Pencil Box

4 11 2010

No matter the time of day, young Korean student hopefuls can be seen walking, running, iPod plugged, to and from the various schools and academies they are obligated to attend. School uniforms in varied shades of blue and gray are a mandatory and traditional part of their education experience. All things being equal: the boys in pants, the girls in notoriously short skirts and stockings. Often in Korea, even hair cuts are strictly enforced, to reiterate the intentions of the institution: distractions from education will not be tolerated. So to express their individuality, something suppressed socially and culturally, the students have placed high regard on one of  few possessions parents acknowledge as necessary. To know and understand the pencil box of a Korean student, is to know and understand the student. To see the interior of the shiny tin or fabric container, is to marvel at the greatness the student will someday achieve. To reflect in the light of a rainbow of pens, pencils and highlighters, one ponders: what Scantron reads periwinkle? Inside, neon sticky Post-it Notes of all shapes and sizes; the safest means of communication during a lecture on Greek Mythology. Wite-out fluid ready, repaired for grammatical catastrophe. Perfection, an ideal kept promised  inside the different styles of: The Simpson, Harry Potter, Nike, Luis Vuitton knock-off,  Wonder Girls, the pencil box. The manifestation of academic excellence that urges them to be distracted; rummage through its shallow cavern during a silent reading period, the pencil box. And when it falls to the floor, brushed off the edge a tiny wood desk, the silence is deafening, as the student frantically stands in the middle of class discussion to rescue the spilled guts of a dear friend, the pencil box.

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3 responses

4 11 2010
Kathie

Even in forced conformity, non-conformity lives. Great read, Whit. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

4 11 2010
whitneybutler

Thank you for reading it! 🙂

4 11 2010
Michele

I have to say, I’m so impressed Whittlez! It’s endearing how the little ones strive for some form of individuality, some way to show their true colors through anything; a pencil box! Needless to say.. Punk isn’t dead 😉

*highfives to the class*

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