Opinion editorials, reviews and personal essays
By Kenneth Shu
Over the past few weeks, lunch lines have seemingly gotten longer and longer. More so than often, many of us find ourselves waiting in line for more than 20 minutes just to obtain our food. It wasn’t like this before. It was much more manageable then; we weren’t spending a third of lunch waiting to get lunch. So what happened? Why have the lunch lines gotten longer?
It’s because of one thing. The freshmen.
As part of Dr. Lee’s emphasis on building communalism, the administration chose to incorporate the freshman into the high school cafeteria, rather than the elementary cafeteria they were previously assigned in. As result, a logistical nightmare was born. The high school cafeteria, before the freshmen invasion, could barely sustain all the upperclassmen combined. With this new addition of some 100 to 150 people—which doubled the cafeteria occupancy—came an issue of space and distribution. Like the issue of overpopulation, it all boils down to a discussion of sustainability. Can the high school cafeteria sustain the freshmen, or can it not?
To understand the question we must consider this in three perspectives, one of the upperclassmen, one of the other of the freshmen, and that of the administration.
For the upperclassmen it is all about a matter of convenience. Most of us just want our food and peace during the meager few minutes allotted to us during lunch, so standing in excruciatingly long lines or having to find new spaces to sit isn’t that far from our list of dreadful irritants.
For the freshmen, it is all about status. Being in the high school cafeteria gives them a sense of maturity and distinction--that they are no longer a group of isolated juveniles. To them it is a sense of gratuitous validation to be in the high school cafeteria, and to dine with the rest of the high school.
For the administration, the entire question rests on the notion of building communalism. In a general sense, combining high school into a single cafeteria seems to achieve this. Yet conflict has seemingly arose due to the prolonged difficulties of this decision. Whether that conflict promotes factionalism and hostilities between the freshmen and upperclassmen, or unifies them in a single growing contempt against the administration, is still an ambiguous question.
So thereby exists a conundrum. Should communalism and validation triumph over convenience and efficiency, or vice versa? Evaluating the situation in materialistic sense, it appears so that reverting back to the previous status quo is beneficial to all groups as everyone gets enjoy their lunch conveniently, and administration receives less criticism from inconvenience that is caused. However with an idealistic approach, it stands that the emasculating notion of being contained in the elementary cafeteria for the freshmen, and the reduced sense of communalism, could be a bit cumbersome on its own.
Whether such notions change will largely depend on any future events that may alter such a conviction. But as of yet the lines still remain long, and many groups are still displeased with this unexpected inconvenience.
Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of Pudong Press.