Graduating from high school has made me feel rather old. Yes, its probably a gross exaggeration but as it is, I am turning 18 in less than a month. I don't feel like I'm 18 really, and I know a lot of people don't think I look 18. However, having gone through all the ups and downs of high school, I think I am well-qualified to criticise what 'high school life' has become.

I said that I felt old because, for once, I'm sharing the same views as the parent generation about the 'current young generation'. Of course, my generation is included, but the main subjects are the generations after mine. Because I think the behaviour of my generation in general is still ok. Tolerable at least. But of the ones after mine is truly in need of close inspection.

I think most of the young generation is afflicted with the 'Rapid Growth Syndrome' whereby they all want to unnecessarily grow up very fast. I will not deny that I was any different. Compared to the parent generation, we are faster. However, the times have changed and you have to adapt.

In my case, I think I only had the desire to 'grow up' towards the end of my Form 2 year. Previously, especially since my primary school, I was more of a tomboy. Tomboy or not, I had my first crush when I was ten. Haha. So, there was some 'girl' in me. In Form 2, I experienced what I thought was my First Love. (I don't think so anymore; it seems so petty now) But of course, like most crushes and infatuations during the schooling days, it went unrequited. I got over it fairly quickly, but perhaps I begun to realise the need for me to sit up, pay attention, speak out and stand out.

However so, I've always been a sore thumb. I liked to befriend boys, my sense of humour was always kind of different that most, and I have always had many principles and ideas about things. My friends were rather similar. I remember how some of us (usually four and above) would sit in groups during free periods. My friends, usually Lim or Low would pull up chairs and ask, "What's the topic for our forum today?" whenever they saw a discussion beginning and the group would expand. We talked interesting topics then, usually analysing the 'Boy-Girl' relationship issues. As we were always a well-mixed group, we always had loads of input and opinions to take account of.

My Form 2 year was a fairly good one; it was a year that I finally became more of who I was. Being in a class of extrovert-brainy-crazy-loud-English-speaking people was what I needed. I could attribute this to my best friend, who was and always is a very social person. This is very different to my Form 1 year, the year I usually refer to as the 'Dark Ages'. Enough said.

So, by the end of Form 2, I was more confident and I wanted a change. I took a huge step, one that would change everything; I cut my long hair. Seems nothing much, but I had always had thick, unruly, curly long hair that I would just pull back tightly in a scrunchie or (God forgive me) a bun. Round-faced as I was, this never helped my image. I remember during the year-end holidays, I watched some Oprah (don't laugh) and I admired her hairstyle, mid-length curls. My hair then, long as it was, was tiresome to do anything with it so it was like a huge mess. So I chopped it all off and thinned it. My stepmom bought me hair cream and since it was easier to style, I fashioned a new look for myself.

Before (2004, aged 13)

After (2008, aged 17)

Since then, my hairstyle is still quite the same and it made a huge difference. I have become famous for it, haha. I also bought more clothes and things. I was determined to reinvent myself.

So, yes, the following years of high school was a huge improvement. I became more active in school (debate!) and did lots of things. Since then, I would gradually find my own style (still am, mind you), use handbags, wear heels, and dress up when I go out. About going out, I only would go out with my best buds to catch a movie and window shop. I did stuff that I would always remember my school days for, but I am quite certain that I have rarely crossed the line between what's right and appropriate and what's not.

In my family, I could say I'm more outrageous in personality; my sister is so sensible sometimes and my brother is like your regular teenage boy. Yet, when it come to friends and going out and the other things teenagers are doing, I've been a good girl enough. I will admit that I have more guy friends than my father would ever like to hear but I am particular about choosing my friends, as any other teenager should nowadays. I hang out with a good bunch of people I think, and I don't break the important rules.
Teens that I have observed nowadays are as ever, and more, reckless. I have heard and witnessed countless stories about my fellow young generation wasting away their school days with fruitless attempts to be an adult and rebel against the parents. I have been there and I know. I will admit that I used to rebel a little during the 'Dark Ages' and maybe still do in certain ways. Everyone is a rebel at heart. But, what is the issue here is the teens that rebel by taking drugs, smoke, initiate unnecessarily advanced 'coupling', race motorcycles illegally, play truant, etc. etc. the list goes on.

I join forces with a lot of parents (I'm sorry, my fellow young 'uns) when I ask the important question, "Why are kids these days in such a hurry to grow up?"

When I finally became the senior in school during my Form 5, I began to scrutinise my juniors. Perhaps was the authority you inevitably would have at such a stage. I was the Head of the English Department for my school magazine's editorial board so I had people working under me. The people who worked under me were all alright, except for certain problems with work ethics. The younger ones lacked responsibility in their work that I was disappointed in. I remember how much it sucked when it felt like it was only me doing all the work in my department. This is all preparation for working life later. Yet, the basic work ethics were not there in my department. I had to rant and lecture people that were not all that much younger or inferior than I was.

The fresh faces, encompassing all the Form 1, 2 and 3 students all seemed exactly how teenagers are being portrayed negatively in public. It's a sad fact. My school was different than many schools in the country; we had a unique reputation. It housed the most brilliant yet naughtiest students under one roof. Most of us were extroverts and free-spirited people. Other (envious) schools dubbed mine the 'Hollywood School'. Think of perhaps a more watered down version of 90210.

