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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My School Days (Part Three: Last Part)

     (This third and last part of "I Still Remember"that appeared on SMK Tengku Mahkota's school magazine saw me putting pen to paper about a small problem that soon developed into a big crisis.  However, every cloud has a silver lining.  What did I do to solve the problem.  Just enjoy reading ...)
One night, my father asked me to get ready.  “I’m going to send you to Mak Ngah Besah’s house.  Her daughter, Ros will help you in Arithmetics.”  I quickly got ready an exercise book and some writing materials.  Out we went, in the dark cool night, to Mak Ngah Besah’s house not far from our home.

Kak Ros was a nice lady. She tried hard to make me understand the lessons but in vain.  The strange new environment, my shyness and my inhibitance prevented me from gaining any new knowledge during the first part of my tuition periods.  However, I did not make a lot of progress.  I still couldn’t remember how to solve problem questions, although I had started to get interested in shapes.  Although I read aloud repeatedly every day, it was still very hard to remember the multiplication tables.
Kak Ros (left) who gave me personal tuition on Arithmetics.  This picture was taken this year (2011)

Those were the problems I faced in my attempt to learn Arithmetics and Mathematics while in primary school.  When I enrolled in High School Muar for my secondary education, my problems did not seem to disappear.  I still failed my monthly tests and exams.  To make the matter worse, another subject accompanied Mathematics.  Now, there were two very difficult subjects to learn; Mathematics and Science.  The problem continued until I was in form three.

Mr Chiam Tah Meng, my Form Three Mathematics teacher at High School Muar
Every day and night, my parents prayed to God so that I could be relieved of my problems.  Probably their prayers were answered because suddenly I had a nice surprise.  All of a sudden, I passed the February test in form three.  This reward made me feel very happy.  I valued the change so much that the answer sheet found its way into my wallet and stayed there for a few months until it became so soiled. The transformation boosted up my courage.  I needed to be well versed in the subject that I had begun to like.  Looking around for help, somebody told me that there was a tuition class held at Lorong Serkam once a week.  My spirit rose, I registered for the class to get some guidance.  The lessons seemed to be easy this time.  The tutor’s explanation was crystal clear.  I could understand almost every topic taught.  Bursting with enthusiasm, I tried to do every exercise I could find based on the topics that I had learnt.  At school, when Mr Chiam Tah Meng gave me some exercises, I did every one enthusiastically.  I made a correction to every mistake.  In addition,  I did a lot of other sums that he did not give in the text book, then compared my answers with those in the answer key at the back page.  I did the sums again and again whenever I got wrong answers, until I arrived at the correct answer. 

After that, mathematics seemed to become easier and easier until I was rewarded with credit five for it in the Lower Certificate of Education.   (Lower Certificate of Education was the exam that students in form three had to pass so that they could continue their studies in form four.  If not, they had to ‘retain’, that is they had to study in form three again and sit for the same examination at the end of that year.  Worse came  to worst, they had to enroll in a private school and study in form three again before sitting for LCE at the end of the year.)

            Looking back, now I realize that not all things that looked difficult initially, is indeed difficult.  It may seem so at first, but as we grow more matured, our intelligence do help us a lot.  As a friend says, “Things are difficult to you if you do not know them, but once you do, everything is easy.”

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