Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Franken Companions

More often than not, students do not usually have much memories of their “Cikgu Besar” (Principal, Headmaster or whatever it is they are called).

This is simply for the reason of proximity, or lack of it, unlike the classroom and subject teachers whom we see, hear and converse with every day of the week.

Nope; the Cikgu Besar is someone who sits in a lofty place high up in the school hierarchy.

Sometimes I do wonder if this causes a detachment to the (ahem) raison d'etre of why schools exist.

Before even the (ahem, again...) allegedly racist “Cikgu Besar” debacle, sorry, misunderstanding, (at least according to Education DG), I was confronted with just such an incidence which prompted similar misgivings on these lofty teacher-cum-administrator.

A few weeks ago when my daughter was late to her school in Shah Alam on a Mon(Assembly)day due to a bad case of traffic holdups, she was rounded up with her fellow latecomers and given a berating by several teachers.

Nothing wrong with that, as what was spoken were pretty much spot on – wake up early, prepare for contigencies bla bla.

Then spoke the Cikgu Besar.

She asked where the students live.

My daughters says, truthfully, Meru, and this, shockingly, sets of a tirade from the Cikgu Besar of parents who sends their children to the most convenient of schools without considering the lethargy of distant commuting et cetera et cetera.

Somewhere along the lines, out came something akin to “We don’t want outsiders here" during the tirade.

(Actually, lots more came up which I have since buried in my grey matter.)

My daughter is only 8 this year. Very much like me, she is the sort who keeps things bottle-up inside, and I don’t think I would ever know of the episode had I not decided to hang around the school then.

Had it been my better-half instead of me there, the Cikgu Besar would have had to contend with much more than just silent disapproval.

My daughter was late. Fine. Punish her for that offence.

Casting aspersions against her for being not from the area is similar to the so-called “pendatang” call from the Johor school principal.

What they are essentially saying is this: “You don’t belong here.

Not the same, but eerily similar in context.

Did it leave any impact on my daughter? Like I said, she retained much of my traits including those of letting bygones be.

Me? I’m wondering what goes on in the mind of the Cikgu Besar when she said the things she said.

Frustration? Indignation? What was it?

We have decided to move her out from the school next year. Perhaps it is better for her to be closer to her home, but the way lives are lived these days still means that she will have to transit somewhere before she goes to the religious classes and later gets home.

Perhaps it is time for me to seriously consider a full time writing career.

At least that would then put me closer to my daughters (the younger one is also due to the national schooling system soon).

Lest some aloof Cikgu Besars accuse my wife and I of “Not loving our children enough”.

Yes: that was another contention made in her tirade. In my daughter’s face, mind you.

Nasty, isn’t it?

"You live, but you don't."