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It was just the beginning of my secondary school life. I was just a snotty-nosed primary six student, stepping into a whole new daunting world. The first thing that struck me was how much bigger my new secondary school was. Standing in front of the massive, imposing founder’s statue at the entrance, I didn’t know where to go. And then there was a scary sea of humans all gathered in the canteen willy-nilly which further led to my confusion.

At the beginning of my first year, I was very introverted. Being an only child, I was socially awkward and did not have many friends. I wasn’t on track at all. I was just worrying about being cool and hanging out with my friends. I was trying to break out of my shell. Not knowing that those little things were going to affect me throughout secondary school life.

Growing up I didn’t have a role model, or someone to look up to. Mostly everyone in my family didn’t even have a secondary school certificate or even attempted to pass their secondary four examination. This was because both my parents started work when they were in primary school as they came from impoverished backgrounds. Even my grandparents who were immigrants from the Indian continent did not have the financial means to attend school.

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I remember one day, in secondary one, I had come home from school. I just learned something new in maths that day. The teacher gave us homework, and it was so hard at the time, and I didn’t understand it. So I decided to go home and ask for help. When I got home, I sat down and called my mom over to help me. She came but didn’t even attempt to help me. All she told me was to go ask my dad, so I did. Went to him, and he told me to ask my sister. Each time I asked for help, they would send me off to someone else. After ten minutes of that, I got frustrated, and so I decided to go next door to my best friend’s house, and just do my homework with her.

Besides my best friend, I didn’t have any motivation in my life. I wanted to cast a spell over the rest of the cohort who had joined the school at the same time as me.

Maybe one or two of my older friends, who were already in secondary school, only told me not to play the fool in secondary three, or it would mess me up throughout secondary school. They never told me about the expectations, they never told me about a lot of things. And they were considered the shining stars at the level. Knowing myself, and knowing how unmotivated I was, I decided to join an extra-curricular activity after school hours.

One fine afternoon, I went to a school band meeting to pick out our instruments. I immediately was drawn towards the saxophone, probably because it was so weird-looking, and my dad suggested that I play it. Later, I met my new band teacher, Mr. David Tan, and it turned out that he had played the saxophone in secondary school and college. My parents bought me the instrument that night and I brought it home hastily and opened the case straight away. I was so excited to play it, but with my inexperience, I didn’t even know how to hold it properly. I tried practicing it a couple of times but the only sound that came out was discordant squeaks and tuneless noises. Finally, school started and on Thursdays, I rushed to the band room. Eventually, I started joining their weekly band practices

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