TV Smith's Dua Sen. The politically incorrect irregular columnist combines
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SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS
by TV Smith
are the roads in KL so congested during the evening
rush hour? There are a few million chauffeurs
or doting parents waiting in cars double-parked
outside schools everywhere, that's why.
I was in primary school, I used to take three
buses, starting from 5:00 am, to get to my last
stop, somewhere near Jalan Loke Yew. From there,
I would take a three-kilometer shortcut in near
darkness through KL's biggest burial grounds,
to get to the Bellamy Road Primary School. It
was to become an almost daily, solitary stroll
through rolling hills of graves surrounded by
eerie mist and sounds of waking birds. The few
neat rows of Christian graves looked serene in
comparison to the haphazardly arranged Chinese
cemetery. Initially, I tried to avoid looking
at the mug shots affixed to almost every one of
those giant and fancy tombstones. Yet, somehow
I was drawn to the black & white photos of
the tenants underneath. Eventually, I ended up
greeting the familiar faces every time I walked
by. They became my silent friends and guardian
angels. The graveyard routine was, perhaps, my
parents' unique way of preparing a nine-year-old
to be street-smart. Or maybe they were preparing
me for the horrors of secondary education.
a population exceeding some three thousand students,
Setapak High School was one of the biggest secondary
school in its time. It was so overcrowded, three
students shared one toilet stall, at any one time.
At first, I was especially impressed by the fact
that our headmaster was the famous author of a
series of history books used throughout the country.
Little did I know then, that I had enrolled myself
at the nation's leading showcase school for lunatic
teachers and homicidal students.
real standout was the discipline master, the goateed
Mr TD. His daily dose of racial slurs was so vulgar
and extreme even Eddie Murphy would have blushed.
He would pick on some poor Punjabi student and
twist his (mini) turban bun like a gear stick.
If you answered one of his questions incorrectly,
his favourite reply was "I'll stick a
cockroach up your rectum!" With so much
hatred and bad karma heaped upon him, it was not
surprising he collapsed and died of a heart attack
on the tennis court. That was the night you saw
fireworks lighting up the KL sky, thinking it
was a Tourism Malaysia event.
was this goofy and schizophrenic guy who taught
us PE (Physical Exercise), a Mr ST. When he was
in his elements, he made everyone hopped with
one leg, round and round the school field. We
had a nice big indoor gym, I remember. The three-storey
high building was equipped with everything except
padding on the parquet floor. During rainy days,
Mr ST would make everybody climb up the ropes
so as to check whether the ceiling was leaking.
Not surprisingly, some slipped and fell like durians,
resulting in broken limbs, ribs and necks. Fortunately,
someone landed on him one day, knocking him out
of action for a long, long while. What a relief.
to the gym, was the assembly area. Every Friday,
dozens of misbehaving students were subjected
to routine public caning. It hurt, but there was
certainly no feeling of embarrassment or remorse
among the recipients. Getting one's ass whipped
in front of a few thousand people was considered
an act of honour. If one could not wait till Fridays,
there was the possibility of getting one of those
thunderous slaps from the football coach. The
slap was so hard that it left a palm print on
the cheek for weeks. We took it like a boy. No
parents, doctors, lawyers or reporters were ever
involved. We just waited for the right moment
and hurled a brick onto his car's windscreen.
were more pleasurable moments, of course. The
micro-mini skirted Ms CK provided hope and inspiration
for first-formers experiencing their first hard-ons.
Thanks to her, it became fashionable wearing a
little round pencil sharpener cum mirror on our
Bata Badminton Masters. That woman was
as wicked as she was witchy. She would gently
stroke the face of some poor kid mesmerised by
her cleavage and then, suddenly, with no warning,
a slap comes flying from her other hand. But no
one could challenge another teacher, Ms MC, when
it comes to perversion. That old spinster would
punish students by making them sit under her table
with their heads between her legs, facing inwards,
were other cheap thrills, luckily. We occasionally
stayed back after school to join the school security
guard, so as to peep at those coed sixth formers.
They used to have those wild orgies in the science
labs under the guise of Interact Club meetings.
I know what you armchair psychoanalysts are thinking
and you're right. Some of the students went on
to acquire a taste for bondage, S&M, voyeurism
and other kinky stuff in their adult lives. A
few became cross-dressers, if you must know.
suppress everyone's libido, there was this
annual murderous half-run-half-walk marathon
called Cross Country. The fifteen-kilometer
route snaked through squatter areas, rubber
plantations, tin mines and orchards. Imagine
a few thousand students fanning out into the
countryside like a swarm of locusts. All edible
and non-edible fruit trees were stripped bare
were no Indian, Chinese or Malay gangs then.
There was only one gang. We were all armed
with a sharpened compass from our Oxford
Instrument Set. Woe befell the student
from any other school who wandered into the
vicinity. Things really got a bit out of hand
at one time.
from our school murdered someone from a rival
school during a friendly inter-school football
match. The headmaster and half the students were
transferred or sacked after the incident. Things
started going down hill after that. The glory
days were over. Some went on to prison while others
went on to colleges and universities. Some are
still serving time today while others became captains
of their industry, prominent national sportsmen,
noisy Members of Parliament and even a blogger.
you; Herman Tan, Raymond Hon, Peter Tan, Amarjeet
Singh, Zulkifli Hamzah and S Rajagopal for reminiscing
with me. High Street School was established in
1950, with premises at High Street (subsequently
renamed Jalan Bandar and Jalan Tun HS Lee). In
1957, it moved to the present premises at Setapak,
dropping the "Street" from its name.
2003 TV SMITH
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