Friday, January 8, 2010

How to spend your school holiday

Once a school teacher described me as having an inquisitive mind. At that time I did not think much of it; perhaps I even thought it was not accurate observation. The dictionary defines inquisitive as "eager for knowledge or intellectually curious." It is now perhaps 40 years since that time, and when I look back at myself, I think the teacher was right. I was actually quite eager to learn things. When I was young, I wanted to do everything: I wanted to be able to play basketball, and strum the guitar. I wanted to be able to paint, to take develop photographs, to repair a car, to make wooden furniture, etc. I wasn't satisfied with just doing something new; I actually wanted to know the theoretical side of it as well. Every school holiday was an opportunity to learn something new... if only I could find somebody to teach. Over time, I generally learned a little bit here and there. It was only during the recent years after I have "semi-retired" from active career that I could devote time, energy, and resources into some of these unfinished pursuits.

Nowadays young people have lots of opportunity to learn new things through the internet. They also have more disposable family income. They are also more exposed to the material world. Unfortunately, with these opportunities also come distractions that never existed before. Kids are exposed to computer games and other electronic toys that are designed not so much to challenge the human ability as to entrap the young in order to enrich the makers. The world of real games and real sports is now replaced with virtual games and sports that appear out of the Wii console, the PS3, or the iPhone. My advice to you is, get back into the real world. Whether you are old or young, pick up a new skill this holiday.