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As teenagers at the peak of curiosity and discovery, we tend to come up with weird ideas that are disturbing to some. Obscure thoughts and questions pop up in our heads. For example: “What would our brains look like on a plate?”

First rule of thumb: it’s important to not take us too literally, or seriously. This question is meant to be taken lightly. If you could translate your thoughts into a food, what would it be?


“You would be a jackfruit,” said my best friend gleefully, “because you [your opinions] are all ‘spiky’ and you sometimes strike people wrong.”


I assume she’s saying that I’m not the most politically correct person in class, but at least I have a sweet side.


I then retaliated by pointing out that sitting across of us was someone with a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs in his head. Which meant twisted and tangled-up logic with hard and unforgiving chunks of conservatism. He, of course, disagreed and chose in his turn another victim which he named an orange, then there was an apple, Swiss cheese, etc. The comparisons were endless.


Besides serving to turn a boring orientation class into something much more entertaining, this conversation made it truly obvious that we all come packaged differently. Gastronomically speaking, meatball spaghettis and jackfruits don’t really complement each other. In fact, they taste awful together. The point being, can we overcome our differences?


The Inefficiency of Language


Last week in philosophy — yes, we have philosophy in our high school curriculum, as if worrying about our own problems wasn’t enough, we now have to worry about Aristotle and Sartre’s problems — we discussed humanity’s need to live in society and its difficulty in doing so.


At the centre of the problems was language; a tool seemingly invented to ease comprehension between individuals. Yet it often complicates it. It’s the reason my whole class spent 20 minutes trying to express an idea to our teacher and also the reason why I’m sitting here banging my head against the keyboard.


“To overcome this problem, it’s important that we present our ideas with clarity and precision,” says my teacher. Even in French, a language noted for its precision, it’s often difficult to pour out one’s thoughts in the way wanted. School is meant to narrow this gap, to tame and conciliate the jackfruit and all other types of mentality, to have them exchange efficiently. But what happens when you’ve reached the end of high school and the gap still remains wide?


Can We Live With It?


Have you ever felt the frustration of not getting something across to a person you love? For instance when you’re desperate to find an answer to your problems by confiding in your parents? Collision. It so happens that they’re not from the same generation and their thoughts aren’t made of the same materials as yours. You say green, they say blue, you say apple, they say grapefruit. The scission’s already begun even before you’ve reached the legal age to move out.


The same things happen at school. Once you’re at the end of the road, they gradually stop giving you the answers because there are none, as of yet.


Suddenly you’re all alone with a communication tool that is imperfect. But hey, for what it’s worth, there’s plenty of ground to explore.

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To Thu Phuong

One of the writers of the column Student Eye, Phuong is Vietnamese born and bred. A little (in fact a lot) smaller than her classmates, her voice makes up for her size. If you’re lucky, you’ll find her sitting on a plastic stool on one of the busy sidewalks of Hanoi, feasting on local street food.

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