Inequality is written in stoneSeptember 21, 2016

My new travel mates were quite impressed at my knowledge of the tourist spots in Melaka, prompting one of them to ask me if I visited this metropolis in the past. Of course not. Malaysia wasn't part of the itinerary, as I originally planned to get tanned and drunk in Ao Nang. I was all by myself, as my housemates explored the island of Java. We agreed to meet in Singapore, and then we would decide on our next destination. I thought the islands in the Andaman Sea would be enough, but I became restless after a week. I don't have anything to lose if I would travel the Malay Peninsula by bus.

I didn't tell my mates that Dad was once based in this part of the world. He would travel from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur (and vice versa) during the weekday, which piqued my curiosity. Didn't he ever got tired from the hours of traveling? It turned out that the highway (connecting Singapore and Kuala Lumpur) was one of the best main roads I've seen, and the bus seats reminded me of the couch in the living room. Rubber trees would hug the highway, which put me to sleep. I would imagine the tales that my father told me, researching on it for hours. The younger me would fail on my 11-plus, which made me cry on a number of occasions. Mum, who happened to teach kids not far from where we lived, thought I had potential. She was working on her Ph. D., which somehow inspired me to do my best in homework.

I would describe myself as a late bloomer, as my grades these last few years would thrill my parents. I never thought that Mum's patience would pay off. I developed a zeal in learning new information, especially in geography. At this point, I couldn't tell if I would pursue a Ph. D. Traveling would be a different kind of learning, albeit a fun way of gaining knowledge of the world. But I failed miserably on my first day in Melaka. The sky had hues of red and blue, while light was slowing fading. And then the birds flew above the Dutch Square. A local from the Post Office gave me the local name of the bird, but I forgot it. I was good in memorizing names, and I blamed this one on the street foot in Chinatown.

When good local schools become grammars

I wouldn't deny that I was one of those lucky laddies who could afford a private school. It gave me confidence in handling assignments, as well as the coursework later on. I also have a mother who had an academic career. I couldn't say the same thing to the other students, which would make inequality cast in stone. I don't know if it would be best to invest in good local schools at a young age, but there must be an interest in learning. After all, this is a lifelong process.

As my mates and I were walking farther from the Dutch Square, I noticed the cobbled street and the cemented road meet near the remains of a Portuguese fort. This would mark Malacca, the name of the city during the colonial era, and modern-day Melaka. My mates didn't notice it, but I could tell that they were getting bored of sightseeing. This might be a good time to take the river cruise.

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