OWL NEWS, 25 SEP, 2035: Adult Tuition. It’s not the latest pornographic fetish, nor does it have anything remotely to do with this year’s bestseller, Ninety Shades Of Twilight. Instead, Adult Tuition refers to the fast growing industry offering specialized, personalized help to working adults for their daily 8-7. It works like conventional tuition. A self-proclaimed expert is engaged, often through private arrangements, to provide scheduled, pay-by-hour assistance improving work performance. A recent survey by the Tomorrowland Ministry of Everlasting Education and Work (MEEW) suggests as many as 3 of 5 working adults have considered or are already receiving tuition. The same survey highlighted work stress, peer-pressure, and self-perceived incompetence as key reasons behind Adult Tuition’s increasing popularity. Increasing Competitiveness Employees are feeling the heat. When interviewed, Mr Seow Ong, a mid-level employee at a local SME, noted that tuition for work is fast becoming the only means to job excellence. “The entire industry is so competitive now. Everyone is either taking this tuition or that tuition. If I want to do well, I need to keep up with the rest, otherwise I will do badly, and my year-end bonus and promotion will be threatened”, he said. Although there is no evidence to suggest Adult Tuition actually boosts productivity or holds any benefits whatsoever for Tomorrowland’s economy, competitiveness for its own sake is not always bad. Just last year, Tomorrowland moved up seven ranks to take the top spot on Statistics International's Global Competitiveness Survey. Ms Sylver Poon, a fresh grad who recently secured a job at a prestigious conglomerate, was appalled at apparent profiteering in the Adult Tuition industry. However, she reluctantly disclosed that she was herself receiving tuition from a premium tuition agency. “These people are obviously over-pricing their services. Really very expensive you know. But since young my parents have always arranged a whole list of tuitions for me, and I really benefitted from it. Without tuitions, I could not have gotten where I am now. When I didn’t have tuitions anymore, I didn’t know what to do. That’s why I decided to engage P. Rada Tutors to help me achieve success.” “Yea, they are expensive, but I can afford it. If I get those LC tuition agencies every time we talk about our tutors at the office I very malu one leh,” she also said. Owl News believes LC refers to ‘low-cost’. Learning Beyond The Workplace The number of Adult Tuition agencies like P. Rada has been steadily increasing in response to growing demand for mature professional help. Many of these enterprises, like P. Rada, have names targeted at the adult demographic. “We believall employees, even CEOs, have unlimited potential. And this potential should be maximized through intensive, extensive and expensive tuition. Even if they are already making millions a year, they can always work harder and make more,” said Mr Oh Poh Choon, CEO of Bieber Consultants. “That’s why me and my BBCTers offer a wide range of integrated and holistic courses to really make sure each and every employee can one day become a CEO like me”. When asked further how that was possible when every company only has one CEO, Mr Oh said there are also CFOs and COOs around. Popular courses offered by BBCT include Dealing With Office Politics, How To Get To Work On Time, and this reporter’s personal favourite, Making Lunch Hour Count. Indeed, these lessons are not what conventional classrooms or workplaces can offer. Administrative Concerns When contacted, the MEEW spokesperson (who declined to be named) revealed that the Ministry was concerned with this budding industry. “We are looking closely at this because many adults are scheduling tuition on weekends. According to Ministry guidelines, tuition is technically also work. So this is not right because we have the five day work week. Adults should not need to work on weekends. Weekends are for family time. Adults should have their weekend free to spend with their children, who do not have to go to school on these days”. Love it or hate it, Adult Tuition is fast establishing a foothold in Tomorrowland, a nation long used to education being expensive, exclusive and esoteric (just like this word). Since it’s here to stay, you might want to get a tutor soon, before you’re left far, far behind. In case you were wondering, the above article is fictitious. (Thankfully) Tomorrowland does not exist, and neither do the people, organisations or events mentioned above.
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This article is written for Lit students, so I’m making two assumptions: That you know what a Shakespeare is, and Since you know Shakespeare, you’re familiar with No Fear Shakespeare. These competencies are important, because in the following paragraphs we'll will be ripping apart the very bastions of literary genius. We'll spray-paint a huge I WAS HERE right across the centre. Assuming that’s not possible, though, what we’ll do is re-write them in…*gasp* plain language. Because no one likes an incomprehensible, artsy fartsy poem, right? So let's not waste time... 1. Does it matter? -Siegfried Sassoon Here's the original: Does it matter?-losing your legs?... For people will always be kind, And you need not show that you mind When the others come in after hunting To gobble their muffins and eggs. Does it matter ?-losing your sight?... There's such splendid work for the blind; And people will always be kind, As you sit on the terrace remembering And turning your face to the light. Do they matter?-those dreams from the pit?... You can drink and forget and be glad, And people won't say that you're mad; For they'll know you've fought for your country And no one will worry a bit. Probably no one understands it all on first reading. What with the question-mark-dot-dot-dots and all. If he wanted to make a point, he could’ve said it directly, like this: It really matters if you lose your legs. Really. People are only kind that long. And it’s horribly difficult not to mind When everyone else comes back from hunting And they eat and drink in your face. It really, really matters if you lose your sight. I have no idea what work blind people can find in post-war Europe. People are never kind. It hurts to sit on the terrace imagining What it looks like from memory. Your dreams matter. But they’re all gone. You can drink forget and be happy For only so long. People start thinking you’re crazy Even if you’ve given, lost it all for your country. And everything’s horrible. Yup, much better now that only good’ol commas and full stops remain. And speaking of dreams… 2. Dreams -Langston Hughes Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow. This one’s already awesome. Short and sweet. The longest word only has two syllables. That is if you excuse the hifenated jargon. But hey, what’s the point of all those metaphors? Life is a barren field? It’s not like we’re all farmers. Are we? I’m sure we’re not though, last I checked we lived in the 21st century. Really, why waste words when he could’ve just said: Dreams are important. Yes they are. They’re really important. Hold on to them. Otherwise you’ll have a sad life. 5 lines did the trick. We’re on a roll. Now let’s tackle something harder… 3. Sonnet XVIII -William Shakespeare The Bard himself. Terrorising lit students since 1564. Can you imagine how his English teacher must’ve felt when he read this?... Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date. Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed; But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st, Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade, When in eternal lines to Time thou grow'st. So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. First things first: No one knows what a sonnet is. It sounds a like a cross between a comet and a clarinet. It’ll probably do well as a line of tennis apparel too. There’re a fixed number of lines in every tennis racket right? And seriously, thou art? That’s like so five centuries ago. Till date no one has any idea why we’re still studying such obsolete, perplexing poems which have no relation to modern living. Let’s modernise it a little, shall we? Rose are red, violets are blue. A summer’s day is lovely and hot, And so are you. In May the winds blow petals off flowers (if you know what I mean). Summer (holidays) passes way too fast. Sometimes the sun can be really scorching. But even the sun gets dark. And beautiful things usually decline Either by chance, or by nature, even if we leave them alone. But you are eternally lovely and hot. You’re really fair too. If you die everyone will be sad. Especially when your eternal hotness grows with time. As long as men live and see (which basically means forever), Your beauty lives in here and in me. Many romantic. Such feels. Observe how every dating trick in the book has been incorporated within. And speaking of beauty… 4. Stopping by woods on a snowy evening -Robert Frost Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound’s the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. Here’s another great one with no words of more than two syllables. Simply brilliant. But he’s just describing a forest, some trees and a lake. There’s a horse somewhere too. And the only sense of a linear plot (which, clearly, all poems require) is when the bells ring and he moves on. This all sounds like a wonderful casual journey in the woods but why should we care? Perhaps if he said it this way: I’m in a beautiful forest now but sadly it’s owned by someone else. He lives in the village though. He doesn’t know what he’s missing. Luckily he won’t see me here so he can’t chase me out. Plus he’s missing out On the beautiful views here of the snow falling in his forest. My horse probably thinks I’m crazy Stopping like this in the middle of nowhere. Probably other people will think I’m mad too Stopping between the woods and a frozen lake in The darkest evening of the year. But this only makes it so much more beautiful and surreal. My horse rings his harness bells and wakes me up from my daydream It seems like he’s reminding me I’m making a mistake stopping here in the middle of nowhere. It’s so quiet. I can only hear The snow gently falling in the light breeze. This forest owned-by-someone-else is beautiful. A silent, soothing darkness lurks. It draws me in. But there are so many things I need to do. So many things I must chase. And I’m already behind time. There are so many things I have to do before I can rest. There are so many things I have to do before I can rest. Isn’t it wonderful how a little elaboration and removal of all poetic devices and metre makes things so self-evident and easily understandable? Off that, here’s the final one for today. Be warned…it’s madness. 5. The Jabberwocky -Lewis Carroll 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe. 'Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!' He took his vorpal sword in hand: Long time the manxome foe he sought -- So rested he by the Tumtum tree, And stood a while in thought. And, as in uffish thought he stood, The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, And burbled as it came! One two! One two! And through and through The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead, and with its head He went galumphing back. 'And hast thou slain the Jabberwock? Come to my arms, my beamish boy! Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' He chortled in his joy. 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe. Whatisthisidonteven…Of course, what else could we expect from the insane dude who gave us Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I mean, he’s the founding father of the genre known as literary nonsense (yes, this really exists). Hardly flattering, if you ask me. And this jabberwocky thing, if a thing it indeed is, makes marginally less sense than rabbits with stopwatches rushing for circular ad infinitum tea. Cheshire cats and growth mushrooms – at least these have some real-life equivalents don’t they. I don’t know what kind of - substances - prompted this poem, but safe to say none of the following – brillig, gyre, wabe, frabjous, borogoves, mome, raths, outgrabe, jubjub, manxome, tumtum, uffish, tulgey…are actually words. Are they? I’m not even sure what words are now. Carroll here creates more words per line than Shakespeare. It’s probably impossible to rewrite this without entirely changing its meaning and significance. This only shows how absolutely incorrigible and worthless this is, doesn’t it? The best I could do was: Behold a Jabberwock – a fearsome monster with jaws and claws (I think). Someone grabbed a sword. And killed it. Hurray. And one more thing. Here’s one of Emily Dickinson’s great writes: After great pain, a formal feeling comes – The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs – The stiff Heart questions ‘was it He, that bore,’ And ‘Yesterday, or Centuries before’? The Feet, mechanical, go round – A Wooden way Of Ground, or Air, or Ought – Regardless grown, A Quartz contentment, like a stone – This is the Hour of Lead – Remembered, if outlived, As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow – First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go – Got that? That last part? As freezing persons…snow…chill…stupor…letting go…? Sound familiar?... Let it go, let it go Can't hold it back anymore Let it go, let it go Turn away and slam the door I don't care what they're going to say Let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered me anyway. Kudos to Disney for helping us understand was Emily was trying to say :) Now that that’s over, I do hope you’ve figured out the actual point of what we’re doing. Although I honestly still have no clue what Carroll’s poem is about.
YET ANOTHER disgruntled victim of recent technological developments has turned to the courtroom to protect its fast diminishing share of the Human Use pie. Citing numerous and increasing incidences of Cameras being used by humans to inspect themselves, Mirrors have pressed several charges on the former, including commercial fraud, impersonation, and assisting in acts of excess vanity without a proper license. "For thousands of years, we were Used by the Humans to ensure their hair was at the optimum angle, put on makeup on the Train, or simply admire themselves," they reflected, "but then the Cameras came, and all our jobs were gone in a flash. We were built for this purpose, but they weren’t. We have no choice, but they do. This is unacceptable." In their defence, the Cameras’ attorney pointed out how “it was not the specific intent of (the Cameras) to displace the Mirrors’ jobs." He also mentioned that action should instead be taken on Phones, if not on the Humans who actually used the Cameras for what he referred to as "unintended purposes alien to a Camera's intrinsic nature." Other points of contention include the Cameras arguing that only a select type of theirs has been involved in this overlap of destinies. Contesting this point, though, was evidence submitted by the Mirrors of DSLRs being used for self-photography. When questioned how they managed to procure the above evidence, the Mirrors simply responded “#selfie.” The view from the other side. At the same time, Cameras have revealed their shock and disappointment on the breaking down of what was once a harmonious and mutually dependent relationship. As cameras are still heavily reliant on Mirrors for redirecting Flashes and streaming light, this deterioration of ties threatens to deliver numerous negatives. Currently, Single Lens Reflex (SLR) Cameras employ many Mirrors to help them channel light from the Aperture into the Viewfinder, allowing the User to see exactly what the Camera sees. Without the support of the Mirrors, SLRs may not be able to deliver on their promise of What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get. “Well I’ll be f-stopped. It’s as good as blackmail!” said a more outspoken SLR, “they know we can’t do without them, so they’re hoping to get something out of it. I, for one, see right through them.” When probed further about how he believed the case would go, the Camera said, “I’m not sure myself. I ain't got the big picture, but I think we have a shot.” A larger shift in perspective? This civil action comes in the wake of a similar case heard months ago in which Makeup sued Instagram for misleading people into believing they looked good even when they did not. In that incident, however, the judge ruled that there was no actual case to answer, for the points raised were mostly made up. He referred to the case as, “a whole lot of smoke and powder masking a commercial enmity that the courts have no business with.” This sets a dim precedence for the Mirrors’ case, as it too is in danger of being labeled a virtual illusion, and nothing more. Hearts shattered. As the legal battle rages on, Mirrors continue to see their quarterly Uses fall. Those most affected include the once extremely popular Foldable Handheld Mirror – used widely in the heydays of Rouge and Blusher. When contacted, their Headmirror told The Owl that many of them were now considering alternative employment options. “Some have been applying for openings in apparel boutiques, after hearing how Humans have continued to use them despite of, and even in conjunction with Cameras. Others more disillusioned with the future of our more refractive species, however, have revealed intentions to repurpose themselves into Glass – particularly of the Gorilla genus.” He also added, “For me, being a Mirror is the only thing I can see myself doing.”
