Sunday, 30 March 2008

When 'Madame Q' Speaks, You Listen...



Ms Pushpa and me, having tea together...





There is one teacher of mine whom I have always admired, and am very fond of. Her name is Ms Pushpa, and I have made references to her before in this blog. I have known her for the past 9 years, ever since I was a wee 13 year-old.


Behind Ms Pushpa’s back, a few students refered to her as Madame Q (MQ). It was a portmanteau of the names ‘M’ (the head of operations in the famed James Bond series), and of 'Q' (the ‘product specialist’ of the same series). Students often nickname their teachers, sometimes facetiously, but never in Ms Pushpa’s case…



Ms Pushpa said many things which I will always remember…




1) Of Treating People


Treat people like you would want your mother to be treated. Because every person you meet, whether he sweeps the road, or collects rubbish from the street, is someone’s mother. He or she may be only a rubbish collector to you, but he or she is a daughter, father, son, sister, wife, friend, husband to someone




2) Of Words


For a whole year, Ms Pushpa called me and my friends ‘names’ in class. I myself have been called everything from ‘pathetic’, ‘idiotic’, ‘weird’ to ‘individualistic’. Phrases like ‘never used brains’, ‘no brains’, ‘stoned’ and ‘cat got your tongue’ too has been made in reference to me…=)


It was only after one year that Ms Pushpa stopped calling us names, and one day she asked us if we knew why. We said no.


She said “Because you have all learned and you have all grown up. You have learned that no matter what someone else calls you, it doesn’t make you any less of the person that you are. Words can hurt, but at the end of the day, they’re just words”…




3) Of Being Damsels in Distress


Ms Pushpa was always known for her wit and sarcasm, and most pupils (except her Literature students who adored her) stayed far away from her.

One day, over lunch, she remarked (in response to one friend’s lament about her pancit’ed tyre): “Hello? I know you all very strong advocates of girl power and all. But next time your tyre goes flat, do yourself a favour and stand by the roadside and look pathetic. Somebody will change your tyre for you. Men can’t resist playing hero. You know that no matter what, you will eventually need help with the tyre anyway, so why get dirty in the first place? Just look pathetic, something you’ve all mastered to perfection anyway”.


She laughed, and we all did too...Lesson learnt!




4) Of Domestic Help


Ms Pushpa always maintained that maids and domestic help are there for one reason: They are there to help.


Help, mind you. They are not there to do everything. Some of you are rich brats. Don’t think that makes you above menial work. Next time you see your maid doing the dishes, help her. She is there to lighten your work, not make you lazy bums. In future, when you have your own house, remember that a maid is there to help, not take over. Because if she then takes over your husband, don’t complain. You made it happen. She does everything that will otherwise help you build a relationship with your husband. So, why not sleep with him too?




5) Of Falling In Love


Ms Pushpa said: “Falling in love doesn’t mean losing yourself. If any of you come and tell me you’d kill yourself over love and that your boyfriend’s life is more important than yours, than I’d tell you to go fly a kite. Being in love is never about losing yourself. It is for you to grow”.




6) Of Position in Life


You are not below washing toilets”.

Enough said…




7) Of Life


Macbeth said:

Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing
." — Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 23-27)


That’s life. It is short. What you make of it is yours to decide. But in the final analysis, all the ‘sound and fury’ (bombastic stuff) don’t mean anything”, Ms Pushpa said.




8) Of Happiness


You don’t need to justify your happiness. A truly happy person never says ‘I am happy because…’. If you’re happy, you don’t owe anyone an explanation”.


Another gem from Ms Pushpa!



Whatever it is, Ms Pushpa goes down as one teacher I know who really did just that: She really taught...


39 comments:

WP said...

Haha, I like that one about damsels in distress. I agree, these are really some gems!

Daphne Ling said...

Hey WP,

Hallo...Long time no see...=)

You know, I never thought Ms Pushpa will come up with stuff like that...Gems alright!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dik..

No.3 is the best ...and I've done it :)though I've changed tyres before. Reason? I didn't want to dirty my PEACH-COLOUR skirts..he..he..

ST

tsuey xin said...

hey there =) this is my first time reading your blog.

i'm very...say, impressed? yes, impressed and amazed are the words. impressed with what you're doing, and amazed with the guts you have.

i admire the heart and faith you have for others. you've inspired me to be more like you =)

Wan Ying said...

Daphne, very nice!! All of them, I especially like the one on "words" *blink blink*

Akmal said...

