Saturday, January 06, 2007


My brother is the best secret keeper in the world. He stands by the belief that loose lips sink ships. I try to be like him but sometimes the female need to gossip gets in the way. Recently, I tattled in a big way but it was not because I needed to gossip or anything. In a way, that, had it happened to me when I was younger, I would vow to hunt down the Tattletale and beat the person up or stick pins into voodoo dolls.

Unfortunately, I've grown up and joined the dark side.

When I was in school, I was in an all girls' school that made it their mission in life to scare the beejeezus out of us regarding discipline. We weren't allowed to be seen in public in uniform unless we were with our parents (on hindsight, I wonder how they enforced such a rule). We had to go straight from school, home, not passing GO, not collecting $200. If portkeys existed, they'd probably have sent us home that way so that there was no way we could be in public, embarrasing the school.

It took me all the way up to Sec 4 to dare to go out in uniform and even then it was with a lot of nervous looking over the shoulder. And if I wanted to go out with a boy, I'd pack a change of clothes, all the way down to shoes and lug it all to school. Even though I had a boyfriend at that time, the cumbersome-ness of the exercise dissuaded me from doing it very often, especially after realising that where I chose to change out of uniform, a hotel near my school, was frequented by men on their way to massage parlours. At no point in time did it cross my mind that I could just heck it all and meet him straight after school in uniform. I, at that time, did not have a death wish and in my 16 year old mind, being caught with my boyfriend in public, in uniform was akin to putting a noose round my neck, with the trap door released jointly by the discipline mistress and my parents.

A few days ago though, I realised I must have been such an idiot to have been so fearful back then. Right in front of me at a cab stand was a girl, almost definitely in lower secondary, in uniform canoodling with her much older boyfriend. When I was her age, all that was at the public's disposal to report such a crime, was a phone call with a verbal description. To this girl's great great misfortune, technology's caught up. My 3 mega pixel camera came in very handy, especially since I was about 6 ft away from her.

Now, why did I do it? Did I do it because I needed to get back at all that fear instilled in me when I was in school? Did I do it because I had a personal vendetta against the school? Nope. In fact, one reason why I did it was because I knew the school. I'd never been a student at the school but I was very familiar with it. Another reason was one that I repeat ad nauseum to my own students- if they want to do anything stupid, they better be smart enough not to get caught. If they do, then they bloody well deserve the punishment that comes along with being caught cos they were stupid to begin with. The most compelling reason was this girl was obviously very young, the boy was obviously much older. If they were so comfortable canoodling in public, who knew what they were doing when half the world wasn't watching. And call me fuddy duddy but that posed great concern in me and I couldn't do nothing about it.

So I took the photos, uploaded it and sent it to the school, hoping that the principal wouldn't think me a judgemental busybody. I got a reply this morning. He thanked me and assured me that they'd talk to the girl and her parents. I should feel relieved since that was my point, to make sure the relevant parties did something about it. But I'm also left with a sense of futility because I remember what it was like to be that age. I'd be pissed off that some stranger got me into trouble, I'd have to endure months of parental nagging, lectures, grounding and close supervision but I wouldn't have stopped seeing the guy, I'd have found other ways of doing it, even on pain of death, because I'd be under the deluded impression that I was in love with him and the true course of love never did run smooth and all that Hallmark mumbo jumbo and because I would have been that stupid.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:31

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