Sunday 5 November 2006

To Teachers Who Help Practice Obscurantism

Teachers in Vietnam are honoured to have a celebration day each year called November 20th. As a matter of fact, I wonder if this is an honour. Realities have shown us that if some occupation is widely celebrated in Vietnam, there are chances that those who practice it are poor. You may have seen how hard life is for doctors and teachers who specialize in their profession, clinging to state budget instead of going around, doing their own business. Doctors’ Day is February 27th, and Teachers’ Day falls on November 20th. I believe they are likely to feel some proud on their day.  But they must have witnessed the bitter fact that while the society never celebrates aviculture, people in this trade are surely better-off.

The more an occupation is celebrated, the less likely it is that people holding that occupation are well paid by the society.  This nonsensical theory maintains its truth even on a larger scale. If we put the poetry praises for men and women on a scale, we would see immediately that women are celebrated so much more than men. The word ‘beauty’  is clearly used to imply ‘women,’ and almost everybody applies the word ‘beautiful’ to women (and at times, scenery) rather than to men. Ironically enough, women, the muse and the inspiration for men, have always lived a harder life than men.

So, despite all praises a society like ours dedicates to teachers, their life is hard. And I say this as a “prelude” to a strong attack that will follow. As D. A. Clarke said in her 1983 speech, “The natural female body, we are told in one breath, is the loveliest thing around… that’s the tone in which we are told this; and in the next breath we are ordered to starve ourselves, watch how we dress and mind our manners-because, after all, the natural woman is loud, fat, hairy, smelly and UGLY,” I would say,

"Vietnamese teachers are those who deserve praises more than anyone else. They are silent fighters in the battle against ignorance. By freeing us from ignorance, they are those who teach us how to live as a man (not as a woman!)… and I say this because that’s the tone in which we are told this."

And in the next breath I would say they are the state’s right-hand in practicing obscurantism. They teach boys to live as men, and girls as women, yes, always these creatures. They teach us all, men and women, to be humble, to erase from our mind all critical thinking and, after all, to live as they did in their time.

“Hey, teachers, leave us alone.” Did any of us dare to speak this out?

Next post: More on this subject.