Brave New World (The Star)
24 July 2008
"The teacher has to rein in the unruly few or the lesson cannot start and the whole class, nay, even school, will suffer."
Good morning, boys. Good morning. Settle down, settle down. Now, it’s been a tough couple of weeks for us and as your class teacher, I think we should go over a few things.
We have been the premier school in the country for the past 50 years, but a few unpleasant incidents recently have put that position at risk.
If we don’t get our act together, we may lose our hallowed position.
Therefore, before we begin our history lesson, there are a few matters I would like to discuss with you.
First off, our head prefect, Mr Hamid, can you stand up, please? Well, it seems that you have ...
You there, yes, you, the boy at the back. Can you please stop making that obscene gesture with your hands? No, you can’t say you are just tapping your right hand with your left. That is an obscene gesture. Keep it up and I’ll give you six strokes.
Now, where was I? Oh yes, Mr Hamid. It seems that you caused a massive traffic jam at the school gates. Your prefects were stopping everybody and checking their badges and their bags. Do you realise that you caused a great deal of problems?
Boys were late to class and even teachers were late because of your overzealous behaviour. Mr Tan the Maths master was furious because half his class missed their calculus exam.
What did you say? You were concerned about the security of the school because you thought our rival school was going to cause trouble at your prefects’ meeting? And where, pray tell, did you get this intelligence?
Oh, you heard it on the grapevine? Well, the next time you choose to listen to plants, please check with me first before you go disrupting our school day.
Second on the list is our debating team. Gentlemen, please join me in a round of applause for the hard work of our team captain, Mr Chik.
He put up a courageous display against a debater who had miles more experience than him. Bravo, Mr Chik, a brave effort indeed.
Brave but futile, I’m afraid. Mr Chik, I have spoken to the debate master and he told me that you hardly did any research.
Listen, my boy, you can’t beat the opposition by making personal attacks on their past.
You have to put over your point clearly; otherwise you’ll just look foolish.
And one more thing; for the next debate, please bring a handkerchief.
All right, now it is time to discuss some academic matters. I have just marked your General Paper test and I was quite shocked with some of your answers.
Mr Ibrahim, stand up, please. Young man, I read your essay on government scholarships and it was very passionate and fiery but you can’t just make things up.
There is nowhere in the Constitution that says that all scholarships are reserved for Malays.
It says that reservations of a proportion of scholarships for Malays may be made by the King. It does not say every single sen is for one group or another.
Don’t argue with me, boy! You got it all wrong. All you have to do is read the blinking thing.
What do you mean you did read it? What did you see exactly when you read it?
Perhaps I should send you to the school nurse. I think you need glasses.
One last thing; as you all know, half the boys in this school stay in the hostel.
It has come to my attention that the day boys have been teasing the hostel boys by questioning, how can I put it, their ... manliness.
This behaviour has got to stop. It is childish and undignified. It also reflects an obsession with matters sexual that borders on the unhealthy.
The next time you get the urge to speculate about another person’s private life, may I suggest you play some rugby and let the exertions raise your minds from the gutter?
Very well then, I trust the events of the past few weeks have taught you all a lesson and the debacles that have so embarrassed us will not be repeated.
We can now begin our history lesson. Would you be so kind as to take out your textbooks and turn to page ...
For the last time, boy, stop making that gesture! You have had your warning, and seeing as how you are too uncouth to show the slightest bit of remorse and repentance, I shall see you after class.
Let’s see whether you can keep doing that with your hands once I’ve caned them raw.
Now, where was I? Oh yes, please open your books to page 46 ...