Category Archives: School

Converse

So the last time I named a chunk of text ‘Converse’, it was a poem for my Drama & Poetry class. A poem about how much communication means to me when it comes to any form of interpersonal relationship, though the plot twist was that it ended up being about love (as a challenge to myself to write about romance).

And fun being fun, a poem ALWAYS has to be inspired by someone right? Well, not in this case. It was a case of a created identity, though definitely, examples would have existed.

And when you finally engage in a conversation with an example; when you finally realise how right you were at judging examples; when the conversation is so natural, but so different from your usual self (in the good way) – the satisfaction is truly warming.

And this time, I was in Windsor Smiths.

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Mic Check

“With great power comes great responsibility,” the cliched Spiderman saying goes. Everyone supposedly has a gift, a superpower, if you will. My supposed superpower only gets me in trouble in school – most of the time.

Since kindergarten, teachers have already been telling my parents about how powerful my voice is. Not in singing, just talking in general. At the kindergarten I attended, I was grateful that they encouraged me by making me attend Speech & Drama related things, particularly acting in school plays. I don’t remember to what extent my speaking could go, but the only thing I remember was my K2 teacher saying I had a microphone born inside me. Then and now, that seems like a neutral comment. It’s what happened from then onwards that really shape what my voice could  do.

Primary School and Secondary School – This was a confusing time when it came to my voice. No doubt, I was a talkative fella. Yes, more talkative than I am now (IKR, how is that possible?!). I would get in trouble for talking – come to think of it, it’s probably the only reason I would ever get in trouble. The confusing part comes in when most Singaporean teachers I had would always have to talk to my mum, urging her to try and get me to be more quiet in class. Perhaps, I was a little disruptive in class, but what can I do when all the Caucasian teachers I’ve ever had, and a few of my Singaporean teachers (usually English teachers), actually did the opposite and praised my speaking ability and told my mum that I should put it to good use.

In Sec 3, many of my batch mates in Choir were looking to become a committee member. I too, was one of them. Skip to handover, I didn’t become one of them. I was all right with that to be honest. I was still the outspoken senior that juniors could depend on and that’s all that mattered to me. The problem only surfaced when one day I heard a theory behind why I wasn’t selected – my voice. Apparently, I was too vocal, and that made me a ringleader.  They were afraid that my opinions would lead juniors astray simply because there was a chance that it would differ from the higher authorities. Till today, the truth behind this theory is still unknown, but it has made me question my voice way too often. My voice appeared to be influential. Was it really, though? Villains have superpowers too.

“Was my voice a good thing or a bad thing?”

Move on to after secondary school and Poly was my chosen route. I kinda chose Mass Communication simply to talk, admittedly. In fact, when I first joined Mass Communication, I still wasn’t quite sure on how good my speaking abilities really were. All I knew was that I enjoyed watching speeches, probably another reason why I got into politics, speeches that could create impact and influence – Martin Luther King Jr., Adolf Hitler, you name it. Regardless of political opinion, I would love to hear them out, just so I could hear a speech.

Mass Communication has this incredibly awesome (in my opinion) module – Speech Communication. It was practically what I sign up for. We learnt the fundamentals of speech structure and how to deliver ourselves the best we can. I would say that I did very well for this module and it was great, because that gave me a boost in confidence in my speaking ability. Perhaps I did have a place in Mass Communication.

What happens when one day the same haunting comments come back? That the microphone inside my body should never have been there in the first place. That’s what happened. I don’t really wish to go into much detail, but for those who know, you know. It happened.

The only hope I’m clinging onto is that this is just not the module for me at the moment. The hope that I can one day use my voice, my “supposed” influence, my “supposed” superpower to make a difference. Maybe I just need to look harder for the balance in my voice to suit the environment I’m in, a Mic Check, almost. I mean, if I’m going to have a mic but not use it, then what’s the point?

Scalded

THE HOLIDAYS HAVE BEGUN (not officially but for me, yea!) and when boredom struck today, I went to my grandma’s room and flipped on that old-as-heck PC which hasn’t been on for…maybe a year(?) !

