My Ibanez JEM 777dy…finally!!!

This is my Steve Vai Ibanez JEM 777dy which I’ve bought just moments ago. For me, this guitar is worth more than what I have paid for it. Ever since I started playing guitar 10 years ago, I wanted to own a Steve Vai guitar. About 6 years ago, I saw a Steve Vai JEM 7v in a guitar shop for the first time and never have thought that I could afford one due to its price. Since I started working, everytime I get my paycheck, I always look for a cheap one of these but I’ve never found one. Until last week.

Although the one I have now is not exactly what I dreamt of having and even though it’s not brand new, I feel that this is so much better. It’s 21 years old, sounds better than a JEM7v, and it has all of my favourite colours!

I’m going to enjoy this guitar for sure but it’s not going out of the house!!!!!

Fear of death

Recently I learned that  a guy who I used to play sports with passed away due to an aneurysm on his brain. Although I was not particularly close to this person, I was taken aback by how sudden the event was. He was physically fit and there was no indications of any precursors to the event.

This story kept on playing on my mind repeatedly since I have heard it. I have heard many a time that death can come at anytime and in any form, but I never believed it until now. Knowing of my acquaintance’s death, the suicide of Robert Enke (Germany’s goalkeeper) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s (NBA Star) diagnosis of leukemia made me re-evaluate my outlook in life. I have always been cautious and have always thought more about the future than the present. But from now on, I will try and enjoy the present more and live as if every moment is my last. My aim is to go to sleep every night without any regrets about things that I did not do during the day. Avoid guilt by doing whatever I think is right and settle any disagreements with anyone before the day ends.

John and Edward: X-Factor’s biggest asset?

Whether you love them or you hate them, you have to admit that John and Edward (a.k.a.’Jedward’) are the most popular act in this year’s X-Factor finals. People all over the country talk more about these two than any other contestant in the show. Those who hate them watch the show attentively every Saturday waiting for them to screw a song up, whilst those who support them watch the show waiting for a chance to prove the critics wrong. Every Sunday, the same people watch the results show just to know whether the twins will survive or not. And (so far), survive they did, to the amazement of many.

So, are you still wondering why these guys are still on the show? As stated above, they make people watch the show, and in turn, ITV’s ratings go up, which makes the bosses at ITV happy due to the revenue. Not only do they raise ratings up, I’m pretty sure that the longer they stay in the competition, the more people will vote for other acts just to get them out, which again means more money for the show/network’s big bosses. And when Jedward finally exits the show, it will provide a cathartic feeling to most of us who dislike them, especially for those who begin to question the show’s credibility.

I for one do not like the twins simply because they cannot sing and also because I feel sorry for the other contestants who are more talented than them but got booted off before them. But then again, I will keep on saying this until people get it: X-Factor needs acts like the twins to keep the show interesting in many ways. As Hayley Restall wrote in her blog , X-Factor is NOT JUST a talent show.

SItes:

http://hayleyrestall.wordpress.com/2009/11/02/vex-factor/

xfactor.itv.com

What’s the point of going to school, sir?

As Formal Education is compulsory for children up to 16 years old (in the UK), students of this age have no choice but to attend school. This often leads them to ask their family, teachers and peers for opinions about the importance of school and whether or not education is really needed in life. This entry outlines some possible responses to the question posted above.

Knowledge

Common sense would immediately lead us to think that the reason why people go to school is to acquire knowledge. After all, basic numeric, literacy and (nowadays) ICT skills are some of the first lessons taught in school, and these are the basic requirements needed to get almost any job. But doesn’t a child first learn how to speak, read, write and count at home? Yes they do, however, it is in school where they hone their grammar skills and complex math skills.

Schools however cannot and do not teach students everything there is to know (I cannot remember a single Philosophy lesson in school during my 20+ years of education). Some argue that students will never use half of what they learn at school other than to pass their assessments. On the other hand, the varieties of lessons taught in school (I believe) are aimed to spark students’ interest in a specific subject and hope that students carry on studying it through college.

Education leads to Individual Economic Achievement

Another popular answer to the question above is that better education (often a degree level education) leads to better-paid jobs. Most parents find that education is the only way for their children to go up the socio-economic ladder. A recent study found that four years of college increases an individual’s earning by 65% (Topel, 2004). In addition, Dr. Roger W. Ferguson, the former Vice-Chairman of the Bureau of the Governors of the Federal Reserve System (USA) stated that college education was indeed one of the factors that narrow the employment gap between African-Americans and White Americans. According to him, in 2005 “the jobless rate for black adults (25 years and older) with a bachelor’s degree or higher was 3.5 percent; for white adults, the jobless rate was 2 percent”.

One might argue that having a degree does not guarantee someone a well-paid job and that not having a degree does not automatically mean low-paid job. Well-publicised examples of the second point are Sir Richard Branson and NBA superstar Lebron James, who both have no university degrees but are both earning more than the average degree-educated person. Nevertheless, not everyone has the smarts and guts of Mr. Branson, and the physique and raw talent of King James. It is a fact that a university degree does not guarantee big bucks but it almost certainly can give one a chance of earning it.

The Confucian Argument

‘Education can make you a better person by teaching you proper social skills’. This belief can be traced back to the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479 B.C.) who argued that education leads to moral development. Indeed schools teach students about respect, safe sex, negative effects of drugs and alcohol, amongst other things.

The flip side of this argument is that moral development starts and can be maintained at home. If a child’s parents taught him manners that are socially acceptable and maintained this teaching throughout his childhood, chances are, however hard his teacher reverses this, he will carry on doing so because he sees his parents doing it.

In addition, bullying in school can torment one’s life for a very long time. Nansel et al. (2004) surveyed school bullies, victims and bully-victims in 25 countries and found that bullying can lead to poor emotional and social adjustment and health problems, compared to those who did not experience bullying. Further, Brunstein-Klomek et al. (2007) found that bullying leads to high risk of depression and suicide attempts and ideation. After reading these findings, one cannot help but question whether the Confucian Argument still hold true.

What’s the verdict?

Arguments are still going on whenever this question is asked. Personally, I believe that formal education is essential but is not for everyone (specifically, further education). I am also convinced that formal education will only yield positive results if delivered properly. What do you think?

Useful links and references:

Brunstein-Klomek, A., Marrocco, F., Kleinman, M.S., Schonfeld, I.S., and Gould, M. (2007) Bullying, Depression, and Suicidality in Adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 46(1):40-49.

Nansel, T. R., Craig, W., Overpeck, M. D., Saluja, G.; Ruan, W. J., and the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Bullying Analyses Working Group (2004) Cross-national Consistency in the Relationship Between Bullying Behaviors and Psychosocial Adjustment. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 158(8):730-736.

http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/ferguson20060224a.htm

The Private and Social Values of Education (891 KB PDF),

http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000856/index.shtml

hello!

Hello blog world! This page will contain my thoughts and opinions about anything and everything that I see, hear or read. I do not claim to be an expert of anything. I just want my opinions to reach a wider audience and I feel that I can achieve this through blogging.

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