I started kindergarten when I was 6 years old. The first five years of my life, I was pretty much taught at home by M. One of my earliest childhood memories was writing my name in a notebook. Back then, I used my English name. (I only started using my Chinese name in Standard One, and it stuck on ever since.)
In kindergarten, I was a big crybaby. I was also very girlish (it was all about Barbie and cooking sets and play pretend, usually some girly scenario) and hated being teased. I went to Tadika Tinkerbell (That’s Malay for Tinkerbell Kindergarten). It’s actually an old semi-detached house. The master bedroom is my class. I know it’s the master bedroom because it faces the front and it has an attached bathroom with a bathtub in it. I remember peering into the bathtub once, and found it full of dead cockroaches.
I sat near at the 3rd chair from the front. Sitting next to me on the left, second to the front (the table is a long one and we sit at the side, rather than facing the blackboard directly), was Joyce, my rival. She competed with me for my best friend, Denise’s attention. Joyce and Denise were smart; they were already doing Standard One work, while I did the normal class work like the other students.
My teacher’s name was Theresa. I liked her. She taught us our dances. It’s customary for kindergarten students to put up performances at the end of school year, usually dances. Most students only get to do one dance, but I got to do two, along with my best friend Denise… and Joyce. We did a Broadway dance, the kind with the tophat and cane and tailcoat, dancing to The Entertainer. We had a boy partner each for that dance. I remember Theresa complimenting me on the way I wiggle my butt as a dance move. The other girls were shaking their butts from side to side, I was wiggling it with my butt muscles… like cocking one butt, then the other. She was so annoyed with the other girls shaking their butts that she made them watch the way I wiggle my butt.
We also did a Spanish dance. I liked the costume. It was colourful, red and blue and green and shiny. We had boy partners too, and another boy who played the bull; there was this boy who played the matador and held the red cloth in front of the bull and the bull had to charge through it. They recorded the whole concert on tape, and for a few years after that I kept watching it, until VCR became out of fashion.
I sat the bus to school. I also sat the bus to the zoo, a school trip. It was my first time to the zoo. I have not visited it since then. I want to, though. Anyway, I don’t remember much of the animals. I remembered that we had KFC for lunch, and I was pouting because I wanted a drumstick, but I was given a thick slab which is the breast or something. Denise got the drumstick. She always got the things I wanted. She was prettier than me, taller, fairer. But she still drank milk from the bottle, even though she was 6. Hah. Anyway, when we sat the bus home from the zoo, I remember holding on to my pee so bad. Luckily I made it home in time.
Even though Joyce was my rival, there was one point we were friends. I even went to her house to play once. Joyce was very mature for her age. I wanted to play pretend that we’re on a holiday in the Caribbean… or something. She wanted to play pretend that we are kidnapped and have to try to escape on our own. I didn’t like it. As mature as she was, she still had to sit on a potty while I use the normal toilet a long time ago. Hah!
So… that’s all I can remember about my kindergarten days. I liked it. I regret giving my ex a photo of my kindergarten graduation. (I have a copy of it, but it’s bigger in size and framed. I have that photo frame somewhere in my room I think.) I looked so serious it’s cute.