The Person That Impresses Me Most


If there is someone who has made me rethink about our education, which molds our society today, it would be the hobo I met in Chung-Li Train Station last Sunday.

While I was waiting for my bus in line as other students did, a man, obviously drunken, crawlingly stumbled along from afar. He finally found himself a yellow seat and threw himself into it, and that was when I saw his face.

Underneath his oil-stained red hat, his gray hair grew like hay. He had an oily face, rather dark, and mustache’s stubble around his chin. His black jacket was old, and so were his pants. Both of them looked formal, but he awkwardly wore a pair of plastic slippers on his feet. He seemed tired. Sleepy and exhausted, he had drunken so much that I could smell of alcohol that mixed with gasoline in the air from several meters away. He lay weakly on a yellow seat with a plastic bag full of empty cans and bottles and started to twist his body as if he had been an uncomfortable new-born butterfly trying to get out of his pupa. All of a sudden he stopped. Light brown liquid poured down from his crotch like a steadily streaming river, streaming along his lap to the seat and then fell down on his black plastic slippers. He trembled and soon fell into a sound sleep with heavy breath. There were about 30 people waiting in line, but he was just so invisible that none moved on to him, including myself.

I know his jacket is made of nylon, a kind of artificial fiber. I know alcohol’s chemical formula is C2H5OH, which means that it is a chemical compound of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen; I know if there is too much leukocyte inside your urine, it suggests you are sick; I know citizens under age 18 cannot taste liquor; I know his brainstem was controlling his heavy breath; and I know the man shivered because he was probably cold; yet none of my knowledge enabled me to approach the poor man and make him feel better.

It has been three days since I saw the man. Even now I still feel ashamed when thinking that I could not even move a single finger to help when I consciously saw him clumsily reach for his hat falling on the ground, yet fail. This image keeps haunting me whenever I see our future rulers switching their iPods on and off and complaining over foods or dorm room facilities. I keep wondering, “If the knowledge our education has offered us students aims to make the world a better place, how come the scene makes me feel so powerless, feeling our future is not so promising because our knowledge cannot help us do any right thing to make such man feel better?”

In the 18th century, Herbert Spencer once said, “The aim of education is not knowledge but action.” Now I understand. After all, it requires action taken, rather than knowledge gained, to make the world a better place. Hundreds years have passed, yet have we learned the lesson?


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