The E.T. (Extracurricular) Trend

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*This note only portrays the author’s own opinion and does not convey anything other than that. Any affiliations that the author has do not necessarily have the same opinion, as the author himself. The author himself knows that his information might or might not be true, thus do not acknowledge the credibility of this article.*
Revision 2: Thursday, July 21st, 2016. Originally published as a note on the author’s Facebook profile.
[Vietnamese Translation Below]
About three to four years ago from now, when you say you’re joining an extracurricular club (EC), people would reply with a skeptic glare and a smirk that is wider than the Grand Canyon because you are supposed to focus on your studies and likely to abandon everything else. Now, with the changes in popular mindsets that extracurricular activities will prepare you for the future work environment and help to practice teamwork and build connections that will come to be beneficial one day, the same group of people will encourage you to join clubs and ECs in order to gain just that. Recent years have seen a major increase in the number of ECs. They have been so apparent that they have become annoyingly ubiquitous. Everywhere on social media, you can see an endless stream of advertisement for these ECs. Some of them are founded and run many years before this note is written and they have my deepest appreciation, while others, having founded so recently and disbanded ever so recently, they can have my wildest enmity.
Unlike those of the former, these newly created sons and daughters are less in enthusiasm and passion, more on the achievements and bragging rights. These groups of people have created a gnome army of ECs just to serve themselves and their purpose of self-recognition. They have bypassed the very reasons these ECs exist in the first place. As the number of ECs increases, down go the quality and commitment that the latter born ECs receive. During recent years, the number of ECs has increased almost exponentially. However, if one is observant, one can see that these natal ECs’ lifespans last only a few months at most half a year. These ECs pose a destructive force to everyone who is involved in this matter of extracurricular activities.
There are many ways in which the preexisting can be affected. For starters, the ECs could lower the quality of every existing EC as a whole since they need to pull good human resources from the latter, making the latter lack in key personnel. As you might have encountered, one person can work for many ECs at the same time. But you also know from scientific researches that multi-tasking is something that is destructive to both the neurological well-being and work efficiency. The effect could also lead to people having a grim look and a misconception of how ECs work and the value ECs stand for. The mentioned effect could bring every EC’s standard down because fewer talented people, especially youngsters, will be joining in the future due to ECs damaged reputation. In a brief manner, the problems that ‘instant noodle’ ECs might bring are, but not necessarily limited to: decreases in personnel quality as a whole, giving other legitimate ECs bad rep and preventing potential members from joining.
For someone who is in his/her right minds would see, these premature ECs can be called instant noodles. Why would I choose ‘instant noodle’ to refer to the aforementioned ECs? It is not a misnomer, let me tell you that. Because of the nature of these ECs – fast to create and fast to decay, I shall use the phrase ‘instant noodle’. In contrast to the advertised purposes on social media, like for charity and youth empowerment et cetera et cetera, they actually live up to the advertisement but only for a couple of internal meetings and then panic ensues.
Due to the quick nature of its birth, the instant noodle ECs need to assemble an organizing team as soon as possible in order to have something to execute before the college deadline comes to an end. Due to that very reason, ECs are now strenuously trying to pull human resources. This action either directly or indirectly contributes to the degradation of the members themselves, as they have to ride on two bandwagons at the same time.
The team members themselves quickly lose their interests in carrying out the tasks and organizing public events to maintain the popularity heat of that EC. The reason being that they only do for a CV brush up rather than actually doing it with passion and wholeheartedness. They lack the sense of bonding and the will to keep pushing the EC further. After all, what they’re aiming for is just the title ‘Founder of abcxyz’. Although the matter is not true all the time, still, in a brighter broader vista, we can definitely see that there are still credible ECs that show professionalism and passion in their lines of work.
Extracurricular Clubs are lucrative activities by the youths and for the youths. However, when it is on that level of lucrativeness, a group of people cannot help but become abusive of ECs. All in all, everything is valuable if we put our hearts into it, while anything is just a facade if it is built on the ulterior motives. I once sat down with my friends and joked that we should build an EC Generator website. So when people are going to found an instant-noodle EC, they can come to our site.
End note: I do not mean to downplay or cast abhorrence upon any individual. My sole purpose of this article is to raise awareness and to convince people that the experience, the journey, and the passion are what matter more than a brush up in their names.
Thank you.
Shout out to 3 friends who joined me for lunch after a fundraising day for giving me this idea.
Shout out to a Lan Phuong who chatted with me and encouraged me to take on this note.
HCMC, Thursday, July 21st, 2016
Appendix:
EC: Extracurricular Clubs
Instant-noodle EC(s): ECs that are fast to compose and fast to decompose. Much like instant-noodle, it is great to cease the hunger but does not satisfy the appetite.
Sorry to let you down with the featured image but this post has nothing to do with Japan (which has great EC initiations by the way)
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The translation will be blunt and metaphors/analogies will not be as accurate as the original English version. Please refer to the original in case of misunderstanding.
Khoảng ba đến bốn năm trước đây, khi bạn kể về việc tham gia một hoạt động ngoại khoá (EA) hay câu lạc bộ ngoại khoá (EC), người nghe trả lời vô mặt bạn một ánh nhìn đầy nghi vấn và một cái nhếch mép còn rộng hơn cả Grand Canyon. Bởi vì trước đó, mọi người cho rằng, cái việc duy nhất mà bạn cần làm ở độ tuổi đấy là tập trung vào học và chỉ học mà thôi, quan tâm đến những thứ khác làm gì. Bây giờ, khi cái quan niệm ấy thay đổi, họ nhận ra rằng EA sẽ giúp việc bước vào môi trường làm việc suôn sẻ và giúp xây dựng tinh thần cộng đồng và cầu nối giữa các mối quan hệ có ích trong tương lai. Chính nhóm người ấy bây giờ sẽ khuyến khích bạn tham gia vào các EA/EC để có thể hưởng được những phúc lợi ấy.
Những năm gần đây, số lương ECs tăng nhanh đến chóng mặt. ECs có mặt khắp mọi nơi đến nỗi chúng quá phổ biến một cách khó chịu. Ở tất cả mọi nơi trên khắp muôn trùng mạng xã hội (MXH), ta dễ dàng bắt gặp những luồng ads (quảng cáo) cho các ECs. Có thể nói ví von như thế này: ở đâu có MXH, ở đó có ECs. Xin dành sự trân trọng đối với 1 phần các ECs trên được thành lập và đã hoạt động cách đây lâu rồi, trong khi những ECs khác, được thành lập gần đây và cũng tan rã gần đây sẽ không có được sự trân trọng từ tác giả của bài note này.
(To be further translated)