14 March 2011

The Journey Finally Begins --> Singapore

If there was one thing I learnt this time, it was that leaving a Maths test half blank is not automatic elimination. Suddenly, my name appeared on that website that night under "Successful candidates for Interview". Working from the back never fails me!

I remember the first day in PSB, when the 27 of us walked into that Ruko (Shophouse). I remembered how we all ended up in that tiny MPH (Multi Purpose Hall), probably only the size of two classrooms in Laurensia, on the fourth floor and we were all panting on our way up. In that room, the objective was stressed many, many times. On day, one of us would be admitted to a school in Singapore. (Note: only ADMISSION. We're not talking about scholarships yet)

And so the hard work went underway, but the wait never did end.

Primary 6 to Sec 1, not a single school admitted me after a gruelling week in Singapore applying from one school to another.

In Sec 1, we tried again for admission, to Sec 1. Even that didn't work out.

Sec 2 was when I moved to my new school, Santa Laurensia, where the objective was deemed not met since I had left PSB. But by then, a few other PSB kids had made it, all of them being from the cohort below me, the cohort which I mentored some of them during the year-end break which was my "historical" transition from PSB to Laurensia.

The holiday separating Sec 2 (Grade 8) and Sec 3 (Grade 9) was the holiday I started charging for my mentoring services because I was earning money for AYC. That was another cohort which had Singapore Success Stories as well.

I went for AYC in Singapore, where in a few magical days of interacting with amazing people from around ASEAN, most of them Singaporean students, among them students from some of the best schools in Singapore, I was reminded of my long lost "objective". It was then when I started searching for a school again. (Well not during AYC, after of course)!

After AEIS and tests at RI, things still didn't work out.

Then, as I was about to give up, everything changed, all in just a few hours.

"On a scale of 1 to 10, where would you rank yourself on how prepared you are for this scholarship?" was the question thrown at me during the interview.

With hesitation, I said 9.5 (damn I'm crazy). Since I had just blurted such a high number without thinking, I'd best not wait for them to ask why. "I'm ready for this because I've prepared for this day all my life. Like the test yesterday for example, I didn't really study for it, well, I did, but it was only a few hours of revision. But it wasn't because I feel I'm so good or snob, I've been waiting for this day for a very long time, since I first started studying, since I was in Primary 4. I didn't take a 100 hour crash course like I know many other candidates did. For me, no point I drill for this test and then before I even go to Singapore I forget everything. For me, best I actually didn't study for the test, so the results of if I make it to the next round or not reflects my true capabilities. And besides, I've been working towards this for a very long time now."

"Then what's the 0.5 representing?"

"Well, since I moved to Laurensia, since there was a huge switch in the curriculum from Singaporean curriculum to Indonesian curriculum, my engine is cold and I need time and practice to kick-start my engines again!" Of course, we spontaneously broke into laughter together.

There was also my favourite question of the interview, "Are you Singaporean?"

"Err.... how should I answer this question.... Err.. no!!!"

But it's amazing, how life can change all in a day. In just a few hours, I was signed into a Scholarship and I just could not believe it. Till today, I'm not really realizing that this is a scholarship, I still think it's only ADMISSION.

When I found out I had made the final cut, I was at May Star (the Dim Sum place) with Zoya, Owen and Vinsens. Before the food was even served, we could already see tears of joy running down Zoya's cheeks. Yet, tension continued to fill the air for us boys throughout the meal. As the final "complimentary" dish was served, we had gotten the good news.

I remember hurrying my mom to lend me her Blackberry so that I could call Ms Anna and Ms Ng, the two teachers who have shaped me to be who I am today and just so happens one is a Maths teacher and the other teaches English. I ran to the pool near the restaurant to make my calls, none of which got connected. As I gave up calling them and turned my back to run back into the restaurant, I noticed Owen having the same fate and doing the same thing. As we walked back in together, I told him "this is it Owen, it all begins now!"

And so as of 2012, like what Owen said on his blog, I will be blogging from the island of opportunities, Singapore.