Pianos and Rulers

As a kid, I took piano lessons. Actually, my mum coerced Muks (my sis) and I into going through these diabolical torture sessions. She practically had to drag us kicking and screaming to lessons every Saturday afternoon at Yamaha Music School.

Every single day was torture. She would force me to sit at the piano and practice for an hour. One whole hour, when I would much rather be running around outside playing with my friends, seemed an eternity.

Due to my extreme dislike and lack of enthusiasm for the discipline, I switched piano teachers frequently – more often than Uncle Michael* changes underpants. I reckon that my piano teachers make up the bulk of permanent residents at Tanjung Rambutan these days.

There were some memorable characters, though.

I remember Miss Knuckles. She had the worst case of halitosis I have ever come across in a person, living or dead. Ever. One whiff of her foul exhalation will put a rhinocerous, grazing peacefully on succulent, dew-moistened grass in the plains of far-away Africa, to sleep. Even komodo dragons would hold up their white underwear on wooden sticks, and wave them in the air. She is the sole reason why I am able to hold my breath for 2 whole minutes.

Miss Knuckles had this wooden ruler, which she loved to use by rapping my knuckles when my wrist and finger positions are not perfect. *Thock!* Such torture for a kid at the tender age of nine. Tsk, tsk.

Then, there’s Mr Quek. He was lenient, patient and kind. He lets me choose the pieces I wanted to learn. My love for music grew from watching Mr Quek – as he played his favourite pieces on the piano – swaying from side to side, his eyes closed, savouring the sounds from the perfectly tuned piano.

I wanted to play like him.

Unfortunately, he moved to another town, a few months later. Muks and I were devastated. I think Muks had a crush on him. Heh.

I have never responded well to a totalitarian regime. The more you force me to do something, the more I would react. Rigid rules and strict protocols make me uncomfortable.

Maybe that’s why my parent’s loved my sister more when we were kids. She was the obedient and compliant one (think, passive peasant). I was the one getting his ass whooped all the time.

I remember an episode where my mum chased me around the dinner table with a humongous ruler – the type tailors use to measure cloth. She screamed at me to stop running.

Are you kidding me? Me not stupid. How can I stop when you are running after me with that huge instrument of pain? No *beep* way, man.

She finally caught me – after 15 minutes. And she really whooped my ass. My ass broke. The ruler broke. My mum’s temper broke too. The fact that her beloved ruler broke drove her nuts. She started spanking me with her bare hands. Nearly killed me. I think my mum’s hand was sore for a few days after that.

In case you were wondering, there is no point to this post.

Just like a blunt pencil. And, my sight reading sucks.

*Uncle Michael changes his underwear 4 times a day. That’s a fact.


14 Responses

  1. ruler is nothing la. try clothes hanger next time.

    of course the classic would still be the evil rotan! 😛

    anttyk: The ruler was 3 feet long, and made of really hard plastic. You don’t know the meaning of pain till you’ve tasted it.

  2. i was well acquainted with the rottan. once, i tried not to cry when kena punished. so a stumped mum, whacked harder and faster. damn stupid idea.

    anttyk: Haha, I can imagine.

  3. at least u weren’t tied to a mangoe tree and whipped with a water hose.

    anttyk: Wahlau. And you survived? Must be your tough dwarf genes. 😛

  4. Next you’ll be telling us you take up ballet as a kid.

    I can relate to water hose. Sakit siut.

    anttyk: Haha. Ballet lessons were not available in Tawau when I was a kid. Wah Lils, you also kena tie up at a mango tree and whipped with a water hose ah? What did you do?

  5. Mine was rotan, 3 rotans used continuous..after each broken. Thinking of it.. i kinda miss my mom rotaning me… the feeling was damn cool man..

    Liverpool Rules….

    anttyk: How come your sis did not tell me about it, one?

  6. I was not a passive peasant. I simply mastered the art of subtlety early in life, barbarian.

    anttyk: Cheh! I do not resort to underhanded tactics. Pffbbrrttt! 😛

  7. oh my lord, this actually brought back hideous memories of forced-up-my-throat piano lessons I used to have.

    hahaha, its cute though. I laughed when you mentioned ‘passive peasant’… LOL

    anttyk: The thing is when we were kids, we did not appreciate the stuff our parents provided – piano lessons, tuition, etc. Now that we are older (hopefully wiser), we begin to appreciate all these things, and the ‘suffering’ we went through as kids.

  8. me tyrant… ask sis she will tell u how often i kena rotan from me mom.

    anttyk: Okie.

  9. hah. welcome to the club lily. i snuck off to this river near my house, to bathe & catch cat fish. it was during the monsoon.

    i understand now why my mum was so pissed. :p

    anttyk: Catching catfish? With your bare hands?

  10. Miss Knuckles sounds familiar. Unmarried, no chin and neck, laughs like a hyena and her surname is C***???

    Anyway, my piano teacher used to put five stones (not literally stones-rocks-pebbles but the game li’l girls used to play) on my hand so that my fingers are upstraight and not slouchy-lazy.

    anttyk: Yeah, I kena that before too. At least you didn’t get knuckles rapped. But the pebbles make it quite hard to play though. Try playing staccatos and you’ll know.

  11. I was whacked cause i ponteng mengaji and went to climb a tree instead.

    anttyk: Haha.

  12. I had a teacher who kicked my leg when I don’t play well. And my mother would beat me when I don’t practise. After all the trouble, I still cannot play a single song properly.. hehehe.

    anttyk: Wah… You passed Grade 8 and still can’t play? What about your exam pieces?

  13. Cheers Miss YK…. me too, after all the kicking, shouting, forcing me to practice for hours, me too cannot play a sing song well…

    And my piano is left at home rotting.. it has wood worm in growing in it.

    anttyk: Yuck man. I think I’ll get a Clavinova for my house… 🙂

  14. I’m getting a Petrof for my Condo. Actually already have a Petrof but its in Negeri Sembilan now at Ivy’s house. Need to ship it over when i am free. Clavinova? hmmm….good idea also…. Saw the UEFA Cup draw yesterday for knock out stage… Real Madrid playing Bayern Munchen… 🙂

    anttyk: Petrov damn expensive wor…

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