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You Just Gotta Love Indians

November 15, 2009

I was having a lunch date with Natasha (!!:D) at Miyake’s a couple of days ago and we were discussing Indians (she’s one, but she’s a ABI: American-born Indian).

Well, essentially, for those who haven’t been through the American education system, one thing you realize when you come from an Asian classroom [when no one asks questions for the fear of looking stupid in front of everyone and preferring instead to lock oneself up in your bedroom and ponder over the question for years on end OR talk to your teacher after class (my preferred method)] to an American classroom when everyone talks before thinking and Professors cheerily enthuse, “Good question!” even when it’s a reeeeally dumb question (happens very, very often.).

Natasha says it’s because everyone has been taught that ‘no question is stupid’ since they were young. I think we back in Singapore were taught that too but we probably had snider teachers and snider classmates who were always ready to cut you down if your question bordered on the ‘ZOMG ARE YOU EFFING TARDED’ scale. Unlike here. And to be honest, since I’ve came to America, I have lowered my question-asking standards. BS is the way to go, really. Just as long as you talk to the Prof. But I digress.

So in my Multiple Regressions class, there are a few guys who are constantly on a roll of asking inane questions on all 3 days we meet a week. Like the kind when you really want to slap them around a bit and go, “Hey man, the Prof said that 20 seconds ago and you are asking it. Are you kidding me??’ One of them is a Latino who is a bloody ass-kisser from the first semester I’ve known him. He seems to be really rude to people he thinks are FOBs (fresh off the boats i.e International students) or not as popular. Plus he’s the ultimate braggart. He kind of looks like a chimpanzee, no exaggeration. And his questions always have me rolling my eyes at them, I’m so afraid they’ll get stuck in that position if this class were more than a semester. Okay, for example, we had an equation:

Y= B0X1 + B1X2 + u

We had been dealing with this since Day 1 of the class. Somewhere in the later part of the semester, he asked the prof: “So… X1 and X2 are like the coefficients right?” WHAT?!!?! Seriously, my math is kind of bad but like, duuuude. Middle school math? How did you come to Cornell?

Anyway, so our Prof is a really nice Stanford dude who willingly takes all these dumb questions without flinching (AMAZING). But one day, he couldn’t make it to class and the Indian (born and bred) TA took over.

Another guy asked a really dumb question about exogeneity, which bore absolutely no relevance to the topic at hand. And the Indian TA ftw-ly bellowed (I swear!):

“What are you talking about exogeneity for? We are not even dealing with exogeneity here. Why are you always asking these kinds of irrelevant questions? This really PISSES ME OFF YOU KNOW!”

The whole class were stunned into shocked silence, basically because all of their years in American schooling, they probably haven’t received feedback that their questions are dumb (seeing that they’re Cornell kids, even less likely). Then people started laughing at the absurdity of the situation.

To be honest, I felt a bubbling sense of satisfaction. It was about time these kids got a check on their questions.

You gotta love those Indians.

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