Road to Perdition

The O Level results are out. And gratefully I have no relative nor immediate family member to call and enquire if they have toppled me. I don't usually call anyhow. As the eldest grandson and the eldest son of the eldest sister, it seems I have my own kingdom of younglings to watch over. Still, I don't call and when they do, it just means I'm fucked. Someone else is more intelligent than me. I haven't had a call at all actually. Which means I still rock and they all still suck. I'm sorry, but aksyen-ing to 12-14 year olds is not beyond me.

In fact, usually they just issue me threats on MSN. Going along the likes of, "anneh, how much did you get for PSLE?". "***, why?". "Well, I'm gonna beat you, just wanted to give you a heads up". Ah, the disillusionment of the younger ones these days. So, of course when the PSLE grades come out and they don't achieve their aim [as expected], I make it a point to bring it up during the next festive extended family get together. I know, I'm an asshole. But if you issue statements then you should be able to pull your weight right? 12 years old or not.

So, back to the Road to Perdition. Perdition - Eternal Damnation, road to hell in other words. This is about the day I went to collect my O Level results. By then, I was already in AJC and having a ball of a time. Got into an arts class with my pathetic 16 points for the prelims and basically the idea was just to get to this school, 3 cigarettes away from home and stay put there come no matter what. And I had a few partners in crime in this intiative too. How to run a movement when you don't have sufficient participants?

To the history teacher who asked us why we entered class and never opened our bags if not to check our pager/handphone:

"Cher, don't worry. We not staying in arts. Our O's will be much better and we're switching courses to science or shipping out of the school. Relax. Summore you just relief teacher, heck it la."

To the economics teacher who asked us why we never attended lessons:

"Cher, we were crashing the physics/chemistry/math lectures cos we want to be up to date when we finally switch to science stream"

To the Tamil teacher who asked me why I couldn't be bothered to write him an essay:

"Cher, I got Higher Tamil. No wish to re-take."
"Then why you still come to class"
"Boring la. If I alone at canteen, who do I talk to"

You get the drift. Anyhow, to get my results, I invited my father along. Normally I wouldn't have. This is the man who slapped me silly in secondary school even before the teacher opened his mouth to state his displeasure at my politeness levels. Needless to say, after witnessing this fresh violence right in front of his face, the teacher decided to just not say anything and even paid me a compliment on my strength of language.

My mum made me take him along for the sake of getting him "interested" in what his sons are up to. About the only contact my dad has with our academics is to sign the report book at the end of a term. Even this, he has to be compelled to do so in order to "stay in touch" and in order to bitch about missing marks.

"How come this one only 65. 35 marks you eat up already? How? Feeling full now?"

So, as we walked in through the gates this time around. Me in uniform, he wondering whether I'm gonna flunk, we spot this teacher dude apparently stationed there to marshal people in.

So, he goes "Ah, shanker heard you did well eh?".
Me, shocked, "Ah, you see already ah, what did I get".
"I think around 18 pts la". [KNN fucker, 18 is for you did well! Die already la. My class all fuckin max. 8 pointers]

Unfazed, I walk on to the school hall. Another bloke stops me.

"Heard you did ok? Not bad also, play the fool still can study"
"Urmz, so how much I got do you know?"
"Not sure exactly la but I think it's like 15."

Shit! But then again, the estimates keep getting lower. So, I went to this long row of classmates patiently waiting to whoop in delight and me patiently waiting to get the fuck outa here and hopefully not get another barrage of slaps in front of the entire cohort [as opposed to the entire Tamil class like previously].

Lastly, the form teacher. Splendid bloke. He saw me he starts shaking his head like I just robbed his place of his family heirlooms. He wordlessly gave me that damned results slip. Lo and behold. I got 10 points. It was a true "Auw" moment.

Actually, the only emotion through my mind was not joy but relief. See, if I truly had fucked it up, with what face do I return to AJ and see the Arts teachers whose classes I have conveniently skived out of. Dad though, didn't really understand the significance of 10 points and was under the impression I had scored that out of a maximum of 100 points. I saw him frowning, eye brows furrowing and I had to explain the system to him. After that, it was an uneventful ride back home in his cab and his last words were, "Ok, go home and stay home. Don't run off after this and go drinking. If I see you, I'll smack you.". Mine were, "I think I need a handphone.".


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