From straight As student to Mom at 18






I finished my secondary school in a relatively unpopular all girls school known as Sekolah Menengah Seri Intan, acronym, SMSI (Seri Intan High School) situated in Fair Park, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.

When I started Form 1, I befriended sparkly eyed, spirited girls from Chinese and Tamil primary vernacular schools besides girls from other national primary schools like myself.

When class allocation began based on our UPSR results, I witnessed gross and close to malicious bias.

Students from Tamil schools, regardless of their perfect UPSR scores were relegated to the 3rd best class in school and the other descending classes by grade.

The reason or I'd say pretext given to this relegation was the students taking up Tamil language as a subject and the classes teaching it colliding with Mandarin classes.

Even at that young age, I was thinking, what a phucked up system is this and knew that it is indeed a form of race discrimination. But, I didn't have the balls to stand up and challenge the partisan system and just kept belted up like my peers. I had nothing to do with it anyway so I didn't want to be in the school's authority's bad books. Yes, it was craven of me.

As soon as the announcement of the class allocation was made, I saw my excelled and promising schoolmates from Tamil primary school's faces fall. I genuinely felt sorry for them. I mean, they have worked their asses off to be the best of the best and there they stand, unable to join the cream of the crop even though they are more than qualified for it.

I befriended Suji (not her real name), a girl with dusky complexion from Tamil primary school, who had scored straight As in UPSR and also my school mate who lived in my neighbourhood, Kampung Tawas. She was also my school bus mate and sure enough, we became close friends.

I was a public bus virgin before secondary school. There were co-curricular activities in school on Saturdays and school buses do not operate on weekends. Suji was my constant company during such trips to and fro school on Saturdays as well as Tun Abdul Razak public library where we went to study initially.

From then onwards, I witnessed Suji's steady decline which took place in a span of two years of afternoon session schooling and my mingling with her to places we traveled and went to together.

Failing to nab the top class, culture shock, (she was used to be surrounded by Indian classmates and schoolmates) as well as with trouble conversing in Malay and English languages disillusioned Suji and she began to be in bad company in the manifestation of Form 2 unruly, domineering Indian girls who were literally out casts.

Next to SMSI, there is an all boys school by the name Sekolah Menengah Seri Putera (Seri Putera High School) acronym, SMSP.

In the afternoon, before the school bell rings, some boys and girls from both schools can be seen loitering in the platforms of shop lots situated in front of both secondary schools. The same is true after school, while waiting for transportation to take them home.

Suji was a compulsive flirt. I was her unwilling companion on those endeavours at Medan Kidd, Ipoh's bus central. Whenever she embarks on such quests, I will be standing by her, numbed and dumbed.

Suji hooked up with our school bus driver's son who was his Dad's apprentice after dropping out from school. The both have been  bermain mata (echange amorous eye contact) for some time, onboard the school bus. In fact, it was Suji who boldly told her feelings for him via the public phone and I was there.. for moral support of some sort although I was totally against her idea. I was too altruistic and friends are not supposed to oppose whatever shit his or her friend is getting into. If your friend is doing something stupid, you join in. That is the whole idea of friendship in teen years. Peer pressure is crazy when you are a teen.

So it goes, every other Meenatchi in my school has a Macha in her life and it was the unwritten rule that an Indian girl from SMSI must only choose her Macha from SMSP. I have witnessed tussles between several students from SMSP bashing up students from Anderson High School because they dared to chat up some Meenatchi from SMSI. Avanengge ellam nalla varuvanungge. (They all will reach great heights)

 I was not an exclusion. I too had some boys hurling monkey love lines my way and pressure from Suji and another imposing Form 2 Indian girl to accept any boy as my Macha but I was too timid to accept and found the trend newfangled of which didn't hit the right chord with me. Yes, you heard me correctly; I was timid.. Once upon a time. Not now, once upon a time.

