Walk past the main entrance on a typical school day and you will catch sight of swarms of ISB high school students and waimai (food delivery) services. You’ll see the students pull out their buzzing phones and say, “你好，您到了吗？(Hello, are you here?)” cautiously. You’ll see the piles of Avocado Tree bags one single waimai person has, and watch him frantically dialing all the numbers as fast as he can. You’ll even see the students turn to their friends and roll their eyes, exasperated that their waimai is a solid six minutes late—who wants to waste precious time and risk being late to mentoring?
It’s safe to say that us high school students may have a waimai problem.
But is it even a problem? If it is a problem, how big could it possibly be?
Sure, you’ll occasionally see students run out of class, their phone flashing with calls from unknown numbers. You’ll see them creeping back into class with a cup of coffee, boba, or maybe even a roujiamo, hoping that their teacher won’t call them out for it. Other times, you can hear murmurs throughout the classroom as friends will turn to each other with a knowing look. “What are we getting today?” Minutes later, it’s safe to bet that one person is ordering for another two people, keeping their phones concealed as best they can from the teacher.
But despite our best efforts, it doesn’t always go unnoticed.
So many teachers have complained (and rightfully so) about students disappearing from class to “go to the bathroom” and coming back with lunch from McDonalds. So many have complained about phone usage and how waimai apps have just worsened student distraction exponentially.
But in this day and age, as we do “work” on our laptops, we have so many potential distractions available- that waimai essentially becomes nothing-. Whether it be the streams of WeChat messages popping up in the background or the YouTube vlogs a mere click away, we’re always going to be able to find something that will entertain us—an excuse to not work on the project due next class.
Placing a waimai order takes less than five minutes, essentially the equivalent to a conversation gone off-topic between a friendly teacher and student. Yet the act of ordering lunch is seen as a horrendous crime when, in reality, it changes nothing. Never have I ever heard of anybody scrolling through different restaurants for over 15 minutes like I would with Instagram or any other social media platform.
The development of technology means that our phones will serve as distractions at times. However, they are also useful tools. In this case, waimai is certainly not a distraction, but a tool that is commonly misinterpreted as one.
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