Thursday, 12 September 2019

A story about monkeys, snakes, squirrels and students

One of my English class got disrupted today as they had a special talk for all female students (regarding the incident I shared previously). So I decided to abandon my lesson since more than half of the students weren't in the class.

I took this opportunity to talk to a boy who....caught a baby monkey in school the other day, just so I could try to understand things from his point of view.

(A little more context: this boy is infamous in school for his...interesting antics towards animals. He was infamous for catching a snake and petting it in class last year. And an owl. And a squirrel.

PS our school is located next to a jungle and oil palm plantation so snakes and monkeys sightings are pretty common. One made its way into my collab, Sophie's car last year and up till now we do not know what happened)

Anyway, after talking to him for a while I uncovered many interesting facts about him. Here are a few:
1. His main motivation to catch animals is just to sayang (pet) them. He enjoys petting squirrels the most.
2. He 'improved' a lot compared to last year. He caught the baby monkey by scaring the mama away and picked up the baby monkey left behind. He confessed that last year he actually dug a pit and created a booby trap IN SCHOOL to catch monkeys...(he successfully caught one, in case you're wondering)
3. Somewhere in April this year, he caught a baby cobra and smuggled it into class...AND IT WAS IN MY CLASS. HE KEPT THE SNAKE IN A RECYCLED BAG. IN HIS DRAWER IN CLASS. HE SAID I NEARLY BLEW HIS COVER. (This boy has a history of eating in class so I always check his drawer if he is hiding food...). WELL I'M GLAD I DID NOT UNCOVER IT.
4. And also he brought squirrels into class too. Hid in the same way as 3.

Despite his love of animal, he killed a few snakes in school before. He was telling me the breeds of  snakes he saw in school in mandarin and I was googling it on my phone, showing him pictures of the snakes just to be sure. This drew the attention of four other Indian and Malay boys, and they dragged their chairs and sat around me.

This particular class, their proficiency in English is rather weak so I often use Malay + Mandarin in class. And those four boys that were allured by the photos + this particular animal fanboy, they are my weakest students in this class, and also the most disruptive students. Animal fanboy's grasp in both English and Malay language is really weak so he often converse with me in mandarin. The two Indian boys too, I had a hard time communicating because of their weak grasp in English (and I can't speak Tamil). It was odd for them to be sitting around me, staring at my phone with utmost attention.

We were looking at photos of green snakes. And I thought what happened next was rather...cute.

Animal fanboy: 啊老师!我在学校杀过这种蛇!! (Teacher I killed these kind of snakes before in school!) *points at photo excitedly*
Indian boy: AHHHH SAYA INGAT!! KAMU BUNUH ULAR TU (Ah I remembered! He killed that snake!) *beckoned to Animal Fanboy*

(At this point I was a little perplexed, seeing how the boys' conversations are linked despite conversing in different languages)

Me: o_O Bunuh guna aper? (What did you use to kill it?!!)
Indain boy: Dia guna benda yang tajam tu (He used something sharp!) *gestured a long object*
Me: O_o parang ke?????!! Mana boleh bawa parang ke sekolah?!! (A knife? You can't bring a knife to school!)
Animal fanboy: 我用锄头!(I used a hoe!) *gestured the movement of using a hoe*
Malay boy: OHHHH CANGKUL! (Ohhh! A hoe)

I found it really cute, how the topic of snakes brought everyone together. Interaction between races is rare in this class, because of the language barrier. So it was just heartwarming to see them interacting among each other over a common topic they were interested in. (Even though I am quite sad that it is about the snake getting killed...).

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