Saturday, 15 November 2014

Complaints

"It's so hot today, why can't it just rain? All we have is sun, sun, sun.... Doesn't the sun get tired from shining all day? Just take a rest already..."

"What? Rain again? I wanted to just dry my clothes. Why must it rain so much? The rain clouds can always just drift away to another area right? Not like anyone else there would be drying clothes, since all of them are sleeping or in class..."

Yep, people love to complain. They are never satisfied with what they have, of course, that includes me. Well, if it were a few years ago, I would surely have denied this fact. I used to be one who would try to justify my complaints based on logical reasoning.

"Why must you always cook the same dishes over and over again?" I retorted to mother. "I mean, cooking different dishes gives us variety, right? It helps spice up our life in some ways, and we get more nutrients from various kinds of foods," I reasoned, having a lack of understanding of how tired mother was after doing all those house chores and having to think about the days' menu while I slacked off in front of the TV watching Korean dramas.

Well, she took what I said into consideration, and the very next day, I was welcomed home from school by a plethora of different dishes.

"Mother, why did you cook that? You know I don't eat ..."

Yep, thinking back, I guess I was kind of a spoiled brat back then.

But I guess times haven't really changed that much, only the kinds of things we complain about and the degree to which it amounts to.

"Why is the bus so freaking packed? I need to get to class in 5 minutes or I'll be late. These people should let me go on first instead of pushing me to the side. I'm sure they can take another bus since they are from a different class..." Complains someone who got up late and didn't make the effort to come earlier even with prior knowledge on the severity of the "human congestion" on buses.

"Everyday eat the same old thing. Why can't there be more choices?" says another referring to the food at the cafeteria in the school he attends, which has even more variety than my mother's cooking. I'm sure this person has never known what it means to really have only one kind of food to eat...

Yep, complaints everywhere. But I guess it's okay at times. Wait. Before you think I am trying to justify stuff again, I lay my opinions on the table.

You see, complaints arise due to discontentment in certain issues or areas. Perhaps you could say the person is being ungrateful for what he or she has. That is normal, since complaints are a culmination and expression of our inherent feelings. It reflects how we are as humans, and I guess in some ways, these complaints can be seen in a positive light.

Complaints are also a reflection of one's inner thoughts. It shows you the mind of the complainer, with regards to some issue, however trivial it may be to you.

All these complaints can be used to benefit people. However, here in lies the irony. If complaining is seen as a negative thing, then how can it bring about benefit?

Well, point taken. It can't. If complaints can be used as a tool for improvement and further development on certain ideas or issues, then wouldn't it be good?

Of course it would!
But I guess people who complain might not really think that far. Thus, I guess in this sense, the complaint is kind of pointless.

So then, what is complaint that has a point? What is complaint that benefits?

Well, my friends, to me, that is constructive criticism.

If only people can turn their complaints in that which additional feedback and suggestions can be given, wouldn't it be all the more useful?

But if not, a complaint, no matter how you look at it, would still be a complaint.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Replacement

Another day, another class. Just as I began altering my mindset to relaxed mode, the lecturer seemed to utter something undesirable. I did not really catch what he said one bit. The last class of the day was over. The day was done. "Hey you, what did he say just now?" I asked my equally lazy course mate next to me. "Replacement class for next week will be this Friday la". He replied in the typical Malaysian slang.

I groaned. Just when I naively thought I would have my coming Friday free, this just had to happen. I guess some things are just inevitable, since clashes in time for various activities were bound to happen from time to time.

As I dragged my heavy feet across the floor, heading out of the room, I began thinking of re-scheduling my already mentally made plans. I just hated it. It was such a pain. The confinement of time really gave me a headache. I had so much to do, but so little time to do it. And then there was the issue of two activities going on at the same time, or at least overlapping with each other.

I continued walking with a slow pace, went to the familiar bench area nearby and sat down. I then took out my laptop, which stored all my important data and notes. Being so accustomed to typing out stuff, I used my laptop for almost everything. Whether it be typing out notes, journals or even schedules. On my desktop, I had more than three sticky notes, each filled with to-do lists which I was sure would be done at the very last minute.

