Occasional Inspirations

For 2014, I decided to follow some of the 365 writing prompts given by The Daily Post. Check it out. It was recommended by a turtle (Don't ask.)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Visiting Sri Lanka - Day 2: Of Schools & Children's Smiles

We visited the school today. As we rode on the one-hour ride, I fell asleep while our tour guide, Fernando explained to us a brief history of Sri Lanka. Some fun facts I managed to catch: Sri Lanka is divided into 9 provinces, and Buddhism is a major philosophy that is practised here, as Fernando puts it. The green fields made way for scattered brick houses and barren ground before we reached the school.

Fernando doesn't know why the provinces are numbered in this order.

 It was a two-storey building surrounded a few small buildings. The school only accommodate 90 students, ranging from 7-year-olds to preteens. They gathered at the science lab, where all the tables were stacked to one side. The kids smiled shyly at us, staring with awe at the people who came in adorning vibrant baju melayu and baju kurung. While we waited for the Sri Lanka Malays Association members to arrive, we started chatting with them. One boy was called Rilwan. Some of the boys were in Grade 5. They all huddled gleefully together, watching their friend play games on abangs' and akaks' phones. Their mouths widened from ear to ear for the cameras.

 I broke away from the crowd to explore more of the place. I entered the class nearest to the lab. It was a small room, with small multicoloured chairs and tables. The wall on the back was full of papers with Tamils words scrawled on them. Placed underneath were handmade telephones, which made me smile. I rarely see this back home, where all the kids their age have smartphones glues to their hands, ridding them of their imagination and fun. I walked around farther, finding classes with only 5 sets of tables and chairs.

Spending some time with the schoolchildren made me ponder. They don't have much to call their own. Their school is old and unkempt. The books are scarce. They don't have any modern gadgets. And yet they are still able to smile and have fun. They don't complain about what they're lacking. The youthful spark is burning in them. It made me think of the times I moan bout not having what I wanted, and how we would sometimes complain about our 'outdated facilities'. If there was just one thing I was able to gain from today, it is the renewed sense of appreciation I have for what I have.

Fun Fact #2: Architecture in Sri Lanka is based on astrology, according to Fernando. It's similar to how the Chinese would refer to feng shui. Sri Lankan Buddhists would usually look at the blueprints of the houses to pinpoint its good and bad signs. For instance, it is never a good thing to place a well near the window, as it would allow your fortune to slip away easily. It's a good thing Malaysian architecture isn't as fussy.

That's it from me today. Remember to always count your blessings.

The science lab.
The girls performing.
The mosque next to the school. Note the lack of a dome.

It's amazing what you can make with imagination.

U'yun & Shazwan walking with Fernando the tourist guide.

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