May 12, 2010
MJSC Balik Pulau: May 7-9 2010
The night before the journey, I almost cried when I broke the news to my kids, 'Teacher tak dapat pergi sebab Maak teacher kerja esok.' My mum was supposed to not work on that day, so she planned to send me there. Turns out that she had to work and the news really broke my heart. Half the contingent went crazy over the it; they really hoped that I could go. Smart kids.
'Saya nak bawak handphone, Teacher! Teacher kena bersedia tepi phone nanti saya call nak menangis ke ape,' said Hanim, my Upper Secondary Open public speaker, looking devastated. Who wouldn't be? It's Teacher Nani I'm talking about, here.
Nadiah, my Lower Secondary Girl public speaker didn't say much. There was a quiet 'Yeah' once or twice. Always the silent type. Also the biggest reader in her batch. But it was all over her face;Teacher, you have to come. You just have to.
Then Alif, my thirteen-year-old Lower Secondary Boy public speaker said something that made everyone smile. 'Teacher, nanti saya call tanya, piala ni nak letak kat mana?' The smile on his face wasn't that much of a hopeful one. It was more to lighten everyone's mood. Success. People were smiling again, although it wasn't much.
'I like the sound of that,' I said, smiling.
My Ketua Jabatan then suggested that I ask the Pengetua himself, if I could go with the team. I must have looked like I was losing it. So that's what I did. And he said yes, with a hint of a laugh. I must have sounded desperate. 'Saya akan ganti kelas hari Jumaat tu nanti. Boleh ya, Pengetua?'
Man. The thing that brought tears to my eyes wasn't really the fact that I could go. It was the kids. Led by Alif, the storytellers and the public speakers actually, openly prayed to God to soften the Pengetua's heart and grant me the permission to go with, as I was making the call. Adorable kids.
The journey took around four hours. Right upon arrival, I got myself a bed in the dorm with the girls, after a personal request made to the Pengetua of MJSC Balik Pulau himself, who have been fond of me ever since I was born. But that's a story for later, maybe. I got a bed. That was great. So the rest of the day was filled with aggressive coaching. The night, too. And my sleep was dreamless.
The first day almost dried my blood. I rushed to Ibnu Sina Hall to watch Nadiah's speech and rushed to the Lecture Hall to see Alif's. Nadiah's was a perfect ten. I was so proud. So, so proud. Too bad I didn't get to see Alif's from the beginning. It was halfway done when I arrived. Dahlah pintu depan hall tak dapat bukak. Jenuh Teacher Nani dengan Storyteller Elmie mencari jalan masuk. The back door wasn't locked. Phew. So we did get to see Alif. He skipped a point. Too passionate. But he covered it up professionally. The judges? They were in love with him. And that's an understatement.
The dooming stage of spontaneity came up next. Nadiah ran out of ideas, but to God I swear, she was the bravest girl I've ever seen, up-close and personal. She didn’t make it to the top three, although the head of the judges said she would have been the runner-up. We'll bounce back next year, then. Worry not, kid.
Alif's? The judges just fell in love with him over and over again.
'Honourable judges, may I bring this up there?' he asked, showing his scribbled notes for the impromptu speech, his face innocent. My Dream, was the topic. Man. That would have melted even rocks. And his, 'We meet again, this time on the stage of spontaneity,' sent the judges to the seventh heaven, I think. Glad that he decided to use it. Glad that the size of the word was immeasurably amplified by the diminutive stature of his. Glad.
And so begin the series of sentences we've ran through several times in our coaching hours. He stuck a few times. Sidetracked here and there. Almost rambled at some places. But he fought his way to the bell, bravely. He really did. And his, 'Oh, looks like the bell is sending me right back to my seat' would definitely have murdered the judges had they been allergic to cuteness, LOL.
Too late to shorten the story – Alif championed his category. His challenge trophy moment was epic. It's bigger than he is. I thought I'd cry, but I didn’t. Which was a little poyo. I wished I had, haha.
Hanim made me proud, too. There she was, endearing and the warmest of them all. Very likeable, I must say, if I were to compare her to the rest who went up there aggressively speaking of stuff they shouldn’t be aggressive about. She was just right. No frills and no spills. The right cupcake with the right icing and cherry on top. But I guess she was too stunned by the fact that she had to promptly speak on 'Why should we learn English?' so she had to stop halfway and cried.
That was OK with me. I was not angry. Not at all. Ada orang sampai tua pun tak boleh speak in public lagi. And for a teenager to go up there and do her prepared speech, it was more than just heroic. It was majestic. All my public speakers were. They will always be. =D
The three days were the best. I came back so much learnt and stronger.
Phew. I guess that was already too lengthy for a comeback. And I wasn't even gone for long. So ah. Pictures, everyone.
Well. That's a mouthful. Glad that everything's up.
How's everyone doing?