7 weeks. That’s how much time I have left. After 7 weeks, on February the 28th to be exact, 2 days after attending Nicole’s graduation, I shall be leaving Perth for good.
8 years. That’s how long I have stayed in Perth. For 8 years I have called Perth home. Its the place I grew up into adulthood. Its where I met amazing people that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. Now, due to my father’s condition, I have to leave Perth – albeit very relunctantly.
To count down to my final moments in Perth, I shall dedicate an entry a week to reminiscent each year that I spent in Perth, until I leave. Unfortunately most of my old photos were left in Kuching, which means I have to put up" image placeholders" until I can scan those photos in. Anyway, lets hop onto the time machine and rewind back to 1997 to see what pre-pubescent Kenny was like.
The year is 1997. Start of Asian Economic Crisis. Hong Kong returned to China. Princess Diana died in a car crash. Titanic made ‘You Jump I Jump’ famous.
My family touched down at Perth International Airport. The reason why we chose Perth is a very stupid one. My sister had just graduated from Limkokwing College, and she was looking for further studies overseas. A not-so-close friend of hers approached her and said "Hey! Let’s all go to study at Curtin University in Perth!". So she brought up the idea to my parents, they approved, paid all the fees and packed our bags to go to Perth. Upon arrival, she called up her not-so-close friend, who promptly said "Ha? What are you doing in Perth? We have all decided to study in Singapore instead!".
Thank you, sis.
Anyway, I got myself enrolled into the now defunct Beaufort College, which at the time was the largest international student boarding school in Perth at that time – at least according to their brochure. Then I realised that there must be very few international student boarding schools in Perth. I found out that the entire area of Beaufort smaller than Karawara shopping center not including the carpark area. So much for a great start.
I was 15 years old at that time, but I was doing Year 11 (equivalent to Form 5). Most of my classmates however were 18 years old. (Useless fact: I skipped Standard 6 whilst I was in Kuching, and later I managed to enrol into Year 11 because of I had good English and Mathematics scores. My classmates had to do Year 11 after finishing Form 5 because their English isn’t up to scratch. This explains the 3 year age gap between us.) Now, coming from Kuching, where fashion is non-existent and clothes are meant to be worn not flaunt – to a school full of hormone raging youngsters with rich parents to buy them hip clothing isn’t the easiest thing on Earth to do. With my young age, thick specs, mooncake face, residual baby fat, crooked teeth, AUD20 a week allowance, fake Guess T-shirt and very high Maths scores – I fall into the category of a nerd. Quite easily I became a target of bullying.by a group of gang from Indonesia headed by their master chief Hazis Sorbono. I still remember the times when I had pebbles thrown at my head, my oral presentations interrupted by loud laughs from the back of the class, or my sandwich ‘accidentally’ bumped off my hands onto the floor. Yes, life was tough when you don’t look or behave the same as others.
During this period of time I’ve also had friends that I keep in touch with even till now. Christopher Chong was and still is my closest mate who argued about everything from Chemistry to the philosophy of life – he’s now running his father’s shipping business in Penang. Eric Fong was someone who supplied me with too much information to pollute my innocent 15 year old mind – he’s now enjoying life in Penang helping out his parents’ MLM business and managing very pretty models. Daniel Kuh became my mate when he offered to drive me to Bentley where we were both staying. Despite his pimply face and riceboy image, Daniel is actually a very down-to-earth genuinely nice guy. At that time we stayed very close to each other, but what he didn’t know was that Vicky lives right opposite his place.
Ahhh… Vicky. No high-school nerd story would be complete without a crush. Vicky was my crush. I still remembered how she walked into the Economics classroom with her Esprit shirt and yellow miniskirt and lights up the room. Yes, I know she’s 3 years elder than me, but I tell you – its love at first sight. I don’t know how but somehow one way or the other she and I managed to become friendly enough for her to invite me into her bedroom… to study Physics.No, not that kinda Physics you dirty mind! Year 11 Physics.
Daniel and Vicky knew about each other, but they didn’t exactly like each other. In fact, Vicky hated him because of his bad boy image. Anyhow, I let Daniel and Vicky know how close together they are staying. Now fast forward 8 years later…. as of writing, Daniel and Vicky have been dating for almost 2 years. *applause* This begins the series of many lovely couples that I’ve inadvertantly created.
At the end of 1997, my mother was still trying to get used to living life in Perth whilst my father was home in Kuching. Despite all these difficulties that I went through, I achieved academically well enough to earn myself a scholarship for Year 12. I was not experiencing homesickness too much. I was, in fact, starting to enjoy life in Perth.