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My Teenage Years at La Salle PJ Print E-mail

ImageYeah, since we’re in the reflecting mood here, let’s delve a little further back into the past, shall we? Not within a proper time-frame, but let’s explore the teenage years, which basically involves secondary school (La Salle PJ, in case you’re still clueless). School years were where I spent most of my time growing up, got to meet a really great bunch of people, and learn a lot about myself and life. I’ve read about people who detest their school years – its choking conformity, absurd rules, psychopathic teachers and rigid syllabus. How sad indeed.

For me, the best years I would say would be during Form 4 and 5. Probably this is because that’s when I know most of the guys more and times of hardship strengthens the bonds of brotherhood. Yes, it were the SPM years, but we still had the most fun times in our life, basically through outings, Prefects and Leo, leaning a bit more to Leo. That year I started to really get into Leo, went for the Leo Forum 2000 in KL. Ok, can’t help myself here. A little tantalising tidbit to insert here. This event soared my social reputation as I danced with 5 different girls (4 of whom are complete strangers) within one night during the Banquet Night. The reason? There was only 5 slow numbers that night. Not too sure what happened exactly (no, I was sober that time) but it didn’t really mean a big deal to me, but all my friends were excited and hardly believed their ears. Me, a social nobody actually slow-danced with 5 different girls in 1 night while my other more sociable and adventurous friends fled the dance floor like a plague during the ballads. One thing: I found out that night that slow dance is really easy, and no tutorial needed. And yeah, I don’t remember who were those 4 girls, nor their names or any contact numbers at all. It was just a simple dance, that’s all. But try telling that to my friends.

In Form 4 too, I co-organised the Joint Leo Carolling Project with Anusha and Sharenee from Assunta. My very own pet project, never mind that it was co-organised. Turned out quite well, and felt rather proud of myself. Around that time too, I went for the La Sallian Leaders’ Convention, an annual thing in St. Michael’s Institution, Ipoh. Truly bring out the La Sallian spririt in all of us, and that convention sealed an unbreakable bond between all those La Sallians who participated, and renewed the sense of kinship within the huge La Sallian family. The history of La Salle, the traditions, the brotherhood and the similarity within us even we’re from different schools such as La Salle PJ, La Salle Klang, St George’s (Taiping), St Paul’s (Seremban), St Anthony’s (Teluk Intan), St John (KL) and St. Joseph’s (Singapore). It’s been 3 years now, but I still smile with fondness when I think back of the convention and go through the photos.

On the other hand, the sense of brotherhood in Prefects was quite amazing. We stand by each other, united behind our remarkable Head Prefect (Joel Chong) against teachers and students. After being in his shoes, I really appreciate and admire the way he carried himself and his responsibilities that time. Again, it makes me all the more guilty and sad thinking how things fare now. If you’re scratching your head at this term ‘brotherhood’ I keep using, it’s similar to ‘friendship’, but its magnitude is so much wider. That’s what separates us La Sallians, our bond of brotherhood as we stand for each other, and in LSPJ, it’s sometimes against the teachers. But now, (in a way related to my failure) the students are just mindless zombies at the whim of their teachers. Goody-two-shoes who can’t think for themselves and fight for their rights. My ex-principal once said, “La Sallian here are not study-smart; but they’re street-smart.” You know what, newbie teachers turn gasp and turn pale at the name of our school, and parents beg and cry to avoid their child being sent here. To tell you the truth, there have been instances in the past where we made some newbie teacher cry in class, drove another to call back daily to seek comfort from her parents, scared the daylights of trainee teachers who wondered why our Staff Room is so uncomfortable and stuffy in the hall, only to be told that the former Staff Room was burned down in suspected arson. Or the times where some students were caught trying to burn down the Old Block, how our school has the most number of exits where new ones keep appearing to replace the old ones that are being blocked.

That’s only on the outside, what people think. Yet ask many of the long-serving teachers in my school. They will recall that in spite of our rowdiness, our indiscipline and what-nots, we’re still a great bunch. Like how our Scouts troop build the most impressive and highest towers for campfire of at least 500+ feet every year, how we won numerous quiz by just barging in at the last minute with last-minute or usually no preparation at all, and how our we all just love to show off our La Sallian spirit (rowdiness) everywhere we go. Hehe. “La Sallians will never die out there in the world,” another teacher said, commenting that all of us will definitely survive in the real world. Because the real world is much more than just straight A’s in your report card, a football captain, or the 100% attendance in school certificate. The teachers will laugh aloud at how some of the naughtiest and worst students visited them - some of them successful businessmen, another owns a pub, while 2 of them conquered the North Pole.  My Chemistry teacher said, “Other school teachers recoil in shock when we tell our students to jump off KLCC if they don’t get an A in their exam. What if they really do it, they asked. I just laugh. La Sallians, they get humiliated, they fail exams or you cane them and scold them until your mouth foam also they won’t commit suicide.” Handy thing we have here: hardiness. No, not muka tembok, hardiness. I’ll bet that you won't find any of the suicide victims of school/exam pressure to be a La Sallian.. I could go on and on, but that would just make your stomach turn and your mouth yawning, wouldn’t it? So I’ll just stop here. For now.

By Lee Jun Hoe

La Salle Petaling Jaya

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