Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Math and English vs Success

There’s an article in Kompas Daily on 20 January by Samuel Mulia. He shared his thought of a billboard pictured a child with body copy “Math, English = Success”. He mentioned of how society makes a stereotype that only through those two skills, Math and English (since English is not our native language) somebody can reach their success. He mentioned how irritated he was with that stereotype.

I have to say that what he thought were true. Here, in Indonesia, I don’t know in other country, the society especially the parents have the beliefs that Math and knowledge of English, will bring a children through a better life, a way to a great carrier, to success.

I remember the discussion with some of my friends several years ago; of how proud they are just because they were from mathematical and natural science. As if the world is on their hands. The joke that they made of social studies student, the tone of voice that they used when they know that am not a mathematical and natural science when I was in my second degree.

I am not good in math when I was in second degree, especially in geometry, somewhere in my brain can not play with all the theory that has been given by my teacher. Seems that history, music, art, and language, are nicer, more logical for me at that time.

I don’t quite understand why society relate that two skills especially math as the vehicle to success. Or even worst, that somebody who’s good in Math is smart and others were dumb. How pathetic it is, especially nowadays where the technology share the successful person is not always the engineer, the accountant, the geologist. There are many successful person in this world were the painter, the writer, anthropologist, or even politician with social studies background.

Maybe if they say that through mathematical and natural science the opportunity to take a major in the university were bigger compare than social studies, I can understand. Or if they say that since English is the language where most of the people use in the world (before replace by Chinese language), so since today is the era of globalization, the opportunity were bigger compare than if we didn’t know that language, I also can understand. But if they say that through Math and English were the paths of your success, certainly I will disagree.

Success is a mark, a stamp given by the society, where the measurements were the money. While actually success were not always measure through the financial things. Success is a feeling that comes from within, because a person lived his life with passion in every single things that person does.

No one, not even a society can replace that feeling, the feeling that come from within. The feeling that comes as a result from PASSION …


Hye said...

Hello Cathara,

Hmmnnn... Having a knowledge in math or english may be one of the ingredients in having a better life... but in my country.. it is not actually important. I believe success main ingredients are passion, determination, and motivation. Knowledge in Math and English is only a plus :D

Space of Reality

Hye said...

Sorry... it should be tere... sorry for the mistake.. silly me :D

Space of Reality

snydez said...

hehe, padahal yang sukses sekarang ini banyak yang nggak ngerti math dan dan ggak bisa bahasa inggris :D

Komila said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Komila said...

Math and Enlgish can be a success for a grp of people/community, but not for whole world.

Moreover, Success varies from one individual to another, For a poor father, it may be to feed his children, For mother, it may be to raise her child, For youngman, it may be money...

For instance, to me happiness is success.. If i am happy i am successful. isnt it that easy ?

Ecky said...

There are more things than math and good in English to be a successful person.

But, define success? Is it measure by money or what? Because success can be subjective to each person though.

And I don't agree that math and English can guarantee someone's success.

Elyani said...

Hi Lalita,

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I read with great interests some of your entries here. I found this article interesting and a very accurate depiction of our society's obsession with intelligence.

When I was in senior high school, I was often asked by my math teacher, Sister Benedictus, to copy the math formula 100 times in a piece of paper. She did that to me several times as I could not give her the correct answer each time she stepped in my class. After several writing-math formula-punishments, I decided to have a few words with Sister Ben. I told her no matter how many times she forced me to copy the formula, they just won't stick in my mind because I simply hated math! And that I could not afford to live with math fear for the rest of the school term. Sister Ben turned out a very sympathetic listener despite her cruel-depicted-image given by the students. She said "Elyani, math is not something to be afraid of. I didn't ask you to score the highest but I want you to remember, whatever subject you're passionate about...math does help you to think/study better." I'd never get any higher than 6 in maths but Sister Ben's words echoing in my mind until now.

That being said, having a high IQ is important but no guarantee of success in life. Math + English surely not the only key to open the door of success.

tere616 said...

Hye : How lucky you are. Maybe because we were colonialized by Dutch before, so their view of life were different. I wish someday there's not stereotype like that.

Snydez : Ya .. buktinya pengrajin di Bali, kesuksesan mereka bukan dari Matematika dan Inggris. Setuju sekali...

Komila - Ecky : Couldn't disagree more than you. Success is subjective, it depends on that person itself.

Elyani : That was the beautiful statement I've ever heard. If the reason was through math can help a student to understand a subject much better, than I can understand. Because it teach us to think logical.