The glorious and triumphant return of now-19 year old Blogger, the revival of a once-grand and dare I say influential webspace that produced daily content, and the crippling anxiety of a young woman who no longer has any time or motivation to write, and feels like any ability she had acquired in the past through repetition and sheer will alone is now slowly slipping out of her grasp. Brief history of the Blog and Blogger can be found here.

Here be personal journal entries, observations, slices of life, questions and conclusions, as well as exploration of social and political topics seen through the lens of a Malaysian Muslim, feminist, lesbian, Marxist, and horse enthusiast.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Smoke and Mirrors

On Being A Prefect
(with an aside of people suck-get over it-but-I-don't-want-to-but-I-have-to).

They weren't kidding when they said that it's a journey. They weren't kidding when they emphasized that it's a hell of a journey. You know, I had a post like this in mind for a long time, ever since this year's AGM but I kept convincing myself that it needn't be written, not yet, that it can wait until the year after next year when I'm penning out my goodbye speech. But things don't work out the way it does in my head, not often, anyways, and here we are at midnight on the thirteenth and I'm going to write because I have issues, and feelings, and frustrations, and there's no other choice. I'm not even in control anymore. If I don't write, I'm not getting through the night. 

I chose to be a prefect in Form 1 simply because of the fact that I thought it was a destiny I had to fulfill. I was that kind of arrogant: I volunteered for everything and I smiled a lot and I guess at the time, I chose to be optimistic because that was what got me through my depression, in the end; the knowledge that a better day awaits. Better days await. And I was pretty darn sure I was still in that mindset, going into Form 1, and I had no idea how cut off I actually was, having no means of social contact with anyone at all other than my close friends. All I had was a phone and an e-mail address. And a blog. So I'll never blame Nisa for jumping on that bandwagon. I'll never blame her for getting a Facebook. I persevered, though, never complained out loud about how crappy my life was and it was natural for me, to take charge, to want to be in control, to want to do something. 

Sometimes I think that helping people is ingrained in me. I can't help but remember how earlier on in every single year (except for the past two years - but that's because I've been a prefect, and a busy one, at that), I would raise my hand and volunteer for something. Anything. Make a timetable, donate table cloths, make name stickers for the tables, you name it, chances are I've probably done it. It was that innate trait in me, that absolute, indisputable need in me to help and do something that led me to the conclusion: I'm going to get offered the position of prefect and there's nothing I or anyone can do to stop it. And it wasn't an arrogance so much that I wanted it to happen at all. It wasn't a sure-fire, hundred percent belief in myself and my abilities. It was just one of those things that you just knew. That I just knew and it didn't matter if I blew the interview (which I didn't), I was still going to get it. 

Speaking of the interview, that was a useless process. I don't know what would have happened if anyone else other than Madame K had been there but, yeah, pretty sure I would have gotten here one way or another anyways. I don't think I quite see what other people see in myself. Maybe I am good prefect material, maybe I'm not. I don't see it. I don't believe it, at any rate, and I have reasons for that, which I'll come to later. Orientation weeks were stressful, to say the least, and frustrating, not only because I couldn't find common ground with my senior but because I was defying everything I believed myself to be. It was embarrassing, that I thought I could be good at this thing but the opposite turned out to be the reality of it. I went home everyday and I told myself, okay, tomorrow, you can be a better prefect. Tomorrow, or at least during that year, never came. 

I guess before I get on with the bad, I'll blanket it with some good. I don't believe in bad news first or good news first. I believe in bracketing the bad news with good so that the positive will always outweigh the negative. And onto why I think I make a good prefect: once I make a decision pure and simple and in the moment, I don't change it. So when I set my sight straight and quell my guts down with a resounding fuck you to everyone else, I just go for it and hope for the best. It's a crash landing. If I were a pilot, the plane would have landed in a forest or the middle of the ocean. But does it get the job done? Yes. I'm punctual to a fault. I like helping, I like it when people point out my mistakes to me and I guess on some level, I'm a good prefect because I try. I try, at least once.

The reason I'm bad at it is because I am a natural excuse-maker. It's not hard at all for me to come up with excuses and the thing I hate the most about this seemingly unbreakable habit is that I justify all the bad things that I do to myself and to other people as well. At the end of the day, I try to refrain from lying to myself but anyone else is fair game, really. Another thing is that I'm not a natural people person, growing up alone and surrounded by the battlefield that was my social life. Or rather, "social life". I don't make friends easily at all because people don't get my humor and when they just stare at me blankly one too many times, I end up just forgetting about it altogether and label said person as a dumbass. It's not my best quality, I've come to realize, and while I don't really want to change it, I probably should. Where to start though? And then of course there's the whole "I hate authority and have a total disregard for the rules thing". But I'll get to that.

