What does it mean to be educated?
Seven years ago I was working by a railway line in Jakarta, writing down some notes from a conversation with someone who lived there.
As I wrote, someone else leaned over my shoulder and had a look at my notes for a minute before nodding approvingly and saying: “He’s a high school graduate.”*
To my neighbour by the railway, writing – I suppose specifically writing fluently and easily, because my writing is never that neat – was the sign that I was educated.
A couple of thoughts about this:
- “Educated” is relative: in this context, simply writing was enough to earn the label;
- The signs of education are easily misinterpreted – ease with the written word was a better sign than neat handwriting, but what I was writing and how I was using it would have been far better indicators.
What does “educated” mean to you?
*“Lulusan SMA, nih.”