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Be Humble

Nguyen Than Thuy Linh

Being humble helps your eyes see beyond your mind.

Pham Hai Yen

I wish someday my Thai is good enough to speak to aunts and uncles working laboriously in my school. I am curious to hear how their life is, how they feel about the students in this school, and are they satisfied with what they have.

The lady bowed to the floor and carefully scrubbed it with a broom, a rag, on her barefoot. Someone used up a bottle of beer and left it inside the room, having her to throw it away later. Some drops of tea stuck to the floor surface which took her 20 minutes to take it away manually. Was all this created by careless minds who are not responsible for their own disposal and hardly empathize with those workers? The cleanness and the tidiness of the space contribute to whether we work productively or not, or what? The cleaning staff, or the constructing crew should have received more respect and proper treatment – we all play different roles in society since we were born differently.

Recently I have crossed by some disabled students in Thammasat. The feeling is as inconsolable as that towards these low-paid people, in other words, it is such a pity for their circumstances. I have been always getting lost wherever I go as my spacious intelligence is not high, struggling with directions is part of my crazy journey. Some of the blind students could walk their own way within this campus, probably in other places as well, which I indeed admire. This is a sense of courage and independence, even the spirit of life conquering. I questioned my own ability of seeing and shaping a mental map, in a sense, I could survive much more easily with the inborn eyes and body than those friends. They are real heroes.

Thanks to the lecture on “human-centered architecture”, I firstly knew the meaning behind some of the signals in the streets. They are all built with tailored instructions to serve the visually-impaired so that they can follow the path safely. Though it is still a challenge, the darkness, the vagueness, and the vast of the environment among moving crowds, the heroes can confidently move forwards. Having said that, I am grateful to TU for their dedication to develop this inclusive school where people from all walks of life could raise their voice and live their dreams. I have never caught any disabled students in my previous schooling time, thus it struck me as heartfelt sorrow seeing them around, their presence gave me some inspiration to reflect on my history, and my capacity. Again, the wish to master the language, the culture grows stronger to be able to communicate with these people who might have unheard stories to tell.

Inspiring wall in Thammasat University's Learning Center

The spectrum to wander today is Curiosity. “Curiosity” acts as a weapon for me to produce blogs. Curiosity is one of 6C (Calm, Compassion, Curiosity, Commitment, Courage, Collaboration), the values of School of Gumption, the value that I am patiently nurturing and practicing. What has been interesting to me so far in most of GSSE lectures is the “What is…” questions. And this is what I am adapting to to have logical response. “What is respect?” “What is negotiation?” “What is critical thinking?” “What is citizenship?” ”What is geopolitics?” ”What is writing?” ”What is warrant?” ”What is deductive?” “What is democracy?” “What is language?” etc. This is the wealth of questions that kicks my brain to re-discover all experience in the past in order to have some explanation to the questions. Sometimes, we might be surprised of how we are stupid for not even having proper perceptions of the concepts, let alone synthesizing the understanding into words. The reason is most of the time in school, we are trained to put answers rather than raising questions, which tends to result in passive thinking process in adulthood and a habit of memorizing the knowledge instead of wondering the “What”, “Why”, or “How”. Up to now, I have reasons to conclude that “what is” questions are truly powerful to awake others aspects of the wonders. I understand further why my mentor Hai Yen has a belief in this question type, especially from the nights she stayed sleepless asking herself “What is education?” “What is success?” “What is motivation?”…a series of questions regarding her life calling.

I would love to express my great interest in the attributes of Curiosity learnt from Hai Yen.

Curiosity – Think – Observation

Observing life is different from seeing life from the surface. The act here refers to the attention to the details that we tend to take for granted. Observing is a granted ability of human since born which should be polished overtime, unfortunately it is faded away to many people due to the sole emphasis on knowledge in some period of schooling, not skills accumulation. Children have the incredible talent of observing objects, surrounding, people behaviors and that’s how we started to grow the curiosity. Gradually, the scale of observation should zoom in and out to existing solutions to problems individuals care about to consider what we could learn from them.

Curiosity – Think – Inquiry

Observation is part of education and goes along with inquiry. From the gatherings of the observing process, what comes next is questions. Questioning if there is anything wrong or reasonable in the explorative standpoints. The great idea in this attribute is to refrain our curious mind from seeking the answers. “We realize most of the time, it’s more about asking the right questions rather than giving the right answers.” Be curious to wonder the nature of ourselves, the origin of things to understand why it is present. Questioning could lift our imagination to fly further than what we think.

Curiosity – Feel – Interested

Without being interested in things, how could we feel like learning about them? Therefore, it’s important to make ourselves have a keen interest in objects. The feeling lays a foundation to embark us in a curious journey. That is why the educational system should bring in an environment where students are encouraged to explore their potentials and their area of interest. Once the area of interest is discovered, human will sooner or later find out their life fulfillment. Why the learning infrustruture in TU are built in a way, students have diverse choice to find learning corners that meet their personal interest is because our multi-potentials are valued and cherished.

Curiosity – Humble – Explore and Learn

Being humble is a great learning attitude that not only keeps our mind stay tuned but also gives us opportunities to learn from others. As long as we are humble to seek to understand ourselves and others, people would not hesitate to answer our questions. The special thing to keep in mind here is to acknowledge one’s blind spots and learn from others. Blind spots are the unknown known in the 4 quadrants of brain model, that are seen as individual belief system – the subconscious mind lying behind our behaviors. As such, being humble to listen and empathize with one another’s blind spots is a real challenge of our constant curiosity because we can be rush into asking questions before listening empathetically. Being open-minded to welcome and learn from human being no matter who people are or where they are from to listen to the beauty of their pathway. Explore to expand ourselves.

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Suddenly recall a dream I had in grade 7 (2010), in a written timetable for a new school year, I wished I could speak English fluently someday to reach out to the large world out-there. Now I am at a certain point in that dream, is it a convincing reason to go on with another language target? Things are achievable given that we stick to the goal with perseverance.

#Curiosity

#Empathy

#Explore

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