Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Laptops banned during classes in US unis

Facebook has been one of the tremendous sources of distraction for students during their lessons. They are tempted to go on it instead of diligently taking notes on their laptops, as the lecturer speaks. Is there thus a problem with the banning of laptops?

I am glad that some unis and lecturers have actually implemented this. What is wrong with taking notes using pen and paper? Personal handwriting is very telling of a person's personality and is an expression of elegant beauty in its strokes and curls. Granted, paper is wasted and trees are cut down to be made into paper. The reason why this method has to be resumed is really because the students themselves are at fault. They choose to do the wrong things instead of focusing on what the lessons require. I do not blame a professor who destroyed a student's laptop as a warning to the rest. I think he had probably been driven to the edge.

A 20-year-old student gave the excuse of the lecturers being unable to comprehend the importance of technology to the students. That is a poor one. I am glad she has been proven wrong by a professor who carried out a study on the grades of students who flit between these distractions and the taking of notes during their lessons. Their grades were really low. Also, I am glad that there are students who understand the reason behind the ban. They acknowledge the right of the lecturers to implement it and the importance of education to the students.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Crime fiction - input leads to a desire for output

I was having a whale of a time today at Borders, Parkway Parade. I went to the crime/thriller section to look at the books. That was the second time I checked them out in detail ever since I started on them in Kinokuniya, Bangkok.

A flow of thoughts assailed my mind as I did that. I wondered how I got started on crime fiction and realised that it had been implanted in me when I discovered Famous Five and Secret Seven books as a child. Then I went on to Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries, which I still do read :) Those earlier fiction preferences have influenced my present ones.

I have discovered so many gems in the section of those two bookshops. There are crime cases chronicled in the setting of food outlets or craft shops, amongst others. Other cases are based on the protaganist's job, for example, an antique collector or a food writer. Even literary writers have been 'misused' to be admired anew as detectives. There are books portraying Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen as mystery solvers. It would be an experience reading their logical musings, despite the fact that the thoughts are fictional in nature, instead of solely their literary thoughts.

I could not resist buying a book with Pride and Prejudice's signature couple, the Darcys, as its main characters. The plot does not exclude their strong love for each other and even includes characters from Austen's other novels. It goes on to make the mystery paranormal by having an element of the supernatural within it.

I then toyed with the idea of writing my own crime series. I started thinking of possible settings to place my cases in. What about a singles' or a book club? The daunting aspects came into my mind too. The length of a novella is too long for me and so I thought of short stories within a novel, similar to Arthur Conan Doyle's books on Sherlock Holmes.

My mind then recalled the personal ambition I have: to publish a book of poetry by the age of 40. I had decided to give it up a few years back due to the fact that I felt that some of the poems were too personal and I could not include them. With this, the remaining poems would be too few. With this catalyst from the crime fiction I read, I now feel that it would be a waste to give up on this dream. If I feel a certain topic is too personal, I can expand my horizons to include others in my range of poetry. After all, anything around us can spark off creative musings. Therefore, I think I will focus more on my poetry than on this new idea.

I ended off my stream-of-consciousness with the desire to leave a legacy of such formalized literary output for people when I have gone back to my true home. It is not to show off my creativity but to share it with them. I am aware that this is probably uttered by the existing authors in the market and so there is an element of being cliched within it. However, I will leave it to my readers to judge the degree of sincerity it entails. Through it all, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. There are so many things to do in life. I do hope I can fulfill this desire...