Never too old to learn: Hirata with his Guinness World Records’ certificate of the world’s oldest graduate in Takamastu, western Japan. It took 11 years for him to complete his degree from the Kyoto University of Art and Design. — EPA
INDIVIDUALS who pursued education, regardless whether to better their career or for more knowledge, or wanting to know a little bit more than what they knew yesterday, have captivated and inspired me hugely all these years.
As one who believes in life long education, entering lecture halls for the past 30 years remains a great opportunity to better myself, not to prove I am a learned man or to add another degree to my name but rather to improve myself so as to understand our environment and the world at large a little bit better. It is also for reason I want to offer my knowledge or expertise to teach, help, equip, counsel or to be a catalyst for growth and change in organisations, the marketplace or even in the counselling room.
In the mind of everyone is the conscious desire of wanting to make a difference and to be a master of our destiny, but without knowledge to implement the steps to reach their goals, many had stagnated both physically and mentally, and in some cases, spiritually too.
Many died prematurely upon retirement as their brain is no longer active, or engaged in thinking and responding to situations.
I read of a teaching in a holy book that knowledge supercedes many things, and is far more important than acquiring wealth.
Without knowledge, a nation cannot progress but suffers and goes into decline, while society regresses to a point of painful consequences if left unchecked and unattended.
I remember a story being told of King Solomon who was asked what he would want if the Higher Being were to give him a blessing. King Solomon, in his greatness and basking in the splendour of ruling a powerful nation surrounded by unfriendly neighbours, did not ask for gold or silver, but wisdom.
Any form of education is never a waste of time and energy but an investment that brings a host of opportunities. It is also a chance to serve an organisation, society and nation at large, not necessarily for monetary returns but as a form of giving back to society what society had given him in the first place.
Education is a catalyst to bring change to our community, without which, we are trapped in the old school of thought that causes stagnation in the long run as experienced in some nations we know of.
Poverty and lost opportunities befall many Asian, African and South American countries where education is despised or ignored and deemed unimportant, while political or business agendas, as well as bread and butter issues were deemed more urgent and important.
by DR TAN ENG BEE.