Elite Universities? No Please…

An acquaintance of mine who’s studying at UCL right now sent me this link recently:

Elite Universities: A Clash of Cultures and Cutlery

A most apt heading for a blog entry. It seems to me the identity of any one elite-wannabe can be exposed immediately through his table manners, and I’m obliged to say that I’m currently trying my best to avoid all table affairs at the university, out of fear that one day, my identity will come clear. One set of cutlery is all that I can manage at the table.

It wasn’t my intention to join the elites, and in fact, I didn’t have much inkling of an idea that Durham University is an elite university. What does it mean to be an elite then? In my opinion, ‘elite’ means differently in different countries. In Singapore, it refers to the group of students whose parents can afford the  school fees, as well as a car (and time) to drive them to school, these schools being those which are usually situated in town or within its vicinity (and which oftentimes inherit a very famous forefather’s name). Undoubtedly, the intellect of these students are highly valued.

Right here in Durham, there is only one university, and everyone who studies at the university is an elite. Am I intelligent? Somebody please affirm that. Is the university famous? It is, for the right and wrong reasons. Am I rich? Certainly not.

Of course, I came here knowing that the Archaeology department is one of the best in the UK, but I have no calculated intent to become an elite. I’ve never been on the same side of the front line with them anyway. It is therefore a sad thing to hear about rock throwing incidents at the university, at ‘elites’ by ‘non-elites’. The police and college representatives have been (constantly) cautioning students to be on their toes while walking towards the campus because there have been many reported cases of people throwing things (like axes!) out of their cars. I really don’t see anything wrong with wanting to learn more in life, except that we are spending too much time on other research than finding a way to rectify the definition of ‘elites’.

Human beings have an indubitable way of distinguishing themselves from others, haven’t they?

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