Mr A was my GP tuition teacher. He was a bit eccentric — I found him weird on the very first lesson. Which was expected, given that the friend who recommended him warned me that he could come off as a very peculiar person but that I would get used to it, like how she did. He had really huge eyes. Now I wouldn’t call him peculiar; that would be too insulting for a fine, decent and intellectual man like him. Quirky would be the apt description. I really enjoyed his lessons, so much that I miss them a lot. Mostly he just rattled off, often using flawless language and sophisticated vocabulary in his speech. He’d spent much of his youth in Britain, you see. And no, he didn’t digress much. What I admire in his teaching is that he objectively presented different points of views and uncovered all the stakeholders’ agenda, before asking us to write a simple paragraph on that particular topic. The merit in this was that he wasn’t imposing his views on us — he gave us all objective information, and then let us think independently. He educated us effortlessly; I’d never thought I would be so intrigued and inspired by GP topics. He made his lessons really interesting by just explaining and elaborating. Sometimes he added anecdotes. This tuition was so joyful to attend and I’d never enjoyed learning as much as then. (I sound like a nerd sorry. No actually why do I have to be sorry wtf)
His anecdotes were sometimes amusing, sometimes ghastly and sometimes inspiring. There was a lesson when he somehow was explaining about utopia (I forgot what led him there) and he shared with us what his ideal life was. It was something like sitting on freshly-mown grass with his wife, kids and his Labrador Retriever running around them. He also said he wanted it to be when he just cared about his loved ones (those above) and not having to worry about the cruel, horrifying world. I could not help myself then; I snickered. The scene was just so amusing to me as I found it super adorable. Idk if he saw my half-suppressed laughter I really hoped he didn’t. He must find me very weird to be so easily amused like that.
He was a harsh teacher though. Nearer to our exam period he made us super stressed by criticising our work. I knew he was being overly-critical to push us further. He taught us about the hurt sentiment before — how those who accept criticism, put their emotions aside, respect others’ foe and acknowledge their flaws (and work on them) are matured thinkers. Well… his words nearer to As were really abrasive I feel. Luckily for me I was one of his best students so he really had to scrutinise my work to find flaws. And when he couldn’t find any… he would either encourage me or say something like “I want your future pieces to be like this. Flawless. Not like the previous ones I read earlier. Pls be consistent.” I had no qualms about his criticism whatsoever; I wanted it, even.
Criticism is a reward. On certain terms. If both parties have a consensual understanding that criticism has a practical ultimate purpose — to benefit all, to be a better person (though the notion of a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ person is really moot to me), the hurt sentiment can be put aside, albeit being a seeming hindrance. The critic has to have the genuine intention of helping the one criticised, or else imo he/she is a complete intolerant, abrasive, intrusive and insensitive arsehole. Such people often believe in superiority of their own kind (in terms of religion, personalities, gender, beliefs, etc) and cannot embrace others. They’re chauvinists and exclusivists, to put it simple. “It’s my way or the highway”, pretty much sums up such people’s attitude.
I digressed. Sorry. But I just had to bring this up as I really despise some of my country’s people. Some of them have too much ego that the hurt sentiment can in no way be provoked (sorry your loss then, y’all can’t be helped like that. plus it shows how immature y’all are). Also, exclusivists criticise for the sake of asserting their dominance and intolerance of others. So not cool. What we desperately need in this world is more inclusion.
And yes, I miss you Mr A. You’ll be a better father than mine.