Thursday, 30 August 2007

Joanna's Story

As I begin packing for my re-location to Singapore, I chance upon more old school photos and just can't resist reminiscing about my beloved BBGS.

None of us really "leaves" BBGS. We carry her with us throughout our lives. We treasure her memories; be they bitter or sweet. We live and hold dear to the principles ingrained in us through years of discipline and tradition.

As I walked past the wire-fence gate for the first time in 1983, only one thought filled my mind. I was continuing the tradition of being a third-generation BBGS girl in my family. My mother had left these gates in 1961 after completing Senior Cambridge and my grandaunts before her.

In my first year, one teacher left a vivid impression on my mind and she is none other than Mrs. M. Aziz. I am eternally grateful to her for teaching me to appreciate the beauty of the English Language despite all its complexities. I still remember the time she shared an extract from one of Gerald Durrell's stories. It went like this:

We had little compunction in foregoing its hypothetical amenities as an annexe for our embryonic zoo.

Can you imagine how stupefied I was to hear that sentence? To top it all, we were told that this extract was taken from a textbook for 13-year olds in the UK.

Mrs Abraham was another of my favourite teachers whom I'm privileged to call a close friend and confidante. English lessons were so much fun! We composed limericks, wrote advertisement captions and sang the Animal Farm anthem at the top of our lungs. Among the witty creations churned out by my classmates was this advertisement jingle coined by my close friend, Usha Panchapakesan, for an optometrist:

Come to Sunlight Optician and see things you've never seen before

Other advertisements included Rest-in-Peace coffins and Please Release Me tablets - the ultimate cure for constipation!

We practised Choral Speaking with and almost religious fervour. I am very proud of the fact that my English class entered the finals of the competition every year without fail and won on four occasions.

BBGS also gave me numerous opportunities to develop leadership and interaction skills. I shudder in amazement every time I recall the Herculean tasks accomplished. When I sat for my SPM in 1987, my list of responsibilities included: Chief Editor of the school magazine, Vice Captain of Cooke House, Senior Prefect, Patrol Leader for the 32nd KL Girl Guides Company and cell group leader with the Christian Union. Needless to say, my SPM results were way below expectations.

And so it was with great trepidation that I returned to BBGS as a Form Six student. I wanted only to excel in the STPM examinations so that I could enter university. No more responsibilities for me. Instead, I was landed with the heaviest task of all --School Captain! It was indeed an honour to serve the school for the 1988/89 term. In spite of the hard work involved, it turned out to be one of my best years in BBGS.

All in all, my years in BBGS can only be described by listing almost all the superlatives in the Oxford Dictionary. We have been moulded by the same traditions and disciplined by the highest codes of conduct. And this is what BBGS has contributed to society. Multiple generations of women have carried her high standards all over the world. We do this because we have pledged our love and toil in years to be and taken our places as loyal women with our race.

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