Friday, October 2

4 - Season 1: The SPP Interview

This is the first & last episode of the hit TV series, 4 - Season 1: The SPP Interview.

The following takes places between 7am-11am.
*imagine a clock ticking... tick... tick... tick...*

7-8am
*imagine a husky voice narrating*
My alarm clock rings. It's 7am.
I wake up to find myself covered in sweat.
It was a long & sleepless night.
I look beside me & she's still here.
I hate her. But I need her.
She kept me awake all night.
I reach over to crush her, but I resist the temptation.
Bloody interview notes! I'm hooked on you now, but once I'm done with you, you'll be my toilet paper!

I head to the bathroom.
I cant bear the sight of the ghost that's staring back at me.
The heavy bags under my eyes are a reminder of the hell that I went through the past weeks.
I was given a desperate case to solve.
I gave it all I've got.
I fought with the PIPP.
I roughed up the NEP.
I even got high on 1Malaysia.

As I put my toothbrush in my mouth, I stared at myself deep & determined.
I have been waiting.
Today, I redeem myself.
Today, I face my demons.
Finally, I have my chance at the SPP Interview.

I check my wristwatch. It's 7.30am.
I look around me to see if I have everything.

white long-sleeved shirt: check!
black lounge coat, dark-coloured slacks, black socks & back leather shoes: check!
black tie: check!
government issue name-tag: check!
shiny Parker pen clearly visible: check!
important documents arranged in a clear folder: check!
ridiculously short haircut especially done for this day: check!
passport-sized photo taken the day before in a bloody rush: check!

Everything seems to be in place.
But why can't I shake of this feeling in my gut that something might go really wrong today.
I say a silent prayer as the door shuts behind me.
First things first, breakfast.

Exhibit A: Passport-Sized Photo

8-9am
The sunlight hurts my eye.
There are no clouds in the sky.
It's stuffy & bloody baskets it is warm.
As I listen to the cool purr of the soothing air-conditioner inside, I feel the sweat between my skin & my clothes.
I was pursuing an anonymous tip at the local government building when I got abushed.
This organisation is more cunning than I thought.

Now, I find myself sitting on a bench.
I am chained & bound. I cannot leave.
"He will be questioned", I heard one of the guards say with a sly smile.
I can't help but think of questioned with apostrophes.
Painful ones.

I look to my left & to my right
The other captives have the same nervous look on their faces.
They seem to be murmuring while staring intensely at pieces of paper.
They're probably chanting or praying in fear of the torture that they are about to face.

Can't blame them.
I myself am shaking in my boots.
My heart is beating nerves all over my body.
It's funny.
This feels just like the time I was about to meet my girlfriend's parents.

taken from www.supsrwk.gov.my
Exhibit B: Local Government Building (Kapit, Sarawak)

9-10am
It took some time before I was escorted into a fluorescent lit room.
A petite young lady was seated behind a large table.
I could see my personal documents on her table.
They were stripped off me when I got captured.
She looks a little too young to be questioning hardened officers like myself.

I was right.
She's the secretary of the Chairman.
Or in my case, as I found out, the Chairwoman.
Oh, the sound of that name sends shivers down my spine.

The secretary goes through my documents with great diligence.
She carefully eyes every one while pondering their authenticity.
She had  never seen some of my certificates before.
Indeed, I am unique in the service.

After about half an hour, I was sweating again on sunshine bench.
To my surprise, the lady in the room was sympathetic to my cause.
She told me that I will be evaluated by the Chairwoman on several grounds.
I will have to do well in every one if I were to survive the 'interview'.

I didn't work hard for the past 2 weeks for nothing.
I was ready for any question.
The 5 grounds were: possessing the required documents, professional outward appearance, communicative skills, pedagogic/content knowledge & current domestic/international events.
I was branded #10 & the Chairwoman was currently with #5.
I had a long tormenting wait ahead of me.

10-11am
I've waited a long time.
The wait was uncomfortable but it was also enlightening.
It gave me an idea of who this Chairwoman was.
Whatever tiny clues I could get from those who came out were invaluable for my preparation.

Some people came out with smiles.
Some people came out with tears.
Clearly they were shaken & unable to answer the Chairwoman's twisted questions.
However, I learned that the Chairwoman was somehow coldly professional.
She never raised her voice nor does she ever make clear what she wants to do with you.

Extended Edition: 11am-12pm
I'm beginning to feel faint & fatigued.
This is not the condition I wanted to be interviewed in.
But I have to keep myself steady & not let weariness get the better of me.
I must stay sharp.
I cannot fail!

Special Edition: 12pm-1pm
It is time.
#9 walks out & gives me a knowing eye.
Without saying anything, he's wishing me luck.
He survived.
Now, it's my turn.

I knocked, opened & walked into a large cold room.
At the far end of the room is a well-aged lady behind a condescendingly huge desk.
She's flipping through my documents. Scrutinising.
She looks at me & firstly asks me a simple question.
I had to tell her about myself.

It was just the warm-up.
She asked many perplexing questions after that.
Her questions were calculated, factual & designed to push my limits.
If there was a mentally straining moment in my life, that was one of them.

She asked me about one memorable experience I had during my studies in NZ.
Then, she asked me how I applied it to my teaching at school.
She moved on to asking what the significance of the National Education Philosophy was to a teacher.
Soon, she asked me what I understood about KBSR & KBSM.
Next, I was asked the purpose of Pelan Induk Pembangunan Pendidikan.
Later, she asked me about Wawasan 2020 & what would our country be like if it were already advanced.
Finally, she asked me if I thought that the teaching profession was suitable for me.
After I answered her, she was not satisfied. She asked me the same question again.
I gave her the same answer... again.

Before I knew it, I was released with all my documents.
From the reaction of the Chairwoman to my answers, I believe I passed.
I live to fight another day!

p/s:
Thank you for your prayers, emotional support & well-wishes!
I have the greatest friends!
=)

Look out for the new season of 4!
Season 2: The PTK Exam
Coming Soon on TV koko'!

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