A reflective rant on how myopic, petty concerns can be crippling in more ways than one. And no, not just for law students.
Yesterday my class was notified that our exams next month would be conducted at our new campus.
I found this to be glorious news: the new venue is close to an LRT station, holds more than one basement floor of parking space (heavenly in this vehicle-congested-city we live in), and is constructed with newer and more spacious rooms.
My glee was short-lived, however, as a few of my coursemates lamented at the prospect. Among the (rather astonishing) reasons given on our Facebook group were these:-
1. I don’t know how to get there.
2. We have a new campus?
3. We’ll surely have transport problems!
4. You should have told us earlier in the month or something.
Our exams are next month. Not tomorrow or the week after. I stared at these complaints in utter disbelief, because:-
1. We live in and boast about our modern era with the latest gadgets and technology. We have Google maps, exam dockets including a map to the venue, smartphones, apps to teach us how to become smarter while using our smartphones… This campus is located in a very strategic part of a vital suburb. How is not knowing how to get there a valid excuse?
2. This was so downright baffling, I had to grip my chair for support. Our college has an extensive reach in terms of marketing, and may well be acknowledged as the best advertised law school in Malaysia. We’re the “Nation’s No. 1 Law School”, after all. This new campus with its stellar facilities would of course – and certainly has been – a prime feature in its advertising. New campus? Why, yes, we have one!
3. Now now, let’s not harbour such narrow-mindedness. At the moment, students are already complaining about transportation and infrequent shuttle bus services in Brickfields. Can’t something be worked out for commute to the new place? Is it not conveniently located near an LRT station? Do the new facilities and the fact that we finally have a ‘proper’ campus not trump your transport woes? Ah, perhaps I wouldn’t be in the best position to comment on this as I have a car and do drive regularly – although that is mostly because I travel 22km (two ways = 44km) to fetch my brother to school almost every day. Transport problems?
4. Are you preparing for a journey to Pluto?! Do we still rely on telegram to convey our messages, so that being informed by a few weeks’ difference would detrimentally affect us? As many have observed and grumbled, our current building hasn’t got enough room to accommodate all of us. We complain when we get classrooms we don’t like, when the air conditioning isn’t working at its best, when the room is overcrowded because there are too many students… and now complain about having to make a strenuous effort to get to our lovely new campus?!
This poses the question: are law students specially entitled?
I single out law students, because by some strange pull of legal-schmegal gravity, we seem to be the ones complaining most often on the technical aspects of any issue. This is an observation I’ve made after being exposed to several different disciplines in different universities, and it cannot be said that I am prejudiced against the cantankerous nature of law students because I am one myself. (See what I did there?)
Over and above these whinges of dissatisfaction, I think an underlying problem is that of attitude – of being so comfortably snuggled in our ‘familiar’ zones that we refuse to budge even when brighter opportunities leap at our door. This isn’t an unfortunate condition exclusive to students of the law (although some may prefer to think of it as justified indignation, because we enrolled in law school to voice our rights and fight inequality, didn’t we?), but reflective of the wider Malaysian demographic.
We complain about the government, the education system, expensive housing, pricey cars, the rising cost of living, and the list goes on. Come this 13th General Election, some folks refuse to vote because “it won’t make a difference anyway”. Thereafter they carry on complaining, whoever gets elected. I am not so naive to imagine that one single act of voting would magically transform our nation into a bed of roses where everything is lovely.
The crux of the matter is that you look beyond yourselves, look ahead of you and quite frankly – suck it up.** ‘Katak bawah tempurung’ has never resonated so well with me as it has on this point.
There has been too much griping and too little doing. Alternatively, you could do nothing but spare everybody your grumbling.
As for the few of my coursemates who have somewhat sensibly apologised, I wish you all the best with your exams. If you might be so inclined, do checkout UndiMsia! and MyConsti and Forum Suara Mahasiswa – platforms which may (and I dare say I guarantee) enrich your time as a law student and the important role you have amongst society in your future undertakings.
As for all fellow Malaysians – and my coursemates too, of course – do come for Ceramah #POLITIKO (the coolest, newest and only Malaysian political card game – didntcha know?!) this Sunday at Palate Palette!
** I promise I am not being crude. It’s what my momma told us (and still occasionally does) in jest whenever we whined on frivolous matters while growing up.