Wednesday, November 28, 2007
"It is 3 o'clock," the invigilator boomed in an unusually sepulchral tone. "Please put down your pens. If caught writing, you will be deemed to have cheated, and will face expulsion from the university."
Obediently, pens clattered onto table tops; faces turned up expectantly, as one and all counted down to the exit from the frigid hall.
On my right, a girl scribbled on busily. I eyed her quietly, wondering if I'd do the same in her situation. Probably would; five words tops, because I'm gutless. She, however, went on for another twenty seconds.
Later, the invigilator refused to collect her answer scripts. "I saw you still writing," he said. She put up a poor defence -- her protests were weak, untrue, and she obviously didn't believe them herself.
After all the scripts were collected, he came back wielding a pair of scissors. "Cut out the pages to that question," he demanded tacitly. Not having much of a choice, she complied, though as she stalked out later, I saw her press the cut-outs to her face angrily, before leaving them on her table in the rapidly emptying hall.