Anybody who went to a national high school in Malaysia would have experienced their fair share of stories to tell future generations. This particular list is especially relevant for the millennials of today, so let’s take a walk down memory lane and go back to school!
1) Monday Assemblies
Unless you went to a school that had an air-conditioned hall, you were probably very familiar with the sweat-filled Monday assemblies. You know, the ones where you got to miss the first few periods of class (yay!) but then had to endure lectures by just about every member of the teaching faculty. In the heat. Hands up if you are a survivor!
2) The Prefects
You either were one, or ran from one at some point in your life. Ah prefects, the law enforcers of our schooling years. As the privileged few who stood out in different uniforms, the prefects always cut a formidable figure. Whether or not they actually enjoyed their tasks, now that’s a different story altogether. Any former prefects want to volunteer their time to be interviewed?
3) Kemahiran Hidup Class
Literally translated – Living Skills Class. A class where we learned many things we probably don’t remember anymore, including but not limited to soldering metal and creating little woodwork wonders. Painful memories of splinters come to mind. There was also a section in the textbook dedicated solely to the mechanics of the toilet bowl, which was…informative to say the least.
4) Playing Hooky During Pendidikan Jasmani
Those who loved being active relished in this class, it was their moment to shine after all. But for us less athletically gifted students, this time was spent doing everything from voluntary cheerleading to exercising our mouths with gossip and/or canteen food. Which brings us to…
5) Canteen Food
The canteen was a place students looked forward to mostly because it allowed for interaction and playfulness, and also food like keropok lekor and french fries! While the healthiness quotients of the food available were often questionable, it didn’t stop anyone from indulging. Ah, the privileges of being young and having a high metabolic rate.
6) ‘Interesting’ Punishments
Getting punished for not conforming to the dress-code and/or bringing a (gasp!) banned item to school was common, particularly if you went to school just when cell-phones were starting to become a trend. Items were hidden in the strangest places, and often discovered by the detectives mentioned in #2, the prefects. Or if you were particularly unlucky, the discipline teacher. Even if you were a law-abiding student, chances are you were used to the “spot-checks” which students were routinely searched for banned goods or hemlines that were deemed scandalously short. In fact, there is even a Facebook group dedicated to the hatred of “spot-checks”.
7) Liquid Paper Artwork
Everything from math equations to love letters, to not so nice words were scrawled on the tables and chairs, but every once in a while an artistic student would leave poetry or artwork in liquid paper for all to marvel at. Perhaps it was a much needed outlet for the daydreamers and creative types, and these little things certainly made classes more interesting.
8) Questionable Washrooms
A clean washroom was a miraculous sight to behold, yet sadly a very rare one. And then there were the washrooms that seemed to be inadvertently auditioning for roles in horror movies, with flickering lights and spooky background noises (which were hopefully just the figments of wild imaginations).
9) Stressing Out Over Grades
Sure, not everyone was fixated on exams or grades, but even so, there was bound to be someone in your class who would either a) nonchalantly claim to not care about exam results, but obviously were internally screaming, just waiting for the teachers to mark the papers or b) ask EVERYONE else what their answers were, post-examination. Equal parts amusing and annoying, these students made being in post-exam limbo entertaining, at least.
10) Scary Teachers
Now, this is arguably not exclusive to Malaysia, but you have to admit that Malaysian teachers pulled off scary with a certain flair that is uniquely local. From death stares that rival the strictest of mothers to creatively executed penalties for incomplete homework, our teachers certainly kept us on our toes.