They said that I was good at standing up to the seniors and I don't really know where that came from. I mean, they said they saw that in me and I am stumped. When did this quality of mine, that even I am not aware of, manifest itself and most importantly, how did it sneak up on me so and manage to shine out unto others to see that light? It's confusing and maybe it's something that I will never understand because I am usually very hard on myself but nevertheless. It's said and it's done and none of them have retracted the statement so far, certain people going so far as to reiterate it. I guess I do stand up to them but the thing is, like I said up there, I only do it once. And I'll address this issue further later on in the post. 

In Form 1, I was the epitome of a noob. I kind of remind me of Samantha Ann actually, it was that bad. And I think it was only in Form 3 when I semi-pulled my act together and decided to do things properly. Or as properly as I can. To the best of my abilities, I guess you could say, and even that's stretching it thin. I have no qualms about people hating on me. It's never been an issue and it probably never will. I'm not an unlikable person, but I am an acquired taste, and that's why while I do have friends, people whom I can consider close friends are few and very, very, very (very) far between. 

So it came as a shock when I discovered how quiet I'd get during assemblies or anything really, that required me to step out of my comfort zone and tell people off. I guess that comes from a lifetime of saying whatever the fuck I wanted to and when it came time to do it in a diplomatic fashion, I am at freaking sea. I was so lost, it's not funny to even think about. I can help, I can lead and I can still do the things I was born to do but unlike certain figures, unlike Violet, for example, I just couldn't bring myself to tell someone to do something. Someone I didn't know. And it's not the issue of me not believing in the duty that I'm performing because I have a rather long-winded rant regarding that matter as well. It's more of the fact that I was just scared and... the whole Form 1 prefect experience, suffice it to say, was useless and nothing to write home about.

It all changed in Form 2. I realized that optimism wasn't going to get me anywhere. It doesn't matter if I choose to see the best in a situation, see the best in people - benefit of the doubt really wasn't a phrase you should throw around lightly at this school. Or, like, at all. So I'm sort of a misanthrope now, I've got to admit. I don't like it. I don't like not liking people. But I have my reasons.

And here begins the ranting portion of my post. School rules. I've always emphasized the fact that they exist for a reason, I've never shied away from admitting to the fact that the school rules are downright ludicrous and I'm not going to back down on my stance now. Everything I'm going to say is just basically a repeat of what I have said before. Only now, in the context of my "journey" so far on the prefects board, you can decide for yourself whether any of these things are justified. 

I don't believe in the school rules. Fact. I don't think they do anything but cause a hassle and trouble for all involved, parents, teachers and students alike. I have never followed the rules to the letter. I am not a follower. And that's where the similarities between me and my fellow schoolmates who act like they're too cool for the rules of school end. I pick my battles. I won't mention the rules that I alter to fit my own needs and those that I simply dismiss altogether. That would just be asking for trouble and there! There's that phrase. Asking for trouble. I don't ask for trouble and here is why. 

I don't honestly ever wish ill will towards anyone. I don't want anyone to get into trouble because of something I did;  I am not that kind of person. I get angry and my temper gets the best of me and I'll be screaming things in my head and saying things out loud that I don't ever mean. Do you know that when you break the school rules, you're not only making life difficult for yourself, you're also making it difficult for around about a hundred prefects, four discipline teachers, a bunch of other nosy teachers and probably or sooner or later your parents as well? I don't see the appeal in making a ruckus. I don't see the appeal in causing a commotion over something so trivial. If the school banned reading storybooks, would I take a stand? Of course! Only they won't do that because information is power and all of that, but that's just an example. Something closer to home would be if the school enforced some kind of homophobic rule. I would probably lash out in one way or another because while I'm not loud and proud about it, I do have a code of ethics, and I spent months carving it and while it is nowhere near perfect and not a hundred percent based off the Qur'an, until the day that I decide otherwise, it's going to remain this way.

Why go through the trouble of not wearing a tie? Why go through the hassle of not wearing school socks or completing your homework or what have you? If those are questions that need to be answered, I'm afraid I have to beg the question of: Why bother going to school in the first place? It's not correlative, I think, but it's damn well close enough. Like I said, causing problems for other people? I'm not that selfish and while I am not the best prefect, I have used this mentality to strengthen my beliefs over the past few months and while it's not a hundred perfect effective, it's still in the early stages and there will come a day in which everything falls perfectly into place. Don't you? Don't you think it's selfish to make others suffer (a minor suffering, but one nonetheless) just because you were too lazy to buy socks

With the ever stupid and ever idiotic school rules come some help to lessen your burden. We have the Koperasi store members. I'm sure everyone's got one of those as a friend, right? Well, you can use them by asking them to buy you stuff if you're too lazy to make the trek all the way from the canteen to the store. I know how tiring that gets. Like walking through the Sahara desert, I tell you. 

