Donkey years ago, while I was back in school doing my O levels, there was one part of the examinations where you were tested on your ability to speak. You were given a picture, describe it and then later you’ll be given a set of open questions where you are required to talk as fluidly as possible.
I still remember the advice that Ms Gopal, our english and literature teacher dispensed to us, the class of 4E6 :
Class! During your orals, talk as much as you can! Try not to let them prompt you because that means that you don’t have much to say!
And being the art class, as opposed to the pure science students, we were considered, and even expected to be talkative. Many of my classmates would be going about confidently. Talking? It will be easy! All you have to do is just to talk whatever bullshit that you want.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of these talkative people. Instead, I took a back seat and would just rather listen and process the information.
When the day of judgement arrived, I tried to find all the courage that I could.
It didn’t start off well. The man who was invigilating me looked bored. He never smiled and looked stern. Already, I was feeling uncomfortable. I sat down and gave a nervous smile.
Please begin, he said listlessly.
I was freaking out. What am I supposed to say? Oh gosh, I feel so nervous! My mind is blank right now! I could not bear to look at his bored face, so I looked down in desperation.
And I saw that the invigilator had his shoe out and was dangling it around in boredom and that freaked me out even more. Am I so boring?!
When it all ended, I knew that I did extremely bad in my oral examination. A gargantuan feeling of upset was palpitating inside me and I rushed off to the empty guides room and cried my eyes out.
Now, donkey years later, I still get that feeling sometimes when I meet new people. Although of course, being much older, the years has made me grow better defences. Nevertheless, I still feel stunned when I meet people who gives that look. That is where I start to become mechanical.
I guess there are people who can’t help their body languages but I just don’t feel comfortable. I don’t feel like I can express myself well and give my opinion freely without feeling judged.
It makes me miss the chitchat sessions that I have with my good friends. Even if we have differing opinions, and not share the same thoughts, at the end of the day, we are still love each other.
Maybe I am thinking too deeply into this and I’ll just try to take each experience as a learning experience.
In any case, back to when I was a teenager, months after the oral examination, the results were out in the notice board. I looked at it nervously, fearing for all the worst. And I tentatively looked at the grade beside my name.