It appeared that dust winter had consumed it as I wiped away the fluffy layer of dust when replugged some of those loose wires. Once that was done – WOW. It’s been forever since I’ve seen something on that screen, my MSN auto-loaded up, some Anti-Virus nonsense loaded up, etc.! That’s when it hit me –

THIS DAMNED THING ISN’T PLUGGED INTO THE (UNSUBSCRIBED) INTERNET MODEM.

Therefore, I decided to venture into the depths of ‘My Computer’ and see what mystical files of mine I would find, remembering all my projects being done on this ol’ machine! That’s when I saw a file named “SPBC.ppt”. It was one of those files that just sat there, uncategorized unlike literally EVERYTHING ELSE in the ‘Athanasius’ folder. With such a simplistic yet mysterious name and presence, I had to check it out, I had to see its importance and why I left it there in the first place.

*click-click* A picture of a giant fish with labels poking every side of it and wavy, blue words that read ‘Science Project Based Competition’ just lit up my screen. Sound like a simple science experiment Powerpoint slideshow, eh? Well, for me, this innocent Primary School ‘project’ (WHICH WASN’T EVEN A COMPETITION) was a reminder of how and why I was shaped around 3 letters for the 2 years that followed that project – I. E. D.

Google IED, and aside from Osama’s favourite toys, you might encounter what’s defined as Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Yes, EXPLOSIVE. I would, according to my friends – shiver, turn red, and ‘explode’ into an outburst of anger and once in awhile, regrettably, resort to violence. After that, almost instantly, I would return to a normal state, forgetting every single move I made during those few moments. And unfortunately, yes, what appeared to be a psychological phase stayed on with me for 2 years and has stopped for 4 without even the slightest shiver, and it will CONTINUE to stop for as long as I live.

But why that project?

In Pri 5, everyone had a change of teachers, and my form teacher happened to be a senior teacher and as she introduced herself to us on the first day of school, she mentioned a few things that stuck with me, and became personal as she continued teaching me for the next 2 years. She stated that we “did not have to worry”, that she was a fair and “unbiased” teacher, and that there’s no such thing in her classes as “Teacher’s Pet”, and yes, those in bold are QUOTED.

‘WOW!’ I thought –  no other teacher in my life has ever guaranteed that! (till today, she’s still the only one)
The problem is –  no other teacher in my life has been discriminative but her. (till today, she’s still the only one)

She HAD a pet that most of the class could clearly recognize. She HAD clear discrimination against me and a few other classmates as well, simply because we were a bit more talkative than the rest. We turn our heads, BAM – lectured. We whisper a tiny message, BAM – lectured, etc. And mind you, this only happened to the few of us. The others? Oh, they could talk the day away with no problem! What set me apart from the other of the discriminated was my reaction. If you know me, you know how much I hate behavioral discrimination, and considering that I was the ‘victim’ here, it really got to me, it really hit me hard. First few times, fine, she’s the teacher – let her be. Then…no no no. All that anger just boiling up – it was a recipe for explosion after Explosion after EXPLOSION.

It’s been 5 years since my last lesson with her, and yet, 2 major instances still strike me and for the sake of venting them out, here they are –

