Kindergarten was a very rich experience. I was in NUS Faculty Club Childcare Centre, 9-5, where there were 3 playgrounds and daily afternoon naps and showers and Friday morning workouts and lots of cute creative exercises like lying on the grass and drawing the clouds.
My kindergarten experience was pretty political. There was this pretty girl, Connie, and everyone flocked to her. She was the leader of the pack of all the girls in the class - except for two girls who were "different": a dark-skinnned girl called Joan and a girl with glasses called Rachel Ho. I liked Joan and Rachel Ho, and I'd play with them until Connie came, and out of fear I'd say "I'll play with you later okay" and join the rest of the girls. Connie had a best friend, Rachel Ng, and the two of them would shun the 'outcasts' together.
There was always a proper way to do things: once when we all made noodles together and had to set the table we argued about which side the chopsticks should be on. Rachel Ng and I were on opposite sides of the table and we hadn't yet understood the concept that my right would seem to her like her left. As we laid it out they were chanting "single, double, triple, fourple..." and I was like LOL IT'S NOT FOURPLE but I didn't know what the correct term was. Once Connie tied the ribbon on the back of her dress all on her own, without looking, as all of us watched in admiration. And when we were drawing the clouds, I drew an elaborate one that looked like the face of a girl, and Rachel Ng sneered and went "Clouds don't look like that."
One day, Connie didn't come to school, and all of a sudden everyone was playing with everyone. I found this weird. I went up to Rachel Ng and said "I thought you didn't like Joan and Rachel Ho?" And she was like, "It's okay lah, Connie's not here today, she won't know."
At the end of our school year I made an autograph book, and I had instructed everyone to find their names in the book and put a little photo / write a message there. And Connie, Rachel Ng etc. found the page with Joan's name on it, coloured it wild with crayons as they laughed, drew a stick figure with a speech bubble that said "wo hen xiao" i.e. "i'm very crazy".
I feel bad about portraying Rachel Ng this way. She wasn't mean or anything. She had a very pretty smile and laughed a lot.
Just my kindergarten experience. I'm sure they're all lovely people now. My best friend in kindergarten was a French girl called Lydia, who returned to France in our second year. I also remember Rachel Ng biting into sugarcane and having her two front teeth fall out. I remember telling Benjamin(?? I don't think that's his real name, but he reminds me of my P1 friend Benjamin) that my dress had "spaghetti straps" and he said "Mm, can I eat them?" and I somehow found it very funny and flattering. And playing Street Fighters with Koh Ti Kiat as we sat cross-legged at the door waiting for our parents to pick us up.
And of course, that one time in Chinese class where our incredibly scary Chinese teacher asked if it was the 7th or 8th day of the month, and the class was divided in responses - "七!" "八!", and the guy next to me (Benjamin??) said "七七八八" (qiqi baba, a phrase to mean "chaotic / all over the place" which was very apt lol) and I repeated it louder: "hahaha, 七七八八". And then the Chinese teacher stopped and hollered: "什么七七八八?!" and I was like, shit. She made me stand in the corner behind the computer monitors as punishment, and I remember trying to hold back my tears.
Anyways, kindergarten was a great experience. I loved the playgrounds. I'm glad I had such a rich experience that taught me so much. Now primary school was also an incredible experience, and it'd take too long to write out.