This student life: One more binge, then we'll start revising

The Western world is evolving to become a more caring place. Better make the most of it while it lasts.
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The Independent Culture
Summer Term, week 2 at the Manchester Student House

WHILE EVERYONE else has been working like mad, David's been off on holiday. He's just come back from two weeks in Burma where he's been visiting his family, and he's not looking forward to the prospect of revision. But it was worth it.

He went with his father to a village in south-west Burma where his father was born and later worked as a doctor. "All the villagers remembered him," he says. "We couldn't walk from A to B without somebody stopping us. I felt really privileged because as a foreigner I would never have known how to get there."

So was it a father-and-son bonding moment? "No," he laughs. "I don't think so."

But David's trip has affected him deeply. "The beauty of Burma is that it's like taking a step back 100 years, to a time before people got materialistic," says the management student. "People are simple and genuine there. They're really friendly, and it's wonderful just to experience that. I remember once walking through this village and a sweet little kid came running up to me and gave me a sunflower. It was brilliant, because he didn't expect anything back in return."

Was there anything in particular that impressed them? "Yes," he says. "They liked my hair. No one else has bottle-blond hair."

So is the budding entrepreneur and night-club promoter backtracking on his capitalist views? "I don't think there's anything wrong with capitalism, but what's wrong is someone who thinks they're better than someone else because they have more possessions," he explains. "I believe that people who work harder should get more, and that is what capitalism is about.

"I've got a theory that countries have to go through economic stages. The Western world is in this capitalist era, but we will eventually evolve to realise what's really important in life."

He thinks that the changes are already happening. "You can see it in how management practices are changing," he continues. "We know that if a manager thinks he's better than the workers and shows it, the workers are going to hate him and he'll get bad results. There are practices going on in firms now, such as single-uniform or dress-down Fridays where there is no difference between blue- and white-collar workers. And the reason there were so many strikes in the Seventies was because of bad attitudes at work. Now management is realising that things should change."

Meanwhile, Ian has returned from a geography trip and feels as if he's been on holiday. "I went to Amsterdam for a week and had a brilliant time," he says. "We went to the Heineken factory and went out every night to the bars."

He's since been keeping the Amsterdam party spirit alive. He and Dave have the same birthday, and they had a joint party last Wednesday. Dave got the chance to meet up with all his friends again and they both had a last blow-out before revision starts in earnest.

Well, last but one. Ian went out with his workmates from Revolution (the local pub, where he's a barman) and visited virtually every drinking establishment in the city.

"We store up all our tips and have staff outings," he says. "We took a camera with us", the idea being that each member of the 12-strong group of co-workers had to approach a woman and propose that the pair of them be photographed doing something suggestive.

Ian found himself a candidate aged "30 or 40 or something" and told her that he prefers a mature woman. He "got a positive reaction" and wound up in a clinch. Another lad was pictured "holding a woman's chest". However, they were all agreed on the champion.

"He went up to girl in a really short skirt and she said `I'll show you something seductive.'" The champ is now the proud owner of a photo of "her licking his face and grabbing a private part of his body". Clearly the tension of forthcoming exams is getting to the lads.





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