is the “thought of god”? I think it means creativity and inspiration from a common universal consciousness. Inspiration means to be in spirit. Ideas come from somewhere and they originate from a place beyond human consciousness. (okay shit, even i sound like some hindoo mystic now).
BUT THE POINT IS: math stifles. That’s my main problem with it. It is the bane of the idler. My idea of studying is spending the day in bed flipping through books. If i had it my way, “studying for math” would involve looking through all the notes on how to do this question etc.but nooo, it requires practise. it requires pen and paper — which i’m not adept to using in bed. it requires a chair and table. It is a drain on time doing other things that are good for the mind, like reading, writing and lazing around doing nothing.
And when i’m doing math — my mind can’t jump randomly to some distantly related idea that fascinates me. I would have been too busy looking out for whether I cancelled both sides equally and transferred my negative signs properly. It is to the extent that I have had nothing to write about for the past few days. It’s not like I didn’t have any fulfilling conversations or happenings.
4. I end with a quote from: “But we hire construction workers and use cranes to build our houses, we hire cleaners and use vacuum cleaners to keep our surroundings clean…likewise mathematics is something that can be done by other people and by machines.” – YOURS HUMBLY.
(but you can’t freaking get some one to do your IQ test for you, can you?)
any religious reference above was purely coincidental. seriously. It was meant to be just about math alone. Blame St. Augustine.
Looking for a math tutor for the next six months who is:
- smarter than me
- able to make intelligent conversation
- has nice legs
- has a sexy voice
- and (oh, i almost forgot) is good at math, in particular: arithmetic, algebra, geometry (especially geometry) and how to use a calculator. No knowledge beyond secondary four advance mathematics is required.
- preferably with no knowledge of any martial art or self-defense skills.
for some reason, no one has taken my offer yet. i wonder why.
I like John Locke’s analogy of a man who wakes up in a room and “chooses” to stay, not knowing that the room is actually locked. (it is also quite easy to remember that John Locke is the one who came up with this locked door analogy)
Life’s like that — some times you’re in a perplexing dilemma over what decision to make, and the dilemma resolves itself. The choice is made for you. It’s a bit like a natural coin toss. In the end, you’re in a bo pian situation. The only waste is perhaps the thought given to decision-making.
It’s not the first time, and it tends to fall on the side that you want but is more costly, troublesome and a bit out of your comfort zone.
And that’s from the father of liberalism. Human beings can be so powerless sometimes….we just tend to think otherwise.
“Dear God, if you can’t make me thinner — please make all my friends around me fatter“
(normally i like to attribute this quote to beulah. heh, Interesting.)
I went back to the old school today to eat some heaty and unhealthy beef fried rice and/or butter pork rice. While waiting from across the road, I realised this trend with my new third party point-of-view.
And I couldn’t help but to wonder if it was a) bad architecture or b) a poor external paint job.
Then I realised that a poor paint job can make all architectures look equally bad. It almost makes the design of architecture no longer a factor of consideration.
“…communism thrived best in those areas where egalitarian family forms predominated, nationalism in areas where the authoritarian family was the norm.
England’s individualist market economy, and its assertive democratic culture, drew on family structures in which children were rather more independent (albeit of a still dominant father), but not equal. German families were traditionally authoritarian, based on the submission of the children to the father’s will, and indifferent to equality.
The Russian family combines equality and discipline, parity between brothers and obedience to the father’. There are similarities between the kin structures if China and Russia — a strong feeling of brotherhood, a great capacity to assimilate, and a refusal to believe that people are fundamentally different. In regions with authoritarian family structures and inequality between children, such as Ireland, Belgium and Japan, by contrast people are more likely to see differences where they don’t exist.” – Good and Bad Power – Geoff Mulgan.
This argument reminds me of the ‘protestant work ethic’ idea in US history (which Alan Beattie disputes). I can actually see where the writer is coming from and it sounds like it almost makes sense, assuming that: 1. different cultures have different family practices,
2. these practices are generally the same within the culture
3. individuals are affected by their family upbringing.
