This tragedy happened during August 2009 when I was in Form 2. It was closely related to the H1N1 influenza. From April 2009 to August 2009, I had a good friend, MIF. In fact, at that time I took him as my best friend. We were always together in school. In May 2009, the H1N1 influenza started and it continued until September 2009. Among that period, the H1N1 was the most serious in August 2009, because it was widely spreading in Malaysia, and it spread to my town, Kulim.
On 10 August 2009 (Monday), MIF did not go to school. At that time, I was studying in the afternoon class. On the next day 11 August 2009 (Tuesday), he telephoned me in the morning. He told me that he did not go to school on the previous day because he was sick. I hoped that he won't be going to school on that day, not because he was sick, but because there was ICT class on that day. At that time, whenever there was ICT class, he liked to share the same computer with me. However, he used the computer most of the time, usually to log into his Tagged account, therefore I could not use the computer. As a result, I did not like to share computer with him and I always hoped that he would be absent whenever there was ICT class on a particular day. Actually, I was the one who set up a Tagged account for him so I always regretted doing so.
However, through the telephone MIF told me that he would be going to school on that day. After the telephone call ended, my grandparents asked me why he telephoned me. Usually, I would not tell them about that, and they won't force me to say because they respect my privacy. However on that day, I was being silly and I just told them exactly. After hearing what I said, my grandparents were worried that he might spread his sickness to me and they told me to stay away from him. I realised that I had made a mistake by telling them about that because they were very concerned about my health and they did not want me to fall sick, moreover the H1N1 was spreading widely at that time. In order to make my grandparents less worried, I lied to them saying that MIF told me he would not be going to school on that day.
Once I reached school on that day, one of my other friend told me that someone in our school had been diagnosed with H1N1. Many other students also knew about that. During the assembly, the teacher announced about that and gave every student a mask. Then, I saw MIF in school and I felt disappointed that he really went to school. The teacher also told us that we were not allowed to enter all air-conditioned rooms in school. Since the computer lab was air-conditioned, the ICT class was cancelled. In class, MIF stayed quite close to me. I did not stay away from him because I was not worried of getting infected and I was afraid that he might get insulted if I did that.
Then, a teacher came to my class and asked all students who were sick to go home so that they would not spread their sickness to other students. A few went home but MIF did not. Then, I said to everyone 'If you are sick better go home and don't pretend that you are not sick, otherwise your repay is you will get H1N1 !' Suddenly, MIF showed me his Panadol and said to me 'I never knew that you will curse me. I thought you are my friend.' He meant that he was also sick but he did not go home, so what I just said was actually 'cursing' him. Actually, I was just joking to my other classmates but I never knew that he would be offended by that. I just apologised to him by saying that I was just joking with my other classmates. That incident caused me to be unhappy with MIF. Based on what I think, he should go home since he was sick and that was an instruction by the teacher. He also should not have accused me for 'cursing' him to get H1N1.
Throughout that day, I did not stay away from MIF and I did not wear the mask given by the teacher all the time as it was uncomfortable. Although I was not worried of getting infected, I had to make sure that my grandparents would not see me together with him, otherwise they would surely be worried that I might get infected. When the school was over on that day, I walked quickly in front of MIF so that my grandparents would not see him together with me. As I walked out of the school gate, I saw him stopping at the gate to talk to one of his other friend. I was relieved, thinking that he would not follow me and therefore my grandfather would not see him. My grandfather had already arrived so I just walked to the car.
Out of my expectation, MIF just stopped at the school gate for a few seconds. Then, he continued walking and followed behind me. He called me a few times. I just ignored him, quickly reached my grandparent's car and opened the door. However, at that time he was already beside me. He touched my back and said goodbye to me before walking away. As a result, my grandfather saw him. He was worried and he asked me why MIF went to school although on that morning he said that he would be absent. I just lied to my grandfather saying that MIF told me that later he felt better and decided to go to school.
Then, my grandfather asked me why I did not stay away from MIF. I lied to him that I did stay away from MIF and I was only together with MIF while I walked out of the school. I also told him that I put on the mask given by the teacher for the whole day. Still, my grandfather was worried that MIF might spread his disease to me. I was unhappy with what MIF did, because that made my grandparents worry. Why must he touch me and say goodbye to me, right in front of my grandfather? Why can't he just stay at the school gate or just walk straight on and ignore me? Worst of all, usually he would not say goodbye to me in front of my grandfather, except on that day.