It was appalling and indeed dreadful to peruse a previous submission entitled “Why You Shouldn't Ever Use Big Words.” Extrapolating epiphanies from this article, I opined it essential and in fact compulsive to provide a defence of the multifold and indeed enlightening usages of vocabulary frequently misconstrued as excessively bombastic and Herculean to comprehend. In truth, it is nearly always a wiser alternative to utilize a longer and thus stronger word over a shorter and thus weaker one. I append my quintuple rationales for this option in the following paragraphs: #1 – Polysyllabic vocabulary is additionally effectual. In our relentless pursuit for academic and linguistic excellence we are often confronted with the task of demonstrating our propositions in as convincing and persuasive a method as possible. And in the domain of persuasion and influencing thought, few words suffice as fittingly as those which exceed an arbitrary minimum of four syllabic units. Significantly, the continuous and conscious commitment to the contrived and complicated conforms completely to one of the wisest adages of argument which, unfortunately, is expressed in an overly simplistic way: If you cannot convince, then confuse. To put it sophisticatedly, if one ever, and when one inevitably, finds himself in a position in which a case one is charged with arguing for is lacking in evidence, logic, and other optional tenets of quality writing, it is possible and indeed recommended for one to gravitate towards these trustworthy lieutenants of multialphabetic origin to construct the concealment required to camouflage such aforementioned want of quality. As an additional meritorious enhancement, the ability to utilize words associated commonly with the bombastic is ubiquitously acknowledged as a mark of true intellect and loquacity. Despite arguments towards the contrary that the mere usage of sophisticated words in writing is inadequately indicative of similar complexity in thought, it must be noted that in any successful piece of persuasion there is no requirement to actually be intelligent – it is sufficient to appear to be so. Therefore and henceforth, it is not uncommon to observe that any writing conducted successfully in a consciously complicated manner convinces the reader of the notion that the writer of said literature must be clearly be remarkably thoughtful, and wins the allegiance of the reader’s thoughts even without making any substantial propositions. It is even not infrequently speculated that the integer value of the summation of the syllabic units one utilizes in any piece of writing possesses a positive if not proportionate correlation to the academic marks that one receives. Evidently and apparently it is unquestionably a wiser option to always resort to the verbose. What one lacks in quality is easily compensated by quantity. #2 – Continued employment of the verbose serves as invaluable experience and practice in sharpening one’s vocabulary and élan. It is simplistic and indeed naïve to perceive writing as an activity conducted merely for immediate purposes, and indubitably important to acknowledge that writing should also be carried out with due attention paid to the sustained development of the personal writing style in the extended scheme of time. It is evident, thus, that one must perennially attempt to summon powerful words in his writing – such that one gains critical insights and crucial familiarity into the methods and means to improve upon his own writing departments. Suppose one is content with simply utilizing the simple, and does not deem it necessary to conduct writing with the objective of employing the bombastic. Because there will seem never to be a requirement to use a longer word when a short one apparently fulfills the purpose, one may and indeed will never find it possible to progress upwards into the higher echelons of writing, which involve being comfortable and entirely conversant in the language of the upper classes, that is, words which, as previously highlighted, possess a minimum of four syllabic tenets. In summarization, it is imperative, when writing, to compel ourselves towards utilizing elongated words. This is the sole way of honing our writing faculties. #3 It is entirely easier to write in as indulgent and complicated a style as possible. Within a letter composed by the marvelous mathematician Blaise Pascal, a solitary line stands out as an indisputable case for the complicated. Concluding his composition, Pascal remarked how he “had wanted to write a shorter letter, but did not have the time”. There exists infinite wisdom within this exclamation, notably the appreciation of the indelible fact that in order to produce writing which is shorter and perhaps simpler, far greater effort and thought is required. Considered in tandem with the existing case we have observed thus far that simple writing has none of the benefits which consciously complicated writing possesses, it is clear how writing sophisticatedly promises major benefits at minor costs. In truth, there is, by now, an abyss of reasons to speak simply, owing to the fact that the aforementioned is an activity which requires more input and produces less output. It is an activity which requires such insignificant things as attempting to condense words into more palatable clauses and applying control on otherwise indulgently impactful vocabulary in the naïve belief that it is crucial to engineer your writing in a manner in which the target receiver is most probably able to understand. Catering to the ignorant is nothing except a waste of time, especially since if that receiver in question does not comprehend one’s words, it does not matter. He will either be bought over by one’s verbosity, or even if he is not, it is equally probabilistic that since he has not achieved a level from which he can comprehend your words, he would not be able to appreciate its true beauty even if he did’st. #4 – It is purely and pristinely logical to incessantly invoke intellectual vocabulary. A modest and yet unexpectedly apt argument towards the justification of the requirements for the ubiquitous occurrence of sophisticated language is merely thus: If there remain no purposes for the existence of such words, why do they occur in the first place? Surely it is not insurmountable to perceive that the very fact that verbosity lives, or indeed, thrives, in our environment, is due to its outstanding applicability and usefulness to our species. As such it is only logical that we employ and exploit them generously. Reinforcing the logicality of this assertion are various other instances in which the argument of pure existence has been successfully submitted in the defence of an otherwise disadvantaged situation. For instance and example, if guns are not meant to be owned by everyone, why do they exist? If money is not meant to be spent, why does it exist? If drugs are not meant to be consumed, rules not meant to be broken and other people meant to be taken advantage of, why do they exist? In all of these cases, it has consistently been proven that such existential reasoning, or specifically, that the existence of the latter justifies the former action, operates flawlessly. And applying such impervious logic to the regime of conversationalisation is nothing but the next logical and intuitive step. #5 – The procedure of writing in an overly saturated manner successfully fulfills most occupational and academic requirements with utmost rapidity. Herein lies the most vital and integral need for the verbose: In any situation whereby the act of writing is required, it is almost always the case that the purpose of such writing is for an employer or an educational facilitator. In this area it is clearly advantageous to write in the bombastic, because one key characteristic of such a writing technique is that it accredits one the ability to utilize a far greater number of words to express any individual concept, whereas one who writes in a simple style would be coerced to merely append a few words at maximum. Coupled then with the fortunate situation whereby multisyllabic words tend also to comprise more characters and are thus lengthier, we observe the undeniable fact that our preferred, consciously complicated conception of writing can aid us to absolutely fulfill the requisite restrictions in any given situation – regardless of whether it is in the production of a report that necessitates a minimum of 50 pages to demonstrate that substantial effort has been poured within, or in the submission of a domestic assignment that is bundled with a mandatory 600 word limit. In long, there are minimally a quintuplet of compelling rationales underlying why one is recommended to frequently and faithfully undertake writing as a task that demands only the very most in terms of verbosity, prolixity, extravagance, indulgence, and syllabic components. As a general regulation circumvent words with any fewer than 4 syllabic units unless presented with no other option alternatives. Simultaneously, there is, at best, a feeble case for the utilization of the simple and thus simplistic, a view championed by this article’s predecessor on “why speak simply”, because not only is it illogical, but the marginal benefits of speaking simply far from justify the additional costs required. And as we have seen and as any intellectual academic will remark, if it is illogical, or if the benefits do not justify the costs, or both, then there is never a case to do something, because it is almost always certainly wrong.
