Saturday, September 25, 2004

Old Leysian

For a very brief while, I was a student at The Leys School, Cambridge. It is a Methodist institution possessed of (frankly) quite ugly buildings in assorted stony colours, almost difficult to identify as a school at all. In that brief time (late 1980-1981), I learnt a fair bit about life, economics, pottery, first aid, self-defence, rugby, computers, Monte Carlo simulations, the Treaty of Tordesillas, Dylan Thomas, washing milk bottles, making toast on a gas toaster, Australian mathematics teachers, and the benefits (to mind, body and soul) of choral singing. I also learnt (not so nice, this) that as a Chink, no matter how good my grasp of English (spelling, grammar, syntax), I might still be treated as a second-language user of the tongue of Albion.

Actually, I suspect one of the greatest lessons of life ever taught at The Leys School was this: Lord Cromer, invited to give a speech to the boys, fixed the audience with his gaze and intoned, "Love your country, tell the truth, and don't dawdle!" In saying this, he followed the excellent British tradition of condensing national education, moral education, and practical education (don't procrastinate!) in a few short, pithy phrases.

Teach less, learn more. What a great way to live!

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