Thursday, 19 July 2007

KMB Glory Days Part I

Right from the orientation day on the first week of school, we KMBians have been injected with the idea of "keeping with the pace of IB". So if any of you juniors hear that, it's been passed down generations. Whether anyone actually sticks 100% to that principle, I don't know. But I do know of people who scored 40+ AND have neglected that principle.
Pic: Math HL exercises, 1st Sem

The first few weeks in class would probably show you who are the extremes in the class. On one end are the slackers. On another are the "kiasu"s. Then there are those in the middle. Or those who pretend to be in the middle, but are actually extremes themselves. As far as I remember, almost everyone in Semester I practically aimed for 45/45 IB points. It's a passport to university after all. So why not score full points, just like the straight A's in SPM? Is there anything to lose?

The later days revealed to me that there are things to lose by being too preoccupied with perfect Forty-Five. Otherwise, slackers wouldn't exist, and classes would be super-dull.

As shown in the image above, IB Mathematics HL demanded quite a lot if we were to maintain it at 7 all the time (I didn't manage to do that, although I wish I did). Bio and Chem were demanding in quite a different way because we did not immediately see the impact on our grades. That's why some actually lost a few of their Lab Reports. And to think about it, each report takes at least 1.5 hours to write (without compromising quality).
Pic: Writing up a Lab Report, 1am, 1st Sem

But the academic load in Sem I is not too unbearable. In fact, it's the lightest with respect to the other semesters. Thus there were those who aspire to hit 180 on the CAS hour counter within 6 months. It includes me. Every Tuesday night is devoted for martial arts practice. Several more hours are earned from Music Club. The fortnightly visit to a special school one hour's drive away earns 3 CAS hours per trip -- and pays 2 hours of owed sleep.
Pic: Chemistry HL Prize, 1st Sem

It was also in 1st Sem that most people started their hospital attachments. Seriously, if it were not for the compulsory documentation - the CAS reports - I think those visits would never give their full impact on us (or me for that matter).

To add to the cast in our "hour eaters" reality show, we have the "stupid compulsory things KMBians must do". Don't blame me only, because that's what the student community labels them. I remember a choral speaking activity for Mathematics, a Career Fair and an English Drama. On paper, the motive of such activities would probably be "to extend students' creativity beyond the classroom" and "to nourish the seeds of leadership in students". Yes, a noble intent. But we people are only people; and people like to do what people do best when there are fewer people instructing than following: whining.
Pic: Poster Presentation (Career Fair), 1st Sem

In a way, the rigidity of the 1st KMB Semester gives it its glory status, because that's when our hours are put into full use. One of my friends mentioned, "Sem 1 takde DotA, takde Anime. Bolehla bace Campbell malam-malam..." But not everyone thinks that way. Rigidity equals a robotic life, which is effectively no life at all. And in my opinion, supporters of either side of the argument are marked by a streak of internal conflict. It is, perhaps, a continuous challenge to strike the balance between being too carefree and too rigid, in the pursuit of happiness (in a rather unhappy place like KMB).

P/S: It was also in Sem 1 that I sent the first senior (super-senior, actually) in KLIA. He was my schoolmate back in La Salle, and now (then) headed for Queen Mary, Uni of London. Talking about selecting Uni's, it was only one month before he flew that he told me something that made me dumbstruck: "Which Uni? Just ask mommy. Mothers know best."

KMB Glory Days Part II
KMB Glory Days Part III

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