Wait...what? To be honest, the word ‘academic’ doesn’t really go with the word ‘badass’. At least not in today’s world, where ‘academic’ is almost another word for nerdy, bespectacled, and sometimes Asian. Badass, on the other hand, is reserved for the select few whose pure existence just shouts awesome in your face. People like Kevin Garnett, Jackie Chan, and basically the entire cast of the Expendables. However, there exist a group of legendary individuals so devilishly brilliant and insanely intelligent that the combined numerical value of their IQs was probably larger than the amount of bullets fired in both episodes of the Expendables. Men who were just so amazing at subjects like philosophy, mathematics and everything they did they’re still dictating popular and academic culture today. Who were so smart their genius was badass – meaning that they had as much brains as Stallone has muscles. Amongst them are people who built the first ever schools (ok that might have been a mistake, in retrospect), the man who proved that the Earth went around the Sun, and, of course, the great and legendary writer who basically called political leaders pigs and got away with it. In honour of the men who lived in an age where thought was free, and helped keep things that way, here’s our tribute to the 5 most amazing academic badasses of all time, starting with… #1: Eric Arthur Blair a.k.a. George Orwell You might know this guy, because he was so superbly smart he managed to disguise an entire political rant as a children’s book so well they actually allowed it to be taught in schools. Now that is the highest level of censorship avoidance. Yes, I’m talking about the author of Animal Farm, which, published in 1945, was a story that basically lambasted the communist regime so strongly Stalin was probably busy applying cold water to his burnt areas after reading it. And Orwell did it without explicitly saying so, so they couldn’t quite arrest him for it without admitting they were guilty of everything he was calling them out for. Read: pure, absolute genius. Note: If you haven’t read that book, please take some time off this article to finish it before coming back. Some things are just more important than others. And if you’re reading this now, congrats on being slightly more equal than others, or, welcome back. Let’s get on with things… Before Orwell decided to systemically take apart the political applications of the USSR, he was born in India and attended school at Eton College, where he was more concerned with writing the college magazine than his useless grades. His boring and totally non-badass schooling out of the way, Orwell elected to join the Imperial Police, likely finding the name of that organisation something more worthy of his attention than something like Eton, which coincidentally is Note spelt backwards. Boring… He eventually became an Assistant District Superintendent due to his awesomeness, but was too pissed off with poverty to not do anything about it. So he set out to do battle against all the unfairness and injustice in society, because there was never any doubt he’d win. Now the problem was, in order to write a book on something, you pretty much need to know it well enough. And Orwell, clearly too amazing for something like poverty to ever touch, didn’t. So he decided to make poverty his best friend. He spent most of his days ‘tramping’, or in other words, dressing like a hobo and going around doing whatever a hobo does. He didn’t care about no middle-class expectations, he just did whatever he wanted. And that also included trying to get into prison in 1931, just to see what it was like. But they turned him down, possibly because they couldn’t find a jail cell big enough to house his gigantic…wit. And when he wasn’t busy being poor and doing other things that no one else who had a choice would choose to do, Orwell decided to fight in the Spanish Civil War in 1936. (Ok that too is something no one else would optionally do, at least not in today’s society where people are all trying to avoid national service.) So he arrived in the heart of the war saying, “I’ve come to fight against Fascism”, which, to me, is clearly more badass than totally running away and saying “I’ll be back”. If you think a writer and intellectual clearly was disadvantaged in a war involving things such as physical activity, then you’re wrong. There are accounts of Orwell chasing down another soldier with a bayonet and bombing out an enemy position. Stuff that Rambo does, basically. And how about the fact that he survived the war? Surely Orwell had no weakness. Unfortunately, at some point in time the Afterlife decided that Orwell was too awesome to not be part of it. So it began throwing tuberculosis at him in 1947 – lots of it. So much so that it actually started to, y’know, affect him. In that time, though, Orwell continued to do just whatever he wanted, finishing his masterpiece Nineteen Eighty Four, and got it published before the Afterlife finally won in 1949. For a typical person, writing while battling a life-threatening disease probably involves a lot more blood and snot than ink and paper. Orwell’s book, however, came to be one of the best literary works of ALL TIME. I’m not sure if you got that so I’ll say it again: ALL TIME, meaning in two thousand years when people are busy floating around on pure energy and playing Angry Birds on their iPhone 250s, his book is still going to be read, studied, and treated like the sacred piece of badassism it is. Note: If you haven’t read Nineteen Eighty Four, you know what to do. It was and still is a great pity to mankind that a flame of justice and a prolific mouthpiece of societal ills passed away at the age of 46. So Orwell spent his life fighting to preserve and promote justice. Now the next guy practically defined it, and his name was… #2: Plato – All Your Teachers’ Teacher. Plato lived in an era slightly distant from ours: 428-348 B.C., when the years were still counted backwards numerically. This means he didn’t have any of the technology we take for granted, including Google, Wikipedia, and public utilities. Keep that in mind as we move on to all the insane things he did. Like starting the one of the earliest known schools. Schools did exist before that, to be specific, but Plato’s Academy actually had things like walls, and, just so it could be that much more amazing, didn’t charge any fees whatsoever. How’s that for a business model eh, [insert unnamed commercialised school here]? In a sense, he’s responsible for the education we get to receive today (Yay?). That’s pretty amazing you know, since you generally don’t wake up one day and decide to change the lives of people two thousand years later. And when he wasn’t occupied with pre-emptively engineering untold misery for children aged 20 and under for millennia to come, Plato wrote a series of books and treatises on philosophy, in which he tried to tell others how to think so they could attain a little more of the genius he himself had. The Republic, as one of these works is known, sought to explore what justice was. It was likely the result of him sitting down one day and setting a question for himself to that read “Define justice [50m]”. So he produced 10 volumes to answer that question. Well, yea. He probably exceeded the word limit, but it’s safe to say he broke the marks ceiling too. I highly recommend you spend some time browsing through The Republic, but I won’t make it as compulsory, because of the potential medical and psychological implications of doing that. And yes, he used the word Republic way before it was cool. Now almost every single country in the world, including even the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (that’s North Korea btw), is ripping it off from him, probably as an attempt to suggest they are at least partly as just and badass as Plato was. Now you’re thinking that Plato was a skinny old man who sat on stone chairs and thought about the world, aren’t you? Wrong, because he was also a total jock at wrestling in his earlier years. He reputedly got his name from the word Platori, meaning broad, after his coach noticed how his muscles were almost as colossal as his brain. Rumours say he wrestled in the Isthmian games, which were like the Olympic games, only more badass because Plato was in them. I can’t stop myself from imagining that he’d be throwing the hurt on all his opponents while simultaneously deconstructing how weak the logos, ethos and pathos of their punches were. And what if I told you he was also the teacher of… #3: Aristotle – All Men by Nature Desire Knowledge. And Aristotle was the teacher of none other than Alexander the Great. I mean, if your student goes on to conquer pretty much the whole of Western Europe and goes down in history as abc THE GREAT, I guess you’re also pretty much worthy of the title abc the EVEN GREATER. I cannot even begin to describe how badass Aristotle was. So let me enlist the help of an academic paper, which suggested that Aristotle was probably the last person to know