I'm going to write this blog in English today. I am currently writing this on the plane to Fukuoka. No wifi. Shame.
I have been reading newspaper and news online recently in order to obtain information and facts for the English debate circle I belong to. This made me aware of so many issues in the country and around the globe.
I have recently been struggling to be motivated -I could not find good reasons to study or do anything at all. This (stale? stalemate? Inactive, dormant) attitude was probably rooted in the illness I experienced for a long time. This illness unarmed me; stagnated me; immobilized me. This was the moment I realized that the phrase 衣食足りて礼節を知る is so wise.
But now that I am well, I wanted to find an incentive to study or take actions. Then, I remembered how I kept my motivation going back in high school. It was that there are so many people who are not even given the chance to be educated and live in low standards, while I was born into a relatively normal family with the opportunity to be fully educated. This sounds like a cliche, but there is nothing truer or purer than this belief.
When I was in Turkey, I lived in a gated compound whose residents were wealthy and liberal. However, once I step out of the area, there roamed poverty. Living standards of Turkish people are still quite low, and many people work after their primary education is over. I have had a peek at one of their schools once. Two kids crammed into one table, barely listening to their teacher. The disparity between the rich and the poor was immense.
This isn't something that's happening just overseas. In Japan, where the disparity is relatively small, there are growing number of youth suffering from poverty. Many children who were born to a poorer family tend to start working after middle or high school, because they cannot afford to go to "cram school" to get into prestigious university. This is one of the reasons why I didn't go to cram school for my university application.
Although less apparent than normal Japanese people, the children of immigrants in Japan go through the same fate. They are discriminated or cannot fit into Japanese society because of their lack of language skills, and tend to work in a terrific condition with minimum wage. They are important to us not only in contributing to the Japanese economy since the population is decreasing, but also in teaching us what diversity means and why it matters.
It is impossible for me to just give these people money and education. But, I can learn many things, become important in the future, and be involved in making these people's lives better, whether through proposing relevant policies as a government official or working with those people in business. My parents pay so much to get me educated. I must never waste this opportunity and do my best in everything I do because what I am given is special, and not everyone can have it. This is what motivates me to focus on studying and to live the best version of myself everyday. I do think it's important to sometimes play and have fun, but I always try to be conscious about why I am doing what I am doing. This mindset makes me realize so many things I worry about in life are trivial and meaningless compared to the big picture. I am going to learn a lot about politics and economics, no matter how difficult they are, for me to be able to become directly engaged to all the problems the human kind is facing right now.