Listening In

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

May the forcing be with you

8th December 2006

And then the mid-term exams were upon us.

Mine began on a Friday; L's on the Monday after that. On Friday evening, she was in despair.

'I can't go out because all my friends want to study!' she cried. 'I don't care - tonight I'm just going to relax. I'll start studying tomorrow; it's going to be a very stressful weekend for me.'

The next day - Saturday - I began studying at 9 am over breakfast and kept at it until bedtime. L's day was more varied. It sort of went like this:

- Noon. L. wakes up, putters about.
- L. goes shopping.
- Late afternoon. L. returns from shopping. She has bought Christmas decorations.
- L. puts up Christmas decorations.
- L. begins cleaning the kitchen counters.
- L. begins cleaning the stove.
- L. takes a pair of scissors and cuts up sheets of yellow plastic. She removes all the food from the food cupboard, puts in the plastic liners and rearranges the food back into the cupboard.
- L. begins lining the fridge.
- I suggest to L. that she may be in denial about Monday's exams.
- L. admits that she has a problem.
- I escort L. out of the kitchen to her room. Hopefully, this means that she will look at a textbook or two.
- I open the fridge to discover that L's fridge-lining has extended to laying a neat strip of plastic under the egg tray. I decide that while it was tempting to see if L. would have scrubbed the kitchen floor and cleaned the bathroom and toilet if left undisturbed, I was right to intervene when I did.

Besides, the kanji for "benkyou" - Japanese for "study" - reads in Mandarin as "mianqiang": "to force". So I did the right and culturally appropriate thing.

On Sunday, L. found some friends of the non-studying variety and escaped. I carried on revising. But the crucial question is, when did I start?

To be honest, about a week before the exams - unthinkable by Singapore nerd standards.

I guess I was in denial too.

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