I can't believe that it has been 31 years since I left school. Though it's an era passed, those carefree and happy days remain close to my heart. I still keep in touch with many of my classmates and we meet up at least once a year.
I can still remember my first geography lesson with Mr Mahadevan. After having written the word "ASSUME" in capital letters on the blackboard, he said in his deep voice, "Listen up, boys & girls. Never ASSUME!! Why?? Because you will make an ASS of U & ME!! ". Not quite what you would expect in a geography lesson, but his sense of humour got me hooked. In the end I think I got the best grade in this subject in the MCE.
Add. Maths was something else. Figures didn't make much sense to me then (no offence to my Math teachers, I know they tried!), so I always dreaded the double Maths period. In fact I would rather be at the dental clinic in Java Lane for dental fillings or whatever rather than endure the nightmare of solving algebra problems. A week before our MCE exams, Mrs Samuel stopped at my desk and said, "Nyuk Yin, you score an 'A' for me although I skipped most of her lessons and in her absent minded state she must have mistaken me for her favourite top student. I savoured her statement at that time but her prophecy was not to be. Now you all know why she did not make a good fortune teller!! ha...ha....!!!
Chapel service was also one of the highlights and I loved to munch kacang puteh during the scripture reading and my best friend would admonish me. Besides serving as a place of worship, the church grounds was also our playground. A regular group of us always tried to be in school earlier in our lower secondary days so that we can play Champions with the boys on the steps leading to the church basement. We will all be screaming and shouting at the top of our voices having pure simple fun unlike the younger generation who love to play computer games and become very anti-social.
Another incident I still recall was the time when we were playing football with the boys on the field where Terminal 1 is now located. I was all ready to kick the ball coming towards me, but I missed and my shoe went soaring through the air. That hilarious stunt had me and everyone else in stitches rolling on the field.
At 21, I got married to Chong Chiew Lim aka Movie Chong. What was it that attracted me to him? I guess it must have been his ability to make me laugh. As you would probably be able to guess by now, my husband's greatest love is the movies. We probably hold the record for having watched every good movie or otherwise in town in the past 25 years! Now you all know the reason for survival of the cineplexes in town.
I have one son, Jason, who is currently working and based in London. One of the good things about him being there is the excuse to visit that great city every now and then. He finished his primary and secondary schooling in Singapore ACS. Jason loves to play soccer and was captain for both the Malaysian and Singaporean team in the university games. In his absence, we have acquired two boisterous 'boys' – Gus and Yuen Pao. Though we have never taken care of dogs before, it was love at first sight. Of course the Sharpeis are no substitute for Jason, but we really do enjoy having them around.
After 2 decades of being in the family business, we decided to call it quits during the 1997 recession. It was a heart wrenching decision but it was better to loose an arm and a leg rather than to loose everything we had worked so hard for. Right now, I'm enjoying my early retirement.
In my free time, I practise qi gong, read, write emails, walk my 2 Sharpeis, do a bit of gardening, and travel whenever we can afford to. This summer, my hubby and I visited his youngest sister in Toronto. What magnificent sunsets and breathtaking scenery!
I'm also into hiking and climbing. Together with my qi gong buddies, we have climbed Gunung Datuk in Rembau countless times. My best achievement to date is 'conquering' Mount Kinabalu in 2004. And during my recent trip to Toronto , I conquered my own fears to swim across the Twelfth-mile Lake and back in under 3 hrs – something which I had thought was impossible. The experience left me euphoric for days. Life is about accepting challenges and conquering our fears.
From my personal experience I have discovered that when you are working your butt out, you have lots of $$ but no time for anything else in your life but with early retirement, you have lots of time for everything but you don't have the $$$ to spend. In the past few years, I have learnt to be contented with what I have and not what I want. I have discovered that only I can make my own happiness. God bless you all.