Monday, March 21, 2011

Cheating 101

So, today I had an interesting Lao/English conversation with a friend that went something like this: (M= Me, L=Lao friend who will remain anonymous for obvious reasons)

L= Guess what? Today I got a copy of my test from my friend who works at the photocopy shop!! (She could barely get the words out between giggles and smiles and sheer excitement.)

M= WHAT?! How did that happen?

L= My teacher went to the photocopy shop where my friend works to make copies of our upcoming test. My friend knew I was in the class, so she made an extra copy and hid it for me. And I am the only one in my class who has this copy. (Said in a way that communicates she feels like the luckiest person alive.)

M= That is not good! You really should study for your test so you know the information.

L= Hee, hee, hee. Giggle, giggle. (Literally almost jumping up and down.)

M= Are you going to make more copies for your class?

L= Yes, of course. (I'm sure this was a dumb question. Lao people help each other out in every way imaginable- this would be no exception. It would be worse to cheat alone than to not help your classmates cheat too.)

M= That is cheating. Wow, this is really bad. (Not sure how to respond to such a culturally accepted practice accept not condone it.)

L= Can you believe it? I got the answers to the test!!

M= What if your teacher finds out? Aren't you afraid of that? (Desperately looking for SOME way to address this that seems logical to me and her).

L= Oh, yes. I can be punished if she finds out. I am afraid. But it is the teacher's fault. She wasn't more careful when she copied the test.

M= I think you should study for your test and learn the information. (My friend wants to be a pharmacist in the future... and she is SUPER smart and I totally believe she can study and take this test. But now I'm worried I might stumble into her pharmacy some day and get the wrong prescription.)

L= Giggle, Giggle. I got the answers to the test! (Still can't get over her good fortune.)

M= Wow, um, ok, I think I need to go now... (Really at a loss...)

*Cheating is considered totally acceptable in this culture.
*I'm not a cultural expert, but I think if you tell someone they are wrong (or make them feel that way)- it would put a big barrier between the two of you. Hm, I guess that probably would happen in most any culture. Would it be better to push the issue and possibly damage our relationship, or keep the door open for future talks about the Father?

Really, I'd like to know some thoughts from you blog readers.


David and Kristi said...

Suzy, I have no idea. Completely at a loss with how she responded. My only advice is PRAY!!!! I will be praying, too!

Janet said...

Wow, what a cunundrum!!! I'm not smart enough to figure it out. Haha! Definitely pray!

Beth said...

I'm slow to read blogs this week, but I gotta tell you, I have no idea. Your conversation reflects, sadly, the same ones taking place in the US at the high school level. Cheating has become something normal and is widely accepted among teens as an okay thing. Perhaps you can write a follow up to this post so I can see how you handle it in order to see if it helps me? :) Praying for you, friend!

Anonymous said...

You say she is "super smart"??
How could she be if she is from Laos?

Honey, don't waste your life trying to reform these useless trashy people.