Hi! My name is Daniel Lim Jhao Jian. Here is where I share my experience, knowledge and ideas. You are welcome to leave comments and follow my blog. You are free to copy anything from this blog. Please recommend this blog to your friends.

Friday 1 March 2013

24 January 2008 Tragedy

This tragedy happened just 3 weeks after I entered secondary school. It is also known as the 'bottle cover tragedy'. At that time, the school lessons were in the afternoon.

In the morning on 24 January 2008 (Thursday), there was a cross country competition in my school. At that time, I had the habit of not paying attention to what my teacher said in class. Therefore, I did not know that there would be a cross-country competition until the day before that, when one of my friends told me about it. Still, it was not too late. I went to school on that morning and took part in the cross country competition. I was not good at sports but I still tried to run as fast as I could, hoping that I could win the competition. At last, when I reached the finishing line, the teacher in charge said that I finished the 25th. I heard that the top-50 runners would be taken into consideration.

I was very happy because I thought that I had won the cross country competition, so I told one of my friends about that. However, he said 'This is just a rehearsal. Let's see if you can win the actual cross country competition on Saturday.' I was disappointed to hear that. I did not know that the cross country competition on that day was just a rehearsal because I did not pay attention to what my teacher said. Still, I told myself that if I could get the 25th in the rehearsal I might be able to win the actual competition as well. Although I did not hear my teacher saying that the actual cross country competition would be on that Saturday, my friend had mentioned Saturday so I assumed that it was true.

At that time, I had a few friends in secondary school. However, I had some problems with the girls in my class. For some reason, they liked to tease and disturb me. They often called me 'the steel rod dancing girl'. I did not know what that meant exactly but I knew that they were calling me a girl. They also called me a dog. Sometimes, they would use a broom to hit my leg. They also disturbed me in some other ways. I had told my grandparents about that but they could not do anything. Therefore, I hated those girls very much and I took revenge against them. I often used the sharp end of a set-square to poke the cover of their water bottles. However, that did not cause any damage so the girls just ignored what I did.

On the night before 24 January 2008, my grandfather said that I really behaved like a girl so that's why the girls in my class called me a girl. He claimed that I liked to drag on my words when I spoke and make sounds like 'Eh!', which in his opinion were what girls like to do. My grandmother also said that when I was in primary school, I often sat with girls while eating in the canteen. It was not true so I denied, but my grandmother just ignored and continued saying. Then, my grandparents said that if I wanted the girls in my class to stop teasing me, I should change my behaviour first. I definitely did not agree with them, because it was wrong for the girls to tease me and there was no excuse for that. However, I did not want to argue with my grandparents.

After the cross country competition on 24 January 2008, I went home for a while. I had to go to school again because there would still be school lessons in the afternoon. When I was at home, my grandmother cooked a plate of roasted chicken for my lunch. I told my grandmother that I could finish the whole plate of roasted chicken, but she replied 'Eh!'. So, I asked her "Why did you say 'Eh'?" My grandfather who was sitting beside heard that and immediately he said "There, you are behaving like a girl again, you said 'Eh!' This is why the girls in your class like to tease you." I answered 'Because grandmother said 'Eh!', so I wanted to ask her why she said so.' My grandfather said 'Grandmother did say that, but you should not follow.' I replied 'No, she was the one who said that, I did not.' Then, my grandfather said 'I heard you saying.' I argued 'No, I didn't.' Then, he said 'If you would not listen to my advice, the girls will surely continue to tease you.' I did not answer him back.

Later, when I was in school, I thought of what happened earlier. Actually, I did not say 'Eh!' intentionally, instead I was just asking my grandmother why she said that. However, my grandfather insisted that I said it. He should have tried to find out the truth before making such a conclusion. Also, it was wrong for my grandfather to say it was my fault that the girls in my class teased me. The girls were definitely wrong no matter what. I was unhappy that my grandfather did not support me. On that day, the girls teased me again. This, in addition to what my grandfather said earlier, made me feel very angry with the girls.