  1. The Banana Incident – It’s funny when I talk about it now, after all, all I did was draw on the skin of MY unopened banana (that I brought for recess). I know, I don’t get why I did it either, BUT the point was that I did it – between lessons, disrupting NO ONE. She came in, saw me do it and scolded me. I was confused at what I did wrong and was sure asking wouldn’t help. Next thing I know, I’m writing a letter. Best part, was I writing to her? Was I writing to the DM? The Principal? My mum? NO CLUE. Thus, I simply started with “Dear whoever it may concern”, something I learnt while reading actual mail sent to my home. Apparently, that was SO ‘rude’ of me she rejected the letter! Fine, I crumpled it up, and placed it under my desk to throw away after school. She scolded me again, this time asking me to un-crumple it, photocopy it and pass it to the DM. Yes, pass a photocopy of a crumpled letter about apologising for drawing on a banana. DM never responded. (Would you take that letter seriously as a DM?!)
  2. SPBC.ppt – And back to where we began, where each group in class was given a type of pollution to research and present in class. My group got Water Pollution among others which included, Air, Radioactive, etc. I researched the heck out of that project and I was so excited for presentation day. Now, presentations were split into 2 days. On the first day, one of the presentations was about Radioactive Pollution and one of the effects of this, according to the group, is mutations. Interesting, after all, according to my research, that’s also an effect of Water Pollution! Day 2: Water Pollution time – and it just so happens, that I was presenting the slide on Water Pollution’s effects, including… MUTATION. Despite pictures of multi-mouthed fish, multi-headed turtles and some weird thing to back my research further, my teacher accused me of copying the group from the day before. WHAT. That lie of an accusation just pissed me off, especially so when I remembered that I’m often being discriminated. Seriously….WHAT.

I still remember the time shortly after P6 Prelims, and she just mocked my studying habits (I don’t study.), saying how I would score badly if I continued that way and how I should listen to all her ‘advice’ and if I didn’t, how I would regret for the rest of my life, etc.
One thing I ALSO remember was PSLE results day and how I proved her wrong and yet, she could still say “Oh, I knew you could do it!”, that kinda stuff. WHAT.

One thing’s for sure, this tough experience may have belittled me a lot then, but it has helped with my confidence ever since. It took a while for the rage to go down and the confidence to go up, but it’s there alright 🙂

And yes, I did go back to visit along with some of my ex-classmates! The best part, the last time I was there, her reaction when she realized who I was  – different. Different from all the reaction that she displayed to my ex-classmates.

-WHAT.-

Condensed

It’s amazing how much my life has changed, switching from Secondary School to Polytechnic. I’m a little lone sheep finally exploring the world. My friends have being making post after post about their experiences in Poly and I’m only starting now. I have nearly a full semester to condense into this post and not make this extra extra long. Don’t expect proper linkages between paragraphs 😛 LET’S GO. (I can already few my typing and word thought rate increasing in a comedic fashion.)

Going from 10 years in a boys’ school to entering a school/class with 70% or more girls. It felt weird, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. I’ve become what I said I wouldn’t become. I had no intention whatsoever to start a relationship in Poly, but you guys know so much better than me that you simply can’t help it when the feeling strikes, but it’s alright, we’ll see how this goes. What a confusing feeling I’ve never felt in my life. Welcome to life at 17.

But Poly was definitely the journey for me. Assignments may be piling up continuously (strangely made me a more organised person), and FMS may be living up to its name (Forever Missing Sleep), but with the friends I’m meeting along the way – THE AWESOME T106, T04, MY MCM BUDS and my Inline Skating CCA mates, I’m having TONS of fun learning what I love. (I may suffer next sem though)

OMG INLINE SKATING – I’M BACK. I learnt Backward Powerslide and Soul Slide when I was in Pri 6 and lost it all during my times in Secondary School, however, thanks to the wide variety of CCAs offered in Poly, I can finally pick it up again. It’s pretty amazing, I’m relearnt my 2 slides as well as Acid, a slide I used to have endless problems with. NEXT GOAL – FASTWHEEL.

Camps were crazy fun.

Workshops were crazy fun.

I’m known as the sneaker-crazy, political (http://www.kohmmunism.wordpress.com), Tea-drinking, Swiftie. Find the link (DON’T TELL ME THE WEBSITE LINK) between all 3. The answer is Athanasius Koh.

I use ‘Koh‘ as a pun alot more. All these Koh jokes.

I have a strange acquired liking of Marketing. I may actually take that in Year 3.

I’m really lazy to post pictures now because of a few reasons:

  1. We’re talking about almost an entire semester, that’s a shitload of photos.
  2. That’s what Instagram’s for (@IcedTehC)
  3. I’m supposed to be doing work.
  4. I’m lazy.

Strange, only 400+ words and I’m already stuck on what to say. I’m so screwed for WritComm   Oh well, let the journey continue!

But before I really end…I just have to  –

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