The good ol’ times we had in primary and secondary school were unforgettable. Those were the days where it was all fun and games, and recess meant a game of basketball or ice-and-water.
But during those times, every kid was also trying to be the coolest one. We didn’t want to be known as the nerd, or the kid who didn’t dare to go against certain school rules. So, we all did things to act like we were a bunch of cool and badass teenagers.
I’m sure you already have some things in mind, but if you need to refresh your memory a little bit, here are 10 things we did to “step one cool” when we were in secondary school in Singapore:
I’m aware that there’s a trend now for long and colourful socks, but in the past, ankle socks were the only type of socks acceptable in a society of cool kids.
Of course, schools didn’t want us wearing ankle socks, and they were smart about it. Some schools have their own brand of socks with the school logo on it, and every student had to wear them.
But we students were smarter; we folded the socks down at the bottom and wore our shoes over it, so the socks would still be of a shorter length. The logo would still be visible as well because it was at the top.
The boys hated wearing long pants that were baggy because it didn’t look very fashionable. So because we wanted to look like supermodels, a lot of guys went to get their pants altered and tapered; we were going for that sleek and slim GQ magazine cover look.
Sometimes, the discipline master would notice the alteration, and force the boys to buy new pants. Doesn’t work though, because they would still get it tapered again.
A big part of looking cool was in the haircut, and at that time, every guy wanted to look like they were part of a Taiwanese pop group.
Long and asymmetrical hairstyles were very popular back then, but it was against school rules for boys to have hair crossing the eyebrow or touching the ears. We didn’t care anyway and still had hair like that.
So then, the discipline master would come out again, and personally chop our hair away. I remember I had my hair snipped and it looked horrendous. I didn’t want to face anyone that day and I went straight to get a proper haircut after school.
To complete the trendy hair package, having some colour was always the way to go. But we had to be subtle, so only dark brown hair dye was used.
A lot of girls in my school loved to dye their hair a little brown, and whenever the teacher asked about it, they would say it was their natural hair colour, or that it was just because of the sun.
Lies, they were all lies.
Us guys didn’t like to tuck in our shirts because we were going for the bad-boy look. But we still needed to create the illusion that our shirts were actually tucked in.
What we did was to use a single shoelace to go round the bottom circumference of the shirt, fold it up once, and then tie the ends of the shoelace together.
That way, the shirt would look like it was tucked in, but it really wasn’t; and we could easily “un-tuck” it when we wanted to. That was the “gangster” look.
This one is for the girls. They always loved to fold their skirts up a little higher because the standard uniform skirt was too long, and nobody wanted to be caught wearing a skirt that looked like it was made for a nun.
Hence, the girls tried to make their skirts look like mini skirts instead. It looked more fashionable and it attracted a little more attention from the guys too.
It wasn’t enough to just have one piercing on each ear; you needed piercings all over your ears to be considered cool. Girls especially loved wearing all sorts of bling, but would sometimes change to earsticks so as not to get caught.
The more bling you had, the cooler you were.
Want to make a statement and get noticed by everyone in class? Walk into the classroom fashionably late and smile at the teacher. That’s how we used to do it.
Of course, this was a dumb thing to do, because you would get detention if you were late. It did seem kind of badass though.
But don’t go arriving at your job late now; it’s not cool anymore when you’re 20 and you’re actually getting paid to do it.
The guys wanted to look like those Taiwanese popstars, and so of course the girls wanted to look like superstars too. The go-to hairstyle for girls in school was a long ponytail and the fringe had to be long enough to cover at least one eye.
The discipline master did not appreciate that kind of hairstyle, and so girls would always have hairclips in their pockets, ready to pin the fringe up.
You know the oversized shirt trend right now? We were already on that hype years ago, albeit unintentionally. So don’t credit Kanye for this.
The uniforms we wore always seemed to be a tad too big for our prepubescent bodies. The sleeves would almost reach our elbows and we didn’t like that look, so we would fold them up.
Again, that was against school rules. But who cares! We looked good, or at least we thought we did.
I’m sure you can relate to some of the things on this list; even if you didn’t do it, you would probably remember your friends striving for some of dat “coolness”.
After thinking back on your life in secondary school, do you think you were one of those cool kids? I sure hope I was, or else it would have been such a waste of time.