06 May CB2. My personal history in primary school, and becoming president of class-committee
- I am reminded by the digital lawyer in me to make another blog post – to stay modern in the 2020s. This blog is also a discipline measure to document my life.
- A reader of my blog post of 1 May 20 emailed to say ‘children can learn a lot at play; look at how you turned out’ – he flattered me.
- Play was prominent in my childhood days. As the youngest kid, I was given the most toys compared to my five elder siblings. My parents have become more easy-going.
- Toys made me escape to an ideal world of my own imagination. In hindsight, this is rewarding and makes a child more intuitive. I like cars, more cars and other small things including trains and bridges that make up the whole world. My imagination ran wild within the home. I never really mixed with other children of my age – my mother said ‘don’t go out and play with those kids’. My nearest sibling, a sister, is six years older than me – so she was too matured for me.
- Toys continue to make me happy during my primary school days.
- Now, I have a cat as a pet. It was a functioning cat in that the cat catches rats within the lower or ground floor of my residence, which is like a small warehouse containing bags of grocery goods such as rice and flour. The cat was close to me, and I to her. She died, then another took her place and this repeated three times. I saw kittens being born from the cats. I enjoyed seeing the motherly love given to the kittens. Lolita stayed with me the longest. This cat had three litters of kittens. When bigger, the kittens were given away. I never met Lolita’s husband(s) – they just do their business and disappear. I remember the howling by Lolita when she was on heat. I would call out ‘meow, meow’ and Lolita would always appear – what a good cat. A boy with few human friends, had at least a cat as one. Another cat, called Tracy was close too. She had a different cat personality to Lolita. Lolita was more loving of me than Tracy. But Tracy was more hardworking than Lolita in catching rats. Poor Tracy died in a car accident – my father drove over her when he was moving the car into the garage.
- Mixing with other boys became second nature. I like the company of human friends.
- In Year 3, I played a whole lot but my studies improved unexpectedly. As a child who respects teachers – there was only one teacher for the whole year – I was appointed Monitor (captain / leader) of about 40 kids in a class by this teacher. Now this was a lesser class – the classes were ‘graded’.
- In Year 4, St Paul’s Institution put me in the first ‘graded’ class of seven. Here I was pitted against the best and smartest boys. Adjustment from ‘top’ boy to ‘middling’ boy (in the highest graded class) took about one year. In the ‘cleverest’ class, I was scolded, not caned, by the teacher for not being hardworking enough (more accurately, lazy) in my studies. I confess, I still like playing a whole lot.
- I also like eating. In Year 3 to Year 6, I would follow my father when he went out driving around town, always stopping by at a place to eat. My father tells me that I liked to follow him around (more than my five elder siblings). I ventured with my father to his rubber estate where rubber was processed. I remember many mosquitoes would bite me if I just stood still. The idea is to move around all the time so that you would get bitten less by the mosquitoes. I witnessed my father dealing with his workers at the estate. Not knowing it then, I would say that I learnt from those dealings – the communication between the adults. My father is a gifted businessman – self learnt. He would pay all his creditors early and get a bigger discount as a result. He pays all his debts before each Lunar New Year.
- Year 5 saw me transformed into a more rounded kid. I was never scolded by school teachers anymore. I played but I also studied. I began to do well and got high marks – almost as worthy as my two smart elder brothers.
- I would say that my classmates who were clever kids and I competed to become higher in the rank. Marks were given and your position in the class noted to everyone and in the report card taken home for the parents to read. I was not the first or second in the class like my elder brothers, but in the top 20.
- In Year 3, I joined the school cubs (like scouts). After a year, I stopped. Not very interesting. Also in Year 3, I learnt Mandarin every Saturday within the school. Wow – hang on – the Mandarin teacher was so strict that my ear got pulled for not doing my homework. I left Mandarin class (not compulsory) in Year 4. I suppose if I had converted earlier to be a better student, I would have continued but not yet – l still liked playing too much.
- Year 5 was a conversion year – to become a better student. I finished the year a young adolescent who was a responsible chap. The teacher took a liking to me, and appointed me a prefect. It did not formally transfer to Year 6 – something went haywire – but I never sounded this out, ie did not complain.
- At Year 6, nominations took place for prefect-ship, and I lost out marginally. My friends took pity on me. At the next nominations, this time for president of the class committee, I got the highest vote.
- Class committee. This was put in our heads by one of the teachers in school. Every committee member was nominated and voted for. I had a team of committee members working at improving general things in the class. We implemented the Class Newsletter. It became apparent I was actually good at this. I delegated to others in concentrating what to write on and put together. I knew the good artists and got the best ones to draw pictures for the Newsletter. All kinds of topics were written and typed up. The Newsletter was printed by the school. It had many editions. The English teacher was so impressed, she made my committee the English club of the school. I noticed my friends began to show respect to me like never before. I started to realise I have leadership capabilities that make a team of people work together and come out with something concrete that made the whole class proud. This was the first-grade class of seven. I instituted a ‘Suggestion Box’ for my classmates to drop in written new ideas for the committee to undertake. I listened, I delegated, I put together a plan, and I showed respect to everyone working with me and to the other boys in the class. I learnt by doing. And I became a popular kid or a popular adolescent. The class teacher was nice, respectful and encouraging of we young adolescents.
- I would stop here as it is nearing the end of my primary school days. I would say Year 6 was by far my favourite year in the six years of primary school. I enjoyed the year tremendously.
© Comasters June 2020.