Friday, August 7, 2009

When Shit Happens

"shit happens;
but it's important to find ways to get out of shit
or clean the shit and start anew.
there's always a way out."
Ben
.
.
Kyan is a bright student. He has been getting good grades ever since he was in primary school. He might be mischievous and naughty at times, but which kid isn't like that? Overall, the way his parents brought him up has made him a well-mannered kid, and he consider himself being filial to his parents. Adding to the fact that he is the eldest son in the family, his mom is rather proud about having Kyan as her son, which puts him as among his Mom's and his grandma's favourite son and grandson.
Kyan is currently studying abroad and it would be the summer break very soon. He is supposed to return to see his family in less than a week's time; in three days, to be exact. He had booked his flight tickets and made arrangements for a few plans during the summer break. However, like what the saying goes; nothing is certain in life. Kyan sat for his finals of the first semester last week but it didn't really go well as how it has always been all this while. In reality however, that isn't a big worry because there won't be much problems as long as he passes every papers since he already passed his university entrance exam a couple of months ago. Being an almost perfectionist since he was small, Kyan had other ideas though.
He was aware of the fact that he doesn't need to get perfect score like what he always strive for all this while, but yet, he told himself to give his best shot just like any other time in this finals. He studied and prepared for the finals one week beforehand, although it was in a much more relaxing and less-pressured condition. He sat for eight papers in that whole week and next was the final week of the first semester, and also the week where he got the results for each papers.
It was then that he felt God was playing some humour on him.
One morning, just moments before he sat for a paper, Kyan was told by his Mechatronics lecturer that he failed that Mechatronics paper. The lecturer asked Kyan what would he do next, since he was supposed to return in a matter of days and the repeat paper would be held in the first week of September. The summer break is starting from the first week of August till the end of September, which means the repeat paper would come in the middle of the summer break. The timing is just not right at all and Kyan knew he was in some trouble. Kyan asked the lecturer if he could let him sit for his repeat paper earlier, before he goes back.
Luck was against him. It was just too bad that the lecturer would be away for some work-related commitment within that few days. He however, gave Kyan an option by asking the rest of the class if they would like to do it earlier, and he would request another lecturer to invigilate the exam on his behalf if the majority agrees to that. Luck wasn't by Kyan's side as only two, including himself wanted the exam to be carried out earlier. He was disappointed, but he tried his luck for one final time by asking the lecturer to have another look at his answer sheet.
DSC01292
When you made this kind of mistake, it is obvious luck isn't by your side.
Kyan failed his Mechatronics paper by just one mark. Passing mark is 60 marks; he got 59. How unlucky can he get? He hoped that his lecturer would be compassionate enough to consider his mistake as a careless mistake. That question carried 20 marks and he was given only 10 marks. Kyan explained his situation to the lecturer; he has booked his flight ticket and wouldn't it be a real pity if he has to stay back for the next thirty days to take the repeat paper and to fork out another huge sum for another flight ticket, just because he is short of 1 mark.
Yes, just one mark. That is how fine the line that separated him between a pass and a fail.
This Mechatronics lecturer is well-known for his strictness but he asked him to wait until he finished dealing with the rest of the students at the end of the class. Kyan sensed some glimpse of hope and his instinct was right. Somehow, the lecturer asked for his exam paper and looked into the mistake Kyan did once again. After thinking for a few seconds, he was considerate enough to give Kyan not 2 but 5 marks, which means he passed his Mechatronics paper. Kyan was a happy boy, but it didn't last long.
Kyan walked to the classroom one Monday morning and saw every one were looking at the notice board behind the classroom. It was the results of the Physics paper. Kyan looked down the list and saw his name there, with a red mark which means he failed that paper. His classmate who was standing next to him looked to Kyan and asked him what had happened to him this time. Kyan just gave him a simple smile and walked away. By the way, twenty-six out of forty-two people in the class failed that paper, which is a crazy record.
All these years, Kyan had never failed any of his exams. That stretches back since he was in primary school. That would be almost sixteen years of schooling without experiencing the feeling of failing a paper. Of course there are negative points on this matter because when we get ourselves into a comfort zone, that is when complacency start to sets in, which mark the beginning of our downfall. He has never failed but when it happened, it just fell on the wrong time. Sir Winston Churchill once said, "Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm." It is from success that you will learn your mistakes and make you a tougher person.
Yet, why this time, not some other time?
Kyan tried talking to the Physics lecturer like what he did to the Mechatronics lecturer, only to be told to discuss it with his class lecturer. Kyan went to his class lecturer and he agreed that it would make sense to do the repeat paper before Kyan goes back. Kyan went to see this Physics lecturer to pass that message and he had a twenty-minute discussion with the Physic lecturer. In the end, the lecturer told Kyan that he would think about it for a couple of days and tell Kyan his decision whether or not to allow Kyan to sit for his repeat paper earlier on Wednesday.
The Physics lecturer even added that he was aware that Kyan has been scoring excellent grades all this while, submitting his assignments on time and rarely, if never skips his lectures. Besides, Kyan has been helping a lot in the international culture exchange-related activities in the school. So he would take all that into considerations and asked Kyan to study for his repeat paper, just in case, regardless to his final decision. He did warn Kyan not to be too hopeful though.
The moment he returned to his room, Kyan started preparing himself for the repeat paper which he supposed would be held on that Friday. Kyan told himself he is not gonna screw it again this time. Wednesday finally arrived and he went to see his lecturer for the verdict. The way the lecturers started his long-winding explanation, Kyan began to sense that he's not gonna get the decision he'd hoped for. True enough, the lecturer was firm and told Kyan to sit for the repeat paper with the rest of the class.