I have been to Suji's house; she lived in a joint family system. Her Mom and Dad were factory workers and she had an adorable little brother. I have eaten out of her mother's hand and I call her 'Amma'(Mother) and wholeheartedly regarded her as my mother.

Suji too, invited herself to my place and insisted on borrowing my garb. Even though I knew that I will be in hot soup if my Mom learns that I've lent my garb to a friend, I willed the gut wrenching feeling away and gave Suji one my clothes which she liked. It was a black and white Alien Workshop ladies tee sporting a plunging V neck and little did I know that Suji planned to don it on a date with her boyfriend.

It was only the day she returned my tee that she said she wore it on an outing with the now, 'the love of her life'. Then, she showed me the hickeys he gave her on her neck and chest and told me that it led them to sex. I just froze. She was wearing my clothes while she was at it. The very thought was revolting but I didn't say anything to her. Once home, I washed and scrubbed my tee with Dynamo to my heart's content.

Suji, wearing my garb to make out with her boyfriend put the final nail in the coffin. I decided not to borrow her my clothes anymore.

The next time Suji asked for my clothes again, I told her that my Mom found out that I had lent her my tee and that she forbade me to do such thing again. It was a white lie but it worked.

Soon after my refusal to lend Suji clothes, she went on shopping sprees at a boutique situated at the shop in front of our school. I was her constant companion during such shopping splurges.

Suji also began gorging on expensive snacks like Snickers bars, Peel Fresh, Kit Kat, etc that she bought from a mini market while waiting for the school bus after school.

I continued visiting Suji's place and got to know all her family members and I observed their lifestyle. It was just a couple of notches down from lower middle class. At that time, Suji had already begun to neglect her studies and was going on an orgy of illicit not to mention illegitimate sexual adventures with her boyfriend who is much older than her. Her parents knew nothing of this.

I begun to wonder from where she gets all the money from. Her parents are not well heeled, so it was a paradox. I thought that perhaps they were giving it to her so that she would not feel deprived. Little did I know I would be embroiled in Suji's ploy in this money matters.

During sports practice, my classmate, Angie (not her real name) gave me her billfold for safekeeping when her turn to the long jump in a sand pit came. I wanted to go to the loo and I gave Angie's wallet to Suji. I trusted Suji. It was a major mistake.

I returned from the loo and got Angie's purse back from Suji and returned it to my class mate when she asked for it.

Later, on the way home on public bus, Suji gave me 2 RM 10 notes, one old note and another old note and told me to keep them until she asks them back. I innocently complied.

The next afternoon in school, there was a commotion outside my classroom and I came to know that the fuss was about Angie's money being stolen. Angie was stating that she lost RM 20, one old RM 10 note and another new RM 10 and I instantly knew that Suji was the culprit and that the money she gave me belonged to Angie.

I produced the money forth in a heartbeat and convicted that Suji was the one who gave me the money to keep and Angie, together with some of our other classmates and me marched to Suji's class to see what she has to say for herself, her turn for vindication .

Suji vehemently denied taking the money and nefariously framed me. A contention of accusation ensued and finally, Angie settled the dust. She gave both Suji and me the benefit of doubt. I was not gratified by Angie's amiable gesture and I made it as evident as possible. I wanted to go to the discipline teacher to report this incident and clear my name but Angie pulled me aside and said she trusts me, not Suji. The case officially closed and my idea to get the school authority arbitrary intervention was put paid to.

After that bitter apple of discord, I stopped talking to Suji and witnessed her deterioration from a distance; we took the same school bus and were schoolmates for five years after all. I got the hang of taking the town bus through the years and no longer needed Suji's companionship

Days went to years and we got into morning session school. I became a prefect and wayward, garrulous, Indian girls who are my fellow school mates loathed me. I refined my body language and mien and became stiff with the attitude of a Mastiff and no one dared to cross my way, be it girls or boys. Confidence is not sexy and appealing when you are a teen.

