My Old School

I’m not sure how many of you here are new readers, but let’s just say you all are new. A bit of personal backstory again (lol since this is a blog and I’ve probably written this a dozen times), I am a full-blood* Filipino and a Filipino in citizenship. If you’re not from the Philippines you’d think it’d be strange if someone tells you that having those two traits is a curse. Well, it kinda is. I say kinda only because there are Filipinos that are proud to be Filipinos or Pinoy as they call themselves. I am not that, in fact, I don’t know what I am.

I do love my country, but I hate the people that run it. I do love my friends (who are incidentally mostly half-bloods) but I hate a lot of the locals. I consider most of the local popular culture jologs (dirty, cheap, corny) so I stay away from it.

My professors would tell me that I’m a total prick for labeling things that are an essential part of the Pinoy identity. But I’m not Pinoy. I don’t keep smiling when hardships come. I don’t commit to Bahala na si Batman (which is kinda the equivalent of que sera sera). I don’t find Piolo Pascual and Marian Rivera attractive. I don’t use colloquial slang because it feels like I gargled mouthwash that’s made of acid.

Now you’re wondering, “Where the hell is he going with this? I thought this was about his old school!” We’re getting to that part. Be patient, young grasshopper. Below is a new video that ACS Cobham uploaded to YouTube showing the campus.

That’s my old school. The White House was where I first got my taste of real quality education. It housed us Kindergarten kids until we got to 1st grade in the brown buildings you saw in the video.

The White House now known as Heywood House

Now why the strong negative emotions towards Filipino culture and whatnot? Culture shock. At ACS, we were taught at a very early age that being different was normal. We had different skin colours, accents, languages, religions, and even food. The kids who were left out were the normal white kids. Talk about irony.

We knew we were all different, but we were kids so we didn’t give a shit. We’d sing songs, hold hands, throw toys, build toys, run around etc. because having fun was more interesting than looking at each other’s differences. I had so much fun learning while just being myself. Being different. I loved it. Then my father made a stupid life choice.

The culture shock I got from Filipinos when we returned was immense. I hated every local to their core until I reached uni. I brought my idea of being different was normal and severely paid the price. The normal I saw was conformity. Everyone acted the same, looked the same, thought the same, believed in the same religion, ate the same food, and I was the precious little blue flower in the garden of weeds.

I studied first at OB Montessori. I thought I was in a zoo. I literally thought I was because I’ve never seen that tone of skin colour. I’ve had African classmates and teachers back in ACS, but I never saw a dark-skinned Austronesian. In fact, I never saw a dark-skinned Asian. Which is why I thought that I was Chinese and that the Philippines was a province of China (but that’s for another blog post.)

Now the racist thought of being in a zoo was spawned from mistreatment not only from my classmates but also from my teachers and the staff. They hated that I was so outgoing, so disconnected from the system, a loose cannon in their highly militarised institution of good students. I transferred schools until I ended up in a homeschooling program.**

HSP was where I finally felt I was among people who understood what it meant to be different from the flock, to be a wolf in field complying sheep. Unfortunately, wolves are threats to sheep so we huddle as a pack to protect each other. Then uni snapped me out of it. I’m not a wolf. I’m a human being.

ACS wasn’t just an international school whose facilities were amazing. It creates beautiful human beings, sometimes too beautiful that people get scared. I don’t know what I am but somewhere along the way maybe the beautiful child from my past can show me. Maybe.

*There’s no such thing as a pure-blood Filipino. What I meant by full-blood was the typical Chinese-Spanish-Filipino blood.
**It was called HSP but we still reported to a school to take tests.

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