everything there was to be known in his own time. (Neill, Alex; Aaron Ridley, 1995) Even his name shouts awesome. I mean, why else would all those royals and nobles decide to call themselves the aristo-crats? Clearly they were all wannabes in Aristotle’s massive fanclub. Perhaps they believed associating themselves with the alpha and the omega that was Aristotle would lend some legitimacy to their rule. His contributions are listed to be in the fields of logic, biology, physics, metaphysics, geology, *stops to catch my breath, medicine, philosophy and history. That’s basically the equivalent of doing 8 degrees and getting First Class Honours in ALL OF THEM. Did I mention that one of them is medicine? Now think of the smartest, most intelligent person you know. You don’t have to personally know him, just anyone you know of. Got that? Was it Einstein, Hawking or Bill Gates? Wait…turns out IT DOESN’T MATTER, because Aristotle was totally smarter than all of them combined, so much so that Brian Magee, a British philosopher who studied at Oxford and Yale in the 1950s (that clearly makes him reliable doesn’t it?) sums it up by saying “it is doubtful whether any human being has ever known as much as he did.” His contributions are so limitless that for me to list them all here would be like trying to count the stars of badass in the infinite universe of Aristotle’s boundless mind – you take half of forever, and before you succeed you die of the sheer brilliance you subject yourself to. He was so badass he basically “left every future scientist and philosopher in his debt.” (Wiki) This means if Aristotle were still alive, he’d be richer than 5000% of the top 1% because every single scientist and philosopher since freaking 322 B.C. would be spending their lives paying dues to him. Scientists AND philosophers. That pretty much includes every smart guy in the world! To put things in perspective though, Aristotle did stay at the Academy for about twenty years, till he was 38, to do all that academic world changing he did. But he apparently got fed up with the administration (after Plato died and the whole Academy took a -10 to the Scale of Badass) and just left. Getting fed up with the administration? That’s a +1 to Badassery anyday! And by just leaving, I mean he went all the way to Asia Minor. Now recall that he lived in a time where the best mode of transportation was probably a chariot drawn by some distant descendant of Shadowfax. I can’t imagine that going to Asia involved anything less than a journey which Jules Verne would’ve been proud to document. Once there, Aristotle went back to his favourite pastime – doing just whatever he wanted and being awesome at it – so he went to an island called Lesbos (likely finding this island’s name worthy of further study) and researched zoology and botany. Because you don’t need prior experience in any subject if you’re Aristotle. He eventually started his own school, called the Lyceum, so he could share some of the intelligence that was clearly overflowing from his brain. In his later years though, Aristotle had accumulated so much amazing that his own student, Alexander the Great, began to dislike him for speaking out against his inhumane ways, and apparently started threatening Aristotle in letters. Totally uncool way to treat your teacher, if you ask me. So Aristotle did what any typical amazing academic genius would do when threatened by a tyrant King who was also 29 years younger – outlive his adversary. Alexander somehow died before Aristotle due to mysterious reasons. Conspiracy theories link Aristotle to Alexander’s death, but clearly even if this was true Aristotle was too amazing to leave behind any compelling evidence. He eventually went out the typical badass way – of natural causes whilst the entire of Athens was persecuting him for apparently not honouring the gods or something that obviously he was too incredible to do. He also said: “The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal”, which could’ve been his way of telling us “you all are obviously not equal to me, so don’t even try”. #4: Rene Descartes – I think, therefore I am. The next dude on our badass list is here because he flatly refused to believe anyone but himself and, as it turned out, was right. Cogito ergo sum, you might have heard before, or I think, therefore I am (one thousand times better than all of you combined). Besides having an infinitely awesome name that few people could pronounce right, Descartes was a French philosopher and all round amazing dude who lived circa 1650. Yup, still no Google. His claim to fame was being an absolute whiz in philosophy AND maths, something which honestly seems next to impossible nowadays, when Arts students are known for their difficulties with maths and Science students are known for their difficulties with Arts. Not only was he tremendous at both, he actually believed that metaphysics and science was the root of philosophy. Like, you actually become better at Arts when you’re better at Science. Wow! Clearly he wouldn’t have liked the dichotomy we’ve imposed between the two in recent times. Still, it’s amazing to think that the guy who famously said “except our own thoughts, nothing is absolutely within our power” also invented the Cartesian plane (you didn’t realise it was named after him did you? Neither did I). And because most academic badasses, as we have seen, typically also have side hobbies that involve physically kicking others’ butts, Descartes was a member of the Army of Nassau in 1618. Because he didn’t see much action, however, he spent his spare time studying maths. Eventually he decided that all the awesome in his mind was going nowhere if he didn’t tell others about it, so he starting writing treatises on emotion. Before he began, though, he made sure to tell the world that the stuff he wrote would be completely more monumental than everything that’s ever been written by saying that he would write on these issues “as if no one had written on these matters before”. This put him in conflict with other established academic badasses of the time, including Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and Hume – all of whom were contenders for a place in this article. That probably made Descartes pause for about 3 seconds before he deciding he totally didn’t care. Did I mention that his Meditations on First Philosophy continues to be a standard text in most philosophy courses? That was published in 1641. How many things have you done today that will be studied by everyone half a millennium later? In 1663 though, his badassery came into conflict with the church, and the Pope placed his works on the Index of Prohibited Books, which is generally where your books could end up if they cross an arbitrary line on the Scale of Badass. I’m not saying that the Pope was wrong, just that the act of placing his books on this index was perhaps misguided. Eventually, they realised how ingenious he was and started calling him “the Father of Modern Philosophy”. The thought that he’d fathered philosophy actually presents us the image that his wit was so amazing it did the job of a sperm… And since fathering stuff is clearly awesome in all senses of that metaphor, the next guy… #5: Galileo Galilei – The Man Who Could Look at Science and Say… Is just fascinating. Because he is known as the father of modern observational astronomy, modern physics, science, AND modern science. His extremely virile and therefore awesome brain fathered more sophisticated academic concepts than most males would father children, so don’t go comparing his brain to…any part of you at all. You might already know this, but Galileo was basically the dude who stepped up and said, “Hey guys, did anyone else notice the Earth revolves around the Sun?” But instead of standing in awe at the truth in that epiphany and celebrating him for the legend he was, the other people just started to laugh at him. Not that he gave a single beaver dam about it. He just went on to write a whole paper defending it. Sadly though, he didn’t actually manage to convince his time that he was right, because petty things like other people’s beliefs got in the way. But we know who’s right now, and he’s probably still laughing from the Afterlife about it. Now that is just a mind blasting fact. How on earth do you stand up and tell the entire world that it’s wrong? How do you tell scores and thousands of academics armed with their research and logic and degrees that you disagree with them and you’re right? Now typical people like you and I probably couldn’t, but not Galileo because he knew he was just too overflowingly brilliant to be wrong about anything. Eventually he, like fellow badass Descartes, got on the wrong side of the Pope’s books too for championing arguments which apparently made him “vehemently suspect of heresy”. Most of his works which revolved around the Earth revolving around the Sun got placed in the Index of Prohibited Books (which now seems like it should be renamed The List of Books You Should Totally Read). So they