What do you do when you accept a copy of a school memoir to read? Make that the memoirs of STAR '86.
STAR or Sekolah Tuanku Abdul Rahman, is a premier all-boys residential school in Ipoh and named after the first Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, Almarhum Seri Paduka Baginda Tuanku Abdul Rahman ibni Almarhum Tuanku Muhammad.
Why am I reading it, then? Especially since I am obviously not a STAR Old Boy or one of the spouses? And do I dare to write about the book in my humble blog when the alumni boasts many prominent names, grammar Nazi notwithstanding?
I picked up "I wuz 'Ere, Memoirs of STAR '86" with no expectation other than to read on tales of yesteryears, as the Batch of '86 (now already in their late 40s) reminisce about their formative years.
The setting may be different. School cultures too. But as one reads through the tales, one was brought back to one's own years in a boarding school. That definitely was the case for me even though my school field wasn't huge, my old school had no grey blanket requirement or even a Pak Lau equivalent.
But as you read through the book, you are reminded how privileged some of us are, being given the chance to study in such a school. Be it as a student from a rural area, having the opportunity of going to such a prestigious school or city boys swapping their home luxuries for the life of a boarding school.
Kampung or City boys, both carry the hopes and pride of their family as they enter STAR.
Some of the stories were poignant. Some quite matter-of-fact. Some were downright hilarious. Some, I read and ponder. Some I skimmed through.
Of all the stories, one strikes a chord.
And this particular conversation; on Page 13 stuck to me.
"But why did you sit in the front row?"
"Because my late Mum told me to always be in front".
ALWAYS BE IN FRONT.
I am in tears just re-reading these three sentences.
It is a reminder for all of us to strive for the best, regardless of our circumstances.
So thank you STAR Batch '86 for sharing your memories.