I had never arrived late to school. That Monday morning, I woke up much earlier than usual as the fan was not functioning. Feeling hot, I pressed down the switch but to my disappointment it was not moving at all. I then turned on the lights. Dark! I realised by then that there was a cut on electricity supply.
I found a torch in the chest in front of my bed but it had run out of batteries. It had been ages since I last replaced the batteries. I went to the closet and took out my school shirt and a pair of long green pants. They were creased all over but I did not mind as everyone would understand. Most people would be wearing creased shirts.
After drinking a cup of milo and a packet of “nasi lemak”, under the dim light of a candle, I left home. I walked past the recreation park and saw an elderly man whom I often met at the park. He waved his hands at me.
“You look awfully handsome, today young man!” he shouted.
“No electricity!” I explained briefly and signalling to him that I was in hurry.
I was assigned to deliver a speech during assembly. I was going to talk about “How to Cope with Stress” So, I had to be in school earlier. I would rehearse my speech a few more times before everyone entered the hall.
When I reached the school gate, only the guard, a few teachers and a number of students had arrived. The guard who was not friendly suddenly was very nice to me. “Good morning boy! Today must be a special day for you!”
Even the guard knew that I was going to deliver my speech. Today’s assembly must be really important then. So, I hastened my pace towards the hall and went on stage to rehearse my speech. Soon, it was bright. It’s already 7.00 a.m. The assembly will begin in 15 minutes. I decided to go to the changing room at the back of the hall. Practising in front of the mirror would be much better. I could check on my body language and facial expression.
Oh no! To my horror, I finally discovered that I had put on “Batik” shirt instead of my white shirt. Too late to go home and change.
I heard someone calling my name. It was Puan Adida.
She was smiling and in her cheerful voice she said;
“I knew that you would make me proud......but what are you wearing?
I wanted to quit but Puan Adida insisted that I continue for a good warrior will never surrender even in the most difficult situation.
As I stood in front of the audience, I could feel blood rushing up my face. I ended my speech saying, choosing the appropriate colour for the shirt we wear can actually help to balance our emotion. Colour influences how we feel and it definitely helps to keep us calm. That’s why you find me wearing this colourful batik shirt on this bright morning. With that, I thank you.
Everyone, including my principal and teachers laughed until they shed some tears. They gave me a standing ovation. I was so embarrassed. My friends talked about the incident for the whole year. I bet they would talk about it on our twentieth reunion.