But assumption 2 doesn’t really make sense — how is it that families end up with uniformity? There is an external influence — and that would be the form of government. It’s a cyclical argument — family affects government, which affects family. Or I would prefer to say: the country is just a collective mindset of many families.
But at the same time, the argument is quite circular. I find it highly unlikely that the writer actually went to survey families in China and Russia, asking subjective questions about their family mindsets. These are largely based upon reputable generalisations (or generalised reputations). And where do these generalisations come from? Probably the form of government as well. A bit like how if you were asked to picture a russian dad, you would think of some Stalin looking guy ><
There is also this glaring flaw: whereas family structures are relatively inelastic, the above assertion does not account for changes in political structures despite constant family structures. One wonders how the Russian and Chinese belief in brotherhood and equality affected the earlier monarchical structures.
Above all, the fact of the matter is that different families have different structures. Heh, especially for a multi-cultural multi-racial country, surely the family structures are not that homogeneous.
Good and Bad Power is actually quite a good book for a basic understanding of government that uses many cross-cultural examples, but this portion really is just imposing an interpretation.
And you’ll soon see my purpose behind writing this post soon — the main point for now is that we cannot generalise and over-simplify things. Things are always more complex and multi-faceted.
I don’t quite like politics and most social sciences actually — mainly because they reduce a lot of things into simple theoretical generalisations, which are only true in a simple theoretical world. oh, but i seem to do well in them tho.
You know that feeling where you get so tired to the point you no longer feel tired? You’re probably functioning on ‘spare battery’. I felt so damn tired in the afternoon, before suddenly my energy levels just surged back up. I thought the sleep debt would spill over to the next day, but it turns out that I actually woke up earlier than my alarm clock and felt more energetic than normal. The human body works in funny ways. Its probably like how you don’t feel hungry after a while cos you’re digesting your stomach walls…or something like that.
The reason I was functioning on ‘spare battery’ on monday was due to my failed plan of going back on Sunday night. This was so that I didn’t have to wake up at 5 next day. The story goes that while I attempted to sleep at around 1130, my friend came in at midnight and happily switched on the lights. Then when I did get a bit of real sleep, some
fuc… M- oron climbed in through my window, turned on the lights and asked for soap several times. Talk about intrusion of privacy/trespassing/plain nuisance. He came in a second time soon after, this time saying “oh wrong room”.
In my half asleep state, two questions puzzled me: First, who the hell asks for soap 230am at night? I thought it was almost the time to wake up, but my phone later told me otherwise. Second, who makes the same mistake twice after turning on the lights the first time? My bunk has a freaking mountain of rubbish by the door and on the table. The stark difference is also proof that chinese are unhygienic and disorganised. I assure you that I do not contribute to any of the mess outside of my cupboard =x
The next day I also realised that there were two big bottles of soap in our ‘communal cupboard’ which would have been obvious with the lights on. I’m guessing that with all the trash around, he assumed they were empty.
More than being annoyed at my sleep deprivation, I am still trying to figure out what was going on in his head. It’s like a puzzle with more unanswered questions, and in some perverse manner, entertains me a bit. It’s more wholesome entertainment than random bitching/gossip though. The human mind works in ways funnier than the human body. In particular, that of psychos, idiots and women — they do things differently there.
But more seriously — it is fortunate that my reflex action while pretending to sleep was to flip to my left and place my hand on my phone. I might not have done that if the lights didn’t wake me up…but heck, who could find it without the lights on anyway -_-
I will just wake up earlier to travel there next time. I get more sleep that way especially since I ACTUALLY STAY NEARBY.
do the math to find out how much uninterrupted sleep i had. funnily i was just thinking about this one incident that really really pissed me off one saturday night back then (but thats a thing of the past already) that i was made to do and cost me a lot of uninterrupted sleep.
