Gun gleaming, ready.
Zero six hundred and fifty hours: boarding bus, destination United World College.
Gun cocked, awaiting orders.
No, this is not the opening sequence to South East Asia’s Bowling for Columbine; it is as far removed from the notion as could be. Though I suppose my guerrilla garb and realistic black pistol – noise and spark inducing– would indicate otherwise. The peculiar garments celebrated massacre of a less macabre variety, it celebrated the twelfth grade students’ triumph over the time consuming, stress inducing Dark Lord of the IB programme: the extended essay.
To some, the extended essay may have been more of a duly noted task amongst others listed on yellow Post-It notes that demanding completion. For others, it was a battlefield 4,000 words strong that could only be defeated with the aid of sleepless nights and caffeine ammunition. I associated myself with heroic lads of the latter category, who were now proud as ever to slaughter the verbose beast with the tradition of dressing up as one’s extended essay topic. The death of the beast, officially butchered and presented to eagerly awaiting supervisors on October third, was celebrated four days later on October seventh. It is a colourful occasion for younger students in the campus who get to see their superiors dressed either humorously or alarmingly. Classifying a large male student in a spotted cow suit and brassier is a personal decision, but I am opting for ‘alarming’. Elementary school students obviously thought otherwise as I overheard questions of, “why is he wearing a bra?” and “does he have boobs?” between giggles.
It is easy to overlook the symbolic significance of October seventh if you are cross-dressing as a fair Vietnamese maiden or milk giving cow. But as I was a gun wielding, Nazi era German youth, my costume only intensified the learning process I had undergone. Emotive reflection aside, the day also saw numerous camera flashes as students attempted to outdo one another in ridiculous poses. You would think that a hard day of celebration would end after last period – and how wrong you would be. The final bell only meant one thing for this grade twelve student…
Fifteen hundred hours: free pizza, bouncy castle rides.
Gun neglected, absolute.