Tuesday 23 July 2013

by Jamie Kok Yixin, Class of 2013, Form 5 Science 1

It's that time of the year again, one of which every Cempakan knows all too well. It all starts when the prefects, donned in their striking black blazers, patrol the corridors intimidatingly and whisper among themselves secretively. Next, amidst the sea of black, you would notice (and no doubt sympathize with) two parallel lines of timid students clad in their green blazers, cowering under the scrutinizing, piercing gazes of the prefects. These hapless students I refer to are none other than the hopeful probate candidates who could only quail and try their best NOT to fidget, NOT to make any sound whatsoever and NOT to look anywhere else but ahead under the fierce watch of the prefects. 
Thus began the candidacy for prefectship for the year 2013. 

We are now well into the probationary period, and one can already hear the collective sighs around school as even more people approach students to nag them about their smart cards, collars, socks or shoelaces. You can hear the inaudible rants from a mile away: 'As if those thirty-something prefects weren't enough, how tiresome!'  These same people tend to ask the same question every year to the brave bunch who dare to send in their applications: Why? Prefectship is a time burdening, emotionally and physically exhausting, tedious process. So why bother with it?

Well, being a prefect myself for nearly two years, I can certainly vouch that it isn't an easy job, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks so as well. Yet, year after year without fail, a new board of prefects is installed, and in each of them there blazes the flame of determination, dedication and duty. 
Therefore, I took it upon myself to ask my fellow consorts a few questions about their journey through prefectship and what it took to get them where they are now. I'd like to share some of their answers with you. 

When asked on what he thinks prefectship is all about, Ezzamel Zarif of Form 4 Science 1, Class of 2014 replied: "We are able to make a difference as well as contribute to the school in which we have taken so much from. In my opinion, that is what prefectship is all about, to be a role model and maintain discipline in the student body. To me, prefectship gives you the chance to lead and inspire others."
Ryan Yoong Ka Jun, Ezzamel's classmate had this to share: "To be honest, there is only one reason why I wanted to be a prefect. For that feeling of self satisfaction and hard earned achievement. The feeling that I managed to accomplish something that I can be proud of. I was never really satisfied with whatever I was doing before applying for prefectship but after going through the whole process of pre-probation and probation (which was a grueling one at that!), it felt good to have something positive come out of it."

And what good comes out of it, you ask? Well, according to Johnathon Wong, Form 5 Science 2, Class of 2013, he says that the proudest thing a prefect can earn throughout his/her journey through probation is the bond with your seniors, and the sense of achievement one can savour the moment you officially become a prefect. In his words: "The moment when you pass probation and achieve prefectship is just indescribable. Your seniors will give you their congratulations and advice, and bid you farewell as they entrust the board to your care along with the rest of the newly installed prefects. When I was called on stage on Leadership Night to swear upon my duties and responsibilities, all I can say is that it was one of the proudest moments of my life."

So far dear reader, we've learnt from three established prefects that the process of attaining prefectship is well worth it. Then again, we've all heard about how taxing the probationary period can be, and even more how challenging the life of a prefect is. I asked Chin Wye Mun of Junior 1 Cempaka, Class of 2014 about her source of inspiration, which not only has pushed her to become one of the most respected prefects of the board, but also made her an active, contributing member to the school community. This was what she had to say: "My source of inspiration is the entire Prefects' Board itself. When I see the other prefects working hard at their job, I feel inspired to work harder and to improve myself. Whenever my determination falters, I think of my seniors and how amazing they are, seriously. They are good at sports, good at studies, active in community projects, responsible leaders of the student body and good, trustworthy friends. They remind me to never give up and that the goal I aspire is achievable. To me, they embody the saying that "Nothing is impossible!". They remind me of the person I want to be - someone others can look up to, someone respectable, someone who inspires. Besides that, the experiences I gain and the rewards I earn from being a prefect keep me motivated and inspire me all the time. The happy smiles on the faces of people we help and the memories and relationships we build are unforgettable and priceless."   

Her friend, Amanda Lee, shared with us her favourite part about being part of the prefect's board. She says: "My favourite part about being in the prefect's board are definitely the moments we share together. It's the moment when you restlessly await the results, thinking of all the challenges you've faced, hardships you've overcome, mistakes you've made. It's the moment you step into the classroom with all the other newly appointed 'profects' amidst cheers. It's the day you first wear black instead of charcoal grey.

Then, it's leadership night - needless to say a moment I'm sure all prefects will never forget.  
After that, it's the part where we kind of become one big family. It's like how I laugh at funny mistakes in duty reports, or when we share funny moments during duty like that freshman kid who always greets prefects on morning duty (who is really pleasant by the way!). Seniors and juniors alike become closer. We have triumphs and memories we share together, which no one else outside the prefects board will be able to understand - in a way I guess it truly is 'Prefects United'."

With such sincere responses from all the prefects, I can't help but hope this year's board will wear their crest and blazer with the same pride and honour. Finally, a word of advice to all aspiring prefects: "Be yourself, learn as much as you can, and keep a positive attitude to make a difference in the school community. Secondly, never give up. Probation will be a long and arduous journey, but one which will be very rewarding at the end of the day. Even if you do not pass, it's not something to be depressed over - just think of how all the experiences that will make you an even better leader if you choose to try out again the following year. Lastly, being a prefect isn't just about the black uniform, or how well you carry out your daily duties, but how you inspire others around you and create the change you want to see. I would advice all juniors out there to try out for prefectship. Although it may not be the right thing for everyone, the last thing you'd want to feel is regret over being afraid to try." - Tai Kai Xin, Form 5 Science 1, Class of 2013.

Coming from a prefect who never gave up and passed successfully in her second attempt, I would say that those words are golden because they are wrought from experience and triumph.

Truly, prefectship isn't just about how loud you can tell off students, or how loudly you sing the school song, nor is it about wearing the uniform and putting on the tie. 

No, prefectship isn't about all of that. Because there is no textbook answer to what a prefect should be or what you need to do to be one. It is simply this:

The word, prefect, is defined by the person who is one. Looking around us, I see some pretty good examples already. 

With that, I would like to wish the best of luck to all the aspiring prefects and juniors. Also, kudos to the current board whom I've enjoyed working with tremendously, let's hope we leave a legacy behind as the Prefect's Board continues to grow and grow.

by Anonymous 18:50 12 comments | in , , , ,


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