“[Some schools] give preferential treatment in admitting children of alumni or students from wealthy families who can afford their high school fees”.
:X zomg the MOST POWERFUL RAFFLESIAN is making a (not very subtle) attack on A Capitalist School In Dover. Speaking of which, now that the benefactor isn’t in school anymore, is the Golf Buggy still parked there? If not, where is it parked ><
My first response to my friend was “lol capitalism > meritocracy”. But its probably more than mere capitalism. It’s more of nepotism. Consider the system of lower cut-off for affiliated schools: how do you get into the affiliated primary school? By having your dad in the alumni.
Meritocracy: a system for schools or a system for government?
The fundamental question that we overlook is: What is meritocracy? It’s a term that Singaporeans often hear and conveniently lump it with ideals of justice, equality and progress. Here the term is applied to how schools select students — but the original use for meritocracy refers to a system of governance which uses academic merit to select leaders.
My stance is quite straight-forward: meritocracy (in the dilute definition) is perfect for schooling. In fact, schooling is supposedly all about meritocracy. It most certainly is NOT meant to be capitalist — what with business models, business strategies, and having the students as world class products. I always thought that having a lower cut off for affiliated schools was unfair. I most certainly thought paying, i mean, donating your child’s way into school was unfair also. (It is obvious that six years was not enough to brainwash me, but it is difficult to argue otherwise.)
But for selecting talent…its more tricky. It leads to the more crucial question of what defines merit. It is hard to imagine how the memory of Chinese Classics in the Eight Legged Essay can be a good gauge of competency. I am not criticising the status quo though — as it is, the current selection looks beyond grades alone, through interviews and CV assessments. It’s not perfect (cough no doubt), but there is hardly an alternative I could think of. He that criticises the status quo, ought to first show an alternative.
Meritocracy: A mere rhetorical tool of criticism.
The important thing is not what meritocracy is, but what meritocracy is not. My argument is that ‘meritocracy’ is used in Singapore not to represent an ideal, but is used as a rhetorical device that criticises differing standards. It’s a benchmark that allows the label of ‘unfair’ to be thrown. My 4000 word history essay made brief mention that the idea of meritocracy (and multiracialism) was a tool of criticism. My introductory quote against capitalist and nepotist selections in schools is another obvious instance of meritocracy as a rhetorical tool of criticism.
I think that meritocracy is defined as: ‘the best’ selecting who they think is ‘the best’ – a system entrenched by people who do well in it. All else is rhetoric. In short, meritocracy is great — as long as you’re the best…or at least are defined as ‘the best’.
Controversial question: is the Institution that meritocratic?
Finally, I will argue, on two levels, that the Institution is in fact less meritocratic than what was asserted.
On the micro level (of selecting students), if the Institution were to be entirely meritocratic, it would not have an integrated programme that allows its students a direct track without taking the same standardised exams as other Singaporeans. Nor would it allow students to be admitted through DSA for a sterling sports record, if merit was solely academic. From experience, my belief is that the integrated programme is generally a deleterious and unfair system that should be done away with (if you want more 45 pointers or at least less sub-40 pointers). In the most practical terms, IP and DSA do not benefit the school…with the exception of winning rugby games.
On the macro level of ‘selecting leaders of tomorrow’, the fact of the matter is that having a brand-name (so called ‘elite’) school aids the candidate in seeking Overseas Monies for Schooling. There is such a saturation by the products of the Institution (and other brand-name schools) that it is hard to dispute the advantage granted. Arguing otherwise implies that there is no talent outside of brand-name schools, which is not the case. Brand names distort the selection process unnecessarily. I quote the speech, “such schools are drivers of Singapore’s advancement” — The rest speaks for itself.
So in the bigger picture….it actually might run counter to meritocracy. Some (my dad in particular) argue that it is inevitable that some instituitons have a ‘halo effect’, and this is earned by entering the school. But first, it does not answer the criticism that it is not fair for someone to have an edge just because of his good results in Primary Six (followed by a through-train).
