Reminiscing Secondary School Days

Reminiscing Secondary School Days

Much has changed in the HKSS website since I last accessed it…more than a year ago? Heh. Last time when I was a student, sec 2 streaming was conducted the pen & paper way. The HKSS website was partially defunct and amateurish. Classroom computers and wireless networks? Never existed. Blogs? Unheard of. (I have this growing suspicion right now that the blogs here are actually for English lessons. I think I was conned into signing up for a blog here.) The colours that the school was painted in were less bold and “colourful” compared to now (but I still prefer the old paint scheme). Speech Days used to be a long ceremony that involved the various uniformed groups on parade in the Quadrangle (or was it “quadrangle”?) and performing societies putting up their best show in the school hall and the whole event lasted from the evening all the way untill 10 or 11pm.

And the IT system in the school (bare with me here, as I specialize in this field). Computer labs were once like refrigerators. I made “The BFG Computer Game” with software that was 3 years old when I was in secondary 1 (and I still shudder at the thought of that simple computer game I made. Was it the cheesy sound effects and graphics, or was it because I knew how to do it at a tender age of 13? I don’t know) The lab was once ruled by technicians who were “overqualified” for their job – I can still remember one of them programming his own “anti-IRC software” (ah, IRC. Brings back many memories) program that was installed on all the computers in the lab. MIDI, and then some time later, MP3 was the best “development” in “audio technology” at that time (this was back in late 1998, unlike now when MP3 is so popular and MIDI had recently crossed over to the mobile phone about 2 to 3 years back). Then came the LEGO Mindstorms Robotics fad that many schools were interested in. Days spent in the Students’ Recreation Centre and computer labs just trying to get a robot moving! Done your PowerPoint presentation at home? Too big to fit onto a single floppy disk? Span it over 2, 3, or more floppies (Which my friends did)! I can still remember lugging an external proprietary laser-magneto based 120MB floppy disk drive to school (which in the end, got killed off by the Zip drive, and later, delt the finishing blow with the advent of the CD writers), which proved to be handy in presenting large presentations in class. While most students (in other schools anyway. Beyond this sentence is pure hypothesis because I think the Internet was the trend at that time) who were interested in computing specialized in the growing field of webpage designing and building, I concentrated on a more creative and visual aspect – video editing. The first video I did was for a simple English project that involved a presentation of our experience in the annual sec 3 camp. At first, I didn’t know how to use it, besides knowing that the software is used for video editing, and I was “playing” around with the software, until at last, I whacked out a music video to the beat of the Backstreet Boys (please don’t ask what song I chose). Since then, I’ve produced a few video clips for the school (which I think the school is still using), and with each “project” I completed, I gained more experience in producing video clips. Not bad for a kid who’s 16 and has done a few projects for his school. There were times of setback (argh, Charity Night 2000), yes, but thankfully the teachers stepped in to help me get over the emotional impact of failing to present the result (To this day, I have not properly said “thank you” to them, so I might as well say it now. Thank you, Ms Ling and Mrs Wee for giving me the guidance and support when I needed them most, especially for a 16 year old kid who’s going through alot of stress due to the O-levels then) . This cumulated into the last video clip I did for the school before I graduated – the Teacher’s Day video. I still regard this video clip as the pinnacle of my works done in secondary school – the prefect balance between creativity and requirements. After the year 2000, schools (and the public, in general) began to notice that their home computers can process video (partially due to the advancement in camcorder technology that allowed it to be connected to a computer via the Firewire cable), and thus begins the foray into video production…well, for schools anyway.

Times have changed since then – some good and others bad – in the school. People change. The environment changes. Students change. All in the blink of an eye (well, at least to ME). Old canteen tables and wooden chairs are replaced by plastic-topped ones. Easier to clean and maintain, and won’t give way so easily. The website evolved from a simple “me too!” site into a complex one, and many more that I have not noticed since I graduated from HKSS. New uniform colours as well (I still prefer the old green ones) Once in a while, I get jolted back into my teenage years when Jurongville secondary mentions my school in their daily morning announcements when I wake up in the morning on my off and sick days. At first, I was pleasantly surprised when they announced that they had won a few awards in the second W4 Video Awards, and then I thought, “Wait a minute, I sort of “started” this, how come I wasn’t invited as a guest?”. It’s strange how the world works these days, but you’ll just have to accept it and move on.

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