Suji didn't do well in her PMR. I don't know the actual grades but what I heard was that her PMR result was  abysmal.

Suji and I continued to drift apart until we were in our final year in school. I was travelling on my own track and Suji, on her own track and it was forked, going opposing directions. Rajini soldre maathiri, "Yen valli, thani valli." (Like Rajini says, "My way is an indie way.")

I last saw Suji on the last day of SPM exam and met her again in the Kampung Tawas wet market 2 years later, when I was studying HSC in Raja Perempuan School, acronym, RPS.

What I saw literally made my jaw drop. Suji was heavily carrying and she had one kid on tow. I just stood rooted to the spot. I just couldn't believe my eyes.

Suji caught a glimpse of me. I mustered a smile as she made eye contact and she approached me.

"Hema, yeppadi irukke?" (Hema, how are you?) Jolted out from the spell I was under, I stammered, "Yeah, naan nalla iruken." (Yeah, I'm fine) I go nuts when I am nervous and I pointed to her tummy, "Ithu yeppe?" (When did this happen?)
Suji replied in a small voice, "7 maasam aaghuthu." (It is nearing 7 months)

Suji disclosed that she got pregnant with the school bus driver's son she was dating and, they got married in immediacy, before her stomach shows. And, there was Suji's toddler kid, holding onto his Mom's dress. I pinched his chubby cheeks and he gave me a smile that would warm the coldest of hearts.

It seems Suji flunked her SPM. Wiping a tear off, she said in a thick voice that she regrets that she didn't get her priorities right. When she is supposed to be continuing her academic excellence, she had been gallivanting with boys. She said that she had thought that no matter how sublime she is at studies, she will be considered as a dreg of society, her achievements, met with disdain and prejudice. Yes, the class relegation for those who are from Tamil schools made a such a negative impact on her. Plus, the fact that Suji didn't own a built in life coach is another reason for her to go from straight As student to Mom at 18.

Some of my other friends from Tamil schools went on to pursue tertiary education and some failed to follow the sequence through.

At hindsight, I am feeling guilty. I had abandoned my friend whom I knew was travelling on the wrong track. I folded my arms and watched my friend get screwed.

Maybe some of you may think Suji dug her own grave but if only I had thwarted her moves, she would be a somebody now. The point is, I did nothing to steer Suji from the path of dereliction and I am filled with scruple.

Perhaps I didn't have the maturity and critical thinking like I have now. You know our school system, exam orientated that disallows cogent thought process, producing donkeys.

I had eaten out of Suji's mother's hands and I had let her daughter go when she needed me most. A betrayal in its own right. That guilt will not leave me till the day I breathe my last......

This is a story that needs to be told. This is also the driving factor why I wrote that vernacular schools should be integrated into national schools. But, for that to come into reality, restructuring and planning is needed and it may take decades for such a system to materialize.

Ours is a relegating system where the deserved is banished and the undeserved given opportunities at the cost of excellence. A point to ponder.



22 comments:

  1. An eye opener... i too have the same feelings, if i have the guts to guide many of the girls i have met through my life, at least they would be someone in their life ... sigh...

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    1. I agree Lyla but whether they will heed to our advice remains a question..

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  2. Good read my fren. You did a great thing by bogging this.
    Frens should help to redirect if they see their peers going the wrong way. I have done that before to many frens; no fights involved though. We need to just speak from the heart.

    Parents should ask the school of why some children are located to lower level classes n the Tamil school teachers or authorities should assist with care n love for our children.

    I do not actually understand if the is a SOP for proper placements of classes based on results.

    Sigh.

    Cheers!!!
    Jsy

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    1. I hope SMSI has changed the biased system but I have no way of knowing it.

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  3. sad...a very engaging story..fit to be made into a short movie at least.

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    1. I'm glad that it impacted you. My mission is accomplished.