put him in house arrest and tried to force him to recant. In other words, they found him too imba and tried to nerf him. But did they succeed? Clearly not, because admitting your own mistake when everyone says you’re wrong was too mainstream for Galileo. In the peace and tranquillity of house arrest he produced one of his finest works, Mathematical Discourses Concerning Two New Sciences, where he basically invents Two New Sciences – known today as kinematics and materials science. While the other people in his life failed to get him, though, the forces of nature succeeded. By 1638 he was completely blind, presumably because he had seen so much more than a normal man could see in his lifetime, and died by 1642 due to heart issues and other petty things the Afterlife tried to nerf him with. Initially they wanted to give him the badass burial he deserved by putting him in a marble mausoleum, but because other people got in the way again, they decided that suspected heretic should be buried in a far less awesome room next to a novice’s chapel. Fortunately, they eventually realised how ridiculous this was and reinstated him to a proper place in 1737, after making a monument in his honour. Yay (slightly more modern) other people! I’d imagine two giant, ornate letters are inscribed on this monument: his totally badass initials GG, which is the only appropriate thing to say if you ever find yourself on the wrong side of this guy’s Gigantic Geni...Genius. There you have it, the Five Most Amazing Academic Badasses of All Time, in my humble opinion. I guarantee if you spent some time finding out more about what they all did and said and thought, you’d become a far greater person. And if you ever need to prove a point, pull out a quote from Aristotle, Plato, or our man GG, and you get what we call an insta-win. Trust me, I’ve done that in so many essays… if there’s one thing we can learn from these 5 amazing people, it’s that we can become infinitely more awesome than we think we are. These people were humans too, equal to us, no doubt far more equal than us as well. It’s not like they had two brains, you know, except they loved what they did, and persisted even when the world was against them. They loved it so much they studied it in their spare time, spent their entire lives on it, and made contributions are so legendary they’re still shaping society. On the other hand, modern society is preoccupied with looks, grades, bad dancing and other first world problems. We could spend our time exploring how amazing people like Orwell were, but we’d rather monitor the private lives of Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. Uncool. If only Descartes was still alive, because I’d totally follow him on twitter. Thanks for reading. I’ll leave you with this footnote: The Criteria of Badass, based on what these five amazing academic badasses had in common, in case you want to try to become as awesome as them (in vain): 1. Have a badass name or give one to yourself. 2. Do whatever you want and do it amazing. 3. Have a side hobby in activities which involve establishing your unquestionable physical superiority over others, just in case they start to think you’re a nerd. 4. Don’t care about other people (if you know you’re right). 5. Do things which contribute to society and help other people even though technically you don’t care about them. Disclosure: A large proportion of facts and events in this article are referenced from Wikipedia. As such, it is about as reliable historically as Wikipedia is. There has also been a slight amount of embellishment and exaggeration in this article, in case you did not notice. Therefore, do take things here with a pinch of salt and don’t rely on it for any academic papers. Rely on what those guys above said instead, and you will go far.
Let’s face it, some of us here love video games. Some of us may even love studying. However, in today’s society, one contributes way more to our future. Though we're not quite sure which. That doesn't mean we can’t have both things together though. Just like how listening to music while studying to relieve stress has gone mainstream, video games too can have that effect on the weary student. Here we showcase five games as antidotes to too much stress, and all of them are completely free off the net. 1. Auditorium - The Manipulation of Light and Music If there ever was a country that prized relaxed muscles and creaseless brows, Auditorium could probably serve as that country’s national sport. A mix of aesthetic and auditory appeal, the first twenty seconds of the game will make even the stiffest chair seem comfortable. Emphasis on relaxation has reached whole new levels - nothing about the game involves pressure. There’s no timer, no enemies, absolutely nothing to rush you save the joy of revealing a more complete melody every time things come together. As a painter-conductor, you manipulate music till grand melodies take shape. Cascades of light represent music, and it is not uncommon to wind up with a piece of beautiful abstract art at the end of each scenario. Some scenarios do involve quite a fair bit of brainpower to put together, but the resulting product is well worth the effort almost every time. EVALUATION For Girls: The game is a visual treat, particularly for the musically inclined (who can probably find more pleasure in playing it then most of us can.) Add that to the palette of beautiful colors and flowing atmosphere and you’ve got something you would be daft not to appreciate. For Guys: Probably not for the action junkie. Or the sports fanatic. Or the sandbox fan. It’s a game for ultimate relaxation. Go figure. Stress Reduction – 5/5 Addictiveness – 3/5 2. Continuity - Shaping landscape and mind Most people mug their socks off so that one day they might shape the world. With this gem of a game, you are well on your way to doing just that. Immersive, deep, and as complex as it is nearly monochrome, Continuity is a single creative concept made brilliant. Think Labyrinth and Gridlock meets Portal-except that the only danger you ever face in game is running out of creativity. That’s right, instead of presenting generic hostiles to hinder and detain your character, Continuity confronts your inability to progress with the realization of the inadequacy of your own mind. How’s that for a wake-up call. That’s not all; there’s a bit of Spore in it too. Continuity routinely shuffles the player between multiple perspectives, one that changes the environment, another which pilots the main character. Essentially you control an individual controlling yourself. What up. In addition to the unique concept, the soundtrack displays excellent harmony, consisting of two overlapping melodies-variations of each other. One more dynamic, played during the character sequences and another more ruminative and pensive scored during the manipulation sequences. It’s a great soundtrack for when you burn your midnight oil, no more, no less. SO DO NOT PRESS MUTE. EVALUATION For Girls: Not very colorful and cutesy, but its black and white and occasionally red color scheme could be Goth certified, if you’re into that kind of thing. Good thing to play with a bunch of friends. For Guys: For when Steam ever crashes and you miss your portal gun, this should give you guys that fix somewhat. Highly Addictive. Stress Reduction – 3.75/5 (For the Soundtrack – 5/5) Addictiveness – 5/5 3. Time Tunnel - Cracking the Beautiful Vault Forget that it is a Neopets creation. Never mind that you're studying so hard now because of the time you spent on this site last time. This game has one of the most soothing soundtracks to ever find itself onto the internet. It’s so smooth the composer was probably in a black-tie outfit with a pair of Ray-ban's on while spinning it in his hot-tub. It’s a psychedelic concoction of harmonious delight. Plus points that the game was not modeled after any others, as most games on the site mostly are. Inspiring and logical, Time Tunnel allows exploration of your innate puzzle solver in a no pressure environment. The fairly simple gameplay revolves around testing various combinations of colored slates in different orders, where each correct slate shoots into a lock and brings the player closer to the ultimate treasure. Incidentally the game can be played with one hand - good news to you multi-taskers. Finally, a game to pump your brain while you squeeze it dry. That’s dynamic equilibrium right there. EVALUATION For Girls: Other than the picture of the clearly male Neopet on the loading screen of the game, you shouldn’t have any beef with it whatsoever.For Guys: You should enjoy this particularly due to the manner in which the slates are placed into the locks. No, nothing particularly suggestive here. Stress reducing level – 4/5 Addictiveness Level – 3/5 4. Orisinal: Morning Sunshine - Bevy of Innocent Delights This is actually a bunch of games more than a single game. The Orisinal portal bombards you with an attack on your manhood with a reversion ray to the part of the brain that makes you wish you