Saturday, September 3, 2011

Letter to SMCH

Hey all, just wanna share this since I'm gonna write it for my secondary school's yearbook. Hope it gets published LOL.

Juniors of SMCH,
Hello. I’m Ivan Chong, an alumnus of SMCH, class of 5 Science 2 year 2009. I hope to encourage you with this letter!
After the gruesome battle with the very much dreaded SPM, I decided to follow my brother’s footsteps- I took the SAM (South Australian Matriculation) course at Taylor’s College Subang Jaya in January. That was when I learnt SPM wasn’t that gruesome at all D: (No, I’m not saying you can take SPM easy. It’s just that in life, challenges get more and more difficult, right?)
So there I was, having one of the best times of my life at Subang Jaya. Church was awesome, college friends were great, then came the news of Matric. It was just another Friday, and I was out at Asia Café to ‘have tea’ (or ‘yamcha’ as we know it). All of a sudden my friend said “Hey, the Matric offer is out! We can check by SMS”. Then it struck me that I applied for Matric back in school. My my, I had forgotten the existence of this Matric program.
Without much hesitation and expectation, I typed in the necessary details and hit ‘send’. Then came an instant reply, “Congratulations, ... Negeri 9…” And I was like O_O “Er ok… So what should I do next?!” Of course, I called my dear parents.
“Wah you got Matric? YOU GOT MATRIC?” screamed my mum on the phone. “Praise the Lord!!! I’ve been praying for you to study your degree locally!” She was overjoyed, and so was my dad. Without much thinking, I just agreed to their will, and decided to accept the offer, since Matric is equivalent to STPM, but much easier and shorter in terms of duration. This also meant leaving my friends at Taylor’s College, which was the biggest factor holding me back.
And so, I packed my stuff and left Subang Jaya after my last week at college. And then came May 10th, the date of registration for Matric at Kolej Matrikulasi Negeri Sembilan, also known as KMNS, which was located at Kuala Pilah. The first week was disastrous. I barely knew anyone, except for some who were from SMCH (Cai Qian, who then left after getting JPA, Annie Tzyy Shan, and Tuan Sheng). The fear was intensified when everyone else seemed to be taking things well, heck, some even had more than ten ex-schoolmates, and some, ex-classmates along.
For me, Kuala Pilah was quite similar to Kota Bharu, in the sense of its lack of entertainment. What was worse is that it was a really really small and simple town, compared to Kota Bharu. But the great thing was that it is only 1 hour bus ride away from Seremban, which, was a great relief to all of us there.  We often went to Seremban for leisure during the weekends for breaks. IT’S GOT A BIG MALL WITH A CINEMA, AND GREENBOX (karaoke), AND BOWLING.. Isn’t that what life is all about, for us youngsters?
Let me give you a little introduction to the Matric life I experienced at KMNS. On weekdays (except Friday), we weren’t allowed to leave college grounds, also when the college had activities during the weekends, unless we had acceptable reasons. Needless to say, that was when the creative part of our minds went wild! On Fridays, we were allowed to go out at 2pm, for overnight stays or just for an outing. If we wanted to go out for an overnight stay, we had to be back on Sunday by 7pm. Family members were allowed to visit us from Friday-Sunday.
At college, there were two convenience stores, a cyber café, a photostate shop, a huge field for activities, courts for basketball, tennis, volleyball, futsal, badminton, squash, ping pong, etc. If anyone were to be sick, they could go to the government hospital for a free medical check-up. (Yes, FREE!) We didn’t have to pay a single cent for medicine. Outside of college was ‘Hong Kong Restaurant’, operated by a chef from Hong Kong. We looked forward to having lunch and dinner there every weekend (including Friday)! The chops were really good! Relativity played a big part there I guess.
As for academics, we had to attend lectures and tutorials. Lectures were composed of many tutorial groups, where the lecturers taught using LCD screens. Each tutorial had around 20 students, and each session was held in a classroom. Lecturers were able to spend more time with the smaller groups of students in tutorial groups, so QnA (question and answer) was carried out that during tutorial groups.
So what was the best part of Matric life? For me, it was the time I had with my friends. We had the chance to spend 24 hours a day together and crash each other’s room anytime we wanted to. We had our meals together all the time (the food wasn’t as awesome as home-cooked food, but as I know, what mattered was the joy of eating with friends!) Also, joining the activities of English Month was one of the highlights of my stay there. We joined various activities like Acapella Singing Competition, Battle of the Bands, Treasure Hunt and Spelling Bee. Do check them out if you enter KMNS!
One year passed us by really quickly. It was time to say goodbye, and nobody was truly happy to leave. Of course, some were happy that they could go back to their lifestyles which were full of entertainment, but most were sad to leave the companionship of their friends. Of course, this was a completely different feeling from when we just entered college. It took a few months for most of us to get used to. But then came the best part, when everyone went for trips to each other’s hometowns during the holidays. We would get free accommodation, and have fun all day long. It was just so much more fun since we um, had endured a year of ‘suffering’.
FYI, I’m entering USM Kubang Kerian, Kelantan for Medicine in September. Yes I know, back to Kelantan after being out there for 1 year and a half. Never have I thought I would come back to my hometown, but I can’t wait to enter Uni to start this new chapter of my life. Good thing is, there are some seniors from SMCH who are already there :) So.. I hope this encourages you! Do apply for the Matric course with the help of the school counselors.
Do contact me at (e-mail or Facebook message) for further enquiries! May God bless you all.

Ivan Chong,
August 2011

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