When I describe about my secondary school life, I always say it was in black and white. In fact, grey. Perhaps my piano playing and my friends did instill some colors into it, but even they did not do much good. In those five years of schooling, I did not live; I did not know what I was doing. I just tried to pass the days.
Other than piano lessons, I also had to go to those tuition centers to have almost all my subjects “fixed” since my Dad thought my school work was a mess. I thought so too, but I did not care. At that time, I did not care about anything at all. Those tuition centers were worthless: there were hundreds of students cramped in a room with the tutor babbling away for hours with things I did not understand. I felt totally exhausted that even after school and during the weekends I still had to go for such useless labor.
One day after school, my Dad told me that he knew I was not studying with the old piano teacher (the “Shanghainese”) anymore (Note: my Mum and I did not tell him that I changed to another teacher since we were afraid he would get mad; now I do not know why we did such a thing). I was scared to death, wondering how he was going to scold me about it. But he did not yell at me; he was very calm, just told me to work hard. I was relieved, as from then on, I was authorized to learn from my Teacher.
My Teacher told me there was a post-secondary course at the Hong Kong Baptist University that one could study music and play piano, and it could lead further to the university program if one’s academic result was desirable. It was then the “Pre-Music” program.
My parents and I gathered the information about the music program and read it carefully. We all thought that could be an alternative way for me to continue my academic and music study, since nobody assumed my HKCEE result would be any good and my secondary school would take me back (I NEVER studied), and I hated my school so much I could not wait leaving it for good.
There was an entrance exam for the Pre-Music program, including an interview and a performance audition. I had to prepare a couple pieces to play for the interviewers, one of which came to sit at the piano after my performance and tested my musical aural ability. I could tell they were very satisfied with my playing and my ears. They offered me a place for the program. All I had to do was to get the HKCEE result slip to complete the enrollment.
I started studying for my HKCEE a couple weeks before the exam started. I thought my exam result would be a complete disaster. I still recalled the day I went back to my secondary school for the last time for my HKCEE result. I was not too worried about it. I had not much expectation of it, although I still wondered how my result would be like. As we waited for our names to be called to get our result slips, I was only thinking when I would go over to enroll in the music program. Then it was my turn. I went up to get my slip, and went back to my seat to read my result. What? I had an A ! It was my English result. I knew my English was quite good, but did not think it was that good. And the others were not bad at all. I only failed in my Geography, which to me made perfect sense since I never understood anything about it or knew how to answer the questions in class.
My HKCEE result turned out to be quite good to everyone’s surprise, since I did not put much effort into preparing for it at all. When people worked hard for it the whole two years before the exam came and thought it was such a big deal, I was wandering my mind off and feeling depressed, wondering the true meaning of life (I would lock myself in my room for hours doing not much at all but reading foreign magazines, listening to foreign alternative music and studying the lyrics). Anyhow, I counted the marks I had (i.e. the six best subjects’ result) and found it was well above the passing mark required for my school (which already had a higher passing mark than the average schools). I was quite excited. But then it came to this: should I stay at the same school to continue my study or enroll in the pre-music program?
(To be continued…)