I am a Prefect
When I was called up to be a prefect, I was at first reluctant. I thought I could not cope with the responsibility. Maybe I was just plain scared. You never know what may happen in such a big school. Well, anyway, I have managed it all right, and you know something, it has been fun so far!
I begin the day by going up to the prefects’ room to find out what my duty is for the day. This is quite routine and often unexciting. Anyway, you have to do it or else … The various duties are to do with traffic, canteen, classroom cleanliness and discipline. You get one of these the whole week and another the next. I personally like to be on duty in the canteen. You can do two things at the same time – do your duty and have your breakfast. The canteen is an ideal place to observe people. The pupils are fine examples of hungry humans rushing madly to satisfy their appetites. The ‘rush hour’ begins as soon as the bell rings for recess. Except for the rush and the noise made by more than hundred over-worked mouths, nothing exciting happens at the canteen.
Prefects on traffic duty in the morning represent the welcoming committee for the late-comers. Here is when you see the fun as the pupils try to bluff their way out by giving fictitious names and convincing excuses. For example, everything happens to the student’s bicycle in the morning – mechanical breakdown, puncture and what have you! It might seem that the bicycle is more reluctant to come to school than the pupils. Some of course give genuine excuses. Some sure make good story-tellers. Some do not give any reason at all. It is detention class for them. The same treatment goes to those who are late more than three times.
The next on the list is classroom cleanliness. This requires an observant pair of eyes and an ability to grade. The latter is done according to the state of the blackboard, corridor, desks, floor and window shutters. A constant standard is of course important, but individual prefects vary. My standard is usually low; therefore most of the classes get high marks. But there are classes in shameful conditions. I really get disgusted when I visit such classes.
Prefects have to maintain discipline which also means going round the school and hunting down the ‘bad guys’. The usual cases are boys with shirts not tucked in, shirts unbuttoned, no badges, no socks, long hairs and so on. Persistent offenders are sent to DC or to the Disciplinary Board for interrogation. Those sporting long hair are given free haircuts – unprofessional ones of course! Unwilling ‘customers’. I have never faced direct aggressiveness from any student. While doing duty of this nature, you have to write a report for that day. This when you write all the problems for the Senior Assistant to read.
The exciting part of a prefect’s job is not the daily routines duties but the many extra things that we do, such as the raids on the smokers, and the ‘ambushes’ on the students who leave the school during school hours. Our ‘commander’ is the Headboy. He plans the raid to the minutest detail with the help of his well-chosen lieutenants and then he places us around the area to be raided. When he gives the word we rush in to grab the offenders. Sometimes the offenders are pre-warned by their friends and so they make a dash for it. That is when the chase begins. Usually they are caught red-handed.
There was also the time when we had Peeping Toms in the girls’ toilet. We surrounded it while the Headboy led the welcoming committee up the ceiling. He came down with the terrified boys who were later suspended.
I have learned a lot being a prefect – learned about myself and other people. I learned to discipline myself, especially in my studies. It is not always pleasant to be a prefect but duties have got to be done. I do not demand the pupils’ respect but I hope they will learn to respect the authority of the prefect.
George Dewa – USS
The above article appeared in our school magazine “Perdana” 1976. I just found this missing treasure while helping to clear up piles of books, old stuffs and etc at my late parents house today.
George is now Zainuddin Abdullah. He happened to called me yesterday and is currently working is Bahrain while the family live in Kelana Jaya, Selangor.
I mentioned about him in this earlier posting: Sesetengahnya Ada Yang Sudah Tukar Nama
Our class photo can be viewed here.