A for Assunta!
And yes, this is an ode to my halcyon school days.
If you live in Petaling Jaya, the name Assunta is synonymous with gung-ho all-girls school. I was privileged to attend the Assunta Primary and Secondary School up to the year I turned 16.
There is nothing quite like life in an all-girls school. It was easy going, loud (my 2nd and 3rd form class was declared as the noisiest in the school, naturally) and chock-full of stress and fun.
One awesome thing about attending an all-girls school is that you don't need to be ladylike (or control ayu) because you have no one to impress. You get to let down your hair, express your inner demonic tendencies and just totally be yourself.
When I attended a co-ed school, I found out the hard way that such liberties are not common.
We also had the best canteen food. In a time when upscale mall food courts are non existent, we get to choose from noodles (laksa/curry/soup/fried) to rice, to burgers, buns (sweet/savoury), roti canai and even mini donuts, on a daily basis. Visiting other schools where you queue for the same dish everyone else is eating brought forth the kind of sympathies reserved for starving children in Africa.
The racial mix at Assunta means that everyone speaks a little bit of a lot of languages like Hakka, Tamil, Cantonese, Malayalee, Javanese, particularly the swear words. The lingua franca was broken English peppered liberally with Malay. It is an important contributor to our fluency in the colonists' language.
It was also the time and place to make lifelong friends whom you fight with and defend against all comers come hell and high water. After all, in a school of over 2000 people, the odds are good that you could find someone who would click with you.
We may not meet often, but when we do, it's like we just saw each other last week.
Of course the school has changed tremendously since my days long past. The Thinking Pool has been replaced. The Cow Shed and Woodlands are now part of the food court-like canteen complete with LCD screen. The Music and Art Block has been revamped to add another storey to accommodate an art gallery. The Basement of the Mutiara Block has been converted into 4 classrooms.
Stained glass deco for the school hall is sick.
However, the more things change, the more they stay the same. For all the cosmetic changes the years have wrought, the school spirit remains the same. All the voices raised in joy to sing the school song are inculcated with tenets of loyalty to the school and Country, determination to realise their dreams and camaraderie of the sisterhood.
Ad veritatem per caritatem!