A GIRL IN THE VICTORIA INSTITUTION
From The Victorian, 1950
sat in the headmaster's office alone, trying to calm myself, when the headmaster came in and said; "You are accepted into the School".
"Thank you sir." I replied.
"Well, you will be the only girl among nine-hundred boys here", he said with a smile.
"I - I don't mind, sir," I stammered uncertainly.
This trying position had not occurred to me when I came to ask for admission into the Post-Senior Class; and, on being refused, I had pleaded with him to give me a chance of furthering my studies here, instead of sitting in the Senior Class in M.G.S. waiting for my Cambridge School Certificate result. Having been accepted into the School, I was not going to be so cowardly as to withdraw my word.
Just then, the bell rang for the interval and immediately, the corridor was filled with the sounds of heavy footsteps, droning voices and laughter. How I wished I could hide in the office then! In spite of my mounting fears, I managed to get myself into the library, where a host of eyes stared at me alarmingly from every direction. Since this was the first time in the history of the V.I. that a girl was enrolled as a student, the news soon spread, like wild fire, through the School.
At 11.10 a.m., our Form Master came in and introduced me as a "new boy" to the Post-Senior Arts form. The nine boys sitting quietly round the long table, in the far end of the library, created an atmosphere of a youth conference rather than that of a classroom. When the master was taking the roll call, a loud "yes, sir" boomed from the other end of the table. Looking up, I saw a Malay boy wearing a songkok, whom the boys addressed as "Inche". Next to him sat an Indian boy who could give a long answer all in one breath and as quick as the echo of the question asked; and this great speaker of our class was known as "Rat". I shall never forget the kindness of my classmates who did their best to put me at ease during my first few memorable days in the V. I.
Being a student of mathematics, I belonged to the Post-Senior Science as well; and very soon the bell summoned me to visit this famous class of 11 scientists. A peal of laughter from the classroom made me stop short outside the swing doors. Since there was no choice, I gathered all my courage, forced myself into the room and planted myself quietly in the nearest desk. When the master appeared at the door, silence fell on the class. He opened his book, drew a figure on the board and said, "r and θ are the polar coordinates of PO". This "Greek" was supposed to be Geometry. As I was a month too late for the term, my friends helped me with my lessons; and it was through long hours of slogging that I managed gradually to catch up with the other students.
On Friday morning, I saw the whole school gather at the Assembly for the first time. Looking down from the gallery in the Hall, I was surprised by the striking colours of the boys sitting on the floor. There were pink, green, grey, white, black and yellow turbans, songkoks, shirts, trousers and sarongs. What a great contrast they were to the white uniforms, with a little red for the monograms, which I used to see in M.G.S. during chapel. On both sides of the stage sat all the teachers, while the School Prefects stood at the doors like sentinels. A bell announced the entrance of the headmaster; then came a long list of announcements, most of which concerned sports, and it was interrupted by a burst of applause from the Hall when V.I. was announced as having won a victory over some other school. After the crest was presented to the cleanest classroom for the week, we sang the School Song. I felt very strange when the voices grew louder and louder in praise of the School and then subsided into complete silence. This twenty minutes was a new experience to me.
Though circumstances forced me to forgo the pleasure of taking any active part in certain school activities, especially in games, they did not prevent me from becoming a member of the Literary and Debating Society and joining the Geographical Society in the excursions to Port Swettenham and the aerodrome. In spite of being called a "lone wolf", I was never neglected or made to feel an outcast by my friends. I can assure any girl, who intends to come to our Post-Senior Class next year, that this is a very interesting School. As a pioneer of girl students in the V.I., I am proud of the privilege of studying in one of the best schools in the Federation of Malaya. It is indeed an honour to be a Victorian!
MISS YOONG YAN YOONG
Adv., C. Arts.
[After leaving the V.I., Miss Yoong read medicine and became a doctor. She is now retired in Johor Baru]
Last update on 4 January 2016.
Pagekeeper: Chung Chee Min