“Yang! Why did you not do your test properly?” She was flabbergasted, extremely, heaving a sigh at the same time, “Even such easy passages, you managed to get it all wrong.”
I remained muted, it was totally intentional, I did not pay even a mere passing attention to the paper, I sped read and did the whole thing, six comprehension texts in less than 30 minutes, that was even faster than my newspaper reading time. She paused to take a breath, the compunction surged my veins, not enough to crack my thick head and fat face.
She continued, “this is an insult to me, you know?” I nodded in assent, it was mea culpa, I did not even think of this when I was neglectful of the paper in general, “What is wrong with you Yang?”
“I admit that I did simply do your paper…” my voice croaked with a hint of regret.
“You think this is too easy for you right? This paper deserves no attention from you? Then, I think I might be the most useless teacher amongst your list of teachers?” my mind totally went blank, the implications were too great, too much for me handle, “People like you with good English should get a high 80 percent, but instead those with rather poor English scored with a high 80 percent score, how can you explain this?”
The whole class was emitted with pin-drop silence, we did not want to further invoke her anger, a stern lioness roaring to protect her throne, and to reign supreme over the surrounding creatures, “and the worst among all, you.” she pointed straight into my classmate’s soul, “do you ever consider about why you are here? How dare you circle the paper with all the wrong answers?” A lull before the worst storm of awakening.
“There are two extremes in this class: those who think they are really good and are actually not that good, and those who think they are really weak and who are afraid to improve themselves.” She skimmed through the class with the sight of an eagle, ready to swoop in to capture its prey, “To those who belong to the weak category, you aren’t, so you want to spend the rest of your life, living behind the shadows of the strong? And do you think the strong always be on the top? I am not the strong one, yet I am able to live my life to the fullest, countless overseas scholarships, and a seamless web of friends from all around the world, I can consider myself quite an achievement, but is this enough? No.”
“Do you think I can achieve this with my beauty, my intelligence, my acuteness? No.” silence, “It was and still is with the spirit of excellence, the ardour to achieve the best out of the best, making yourself, bringing yourself up to the best self possible. If an event is badly held by the organisers, you, as a participant, make things happen, create the best out of yourself, and amongst other people, make it count, bring out the spirit of excellence to turn something bad into good, impact them with your spirit of excellence.”
“Same goes to your studies, if your teacher does not know how to teach,” her voice tinged asseveration, and emphatically, “Teach them, learn with them, make things happen, show off the spirit of excellence, so that the class would be beneficial to all of you, don’t just sit there and scroll your head away with your phone, and just let things remain the same or deteriorate, do something, have the spirit of excellence.”
“If the school really sucks to you, stop blaming the ministry of education, blame yourself. Blame yourself for not having the initiative to start up something, to do something for the betterment of the school. If the nation is acting poorly, stop blaming the government, blame yourself. Blame yourself for not contributing for the nation in terms of manpower in politics, or economy wise. The fault is not of other people, look at yourselves, that’s where the faults are, the lack of spirit of excellence.”
“What I see now, none of you, yes, none of you have the spirit of excellence to make things better, not just for you, but for everyone. STPM is not a place for you to beat people down, you are not competing with the class, but with the whole Malaysia, in order to get a seating in the public university. It is a process where everyone should hold each other up, and make sure everyone get into a local university.” This had sparked my dead heart for school into life, I held my friend’s hand beside me, literally, we smiled into each other.
She counted over heads briefly, “fourteen… fifteen of you right? After next year, I want to be able to give you a pat of confirmation on your backs before we part ways, I want to see you all grow in front of my eyes, spreading your wings, soaring as high as the stars are. Especially you, Yang, you have the wits, but you are wasted, get yourself together, I want to send you away that of a proud mother sending her child away for university.” That hit me hard, it really did, my hardcore head was cracked at last.
“Just to let you know what I have done in my study times, I executed the thought of work hard and play hard, but at the right time, this was what I had done. Studying all time will and would kill you off eventually. I have the spirit of excellence, living the most out of everything.”
“Stop showing your best version under circumstances, show them everytime, and anytime.” Her view riveted into me, “This is called the spirit of excellence.”
P.S. AUG 2017
A wake-up call, to make everything, the world better.
with the spirit of excellence.
The small tower in the picture above is the exact analogy of me, lack the spirit of excellence.