Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Back to school

I was in Samad today to collect my SPM cert.

(Funny how boring and uninteresting the reason behind my tidal wave of emotions sounds.)

Fruit of last year's labour: 8A+ and 1A, with a grade A for English Language 1119.

The circumstances under which I walked into school today were very different from the ones throughout my five years of schooling there. A few of them, off the top of my head:
1. I had graduated and was no longer bound by its rules.
2. It's school holidays at the moment, so there were no rules to be bound by, anyway.
3. I'd just driven myself there, from
4. College.
5. I wasn't wearing a uniform, prefects' or otherwise.

These five things were what caused me to merrily tramp up the office stairs, knowing full well that according to the school rules, no one but teachers and staff are supposed to use it. I was in slippers, too. And three-quarter pants. And my hair was untied. And unpinned. And my nails were long. And all that other breaking-the-school-rules stuff.

Collecting my certs was uneventful, aside from getting to say hi to Puan Norfadzilah and Mr. Thanabalan. They asked me how I was and where I'm studying at now, but didn't seem too interested which was fine with me. When I was done, I thanked the admin guy, left the office, and went for a quick solo walk around school.

Samad's a lot bigger than MCKL is, and I've spent a lot more time there than at college, so it's given me a lot more memories than MCKL has. Walking around the old blocks, I always get hit with a ton of memories; they seem from so long ago that I can't say if they're good or bad. Time seems to have painted everything over in sepia tones, such that looking back on anything at all gives me the same, mixed-up feeling inside. I walked around with the strangest smile on my face -- part nostalgia, part amusement, part wow-was-that-really-only-a-few-years-ago.

Given the choice, I'd always prefer to walk around the old blocks than the new. Part of me thinks maybe it's because they remind me of the better times in school, but I think it's mostly because it's where the prefects' room is. Also, I used to enjoy doing my rounds there at recess during my term as D.O. (Discipline Officer). I think, in secondary school especially, it's important to have someplace you feel that you belong, and the prefectorial board gave me that comfort. Looking back on it now, I find it almost ridiculous that I used to have to be so strict about inconsequential things like a student's socks, but I can confidently say that I enjoyed my prefect days.

Photo credit: Bob

Peering into the dark classrooms in Block B, I couldn't help but compare them to the well-lit, air-conditioned classrooms at college. During the time my year occupied that block in Form Three, there were leaks in the ceiling or something, and the fans couldn't be switched on. You try learning anything when it's blazing hot, the air is still and unmoving, and there are visible heat waves outside! About the classrooms themselves, though, I've always liked the grey concrete floors. They seem comfortingly solid beneath your canvas shoes as you pound your way across them back to class after recess.

I wish I could've stayed longer, walked around more. I didn't get to go around the science labs, KH bengkel, and the infamous Block F (which, by the way, isn't actually haunted, guys). Still, a memory surfaced with every place I walked through/past, and I actually just sat down at one of the benches for a bit, staring at nothing. I took a moment to try and put into words how I was feeling, but I couldn't do it. I still can't. The closest I can come to it is this, and to be honest, it doesn't even come close:

Oh, Samad. My final year especially was quite crap, but I'm glad I went there. I got to meet the most awesome teachers and friends, and the experiences and opportunities it gave me were great. In all honesty, I'm loving college life and don't miss it one bit, but, well...

I think Samad's always gonna have a special place in my heart.

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