No Merdeka-ing tonight, sorry.
Check soon for thoughts on results but enjoy the story.
When I was attending St. Patricks School, an odd incident occurred that I wasn’t really able to comprehend until now.
It was close to the end of the year, Kids enjoying the relaxed mood of the pre school holidays week, after exams were over.
Three Sec 4 boys from the express stream (Morning section at the time) Were on their way out of school at they shouted MERDEKA! which means Independence in Malay.
This caught the ire of the disciplinary head teacher who was waiting at the gate trying to give problems to kids who were coming to school late or with untucked shirts.
He then reprimanded them, by making a display of them, making them stand on stage as he tried to make his point, something about Singapore’s independence how people shouted merdeka and whatever, it’s a bit of a blur to me now, and how it’s a sensitive word, because LKY cried or something. Look it wasn’t a convincing speech, I was just perplexed as to why this was punishable by public shaming.
I just thought, that’s odd, if the word Merdeka is not allowed to be uttered by students can I say the english version of it, Independence?
Would those boys be in trouble if had shouted Independence instead?
I just didn’t understand why that word needed to be censored especially in its very definition it symbolizes a good thing, Independence.
Remember this was the week after exams and these boys were done with secondary school education. So saying Merdeka in this context especially since two of them were Malays is relevant and well within the context of their life experience.
Needless to say, they got detention and the rest of the day went on as per usual for the rest of us and this incident went to the back of my mind until now.
I struggled to understand why the word Merdeka triggered the Discipline teacher so much, and here at the cusp of the GE2015, arguably the hottest election year in our history since 1965, We might actually gain independence from the PAP and the sovereignty of our minds, I think I finally understand him.
I think he took issue with the sec 4 boys saying merdeka because the idea of independent thought scares him that those kids dared utter words that defy conformity, he is the head of discipline after all, it was his duty that his students are molded the right way, a word that they love to use,”right”, which is utterly useless in the context of objectivity.
Is there going to be Merdeka at midnight?
Or are we going to have another five years of the same old shit?