I hear the chattering of students echoing in the hall as they started settling down for assembly. It was a pleasant morning, one which excludes the loathsome scribbling of school work or the burdensome memorising of notes. Exams were over and that feelings were great. I came to school tired as usual but that excitement and anticipation in the hall woke me up. I sat on the polished wooden floor waiting for the commencement of the flag raising ceremony.
It first started with a fair bit of announcements, the mundane call for students to sign up to be orientation group leaders etc. Then, hell began. One teacher strode slowly but firmly up on the stage, her face expressionless, her lips pursed together. She started commanding silence, which to my surprise worked on our batch of zealous students. She then goes about nagging on the fact that some students, myself included, failed to attend the signed up career talks, that were held 2 days ago. Her “reprimand” was followed by another female teacher, and eventually to our school principal, which became a motivational talk on how little actions can have lead to greater impacts.
Lessons started. We proceeded to class, nervous and surprisingly enthusiastic, for we will be receiving our Chemistry paper, which happened to be the first among the five. It met my expectation. I failed. What can you expect from someone who did not study before the paper? Living within an Asian culture, in a society, where academics play an important role in establishing reputation as well as a stepping stone to attain greater success, I supposed many will say that a failure is a failure and it is my fault that I failed. Well, I do not care.
The lesson ended with a break.
PW was a total burden yet I enjoyed it.
Naturally, the ambience in the school had a complete change and was definitely different from the way it was in the morning. It may be insignificant but I felt a slight tinge of drudgery and dullness. It seemed to me many were disappointed with their results, but who cares.
We proceeded on to Math lecture, only to be greeted by our petite teacher, Ms Lee. I am utterly astonished that she wore a pink dress accompanied with a grey cardigan. Her sense of fashion on any other day was horrendous and it is very evident that she likes the colour blue. A lot. To be very frank, I felt that her lessons were not engaging and most certainly not educating. Like my previous secondary school teacher, she is one who is definitely more suited to teach on a one to one basis.
Mathematics was a subject that I thoroughly enjoy doing, except for some chapters that involve visualising 3D objects, like Vectors and Graphs. They were surprisingly hard for me to absorb and I ended up forsaking both of them for my promotional examinations. It was a risky move and reality/fate, being so ever harsh, proved me right. (THAT EUREKA MOMENT! ) I did not do as well as I expected myself to do. I was hoping for a D but ended up getting a S, which requires 2 marks for me to get an E. Was I disappointed? Nope, when I considered the fact that I improved. Yes, when I looked through the paper and realised that I had tons of careless mistakes, which could have made me achieve an E.
During this 50 minutes break, I realised that the change in the atmosphere was the greatest. It was like tasting a combination of drinking a concoction of bitter herbs combined with a tinge of honey. Some were definitely crying, disappointed and depressed at their results (Asian children are brought up in this manner) while some smiled, not beamed, smiled….
It just so happened for me to hear about a friend of mine who is an exceptional math student, definitely one of the best in our class, it seemed that this person did badly and even though he passed, the results were below his expectations. Usually I would have ignored, because I have my fair share of failures and the lessons I learnt were to continue trying, giving your all and be satisfied, but the words, “ He is crying now…” floated in my ears.
No, I am not exaggerating. A guy crying? No freaking way. I was curious and shock and empathetic. Yet, the thing that caught my attention was that his case tested the bonds of friendships.
The people that were around him, attempting to cheer him up, were not the girls in the gang or rather the whole gang but were those guys from it. There goes the irony that girls are sensitive. I am truly shocked. All along I felt that loyalty among friends is important, yet the most bonded and outgoing clique has failed to establish this simple task that is to be there for one another. Let me be curt and straight to the point, my class is unbounded, although it seemed to be one coherent class, but in reality we are a rather segmented class, which happens to involve at least 3 cliques (the popular, the mugger, and the quiet anti-socials), I happened to be in the last one.
Fast forward… I slept through an hour and a half worth of lectures and felt really refreshed.
The class went bongkus, hysterically when the our class appeared last on the rocket improvement award. As usual, 2 marks to get to the next grade, which happened to be my goal.
I went home only to face my worst nightmare, my ever so irritating father, whose concern seems to revolve around grades and academics. Even though, he did not reprimand me or give me the look of disappointment, his tone was filled with sarcasm. Sometimes, I hate talking to him. Still, he is my father after all.