U Khin Maung (A retired diplomat)
(A dialogue between a grandson and a grandpa)
Grandson Oh, grand-pa, what are you doing?
Grandpa My dear, I’m reading a book.
Grandson Really? Grandpa, you’re too old to learn. I think. In fact, you’re in your twilight years. Why and what are you learning for? Please don’t bother yourself that much.
Grandpa Well, my kid. I believe, learning is a never-ending process. It is a life-long process. We live to learn and learn to live, so said the scholars.
Grandson Interesting. Please explain what you mean, grandpa.
Grandpa Thanks for your interest, sonny. Great scientists through their research, now claim that “brain is just like a muscle; you use it or you lose it; if you wish to keep your brain sharp, active and alert, go brain-jogging”. And furthermore, those scientists also claim that if you don’t want to suffer from dementia, senility, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, when getting old, you must go brain-jogging. It is a must.
Grandson Wonderful. Tell me please, grandpa, what do you mean by brain-jogging?
Grandpa Brain-jogging means you read, read and read, sonny. To explain it to you furthermore, I think, I can’t do any better than to brief you on what I have learnt from the famous scholars’ writings and great scientists’ research. An American writer, Mr. Norman Lewis explained it in his book entitled “Word Power made easy” as follows:
“All normal human beings are born with a powerful urge to learn. But, almost all of them lose this urge, even before they have reached maturity. The adults who lose this urge, who no longer feel that “lack of learning becomes a nuisance, stop learning, and once they stop learning, they stop growing intellectually and they stop changing. And, when and if such a time comes, then the author said, “this is perhaps the most insidious of human tragedies”. But, he added that “fortunately the process is far from irreversible. If you have lost the powerful urge to learn,” you can regain it. And if you can recapture the powerful urge to learn with which you were born,” you can go on learning. “No matter what your age”.
Grandson Oh, amazing, grandpa. Please go on.
Grandpa Sonny, after all “no educative process is ever the end, it is always the beginning of more education, more learning, more living.” So, in this “knowledge age”, we must be happy and feel honoured to belong to a constant learning society.
Grandson How can I thank you enough, my dear grandpa? Please teach me more.
Grandpa My pleasure? You are a university graduate. It means, I think, you now know how to learn. I’m just sharing my knowledge and experience with you, if I may say. You can’t be “taught” how to speak and write better English, or your own mother tongue better. You have to learn it.
Grandson Thanks a lot, grandpa.
Grandpa Now, you are a university graduate, an educated gentleman and an officer. Well, sonny, your parents have made the best, cost-effective, mutually beneficial investment in you. And mutually beneficial, I mean, to you, to your own parents, and to the society you belong. Simply put “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest”. After all, the purpose of education is to make a man more useful, more useful to himself, and more useful to others. Therefore, my dear, let’s learn and grow as the days go by. Herein, grow, I mean, intellectually. Last, but not the least, I would like to advise you, simply, sincerely and yet strongly to upgrade and update yourself through constant learning. “Your life, live it well,” my dear sonny.
Grandson Oh, grandpa, do you mean to say “to stay brainy, go brain-jogging?
Grandpa Of course, yes.
Word power made easy —Norman Lewis
A book of essential quotations — Edited by Eric Partridge
Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary — ASHORNBY
Reader’s Digest October — 2015
U Khin Maung (A retired diplomat)