This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Title: Ryan The Guitarist Theme: Becoming Mrs Chee Mui Yen, a forty-year-old widow, tied up her greying hair into a neat, tight bun as she got ready for work at Best Eats Hawker Centre where she helped out at the Katong Laksa stall. Her lips were pursed as she eyed her fourteen -year-old son, Ryan Chee Boon Siang. She started castigating him yet again, ³Aiyo, you useless person. You waste my money, I tell you. I think I throw my money in the ocean also better lah. I just paid for your tuition fees at you r tuition centre ah. $500 ah! How come your grades still 40 something, 50 something only? You think $500 is so easy to earn?´ She pulled her boy¶s ear and commanded that he pull his socks up. Ryan¶s mother nagged on and on. Ryan bowed his head dejectedly in shame. His small, thin frame leaned against the shabby walls of the two room flat wearily as he listened to his frustrated mother¶s lecture. Drawing circles with his right foot, he thought about how hard he had tried to study but studying was simply not his forte. He had great difficulty understanding concepts and remembering facts. He wanted to make his mum proud of him ever since his father passed away five years ago but he never managed to do so. He, too, felt that he was a complete failure. Pulling on his tousled hair, he submerged into a state of depression. As if the tirade at home was not enough, i n school, Ryan received much attention, negatively. ³Eh, UAS! What¶s one plus one? I bet you don¶t know!´ jeered Aaron, one of Ryan¶s classmates. Upon hearing the term ³UAS´, his classmates burst into laughter. He was the class dunce and no one wanted to be friends with him. It was as though having low Intelligent Quotient was a contagious disease. Because of his shabby looks and poor results, he was often teased ³Ugly And Stupid´ by his classmates, in short, ³UAS´. He tried his utmost to ignore the criticism and tried to concentrate on his studies but he just could not keep up. Even the teachers were no different. Ryan was never chosen for class sports events. For map-reading lessons, Mr Desouza, would write using red marker, the words ³left´ and ³right´ on the back of Ryan¶s hands and everyone would laugh. For class dramatizations, Ryan was chosen to be the inanimate o bjects like trees or given the most insignificant roles. Mrs Wang, the Mathematics teacher, would say, ³ Ryan has topped the class from the back, yet again! What an achievement!´ Ryan would blush bright crimson but could not protest. Ryan¶s sad fate would change with a guitar. Every two terms, the students in Mayflower Secondary School had to learn a new skill and that term, Ryan and his classmates were given the chance to learn how to
play the guitar. Everyone was extremely enthusiastic but Ryan was reluctant to learn because he was tired of being bad at everything. The guitar instructor from Yamaha Music School, Mr Henrique, conducted his lessons with great exuberance . The rotund man munched on chocolates during the lessons and spoke English with a thick Swedish accent. His passion for the guitar was infectious. Ryan felt that playing the guitar was enjoyable and was surprised that learning how to create melodious sounds using it was a breeze to him. Mr Henrique noticed that this introve rted, puny student who could easily be forgotten because he was so nondescript, had musical talent. Being a fair and dedicated music instructor, Mr Henrique decided to groom Ryan. He told Ryan to stay back twice a week and coached him personally for half an hour each time. Ryan enjoyed the experience under Mr Henrique and really blossomed under Mr Henrique¶s care and attention. He realised that that this was something he was good at, which also gave him more confidence academically once he knew he was not ³good for nothing´. Even Mr Desouza commented that Ryan could tell his left from his right and that he did not need to write the words on the back of his hands anymore . Ryan was mighty pleased. After one and a half terms, the students were told to showcase the new skills that they had learnt and Ryan was given the chance to play solo during Teacher¶s Day. A strange tingle went down his spine. He ha d never been chosen for plum roles! Ryan beamed with pride and practiced fervently. During the concert, everyone clapped as they enjoyed taking in the new skills that their fellow schoolmates had learnt. The secondary ones showed how well they could dance. The secondary twos played various diff erent songs using their guitars. The secondary threes showcased their talent in singing. Soon, it was the finale. The heavy red curtains rose gracefully to reveal a pint -sized boy, trembling a little under the limelight. The finale was Ryan¶s solo guitar performance. Everyone¶s eyes almost popped out of their sockets and they started whispering loudly, ³Why would a dunce be selected to close the concert? This is crazy!´ Some mean students made the ³loser´ sign with their hands and jeered at him, ³Come down the stage lah, UAS! Don¶t make a fool out of yourself! Boo!´ The slight figure inhaled deeply as if to harness strength from the air molecules. Then, he started strumming the guitar. The hall fell silent. Everyone was captivated by the amazingly melodious music being produced. This simpleton could really play! His rendition of ³Viva La Vida´ by Coldplay stunned the audience. Hands flew to mouths and eyes widened. The song ended with a flourish. Mesmerised by Ryan¶s ability, the school population gave him a standing ovation as he walked down the stage confidently, beaming from ear to ear. At the end of the concert, his classmates changed their opinion of him. How could they call him ³UAS´ when he had something that he was good at? He might not have been the best looking person, but he was definitely not an empty vessel.
Ryan was full of gratitude for Mr Henrique and thanked him personally for his sincere help. Mr Henrique also showed his pride and faith in Ryan. He coached Ryan personally at a token sum because he knew that his mother could not afford the fees. From then on, Ryan continued playing the guitar and he made up his mind to pursue playing the guitar professionally. Mrs Chee gave thanks that her only s on was not a ³good for nothing´ and was largely supportive of him. Pinching her boy¶s cheeks, she asserted, ³Play guitar good but studies even more important. Still must study hard and go for tuition.´ Nevertheless, she gave him the attention and audience he needed to. From a boy who hid behind others, Ryan now walked with his back straight and head held high. Ryan became a boy who had more faith in himself and his abilities. This, in turn, helped him to do better in his studies. He made a few friends too. No longer was he ³UAS´.