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A Rainy Day

It rained the whole of yesterday and a little of today. It is an almost surreal sight to see Tucson overcast for an entire day, the sunlight never touching the ground. Thousands and thousands of multi-coloured raincoats trudging in the downpour. Truly a sight to behold.
My heart bleeds tonight. It is as if what I thought I escaped came back to haunt me. What did I escape? I escaped the rigid and inflexible education system Singapore offered in my time. I used to have discussions with teachers about literature texts when I was in secondary school and it was usually a fruitful time. I remember being told to follow the herd when it came to the exams. It was the "safe thing to do", so they told me. I refused, wanting to make my point heard. In most cases, it was a good and valid point. Just that it wasn't the usual train of thought. Most of my classmates were pretty happy memorising what they could to get the grades they wanted. And they did. I, on the other hand, studied what I wanted to, choosing to pay attention to what was interesting to me. I paid a price. They made it to the local university and I didn't. Though resigned, I am still a little sore when I think of what I could have done with my love for literature had I obtained the grades through the "safe" way.
How has this come back to haunt me? For my "Eroticism and Love in the Middle Ages" class, we are required to subscribe to a listserv, which is basically an email list where we can discuss text and exchange views. Being in the "land of the free" where one's viewpoints were heard and contemplated over gave me an incredible high. Here I could speak my mind freely and not have to pay the price of lower academic grades.
I have come to post to the listserv on a constant basis, often typing out long emails discussing the text, and inviting others to do so. Some of the recipients emailed me back to thank me for the discussion and new perspectives. It was wonderful. Until today. A wave of students have taken to bashing me via email. They claimed I wrote novels on emails, and that they had better things to receive in their mailboxes. A girl accused me of thinking every text we read is about masturbations, when I only brought the topic up on one piece that did remarkably seem so. Many others joined in.
The one that hurt the most came from a girl who first wrote in an email, "Is this guy for real?" I emailed her back via the listserv to clarify if it were an offensive statement. She replied "Oh I didn't mean to be mean!" I was very happy for I thought I had found a new friend, or at least another who appreciated academic discourse. I mailed her back, thanking her for her clarification, and that I took no offense. However, when the wave of hate mail came in, I saw her reply to one of them, "Great mail!!!! You put him in his place!!!!!!!" I sat there stunned. Shocked. Betrayed.
I could take criticism. I could dismiss small minds who thought that academic discussions were a waste of time. But somehow this betrayal hit home. Indeed, there is nothing worse than being betrayed by a friend, and our Lord was made to suffer for it. I am not comparing myself to Him, but now I know how He felt.
Do not worry, for all of you who are. I am fine. I have to bear in mind that these are teenagers. Didn't I use to say things I didn't mean back then? Oh well. At least it gives me something to write about, doesn't it?

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