Second, it leads us back to my earlier question: with reference to the selection of public officials, what defines merit? Is there a link between being able to memorise more for an imperial examination and being able to formulate good policy? Again, I’m not saying there is a better alternative to the status quo. But we ought to sometimes consider that if we look deeper, the foundations of our system are not necessarily flawless.
But to show some balance and to give credit where it is due. The speech isn’t so much about elitism. (Some people instantaneously launch into this vitriolic ramble on elitism and insularity). There is a softer side to it.
“Graduating from a top school like RI does not mean that one will necessarily succeed in life,”
“Academic ability must be matched by people skills, the capacity to adapt and change with changing circumstances, and to keep on learning. “
“Rafflesians must understand their own limitations, in order to continue to improve themselves. They need to collaborate with people from different backgrounds to work together and to get tasks done.”
I think its actually a very well thought out and meaningful speech (if actually put in practice)….or at least sufficiently preemptive against cynics and other critical people. In fact, it can even be argued that the speech implies that while academic merit is good, there is so much more than that.
In one post, I have criticised three systems that I have been part of/benefited from. Go spot them yourself. …some would even say four.
And therefore eloquent speakers are inclined to ambition, for eloquence seemeth wisdom, both to themselves and others.
Thomas Hobbes. (Leviathan)
The above quote is from a political philosophy classic, Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes. I haven’t actually read the core text. Contrary to this misperception, I am quite against reading the original core texts. I mean, I have hardly even read the IB lit texts (sparknotes is my best friend, and I got 7 anyway =P). I actually think it’s a bit pretentious to read core texts…but some people are genuinely interested, or they just have homework to finish.
Based on my prior readings in English History (not sure if it’s a bit of a waste) and the Politics of the Common Law. All I know about Hobbes is 1. he was a character from the English Civil War period 2. he shows that there is a need for strong central government (instead of separation of powers) 3. because of the ‘hobbesian’ nature of humans, without government, there can only be chaos.
But i digress. His quote just happens to support my long time view (three years counts as pretty long) that debate is actually unhealthy.
There’s actually a lot to gain from debate. It supposedly makes you smarter in how you analyse ideas, argue them and see them from another angle. In addition, you broaden your general knowledge. The practical gains are manifested in essay writing and presentation. It is all the more so beneficial when needing to show your worth at selection for overseas-money-for-schoolings. Even if it doesn’t make you smarter, its a nice thing to have on record — which once again aids with selection. Above all, it builds confidence and self-esteem.
But I think that debate is unhealthy. Here are ten reasons:
First, it won’t necessarily make you smarter, but it will sure as hell make you think that you’re smarter. It’s really all about the ego. Hearing the sound of your own voice and the things you can come up to show why other people are wrong (and therefore stupid), while you are right.
Second, (branching from point one) you think you’re smarter than non-debate people — which is often not the case. This happens when you believe too much in what can be gained from debate. That’s just arrogant.
Third, you end up with a very insular social circle of intellectual people, in part due to the people you interact with, in part due to expectations
(which is actually okay as long as they’re pretty)
Fourth, you develop a competitive mindset and a ‘zero-sum game’ consciousness. Either you’re right or you’re wrong. It’s either a win or lose. There’s no in-between. With so many competitive debates, there are bound to many wins and many losses. If you’re lucky, you just start to be indifferent about whether you win or lose (why does it matter anyway -_-) funny tho, i’ve seen people (a lot) cry, emo over etc. Statistically speaking, more people lose than win. There is ultimately only one winner.
Fifth, you’re exposed to grave world issues at a young age when you’re supposed to be blissfully ignorant. What sort of sec two kid reads the economist.
Sixth, as a result of the fifth point, you end up cynical and jaded. the world is a messed up place, like how hobbes would see it
Seventh, if you don’t become cynical and jaded — your opinion ends up amorphous. Both sides always have merits to their arguments. Whenever your opinion starts to take a slant, you instinctively counter it. After all, you’re trained to counter anything. Anything goes.
