Made a regular trip to the land of Instagram. I saw pictures.

Duh… it is Instagram.

I was scrolling and scrolling. Not that I thought Instagram was boring, but over the time it felt a little bit dull. My circle of friends has a relatively high density of Malaysian students studying abroad, most of them with scholarships offered by the government through various kind of agencies. These are all students with merit-based scholarships, the kind that you would expect gold nuggets would come out from their thinking cubicle.

But why I was thinking that these guys had no gold nuggets to offer?

I saw pictures of my friends (and acquaintances) traveling to great historical places, and those bizarre looking hundred years old-ish building. I saw them having fun. Okay let’s look at the caption. Why I was seeing nothing? Because all I got from there was a short sentence barely descriptive like “having fun at the Berlin’s wall”, with a tiled picture of selfie selfie selfie…

… with occasional duck face. Wow that lipstick is so daring. I should leave a comment “my crayon has that kind of color intensity but I know from my chemistry class that plumbum is a potential carcinogen”, a subtle way to say this picture is a cancer to my eyes.

Never mind them. Let’s continue scrolling. Maybe we might find something useful.

I found pictures of my friends having a great brain-opening conference, the kind that medulla oblongata (the region that controls involuntary action in our brain) could do nothing but moan at the amount of information that has the propensity to propel one’s life towards betterment, or an economics conference that offers the mind-boggling perspective exchange of how economics should work to give better incentive to the working-class citizen.

But, again, what I could sift from this?

A picture. Just a picture. Or, to be specific, how the hell they had this Instagram mobile interface in the form of big card, and then they uploaded this picture to Instagram and again just a short descriptive caption “had fun at Changing the Way how to Run This World 2015”, and… and…

I could go on and on, be a jerk, for the whole day ranting about this new normality but let’s stop here for a while, and please give me ample space to conclude my short essay.

Equipped with curiosity I asked them, “wow that La Sagrada Familia has the look of towering might with its astounding architecture. Is there any story behind this church, because it looks like it has story to tell, worth being bounded into a fine book, has the quality of a good bedtime story.”

“Mmm… I don’t know its story but can’t you see this picture?! It is really cool and splendid and seeing it makes your mouth watering unbeknownst to your conscious self until your friend uploaded to Instagram your picture with saliva dripping from your mouth.”

I wanted to facepalm myself with a history textbook, but to do that I needed to go to library to borrow a history textbook but since too much energy required for such feat I grabbed my iPad, googled the word history textbook, and facepalmed myself with my iPad. That’s a little bit faster, and efficient.

I didn’t ask “why liquid nitrogen glides on the floor like a skateboard oh it must be the Leidenfrost effect can you explain about Leidenfrost effect to me?”, but my question was simple. I just wanted to know the historical value of that building, and in this age everyone can be smart by spending less than 5 minutes on Wikipedia everyday. It is funny. We are living in the century with keyboard and screen are ubiquitous, computing equipments that are no longer regarded as luxurious.

Once a friend said “I am not trying to be a jerk, but most Malaysian students are pro DSLR users once they got the chance to study abroad, and the Instagram is flooded with great pictures, but sadly those pictures only extol the value of nothingness, bearing no significant meaning for us here in Malaysia”.

A part of me regrets having this privilege to study abroad, because it apparently comes with a package “go traveling, shoot good pictures, upload to Instagram, and let the followers know how epic your life is”. I am trusted with thousands of money, thanks to the taxpayers, but I can’t properly reciprocate even a tiny fraction. It goes against the law of equivalent exchange.