Blast From the Past: The Time I Had A Story Printed, I Was 9 Years Old.
Thursday, 5th July, 2012 § 1 Comment
This was the cover of my Primary School magazine back in rock and roll 1982. Bukit Bintang Primary School (2) even had a Latin motto. That’s how you know it’s an old school (pun very much intended). You can see it there at the top of the school badge/coat of arms or whatever. “NISI DOMINUS FRUSTRA” which probably means, “The Loch Ness Monster dominates the frustrated”. Actually Google Translate translated it as “Unless the Lord in vain” which makes no sense at all. I prefer my version. The image of a plesiosaurus slapping its flippers at emotionally distressed students while probably laughing maniacally in its own serpentine manner is way cooler.
I was 9 years old in 1982 and I was in Standard 3 Biru (3rd grade to any and all Americans who may be reading this). ‘Biru’ means Blue and the classes were all assigned colour names and it was a big deal, especially among the parents, to be in the ‘right’ colour beginning from Standard 2. For Bukit Bintang Primary School, the top class was Biru. All the nerds ended up in Biru. Next came Hijau (Green), Merah (Red) and finally Kuning (Yellow). It was a bit like the football leagues. Students from the second, third or fourth rate classes got promoted the next year if they were top of their class. An A student from 3 Kuning for example would go up to 4 Merah the next year. It was also the same thing the other way around. Those who ended up at the bottom of the class after a poor result in the exams were relegated to the next class down. I remember going down one level to 4 Hijau the next year because I missed answering two pages of an exam paper and that brought my marks down (don’t ask me how I missed those two pages). But I went back up to the hoity toity Biru class in year 5. I also remember not caring one jot about which class I ended up in. It was all the same. Like I said, it only mattered to the parents.
Anyway, 1982 was a special year for me because this was the first time that something I wrote ended up in print. They needed story submissions from the students to fill up the blank pages and I don’t exactly remember the circumstances but my story was picked. It was a bit corny but what did you expect? I was 9 and it was 1982. Malaysia only had two television channels, a Hollywood actor was in the White House and Michael Jackson was still black. Those were innocent days. Still, reading my story again after 3 decades I can see that I was already into dark stuff. While everyone else wrote about their favourite teacher, their friends, their pets and what they did during the holidays, I was writing about a serial killer. And the story had a twist as well! Go ahead and read it:
English Translation: A Terrifying Dream (yeah, the spoiler is in the title, just roll with it)
One night I was walking alone when I realised I was lost. I soon spotted an old lady. She invited me to her house. I was reluctant to follow her but she insisted. I relented and followed the old lady home. As I entered her house I saw several skeletons. “Hai! You are now my victim!”, the old lady said. I tried to escape but tripped and fell. I woke up and realised I fell from my bed. The End.
As you can see the submissions board wasn’t picky with the quality.
And this was my class photo. I’m in the front row, third from the left.