A few months ago, I visited Sekolah Menengah Tengku Afzan, Kuantan, my old secondary school. I studied there for five years, from age 13 until 17. After more than 13 years, I revisited that memorable alma mater of mine. It was a nostalgic trip down memory lane, to set foot on the hallowed grounds of the place once again.
Standing in front of the school, I surveyed the surroundings, recollecting the times that had gone by. I saw a new bus stop and a new canteen. Things have changed. It seemed that almost everything was new. The only things remaining were the school buildings, which still retained the old paintwork. When I looked at the students, I saw me when I was in their place, seated in class and focusing on what the teacher was imparting to her flock of pupils. The regimen was still the same through the years, despite the makeover in the surroundings.
I remembered when I was a student at the school, most of the tables and chairs, which were made of wood, were rickety and broken. They have been changed to plastic-type tables and chairs. Like many kids at school, I, too was not an exception in being naughty, with a reckless proclivity to drawing graffiti using markers on those unfortunate furniture. Up front, the blackboard and chalks were gone, replaced with whiteboard and markers.
The school library, where I borrowed some novels and reference books had also undergone transformation. During my time we used cards to borrow books, with each card allowing us to borrow a maximum of only three books. The library was small, allowing only about 50 students inside at any one time. The place had changed, and the system, too. Students were allowed to borrow a maximum number of five books at any one time, and in place of the manual card system, all they need to do now is scan their Identification Card. The library is also bigger.
Elsewhere, there were cosmetic changes made. Some of the outlying buildings have been extended and renovated. Even the school gate had been changed. The present surroundings seemed alien to me. I long for the old days, with all the things that I can identify with. Well, perhaps, it’s true that in life only change is constant, but nevertheless, the memories linger in me.