Where do I begin…

When did it all start? I remember when I was in Form 6 in 1971 in a school here, I was in the Editorial Board and we had to work on it on our own to produce the annual magazine or year book. None of the so-called teacher-advisors ever dropped by to see if everything was going well. Later in 1974 and 1975, I was a temporary teacher at St Patrick’s in Kuching, a private school run by the De La Salle Brothers and I was put in charge…

School mag 1

Later when I was sent to the secondary school in Kanowit, a small town upriver – my first posting, I had to be in charge as well – 1978 to 1982. Then I moved to a school in Sibu and thankfully, they already had their own people to run the show, so I was spared.

I shifted to another school, also in Sibu town, in December 1991…and stayed there till I retired in 2007. The lady in charge was transferred and in 1994, I had to take over the editorial board – without a single sen to its name and no files, no records, no accounts…nothing! I will not delve into the stories behind the massive mess at the time, but I just had to start from scratch at the time.

Computers in those days were few and far between and not as sophisticated…so the covers of the school magazines had to be prepared manually. One of the students drew the World Cup-inspired cover on the right…and I personally cut ALL the photographs to create the tapestry for the 1994 cover on the left – my first ever in that school.

School mag 2

Later, computers came into the scene and we were able to produce more impressive covers like this one, for instance…

School mag 3

In 1994, the students were asked to pay RM3.00 for a copy and considering that printing cost around that time was in the region of RM6.00, the board had to work extra hard to collect advertisements to subsidise the extra. It was not easy then as many people were not to willing to chip in as it was notoriously reputed to be a “phai kia” school – the school of gangsters. Later, they raised it to RM5.00 which made it a lot easier for us…and then to RM8.00; I don’t know how much they’re paying now – RM10.00 or more perhaps.

Other than the financial burden, editing was a pain. We wanted somebody in the printing firm to type everything, so that there would be some kind of consistency in the formatting, the fonts used, the layout and so on, thus making the mag more presentable. Some schools ask the students to prepare their own page – their class or club or whatever…and the board will just put everything together, warts and all. I find the end product very messy – like “rojak“…and the errors are more often than not – NOT corrected.

I have mentioned the problem I had with the typists in this earlier post. The drafts would come back with errors in every other word and after careful editing, we would return them to be corrected. It did not matter so much that they missed out some – considering that there were SO many – but they ended up making MORE errors, those that were correct initially. The members of the editorial board – the students, also vary from year to year. Some were good and dedicated, others would disappear the moment your back was turned. Tsk! Tsk!

Hence, we had errors like this one that managed to slip through the editing…

School mag 4

…and thankfully, they managed to get the next word correct in the end. On the next page, for another class, it had been typed as “Lowwr”…but the rest were o.k. Gee! Didn’t they have copy and paste then?

However, I have to be fair to the typists and mention specifically here that NOT all of them are like that. In my later years as the teacher-advisor, I found one middle-aged Chinese lady who was very good. She was able to type everything with very minimal errors, so I would insist upon having her to type my magazine every year. The manageress of the company – a frail, soft-spoken and gentle lady – would make sure that she stopped whatever she was doing and started typing ours. It certainly paid to be a regular customer – from 1994 to 2006, over 10 years…and I was a good paymaster – cash on delivery, no less! As a matter of fact, the manageress herself would help with the editing and she was really very good, probably the result of her years and years of experience. She was able to spot those elusive errors that all of us had missed.

So our school magazine was the envy of all at the time. The principals and teachers of other schools complained that they went to the same printer and paid just as much, if not more…and yet their own school mags would pale in comparison. I have retired for some two years now and sometimes, I wonder how they are doing these days…

And to the blogger who posted this not-very-nice comment the other day,
“i m not a good grammarian too, but i worked in printing companies (many companies) before and they do not do re-type without proof read. i m sure ‘lover sex’ that part is made up by you.. for the sake of looking down on illiterates hehe~”
the 4th picture in this post says it all. It certainly was NOT a made-up tale and I would think that as a responsible blogger, you should show some respect to your fellow-bloggers and yourself when commenting in their blogs, and should have the dignity and decency to apologise for any baseless sweeping remark on your part. For that, I thank you in hopeful anticipation…

Have a Holy and Blessed Sunday, everyone…