Sunday February 3, 2013
Does status really matter?
By ALICE TONG
When you’ve reached a certain status in society, you’ll want people to think and speak to you differently.
ONCE, when I was in the local university, I had a terrible stomachache. As the toilet on the ground floor was occupied, I went up to the first floor, only to find that the door to the toilet was broken.
So, I went up to the second floor and did what I had to do. While I was washing my hands, a lecturer came in. She looked at me with despite.
“Are you a student?” she asked.
“Yes,” I answered as I took my water tumbler and put the sling on my shoulder.
“You’re not supposed to use this toilet,” she said.
“But, the toilet downstairs is full,” I answered softly.
“Full?” She asked disbelievingly and continued, “Don’t use this toilet the next time.”
I nodded, embarrassed at being reprimanded and walked away.
It was, after all, just another toilet!
To me, a toilet is a toilet. But to the lecturer, it was “The Lecturers’ Toilet” and should only be used by lecturers. That’s the difference.
I’ve since learnt that when you’ve reached a certain status in society, you’ll want people to think and speak to you differently.
Some might say, “Nah, it’s only for the ignorant. I won’t be like that.”
All I can say is, don’t be too quick to say that. When the time comes, you’ll act differently. When you’re an executive, you would want your clerk to obey you, and when you’re a manager, you would want your executives, clerks, typists and secretaries to obey your instructions and be at your mercy at all times.
It’s sad. When I was teaching in primary school, I wanted my students to treat me as their friend. I didn’t mind listening to their problems, asking them to come to my house, or joking with them as long as they were learning.
Maybe, I didn’t feel the gap then because I was just a primary school teacher. My mum said that if I managed to get to doctorate level, I would think differently.
I would want my students to respect and read my work, and refer to it in their own work. I guess if you’ve finished a doctorate, you’ll want people to greet you as Doctor rather than just mister, miss or madam.
You’ll want to be glamorous and respected. That’s status for you and that’s what makes the society of today!
Going after something ... the more, the better ....
If only each of us would give a little more love, the world would be a better place to live in. If only we are more tolerant, fights and arguments could be reduced. If only we respect each other as unique creations of God, we will learn to listen and not just talk.
As for me, I only pray that God would humble me and remind me to always think of the underprivileged.
May I not, for one day, think I’m any more superior than the rest ... I want to be remembered as someone loving, kind and tender, rather than a grumpy woman that no one likes.
Furthermore, I think it’s not what we have, but what we have been that will be remembered.
When we leave, we take nothing with us, only memories for others to cherish.