On that night, I used my newly-bought electronic dictionary. I had just bought it one week earlier. The electronic dictionary had many functions, and it could be used to store the contact details of my friends. Earlier I had stored the email address of a few friends in it. When I looked through all the email address at that time, I saw MIF's email address. Suddenly, I felt annoyed looking at his email address and I wanted to delete his email address, because I was unhappy with what MIF had done on that day and therefore I wanted to take revenge on him. I could delete his email address because he had previously told me his password.
On 12 August 2009 (Wednesday), MIF did not go to school again. My friend MA who sat beside me was also absent. Since I was sitting alone, I sat with my 2 other friends AFZ and AF. Then, I asked AFZ to help me to delete MIF's email address and I even told him the password. However, AF knew about that and he told MIF. On that night, MIF telephoned me to ask me why I told AFZ his password. I tried to deny that by saying that I was actually telling AFZ another password. But, as I expected MIF did not believe me. He was also disappointed with me because of that. I knew that I was wrong in that incident so I did not blame MIF.
On 13 August 2009 (Thursday), MIF went to school. However, in school I felt tired and drowsy. My friends said that I was sick but I hoped that I was not sick. After returning home, I lied down on the sofa to rest, and I pretended to be playing the games in my mobile phone so that my grandmother would not know that I was feeling tired. If she knew about that, she would surely feel worried and she might ask me to see a doctor. Then, I took my bath. However, I took a long bath because I could not 'concentrate' on taking bath since I was drowsy and tired. Then, when having dinner, I had no appetite to eat, but I tried my very best to finish my dinner so that my grandparents won't know about that.
After dinner, I lied down on my bed. My grandmother saw that and asked me why I lied down. I said that I just wanted to rest for a while. However, she suspected that I was not feeling well. She placed her hand on my forehead to feel it. Then, she did not say anything but she walked out of the room and told my grandfather that my forehead was warm. Immediately they took me to see a doctor, although I did not want to. I expected that my fever would be just around 37.5 Celcius as my forehead was not very warm according to my grandmother, and I could still see things clearly. In the past, usually when I had a high fever my vision would be blurred.
Out of my expectation, the doctor said that my fever was 39 Celcius and that I had a high fever. Still, he said that I was unlikely to get H1N1 because my breathing was normal. According to him, patients with H1N1 would have abnormal breathing. However, the doctor gave many precautions, such as I should not go to my friend's house and I should not let my friends come to my house. Because of the doctor's precautions in addition to my high fever, my grandfather still suspected that I had H1N1 and he was very worried about that. My grandmother then said that maybe I fell sick because I took a long bath, or maybe MIF spread his disease to me.
Then, I remembered that on that day in school MIF told me that he had partially recovered, and initially his fever was around 39 Celcius. I told my grandparents about that. My grandfather said that if it was true, then there was nothing to worry about because I likely got the disease from MIF and since MIF could recover, surely I could also recover. My grandfather decided to telephone MIF to ask him about that for confirmation. However, MIF told my grandfather that his fever was only 37.4 Celcius. Earlier he really told me that his fever was 39 Celcius but now he said 37.4 instead. He must be lying, because he wanted to avoid getting the blame for spreading his disease to me.
Actually, my grandparents did not want to blame him. They just wanted to find out the cause of my disease and know how serious my disease was. After hearing what MIF said, my grandfather was worried again. He said that since MIF's fever was only 37.4 Celcius, surely I did not get the disease from him. My grandfather then telephoned my father and asked him to come back to Kulim. He then went to the pharmacy to buy a thermometer. I used the thermometer to measure my body temperature, and my grandparents and I were relieved to see that my body temperature had dropped to 38 Celcius. On the following day 14 August 2009 (Friday), my father arrived at Kulim.
On the following week (16 August 2009 to 20 August 2009), it was my Form 2 second mid-term examination. At that time, I had the habit of doing my revision only a few days before the exam. I never made any early preparations. I should be doing my revision at that time but because I was sick, my grandparents asked me to sleep instead of study. Also, I could not study because I was tired. On that night, my grandparents asked me to use the thermometer to measure my body temperature again. However, my body temperature went back up to 38.5 Celcius. Therefore, my grandfather was worried and he asked me to go for a 'second opinion'. I did not know exactly what 'second opinion' meant but I knew that my grandfather was asking me to see a doctor again.
