You're Paid to Teach Me!
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August 18th 2009 @ 1000hrs

I'm a little bit muddle up today. It’s been a very difficult and at the same time wonderful moments the last few days has been. Two of my ‘children’ graduated. One from MMU and the other from UNITEN. Like all mothers I’m so happy for them, reminiscing the time when I too underwent my graduation. One of them insist that we should all go to the Photo Studio and take a family photograph. We said “no need…. Why waste… its okay” and this beautiful soul looked at us almost in tears. It means a lot to her to have her picture taken with us all. I told my husband. “… Don’t make her cry… now all of us will dress up nicely and we will have our picture taken….. A nice picture. This picture will go back in generations…. And our grand children or great grand children will then look at our picture and said “wah! That is how our grand or great grand mother and father look like….” I look at her parent who came all the way from Johor for the convocation, just a simple minded folk, I could see the pride in their face… to have one of their daughter graduated. “At least there is one…. We must strive to improve… in next generation maybe two or more and that is how it should be….. We must try to break the cycle… move up and advance, and should not get stuck in the cycle. You should make it your moral obligation to encourage others too” I reminded her once during one of our morning while driving her to work.

At the same time, as I watch my daughter going through her dance practice for the upcoming public performance for her dance school, I felt sadness and pain. Not at my daughter, but at the whole event that has happen. My daughter is like another other child listen obediently to the parent. She attends the dance class because we as parent feel it’s our moral duty to introduce her to our culture and tradition. We believe a solid foundation is very important. As I sat there for the many practices, like all mothers, I looked forward for the day she will do her Salangai Puja and subsequently her Arangetram.

I interviewed my daughter dance teacher [ Abdul ] long time ago and I asked him “What’s after Arangetram?” It was an interesting interview revealing the other aspect of him I've never bother to look at.
My conversation with Abdul reminded me of the same conversation I had with another internet friend I’ve know for a long time. We use to spend hours debating about certain issues…. And one of the many issues we talk about is : Does our journey end with moksha? Is the end is our prime goal or the process itself? He responded “The Process is important. If you want to be a doctor, you can't just be a doctor -- you must learn the intricacies of the trade. Like medical school is not the end, or law school is not the end it is just a process of gathering the knowledge and experience we need to do the work ahead then, once we "graduate" that is perhaps moksha but still, you get better and better and if you are very good, and love your work, hopefully you will take it further than it's ever been taken before. The thing is not just to "realize" it but also to "act" on it. A doctor, after many years of effort and toil, may find a new cure or a new process. A lawyer may develop a new legal precedent that makes the system more just and humane”

A message in face book caught my attention, posted by a disgruntled ex student of the dance school "you are paid to teach me!” The same words I heard being uttered by another parent to the principal of the school "I pay you to teach my daughter!" I feel really sad when I read/hear such words. Yes! Indeed it is just a process of gathering the knowledge and experience that is just about it. They gather and they collect like pieces of collectables item only meant for show and display for others to see and admire.

A wise man reminded me many times “In this age of information, knowledge is very easy to get. If you have the money, you can get anything you want. Knowledge can be bought and you feel it’s your right to have it…I pay you so much and so you must teach me. And so that is what knowledge is all about… becoming so cheap and can be traded … Wisdom is like a gem… only manifest when this knowledge is use wisely and accordingly” There’ so many knowledgeable people out there all with impressive degree to show off, but a true master is a Hamsa [ swan ]. The swan as we all know symbolizes grace, healing, spiritual evolution, spiritual divination, dignity and loyalty. Although the swan remains in water, its feathers remain dry. Similarly, an artists lives in the world, yet strives to remain unaffected by life’s up and downs. The swan is also mythically credited with the ability to separate milk from water while drinking.

The wise man words bring me back to my favorite quotation from the ancient Chinese “The purpose of education was not merely the acquirement of knowledge or skills, however important that might be. The real purpose was the cultivation of virtue and the purification of personal character” another beautiful quote goes “People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out but when the darkness sets in; their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within”