After the funeral in the morning, I kept my commitment to a bunch of school kids from various schools gathered at the Chung Ling High School in Penang. I guess I should have learned from my previous experience with a primary school kids in Parit Buntar. They are restless and can't sit and listen for long periods of time.
I was totally disoriented when the moment I started talking, the kids started talking amongst themselves. That really got to me. Shhhh, and they quieted down. But not for long. Soon they are buzzying away again. I asked whether they could understand my English. Yesssss, the yelled. By then, I was no longer in the proper frame of mind to inspire and be inspired. After one hour, I said we should stop. And I asked if they had any questions. Happily, one or two asked some questions, which I didn't quite have the answers to.
After the talk, my son said "dad, not bad lah". But we know better. According to my kids this is normal. Jillian told me that in her School, even if the speaker speaks in Mandarin, the kids will listen for one or two minutes and then start talking amongst themselves. Fortunately, quite a number of students responded to my questions during my presentation. Typically, everyone will keep quiet. Even my nephews who study in Singapore say it's the same over there. Nobody will want to response to questions from the speaker. So I guess I should be grateful.
Later, my brother-in-law who has four school friends who are now headmasters say the problem is these kids take part in these activities because of the 10% allocated for co-curriculum. They join the activities just to get the points.
So, back to the drawing board if we want to reach out to the students in schools.