Daphne,
Those are not the typical lessons you can find in every colleges or schools. No wonder you are admiring her :)
.......to bad, I can't be a damsel hahaha.

Zawi said...

Daphne,
How many Ms Pushpa can you find nowadays? Now I am beginning to miss my old teachers.

J.T. said...

Hi Daphne

Ms Pushpa is a rare teacher. We can be considered lucky if we ever find at least one teacher in our lifetime who imparts wisdom and lessons of life. Not everything should be about books and exams.

mott said...

HA HA HA!!

I like No.6, I'm always cleaning toilets..and will be star cleaner at McD's ... if I ever worked there!

HA HA HA!!!!!

Thanks for sharing. I too had a Lit teacher who was witty n sarcastic!

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

hehehehe...real clever la Ms Pushpa. and everybody seems to be laughing on the 3rd one especially.

but my M is my heroin. she puts on the 'wheels' everytime i need to to get out of the car...hehehe..

Raden Galoh said...

Wow! You've heardthe gem of life la sis.. You've gotten one helluva of a teacher, a guide and a facilitator there, you see...

I bet her words will be remembered for a lifetime...

Cheers!

Faridah Khan said...

Hey Daphne, looks like you have put a lotof what Ms Pushpa has taught you to practise. I am sure she is proud of you. I am too!

jimi said...

Bestnya Ms Pushpa ni. Memang, kita mesti ada seseorang yang kita anggap sebagai "someone that we can look up too". Surely, she is a great person.

Wai Wai said...

Special people placed permanent footprints in our life, let's leave some footprints while we are still alive.... you already did... in your little ways....

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Kak ST,

Haha...Change tyre in skirt ah? When I was learning to drive, I learnt how to change a tyre, but it was so darn tight, I needed my instructor to loosen it first before I could do anything...

Hehe...

So yeah lar, play damsel-in-distress lar ;)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Tsuey Xin,

Hey! Thanks for coming by and leaving me a note...

Yes, I have faith in people...=) So it's good to know I have someone to share it with...

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Wan Ying,

Awww...Why lar? Don't *blink blink*...

But yes, it's true...Words do, they hurt a lot, but it doesn't make us any less of a person, whatever people say about us...

One very important lesson Ms Pushpa taught us...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Akmal,

Hah...You have to play hero lar...Give chance, you tak nak ke? ;)

But yeah, these lessons Ms Pushpa taught us are invaluable, and you don't get them from school or colleges often...

But education is not all about books and A's right? Another thing I learnt from Ms Pushpa!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Pak Zawi,

I know what you mean about 'old' teachers...These are people who really wanted to be teachers, and who really pour their heart and soul into teaching...

I have quite a few of those teachers, but Ms Pushpa stands out clearly...She always will =)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi JT,

"Ms Pushpa is a rare teacher. We can be considered lucky if we ever find at least one teacher in our lifetime who imparts wisdom and lessons of life. Not everything should be about books and exams."

Hear, hear!

I agree with everything you just said...

Like I always say, I am lucky...I get to 'experience' what others don't...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Mott,

Ah...How is the lil fella? Got name anot ah ;)?

Star cleaner huh? I'm forever cleaning toilets also...Maybe we start a business! Haha...

As for literature teachers, if they're not sarcastic and witty, no fun lar...

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Kerp,

Eh...M is already taken...You find another nick for Pinky...Haha...

We all weren't sure whether Ms Pushpa was joking or not when she said that, but when we saw her eyes twitch, we knew she was being naughty...

Hehe...

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Aunty Dalilah,

Yes, Ms Pushpa is more than just a teacher...She is a mentor, she is an inspiration and she is a friend...

I never thought I would say this, and if you had suggested I would talk about Ms Pushpa like this when I was 13, I would have told you that you were mad...

Cos I used to run whenever I see her...Seriously...=)

Terrified of her, you know?

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Faridah,

Awww...You're really so sweet...Thanks *Blush*

Well, if I ever make Ms Pushpa proud, that would mean a lot to me...Really, it would...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Jimi,

You know, you're an inspiration to your parents too...I can see just by reading your blog =)

And yes, we all need someone we can look up to in our life...That's how we learn...

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Elaine (Wai Wai),

Awww...You're another sweet one...=)

You're right about leaving footprints in other people's lives, just like they leave footprints in ours...

Salt & Turmeric said...

Iv had 1 tyre problem before back in KL and i just called my friends to come and help me.

Abt toilet cleaning, 5yrs in boarding school enuf lah cuci all those toilets. :P

Nightwing said...

Hi there,

She is one good teacher. And it is good to know u remember her words.

