Just to sum up what I went through in school

Being in Convent Bukit Nanas (CBN) was a roller-coaster ride - not to say that I loved every single moment of it, but I miss being in school. CBN is just like my sister - we are close to each other, we grow up together, we have catfights, as it were - but catfights, again, don't really get in the way of our relationship.

I entered Year One on 1998/01/05, clueless, and I can't believe that till today I vividly remember the day I entered school. I know that in the assembly hall they were wrongly mouthing the school song so much that I couldn't follow suit, but I followed the Ikrar pretty well. And when they were saying their prayers, I just pak turut everything. When registration came, I was put in this class called 1 Delima. It was at one end of the school. My class teacher then was Puan Rahani. And she was a motherly person - I enjoyed her classes. She was my Malay language teacher and she had a daughter named Farah Ellany (when I first heard about her, she was in kindergarten and still struggling with the spelling of words).

I remember how I used to be teased in Year One for my short hair - CBN being an all-girls school, they never heard of my real name before, and they thought I was a boy in a pinafore - so much so that they ostracised me. But with mom's help - especially for tulisan (writing) and sketching and art - I ended up among the top in the class, winning a prize for Math. I still have my first crystal plaque. And I also received this gold trophy for one of my Language Week activities. My, that made me feel proud !

Then Year Two came. I had a Kelantanese, Puan (at that time Cik) Mariani, and she was my Math teacher. I remember vividly that while reciting my 9X multiplication tables, I did, in front of the class, the hand gestures I used to help me remember my 9X tables - putting the thumb inwards meant 9X1 = 9 (there were nine open fingers at the right), putting the forefinger inwards meant 9X2 = 18 (there was one open finger at the left and eight at the right), putting the middle finger inwards meant 9X3 = 27 (two open fingers at the left and seven at the right) - and the sequence goes on, try it yourselves.

The first "catfight" began when I was in Year Two - some person by the name of Thaneswary something pushed me down the stairs. Everyone saw it. But just because that perpetrator's relative was the school gardener, they threatened to take me to justice. I relented and, not wanting to put up a fight, I apologised for something I was not wrong of. When I returned home, I poured out the whole story to mom and I even told her, "I'm very disappointed with Ms Low !" - Ms Low is one of the senior assistants in CBN 1 and the school disciplinarian. That, however, was resolved a little while later, when people realised I had a talent and passion for music. I guess Ms Low took an interest to me back then. I began to adore her.

Year Three was a good year. For some reason or other, I was moved to the Zamrud class. I sat for the Penilaian Tahap Satu (PTS) and was promoted to Year Five (I accepted the promotion), and later that year, I was taken to Sabah to perform. It was a competition - some music/cultural thingy, and KL didn't get any prizes, but well, the audience loved us ! I remember that time I was with Edelin Johanna (later a Ressonnant Inc. member) and Tee Foong Tsin. That same year, I joined the school choir.

I had no Year Four as I accepted the promotion to Year Five, and and I had some sort of a Malay homework backlog, but it wasn't so serious - anyway, I confronted the teacher and we started the showdown - if I got an A for my end-year exam, she'd let me off. And I did, and she let me off. Later that year I was torn between two performances - a choral speaking performance in the Palace of the Golden Horses for the King's instillation, and a choir/music performance in Putra World Trade Centre for the World Book Fest. I wanted to shake the Agong's hand - but I couldn't, I ultimately had to go to Putra World Trade Centre. I wept when I told mom about it, but she told me I was a star in PWTC.

Then, on came Year Six. I was moved to the Zamrud class again (imagine, every exam year they move me to Zamrud instead of Delima) and it was a rather uneventful year. I felt a little sad, though - because I had to leave. Another pianist was being trained in my place - Rebecca Ong. I knew, at that instant, that she too, was going to be a household name in CBN. There was this motivational camp for UPSR students somewhere in this Telekom ashram ; I went there, and I paid tribute to all the teachers whom I grew to know and love. Among them - Cik Heryanti, Puan Rosnah, Puan Zaiton (who was later to visit mom in hospital during the last few months of her life), Mrs Phua...... I left primary school with all A's in my UPSR - that too, owing to mom's and dad's support, and Ms Low's words of encouragement.

I went on to Form One. By the time I even set foot in secondary school, my name (the real one, of course) became a household name in primary school. Whenever it had to be something related to academics or music, my name would be mentioned. And people told me that they all saluted at the mention of my name. That was momentary of course, but I guess it was my truest moment of glory. I pretty much spoilt it later - I had a serious homework backlog problem after befriending this certain Asmira, who asked help for every single thing until I couldn't concentrate on my work. By the time book-checking season came, I didn't have much to submit. And that put me under fire from the teachers. I couldn't bring myself to tell them what kind of company I had.

At the same time, some teachers accused me of practising witchcraft (just for playing these silly number games, the stuff that kids play) - oh puhleeze, I'm a devout Catholic, and that's that. It was a dark cloud in my school life, and the teachers who actually sympathised with me were Ms Woon, my Living Skills teacher, and Mrs Lalitha Ramdas, the senior assistant for the afternoon session. Nyeah well, I proved my worth at the end of that year by being the best student.

That same year I joined the school choir, but well.... that was un-glamourous. We were the laughing-stock of the school as well as the other teams - we didn't even land a placing anywhere because the girls croaked.

Form Two came, and it was a rather un-glamourous year because nothing much happened. And I fell from grace, this was the first year that I didn't receive any prizes for my academic competence (I didn't score top marks for any particular subject, and despite being the second in the form, only the top student in the form gets it). Form Three came and went, and I still had to put up with the fact that the choirgirls croaked. But when it came to PMR, I scored well. 7A's, for the inquisitive. (I'm actually mentioning this because some people, when they say "scored well", it could mean 7C's and they're happy !)

Form Four came and things began to pick up. For starters, the school choir finally won the state finals after so long and that was my first year outside the state after Year Three ! I entered one of the Science classes - I guess I asked for trouble there because taking Additional Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and English for Science and Technology was compulsory. In the middle of the year, I failed my Add Math. I was heartbroken. But I just worked at it, and time passed by......

Form Five came, and despite the smiles I was trying to keep, I felt heartbroken inside. I knew there wasn't much to look forward to. For the first half of the year, when my class teacher was away, I had Peter Yap as a temporary teacher. And he was one of the best I've ever had. He had to leave somewhere in May. I was preparing hard for my SPM examination, and it was also my final year in the school choir. This was the year we called ourselves Ressonnant (I only added the Inc. later) and I guess it was among the best batches we've ever had. After not doing that well in the national finals, I returned to studies. Mom had an operation to remove her gallstones and fibroids in the uterus. She came out rather healthy.

I did my SPM well - the only B I got was for Add Math. I remember, the day before the results were announced, I was on the bed with mom and she asked me how well I did - I told her, maybe 11 A's ? She thought I was aiming too high. But I told her then and there, I didn't do pretty well in Add Math. True enough.

I guess I'll have to put everything behind me. Start anew. CBN is in my heart, and I love my alma mater, no doubt, but sometimes, thinking of what happened makes me cry. Memories are nice, but that's all they are - just memories. All I can do is note them down right here. But as far as this phase of life is concerned, my physical tours to CBN are over.


Post a Comment