Cultural identity in the classroom

Azmyl Yunor

Class is in session at a Selangor secondary school, with measures against Covid-19 in place. For many, school is where they have their first encounter with segregation. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, July 31, 2020.

MY first brush with segregation was when I was a pupil. I attended a public school in Kuala Lumpur (a big shout-out to SK Jalan Gurney alumni!) until my parents enrolled me in a private institution due to complications arising from the need to travel abroad during their sabbatical.

Reluctantly, I went along with the sudden decision (what could a kid do?). I left my friends, and had to travel far by van to my new school in the depths of Cheras from downtown KL (it was the late 1980s). I was forced to part ways with a classmate I had a crush on – never verbally expressed, only giggles and mutual glances – which was what upset me the most, honestly (there was no social media then to “follow” her).

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