Eighth, branching from the seventh point– you become plain indifferent to even serious issues. Serious issues are just another competition topic, where you can make yourself adopt either stance.
Ninth, it’s sibeh time consuming — at the expense of doing many other things you actually enjoy.
Tenth, branching from the ninth point: either you’re spending so much time on something you don’t enjoy. or you actually enjoy it which means that — congratulations you developed some obsessive tendency ><. Given how time consuming it is, its no false dilemma — it really has to be either one ><
(I would add point eleven: that it encourages too many people to go into law, which is unhealthy in and of itself. But that has more than enough material for itself.)
…okay I managed to hit ten, but i cheated by splitting a lot of points — which is actually still valid. I know obsessive people, cynical people, jaded people, arrogant people, apathetic people, ambitious people, indecisive people, crazy people, scary people,…the list goes on. We’ll see how I related to this personally some other day.
three years ago (almost exactly three years ago), a certain someone told me this funny piece of news.
i didn’t find it that funny tho. it pushed me into a state of regret — quite openly in front of that bringer of news, i recall. I told myself to forget it. Just put it aside and forget it for good.
The story goes that i didn’t of course. I recall it was a bit more than a year ago that I was lounging around reading the movie script for American Beauty. as random trivial, i will also add that i recall wearing a purple t shirt from japan before going to the food court to eat… nothing. A friend who just came back from taiwan and had nice rebonded hair told me that her friend’s brother had an Intermediary Exporters funding to go Germany. I also looked through some theatre brochures…chicago if i didn’t rmb wrongly.
I sort of forgot about the hear-say after that. But recently, I recalled and thought it was probably nonsense. Impactful nonsense no doubt, annoyingly so.
But turns out that it might have been…….?
the verdict is still unknown
but the point is not whether it was true or not. that is unimportant. the point is that -
A few days ago, the ST published this (perhaps a little frivolous) article on eating lunches alone and how a survey showed that people were uncomfortable with it. Today I had a taste of eating alone again. I used to eat my lunches alone quite frequently, until some of the newer people came in and I started to eat with some one on one.
It was a long while since i last ate alone — the truth is I actually didn’t mind it. on top of that, i actually preferred it. The solitary lunchtime presents an opportunity for contemplation. Eating is the only time you’re truly doing nothing — okay, I take that back: i AM in the Alternative Reality of the Missing Years after all.
But eating is one of the few times where your mind is unengaged to external stimul, such as your music player while on the train or the com screen in your face. Taste isn’t exactly very thought-provoking — not in the form of words at least. The solitary lunchtime is the perfect moment to reflect upon everything that ran through your mind earlier in the day. The perfect way to ruin it is to have a bunch of friends whose company you enjoy to laugh about other random nonsense.
Don’t get me wrong — I like eating lunches with people. Arguably, I even eat meals FOR people rather than to just fill my stomach. I’m just saying that eating alone is a good time to reflect. In fact, eating lunches with people you don’t like probably is as conducive, since 1) you don’t want to talk much 2) your mind wanders to somewhere happier and 3) you start to treasure the people you like — but that’s unpalatable. I rather have a lousy meal (nah, not really. I’m practical).
This bring to mind this sausage stall at the basement of ngee ann that sells nothing but sausage dishes. Normally, I would eat there by myself.
On several occasions, I have even delayed my next meeting to enjoy a ten-dollar plate of two huge sausages and rosti. My mood instantaneously improves and my dreary feeling of sian goes away, equipping me for whatever that awaited.
Unfortunately, the stall closed down ((
Ideally, the typical work day ought to have all work over and done with before lunch, followed by a long period in front of the computer for the remaining afternoon.
