Thursday, April 15, 2010

Flashback - 1997

1997 holds a special place in my heart. After 6 years of high school, I finally moved on to college, where we meet new friends and adapt to a totally different environment. No more school uniforms, tuition, discipline teachers, rigid school rules. Yes to freedom to wear anything I want, use liquid paper (yes!), more pocket money and of course, fun!

I took the South Australian Matriculation (SAM) at Taylor's College. Seems after A Levels, it is the next more popular matriculation program, probably due to it's one year time frame and Australian Dollar is relatively more affordable than US Dollar or UK Pound.

I manage to get into a carpool with my friend Su Min and three more guys whom I've never met before. I'm not sure how that happened but well, every day the 2 guys will pick us up in their cars. One is a Satria, I can't remember the other.

Myself and my then boyfriend (not yet married mah) were put to a class with the craziest bunch of people I've ever met. There was Joan, Yeo, Aileen, Anil, Jetqee, Gan Wee, Maria, Kim Fai, Bernard, Joanne, Pei Yee, Sook Wai, Gary among others. We certainly had a ball during class with this bunch of jokers around. We joke with our Legal Studies tutor, eat fried chicken strips with honey mustard during English class, and even negotiate with our maths teacher to let us go earlier! Till today we still keep in touch with a handful of them. Thanks guys for the friendship!

One reason why I enjoyed college so much was partly due to Metrovision, the new TV channel on the block. Back then there was no Astro, only Mega TV which really sucked. We would watch the sitcoms each night and then discuss in class the following day. Favourite shows include The X-Files (which was at its peak) , 3rd Rock from the Sun, The Simpsons, Ally McBeal and Dharma & Greg.

If TV sitcoms were not enough to keep us entertained, there's always the music. 1997 had some of the most diverse variety of music I remember, and never was I so intensely listening to the radio every other day. We made good fun of Hanson's Mmbop (seriously, who actually fell for those singers back then?), sing-a-long to Spice Girls' Wannabe and laughed over Aqua's Barbie Girl (how suggestive can you get with that song?)

At the same time, there were gems such as Jewel's You Were Meant for Me, Third-Eye Blind's Semi-Charmed Life, Chumbawamba's Tubthumping, and our class cult favourite - White Town's Your Woman.

On the movie front, only two significant movies stood out - Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition and Titanic.

I watched Titanic twice, and that's just about average. Most people I know watch it either twice or three times. One of the guys I knew watched it 10 times, all with different girls, of course!

Star Wars special edition was a must-see for me. It really felt so great and nostalgic to be watching this movie in the cinema with my boyfriend, and I almost gave it a standing ovation towards the end! Then came Episode 1 to destroy it all...

1997 was also the year we were introduced to this strange little gadget called Tamagotchi. It's a virtual pet which you need to feed, bathe and play from time to time. Else, the poor creature will just 'die' and you have to start all over again.

Many girls in college own this toy, but not my class. We figured out it was a bit silly and expensive (Back then everything was still expensive). Nevertheless, myself and two more girls got the imitation Tamagotchi and played for fun. I remember one of the guys would always try to kill the pet. Funny! I remember there was even a virtual Tamagotchi cemetary for those who wants to remember their pet, I wonder if the link is still around or not...

Gadgets and entertainment aside, three events stood out in 1997. The first being the Asian Financial Crisis. What started in Thailand resulted in the economic meltdown in most Asian countries. As a result our currency greatly devalued together with others, and it was as if our country have to start over again. The currency effect was so severe to the extend some of my friends could not study in US or UK, and have to settle for Australia instead. Some don't even get to go anywhere and had to finish their programs locally. I never quite understood this until I further my studies in UTS, and that is where I learn what was this all about.

The other being the death of Princess Diana. She died in a car crash with her lover Dodi Fayed while trying to escape the paparazzi. That had got to be the biggest world news in 1997. I remember I was in Penang when the news broke. It was a shock to all of us.

Overnight, there were special edition of magazines, newspapers paying tribute to the princess, some for being the fashion icon, some being the charitable person, some being the mother to her two sons, Prince William and Prince Henry. I remember buying one, not sure if I still have it or not.

Ironically, just a few weeks after Princess Diana's passing, Mother Theresa has called home to the Lord as well. I told myself back then if Mother Theresa passed away, I will wear black. And it was on that very day I wore black as a sign of mourning.

Loss of two great people within a month.

1997 came and gone, had its ups and downs, but I want to put in this post so I can always remember it as how it was.

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