Another option is to sit for a special Credit Reevaluation (CR) exam in December after attending a few extra classes. There are pros and cons on both options. Kyan need only 48 marks to pass if he takes the repeat paper in September, but he would need 60 marks if he chooses to go for the CR because assignment marks are not taken into consideration in CR.
Kyan tried hard to persuade the lecturer, explaining to him the tough situation he was in and to be considerate enough to let him through this time. He tried to have his paper remarked but still, he was just being too strict. Kyan mentioned about how he easily gave five marks to another student after he got his paper remark, but not me when I only need three more marks to pass. The reply the lecturer gave was a tough one to swallow. "I can always deduct his mark back if you wanna compare my marking methods. After all, both of you still fail, right?"
It is just too obvious that he wanted to make Kyan repeat his paper, no matter what. Kyan tried one final attempt by saying one of his family members was hospitalized and he need to return much earlier than he always do, but the lecturer replied in a way that made him wonder, does this lecturer has some compassion in himself? What would he get by being this strict? Personal satisfaction, perhaps?
"That is your own personal problem, not mine. I can't set the dates to suit the students, can I?", was his snobbish reply.
He added, if Kyan really need to go back, he asked Kyan why don't he just go for the CR in December. Kyan is not the last-minute type of person and if possible, he prefer to finish up anything, be it study-related stuff or other things as soon as possible. Besides, even if he opt for the CR in December, he knows that he wouldn't be enjoying his summer break because the fact that he need to sit for the CR will always remain in his mind. But the main point is, he has had enough seeing the face of such almost heartless lecturer and he doesn't wish to face him anymore in the future.
I might be wrong, but if there is one common teaching every religion has, that would be teaching us to be compassionate to each other. But the majority of the people in this country doesn't even know what their religion is, so perhaps that shouldn't be a surprise that they, especially this particular lecturer doesn't know the meaning of the word "compassion".
The lecturer gave his other reasoning which includes;
  • If he allow Kyan to sit for the repeat paper earlier, his juniors in the future would cite him as an example, and would request him to do the same thing.
  • That also will require him to come out with two sets of question papers.
  • The rest of the class might complain about him being double standard.
  • Other lecturers might do their repeat papers early, but he wants to follow the rules which is to do it during the period which has been set by the school.
  • It was already mentioned earlier this year, during the welcoming party of the new juniors, in which they have reminded the international students not to book their flight too early in case they have to resit their papers.
  • He can't change the date depending on the students' circumstances; that would make him loose control over the students and he cannot let such thing happen.
After two hard discussion and realising that the lecturer wouldn't change his mind, Kyan gave up. It would be pointless to continue begging his lecturer because Kyan believes he would never change his mind, even though if he tells him that his family members is dying anytime soon. It took Kyan some time before deciding whether to go for the repeat paper or the CR; he discussed it with a few people to help him decide and his final decision was to go for the repeat paper.
Doing that would require him to book a new flight ticket, pay for the hostel fees for staying in the hostel during the summer holiday, and spend the next thirty days without much plan because he will have to reschedule all his summer plans. It would cost him extra cash and time, but he prefers to finish everything up and get over this shit as soon as possible.
Kyan found it hard to break the news to his Mom, because he thought he would be seeing his Mom in several days. In fact, he just received a message from her this morning, wishing him a safe journey back home. The way his Mom told him why she sent the message almost made him break down. His Mom was writing her daily teaching plan and she was recalling for the date of the day. Once she recalled the date, she remembers that it would be just a few days before Kyan returns. Besides, she hasn't managed to contact Kyan for more than a week already, so she thought of sending that message.
Kyan knows his Mom is anticipating his return. It was just weeks ago that he remembers how his Mom told him that she had kept a few boxes of durian in the freezer since she knows the durian season would be over by the time he is back. But now, those durian might have to wait for another month. His Mom even said that she had bought a few packets of his favourite biscuits for him and even hid it from the his youger sisters, because she's afraid they might finish them all. Now that he won't be going back that soon, she would have to let his sisters eat them and buy new ones later.
Kyan had actually planned to surprise his parents by keeping the dates of his arrival from his parents before this. But now, it seemed that the opposite thing happened. Instead of his parents, he was the one who get a surprise. A real, big surprise.
Kyan knows no matter what, he has to explain everything to his Mom, which he did one afternoon because he believes his Mom will find out sooner or later. His Mom sounded quite surprise at first, although she could accept the incident that had happened eventually. But Kyan knows that his Mom must be slightly disappointed because she thought she would be able to see her son very soon. Not long afterwards, another message came in and apparently, his Mom told his Dad everything and apparently, his Dad couldn't take it. He was like questioning himself how his son could fail.
Kyan is very well-awared of his Dad attitude and he wasn't surprised at his reaction at all because this kind of thing has never happened to Kyan before. Perhaps his good track record and excellent performances all this while have made his parents to have high expectations on him all the time. But we are all human being, and which individual has never tasted failure? Besides, both of his parents are teachers, and they should know too well about how common is it for students to flunk their exam. Nevertheless, the reactions of their parents certainly make Kyan a little worry about them now.
Perhaps he shouldn't have told them the real thing; or should he?
P/S: Thanks to Shi Han and Kok Sheng for your concern during those times. And you baby, for being my pillar of strength through this shit of mine.