(I use ideally in the loosest sense of the word. If it truly were to be ideal, I would also have a long nap. If it truly truly were to be ideal, I’d also start late and end almost as early as I started. But let’s not talk about the ideals for now)
The problem is that my work day tends towards spending the morning in front of the computer. Work is left to be done after lunch. But who’s really in a mood for work right after lunch? So I go back to nua in front of the com around 1.
It is here that I discover the magic of accelerating time within a day — procrastination. At 1, I tell myself to start work at 2. 2 arrives faster than expected. One hour nuaing after lunch is not enough to digest the food. So I wait until 3 to start work. Again, time passes so quickly that it is 3 already. In the last ditch attempt, I tell myself to start work at 4.
But when I sit down and look at what needs to be done at 4, I realise that I can’t finish before 5….not without rushing at least. Effectively, the day has sped up. The final hour feels a bit more dreary because it is too short a time to do anything. It is the time where a nap is most tempting. The end of the day is so near yet so far.
What about the work that needs to be finished? It goes into the next typical day. Ideally, the typical day ought to have all work over and done with before lunch, followed by a long period in front of the computer for the remaining afternoon…..
there are many sentimental things that i have been wanting to write here – in a vague code of course.
But I can’t, not even in code. Because by coincidence -amusing coincidence-, the double meanings are so very fitting. Some lit students will try to interpret and end up misinterpreting. there are double meanings, and they’re bound to take the wrong side. can’t blame them. normally i would actually (for many reasons. i would list a few polite ones when i can think of them), but given the typically -presumed- context, they’re bound to even get the character in question wrong.
The notice at the front of the picturesque novel is as follows: whatever that comes to your mind intuitively, dismiss it. or rather, whatever that you think is most instinctive to the average person who knows me, ignore it. (this is a sat tip btw) Every bit of it — not a strand will involve what comes to you most instinctively and naturally. This is the truth.
Such generalisations might be spot-on sbout normal people — but you must bear in mind that I am not a normal person. my mind has been preoccupied by more significant things. it’s something else.
Wealth – any income that is at least one hundred dollars more a year than the income of one’s wife’s sister’s husband.
- HL Mencken.
Congratulations to my old school for churning out a freaking two fold increase in 45 and 44 pointers. I suppose the picture painted is that the school is growing from glory to glory, strength to strength.
But here’s what the ST article doesn’t show–
1. How the rest of the world is doing: True, the number of 45 pointers in school increased by two fold. But the number of 45 pointers NOT from acsi worldwide might have increased also. Implication being: it might just be that the paper is easier this year.
2. The poor getting poorer: So we know how many more top scorers there are? What about the remainder? How many more bottom scorers are there? Given that so many more people have “done so well”, why did the average only increase by 0.4. one would think that if there are so many more 44/45 pointers, a healthy average is around 42 at least. This means the poor are getting poorer.
3. Relative effort: Sure, better results. But how much more effort was put in? The article does point out more one on one sessions. From what I see, teachers are looking more stressed, behaving more stressed and losing weight (lol at the last point)
4. Relative subject performance: Not relevant but this is the part that I’m interested to find out. Which subjects fared better, which fared worse. I shall procure a school report soon to have a look. I’m particularly curious about how the basketcase of English is doing. Traditionally, HL english is where arts students lose their one point. My speculation is that the increase in 45 pointers are from SL english students — this more likely than an improvement in HL english. But I might be wrong. My other speculation is that ecological studies has a high score that contributes to some scoring better as compared to losing a mark in an SL science (like biology)
But lets just say that everyone really is doing that well, what are the implications?
1. Inflation and the decreased value of money: Consider the analogy where there is an increase in money supply and everyone holds onto more money. In the instance where there is too much money chasing too few goods, there is inflation. The most direct consequence of inflation is a decrease in value of money. Each dollar can buy less than it used to.