never left that soothing pram. With beautiful graphics for flash and lethally addictive soundtracks, this is one site that probably will… 1) Have you screaming for bottled milk 2) Make you wonder what is the point of finals altogether 3) Bring back your innocence (unless you encounter something even trippier regularly) 4) Refresh your mind. Good and really bad. You could question the point of studying altogether and launch into an expansion of thought that helps you study… or you could just go on exploring the many cute games on the site until finals end. And as many of those games (61 games last count) just have high scores and no endings, you’ll play it forevers. Yes, forevers. Just be careful your finals grade doesn’t get sucked in too. EVALUATION For Girls: You probably know this site exists already. Yes. If you didn’t, you probably do. For Guys: Lots of girls know about this site. Face it, if you know this site here exists, a girl introduced it to you. If you don’t, playing a few games here and there for leisure could be a plus for social, even out of finals. After all, nothing quite gets interaction going than discussing a bunny light as air hopping on snowflakes with Pachebel’s Canon in D playing in the back (Winterbells). That’s animals, the weather, and classical music right there. Stress Reducing Level – 4.5/5 Addictiveness Level (For girls) – 5/5 (For guys) – 2/5 5. Robot Unicorn Attack - Wiping the mind with clouds and rainbows This game is the final straw. The final frontier. Do not play it unless you really have to. It’s what you need when you find yourself so neck deep in formulas and calculations, when you’re mired in notes and readings, and when you feel that nothing can save your mind from the stress of exams. That is when you break out this game. It will destroy that stress utterly. It will kill that stress to death. Theories have it that the game is actually a top secret concoction of psycho-chemical analysis, blending every single color and shape known to man with Hasbro's My Little Pony. Think Moses parting the Red Sea - with rainbows. Scholars claim the journey of the unicorn symbolically represents the journey that we all face, perilous and misguided, but a necessary one, shown by the cleansing rainbows left behind in its wake, and the promise of ultimate rewards. And if that wasn't enough, imagine playing the game through one of the greatest earbugs ever to hit the video game scene, Always, by Erasure. If the music video here wasn't confusing enough, imagine it blared continuously as your robot pony goes coast to coast on stars and purple heaven outcroppings through a rainbow miasma. Several noted researchers go so far as to explain the game’s universal appeal through parallels to the Nyancat, feline phenomena also known for its unique blend of locomotion and sanity-testing soundtrack. In short, play over ten minutes at a stretch and get into serious risk of having that song, and your future finals hopes, stuck in your head. EVALUATION For Girls: Huge gleaming ponies with horns, soaring through glittering stars while sowing unlimited rainbows over a vast dreamscape. What more can I say. For Guys: Try to imagine the pony as a mechanical death machine and those stars you’re busting as target boards. It helps take your mind off the incidental cuteness of the game, and after a while, as intended, your finals. Stress Reducing Level – 6/5 Addictiveness Level – 5/5 Note: We do not take any responsibility for any kind of game addiction, halithosis and mental injury that is caused directly or indirectly by the playing of any games as explored in this post. Gamer discretion is advised.
It’s 5am in the morning. The sun isn’t up yet, but you are. You drag yourself to the bathroom and brush your teeth with your eyes closed, imagining that you’re still lying in your nice warm bed. Lately, your bed and you have become estranged lovers – you adore each other a lot, but just can’t seem to find time to be together. With your eyes still closed you put on your uniform, take your breakfast and make your way out of the house. You’re all too familiar with this dreadful morning ritual. We all are. Going to school becomes a battle to stay awake (or not be noticed sleeping). Honestly… Why does school have to start so early? A quick Google search suggests that school start times were once aligned with farming routines. Because children needed to help their parents tend the crops, they’d wake up around 5am anyway. Once they were done, they could go to school and everything would be just right. As much as this is likely to be true, it’s probably not the main reason why schools in Singapore are starting at such worm-getting hours. For one, not many people in Singapore have been tending crops or sowing seeds for a while now. We could say that our school schedules originated from when we were a colony of the British. Those people did do more farming than us, after all. However, we probably wouldn’t have kept the practice we copied from the British all the way till now if it didn’t work. There’s got to be reasons why we’re still doing it…right? Well, firstly… Starting early means more lesson time. The difference between starting classes at 8 and starting classes at 9 is not always just that one hour. This is because you have to factor in recess and lunch, which, as much as the school’s planners might disapprove, is compulsory. Starting at 8 gives about two hours to plan lessons with, so you can have three periods of 40 minutes before recess which normally comes at 10.If you start at 9, then you really only have one full period of 40. But wait. If you’re familiar with how lectures and tutorials are scheduled in a typical JC, then this all doesn’t make sense, because there isn’t always a mandatory recess time, and in fact breaks are staggered all over the place. It still makes sense for the school’s planners to start things off early, though, because it is quite the challenge to arrange different lectures and tutorials amongst all 50 classes and make sure that no two lessons happen to occur in the same venue at the same time. Take away that precious one hour, and suddenly nothing works anymore. You can’t just squeeze in another class anywhere else. So you have to rework the entire schedule. And if you’re also familiar with the way change works its way through organisations…it doesn’t. Because the ‘smart aleck’ who suggests starting later gets the job of planning the entire new schedule, complete with venues, teacher and class allocations. It’s not anyone’s fault, just how the world works… If that’s the case, why don’t we just start later AND end later? Well, because… Starting early also means ending early. And ending early is awesome. When lessons end early, you have more time for supplementary classes and CCAs. And teachers have more time for the work they need to do in the staff room. Your parents will also be happy that you get to come home early to have dinner with them, rest, and relax study, do your homework, and go for your tuition classes. In fact, the society wins too, because… Waking up early makes you a better person. You read that right. Not just a better employee, but a better person. Cue the entire argument about how waking up at 5am prepares you for the working world when you have to report for work at 8am every day as well. Let’s not dispute that it’s beneficial for now ok? We could point out that many jobs actually start at 9, but let’s just not. The real interesting point we want to be talking about is how scientists have found that there’s some kind of magic in the morning air that makes us healthier. In short, when you’re an early riser, your sleep cycle is in sync with natural sleep cycles that human beings should have. The morning, as the research says, is a time where homo prehistoricus liked to go hunting and to socialize. Getting up early and getting some exercise or meeting people actually refreshes you and improves your all-round performance for the rest of the day. Unfortunately for us, though, we’re students. You can’t just go to sleep at 1am after rushing a project and then force yourself up at 5 and expect to feel all revitalized. That’s why articles on the benefits of waking up early tend to feature people who aren’t students (ie. the ones who can actually sleep early too). I’m pretty sure the benefits of sleeping enough far outweigh those of waking up early. In the end, though, these benefits still give schools a pretty good reason to start early. After all, they aren’t the ones who are forcing you to sleep late (or are they?) Their job and what they can make you do is wake you up early and take in all that miracle-working morning air. So, the next time you find yourself prying your eyes open and dragging yourself out of bed at 5am, only to go to school for one lesson before a three hour break, remember these reasons. At least you don’t have to till the land and water the crops before you are allowed to go to school. It might help you feel better about how you can do nothing to change how early lessons need to start.
