Studying at Starbucks


There she was – as this pic snapped by my BlackBerry shows – seated comfortably at a table, shoes kicked off, feet propped on another chair. A third chair holding a huge bag of books, table strewn with more books, a laptop (plugged to an electrical outlet to the wall), an iPhone, papers, pens and other stationery.

This was lunchtime at a Starbucks in Bangkok recently. She was studying, with earphones plugged in her ear – she and a few others similarly entrenched seemed oblivious to the lunch time crowd looking for a place to sit in this busy Starbucks store.

It’s the same in Singapore – at various coffee outlets, students buy one drink and plonk themselves down all day.

Yup, they are thick skinned enough to do this and shameless enough – they will graduate, occupy top jobs, even run governments but they will never grow up. They will forever have the EQ of kids.

A wise man once said “if you really want to study, you can do it even in a pig sty or a chicken coop using candlelight.”

By the flickering flames of cheap altar candles, that man when he was a teenager, worked in the day and studied at night among the smelly pigs and chickens on his parents’ farm – and made a success of his life and the lives of his descendants.

I know. He is my dad.

He’s 78 this year.

In his time, he didn’t need Starbucks, a laptop, a MP3 player, an iPhone or air conditioning.

And he was able to study.

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