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  4. This story struck a close nail to my heart since I have been in exact same shoes.
    How does one open the eye of a teen girl blinded by what little she knows of love? What does the girl who knows better could possibly say to help her? Absolutely nothing, by the time it comes to the extent that we can help her, she's too deep in her own darkness.

    Growing up, I was made feel inferior by my fellow machis because I was dark and not conventionally pretty(academics was so-so). But it is the same 'undesirable beauty' that had steered me away from ranbunctious machas and in a way my ugliness, if you could call it - saved me from these kind of silly love drama. In a way, I was saved from a clusterfuck.
    Many of my peers in highschool are kinda broken and used from all their failed teen romances. I am still holding on strong because I know better. Reading your story made me feel bittersweet - proud that I was different from most Indian machis and sad that my machis can't see from my perspective, that being an Indian female in Malaysia, it is all the more important to build a stepping stone for oneself.

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    1. Nice one Lovely Willow!

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    2. Accolades to your comment Lovely Willow. If only all Indian girls are as clear-headed as you, this kind of shit can be prevented from the root itself. Bravo, Rupz! :-)

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  5. Hema, u shared a real life story which is so common among the teens life, but we hardly speak about this. Keep going gurl!

    Mr. Menon

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    1. This is a story that begged to be told and I hope it would serve as a lesson for our boys and girls over what should come first and what should come last in their list of priorities.

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  6. Hmm, she sounds a lot like me. The difference is that I wasn't from a Tamil school and I'm a straight A student. I too slept around, had boyfriends from the age of 11, got pregnant at 19, divorced now with a 3yr old boy, and only now I found out that all this is because I have Bipolar Disorder. But there's more to my story, as there could be with your friend, Suji's. But she going on a spending spree, and sleeping around, are some of the symptoms of this disorder, and medication would help, if she has it. If she has this disorder, then nothing at all was her fault. It's all due to imbalance with the neurotransmitters, ie: serotonin and dopamine. So, good news! You might still be able to help her.

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    1. If she has bipolar and is innocent, she wouldn't have schemed a thieving plan and later frame me. This is not the work of a mentally affected person who hears voices in her heads. She has planned and executed a ploy not to mention taking advantage of me to gratify her ego and anarchy.

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    2. and who said that a bipolar hears voices in her head? that's schizophrenia. a bipolar loves to manipulate too. so that could explain her framing you. anyway, i'm not here to tell you if she is or not - that's the job of a psychiatrist, not you, not me. but you expressed regret that you couldn't help her before. so, i thought i'd suggest a way in which you still 'could' (if she's bipolar) help, that is by reading about it, probably meet and explain it to her or bringing her to seek help. believe me, my mom who lived with me all these years didn't know i have this, i didn't know i have this.

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    3. I no longer have her contact. She could be anywhere in Malaysia. I have no idea of her whereabouts to date. So there.

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    4. Bavanie , so the morale of the story is how an individual acts do not have relation with what type of school they studied or number of As one score (esp in Malaysian education system) . Based on this,does this article targets Tamil school student only ? This happen to some teenager immaterial of any race or back ground , but the pertinent question , does the girl is happy with her life and she married the guy she loved , so what is the problem and the issue ? Why one want to write about a past of girl when she is already married and having children ? Did the author has permission to do this and on what moral grounds she is writing this maybe frustration of not having a life or family. The truth is an enemy for a women is always a women .

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    5. Siva Kumar, if she didn't get screwed around as a school going teen, she might have become a somebody who has climbed the corporate ladder now. I had mentioned that she expressed regret to me the last time I met her. She was very much regretful.

      I had said that many of my peers from Tamil schools have attained success. You see, at these times, marrying at 18 is considered stonewalling potential. Your mindset is outdated.

      Haha, you think I don't have a life and family? How stupid you can get? Your stupidity is outstanding. Good luck with that. I wrote this story so that it would keep our girls from screwing themselves and after that cry after spilt milk. A lesson and caveat in its own right. Too bad you can't see it in that positive perspective.

