Let’s take a break from Loyola and go on a picnic. Let’s read what others have written about their schooling.
Here are two I liked, for different reasons.
Orwell is an author I’ve enjoyed reading. I loved Animal Farm and often return to “Politics and the English Language”. When I ploughed through his essay attacking St Cyprian’s School, I did not take an instant liking to it. The tone was so negative that I felt I should read Cyril Connolly’s positive recollections of the same school.
But why I list Orwell here is probably because he has done what I have not dared to: he has gone public. Now, you won’t catch me always singing hallelujah to Loyola, but I shy away from presenting (what I feel is) the ugh-liest side. As a blogger, that’s a dilemma I face. If I hear about corruption or paedophilia in a bygone era, should I investigate and if true, publish about it in this blog on Loyola history? Forget the school. Should I publish a story about a Loyolite whose extraordinariness lies in his current misfortune or notoriety? Even when the writer in me wants to probe and publish, the editor in me is too green to weigh the merits and demerits. Maybe I should learn from Orwell who knew his article to be libelous; it was published in the US only after Orwell’s death, and in the UK, even later — after the villains died.
Thomas Friedman’s piece, in contrast, is a feel-good story that will evoke memories of Loyola. It is as American as Orwell’s is British. But that’s not why I bring it to your attention.
For Loyola bloggers, Friedman’s article is an example of how to write a polished recollection of one’s school or teacher. For students in Loyola, it shows the potential of LENS and the need to re-ignite the paper. For the rest, the essay is a steady flight to a higher plane — of gratitude, excellence and responsibility.