# 4×6 is 6×4? Are You Sure?

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Few days ago, one of Indonesian internet users posted this in his facebook wall.

After his brother’s homework has been marked really low by his teacher, this person delivered a protest. He questioned the teacher’s reasoning, and argued that 4×6 and 6×4 is the same thing. Oh really?

When we are older and we have already used to the idea that because 4×6 equals to 24, and 6×4 also equals to 24, then 4×6 and 6×4 is the same monster. That’s probably because you might have learned multiplication from memorising multiplication table, and not understanding where it came from.

Unfortunately in Bahasa Indonesia, we don’t have plural form for nouns. While in English we can simplify the question itu four SIXES and six FOURS (the same logic to five apples and two bananas), to show how many fours and how many sixes involved in the question, in Bahasa Indonesia the language does not cover that.

It is a shame that many people still don’t get it after a more elaborate explanation, and still blame the teacher for being “too” strict for a primary school students. Little that these people realised that in the later classes, the mathematical problems would be even more complex than that. Failing to understand one basic simple mathematical rule, and using memory as a shortcut could backfire to the child.

I can understand the rage. I believe that the child’s brother is a smart person. But sometimes being smart, he failed to see that his little  brother needs to know the basic first before catching up with his mathematical knowledge. After all, the teacher wasn’t scoring him based on his ability to calculate only, but also his ability to understand the flow of a process. Unfortunately, this is shared by so many people, who reposted this again and again and indirectly spread ignorance to other people.

I agree that this could probably traumatise the poor little boy, and he probably would hate mathematics for the rest of his life, but it probably could save his life too. Imagine seeing 3×1 in your medication prescription, would you take 3 tablets at once? No, because 3×1 means three times one (tablet). And imagine thinking that paying 50 times £10 for your credit card, and thinking that it would cost you the same with paying 10 times £50.

Luckily, after the teacher talked to the big brother, he finally understood that what the teacher asked was not the sum of the multiplication, but the understanding of its concept. Maybe the teacher did not explain the subject clear enough to be understood by the students.

Of course, there are many grumps and grumbles in the background saying that it is the flaw of our education system which is not allowing students to think differently and be creative. Unfortunately this is another misunderstanding by people who’s probably not working in a creative industry.

Yes creative is good. But you would have to base your creativity in something. Modernism? Surrealism? Are you drawing a cartoon? Are you adding different ingredients in your cake? Sure. Be creative, but without the basic understanding how to make Chocolate Cake, you wouldn’t know how to make Banana walnut chocolate cake with vanilla fillings and sprinkle toppings, with a scoop of ice cream next to it.

# Fix It…

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“Thank you for fixing me. Again,”

That’s what I told my husband few days ago, after I recovered from the aftermath.

It was probably the worst week I have experienced in my life time. And, I wasn’t exaggerating. Even, I could say that having a bad week, or experiencing a bad mood would be an understatement for describing my situation.

Losing Chika was probably not the first heartbreaking experience I have ever had, but I could safely say that it might be one of the most traumatic of all. I have lost people and pets that I loved in the past. My first experience of dealing with death was when my puppy died when I was 8 or 9 years old (an idiot bastard ran on her with a car). Not long after that, my grandfather died, I was probably 10 or 11 years old.

However in that age, I was probably too young to comprehend death. I knew and I could describe the experience. I can define the word itself, and probably understand what it means. But I probably haven’t got enough maturity to develop the kind of emotions to react to that. At least, the kind of emotion I felt when I lost Chika.

Other times, I just had terrible break ups, with Unyee or with the last boyfriend I had before I met Mr. Fix-It. But, break ups has never blind sided me. I was the one who decided that it was time to call it off. I was ready and well prepared. I saw the first sign, the one I had seen before — and I knew what I was going to do about it. I knew what I had to do about it. With what happened to Chika, it was just a tragedy.

I still cannot talk or discuss the detail about what happened to her, not without having a burst of strong emotion. But, this is how much I can tell you: Chika was killed in a vet malpractice. I am not sure about the law in Indonesia, but I am pretty sure if Chika was here with me in the UK, I would have sued the shit of the veterinarian, and made the vet not only lost their permit to practice, but also to lose their business, money, property, and people that they love.

Yes. I am still very angry about it. In case you haven’t noticed.

What I was going to say was…

I am so glad that I wasn’t alone when it happened. I am glad that I had Mr. Fix-It with me when I had to go through so much emotion last week. I understand that there are so many people who wouldn’t be able to understand why I shed so much tears and spend so much energy mourning a dog. But Mr. Fix-It hasn’t only been very supportive, but also been very understanding.

He understood that I might want to just curl up in the sofa, and cry, while he would just bring me a cup of tea and leave me alone. He buffered all the information coming from my sister, so I wouldn’t have to be able to deal with the aftershock. But I think what helped me the most is that he never told me what I should feel or do.

One thing I could remember the most from so many things that he said to make me feel less shitty was about embracing the grief. He told me to take the time, to do whatever I need to do, to embrace the moment, and just feeling sad — just because I was sad. He said that I don’t need to worry, or hurry. I could take it slow, without worrying that it would make him feel upset. Or fast, without feeling guilty for moving on. And for whatever I do, he would be there, and get my back.

So the day when I could walk up to him without crumbling in tears, I told him that.

“Thank you for fixing me. Again…”

He sighed and smiled. Probably he thought it was a little bit silly. But then he said:

“I wasn’t fixing you. You weren’t broken. Just slightly damaged.”