Saturday, April 10, 2010

High School Stories

In my free time, I like to look at the collection of “Photos of You” on Facebook, even though I’ve quite memorized every pose and every caption. Because I know, one of the things old acquaintances would do before deciding to add me, would be to check out my pictures. Thus, I want those pictures to not be deceiving of who I am, and was.
And if anyone ever went through all my pictures, clicking next after next of my Party-In-The-USA pictures, they would surely stop at pictures of me in a blue uniform and compare that to who I am today. That was me in school. That is the me I want to be every day. Yet I could not, because to be that Syaza, I need the right place, time, and most importantly, the right people with me.

Sometimes I think of those kids who go to school just to go to school and wonder what they think of those years now. Of course it’d be wrong of me to judge them because I bet if I asked them now, they’ll definitely have lists and lists of things they did in school that are memorable to them. Even the nerdiest of them all surely did something. Every school is a drama in the making, and no student is left out from the storyline. But even in those high school dramas we watch, there will always be those teacher’s pets that want to be on the good side of authority. Nothing wrong with that, of course! Except…it’s just five years, loosen up a bit!

Five years. That’s all we have as students in Malaysia to be in secondary school. Five years is sure not that long. Five years is just a blink in time. I’m glad I realized that early on. Well, not really. I was actually the boring kid that sat at the back of class the first two years of high school. But after I’ve lost a decade and a half to past memories, I purposely decided to make the next three years a time to remember.

My favorite act in school? Bringing a broken frame of a three-seater to class. I remember the day clearly in my mind. I was doing my thing – taking advantage of my power as a prefect and dragging my best friend around the school compound even after the bell had rang – when I found a rattan frame at the back of the ‘Kemahiran Hidup’ lab. I said to Shila we could use this in class. Oh she wasn’t up to it at first. I said listen, even if you don’t approve, you know I’ll just get the guys to help me. So finally she agreed and we laughed all the way as I called the guys to help me bring the frame from the back of school all the way to the other end of the third floor - to our class. When my mum came for the parent-teacher meeting, she was shocked to find my dad’s blanket at the back of my class. Well I have to take care of it, don’t I? Shila on the other hand, I remember, begged a teacher to give us one of the school’s HUGE plants for our class. It was massive! But then, the two of us always got what we wanted back then and thus, the back of our class – with the plant and the ‘couch’ – became one of the reasons we won ‘Best Class Decoration’ for months in a row. We did something different. As a class, we came together.

Besides that, I remember a cat giving birth in our teacher’s desk. Oh yes, a cat and her babies. As a class we agreed to keep them a secret…until a teacher found out and we had to throw them out. If there’s a cat in class, my name would be written in bold green above it. What else…oh, the list of name I wrote on the wall! I don’t even remember doing it, but with my unmistakable handwriting as proof in Adilah’s camera, what else can I say? I actually wrote down the name of all my classmates, based on the seating arrangement, on a wall, hidden from plain sight. Something that no prefect would be caught doing. That was of course a huge risk, but guess what, now after four years even our deputy head prefect laughed over it. Isn’t that amazing? Seriously, I bet if many more were a bit laid-back back then – though the school may turn into a huge canvas – there would be less drama, and everyone would enjoy school more.

Syafiqa and I also once took the time to sit down with a group of juniors attempting to skip school, and talked to them while they smoked behind the surau. I know it sounds very irresponsible of us as prefects to let them smoke on school ground, but they would still do so when no one’s around. After we talked, and asked them why they wanted to skip, we actually convinced them to stay. I think we did the right thing by not passing their names to a teacher but instead to understand these kids. Troubled kids are troubled for a reason. Since then, every time they saw me they would smile and actually show some respect, compared to how they treated other prefects. Ain’t that something to think about?

My partner in crime, Iqa. This picture was taken when we 'crashed' our tuition class the year after SPM. When our History teacher realized who those two kids at the back were, he was so excited and introduced us to the class.

I understand why there are rules at school. The reasons are the same as why a country needs a set of law and why God has His own law that we must abide by on Earth. And teachers, they are just doing their jobs. But high school in Malaysia is just five years, and unless we continue on to STPM, that's all the years we have in making lasting memories with our friends. Just think about that.


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