In addition to the dislike for stir-fried cabbages, I have this ‘phobia’ for a certain perfume as well. I am not sure what perfume it was before, but one day my boss was wearing it and I managed to discover that it was in fact Chanel Coco.
My tuition teacher had loved dousing herself in it, and now, even a whiff of it will send me back to the time when I was the terrified little kid, standing in front of her, speechless.
I did not really enjoy that particular tuition center at all. Besides having to force myself eat the big bowl of rice they serve, the center was practically a torture chamber for all kids. They take it unto themselves in disciplining all kids who were sent there. Canes were used every day and no one is spared.
I still remember mom telling me that when she sent me there, the teacher-in-charge had actually warned her that they will be using canes to hit children and parents should just take their kids home if they are worried. If a child misbehaves, no one will be spared, no matter how rich you are.
Mom was quite impressed with this and she decided to ‘leave’ me first. My brother was too young then, but later, he, too, joined me.
They were very, very strict. Canes were used to hit those who did not do their homework and did not know their spelling and timetables. For those who lie, cili padi will be fed to them. We poor little children would be asked to chew these small, extremely spicy chillis and not allowed to swallow them. In addition to that, those real naughty ones will be made to remove their shorts (for boys) and pinafore (for girls) in order to embarass them. Sometimes, clothes pegs will be used as well. One error in your spelling or timetables recital equals one cloth peg on your ears.
I did not know how I had survived my 5 years there but I remember dreading to go there every day. My childhood had just passed by with only memories of the tuition center. I used to cry and beg but mom was very determined in continuing to send me there.
Come to think of it, my studies was not so much of a problem like other kids. I could usually breeze through my spelligns, timetables as well as homework without any problems. In short, I was a bright kid. The problem had actually lied with having my lunch there.
I had a huge ‘eating disorder’ when I was a kid and dread eating there as the teachers would literally force me to finish my rice no matter how long it takes. And seriously, I would take nearly 2 hours to finish my rice. Don’t ask me why, but I have no idea why I like food so much now.
However, when I start to recall those moments again in adulthood, I must say that I do really thank them for moulding me into what I am right now. Without them, I might have chosen the wrong path in life. It really takes a lot of discipline to raise a child.
I do not know what had happened to the tuition center anymore, or whether they are still in operation. But by the standards of today’s parents, I doubt anyone would actually want to send their precious ones to any torture chambers anymore. I have actually bumped into one of the teachers a few years back and she still recognises me. She had been all nice and smiley and in the insurance business. Since I was already working when she met me, she had tried to sell me some of her products, which I had politely declined.
With what she had done to me for all those years, do you think I would still buy anything from her? Moral of the story: Be nice to people (even kids). You wouldn’t know if you will need their help later.