I agree with the maid thingy and also the toilet thing....:)

Thanks for sharing.

Oh ya...have posted a new clip in my blog.

sharlydia said...

I was smiling to myself when i read thru this post...Whatever Madame Q said, they are SO TRUE!

MrsNordin said...

Hi Daphne,

Your Ms Pushpa is one heck of a lady! Full of wisdom, which we all could use in our daily life.

I agree with her about maids. They are there to help, not to do everything for us. This, I have instilled in my stepchildren time and again.

When I first got married, the kids refused to do any housework. Everything ~ the maid. I was so cheesed off becoz I wanted them to have some shared responsibility coz you don't live with your parents forever, right? When you go away, you still need to know how to do the basic stuff like make up your own bed, wash plates, wash your own clothes etc. right?

After a while (and after much screaming!), I can see some improvement in them now. They help with the dishes and stuff like that, for which I'm very glad...

I hope you are still in touch with your teacher. Always remember her, even when you are older, coz she'd like to see how well you do in life and what nice family you'll have later.

This posting reminds me of my primary school English teacher, Ms Tai, who's now 72 years old, whom I still keep in touch with and she never fail to come to our house every hari raya in Ipoh.

Have a nice day, Daphne & take care! (sorry I took a lot of space here..)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Salt & Turmeric,

La, Kak Farina, apasai canggih the nama? Hehe...

As for washing toilets and all, it can kinda therapuetic also ler...I memang every time balik rumah, will sream and bising that my brother doesn't wash the toilet, but then once I get started, I will be happily singing or humming away...Haha!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi NightWing,

Yeap, she is a great teacher! And it is hard to not remember her words when they're such powerful ones...=)

Hang on, will drop by your blog soon...But no promises about watching the clip though...I have a problem loading videos here =(

Thanks for the tip though!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Sharlydia,

Great to know you were smiling reading this...

Not only are what she says true, but they also are very meaningful...You don't realise how much you have to learn till you sit through her classes, man...Seriously...

Daphne Ling said...

Hi MrsNordin,

Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment...

So you agree with the housework! So do my parents lar...=)

I am glad for it though...I see alot of my friends who are so proud to tell the entire world how they don't know how to use a kettle! And I am like, eh?!?!?

I still keep in touch with Ms Pushpa, so much so that day, my friend and I called her one night and asked her is she wanted to join us for coffee, and she replied: "Let me guess, you're somewhere near my place and decided to try your luck? Couldn't ask earlier when I hadn't made plans, is it?"

Haha! She even knew we didn't plan ahead! =)

PS: No worries about long comments...It's free! Hehe...

June Ting said...

*points finger* Ah, you. Just discovered your blog today and the first post I saw brings me back to 5 years ago. Wait, make that 8. That's when I went for that debate practice thing. Omg, 8 years? 8 freaking years. Lol, I felt so old all of a sudden. Ms Pushpa, definitely one teacher I missed. Too bad we were not that close. She'd be an excellent mentor. Lucky you. Neway, seems like u're doing good, looking healthy. Where r u now? I'm boring my ass off in ipoh. Ah, maybe I'll bump into u in supermarkets here. I find that coincidentally funny. Ok then, take care. Keep in touch.

Daphne Ling said...

Hey June!

Ala, you ar! Haha...We had funny times together lar wei, and we always seem to bump into each other in the supermarket...Haha...

If you read this, drop me a line (email) with your handphone number, and I'd get in touch with you...We can go yamcha with Ms Pushpa together-gether ler...=)

She's still the same sarcastic woman...Always will be...;)

chingy said...

Omg it's Miss Pushpa!

I took EL under her for two years, and indeed in that two years, she ha equip me on everything m I today on how to handle my life.

Sheyna said...

OMG! I came here via Jordan Macvay's blog which I read regularly... and who would have thought of finding Ms. Pushpa here??!? I was a debater on her English lang. team from 1996 to 98 and have heard much such wisdom from her over the years... in fact, i reckon a large part of who I am is thanks to her.

Btw, I also did psychology at uni... hehe... good luck with Canada!!!

m I s H a said...

Hey there...am reading ur blog for the first time and definitely found this post great!

I had my literature teacher named Mrs. N ( for Narayanan) and she was almost exactly of wat u described of dear Madame Q...

The part which was related the most to our Mrs. N "...was always known for her wit and sarcasm, and most pupils (except her Literature students who adored her) stayed far away from her"...lol...

This was exactly the situation back in Assunta Sec. And u know wat, at that time...teachers really taught...100% agreed!