Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Kindergarten Years

Short note: This entry was written almost one year ago. Can you even believe that? But I never posted this up because there were too many pending posts all this while. Since it is a busy couple of weeks for me preparing for my final at the moment, this entry would be a filler post to buy some time.
Ever wondered where I studied before I stepped into my primary school?
Cheng Kung Kindergarten.
Here is where I started to learn to recognise letters and alphabets, doing basic calculations, drawing and many other interesting stuffs. It was actually an unplanned thing for me to be enrolled into this kindergarten, simply because my mum was not sure which kindergarten she should send me to back then. My uncle suggested this kindergarten to both of my parents apparently because he knew there is a kindergarten there and the place is not bad, which prompted both of my parents to send me there.
The kindergarten is located within the compound of Taiping Buddhist Society. That is why every morning before our classes start, we would sing Negaraku and some short Buddhist chanting, which is tuned for it to sound more like a song. I used to sing it even when I went back home that time, but as the years pass by, I am no longer able to recall the lines. At the same time, I am so sure whether that practice still remain until today.
Back then, I took a school bus daily to the kindergarten as I was staying over at my grandma's place. I used to be a quiet boy at school and that actually remained until I was in my secondary years, although it got slowly lesser and lesser. I still remember that there was one girl, who used to take the same school bus with me every day to the kindergarten. Even though we would usually wave to each other whenever I got down when the bus drop me at my grandma's house, I had never exchanged a single word with her, not even her name. We were still so young and innocent that time, however I wouldn't disagree if you say she was my first crush. I doubt she will be reading this, but I wonder where and how is she doing right now.
Cheng Kung Kindergarten occupies the first floor of one of the building there, just above a huge hall used for religious ceremony. The classes are separated by beige walls and each class usually comprises between twenty to twenty-five kids. They are named after fruit's name, for example - Orange class, Apple class, Durian class and so on. Mine was Pineapple class.
However, they have dropped that name since several years ago and replaced with some other fruit.
Strawberry class.
One of the classes, decorated with colourful pictures and drawings.
Besides just learning basic stuff like reading, writing and calculating, we were exposed to a lot other activities, especially whenever festive seasons are around the corner. When it is Chinese New Year, we would be taught how to make firecrackers from cardboards, folding fishes and lanterns from red packets; and when the Mooncake Festival is around the corner, we learned how to make paper lanterns. That aside, we had outdoor school trips to museums, zoo, lake gardens and many other places around Taiping once every few months.
It was fun for us, but conversely the teachers would have huge headaches, as they had to look after each and every one of us to make sure nobody is lost during the trip.
The board in which we marked our attendance.
The first thing we would have to do every morning is to take our own attendance. Yes, we do that ourselves, instead of waiting for our teacher to take our attendance. The system is one of a kind, which I think it made it more convenient for the teachers, and the kids love it a lot. Basically, there will be a cardboard, divided into five columns for the five days in a week. A layer of wire which has a lot of holes are placed on top of it, and we would find our name card on the teacher's table, and then slip the name card it on the cardboard.
Another thing which I always looked forward would be the recess time. We did not have a canteen there, and food are served to every classes when it is recess time. One of my favourite menu was fried noodle and usually, we would try to go for a second round as the noodles are served in a big round steel plate and there would be assistant there to help out our teacher to scoop the noodles for us. But most of the time, unless we were fast enough, there would not be a chance for us to go for a second round. Hence, most of the time, even though we were eating, we would keep a busy sight at the food tray at the same time, to see if there is any extra food remaining haha. After every one got their food, our class teacher will eat together with us in the class. At times, we even sing some songs together while eating.
Although there is a playground outside, we hardly got the opportunity to play there. Whenever we got to play there, we still worried about getting caught by the fierce school principal, the person whom all of us were afraid of. She is the only teacher who walked around classes with a long-rattan cane almost every day, and we always tried to avoid her. We only went to the playground and played the slides and swing after school hours, when we were waiting for the school bus.
What we used to play with.
The kids are more fortunate that they get more stuff to play at the playground today.
They used to organise birthday parties every month for us. The birthday boys and birthday girls would get their photo taken in front of the cake and most of the time, these kids would come in nice attire. The boys would come with smart t-shirt, nice jeans and shoes. As for the girls, they would wear colourful dresses or skirts, and some even spend that extra time to put on some make-up.
So small also want to wear branded (fake one though) stuff already haha.
When it was my month, I did not know that they would be organising that party on that day, and I just went there wearing a long-sleeved Nike t-shirt. Not an original one, of course. It was raining that day, and my mum was worried that I might get caught cold that she made me wear that shirt. I must say that I used to be quite blur and unsure of what the teacher tells us at times, mainly because most of the time, they will use Mandarin to make any announcement. Prior to entering this kindergarten, I never spoke a single word of Mandarin and God knows how tough it was for me back then.
After spending almost a year there, we finally graduated from that kindergarten. That was my first time wearing a mortar board, and you do not have to graduate from an university in order to get the chance of wearing it.
Haha, stop laughing. I know I look damn pure and innocent. So kuai chai, no?
Just like any other year, we have our graduation-cum-concert ceremony towards the end of the year. I received two trophy - one small and another a taller one. The tall one is for getting excellent results in our exams, while the smaller one is for students with neat writing. Haha, I know this prize is quite lame but anyone who knows me well enough should be aware that I have nice and neat handwriting, be it in alphabets, Chinese characters or Japanese characters.
I am not trying to boast around, but in the Mathematics paper in my college in Japan last year, my Japanese lecturer decided to photocopy my answer sheet after the exam to be distributed to the whole class for reference. At first, he asked me whether it is okay for him to use my answer sheet, as he would not have to do another one himself already.
I replied my lecturer, "How if I say cannot ler??"
Haha, crazy-meh; of course I wasn't that bad to give him such a cheeky reply. When my other classmates saw it, "Sugehh!!", "Yabeiii" came out as usual. One of my classmate told me something, that I find it funny; "Hey, you can make money with this ler."

One of the rare times when I put on make-ups. I am the one with the green hat, just in case you cannot spot me.
Back to my kindergarten story, besides just prize giving ceremony, there were performances in between. My class performed two kind of dances that evening, and we were given the chance to choose what dance we wanted to do. I rejected the rock and roll dance because I was too shy to use plastic guitar and dance around. So I joined another dance - twist dance, which I think is equally embarrassing haha.
We were given a green shiny mask to wear during our performance, just like the picture below.
Spot me!
Just like anywhere, be it at kindergarten, primary school or secondary school, we had our class picture taken. Here is a class photo of mine.
I am the easiest to spot.
Fifteen years later, I revisited my kindergarten during my summer holidays last year and I find my class teacher still look exactly the same.
That is Mrs Liang, who has taught there for thirty years.


=chuan guan= said...


Kae Vin said...

lol u have good memories ;)

they say what you were, is what you are today :)

and the 2009 calvin is so much difference with the 1993 Calvin XD

Cieri said...

i remember your tulisan tangan is soooooo use ruler dattake?

naqiubex said...

reminiscing the old time ha.. maybe i need to visit my tadika one day...

calvin said...

@ =chuan guan=:
yup, can you imagine that? thirty-long-year teaching little kids.

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
haha, of course. people changes through the years. i saw your pictures when you were small and you're worse than me okay xD

calvin said...

@ cieri:
nope, not really a ruler; but just the tip of my fingers to guide my writings ;)

calvin said...

@ naqiubex:
sometimes, it is nice to reminisce your childhood days. you should, provided if your kindergarten still exists =D