My mate Andy came and basically the past three days have went like this….
• Spent eight hours on the back of the motorbike driving from rural Vietnam to Cambodia
• Too much rice wine
• Losing Andy at the airport
• Exploring the Royal Palace and the National Museum
• Gettjng depressed at the Killing Firlds and Tuol Sleng museum again!
• Speeding for almost eight hours in a car trying to get to the border crossing
• Arguing away, bargaining away.
• Getting into a car with monks
• Speaking more Thai than I thought I could speak
• Finding random wine shops
•.A change of mind has led to Krabi!
• Now stuck at an airport for 12 hours. Fun! Feb 28
The year started awesome. I was crying as I jerked back by the window on the plane thinking if going overseas alone was the right thing to do. I realised that the first thing that I thought of leaving Australia was my mother. But there I was on the plane about to abandon myself with the arms of Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Brunei.
My first stop was Brunei where I would have a stopover that would last a whole night so naturally I decided to leave the airport, get an extra stamp in my passport and wander around. Of course it was as humid as I expected it to be, I did not expect though that there would be little opened though. In a country that basically bans alcohol for the majority of its population you can see why the people are so kind here yet go to bed so early. I ate at the only open restaurant left, some Thai restaurant where the locals stared at me knowing that I was not one of them. I shrugged it off, I would have to get used to that.
Afterwards, I decided to venture to the shopping centre, it looked like the one in Cambodia. Again more stares. I realised there was nothing to buy and everything was closing soon so I thought to myself that I had better find myself a place to sleep soon. Exiting the shopping centre I walked for about a decent hour, typically it started raining. Somehow I was already feeling stung by loneliness, I fought against it telling myself that I had courage to do this.
I returned back to the shopping centre dismayed that my luck had run dry. A local security guard, a figure surprising in peaceful Brunei was a man I thought was somebody that could help me. What do you know? Half an hour later a man rocks up in a taxi, accidentally runs over a cat that storms right under his car (attempted suicide?) and drops me off at a hotel. Mind you it is only 7pm, the same taxi driver confesses that he got out of bed at 6pm for me. Shocked by the cultural difference he hands me his card, thanks me in Teochew and wishes me a good night.
In the hotel room I looked out to the gloomy night time sky, there was little to see and for a moment I felt let down, disheartened. I had a shower and let the sweatiness of the humidity cuddle me to sleep.
The taxi driver the next morning personally called me to get me to the airport. Such kindness, a faith in humanity. A glimpse of it.
Maybe traveling was the way.
Looks like the education system in Asia is still winning
Basically this is how I see it. The reason for this disparity is back to culture. In Asia, teachers are far more highly respected in those countries, especially when many of the countries themselves are fighting with more poverty than Australia ever has. Education provides a way out of the cycle of poverty, which to many Australians seems distant. When you are placed in a far more desperate predicament, you are simply more willing to do something about your situation if you are given the chance. Australians, as we are living in a lucky country often forget that point. There’s no doubting that we take it for granted, but when we want it, we can damn well take the opportunities.
Western countries unfortunately have the reputation of a classroom where the teacher is too busy scolding everyone, and to be honest, it’s not that far from the truth. I don’t doubt that this does not happen in Asia, but in contrast it is far, far less. It does not help that in Asia, parents are more strict and conservative about their discipline should a child not succeed well in school. Sometimes, unfairly so. We’d have to change the way we think if we want to compete with being as successful as Asia, in terms of our education. However, this education is meant to attain our careers. Are Australians more successful career wise? If we can still with such results in education attain successful and prosperous careers then I don’t think there is much to be worried about.
The questions are always complex it seems.
Asia marks higher than Australia in Education