I like reminiscing about my childhood. It always brings back feelings and emotions that I don’t know if I’m capable of feeling anymore. You know, that childhood innocence you see in a child’s eyes, sort of like a nervous curiousity.
Ah, the simpler times when the absolute worst thing that you could ever hear coming out of a friends mouth was, “I don’t want to friend you”.
I miss that.
I don’t know if its the same with the younger generation nowadays. “Friending” someone now can be done with literally a click of a button. People “friend” you without any form of introduction. People “reject” your friendship without reason.
Gwenda and I were talking about our childhood experiences yesterday when we were on our way to Laura Loe’s show at Revolver.
On the way, there was one thing we talked about that’s kept me smiling all day today. My naivety as a child, I have to say, was vaguely amusing.
I “intended” to be a chameleon. Blend baby.
The year was 1997. I was 8 and just about to start Primary 3 in a new school. Mum decided to move me to a Malay school so I could brush up on my native tongue. Growing up in an all English speaking background, learning to properly speak Malay was tough. Kakak (directly translated as big sister, which was what we called our house maid) and Tolong (help) was probably as far as my malay vocabulary extended.
I still believe that moving schools was one of the worst decisions mum inadvertently made, but who knows, perhaps one day it will all pay off. Anyway, that’s another story for another day.
So I entered Primary 3. New school, new environment, new people. All the while having very limited knowledge of the necessary language needed to communicate with my fellow classmates.
I’m in the spotlight. I was a weird one.
Lucky for me, I quickly found a few others who spoke English. In the long haul, we became very good friends.
But this brings me back to the first few weeks in a new environment – I wanted so badly to make friends. In the first couple days of class, we were made to choose an activity/club to do on Fridays after class. There wasn’t a huge list, but large enough for an 8 year old to vaguely comprehend.
My club of choice was Bola Sepak (football). I was very content with my decision.
Activities were scheduled to start in around week 2 or 3.
Tish was such a cute kid. Look at those chubby cheeks!
A week into school, a classmate – lets call him Ash – approached me and spoke to me for the first time. He was a popular kid, and seemed to get along with most of the other kids in class. I think I was a bit excited that I was talking to someone who had a large social circle, and being my first week there, was ecstatic at the possibilities of making friends.
He asked me a few questions involving my background, what I like to do, etc. He continued on to asking me what club I was in. When I told him I was joining the football club, his eyes gleemed.
Prior to this, I had never ever played football as a team sport before. I have kicked a ball around, but most of it was while I was involved in a 25 minute PE class at my old school.
So he started asking me questions about football. Having no knowledge on the subject matter, alot of the times I would answer “Saya tak tahu” (I don’t know).
Keep in mind, I hadn’t learnt to properly speak malay at this point, so saying “Saya tak tahu” had a double conumdrum.
He told me that he really wanted to join the football club but he was too late as the club was already full. He was late when filing in his club of choice, so he was stuck with the only club available – Gimrama. I played along and was like “Oh, that’s so cool!” or something to that effect in Malay.
He then proceeded to ask if I’d like to swap clubs with him. Obviously, I said
yes no that I’ll think about it. I had no idea what Gimrama was anyway. So I went home to “think about it”. Obviously I asked Mum and Dad. Dad didn’t say much, but Mum told me that it was something like gynmastics but on the floor. Hmm…
Gymnastics would be cool. I would’ve loved to learn to do back flips and tumbles and all that jazz, but having no access to trampolines, I still had to re-think this decision.
It took me a couple days to make up my mind. Ash inadvertently kept pestering me about my decision. I kept telling him, saya tak tahu. Time was running out and clubs were about to start. I knew that once we started, there was no turning back.
Pay attention. This was very stressful for an 8 year old.
On decision day, Ash approached me and begged that I swapped clubs with him. We were becoming good buds. We talked in class and during recess. I was making a friend in this new school. I was learning malay. But I wasn’t sure about gimrama. Come on, even the name of the sport itself is hardly convincing.
There were several things weighing through my mind at this point in time if I accepted the decision to swap:
- I would have been doing something nice to a person, and inadvertently made a friend.
- I had a possibility of doing gymnastics and learning to do flips and tumbles.
- He offered me 2 ringgit, which would make me 2 ringgit richer and afford me the next issue of Dragon Ball.
Inadvertently, I said yes. His eyes beamed with delight. I gave a weak smile. We spoke to a teacher and I was officially enrolled in Gimrama. Perfect start to a new life in a new school, wouldn’t you say?
I went back and told Mum about it, and about the RM2 I made. She lol’d at the fact that I had just been bribed.
I couldn’t give an eff about the concept of being bribe. For all I knew, I wasn’t gonna be a bride.
After the first club meeting, I knew I had made the dumbest mistake of my life. I was stuck in a club full of girls wearing tudungs (head scarfs) with ribbons flickering around in the air.
“Die la!” I thought to myself.
Thankfully, the teacher who took the club left the school very shortly after and I got the chance to choose a different club.
As for Ash, we barely spoke after that.