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The Diary of Anne Ku

20 August 2000 Sunday


There is a distinct difference between asking someone "what do you do" as opposed to "who are you." My European friends perceive Americans as "doing" while they are happy to just "be."

As a graduate of the American education system, I pride myself in having many skills and having "done" many things in my life. "Been there, done that." My CV is full of tasks, job functions, projects, etc. The American system of continuous assessment meant homework and exams throughout the term. Clearly, how well you "do" depends on how much you've "done."

In Britain, I was stunned by the method of final assessment. There may be no graded assignments or exams until the final one - at the end of three years of university. On the good side, it means you can't cram. On the bad side, you could fail if you fall sick and don't do well on the final exam.

Changing my frame of mind and the essence of my existence from "doing" to "being" has not been easy. I still make daily "to do" lists, checking them off as I go along. At the end of the day, I get a great sense of satisfaction that everything on the list is checked off. What would happen if I made a "to be" list instead? It would probably go like this: be happy, be happy, be happy.




To Do List

  1. read library books
  2. read Internet World magazine
  3. read articles
  4. clean up kitchen
  5. get soya bean milk, vegetables, toilet paper
  6. clean up room
  7. sort outstanding admin
  8. play piano


To Be List

  1. active state (by listening to Orchestra Maneuvres in the Dark) to clean the kitchen
  2. cyclist (to the supermarket)
  3. scholar (while reading books)
  4. pianist
  5. internet addict (late at night)