Saturday, September 16, 2006

Happy Days

The latest book I've read is Happy Days by Laurent Graff, thanks to the stupid cup of iced mocha I drank after dinner. Please click on the link on the sidebar to read a full review by some person who appears to be an avid reader.

I bought Happy Days from a book sale about a month ago. It was only around $5 so I thought why not? What attracted me was the part where the main character, Antoine, buys his own grave at the age of 18 and chooses to spend the rest of his life in a retirement home at 35. I was like, "Hm, I wonder if any REAL person does something like that?"

Reading the book didn't take too long as consists of only 99 pages - relatively short compared to other novels. Reading the book made me reflect on myself and my friends from high school. Mainly, my thoughts encompassed the differences between my friends and I.

To me, the biggest difference would be how SURE I am about what I want to do with my life. Unlike Antoine, I choose not to spend my life WAITING for the end. Neither do I choose to PREPARE for the end. I choose to spend my life living the now. It's like teaching children, really. Why do we teach children with the notion that teaching equals preparing them for school? In kindergarten, teachers plan their 'lessons' according to skills that will PREPARE children for Year One. Then when children are in Year One, teachers PREPARE them for Year Two. Why do we do that? I'm not saying that preparation shouldn't be practiced but I'm suggesting that it should be done in moderation, just like everything else.

Live in the now. Enjoy the now. You only get now ONCE. I know what I want to do with my life because I have a plan. It is a plan that I have wanted to adhere to for a long time. That doesn't mean that to realise this plan, I didn't enjoy my life. I did. Still am. I'm enjoying every NOW second of it. By enjoying the NOW, I pave the way to enjoy the future.

Going back to the kids. Teach them in the NOW. Or at least, that's what I think my philosophy will be based on (along with other things). If they are talking about getting along with a friend, extend on that NOW. Don't say, "Oh, they will cover this next term so that can wait" because you will lose that magical moment. Why would what they learn in the future be important when what they learn now isn't? And HOW can what they learn in the future be MORE important than what they learn now? To me, it's the foundation that needs to be laid correctly. Otherwise, whatever that comes after that will not fall into place properly.

My friends, on the other hand, are not sure what they want to do in the future because they are not very sure about the reasons behind what they are currently doing. Now, I'm not saying that ALL my friends are like this but many of them are. "Why are you studying actuarial?" "Er, hm, no one's ever asked me that before. I don't really know, come to think of it." "Huh? What do you mean you don't know?"

Typical response regardless of whether it's Actuarial, Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Biotech, Psychology, Law, Engineering, Medicine or Economics. I've left out my own course because usually, people who study Early Childhood Education have a reason. However, those reasons differ from person to person. My reason, as everyone knows, is because I enjoy it to the max. Many others, think that it will help them earn tonnes of money. A big no-no for me. Children are to be loved, cared for, nurtured, not to be exploited to help you become rich a$$es. Sigh...

Of course, I have a handful of friends who are passionate about what they are doing. One worthy of mention is a dear friend currently nursing her health way past Down Under. Her knowledge and determination is astounding. She sometimes makes me feel like I know nothing. Her writing skills are impeccable - makes me wish I can write like her. She hangs out with geniuses from Yale, Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge and the likes. She even has time to do volunteer work. I give credit to her mum. Seriously, it's the FOUNDATION that she put in place for my friend that has nurtured her brilliant mind into what it is today.

Why do people find it hard to accept that there are people (i.e. yours truly) who prefer NOT to CONFORM to society? I happen to enjoy wearing tees, shorts and sandals everywhere. I happen to enjoy cleaning the house. I happen to enjoy mixing with both my KL and SK friends. I happen to prefer Apple to Microsoft. I happen to enjoy listening to Chinese pop to improve my command of the language. I happen to think that there is no shame in being proud of my own country.

And my Happy Days would be the childcare centre/kindergarten where I will be teaching at because I happen to think that being a teacher is the most noble and satisfying profession there is.

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