Monday, May 02, 2005

Four Times Two

Equals a posting about things we could be more critical about, followed by things we could be less cynical about.

Four things to be somewhat critical of are…

1. Prizes
Myth: Book prizes are interesting deal; it’s amazing what kids will do nowadays to get the prize. And we’re not just talking about results of exams – but co-curricular competitions too.
Response: What bugged me as a teacher that the ones who don’t win feel utterly worthless and bitch about it years after. Let’s take school exams that determine book prizes; few realize how wide the margin of error/accuracy these exams are as tools of measurement. Smart is that winners can only justifiably claim victory if the margin by which they won exceeded the margin of possible error of the exam. Wise is that success is personal belief in your achievements, and needing external stamps of approval is a psychological sign of insecurity.
Also: The Dean’s List or equivalents in universities is a fairer system.

2. Grub
Myth: You should finish all the food on your plate because children are starving in Africa.
Light bulb: People should be careful how much they put on the plate to begin with. Beyond that, stuffing oneself doesn’t do those kids in Africa any good. Still feel guilt? Get a pet.

3. Music competitions
Myth: That at higher levels, you can actually say one person is “better” in music.
However: Music competitions work like PGA tournaments, you don’t need to compete to be good, but it’ll get you the cash, and Nike advertising contract = EMI record deal. Plus, you don’t need to wear those metrosexually nightmarish green jackets. (We get to look like penguins instead, and we’re proud of it!)

4. The sin tax
Myth: Governments put higher “sin taxes” on beer and tobacco products because they are concerned about people’s health.
Yeah right: Governments know that consumption levels for these products are fairly inflexible, in fact they’re counting on it, coz it’s higher revenue. Guess what else is in the higher income sources for governments? Fines.

And four slightly brighter sides to things…

1. I’m surrounded by idiots.
Ho ho: Don’t worry, you’re in the viola section, it’s completely normal, plus you get paid! Hoo-hah!

2. Friendships are transient.
But…: They make the ones that last, stand out. For the ones that are transient, well, so is money, good food, and senti punya memories but it doesn’t mean one enjoys them any less.

3. Iraq: No WMDs.
Hmm…: Saddam Hussein was a WMD. (Problem is, so is George WMD Bush.)

4. Teaching: Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.
Just maybe: The good ones, do and teach. In music anyway, many of the few players with fantastic talent are terrible teachers – it takes one who has experienced the struggle to help others.

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