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"Walk Down Memory Lane… An Unforgettable Test"

Post on: February 26, 2020

The year was 1984. We were feeling anxious in view of the accounting test which was about to take place in my Secondary Three classroom. The teacher, Mr *Loke walked in with the test papers and a look of self-importance.

Mr Loke was a no-nonsensical teacher who kept a distance from the students with his condescending attitude. He had an air of pomposity as he went about doing his daily activities. The students were seen to be uncouth and way beyond his dignity to maintain cordial ties.

“Ok class get ready and be quiet,” he shouted as he counted each row of students and distributed the test papers accordingly which had to be passed from the front to back systematically.

When he reached my classmate, *Timothy’s row, he did likewise and handed out the requisite number. Timothy who was in the toilet, quickly sneaked in through the back door. He was generally a well-behaved boy and a conscientious student. When he realised the test was beginning, he thought it would be OK to sneak in by the back door precipitously without calling upon unnecessary attention.

Suddenly there seemed to be a commotion as another student, sitting in Timothy’s row was explaining to Mr Loke that there wasn’t any test paper for him. Mr Loke was flabbergasted. He was a meticulous guy who performed every task with clockwork precision. So, Mr Loke convened an enquiry on why there was a shortfall when he had given out the correct number to be passed around.

Expectedly, Mr Loke stopped the test. He started his interrogation and soon it was established that Timothy was the culprit who was unaccounted for.

Mr Loke was annoyed and began his rantings which lasted ten minutes. Everyone was concerned as the test was being delayed with every passing moment.

“You Kuku boy! (Kuku colloquially in Singlish means stupid) Don’t you have any brains? — stand on the chair!” Mr Loke mocked. “You are supposed to be a well-behaved boy – what went into you today?

“Who teach you? Mr Loke demanded. “Who teach you?”

Timothy kept mum and his head downcast. But as the probes intensified, he had no choice but to speak. His silence meant the class could not begin their test and pressure was mounting as the seconds ticked away.

With no choice, Timothy uttered, “You teach me, you’re my guru, Mr Loke.”

This was enough to bring the whole class into stitches of laughter. Everyone couldn’t contain their glee as they tried hard to suppress their laughter. “How could the meek Timothy say such contemptuous words?” everyone wondered.

Mr Loke was fuming mad as he roared, “What? You, perpetual Kuku to the power of 2, stand up on the table, you rascal! – No test for you today. The rest can begin their paper.”

Poor Timothy was almost in tears. He was quiet all along as he could not interpret the connotation for “who teach you”. Timothy was battling within himself if Mr Loke had meant “who taught you such anti-social behaviour?” or if he had meant “who is your teacher who calls the shots and hence deserves some respect?”

He chose the second interpretation. And he shot himself on the foot.

We had a good laugh over it and gave Timothy a treat — his favourite A &W “Root Beer Float” to uplift his sagging spirits.

I cannot help but chuckle whenever I reminiscence the incident. In life, we remember the good, the bad and the hilarious.

*Names have been changed to protect the identities.

By: Shaji Thomas Varughese
#NostalgiaAnUnforgettableTest #JollyGoodTimes #ShajiThomasVarughese

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