"Hmm, so I guess I should change the meeting to after ...." I was lost in thought as to how to re-arrange my already neatly done plan prior to the replacement lecture. It was a mess. Funny how one small change can affect every other thing. I proceeded to lay all my items down again, and went through one by one, to decide which I should give priority too, which ones were compulsory, and which ones I could further procrastinate on doing.

After staring at the list for quite a while, I managed to sort out a few items. "Whew!" I breathed a sigh of relief. I would never know how tedious and mentally sapping re-scheduling was if the replacement lecture never happened. At least I now knew.

Just as I was going on with the remaining items, I received a new email. "Class for English Phonetics for next week is cancelled, replacement will be on this coming Thursday ..."

I stared at my laptop screen, slowly shut it down, closed it, and put it into my bag. I then took up my bag and headed back to my hostel.

I was a procrastinator after all.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Homework

I never knew what the point of homework was. All I knew was that I had a ton of it to complete before the day ended. In primary school, the completion of a stack of books of various subjects was welcomed by another stack the next day. The teacher in primary always said that in secondary school, which was just next door to my primary one, that secondary school teachers would not care one bit whether we finished our tasks given the previous day or not. 

Honestly, hearing that, I was happy. I saw no logic in being otherwise. I mean, who would not be happy? For me, it meant enjoying my own leisure time, and doing things at my own pace without the confinements of homework. 

Alas, that was not the case, just as many things in reality aren't as what they seem to be. Not only that, the intensity and concentration of the homework given was much greater. I frowned, beginning to have a slight distrust for primary school teachers. However, I still had to finish up the stack of maths algebra in front of me. 

During those times, I just could not comprehend why teachers gave their students so much homework when they in turn needed to mark so many books. I never understood the reasoning behind it. My young immature mind thought "You give less work, you mark less books, and everyone's happy".
 
To say teachers have the best interest in their students might be an overstatement, and might not apply to the majority, as I have seen teachers who come in the class, give some random task which I had no idea what it's point was other than as another meaningless alternative to pass the time. However, growing older and just a tad bit wiser, I began to realize something. 

As I sit down, in this present moment, and stare at my laptop screen at the assignment due tomorrow morning, I begin thinking of stuff which I really should not waste my time with. "Why am I doing this assignment. What purpose does it serve?"

I answered my own question. To me, I guess homework was another one of those platforms in which something inherent can be unlocked, can be developed. I then began using it for self-improvement. I changed my mindset. I used it as a tool to aid my learning. I began focusing on understanding, rather than the completion of it. And that was it. 

After all, doing homework just solely for the sake of doing it, is meaningless. 


Boredom

"Boredom is the platform for creativity."

I managed to somehow display this at a young age. Having nothing better to do than to fill my time with Roald Dahl or Enid Blyton's amusing stories, I was seriously bored. That was all a did. A typical bookworm, having the love for books. I poured through a myriad of words on each page, fascinated with how the story was told, how it developed. I imagined the scene in my head, a scene as vivid as I could, of green grass, of forests, of magical creatures and the like.

But that, is another story. 

It was actually boredom that drove me to do something never done before in my entire life. I had not even a slight interest in doing anything else other than reading. Then, one day, it all changed. 

You see, my sister wanted to learn the piano. She pestered mother and father constantly for a year. Finally, after coaxing her into agreeing to play in church, they managed to find a piano teacher for her. Not those kind of typical exam oriented teachers, but one who understood the meaning of enjoying music. 

And so, the weeks went by, where I usually sat in the comfy sofa in the living room, occasionally glancing up to my sister's playing. "Ah, that all familiar Disney song..." I mused, as her teacher played the accompaniment to the singable right hand melodic line played by my sister. 

Days continued going by just like that, until suddenly that day came. 

I was utterly bored. I felt kind of restless. Something was stirring inside of me. Sitting in the usual sofa in the living room, I heard a voice calling out to me. Those black and white keys which produced sounds. I approached it. Reaching out my hand, my fingers settled on those keys, and I pressed a white key down. A sound arose from the piano. That was it. The spark was set, soon to become a flame. 

Since that day, my parents have have been sending me for piano lessons. In the end, my sister gave up playing piano, a flame died down, after completing her PMR, and turned to art instead. 

As for me, playing piano is seriously one of the best things in the world.