Don’t Let Anyone Tell You You Can’t Do Something

Everyday we go to school we are faced with challenges inside ant outside the bounds of the classroom that it often becomes overwhelming. We've discussed many things on this page but we've never discussed the potential each one of us possesses, this is because our potential is insurmountable. Often we forget that we are smarter, stronger and more capable than what we are allowing ourselves to believe.

 Below please find a piece posted in Personal development by Ilka Flood. this piece serves as that reminder of the strength you posses and your ability to acquire knowledge against all odds.

If you want something bad enough … go get it!

When I was in grade school in Germany I wanted to take an English language class that was offered as an extra curriculum class. (Back then English and French weren’t part of the curriculum like they are now.) The Beatles just started to get real popular and I wanted to understand what they were singing. Since I had to have the permission of my teacher to take that class I went to ask her if she would allow me to go. Here’s what she told me, “Ilka,” she said, “I’m sorry but I can’t give you permission to take that class. Your grades in German are so bad you will never make it. You’ll never learn English. You can’t even speak German properly.” (Well, who at the age of 10 really does?)

I was crushed. Twice a week my friends would take “Walter & Connie” classes and I couldn’t go with them. So I saved up the money for the audio lessons – they came in the old 45 records back then – and taught myself. After I had the basics down I started translating Beatles songs with the help of a dictionary. And after that, I bought every English language book I could find in the bookstores of my hometown. I looked up the words I didn’t know in my dictionary and just kept going.  With each and every book I got better. That teacher couldn’t stop me. I was bound and determined to learn English … and I did! What’s funny is, that years later when I met my husband (he was stationed in my hometown), he had me spell-check his letters to his mom before he mailed them home.

An open letter to Judge Edwin Cameron from Spud

South African author John van de Ruit's book Spud changed the fiction publishing in South Africa. Many of you may have read this book and even more of you may have seen the movie.

 After Constitutional court Judge Edwin Cameron wrote a letter to Spud-the movie's producer, Ross Garland, would you believe it, Spud, the actual character from the book wrote a response to the Judge.

Dear Justice Cameron

I have never written to a judge before and I must admit that I am rather nervous about doing so, especially to one as decorated and widely respected as you. Wombat, my grandmother, forbade me to respond to your open letter to Ross Garland and the subsequent newspaper reports because she said if I made a cock-up or any silly spelling mistakes you could get me hanged. (I think it’s now only Wombat left who thinks the death penalty is still in operation here.)

Unfortunately, I then saw the headline of the Daily News: “Spud endangers gays – Judge”
The article was faxed to me by a triumphant Boggo eight seconds after it was published. Boggo clearly hadn’t followed what you were saying in your letter because he squawked down the phone, “Hah! Always knew you were gay, Spuddy!”
When I tried to inform the idiot that there was a vast gulf between homophobia and homosexuality he sniggered and hung up. I don’t think he’ll ever get it.
Anyway, after numerous false starts to this letter I decided to consult Reverend Bishop, who grew instantly pale and told me that responding to you in writing would be akin to David taking on Goliath. Unfortunately, I’ve never been one to throw stones and since Mad Dog was expelled, I don’t even have access to a decent slingshot. So if these sentences strike you as lacking in intellectual rigour or as the mere ramblings of an inconsequential young lad, please cast them aside and think no further on them nor me. Better still, you could pretend that I am not even real and that I only exist in the imaginations of deranged people.

Let me first begin with a sincere apology on behalf of The Guv for his insensitive treatment of lesbians and gays in his English class. I agree that the term “rogering lesbians” was totally uncalled for and that our English teacher deserved finger tongs (or worse) for his poor form and obvious intolerance. (There’s probably a good chance that The Guv was drunk at the time and he was most probably showing off like he always does with his bizarre references and shocking opinions.) Remember he’s a cranky guy and often strange sentences pour out of his mouth. He frequently uses the word “rogering” like in first year when I was a still a spud and he advised me to “Roger the entire chorus line before the end of the month.” I don’t like his occasional bigotry, or his heavy drinking, but he has still changed the way that I look at the world around me. It’s tempting to say that I shouldn’t have written that offensive statement down in my diary and then it never would have reached the screenplay and now the papers. I could have simply replaced it with a line as tame as a sleepy orange house cat. But that would not have been my true account.
Like you, I also enjoyed the film but had one major reservation that also kept me awake at night. It wasn’t the homophobia, or the sexism, or the racism, or the scene when I had my balls polished. It wasn’t even the examples of statutory rape which Eve repeatedly deals out to Rambo (this despite Rambo greatly enjoying them). Nor was it when The Guv made me drink alcohol at age 13 and filled my head with the notion that life is absurd and insane and that we are all poor players in some never-ending Kafkaesque farce. What really drove me bonkers was that the character of myself was played by a blue-eyed Australian! I mean, if that isn’t a low blow, what is? Not that I’m xenophobic, mind you; it’s just that ever since Shane Warne, I just don’t like Australians that much.

I guess the point I’m making is that it would probably be impossible to read any of my diaries or watch Mr Garland’s film without being slightly offended by something or other if you feel really strongly about that particular cause or standpoint. Seeing other people laughing at something personal and serious to oneself is difficult, like when people repeatedly mocked my late development and its nasty repercussions. My limited experience of life is that many people say offensive things, like Rambo, who deliberately tries to antagonise people with his verbal abuse and ultra cool demeanour. You mentioned the word “faggotism”. I guarantee that you won’t find that word in any dictionary because Rambo made it up to look cool and have power over us because the word was his. I don’t like the word either and would never have thought to use it myself, but I still wrote it down because he said it and I was there and the moment happened before my very eyes. I don’t think Rambo accused Vern of “fagottism” by lazy accident. He said that word specifically to demean and humiliate Vern for stealing everybody’s underpants. For that in my experience is the way that boys humiliate each other.

I do apologise if this letter seems in any way immature or insincere or if it offends or irritates you further. That is not my intention. I also apologise for the offence that my words caused and I don’t argue that you have the right to voice your offence about the Spud movie. I once read that honesty trumps guile every time, and if I’m being honest, then I’m really sorry that you didn’t invite Mr Garland, whom you know to be an intelligent, generous and talented man, around for a fragrant coffee and discuss this issue with him face to face. If that bastard Sparerib hadn’t caught me running to dinner yesterday and given me a month’s detention, I would have loved to have been there, too, for what I would imagine could have been an excellent discussion.

Thank you again for your time and I hope to meet you someday – just not in
Best regards
Spud Milton
Senior Dorm

Reading opens our minds to new ideas and creates a new understanding of our surroundings. I hope each one of you get to read the book but if not I do hope you are able to see the movie so you too can comment on issues of relevance.

Support : Copyright © 2011. Just a Man Writing - All Rights Reserved
Proudly powered by Blogger