02 February 2010

Back To School

It's been more than a month since ape walk his daughter to school everyday. Ape's daughter is in primary one now. The school is just across the road from where ape stays.

The first week was kind of messy but the school has prepared the parents well. The school has invited parents for briefing weeks before school starts. The principal spent almost an hour briefing us about the school, explaining the approach, describing what would happen during the first week or so, where to drop our children, where to pick up our children, what would happen, etc. Yes, the first 3 days was messy but that's expected. Everything more or less settled down by the fourth day base on ape's observation... except punctuality.

The school expected the children to be in the school by 7:25 a.m. so that tthe flag raising ceremony can begin at 7:30 a.m. sharp (exactly like the way it was several decades ago when ape was in school). Therefore, ape was a little surprised that after leaving his daughter at school, (occasionally at 7:25 a.m. sharp), while walking back, ape saw some students strolling to school... with their parents. Ape reckoned by the time they reach the school gate, it must be 7:30 a.m. or later. Are parents really that indifferent towards punctuality? Anyway, by the 3rd week, the school has taken a firmer approach and closes the gate at 7:30 a.m. Apparently, some pupils (and parents) are undeterred still, although there's significantly lesser now.

Anyway, school is fun really or rather, ape enjoys walking his daughter to school. The walk might be 5 minutes but it allows ape to indulge in small talks with his daughter. Seeing so many people walking towards a common direction for a common purpose makes ape feel so alive again. It's very unlike the zombies in trains, bus and roads where everyone seems to be rushing to somewhere to do something but dunno what.

The routine ape went through in the last 2 decades was wake up, wash up, go work, wake up , wash up, go work, wake up, wash up, go work. Before this year, ape couldn't recall when was the last time when ape wakes up before the sun rises to feel the cool morning, steps on the cold tiled floor and speak in low soft tones. The only times when ape feel the dawn were days when ape had to stay out late or worked overnight and arrived home at daybreak. This year is so different and walking my daughter to school brought back so much fond memories.

When ape started school, some 3 decades ago, mommy ape walked him to school. Ape's mum works in the school so that's not too much of a problem and we usually arrived in school at 6:00 a.m. You see, ape's mommy is what one might call, a school janitor or back then, she's called Ah Soh. Mommy has to open the school gate, school office, turn on the tuckshop (canteen) lights, etc and ape delightfully helped her do these... afterall, not everyone has this privilege to sneak into the principal's office and sit on his chair. Then, ape would go to his usual corner and wait for his classmates to arrive. We'll chat and as more friends arrive, we'll play games such as police-and-thief (catching), tok kar (catching but hopping on one leg) and sometimes when the girls were more obliging, they'll invite us to play zero point (skipping ropes) or five stones. Almost everyone was eager to go to school simply because school was fun. Playing together made us feel good about learning together and it didn't hurt so much when we were punished together. It was the "togetherness" that give ape so much fond memories.

In case you're wondering, the picture is the school that ape attended... in fact, ape was in the class situated at the highest floor at the corner. You'll never see another pupil wearing the school uniform anymore. It's been closed down and merged with two other schools.