Wednesday, November 07, 2007


How silent is silent enough?

reading sminy's entry on invigilating makes me want to laugh. i had a similar experience in the same place, so i know exactly what it feels like. we guardians of peace and justice were solemnly warned that we should wear soft shoes so that we could walk quickly (but noiselessly) when delivering extra paper. this was hard, because not everyone was trained in ballet, so the same problems happened - complaints about being slow, being noisy. yes, excuse us for breathing at all.

i don't remember taking my examinations in such holy silence. in those days, air conditioning was a luxury that was never spent on examinations. we took our exams with children shouting in the neighbouring fields and noisy fans whirring. on one remarkably memorable occasion, one invigilator even forgot to tell us to start writing. of course there was h*ll to pay for later, but for some of us, justice came too late :(

so i can't helping wondering why so much importance is given to creating the PERFECT environment for examinations. of course we would like to give the children a fair chance, but really, why do external factors matter so much? i should ask, why SHOULD external factors matter so much?

frankly, no where else would ever again care so much for YOUR well being, YOUR comfort and YOUR sense of peace. in most of our lives, we are expected to perform as well as we could with people pacing around, and yes, with people breathing down our necks! the examination hall is quite an artificially protected sanctuary, and effort should be made to control the atmosphere. however, when unreasonable expectations are placed on our ability to control, i think what is displayed is just...weakness. after all, it is also one's personal responsibility to shut out distractions and concentrate. hey, even athletes from cold countries are going to have to compete in the dry summer heat of Beijing 2008, and nobody is going to try to control the climate, because it is simply not possible.

since the external cannot be controlled completely, i think the only source of stability should come from one's inner peace. isn't this part of inculcating resilience? for youths on the brink of adulthood, complaining incessantly about NOISE seems awfully childish and petty. and, nobody except the candidates is going to have to live with the results of this great endeavour.