2. If everybody is special, nobody is special: Similarly, if close to half the school cohort gets 44 and 45. They are no longer special, or should I say ‘outstanding’, to selecting panels at local universities and Overseas-Money-Suppliers. Most of these boards have to cut the candidate numbers to less than the numbers of 44 pointers. In short, it means: Getting 44-45 is no longer as ‘safe’ as it used to be. My 44 points feels like it has less value already, if not for the fact that I don’t actually have a use for it. I am fortunate that I settled MOST of my applications (or at least that which depends on ib results) a year earlier.
3. The poor getting poorer (reprise!): Even worse for those who score lower — because more people are getting higher marks, the bar is raised across the board. You might have gotten in on 41 last year, but you might need a 43 this year. To use an economics analogy again, this is a case of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The rich poor divide is particularly problematic because the purchasing power of the rich pushes up the prices of goods. Increasingly, the poor are less able to buy these goods when they have the same shitty income, but increased prices. I assure you that any social commentary is purely coincidental.
4. Discrediting the IBDP: What’s worse is that the ib programme as a whole might be discredited as a programme that is easier to score in as compared to A levels. Actually, i would agree on this point. but it depends on individual skill sets. Some people had to sacrifice a lot of sleep and time; for me it was a breeze ^^. It’s a bit like a joke now.
Then my good friend prophesied that there might be a devaluation in the ib cert after our year — true, but he expected so for a completely opposite reason. >< It is for that reason that I was persuaded to throw in an application this year.
5. Possible peripheral effects on the school: Increased performance pressure. An increase in people with sterling results wanting to get into the school for an easy frag. I speculate that there will be an increase in RG etc IP people who are pragmatic enough to seek a DSA and make a change. IN FACT: I am guessing that it is because of the influx of these DSA people over the past year, who are attracted by the ib reputation, that results in more top scorers.
6. If you cannot get a local
boyfriend market: But hold on, things are not all that bleak. Many of the sentiments I have mentioned are local only. My guess is that as “world school” as we claim to be, not that many universities overseas know about acsi? The solution when the market for your goods is saturated is simply to export and go abroad to seek overseas markets. Economic analogy again.
6.5 Ang-moh markets have Ang-moh prices: But exporting is expensive business. It’s no problem if your dad owns some big ass bank or is some rich-ass surgeon, problem is when they aren’t that rich. You then have to get credit/capital from a LOCAL panel for overseas-money-for-schooling — which goes back to a local sentiment again. In other words, the ones that really gain — are those that are rich and can afford to go overseas with no regard for local sentiment. Hmmm, but even then, it might mean more 44/45pointers vying for spots in universities in the uk. I think the ib diploma is quite advantageous for a uk application, but the ib education prepares better for a us education. (I mean, I’m relearning math and biology now..maybe even lit. feels like ib all over again -_-)
End-thoughts about the value of grades:
I always used to say that in the long run: ib results are inconsequential when it comes to personal success/earnings in future. (Here is my case for laziness in ib). The courses that require a higher score are not necessarily more beneficial to advancement. High scorers who get Overseas-Money-for-Schooling to work in the public sector probably will earn less than those who failed to do so, but ended up having ‘no choice’ but to work in the private sector.
It is probably for this reason that there is the saying that Raffles runs the country, AC owns it. (empirically, ac boys are less capable of getting scholarships than rafflesians. true story — so they end up running some rich ass business). Even for Overseas-Money applications, grades are only a small part. The rest are dependent on personal character (and raw competence) already. In the end, grades are transcient — and it seems that is even more so now.
If grades are only a marginal “means to an end” – Why work, why score and why do well? In my usual way of saying things: Cos I Can.
generally light hearted and happy today. enough of my necessary fuel (actually, its never really enough at present i think)
but this unusual sentiment came upon me. one that i never had before. one that is counterintuitive to most — parts of me would disagree even. something that many would want actually. its so unusual, it boggles myself. but its impossible to unlearn already.
i never knew that idealism was contagious.
i ate too much. i could have eaten less. i wish i’d throw up a bit and clean up.