It Was All Worth It – July 14th 2010Announcements, Introspective — By Jian Wei on July 14, 2010 at 9:41 AM
I wish I could time travel.
I want to go back through the blurry passages of time and arrive in front of the simple green gate that marks the entrance to my secondary school. The gate would be open with a steady stream of green school trousers or sky blue pinafores passing through accompanied with their parents. Some parents couldn’t wait to get out so they could get back to work; some would take the time to pass an admonishing stare at their young; and some would wear the countenance of indifference, as if there weren’t any big news to share – it was business as usual.
It was July 14th 2006, and it was the Open Day.
I would walk pass the guard house, shooting my sharp eyes at the students cladded in grey trousers and skirts with a green cover book in their hands. Some have kidded that these students, also known as the prefects, wore uniforms that bear the amazing resemblance of an elephant skin. But they would not be the focus of my attention.
I would just walk straight till I hit front compound in front of the lobby. There would be two lines of prefects, all smartly tucked behind their dark blue blazers as they took a deep bow and muttered lines of greetings as the parents passed through them. But I will look pass them and stare at the boy who was standing on the top of the steps, hands twitching in gestures of nervousness as he reminded the prefects about their respective tasks. A skinny person with a black mole on the his right temple, he had a black strap across his chest that carried his all-famous grey Amway water bottle. Through the lenses of his brown metallic spectacles, he would occasionally cast nervous glances at the clock above the office door, as though he was expecting something.
I know he was nervous.
I want to grab him by the arm and slowly nudge him to the school canteen where he and I can have a heart to heart talk. I will buy him a cup of teh tarik with a small teaspoon of condensed milk – just how he would like it.
“It’ll be all right. Trust me.” That’s what I would have said, with my eyes staring sharply into his.
I want to tell him that at 11.42 a.m. that same day, he would take the oath of office and assume the Office of the Head Prefect as its 3rd occupant. And then he would make a whole series of mistakes. I want to tell him about the Black Monday, the immediate Monday after his swearing-in where he would have 7 of his cabinet members leaving for a school trip, with no one manning the school assembly – making it one of the worst assembly: there was no one hoisting the flags, and the replacements were inept; the PA system broke down and his PA crew were all on school excursions; and the assembly ended 25 minutes later than scheduled.
I want to warn him on how he got scolded by all disciplinary teachers in the “Bilik Bina Insan” and how his Senior Assistant of Student Affairs would sternly admonish him at the steps of the assembly, “You have failed as a leader!” I want to describe to him the fear that would engulfed him later – fear of not being able to rise to the challenge. I want to share with him how he almost broke to tears when the last prefect left the room and how Leon was the only person there to console him. If it were ever possible, I want to spell out to him the loneliness the next one year would be. I want to mention the friends that he would cross, enemies that he would make and people whom he would hurt. “SYSTEM! SYSTEM! SYSTEM!” I would emphasize, knowing that despite everything that he has done, his batch would create a system that could not operate without them – a sure recipe for future downfalls.
And in his eyes, it did.
After all that, I want to pat him on the shoulder, carve a nice smile and ask him to NOT to avoid it anyway.
It’s because in those moments of darkness, he would realize that he was never alone. He had a group of friends and teachers who believed that he was more than the sum of his imperfections and was destined for bigger things than what he had planned for himself. He learnt how to stand on his own two feet and realize that this world does not owe him a living. In that one year, he found his passion in public service and would finally hold himself accountable to something bigger than himself.
4 years later: It would all be worth it.
(Picture taken from: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=4634249&id=520991661)
Because in 4 years time, he would be sitting in Oxford University sipping a cup of warm Nescafe and realizing that he has grown, learnt, lived and changed so much that he knows it’s all gonna be alright.
It was all worth it. Trust me.
HAPPY 4TH ANNIVERSARY PREFECT BOARD OF SMK USJ 12 05/06!
Last 5 posts by Jian Wei
- One Minute to Midnight - January 1st, 2011
- Prophecy - December 31st, 2010
- Footprints We Leave Behind - November 4th, 2010
- Budapest: Contradictions Aplenty - August 15th, 2010
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