Let them eat cake

” Let them eat cake”.

A famous quote from Marie Antoinette,this flippant phrase about consuming pastry is commonly attributed to the frivolous queen in the days leading up to the French Revolution. Supposedly, she spoke these words upon hearing how the peasantry had no bread to eat. Now it is often used as an example of how there is a great divide between the rich and the poor in society.

No doubt in the meritocracy system, some would perform better than others. But when they rise up to the top, would they truly care or understand what those who are less privileged than them are going through or even try to emphathise with them? Or would they as controversial blogger, Wee Shu Min, says, wanst the rest of the people to get out of their “uncaring, elitist face”?

Last Friday, I met an ex-colleague from my salesman days in Robinsons. Here was a part of our conversation:

Me(Remember she study design as a subject): So how was your studies now?

My Friend: Not bad.. Graduating in July..

Me: Huh? I tot poly graduate in November

My Friend: Huh? But i am in ITE

Me: Huh? ITE can study such a course meh.. (Sees her face change and catch the negative meaning).. Er.. I mean i always thought …er… only poly has this course..

After stuttering on, I left abruptly, quoting an excuse that my dog wouldn’t even believe.. If you were students from good schools all the way, you would most probably understand what i mean.. Very often, we are surrounded by peers that are identical carbon copies of ourselves that we barely know how others live, not to say even understand. How then do we understand what needs they have? This is seemingly important as it is most often than not the people at the top become leaders in their own right..

I understand that the term “Elitism” has a negative connotation and most people would deny that they are elitist themselves. Similarly, people, when asked, would say that they are not homophobic/ racist/ anti- other religion.. The most common form of defense? I have gay/other races/other religion people as friends… Similarly, most uni grads from the Big 3 ( SMU,NTU,NUS) would say they are not elitist because i have “ITE friend”. But honestly said, friends are friends.. Do you truly know them well.. The example that i have quoted seems to tell me that i have not truly understood the ups and downs of others who have not gone thorugh the jc-uni route..

Another reason most commonly used was that they have experienced life’s hardships.. E.g. I have worked as a waiter/ salesman/ warehouse movers before.. Or that they have experienced backpacking before.. But in the end of the day, we have always our studies to fall on.. such jobs or experience can be endured for a certain period of time.. Frankly said, do we not say that this is only temporary and we would never do this job again?

Very often in our lives, we are constantly trying to survive and there are little room for us to consider or even observe things around us.. But once in a while, there would be a little experience that provoke me to think of whether the concept of myself is true or is it really an illusion that i have created myself…

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~ by rojakgeekiness on June 26, 2007.

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