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    6. She regretted not studying when she should have. That message failed to be absorbed by your as always, numbskull.

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    7. You wrote a lot but first did you get her permission to write this and second you never answer the question why you write a past of women who has married with children and bringing in their family into this as well. So being in corporate life ,guarantees happiness? There are many corporate ladies ,regrets they never get married and have a family so as usual a shallow minded people can think of only much . She said she regret but did she say she is not happy with her life .They are many girls who had taken wrong steps in their teen ,turnout better person when they grow older in terms career,education and family . My issue is very simple , what is the difference between degrading a women who already married with child in this way with the womens get abused outside , why there is two different set of rule apply ? I am seeing the two as same "crime" .How can one be "educational" but in this story you have more bitterness to her due to your experience with her .Suprisingly , there is no ladies came to defend their own fellow ladies .Saying abt yr other peers fr Tamil school is your safe guard when you are pointed as selective .It's yr trade mark .

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    8. First of all, I never disclosed her identity; I had used a pseudonym. What the bunkum are you talking? Asking permission from her it seems. Does the mass media ask permission from a rape victim and the accused before writing news about them? Does a journalist ask the corrupt minister before exposing his graft? Don't try to wrong me with shallow brainwaves. It doesn't fit in.

      She told me that she regrets gallivanting when she is supposed to study and cried to me. Does a happy woman cry while expressing regret? Again, you sound shallow. Obviously she is unhappy with where she is now.

      You don't cook up stories ok? I wrote this in a neutral manner. It is something that happened in my personal life. Many girls might have turned themselves around after an orgy but I'm not talking about other girls here. I'm talking about a friend of mine who sidetracked and never got on the right track again and me writing this is to serve a lesson to young Indian girls out there. Again, these are not my words; these terms came from Suji's mouth.

      Only one rule which I had applied in my blog and you are selectively and obnoxiously blind to it as always when you hurl libel on my articles.

      Now, the resident bull shitter has started its spinning. This post is not directed to abused women. I have wrote about it in a separate article. This post is targeted to school going girls to have them set their priorities right. Education comes first in this crucial age, everything else, next.

      I never degraded Suji in any way. Can you copy and paste the part where you so call, " degrading a married woman with child" in your next comment? Good luck with that.

      I have no bitterness for Suji whatsoever. If I am the vengeance seeking type, my tack would have been different but, it is not the case. I'm of clement character especially when I see pitiable people. Suji is one of them.

      No ladies opposed me because this post does not defame ladies. Only you can conjure up such conclusions and make me laugh really hard.

      You are dogged when it comes to slandering me and branding me with laughable trademarks. I had mentioned that some of my friends who went to Tamil primary school are on the road to success and some who are not. You are free to make your own presumptions; I don't give two hoots about it and arguing with a person of your credentials is a blatant waste of time.

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  7. the other day,my supervisor was demonstrating to foreign workers on how to put the toxic dry solder paste into a test tube.then he joked about the declining number of test tubes remaining because female workers are taking them home for gratifying themselves.when I approached him later in the canteen,he told me a real life incident involving a female student at his alma mater.after science class the student secretly took one test tube from the lab and went home.she inserted the tube inside her v**va and was pleasing herself.unfortunately and suddenly the tube broke and shattered into fragments of sharp glass with half of it inside her.the girl was terrified with the amount of blood flowing profusely from her private but too embarrassed to call for help fearing retribution from family.later her parents found her lying motionless and quickly sent her to hospital but she died because of too much blood loss.so,hema have you ever caught your class mates doing kinky stuff such as these and were there any incident of this kind happened in your school?

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    1. Your comment is irrelevant to this blog of mine. Kinky stuff is everywhere. As a prefect in an all girls' high school, I have came across lesbians making out in classrooms during recess and as a student disciplinarian I have reprimanded such lots and even slapped a twosome once.

      About the test tube story, I have heard of it as well. It may well be a myth, I can't tell for sure.

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