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Keith Tse

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Chance/luck

I have mentioned several times before that it is impossible to predict one’s fortune, and no matter how hard one tries, there are always external contingencies that will play a critical, if not determining, role in deciding whether you get what you want or not. This is indeed a source of frustration, disappointment and anguish in events of defeat and loss but also a great source of joy and happiness when we land on results that we never expected to. When I did my GCSEs, it was a pretty nerve-racking experience but very rewarding indeed. I was informed by my school that I had written the best coursework in my Buddhism module for Religious Studies (RS) and that my coursework was published by my exam board as specimen material for future use. I was totally stunned and incredulous but also a bit embarrassed since there was a little story behind my coursework which nearly costed me. I did not have a laptop at school, which made it slightly inconvenient for me to process my work electronically. I did most of my assignments by hand with relatively few problems, but for RS our teacher insisted that we submit our work in electronic format. I hence used the public computers in our school computer rooms and stored all my drafts on my public account, which was not necessarily safe since there had been incidents of hacking and loss of data (some carried out by students even) but I trusted our school technicians enough to deposit my work in my computer account. When it came to submitting my Buddhism coursework, there was a little drama. I had been working late the night before submission and had saved my last and final draft just before curfew at 2300. When I printed off my coursework the following morning, I discovered that the copy I had printed was not the final draft that I had prepared but a previous version. This caused panic, since I had done some significant modifications to my final draft and could not really submit an older, less refined version. I hence rushed to the technician’s office and asked for help. He immediately did a rapid and thorough search through the IT system and after about an hour or so (I had sought permission to leave class to do this, as it was very important) we managed to retrieve the file from some random and obscure location in the school system. Apparently, the IT system renewed itself at the end of each night and since I had worked till late the previous night, my last saved file was not saved to my account but was somehow left in the public domain of temporary files waiting to be recycled and permanently deleted. The technician told me that I was very lucky to retrieve this and that in this type of situation he would count one in a million to find the file in time. I hence duly printed it off and handed it the final version of my coursework. A few months later I was told that this troubled draft of mine was ranked best coursework in the country in my year and was published as specimen material for educational and publication purposes (I wonder whether I can still find it, since I have no idea what I wrote then and would quite like to read it again…!). I almost lost this piece of work by the margin of a hair, but this amazing piece of luck turned out to be quite significant and took me further than I could ever have imagined. I can only accept my luck and acknowledge that it was my lucky day/year. Very funny indeed.

#reminiscence #success #paradox #childhood #motivation #life

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© Keith Tse (2015-) 

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London, United Kingdom