I begin this post with a remark I have read from an FB post: "Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution." This is very much what I feel these days. I'm feeling uncomfortable between my job, people's comments and what I really desire for myself. I can't stop people to say whatever they want to say but on my part, I would like to rationalise matters, solve problems if there is any. If it is about ego and power play, then I prefer to shy away and continue to do my own little things that I can do.
Also, lately I have been reading news highlight of hardship of some university students and comments surrounding the issue. Some of the comments are really uncalled for, trivialising other people's problems. The issue here is about economic hardship that the students are going through, some to the extent of limiting one's meal for a day. I asked my own son who is studying in the university if he knows any such hardship cases. He personally knew one case for which he helped out by lending some money. There are some who go commenting something like if they can afford smartphones, the students should be able to spend some money on food. Little did they know (or they don't simply care) that many academic matters can only be accessed online and smartphones (as opposed to laptops) may be the best option to take, which can doubled up as a communication device. Rather than making negative comments, it would be better if they help out some of the community programs such as the freeshop shown below or find better solutions or else be quiet.
Some perhaps the matter has been sensationalised. Perhaps so, but then so are many other things. For me, it is more of the awareness of the less fortunate.
I like to recall my own student days in Adelaide. When we were doing matriculation, I remember how little we have for our scholarship (yeah, yeah ... we should be grateful and knew others don't have such opportunity). Most of the money went into rent. Note that unlike here where many students can be crammed into a single place, we have little option but to abide by the conditions of the landlord/lady in limiting our number of sharing the place. Single heavy (own-cooked) meal and snacks is the norm and by the end of the month, we usually tighten up our belt. Cucur (fritters) whose ingredients are simply flour and salt (and possibly onions) and fried eggs are among the common food. I remember, once we do not have even flour or eggs, we simply fry onions to get by. Another memory is being scolded of using copper coins (one or two cents denomination) for bus fares, but that is all we had.
Some may comment, why not work? Well, I did try with my house-mates. Once we were collecting rubbish from gardens and lawns. I was a bit unfortunate that the employer finds me too frail to do such heavy work and I was asked not come back anymore. Like any other human, I felt hurt seeing my other housemates working while I'm not. Today, I sort of jokingly say that I was not good enough to be a garbage collector.
As we went for our undergraduate studies, I vaguely recalled that there were revisions for the amount of scholarship and it was enough for us to live a student's life. All these hardship experiences to me are valuable in shaping up a good character. If one has not experienced suffering, one would be less appreciative of all the good things that we have. On the other hand, one should uplift oneself from hardship as they maybe stumbling blocks to many other good things including the proper duty that we should be doing. I envy some of my friends who are actively involved in community projects. Perhaps their skills are there. For me, I would like to think some of the sacrifice for some academic activities (like EQuaLS) is our way of contribution to a sector of the community. I have to mention at this juncture, my thanks to my colleagues and students who have helped financially or otherwise in many of our activities.