Yet, I always believed we were a good mix of crowds. Of course, there was a number of rotten apples in the basket, but as long as I had been in school, I never thought that the scales would tip too unfavourably. Sadly, I think that is what happening in my school and probably many schools around the country (probably much worse elsewhere).

I watched as scandals unfold in school and simply, the crude behaviour of my juniors. I do not think I am much qualified to speak of proper moral conduct and whatnot, but the basic things that should be present in a modern-day civilised society is lacking. Many juniors, heads bloated because they believe they've become great overnight since they entered high school, were rude and just...kurang ajar. When I was at their stage of high school, I feared and respected my seniors. I watched them go about with confidence and the easiness of just being in one's skin. But none of them were like how my batch used to be.

They were many smokers, male and female, chronically truant ones, screamers, wannabe tough guys...just immature. I was disgusted most of the time; if I was walking past them, I would not even grace them a look. I couldn't stand the girls that were either trying to act so preppy or were trying to act tough by shouting like butches and stomping about with their legs apart. I could forgive the boys as a majority of boys are and may always remain immature. But the girls disappointed me. Many of them were like what the public dubbed 'minah rempit'. Their behaviour was rough, language crude, and even their appearance was severe. They sported multiple piercings, wore eyeliner, or wore tudung yet wore it disgracefully, acted disgracefully that did not suit the sacred cloth (if you're not going to do it right, don't do it at all) and ripped it off while running and screaming like banshees after school.

And those were the 'rempit' group. The preppy group could also be just as bad. They're the ones that carried the designer branded bags (the girls would bypass the use of schoolbag altogether and use what looked more like a handbag), wore bouncy ponytails and heavy side-swept fringes, curiously walked with their skirts held high above the ankle-sock-garbed bare ankles or their pants slung ridiculously low on the hips so that on the verge on dropping to the floor. I have a few friends that appear to be part of this big class of people in school but the 'preppiness' has gone to a wilder level recently. Now, they just give the worst first impression. Forgive me, but I'm prejudiced.

What I cannot understand is this need to be like this, to follow such a silly trend so that someone could just stereotype you. Like I am. Without even knowing these people, I have sorted them into 'groups'. Is this how anyone would like to be judged? I don't think so. I hate that I am doing so, but they are the ones that have chosen to jump onto the bandwagon of cliches. So, they all look the same to me. Just a huge of lump of people acting similarly, without distinction, and nothing for me to remember them by.

Although I too, like every teenager, desired to be accepted and like everyone else, want to have a boyfriend, some things these young people go too far. Why is there a need to constantly change boyfriends/girlfriends at a whim? To show others that you can get anyone you want or that you are so popular that everyone wants to be your boyfriend? Or junior girls coupling with seniors? So that they can brag? What?

I mean, I want a boyfriend for all the right reasons; because I might like the guy. But this is not the case. I see so many of them begin to have boyfriends and girlfriends when they are still in primary school. And when they do, it's not harmless walking back home together, having recess together or something. Instead, they hold hands in school, kiss once they are outside the school gates, skip class to find a store cupboard somewhere, God knows. If you're reading this and you're not a Malaysian, or at least grew up at a public school here, you probably will not understand what is all the fuss. But the thing is, these things are not the universally accepted practices of school-going teens here. Sure, like I said, times change and you need to adapt, but should you adapt to something that is not a good thing? All this is closely related to larger problems: rape, kidnap, juvenile crimes, running away from home and the spawning of a moral-deficit society.

Okay, I will make it clear here what my opinions are about this issue. I am not condemning my own generation but I only criticise the way they are turning out to be. Here, parents should do something. I am all for nurturing infatuations and teen romances, but just one piece of advice to my fellow teen girls: be careful. And, I am against peer pressure and having to feel that have to act a certain way to be accepted. Be yourself. Don't say that yourself is the prep, emo, goth, gangster that you are portraying to be. Maybe a portion, or you just like it, but is that all of who you are? Each of us are a unique blend of things, so why don't you market your own brand and not join a huge indistinguishable mass of people adopting an identity that is not theirs?

Finally, I am saddened that many teens nowadays are turning like this. I have faith in all of them, myself included, but they really must stop trying to act like something they're not. They must stop finding excuses to do something they know is wrong. They must stop trying to ruin their childhood by growing up too fast.

Labels: , edit post
4 Responses
  1. | AiNaa K | Says:

    haha..thanks babe!lubricant ke?haha..
    x sangka pulak..pelik btul brg2 lelaki ni..
    btw,masa2 lower secondary la best..
    tiba2 teringat pulak crush u masa form 2 dulu.. xP

  2. yeah I know! tak cukup the natural way...hahaha!
    lower secondary had sweeter memories...hahaha...silly crush la!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Hey I read Mrs. N's blog and she did a post about you before. Since then I have always wanted to to let you know whatever you do do not straighten your hair and be normal like everyone else! I have your kind of hair and yes it might be hard to manage etc etc but in the end its what makes us unique !!!

  4. Hey, thanks! I so agree with's so boring to have straight hair and why spend so much to do rebonding? I'm all for keeping it au naturale...
    Go Curlyheads!

Post a Comment

Post Comment