welcome to school

*the bell rings*
good morning class.
sit down. don’t move. be quiet.
SSHHHH!

you just turned 6 last year and like running around to explore your world? too bad. sit down. you’ve spent all your life so far learning to stand taller, move faster, reach further, climb higher? too bad. sit down. you have this burning desire to interact, talk, be heard? too bad. sit down. shut up.

only speak when spoken to. raise your hand if you have something to say. only speak if noticed. only speak if chosen. only speak if liked. only speak if not challenging. don’t talk back. don’t question. don’t bother.

who do you think you are? tiny little voice. tiny insignificant object.

*the bell rings*
good morning class.
sit down. don’t move. be quiet.
hand in your homework.

you didn’t do your homework? no excuses. stand up. you didn’t have time to get to homework because you were more interested in playing with your sibling? no excuses. stand on your chair. you didn’t bring your book in because you didn’t have time to properly pack your bag? no excuses. stand on your table. you couldn’t get to your homework because of tuition and other classes? no excuses. stand outside of the classroom. you didn’t do your homework because you’re not interested in the subject? no excuses. arms crossed, hold your ears. ketuk ketampi.

receive your punishment. be quiet as you are punished. behave. do not question authority. put your head down and look at the ground as you are punished. be shamed. be shamed in front of your peers. be ridiculed.

who do you think you are? tiny insignificant object.

*the bell rings*
negaraku.
line up. two by two.
stand straight. don’t move. be quiet.

show me your shoes. not white enough. clean. show me your socks. too low. too high. change. show me your nails. not short enough. cut. show me your hair. too long. cut. too messy. tie up. coloured hairbands? only white, blue or black allowed. don’t come back tomorrow looking like this.

follow the rules. rules are there for a reason. obedience is rewarded. don’t stand out. don’t express individuality. fit in. be accepted. be one with the herd. be standard. refer to stock image.

who do you think you are? tiny insignificant object.

*the bell rings*
go home. eat. no time. study. go for tuition. eat. no time. finish your homework. prepare your books. no time. sleep early. wake up early. no time. get dressed. eat. come back to school.

*the bell rings*
stand straight. sit down. don’t move. be quiet.
don’t think.

there is no time to think. memorize. memorize chapters. memorize books. memorize subjects. memorize everything. good. regurgitate. time’s up. put your pen down. here is your score. your worth. your value. good job. try harder. did you not study? what kind of answer is this? were you not paying attention? fail. not smart enough for this class. not smart enough to keep up. compete. compare.

who do you think you are?
no effort is ever going to be good enough.
you’re never going to amount to anything.

tiny insignificant object.

*the bell rings*
goodbye.
school is out.

but don’t for a second think you are free.
don’t forget the lessons you have learnt and all that school has taught you, tiny insignificant object.
repeat these things to yourself for the rest of life.

keep hearing that bell ring.

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