I once again used the sharp end of my set-square to poke the cover of one of their bottles and I poked harder this time. Suddenly, that end of my set-square broke off. The girls saw that and laughed at me. I got even angrier. The broken parts of the set-square was very sharp, so I used it to scratch the cover of the bottle. As a result, there were 2 scratches on the bottle cover. Looking at that, the girl who owned the bottle started crying, so I stopped scratching. She told her friends about that and they all blamed me. A girl KYF advised me to apologise to that girl, but I insisted that she should apologise to me first because she teased me first.

Then, I realised that a girl TJW also knew about the incident, and at once I knew that I would be in trouble. TJW was from the same primary school with me. During primary school, she sat in my car to go home after school every day since her house was located near my house. She often used that opportunity to make reports to my grandparents whenever I did something wrong in school, and because of that I often got scolded by my grandparents. On that day, I knew that TJW would definitely report to my grandparents that I damaged the cover of the girl's bottle. In fact, that girl asked TJW to tell my grandparents about that. She promised the girl to do so and she planned to take her bottle to show my grandparents as a proof. I began to feel scared. It was already 5:30PM at that time and the school would be over one hour later at 6:30PM. If TJW saw my grandfather at the school gate later, she would surely tell my grandfather about that straight away.

I told myself that I should walk out of the school and enter the car quickly before TJW reached the school gate. However, even if she did not see my grandfather later, she might telephone my grandparents or come to my house at night to tell them about that. There was a possibility that her mother would stop her from doing so, but I could not be sure about that so I would surely be worried all the time. Then, I thought of turning off the door bell of my house and disconnecting the telephone, but then she could still call my grandparents in front of my house. I realised that I could do nothing to stop her. I decided to ask KYF for help. I asked her to tell the girl that I was willing to apologise to her, as long as TJW would not report to my grandparents about the case. However, KYF said that there was nothing she could do because it was already too late. I tried to think of some other solutions but there were none. Finally, I decided to tell my grandfather about that myself, hoping that he would not scold me.

When the school was over, I quickly walked out of my school. When I walked down the stairs, I saw that TJW was still above the stairs, talking to someone. I thought that she could not catch up with me and I quickly walked to the school gate. At the gate, I waited for a few minutes before my grandfather arrived. I was prepared to tell my grandfather about that and I thought TJW was not there. Out of my expectation, when I walked towards the car, TJW ran towards me. I tried to stop her and I entered my car. However, when I tried to close the car door, she pulled the door and said 'Wait!'. My grandfather saw that and he asked TJW what happened. She told my grandfather everything. Then, my grandfather asked TJW to tell the girl not to cry and promised that he would pay for the bottle cover. My grandmother was not in the car at that time as she stayed at home.

After that, I told my grandfather that I actually wanted to tell him about that myself. At first, he did not scold me. He said that it was just a small matter and asked me to give that girl the money for the bottle cover. He also asked me to apologise to her and I agreed. Then, my grandfather talked about the cross country competition. He said that the students in his tuition centre told him that the actual cross country competition would be held on that Saturday. Since my friend had also said that it would be on Saturday, I was very sure that it was true. However, I lied to my grandfather that I knew about that from my teacher, because I did not want my grandfather to know that I did not pay attention to what my teacher said.

I thought that I had escaped from my grandfather's scolding. However, somewhere on the way back home, my grandfather suddenly said that it was not good for me to do that to the girl. I agreed that he was right. My grandfather added that previously he had always advised me not to find trouble with other students but I would not listen. Then, I said that I knew that I was wrong and I would not do that again. However, my grandfather said that there was no use for me to know that I was wrong since I already did it. He even said that the girl might tell the teacher that I was actually trying to hit her and she used her bottle to block and thus the bottle cover was damaged. Then, my grandfather started scolding me.

When we reached home, my grandmother was already waiting at the door. Immediately my grandfather told my grandmother about that. She was very angry to know that. My grandfather decided to telephone TJW to ask her more about the incident. TJW told my grandparents that I had been scratching the cover of that girl's bottle and another girl's bottle since a few days ago, which made my grandparents even angrier. They scolded me badly for a long time on that night. They said that I had done something wrong just 3 weeks after entering secondary school. In the morning on the next day 25 January 2008, they continued scolding me. At last, they told me not to repeat the same mistake in the future.