School rules are there for a reason. That's what they keep telling you but what they don't tell you is that there is only one reason, pure and simple, for the existence of school rules or, really, any kind of rules. It's because of you. Nope, not me, not people like me, who "follow" the rules under a veil of disinterest. Not those goody two shoes. Not them, not us. But you. People who think it's okay to burden others with their problems. People who think it's perfectly all right to carry a conversation while someone older, more important and much more respected than you are is standing up front, giving a speech. People who think that school is a place to get trashed and make noise and be loud and proud about who you are. 

School is a prison. It is restrictive, it stifles your creativity, it is a living hell sometimes. You have to do what you don't ever want to do and you know what? That's because this is your crash course. This is in preparation for real life. In real life, there's no such thing as a second chance, or there is, but there aren't that many people willing to give it to you. So you say that because of that, because of the fact that life later on is going to suck, you should make the best of the here and now? No. That's not it. I don't know how to justify this more than I already have, but that's not it.

Bottom line is, if everyone knew their place, if everyone realized that school's a place of learning, be it academically or learning how to conduct yourself properly in society, then there would be no rules. Nobody coming late to school means no prefects at the gate to take down latecomers. Nobody making noise means no prefects to tell you to shut up. Has it ever occurred to you that we'll stop telling you to stop talking when you stop talking? Like, seriously, has this ever occurred to anyone

There are compromises you have to make. The things you learn at school, you're not gonna learn it sitting at home being home schooled. That's why instead of whining about homework and language changes and whatever else you may think to whine about, take a minute, take a breather, and think about the kids in other, less fortunate countries who can't go to school. Because they don't have the money. Because their country's too poor to worry about education. Don't joke about wishing that school never existed because do you want to be like them? Do you want to never get a proper education, however "proper" Malaysia's system is? There are compromises you have to make for knowledge. There always will be. You give up something so you can get something better. You give up doing your hair up in a bun (cut it short if need be), you give up nail polish and long nails and highlights and make up because you can have that later on. You can have that and so, so, so much more. You can have it all plus the knowledge that you've gained from school. 

I give up easily, I've got to admit. Not on myself, not quite, but on other people. God knows I put myself on a pedestal, God knows I'll never fall from it. I give up on other people because of everything I said up there. To me, it's so clear. It's so easy for me now. My path has been made, all I need to do is follow it. Like destiny. Go to school and be a good person and whatever comes after will be infinitely better. It Gets Better. I don't understand why people don't see it my way. I don't understand why people feel the need to challenge authority while there's me: I hate being given direction, I hate being told what to do, I like it my way or no way at all and yet I'm giving up my dignity, my sanity in order to do something, to give back to the school. And I don't understand why people feel the need to be rude to prefects or why prefects feel the need to be rude to students or why anyone wants to be rude in the first place because to me, we're all under the same regime of bullshit here. We're all suffering together and there's at least one, at the very least one, thing that we're all got in common. 

We go to SMK (P) Sri Aman, Petaling Jaya and sometimes we like it, sometimes we hate it. 

I try. I try keep them quiet and I try to be a good prefect because I want to. Why would I not? Why would I not want to be good? That's another thing you should ask yourself. Why is it so appealing to be bad while the easier, clearer choice here is to be good. And I know I don't try hard enough. I know that because of all the things I mentioned up there, all the questions I asked the world at large, I am persuaded, I persuade myself to give up easily because I just think: no one's trying to be a good person here, so why should I try? I should try for the school, but I feel no connection to school at all, beyond what I have already established. I should try for the Top 3 because I don't want to be a burden to them. I should try for myself because I signed up for this and what kind of person would I be to go back on my words? To retract my vow to perform my duties properly? I'm not taking this too seriously. Others are simply not taking it seriously enough. I'm by no means a good prefect at all, I've come to realize sometimes, but it'll always be this way because of my innate hatred for authority figures. But I try. I try once. 

So, no, I don't get extreme pleasure out of calling people out on being dumbasses just because they can't find a place and sit the heck down on Monday mornings. I mean, it's true, that is super stupid. There really is no change from one assembly day to another. You go in, you sit down. When the teacher starts talking, you shut up and listen. Why should you listen? Well, first, because it's only polite to do so. Second, because information is knowledge (and knowledge is power). Third, because whatever's on announcement might not matter to you, but it matters to someone else. What if the teacher's talking about someone's recently deceased parents? How would you feel if she were talking about your parents and all around you, people are laughing and gossiping without a care in the world and they're just not listening

They send you to school, you know. They want you to come home with a glow on your face and A's lining your record. That's all they want in exchange for spoon feeding you every single freaking thing. Buying you everything you own, teaching you everything you know today. Like, if you were just stranded at the side of the road and had to raise yourself up in the wilderness, not only would you not be able to talk, chances are you'd probably walk like Tarzan. So, you know, there are reasons, tons of them, in fact, as to why you should be a good person. Why you should follow the rules. To reiterate:

The school is providing you with knowledge and acts as a crash course for your future life so it's the least you can do.

Your parents have given you everything they have and then some and it's the least you can do. 

You don't want to be an asshole. 

Be nice to people, because nobody likes an asshole.

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