So I’m sure most of you must have seen the Shuqun Secondary School bullying video going around, where this guy slaps his hands on his peer’s face and hits him with a book. It’s nothing new I’m sure. And I feel that the boys can take it out amongst themselves to settle score. Peer vs Peer should not be too much of an issue, right??
This video led me to my past. Trust me.. I have a lot of stories from the past and I am just starting!!
What happens when the tables are turned and the teacher is the bully?? Below are two major incidents of when I was bullied:
Incident #1: Balloon. Primary School, Pri 3, 1995
Being a fat kid in Singapore in the 1990s, we were automatically in the TAF (Trim And Fit, which coincidently or not is F-A-T spelt backwards..) Club. We had to go for these annual health checks at the Ministry Of Health in Outram. Damn that grey and haunted building! It was always the same old shit. They measure your arms with tight pinching calipers and told you how over fat you were in %. Serious!?? That clippers could speak to me about my health!?? You mean pinching my arms could tell you my fat %!?? What about pinching my thighs instead!? I am more bottom heavy I say! And then they would ask you how many times a week do you eat fast food at Mc Donalds n KFC n this n that. Ok my mum used to bring me for these visits, and after that, we’ll head over to Bukit Merah Central and I’ll get to enjoy my hotdog bun and chocolate tart! Anyway that’s beside the point… But yeah.. CHILDHOOD OBESITY IS tres terrible!!!
So it came to a point where in 1996, sometime early in the year April I think, I was fed up of all these sessions at Outram and decided not to go anymore. Or maybe I just didn’t give my mum the forms with the dates. So I got called up. By The Ostrich. Yes.. you know who I’m talking about! That tall scrawny singleton scarecrow teacher who shakes her head automatically (I think it’s a disease), whatever her name. She taught 4A or 4B and used to teach Health Education as well.
So I got called to see her during class. Damn. I remember walking to that dinghy section of the building near the library area which housed the Pri 4A or 4B class. Entered the class with my health booklet/ some health book or papers. She had a class going on. I went up to her, and the only thing I remembered, which still echoes through my head today.. “You are blowing up like a balloon” or “You are gonna burst like a balloon”. Something about me being a balloon. The whole class burst out laughing. I still see that image. All the polka-dotted Pri 4 seniors sitting, laughing at me being called a balloon. I was a meek child. So young and innocent and just kept quiet (a far cry from who I am today). This ostrich basically berated me for not going for the health appointment and changed the dates or something and made me go for a new one.
I never really gave a damn about my weight growing up. Guess I was just a happy fat kid.. who loved eating chicken wings.. and was happy you know!!??? I had wonderful friends who didn’t make fun of me. We had really good times at St Margarets!!
Incident #2: Pregnant Duck. Secondary School, Sec 3, 2001
This. The MF of all incidents. Well I was in Sec 3 if I am not wrong. And the buckle on the belt of my pinafore had dropped. I was too lazy to sew the buckle in place and had used a safety pin to secure my belt. Well.. Hello!! I should be given points for my creativity right! Safety pins work! Even my grandmother’s era used safety pins to secure their loose bra straps!!!
I have to let you know that growing up, I was always a good girl. Young. Meek. Innocent. Naive. Damn people found me naive even at the age of 28!!!
So what happened.. There was a spot check. I got caught by this teacher called The Frog Face (I somehow tend to call ppl animal names, especially when I can’t stand them). This woman, a Geography teacher proceeded to strip me of my belt. She didn’t think that I had a good enough excuse for not sewing my belt to my pinafore. She didn’t care that I had neatly hidden the safety pin so that I still looked presentable and there were no pins visible to the naked eye. Somehow, girls who had safety pins were “delinquents” and had a lesbian tendency or some shit like that. Lol I was far from that!
So, I became beltless that day. 7.30am to 2pm.. I was wearing my pleated pinafore without a belt to cinch my waist. Trust me.. I felt very uncomfortable without a belt the whole day.. taking the bus back home and having people in and out of school stare at me cos I was beltless as if I was some delinquent child! Puh-lease!!!
