Old-School Thoughts


{7:40 pm, and I’m sitting in the library with a nose that’s been running at an intensity I wish I could, and here’s a little something I typed out on my laptop on the way to school this afternoon. Couldn’t find the pictures I had wanted to include in this post, but the above is a picture of my favourite cheese tarts from a neighbourhood bakery near my secondary school. It had my favourite kaya waffles too. Old school traditional waffles that I’d choose over the new fancy ones anytime. Good old days where all I thought of after school was getting my hands on some waffles and a nice, satisfying cheese tart. } 

1pm. time to head to school, to the gym, then to study for finals. Finals… Finals make IB and O’s seem like a breeze.

The lift doors opened to the void deck. Primary school children were prancing along the walkways. School’s over for them. Blouses drenched with sweat, oversized skirts which must have been their parents’ idea of saving money. My parents did the same. What for buy nice, fitting clothes when your kid was growing up so fast right?

They seemed happy, and carefree, all but one girl. Perhaps she had a fight with a good friend at school.

I boarded the bus, which cruised along the streets that would pass my primary school. It used to be a mere 15 minute walk to school, but now school’s almost an hour away from home. I can’t imagine how it’d be like to live that kind of a life again, a life that seemed so one dimensional. It was good, it was carefree, it was simple. But it’s kind of like how you can’t go back to cadbury when you’ve found love in those deep, dark, liquor chocolates. Or how you’d never like a normal cup of chocolate ice cream from those push carts as much as you used to, when you’ve fallen in love with chocolate therapy from ben & Jerry’s. or chocolate fudge brownie. Therapy + couch potato still remains my favourite combination of hand pack pints.

whoops. I side tracked.

Freshly fried fish cakes sold for 20 cents. they were amazing. Those japanese seaweed wrapped chicken just entered the market back then too – we almost went crazy over them. Erasers with flags printed on them were the “in” thing. Beyblade was of that era too, and so were pokemon cards. The provision shops right across the roads seem to know exactly what to sell.

Soyabean milk was at 20 cents too. I never figured till primary 5, what the uncle meant when he never failed to ask “ you qi de hai shi mei qi de?” whenever I ordered “grape”.

Right next to the drinks stalls were telephone booths. The good old red and black ones that we used to call home whenever we realised we forgot to bring an important textbook or assignment to school. I was lucky; my maid would come scurrying down so I didn’t quite get into too much trouble for my forgetfulness.

Hopscotch squares were right beside. You threw your wallets on the various squares when you played. Hell no, I’d never ever allow my wallet to touch the floor now. How differently things are valued by us now.

Secondary school students are boarding the bus. Dry fit tees and PE shorts. UGH. How we hated those dry fit tees when they came to replace the old cotton-y ones we loved.

PE shorts. I remember the day we weren’t allowed to wear them on their own without pulling a skirt over anymore. I didn’t quite understand the rationale back then. I remember resenting how I had to change out of my PE attire back to normal uniform after recess too. PE shirts were so comfortable after all right? and cooling.

haha yes. Come to think of it, it was rather disgusting. I wouldn’t even leave the gym before taking a quick shower now. Even if I was only doing mat work as opposed to cardio.  It was a good full PE lesson back then. It is queer how none of us were bothered about not showering.

10 minutes more before I reach school now.

With a laptop, air conditioned class rooms and comfy chairs. You could use your phones, you could bring sweet drinks in, there was a nice “adult” gym, sofas, and carpets.

What a contrast between the old dell desktops we had in school last time (okay, my secondary school had a computer lab with iMacs so that was pretty cool I guess), the hot class rooms where ceiling fans didn’t really seem to help, hard plastic chairs that no one really complained about (though we did try to get the newer ones whenever we could), no phones allowed, no sweet drinks outside the canteen, cemented floors.

But I do hope that primary schools stay this way for a long time to come. sophistication and real-world comfort isn’t quite needed when you were 8 years old. It didn’t matter, and it shouldn’t be made to matter. Friendships, laughter, stupid jokes, cheap food, getting detentions, finding out what’s new at the provision shops, whining over remedial classes which last till 3.30 (haha. what a joke. my friends and I voluntarily stay till 11+ in school now. what’s 3.30??) … these are the things that should matter.


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