William Shakespeare. His works are considered amongst the greatest pieces of English literature ever written. They’ve been translated into every spoken language there is, and performed in almost every auditorium, theatre, and classroom in the world. His pieces – Macbeth, Othello, Romeo and Juliet and many more – still serve as the inspiration and creative backdrop on which today’s stories are written. Yet if you ask anyone who has ever picked up one of his works, and you’ll realize that they are also amongst the most cryptic, hard to understand, and painfully slow moving stories to ever be published for mortal eyes. Almost every edition of his plays comes with explanatory notes and appendixes which actually outnumber the actual text at a ratio of about 4000 to 1. So how did someone who was so difficult to understand become so successful? We can’t quite deny that he was a great playwright and poet. But he would probably have failed all his English exams, too, because he had the habits of… 1. Not giving two cents about grammar, sentence structure and other established rules of the English language Consider this exchange by three witches right at the beginning of Macbeth: So erm…what’s a hurlyburly? Is "where the place" a typo or something? And who or what on earth is Graymalkin? And Paddock? Did Macbeth have a side hobby in F1 racing? I'm really confused now. In this short scene, Shakespeare manages to create words which don’t exist, break the conventions of grammar, and refer to unknown characters which were never properly introduced and will never again appear in the play. You know, if all of us had the luxury of being able to create words out of thin air just to say what we wanted to say, I’d expect essays to turn out something like this: Then again, who are we to say that he’s broken the rules anyway. After all, he’s Shakespeare. He practically wrote the rules. So it’s a little hard to say he didn’t follow them, but even if he did, he’d probably still not perform very well for his tests because he was also fond of… 2. Not being clear about what he means Shakespeare was either medieval England’s most accomplished tightrope walker or its most intelligent troll, because, even now, 500 years after his death, people are still arguing over what he meant. Now if you’ve ever taken an English class (yes you have), your teacher would probably have told you that you need to say clearly what you mean, instead of leaving it to the reader to second-guess what you’re trying to say. Shakespeare was probably on sick leave the day his English teacher taught this, because many of his stories have no clear ending. The literary community still doesn’t know if The Taming of the Shrew was ultimately a play sympathizing with the plight of women, or if it was just Shakespeare’s idea of an “in-your-face” to the women of his time. There are research papers being written and rewritten about it, but till this date no one is sure. It wouldn’t be so bad, though, if this uncertainty wasn’t over the MAIN THEME OF THE PLAY. It’s like he was working on the play’s ending but somehow got distracted and decided to, well, just leave it. Also, he probably missed that part where the teacher tells the class about the problems with… 3. Writing about dreams, magic and unicorns Admit it. Sometime when you were young and innocent, you wrote an epic and fantastical story about unicorns and rainbows (or castles, knights and magic swords depending on your gender), and justified everything with the words “and it was all just a dream”. You submitted it to your teacher thinking you’d probably do well and get a nice little sticker as a reward. But instead of that adhesive fix, all you got was “the real world isn’t made of dreams, little one.” Well, Shakespeare disagrees. In almost every play he has written, Shakespeare introduces us to a wonderful world of magic and mystery. There are fairies and witches and floating heads and magical reanimation potions, and some scholars even suggest that, if you look closely, you can find evidences for the Mayan apocalypse of 2012 and the Loch Ness monster (note: I made this part up). Perhaps the best example of his ultimate quest to refute every convention of composition-writing wisdom is when he decided to write a play called “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, which, incidentally, ends exactly with A FAIRY TELLING THE AUDIENCE THAT, IN THE END, IT WAS ALL A DREAM, or in other words, exactly what we were told not to do. Clearly, Shakespeare would have struggled to gain the favour of his teachers, and it was probably even more difficult because he was also fond of… 4. Having plots in which, basically, everyone dies. In fact, if you paid enough attention, you’d probably get the impression that Shakespeare was the medieval equivalent of a psychopathic sadist. That’s because whenever possible he had no use for a character any more, that character usually died. Some characters even appear and die in the same act, as if the only reason he created them in the first place was so that he could orchestrate that character’s undoing. And if that’s not enough, Shakespeare’s characters died in so many ways that his plays probably inspired final destination. But wait, what’s wrong with that? After all, everyone loves watching other people die right? There’s nothing wrong with appealing to popular taste. He was a playwright wasn’t he? Well, yes. But this also means his initial works probably sounded something like: It’s no wonder he was able to create such wonderful stories, because whenever he was done with one character, he could just conveniently kill him off and move on to bigger, better things. Add this together with how he would simply conjure up new words from nowhere, or misspell words and twist grammar to fit his favourite rhythm of iambic pentameter, and you’d realize that, honestly, it probably wasn’t very difficult for him to create something new. And here lies an interesting revelation – that when you’re already successful, you can do absolutely anything you want and people will still think it’s genius. And this brings me to the final point, not so much about why he’d fail as a literature student, but why, in fact, he could have been just slightly overrated. 5. Writing in language that’s difficult to understand and making people think that’s what works I’d first begin by qualifying that there is probably nothing wrong with this if you’re looking from the perspective of what was happening in the Elizabethan era when Shakespeare was alive. At a time when most people were too busy dying from the plague or paying taxes to knights in shining armour, the Shakespeare fan club would have comprised mostly rich and powerful aristocrats. And in that point of view, there’s nothing wrong with him taking the whole of three weeks just to describe a single scene of a play. Because what else would those rich royals have to do with their lives anyway? There was a time when it was considered good writing to make 42 allusions to 42 different things just to illustrate what you wanted to say more vividly and to make sure the reader knew just exactly how much of a literary powerhouse you were. I'm not quite sure we're still living in that time. Because, if you ask me, the best measure of good literature is not just how much it can say, but also how many people actually are enriched by it. What is the point of writing in beautifully verbose language and being able to employ over 9000 literary devices if at the end of the day, only about 5 people actually get it? In fact, Shakespeare’s works weren’t even recognized during his time. They only began to be popular and celebrated about 200 years after his death, because that was probably how long it took for people to understand just what on earth he was talking about. And if it wasn’t bad enough, people are actually getting inspired by his success and writing scores of 'beautiful literature' that only other people who actually specialize in decoding such 'beautiful literature' can understand. We start to think literature is when you don’t use words with less than five syllables and when you try your utmost best not to say directly what you mean. And when you read something like this and simply cannot understand what’s going on, instead of thinking how horrible this is, you start to think it’s because you are shallow and uneducated. While that – might – be true, it’s not always the case. That’s why no one thinks literature has any commercial value, because what we think is literature, as inspired it’s poster child William Shakespeare, really doesn’t have much of it. So, the next time your teacher penalizes you for not writing clearly, misspelling a word, or generally not caring about grammar and other established rules of the English language, find an extract from Shakespeare and show him that this is exactly what Shakespeare did. It might not do much, but at least you’ll feel better as you receiving an F for your assignment knowing how much of a literary genius you might actually be. Now the question is, if the best writer of all time would've failed his exams, does it mean he's actually a bad writer, or really that the exam formats are a little...Shakespearan?