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Monday, May 05, 2008

"It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are." - O. Henry

***

An email I got. Comments are welcome:


Hello Gabriel,

You don't know me (other than for a comment Ileft on your guestbook about your NYPS article ages ago) but I've beenreading your blog for a number of months now. I am a fellow NUS FASSundergrad and I honestly don't really know why I am writing this emailand disturbing you, an utter stranger, when I ought to be preparing forthe upcoming exams.

Anyway, I'd best be as succinct aspossible. I suppose my main motivation for writing this letter isbecause your blog is one of the few I've read (amongst those blogs byNUS students that I've read) that is smart and witty and isn't justabout trivial gossip and such. From your posts it seems you often talkto similarly intelligent people. And this, I guess, is what I'm reallywriting to you about. Although I've been in FASS for a only relativelyshort time, it seems almost everyone I speak to is an idiot. Perhaps Idon't mean stupid per se, but most of them seem to be the sort ofclose-minded person who rushes home just to watch their favoritemediacorp drama. In order words, I can't help but feel a twinge ofjealousy and probably some despair when I read about the kind of stuffyou post about, because I've never been able to do the same with thekind of people I associate with on campus. It's as if, despite being inthe same faculty, you and I study in different schools altogether.

To be fair, not everyone I meet in school is like this. I'm merely referring to the people I've had the (mis)fortune of associating with to date.

No,this isn't a letter of intent for stalking you or whatever. What Iguess all this boils down to is my wish for the people I interact withto be more intelligent and more critical rather than the rote-learningglorified photocopiers (I'm talking about people who think the lines of'OMG I have no personal opinion but I know how to regurgitate other people's and I have 20 references I'm gonna getan A LOL' [and sadly they really do]) that pass off for undergraduatesaround here.

Thanks for your patience if you've made it thisfar. Sorry for my poor letter writing skills and verbosity. I realizethis will probably get eaten by your spam filter and even if you do getto read it, you'd probably think I'm some weird jackass who likesemailing strangers for fun. That's fine; I'm only writing this becauseit seems, at this point in time, that you're the only fellowundergraduate I know (if only through your blog) who could understandthese sentiments.


Best Regards,
Annoyed in NUS.


Disclaimer:I am assiduously non-elitist. I am not discriminating against lessintelligent people nor am I implying that such people have any lessintrinsic worth.


Hi Gabriel,

Thanks for the reply. Hotmail fubar'ed after I clicked "send" and ate all the spaces for some reason (probably the same general reason why my laptop boots even slower after Vista SP1).

In response to your question - I am a Year * *** undergrad.

You're right, of course. I shouldn't expect much from the bulk of my peers; and in fact, I don't. One would naturally expect even the most intellectually slovenly person to at least make some kind of minor change to their lifestyle after being exposed to modules like even SC1101E. But no, they still go home and get willingly indoctrinated by the ideological tripe on our glorious state channels. They still stand mutely like little school kids when confronted by authority, even if that authority amounts to nothing more than an incompetent taxi driver (a true story). I've tried encouraging them to at least speak up for themselves (IMO the least anyone could do) but it was an exercise in frustration. It's all quite mind-boggling, really, considering the objective of a social science education.

(On a tangential note, I think SC1101E is a really crappy module. I didn't to see such arbitrary marking standards in any FASS discipline, least of all Sociology. In fact I've been totally put off Sociology after taking this module.)

I obviously have not met the right people, but thats where the root of my concerns lie. Social relations here seem rather clique'ish (as they are elsewhere, I suppose) and I've already wasted a year in bad company while these relations get more and more embedded. I'm afraid I won't be able to "penetrate" these cliques and have to stick with the very people I keep complaining about.

I'm probably being too pessimistic here I suppose. I'll have to wait till next semester and see.


Annoyed in NUS.
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