My Little British Boy.

There was a time when all I wanted was My Little British Boy.

But in actuality, he would not be little at all.

There was a time back in the season of schoolgirls decked in turquoise-colored skirts and tuition centres with air-conditioning put on a bit too high with air scented by whiteboard markers that I would fantasize about My Little British Boy. He would suddenly make an appearance right in the middle of a boring tuition class like, say, Chemistry, for example. And all the other seats in the classroom of the tuition centre would be taken except the one next to mine, and so he would seat himself next to me with his sandy-colored hair and freckled arms, a novelty and a stark contrast to our saumatang skin. He would be pale but well-postured, without the gangliness of youth, and we would be able to strike a comfortable conversation revolving around books and our lack of interest in Chemistry.

My Little British Boy would carry a black messenger bag with one pen (sharp-nibbed, 0.7) and a nice, black, rectangular notebook with quality paper, not the thin kind where the ink usually bleeds through. During later days, I would introduce him to the concept of sirap ais limau, to the state of our political climate, the coalition of the opposition parties, the wonderful things about Malaysia that people often forget (and I don’t mean just food or the common lingo that we share but also the wonderful little things, like Hari Milo Van Datang ke Sekolah!), and then later on, about the beauty that traditional values can occasionally bring. He would in turn teach me about his culture, his concerns, his own individual ideals, and I would be taken aback for being wrong, for stereotyping him as another mat salleh when he had first stepped into the room, for not being big enough of a person to realize that first impressions are never right. The education we would provide the other would extend way beyond what Chemistry tuition would teach us, and the school term would end with none of us failing Chemistry.

My Little British Boy never made his feature, of course. What was I except for a flailing figure who just wanted to graduate from high school? I had a portfolio of sheepish daydreams, and this would be one of many.


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