After my grandfather came home from his tuition class on that afternoon, he told me that his students said that the actual cross country competition would not be held on that Saturday but on some other day instead. He asked me if I was sure that it would be on that Saturday. Actually, I did not hear my teacher saying about that but I assumed that it was true since my friend and my grandfather's students in his previous class had said that it would be on Saturday. So, I lied to my grandfather that I was sure that my teacher said Saturday. My grandfather then said that if I go to school on Saturday and found out that there was no cross country, I could just go home and it was just a small matter.

At that time, one of my friend TWS telephoned me to ask me something. I used that opportunity to ask her about the cross country competition. She said that the actual cross country competition would be held on the next Saturday, not on that Saturday. When I told my grandparents about that, they asked me why I did not listen properly to what my teacher said. I told them that they should not blame me because my teacher said Saturday but he did not say 'next Saturday'. They said that they were not blaming me, instead they were advising me to listen properly to what my teachers say in the future. I insisted that I did listen properly and my teacher really just said Saturday. I argued that my grandfather's students in the previous class also said that it would be on Saturday.

Then, my grandparents got angry. They said that my teacher definitely said 'next Saturday' and I did not listen properly. I again told my grandparents not to blame me for such a small issue. I did not tell them the truth that I actually heard it from my friend because they might get even angrier. Then, my grandfather said 'Even if we blame you, there is nothing wrong about that, because you are the one who made the mistake'. My grandmother also said 'If you did not damage the girl's bottle cover, if you did listen properly to what your teacher said, nobody is going to blame you.' As I expected, my grandparents mixed up the two issues. They scolded me again, for damaging the girl's bottle cover and for not paying attention to what my teacher said. They also said that it was embarrassing for me to ask my friend about the date of the cross country competition.

On 27 January 2008, I asked that girl about the price of her bottle cover because I wanted to pay her back. However, she said that she still had not bought a new one so I did not have to pay her yet. On the following day 28 January 2008, my school reallocated the students into different classes. I was hoping that I would not be in the same class with those girls again. However, it turned out that I and the girls were in the same class again. I was unhappy about that but there was nothing I could do. A few days later, that girl claimed that I damaged the curtain of our class. She said that I did not have to pay her for the bottle cover anymore, instead I had to pay her RM5 for the curtain, since she was in charge of the decorations of my class. So, I paid her RM5.

Thinking of the incident makes me feel unhappy. All I did was scratching the girl's bottle cover and I feel that it was just a small issue. My grandparents had overreacted by scolding me. I am sure that if my teachers were to know about the case, they would not have scolded me, instead they would just ask me to apologise to the girl. I was also very angry with TJW. Because she reported the case to my grandparents, I got scolded. In fact, she had done that many times back in primary school and I always got scolded by my grandparents. She even blackmailed me by saying that she would report something to my grandparents if I refused to follow her instructions.

Due to this incident, I decided to consider TJW as my enemy and I never talked to her again. I also told some of my friends about the incident. Now, it is already more than 5 years after the incident. I do not hate TJW as much as I did last time, but I will never forget that incident, so I still consider TJW as my enemy.

After the incident, those girls seldom disturbed and teased me. At first, I still hated them. Later, I realised that they were not that bad and the only person that I should hate was TJW. So, I stopped hating them. Towards the end of 2008, I began talking to those girls. By April 2009, I had considered them to be my friends. I also invited them to my birthday party on 4 April 2009. Later, they told me why in the beginning they called me 'the steel rod dancing girl'. It was because on the first day of secondary school, I kept holding onto the steel columns outside the school hall and twisting my body around it, which made me look like a girl who was dancing. They also apologised to me about that. After 2010, I was separated from them because we were no longer in the same class. Therefore, I often missed them.

This tragedy was the greatest tragedy throughout my 5 years in secondary school. It actually involved two incidents, and it did not benefit me at all.

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