31 Things Singaporean 90s Kid Won’t Forget About Secondary School
I think secondary school brings out the best of chao keng in us. How else were you supposed to survive non-stop classes from 8am to 2pm, five days a week, not including supplementary classes after school, and CCA commitments after that, for four/five years? Of course, we didn’t know better before stepping into polytechnic/JC/university/working life…
So here’s a list that’ll leave you chuckling from reminiscing your secondary school life! (And wishing that you could go back to being a secondary school student.)
Here’s A Trip Down Memory Lane
1. Cringeworthy sex-eds
Sex education classes, man. It didn’t help that the lessons were taught in a way that private parts were something to be ashamed of??? And the actors in the videos we watched were all so… awkward.
2. MSN Messenger!!!
Why did it have to shut down? 🙁
90s kids didn’t have to use the internet that much back then. When my mother asked if I really had to use the internet so much, I told her I was discussing school work – but I was really just MSN-ing classmates!
Ah, good times.
3. Student Councillor
= plus points for swag.
I’ve never been a SC because I was quite the rebel back then, but I remember wishing I was a SC so I could throw my weight around. (Just kidding, SCs don’t do that – like I said, I was quite the rebel!) Remember those times when you had to vote for President/Vice-President of the student council? I wonder what happened to all those promises the candidates said they would carry out…
4. Captain’s ball during PE classes
At one point of time, a “slacky” PE class would be when you played captain’s ball. I don’t know why, but we all had to learn captain’s ball at one point of time. No other games. Only captain’s ball. Then again, compared to training for NAPFA/2.4km? We’d take captain’s ball anytime!
If you’re from a neighbourhood secondary school, chances are, your 2.4km runs are held right outside your school where you’d be running on park connectors or long, winding pavements. And the thing you dread most after every PE session – muddy shoes. In turn, you’ll have to face this:
Don’t you miss whitening your white canvas shoes?
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5. Sports Day / Sports Meet
Yay, can sleep in! Even if you didn’t sleep in, it was a day of just sitting at the grandstand and hanging around (if you weren’t athletic enough to compete). Back in secondary school, having no classes on a school day was the best feeling ever.
6. Altering your skirt shorter / pants into skinnies
Those girls (ah lians) with mini skirts and rebonded fringes were everywhere. Boys with altered pants too, who wanted to make their legs look skinnier than they already were.
7. Untucking your shirt
If you didn’t wear a pinafore or if your blouse didn’t have the rubber thingy at the bottom, you probably refused to tuck your shirt in. It looked nerdy back then. In recent days, it’s the in thing to tuck your shirts in though.
Such a badass!
8. School badge
I don’t know about your school, but it was compulsory to have my school badge pinned to my collar, especially during morning assembly when the discipline master’s eagle eyes scanned through the horde!
“Where’s your school badge? Detention after school!”
9. Really low ankle socks
Again, it looked nerdy to wear your socks normally back then. No ankle socks? You would pull the front of your socks till it bunched up in the front of your shoe so they’d look like ankle socks! (Admit it!)
“Why you wear ankle socks? Detention after school!”
Simi also detention.
But you what? Who cares how low your socks are? Keep wearing ’em ankle socks because they look fab. Here, get some from Zalora.
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10. Hair cannot touch eyebrows or collar
“Why hair so long? Come I cut for you!” Or
“Why hair so long? Visit the barber after school!”
We really ought to thank fashion for making high-waisted skirts, high socks, and short hair look cool hor.
11. Lip syncing national anthem
I think our enthusiastic selves disappear the moment we enter Primary Five…
12. Using your Sony Ericsson phone under the table during class
… And thinking your teacher was dumb. Looking back, I’m pretty sure my teacher could tell what I was doing when I was so engrossed with something in my pencil case or below my table. Throwback to good ol’ Nokia and Sony Ericsson days!
Back then your teacher had the power to confiscate your phone. I don’t think kids these days will mind. Got laptop and iPad at home all – no need phone also can one!
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13. Art / music lessons
SLACK TIME! Auto enter screensaver mode.
