What's so great about being a prefect, anyway ?

I remember back when I was in primary school, I was already known as the school pianist. Ms Low, the disciplinarian, asked me if I wanted to become a prefect. But I told her, no. Truth be told, I got horrified after noticing that prefects weren't just commanding. They were picking up stuff after the messy students, and at some occasions, where they didn't carry out their duties properly, they paid dearly for it by receiving a looooooooooooooooooooong lecture. So I told Ms Low,

"I don't want to be a prefect. Simple. Why ? They all ar, lari sini, lari sana, kutip sampah, kena marah."

Prefects were promoted from Year 3 onwards in primary school, but that didn't bother me the least bit. I did get to wear the prefects' blazer and tie and badge once - that was for a public speaking contest. Well, everyone took me for a prefect because my blazer had the word "Pengawas" on it. I just left it be. But I did my bit, more than the prefects could : I remember they had this cleanliness campaign and the cleanest class would receive a plaque of sorts. I used to go up to class at about 6-something in the morning, when no one was there, and I'd clear all the rubbish from the classes and put things back in order (if that too, meant prying under people's desks just to get their books straight), and if it was Merdeka month, I'd decorate the class with national colours. And whenever we didn't win the plaque, I got sad and started crying. All my hard work went to waste ? No, it was only later that they realised that there was one person in Year 6 doing all the cleaning work.

Then came secondary school. Apparently the prefects were given great merit points and great testimonials. And for the afternoon session, prefects were nominated at the end of Form 1 while for the morning session, prefects were nominated in the middle of Form 4. I wanted a good testimonial, but because of the kind of hell my teachers gave me for the homework backlog, I wasn't made a prefect. I wept, and one of my classmates, Sarah Yasliza, who was already made a prefect, comforted me and told me that there's more to school life than prefectship.

Now I'm in Form 4, and I wasn't even nominated for prefectship because the quota is full. I already proved my worth by doing my work on time, by helping the teachers where I could (I know I can carry a whole load of books and heavy things !), and I don't see what's so great about being a prefect. True, it gives us responsibility, the freedom to plan school functions, the ability to bond with many of the teachers, and prefects get penalised twice as harshly for breaking the school rules because they're supposed to set an example to others. But I guess Sarah was right : what's so great about being a prefect ? Some people just do it for the glamour, they feel that they have a long chain of command under them when they wear those blazers, ties, black shoes and clean white socks. Being a prefect could mean instant fame from the voting period, where the people with the majority votes become prefects - and they get all the support they can get from the rest of us.

But heck, I'm not a prefect, I'm the school pianist. I don't have to have a blazer and a tie to garner me instant fame. I'm happy because there're people who're willing to stand up for me. And whatever I do, I don't do for publicity. I love doing it.


Post a Comment