We all have them.
Friends and acquaintances who are so talented and must have accomplished so much and shown such promise that they have been singled out time and again to receive one plush fellowship or another.
You know them. They are the ones that pop up in your timeline proclaiming they feel so “humbled” to be selected for such fellowships, then proceed to bombard you with photos of the hallowed halls of influence and scholarship they’ve been sent to and the beautiful super smart people they’ve met.
At first we feel very happy for them, to be recognised for their contributions and being sent out on fellowships so they may learn of developments in their field by others in other countries.
Presumably, this would open their eyes give them new insights with which to come home and put new ideas into practice for the benefit of recipients of their cause.
So we like their posts when they so generously share on social media the great times they had and the illustrious people they meet.
Then they come home and before you know it, they are on yet another fellowship again. And again with barely a year’s hiatus in between.
Which makes you wonder,
About the institutions dishing out these fellowships. Is Indonesia so thin on talent and worthy people that the same people keep being selected all the time?
About the recipients themselves. Where do they find time to put their new learnings and insights to work if they are busy going form one fellowship to the next?
Unspun recently had conversations with his friends and and we tried to analyse what these recipients do after their initial spurt of productivity that saw them establishing causes, movements and organisations for the public good. Out conclusion was that we couldn’t see how their fellowships had benefitted their causes.
In fact, in some instances, we felt that their causes had suffered from neglect because their founders/main movers were too busy traveling father fellowships.
We counted a couple of serial fellows who must have gone on three or four fellowships over the past five years.
There comes a point in life when anything, even the best intentioned ones involving very talented people, become ridiculous.