Monday, 2 March 2009

Why Do They Remember?

At a Chinese New Year do a few weeks ago, my older sister Zsa-zsa met a Mrs. Julia C. who, it turned out, had once taught at our school. After the introductions she asked Zsa-zsa , “You are Zendra’s sister, right?”. My sister was quite taken aback. “Yaa, you know her aar, Mrs. C?” “Sure-lah”, replied the teacher, “ Teachers are blessed with good memories, you know. Please send her my regards if you see her. What is she doing now, by the way?”. “Oh, she’s retired and doing nothing. ” said Zsa-zsa, surely reminding Mrs. C of the easy-going person I was, and still am.

You see, Mrs C. was my form teacher in probably….. Form 3. That was 40 years ago! I was nerdy, quiet, and uncharismatic though I was quite OK at sports. Anyway, she made me class monitor, of all things. Every morning I had to fetch the class register from the school office and mark the day’s attendance. Sometimes I had to help her collect the monthly school fees. I felt exploited, somewhat. She wasn’t fierce; in fact she was rather sweet and nice, and beautiful with the perfect complexion, (which according to Zsa-zsa she still maintains). But I don’t think we had really bonded, anyway.

As the cool, easy-going class monitor, I had not engaged everybody to make the class more presentable. The girls did their duties as per the roster and that was all. Mrs. C’s class never won any Oscars for the Cleanest Class of the Week. That was the domain of the Form 2 class led by a transferee from St. George’s, Penang. And neither did I have to maintain class discipline as well. Not only due to the fact that the class was the nerdiest one in the block, but I also had help from the alpha-female next door, Sylvia P.

Now Sylvia, well her father could have been a police sergeant or something like that, from whom she must have inherited THAT voice. Sometimes, when the teachers happened to be away from class, the girls in my class would be just murmuring away among themselves. The girls in Sylvia’s class tended to be a little boisterous, and the other two Form 3 classes much more so. Suddenly, seemingly like out of nowhere and like a clap of thunder,


followed by a sharp, ear-piercing rap of the black-board ruler on the teacher’s table. And the whole Form 3 block, from 3 Science, 3 Arts, 3 Commerce and 3 Domestic Science would be shocked and awed into a meek impenetrable silence. Ha,ha,ha….. thinking back, that was really funny.Thanks Sylvia.

I had good memories at school though I can only remember a few teachers. One is Miss KNN who failed me at art because I painted like Picasso. She had also failed a classmate at a test just because of her hand-writing that was too slanting. Bad, bad teacher. Another bad one was spinster Miss Y. who I heard screamed “bowdhobintibowdho!!!” as I was passing her class. Not a teacher I’d like for my children.

The excellent ones were Miss BMN whom I had occasion to meet a couple of times the last two years. Also Miss VH who now lives in the UK and had enquired of me, I came to know. And off course, the gracious Mrs. GR, the School Principal whom I had also met up last year.

And for the life of me, I cannot understand why they should ever remember me.....


Anonymous said...

Too bad, my teachers tries their very best to forget me ! Once I met one of my teacher Cikgu Mat Daud at Penang Airport and showed him my helicopter parked at the apron and offered him a ride !. He was also the hostel warden who tried his very best to catch me sneeking out late at night or smoking but never successful until he gave up on the idea. He could not believe his eyes when he saw me again!. hehehe ,,,man he hates my guts from day one.(only god knows why ?),,,,Geee I was such a nice kid !.

Zendra said...

Capt., it takes one to know one, definitely