Thursday, October 13, 2011

E for ....

Education.....

Education has been central in human civilization. Education comes in formal and informal forms. What we are more familiar today with is the formal type, the one that collects everyone within 4 walls where instructions and skills are mostly taught.

Education is supposed to be empowering. It empowers in a way that enables us to better our lives, it provides a more level playing ground. The poor has a way out of their poverty through education. It enables us to fit into the modern society by equipping us with the necessary tools; meeting the needs of the market, so to say. Long time ago, if you are born a slave or peasant, you are stuck there. So it would be woe to you if you were born in the bottom pile of the pyramid. Of course, if you were born a noble, you'll definitely have life easier.

Education is supposed to enhance. It gives you tools to improve, make better your life so to say. Instead of learning everything on your own, you draw on the expertise of others. You get to enjoy more of everything else, time, recreational activities.

Education is supposed to be embracing. It is supposed to open your mind to diversity, tolerate them and perhaps even try to understand within the confines of our small minds that differences should not be feared.

So, does our education system do the above? I'm inclined to think it only does up to a certain point. I read somewhere that we Malaysians must embrace hypocrisy. And I wonder whether that is a product of our education. And so here goes another round.....

Education is empowering... It empowers some of us to to say that God created some more equal than others. It allows us to claim that we are the special sons of the soil. The funny thing is, the earth is also made up of different soils.... And everything returns to the soil. So, here we have, each 'different type' of soil claiming that it is better than the other. Yet in nature, each type of soil has a specific role to play and together they make up part of Mother Earth. That kind of empowering is being carried out in schools..... direct or indirectly. Yup! Education does empower us to be hypocrites.

It enhances our hypocrisy and we enable it by using those tools that we've learned. The British did a good job by dividing us into different races. Some among us learned that it is an easy way to remain in power. More than 50 years have passed since the day the Brits left our soil and we remain more divided than ever. Even a first generation American Chinese would feel more loyal to America than a 3rd generation Malaysian Chinese. This is the byproduct of hypocrisy/

And then we make excuses that this is the reality of Malaysia. I wonder whether the core of that which makes up our soul teaches inequality. And in religious Malaysia, the core of our souls is supposed to be shaped by our faith. I read with interest the civil rights movement in America in the 60s, when the schools were forced to open their doors to the blacks. Yet, practicing White Christians were downright vehement in objecting. And their show of outrage was venomous too. I guess they must have forgotten Jesus' teaching to be fair, loving, compassionate, etc, etc... But at least there were more more right minded people who forced through equality and today, they have a 'colored' President. In Malaysia, we are still saying that our reality is different... yet, doesn't it feel that we seem no different than apartheid South Africa 20 years ago, really.

I guess in Malaysia, people here think they are God's chosen. A certain segment of the society might be more like the Jews than they care to admit actually. LOL! And perhaps too, that is why too more of the younger ones are turning away from religion, in part I guess shows the success of education. It has succeeded to teach them how to think somewhat.

You see this bunch of leaders who profess to believe in a God. You look at their lives. A leader spends RM10 million on his travel bill, footed by the taxpayers. And your mind goes, "Wow!" And indeed it is a figure that rightly brings out the wow in us. RM10 million goes a long way for the poor. So, your mind gets cracking. Conclusion - it's crap all this religion thingy. And so the masses begin to turn away. What we see happening in the West, the rise of the 'exotic' religions, perhaps, in part is fueled by such a thing, I supposed. And one day, it'll happen here too. Who would have seen the Arab Spring coming a decade ago? Similarly, why are some churches losing their appeal too? Far from being that sort of salt and light, we are now reading about allegations of scandals which involve super well known evangelists. Education has unfortunately taught us how to hide behind the veils of religion..... but also makes us realize...

Ramblings on a gray morning... and also before piles of papers end up on my table for grading.

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