Thursday, March 05, 2009

seemingly carefree, but actually dragged around

Having been way more than happy to drop dead after dinner, I put aside my online/virtual presentation aside, and now it's high time for more other bloggers' posts-inspired talks. Of this nature.

The circumstances surrounding a scholarship student's life in Singapore may be as far removed as it could be by one parental-funded thousands of miles away in good old Blighty. But regardless of how financially easy life can be, for students mettling their skills overseas one thing remains true: the weight of expectations heaved upon shoulders are potentially crippling.

It is almost common fare to hear comments along the spectrum of "since you studied overseas you can definitely be on top of everyone else". Comments of this genre are pervasive. The issue here is not about the seemingly mediocre quality of education that Indonesia offers (interestingly there is a younger generation of home-raised bloggers who emulate their thoughts at least on the same level with their internationally educated counterparts.) The issue here is about how a period of a few years, culminating with a piece of paper and photos of youths in togas, is seen as a talisman that bestows enviable skills and a securely fast-tracked career path.

In art schools, a particular emphasis is put on the final degree show. This is where usually heavyweights of the sectors descend to lend their gravity and legitimation to what the media believes will be those 'to watch'. (And quite unsettlingly, the 'to watch' posse will be on show in the media much to the chagrin of those the media deems to be more difficult to pull a selling story from.) More specifically, in fashion design pathways it is common bitter medicine to learn about how and why a final degree show collection could be stolen, shredded into pieces and/or burned to bits. There is an almost feverish quality about 'making it in the degree show' as a finished and perfect end product of design education. Given the fact that talent is developed and nurtured to mature over an extended period of time, this kind of instant noodle mentality is disturbing. (If not ultimately destructive, that is.)

I personally feel these burdens are starting to creep up, niggling my consciousness. There will be times when my errant mind (whilst the body is in commute) runs financial simulations of "what next year will cost", compares it with "what I know is available plus what I can earn", then consider the time burdens of "what I can earn" against "how much time I can reasonably spend in life next year". Or when I consider in which direction I might need to expand my skills, how much extra learning and extra cash I must put it, and how it relates to gainful employment. They invariably leave me feeling depressed/negative/pessimistic at worst, and mildly amused at my own adventurousness at best. Decorate the dreaded cake with an icing of pride stemming from a desire to be financially independent, and you get an unpleasant dessert to consume.

Oh man...
Despite of how relaxed the image of an art student is, an image is a representation of reality and in itself is not the reality - the reflection in the mirror is not the actual object, no? I barely have time to read more literature works that I want to read for the sake of reading them. I promised myself to watch Australia, Che, Valkyrie, Doubt, Bride Wars, Benjamin Button and a host of other highly fantastic popular movies, yet I haven't gotten around to them... and this is March already.

If you see me acting a bit insane and morose, please be understanding and help me accommodate the slice of life served on my plate.

Hope you have a good day :D


johnorford said...

i think studying abroad is a convenient was open up your mind to different ways of life.

that's all.

unfortunately you have to pay for that privilege : ))

mukuge said...

ah, that reminds me:
"there's a cost to everything." :D

how's life on the other side of pond?