The next day, I went to the office to collect my belt cos god damn it! I need my belt else how will I wear my uniform!? She told me “How did you go back home yesterday? Like a pregnant duck???”. And she laughed. Like it was funny. I was dumbfounded. Hurt. WTF.
1. She called me a pregnant duck.
2. Pregnant?? There are so many other delinquent girls getting pregnant in St Theresa’s Convent. I was the ugliest of girls and naive and young and innocent.
3. Duck. Do I waddle like a duck!? (Well Madame Frog Face, that DUCK has gone on to do modelling my dear).
Anyway there was some hoo-ha about this incident.. I think my mum complained to MOE.. but in the end the school came back with you shouldn’t have gone to MOE bla bla bla.
Forward to another year or two down the road. I think I was in Sec 4 this time in 2003 (I repeated a year in 2002). I didn’t bother going for CCA cos they shut my CCA down, and dumped me into a cooking CCA. Which then had some gardening aspect to it. See, I was the Vice President of the Art Club in Sec 2. I would have been the President in Sec 3. But they didn’t wanna fund the club the next year, so, they shut it down and made us cook. From art to cooking!! You know me.. I HATE cooking cos ALL the Indian girls will chose cooking cos ALL INDIAN GIRLS COOK!! I was a rebel and didn’t wanna do cooking cos I didn’t wanna be your stereotypical Indian girl. And, I was robbed of my to-be President title. At 15. Damn! 😦
Anyway, so I didn’t go for the new Cooking CCA. Somehow, there was a Gardening aspect to it, and I was told I could make up and go for Gardening to get the attendance requirement. I went once and decided it just wasn’t my thing! So again, I got called by Frog Face to see her after school. Yes the famous Madame Frog. Again.
My punishment, and only way to get my CCA attendance straight, was: TO CLEAN HER PRIVATE ROOM FOR HER!!! So she told me to remove all the files from the cabinets, clean with a damp cloth, let it dry then put it back. Then I had to wipe the ledge of the chalkboard and make sure there was no dust. The entire room 360 degrees, inside out. She wanted it spick and span! After going around the entire classroom with me on what needs to be done, she tells me I can start. Guess what? I grew balls that day and told her “What has this got to do with gardening!??” And I remember telling her that this has nothing to do with gardening and she can go clean it herself. And I walked out. Score Baby!!! First time I stood up to anyone like that. I was 16.
I also vaguely remember once I was late for school and as punishment, I was made to scrub the floor tiles with that 3M yellow and green sponge. That I did for a good 20-30 minutes, but then decided this is shit, and walked off. Nobody came after me.
Well.. Those were two of my major experiences getting bullied in school.
My sis had a Physical Education teacher call her (same school as me) “Get up la Baby Elephant” mockingly just because she couldn’t do a pull up. And the whole class laughed at her. She was 13.
I just find it really sad that adults do these to kids.
1. As a woman, you should nurture a young girl to be her best self. Give her confidence. Help her grow. Not taunt her and rip her inside out.
2. As a teacher, you should encourage your kids to grow and develop in a positive environment. Not make a girl feel like shit about herself. I was never sporty growing up… But look at me now! I love fitness so much I am addicted to it! I don’t think anyone would have thought that that fat kid would be running 10k marathons.. sprinting at 15k/hr on the threadmill.. and lifting 60kg deadlifts and 40kg benchpress!! But I guess what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!!
3. I forgot. Lol. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!
I never knew how strong I would become 20 years ago. I’m now almost 30… And that is why people who know me know that I always go the extra mile to make women be better versions of themselves. I don’t like to tear women up. I think we need to build each other up to live our best lives. But my stance is clear. I am still against the muffin top body positivity shit.. cos all those people are getting famous making millions and here, you and I are getting closer to our deathbeds, spending more on fat clothes to look good.. and… I will shut up for now.
In Love and Light,