I had to visit another doctor because the doctor I previously visited was off on that day. This doctor used a more accurate device (electronic thermometer) to measure my body temperature and he said that my fever was only 37.5 Celcius. He was quite sure that I did not have H1N1, although he could not give a 100% guarantee. My grandparents, my father and I were relieved. On the following day 15 August 2009 (Saturday), I started revising for my exam. However, I could not prepare well for the exam because I was sick. The first day of exam (16 August 2009) was really terrible for me. I had to answer the examination questions while feeling tired and drowsy. Luckily English was tested on that day and it was rather easy.
On the second day of exam (17 August 2009), I felt a bit better. The subject tested on that day was Malay and I could answer quite well. On the following day (18 August 2009), I again felt a bit tired in school because I still had not fully recovered. Chinese was the subject tested on that day. I could not answer Chinese paper 2 very well, especially the essay and summary sections. Finally, I fully recovered on 19 August 2009. On the last day of exam (20 August 2009), geography was tested. Because I did not make any preparation before that, I could only revise Geography one day before the exam. As a result, I could not answer many of the questions.
After the exam, there was one week of school holiday. After the school holidays, I got my exam results. At first, I was happy to get A's in 5 subjects, including Malay which was my weakest subject and English which I had to answer while feeling drowsy and tired. However, I still had not received the results for Geography, Chinese and Living Skills. One day, I saw my Geography teacher in school. I asked her how was my exam result. She refused to tell me my marks but only said that I had a 'narrow escape'. I thought that she meant that I got A but my mark was close to the border between A and B. I felt relieved about that.
However, when I got back my Geography paper on 3 September 2009 (Thursday), I was so disappointed that I only got 62 marks (B) for Geography. At that time, I realised that by saying 'narrow escape' my teacher actually meant that I got B but my mark was close to the border between B and C. Most students also could not score very well but some of them still managed to get A. I was very sad about that because I could not get 8A's anymore. However, I thought that I could still get 7A 1B since I was confident in Chinese and Living Skills. Still, I was a bit worried of Chinese while I was 100% sure of getting A in Living Skills.
On 6 September 2009 (Sunday), I got back my Chinese exam paper. I was again disappointed that I got only 70 marks (B) for Chinese. Many students could get A for Chinese. I was very sad because I could only get 6A 2B for the exam. My results were never that bad, as I always got 8A or 7A 1B previously. When my grandparents knew about that, they were also disappointed and they blamed me for not making early preparations for my exam. On the following day 7 September 2009 (Monday), I got my exam result for Living Skills. I managed to get A (93 marks) as I expected.
So, I got 6A 2B in overall. My position was 64th in form and 10th in class. Previously, I got 2nd in form and 1st in class. This was really a great fall for me. Worst of all, MIF managed to get 8A's in that exam. Actually, he did not get A for Geography and Living Skills, but his marks for these 2 subjects were close to A so my teacher gave him bonus marks. Also, although he got A for Mathematics, his marks was at the border between A and B. I was unhappy about that because MIF spread his disease to me, but he got 8A's instead. I remembered that in the previous exam, he got only 67 marks for Mathematics. I was the one who helped him to appeal to the teacher to give him 8 bonus marks so that he could get A, but in return he caused me to score badly in this exam instead.
This incident definitely made me feel very sad, but it also made me realised that I must always make early preparations for my exam and not wait until the last minute. If I had made early preparations, even if I was sick during the exam and could not do revision, at least I had already revised so my results won't be that bad. I also set myself a new target of getting the 1st in the whole form as well as straight A's in every examination since then. I partly blamed MIF to be the cause of this 'tragedy'. Based on what I think, he should not have went to school when he was sick and spread his disease to me. MIF also should not have touched my back in front of my grandfather and lied to my grandfather about his fever, which caused my grandparents to feel worried.
This incident affected my friendship with MIF. Even before this incident, there were certain things that I disliked about MIF. After this incident, I no longer took MIF as my best friend, Later, a few more incidents regarding him happened. Finally, a year later in August 2010, I completely stopped being friends with MIF and I started taking him as my enemy. Now, I still consider MIF as my enemy.
(Read more about what happened between me and MIF here: http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2011/06/from-best-friend-to-enemy.html . In that story, I refer to MIF as Mr X.)
However, this incident actually benefited me in the long run. Because I have learnt the lesson of making early preparations for my exams, I always got straight A's in all exams starting from the Form 2 second term examination in October 2009 onwards all the way until the A2 Final examination in August 2014. I never got a B again and I achieved a 5 year record of straight A's. Now, I still remember the incident very well, and I know that I must make early preparation for every examination.