PFS - Penang's Failure School?
Our dear ruler, why bother planting a tree? Why not do something more meaningful for the school? To bring back the school glory worthy of your name on the plaque?
The canteen now has two chinese food stalls, out of probably ten or twelve. You know why? Because the number of chinese students enrolling in the school has dwindled down to two figures per year (according to a reliable source). There simply is no demand for chinese food anymore. Wait... you know what? This isn't about the food. This is about how easy it is to enter this "premier school", once held in the highest regard. Back in the 1993, it was already clear to me that the entry requirements have been lobsided. Ask any Chinese school boy my age then, and they will tell you that full A's is the way to enter PFS. Although your chances of entering with one B on the report card is still fairly good. But anything below that wouldn't be accepted. My classmate... had only 2 A's... some only 1 A. But they get hostel lodging on top of an offer letter.
The canteen may now feature television sets (showing Discovery Channel), and increased seating areas but the school is suffering from humiliating results. The school website boasts of 100% passes for PMR (Secondary 3 examinations), when it should be reading "Top 10 Best Results in Malaysia". The halls are now echoed with a foul reputation of the school. Penang kids these days don't aspire to be a Free anymore... looking at the school as a has-been institution... a reputation of being mediocre, over glorified past. I'm afraid if the academic landslide continues, Penang Free School will be nothing more than a name in the minds of the coming generations. It might as well be ABC or XYZ School. There will be no reason to be selective of who it enters into the school anymore. The title of the first school in South East Asia might be it's only consolation. The first, simply doesn't equate the best...
Tha pavillion where students and spectators cheered on the revered sports teams. How many school have a field the size of this and a pavillion to boot? Please don't misunderstand my intentions, I am not a racist. But after 50 years of independence and calling out 'Merdeka', isn't it time all the races played fair? I don't care if the ruling party is blue, green, purple, Malay, Chinese or Indian... but at least after 50 years, isn't it time we understood schools as pillars to the education of the nation has the right to fair entry? How about entry to Penang Free School purely based on results instead of racial quota? Or preferential treatment? Yes, I am all for helping the poor, the needy and the stupid... but there are plenty of just ways to do it.
This is the kind of thing you get from windows today. This photo was taken of a window in front of the school library. An intelligent calling... Ironically, the name "Free" in Penang Free School was coined from the idea by the British to liberate the young from socio-economic stereotypes. Right now, they might want to add an asterisk and a disclaimer, like this "Penang Free* School".
* Terms and Conditions Apply.
While our past teachers may have complained of peeling paint and chalk dust on the decades old building, today the school has to battle with graffitis like this. A sign of civilization and utter intellect, this. Photo taken from a wall on the underused Computer & Engineering Building of Penang Free School.
One dollar for guessing what's the native language of this graffiti artist...