20 comments:

breachno said...

Hhmm I will remind myself that phrase as well. lol. Can always come to Tokyo for Laksa lol

kh said...

oh.. so all of these happened when i was burying myself in books and staying away from the internet... lol

kh said...

aiya..dont cry la..

anne said...

cheers. instead of sweet i'll treat u durians. :D

Zzzyun said...

wow tats sad.. anyway, gambate for ur exams then and find smtg to do in the time waiting for it!

kae vin said...

i m sorry for that....

calvin said...

@ breachno:
yes, but i'd prefer to go back and conduct that workshop! xD

calvin said...

@ kh:
yeah, it is all your fault!

calvin said...

@ kh:
and why should i cry? this is just a fiction story after all.

calvin said...

@ anne:
you better keep your words =P

calvin said...

@ zzzyun:
it is a sad story indeed. and how come you think this guy in the story is me? xD

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
no more ais kacang with ice cream topping for me anymore T_T

Ven said...

I will be with the lecturer. The rules are set early on and every student should know about it. In this case is if you fail, go for a resit or the CR in December. Simple.

calvin said...

@ ven:
every individuals are entitled to their personal opinion; so you made your point there =)

lew said...

working hard on ur physic paper.we will wait u for the kajang satay session:)

sheryl0202 said...

er so its fake story? or what? faint..

calvin said...

@ lew:
yes, that satay kajang plan is still on! =D

calvin said...

@ sheryl0202:
it's a real story, happened to kyan.

sheryl0202 said...

oh no, hope he is alright, good luck to him!

calvin said...

@ sheryl0202:
i will tell him that =)