Tonight's final IR class did nothing to mollify my cynicism about the NUS mode of education. Although the prof wasn't as horrifyingly prescriptive as his counterpart from the economics department, he opened the floor to questions in the second hour of class and that just opened the floodgates.

We have a term that is distinctively Singaporean, both in origin and its applicability: kiasu. It refers to the fear of losing. With regards to tonight's class, it refers to the compulsion to ask about the teeniest, tiniest detail of the course, driven by the fear that if one doesn't ask now, one just might need to know it for the final and wouldn't that be the end of the world.

But actually, that wasn't what irritated me about tonight's questions. What had me all but rolling my eyes was people not knowing the difference between 'self-determination' and 'nationalism'. I barely keep up with the daily news, and I knew the answer to that one before I took this class. And someone else was glad that the readings for today don't count for the final --- completely missing the prof's remark that while they weren't essential, they would come in useful in approaching the final. Heaven forbid she ever have to read anything that isn't required.

I'm bitter, I know.

On to happier subjects. Today I wore my shiny new red Swatch to work. It's a farewell gift from three of my colleagues, who stood by my desk on Friday and presented it to me. I was totally taken by surprise, since it wasn't yet my last day of work, nor would I have been expecting anything --- and certainly not a Swatch! --- from anyone if it had.

Today my department had its usual end-of-term meeting plus I got a little farewell too. They got me Borders book vouchers --- the best gift for a teacher, I swear, especially a literature teacher --- and an awesome card. Now I just hope my transfer goes through. One of my colleagues was scheduled to move to Public Affairs too some years back, but they botched it and she's still teaching at my school today. Fingers crossed, everybody. It'll be too weird to show up in school after spending all the book vouchers.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]