Will Society Ever Learn?

On the lower floor, sir,’ was what I got from asking an assistant where the stationery section was. After searching around for some time, I finally asked the same question to an assistant who was in his place on the lower floor. This time, the answer I got was ‘upstairs’! In the end, I went home empty-handed because all the shops were closed, as it took nearly an hour of being sent back and forth from one floor to the other merely because the assistants had no knowledge about what each section in their store sold.

The incident reflects on how many Thais depreciate the importance of learning. I frequently find that people are self-confident based upon self-assumption instead of from actual data or information

Will Society Ever Learn?In the past, Thais were assumed to be ‘shy’, while the members of the newer generations are more self-confident. It is worrying, though, that their confidence does not come from real understanding. I find lots of published translation of works that are unbelievably full of mistakes – leading me to believe that the translators must be so confident in their linguistic skills that they don’t even bother to use a dictionary. I hear some people making mistakes while delivering speeches to the public just because they didn’t review beforehand. One of the most obvious examples it the plethora of false conclusions and opinions mostly made before studying the ‘facts’ found on the internet social-network, or false information given by someone who apparently knows nothing about what they’re talking about. Yesterday, the bus driver – who said he knew the way to the theater I was going – dropped me six stops away from my destination!

It saddens me to think that many Thais don’t bother to properly learn their occupations, or what they’re responsible for. I know many business directors who don’t read their conference documents beforehand and enter meetings unprepared. I experience cases where shop assistants tell me they don’t have the product I’m asking for, then I find it right there on the shelf. People scramble to get a position or a job but then are not able to learn and understand what they’re doing. It seems to be the case in very rank or position – from the managerial level right down to the shop floor.

Why don’t we start over? Starting first, form yourself? Not everyone is fortunate enough to get the best job, but whatever your job is and whether you like it or not, you will always gain something from it. The experience you get will refine your skills, which will open to you more opportunities to future occupations. Importantly, being industrious and always looking forward to learning from what you do is a good habit. If you’re doing eight hours per day at work, then you should at least gain some benefit from it.

In the novel ‘Shane’, there is a quote that has lodged in my mind since I was young – ‘What a man knows isn’t important. It’s what he is that counts.’ Yearning to learn and gaining experience can easily make you a proficient person.

If we insist on living with the same old habits, Thai society will become an entity full of information but lacking in knowledge.

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