Educated (1): handwriting

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.”

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...