Remember about holistic? 🙂 I am waiting
for you in Canada,
The tattered card was stained with spots of yellowish-brown at the corner of it, the card had lost its turgidity but its intrinsic value was emblazoned at the back of my mind, rekindling the spark for me to view things with a wider and broader perspective. I held the card, scrutinised it, a sudden pang of nostalgia hit me like a truck, waves of memories unknowingly flooded my mind.
“4M, today we are going to learn about Archimedes’ Principle.” She vehemently accentuated her tone because she was a gung-ho for physics.
“First, can anyone tell me who is Archimedes?”
“The guy who discovered something when he was bathing in his bathtub.” Ning answered swiftly.
“Exactly!” As if she was astounded by Ning’s riposte, “But the whole story is more intriguing.”
31 pairs of eyes and ears were dead-locked unto her, Miss. Angeline, preferably called Miss. A, had been the best Physics teacher that we had ever encountered.
“One day, the king had instructed Archimedes to determine is his crown entirely made from pure gold, not any counterfeit gold. So, Archimedes worked out ways day and night but to no avail. As he was submerged in his bathtub to take a bath in order to cool his mind from his assignment, he realised that water was flowing out of the bathtub…”
Miss A had undoubtedly molded our rather typical Asian class, where initially nobody dared to voice out in class because we were being conservative with our thoughts, to a class where two-way education was efficaciously entrenched to enhance our learning experience. The main reason was her limitless patience and her bonhomie demeanor which radiated positive vibes to the class which made our class ever fascinating.
“…’Eureka!’ Archimedes’ exclaimed enthusiastically as if he had discovered a way to solve the king’s dilemma. He invented the eureka can to measure the volume of water displaced by an object submerged in it. The next day, he met the king and proudly showed the king his new invention. Archimedes put the king’s crown and a exact replica of the crown but made of only pure gold. The thing that astonished the king was his crown was a fraud because the volume of water displaced by his crown was way lesser than the replica.”
“So, what happened next?” I asked.
“The crown smith was executed at that instant. As you know, kings back in those days had the carte blanche to do whatever they wanted to do.”
“Poor guy…” Penndragon sighed.
“Yea… The moral of the story is to be responsible when doing your work and be astute when facing situations like Archimedes.”
“So… What exactly is the Archimedes’ Principle?” Lee asked.
“That’s the main reason I tell you guys this story… What is it?” Miss. A questioned us back.
The way of Miss. A conveying the knowledge in her varied from other teachers that I had ever thought me because her ways were authentic and used miscellaneous but easy-to-understand examples to teach us.
“Is it the volume of water displaced part?” Girlgod answered.
“Exactly. Archimedes’ Principle is defined as the buoyant force that is exerted on a body immersed in a fluid, whether fully or partially submerged, is equal to the weight of the fluid that the body displaces and it acts in the upward direction at the centre of mass of the displaced fluid.” Miss. A recited it as if she understood Physics like the back of her palm.
Apart from her excellence in teaching, she was a very good listener. As soon as her class had ended, I went to chat with her about random facts that were happening in the contemporary discoveries or some archaic Physics and Maths related topics. We usually taught each other new things when we met each other because she emphasized on learning from everybody despite of their personality.
However, I stayed for another reason, I need her advice about life. “Miss. A… Do you have spare time?”
“Sure.” She was keeping her teaching materials as she was speaking, “What do you have for me today?”
“This time is not about Science but…” I gulped anxiously because it was my first time voicing out my life problems to a teacher, it was rather outlandish, “about life.”
“Oooo… Is it about your love life?” She predicted it accurately. “Spit it out, Yang.”
Oh my God… Is she mind-reader? “But… How…” I stammered.
“I have lived longer than you. Plus, the majority of people in this phase of life cannot escape the pit of love.” She said matter-in-factly.
“So… It is this girl…”
“Who is she? Is she beautiful? Where did she study? How old is she? Tell me about her.” She interjected with a barrage of questions.
“She is Jess, a year younger than me, studies in BU3.” I took a deep breath. “Indeed, she is beautiful.”
Miss. A smiled at me. “Haha. Love.”
“Hey. You said it is inevitable.”
“I just found it funny when students every year sought for my advice every year.”
“So… It began at my holiday part-time job. Happened like magic, I just fell for her unknowingly, the feeling of being with her is… different.”
“Hold your horses.” Miss. A interrupted, “I know where this is going. However, distance is a major problem in your so-called relationship.”
“This is not a relationship yet.” I affirmed. “I can do it.”
“You sure? Many relationships like this crumpled away like a kite in the storm.”
“Miss. A… You are just discouraging me…”
“No, I’m just telling you the facts, distance is a vicious enemy for relationships, so how are you going to sustain it?”
“I chat with her intermittently.”
“Chatting… Modern relationship… ”
Yea… “You can’t say that… although I want to have…”
“Yang. I understand your condition and I wish you the best of luck. Just try to catch opportunities once they are in sight.” She took a sip of water. “What about your dream?”
“Mathematician, it is a sure thing.”
“Having a dream is a good thing. But you have a downside.”
“You put too much focus on your Maths but you neglect other things, like social, friends, other school subjects.”
“You are really observant, Miss. A.”
“Holistic. Be holistic.” She wrote the words on the whiteboard.
“An all-rounder, an individual that is good at everything.”
“This is absurd.” I muttered.
“Then how can you compare me with this word?”
She sent me speechless. Holistic. This is a good word.
Miss. A looked down at her watch, “Oh! It’s quite late now. I need to go now. Plus, in a month or so I will be heading to Canada to further my studies.”
That statement caught me off-guard, my jaw dropped.
The day came sooner than I expected, time flies, I thought. The class was rather excited but filled with unwillingness to attend Miss. A’s last lesson. Everyone took their opportunities to greet Miss. A for the one last time. Even though she was going to leave, she left every one of us with a piece of precious memento, a card which inscribed her final words for us.
“Yang, remember this word?”
Miss. A wrote them down on the piece of card.
I nodded with the savvy of this word, “Yes, Miss. A”
“Never ever give up on your dreams.” She beamed, “Most importantly…”
“Be holistic.” I continued.
“Looks like you have understood me.”
She resumed her signing of cards. Minutes passed, I was not willing to say the last thank you to her, but…
“Class stand!” Penndragon instructed.
The copious of tears were forcing their way out of my eyes.
“Thank you, Miss A!!!”
A single line of tear streamed down my cheeks, I rubbed it away, storing my composure, seeing her everglowing smile for the last time as she walked out of the lab, these days were made memorable because of her, I am very glad she came.