A walk down memory lane
School was something none of us (well, most of us at least) absolutely hated. But beyond the horrible memories of gruelling Monday morning assemblies and fierce teachers, our schooling life is a memory we hold dearly in our hearts. If you went to a public school in Malaysia, you are probably going to be able to relate to all, if not most, of these signs:
1. You know your ikrar by heart
If someone were to point a gun at you now and ask you to say your Rukun Negara, chances are you are going to live. Embedded in you from the weekly assembly recitals, you can say your ikrar from start to finish but never from the middle. “Keluruhan pelembaga-what?”
2. You believe your school was once a prison/hospital/graveyard
Was your school once rumoured to be haunted by a soldier? Or maybe you had a dodgey toilet everyone believed resided a witch? Whatever the horror stories you’ve heard, you know you never want to be at school after hours. Yes, even until now.
3. You miss the food at the school’s canteen
The most exciting part of your day was when the recess bell rings and you and your friend would sprint to the canteen to get the freshest fried chicken or keropok lekor. No matter how processed the canteen’s food was, you still miss them - especially the 50c nugget!
4. You always had to buy something from the roti man after school
No school day can end right without a visit to the roti man waiting at the school’s entrance. You have probably spent a lot of your allowance on the snacks here but even until now, you know it was worth the treat. #noregrets
5. You had a pair of Bata shoes
Every year when the school term began, you dread the moment you have to visit Bata for your annual shoe shopping. It is likely that when you were in primary school, the velcro ones were a big hit but once you enter high school, laced shoes meant you were cool.
6. Your school uniform is something you don’t miss wearing everyday
The great thing about wearing uniforms is not having to think of your daily OOTD but if your uniform was bright blue and hugged your stomach tightly, then not so much. If you are a girl in a Malaysian public school, the pinafore is probably your least preferred outfit choice - the blue stuck out like a sore thumb and the cutting was uncomfortable. If you’re a guy, well, you had it easy.
7. Your school shoes were always sparkling white on Mondays
Do you remember those icky shoe whiteners that got your hands dirty and made your shoes feel stiff and frozen? Yeah, Mondays were always filled with squeaky clean shoes like that and the only way to keep your eyes from blinding when you look down is to step on each other’s shoes.
8. You still remember your nilai murni (moral values) word for word
You remember having to memorize all 36 nilai murni (moral values) during your Moral class word for word because accuracy was what mattered during exams. You probably cannot shake off “Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan” for a very long time.
9. You played “Pepsi Cola” competitively
Whether it is before school, during recess, after school or in between classes, there was always time for “Pepsi Cola” and you take your “Pepsi Cola” very seriously. You go home and stretch so you can step further and you do whatever it took to win.
10. You had an army of erasers for your eraser battles
More competitive “sports”, the eraser battles are always done behind teacher’s backs and you used to have an entire arsenal hidden under your desk. This is also how you learnt your flag knowledge because they were the cheapest erasers and had the best “aerodynamic”. If you were one of those who modified your eraser for better fighting power: kudos!
11. Your only fashion statement was your paper bag for PE clothes
PE (or more familiarly known as PJK for Pendidikan Jasmani) was every girl’s opportunity to show off their designer paper bags. You have had a dilemma between bringing a La Senza Girl or Roxy paper bag but decided to alternate them for PE next week. Right, right?
12. “Selamat Sejahtera” is always wished in the same monotonous tone
We don’t know why or if it is a universal tone for wishing your teachers but here in Malaysia, we only know one way to say it and it seems to resonate throughout the country in this same monotone. If you know what it sounds like, you are a true Malaysian student.
13. You have doodled all over your clothes and table
If you are a girl wearing baju kurung, chances are the fabric hidden under your baju is filled to the seams with doodles of your favourite band and various “Mrs. Nick Carter” to express your unrequited love. For others, you have probably taken it out on the table or better yet your friend’s bare skin.
14. You have sat through at least 3 major exams
PTS, UPSR, PMR, SPM and STPM, it is likely that you have done at least 3 of it. Most fond memories of major exams? Going for seminars with your friends as an excuse to meet people from other schools. Also, knowing the leaked questions were always an exciting moment.
15. Fridays were the best because it always ended early
For everyone, classes on Fridays always ended early because the Muslim classmates had to go for prayers. If you are a non-Muslim, this calls for an earlier lunch and you were probably planning with your buddies which cyber cafe to go to. Jom, gi main!
16. You had to wear clear or black plastic stick earrings
You never quite understood why you had to wear a stick to replace your regular studs but bottom line is, you did and you wore this for most of your schooling life. They were a nuisance because they kept slipping out of your pierced ears and you might have even had to pierce it multiple times because of this.
17. You recognize these textbooks
Your textbooks during your major exams were your lifeline and you carried them everywhere you go even if you knew you are not going to study but you know, just in case lah.
18. The long ruler was everyone's greatest fear (or worse, the flying duster)
The giant, yellow long ruler was everyone’s biggest fear. The class goes into instant silent mode when your teacher whips it out and whoever makes the next slightest squeak gets the flying duster. Good times!
19. You have walked around with no sideburns before
If you are from an all-boy’s school, this is something you can relate to best. During Monday morning assemblies, someone in the crowd is bound to have their hair just that tad bit too long and gets their instant makeover on the spot. Who need sideburns anyway?
20. You tried to skip Monday assemblies by being “sick”
You are probably guilty of trying to skip the Monday blues by pretending to be sick. If you are someone who prefers to go all the way, chances are you have tried various ways of falling sick on Sunday so it takes real effect the next day.
21. You know your multiplications thanks to your exercise book
This exercise book has probably saved you on more than one occasion from the flying duster during Math class and you cannot thank it enough. Even up until now, your multiplications are always on point because you had nothing else to read in class.
22. ‘Relief’ period = no rules period
Relief periods or better known as “Waktu Belajar Sendiri” (self-studying period) was always spent doing whatever you wanted except study. No teachers? No rules!
23. All you did for Merentas Desa (Jogathon) was stroll and chat
In your entire schooling life, you would have had to go for at least 5 jogathons mostly held during your 5 years of high school. While there were people in your form actively running and winning prizes, you were probably the last one to return because you and your friends were too busy chatting and checking out houses. #housegoals
24. Your best gardening skill is not killing your bean sprout plant
All thanks to Kajian Tempatan (Malaysian equivalent to practical skills classes) and Science class, you are able to plant bean sprouts successfully without killing them. Watching your bean sprouts grow back then was almost as gratifying as sending your child off to college.
25. You only did something because there was a prefect/discipline teacher in sight
When your discipline teacher or prefect is within visible radius, you start to notice that your shirt is not tucked in, your sleeves are rolled up and you didn’t kancing (pin your collar). All these only happen a millisecond before they notice and all conditions return to normal once you’ve passed them.
There are obvious flaws to our Malaysian education system but regardless, we love it because it has brought us memories we would not exchange it for any other. The friends you met at school are probably still your best friends now and it is probably all thanks to the bonding session you got to share at Merentas Desa.