14. Mobile dental clinic
Remember this??? Some secondary schools have the mobile dental clinic if they aren’t equipped with in-house dental clinics. My turn for a dental check-up? SHIOK, can skip lessons!
We really had no fear in us at all.
15. Having crushes
Somehow it was cool to crush on a senior. And when your friends kept teasing about you and your crush – damn, even better!
Crushing on someone? More like get crushed.
16. Valentine’s Day gifts
My school had this annual thing where some SCs became messengers and delivered V Day gifts/roses to students. So you could give your crush gifts and letters anonymously and not seem creepy at all!
17. Hanging around at the mamashop / bubble tea shop after school
There’s always a mamashop near a neighbourhood school. Or a small snacks shop that sold french fries, popcorn chicken, waffles, or bubbletea. I used to frequent it especially when I had to stay back in school!
18. NKF/Sharity donation cards
Those donation cards that had this elephant on them:
But we were barely teenagers and only had S$10, or less, for weekly allowance… 🙁
19. Listening comprehension
Listening compre was one of the giveaway exams, in my opinion. I mean, we could take down notes while sitting through it… It’s not that bad!
20. Going to the toilet together
I used to do that. Boys didn’t get why girls had to go to the washroom together. Now I don’t get it either. Maybe because we needed more gossip time? Or were we claustrophobic so we needed someone to talk to? I don’t know!
21. Then sometimes smelling smoke in the toilet
There’s bound to be one time when you smell smoke in the toilet. Not because there was a fire breakout but because someone needed a smoke break.
22. Fire Alarm Evacuation Drills
I totally understand that we need evacuation drills just in case the real thing happens. But all we understood back then was, “YAY, CAN SKIP LESSONS!” Then somewhat half lazily, half excitedly ambled to the field/parade square to squat there and wait under the sun.
23. Supplementary classes
When after a long day at school, you had to stay back for hours of supplementary classes because your teacher needed more time with you guys. Or maybe you needed more time with the books.
24. REMEDIAL CLASSES ughh
Because it meant that 1) you sucked at that subject, 2) you failed the exam, or 3) both. Sure, “remedials” were supposed to aid you in understanding the subject better as the class size is small, but how did we survive hours of supplementary and remedial classes at 3pm when the sun was scorching hot outside, and we were already so damn drowsy???? (Most neighbourhood secondary schools had no air-con, sadly.)
I’m really glad those days were over!! (Even though uni life isn’t any better…)
25. Night study
Night study was mainly for those taking O-level. Main purpose: More study time as a group and because your teacher would have more time for you at night. For some reason we were so hyped up about studying at night – clearly we were too young to understand what tertiary education was like.
In secondary school, it was called night study. When you are in uni and beyond, it’s called pulling an all-nighter… everyday.
26. Dickies bags
These bags were EVERYWHERE, especially this design:
I can’t remember whether carrying a Dickies bag made you cool or uncool.
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27. Clearing your s*** from under the table or lockers once the term ends
Your form teacher used to nag at you to bring all your books home. If you do it on the last day, GG! You might even find calculators, all sorts of stationery and food wrappers in there. Your “undertable” is like Doraemon’s magical pouch.
28. Class tee/jersey
The go-to for making customised class tees? Queensway Shopping Centre. Typical class tee designs:
That, and the kind where everyone’s names are plastered on the back of the shirt.
29. “Birthdays” board on the classroom wall
We used to be very united with our classmates okay! It’s a must to surprise your classmate with a random birthday song on his/her birthday!
30. Failed April Fool’s prank
Sometimes no matter how hard you try to convince your whole class to join in the prank on your teacher, there’s always this one clown who tries to be funny. Don’t play leh.
Then again, pranks where the class rotates the tables and chairs to face the back of the classroom – too overused! Young ones, impress us!
31. After-school LAN sessions
Playing computer games at somebody’s place, at a LAN centre, if not at a specific timing when you guys get home.
“Oi, 打 Dota/Maple ai mai?”
Ying Ying Lee
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