10 signs you were an Ah Lian in secondary school

Kwa simi kwa?

By Mandy How | April 14, 2017

Most of us (those with friends, anyway) hold fond memories of our Secondary school days. But unfortunately, not many of us can look back at our fashion choices and behaviour with the same fondness.

But now that we’re just a tiny bit more grown up and and have the benefit of hindsight, here are are ten signs that you might have been an Ah Lian during secondary school, all for a good laugh:

1.  You sported the tweety bird/cockroach feelers hairstyle

Source: my embarrassing past

Remember the days where you actually thought you looked cool?

Spending half your recess carefully – artfully – arranging your feelers and spiking your hair just the right amount. Some even had a fringe that covered half their faces when the discipline masters weren’t around.

It’s a miracle you didn’t get a lazy eye from hiding behind the fringe all the time.


2. You’ve had a clique war

Remember that Ah Lian from another clique? Think already also buay song right?

If your lian level was on the high side all the eye-rolling and backhanded insults will inevitably escalate into outright confrontation. After school. At the void deck. *Rearranges fringe to diao the other party*


3. You used Limewire to download music

Source: download.cnet

Before YouTube and Spotify this was the coolest – and fastest – way to get your music. And remember the plebeians who were constantly asking for your help to download songs?? Geez.

But most of the time, you were torn between feeling like a badass for doing something illegal and freaking yourself out wondering if they would trace your IP address.


4. You wore coloured bras under your school uniform 

Source: Taobao

And you take pride in the fact that the bright colours could be seen under the blouse.

Then getting exasperated when you were caught by the discipline master for the 43534535th time (and complained about him being a pervert).


5. You wore your uniform in a specific way

Source: Flickr //Zhao

More specifically, this way:
1. Baggy, oversized blouse
2. Shoelaces/elastic bands in the bottom hem of your blouse to give the impression that it’s tucked in (Secondary school kids are ingenious)
3. Altered skirt, at least two inches above the knees
4. Rolled up waistband, to make the skirt even shorter
5. Ankle socks
6. Some sort of accessory that flouted the school rules (e.g. coloured rubber bands)


6. You spent lots of money on neoprints

Source: Flickr // Joanwwy1209

When #girlsquad wasn’t the in thing yet but you had your loyal Ah Lian clique, whom you took neoprints with every.single.week. #broke

The filters and stickers also made you look way better than you did in real life. Thinking back they were kind of like the Mei Tu Xiu Xiu of that era. Hmm.


7. You had an Ah Beng boyfriend

Source: Facebook

If you are/were ever in doubt about your lian status, all you had to do was look at your boyfriend. Spiky hair, rebellious, and belonging to the particularly annoying bunch that liked to talk back to teachers? Yeap.

Sometimes the entire school would also know who’s dating and whom and who has broken up with whom, and if you’re not careful you’ll be the subject of level-wide gossip.


8. You typed in twit language

Source: Dotapod

YuPp, JuSt lykke thiish worzxzx.

Aren’t you glad you grew out of it?


9. You had a blog

Source: Museum of twits

In which you typed in twit, of course. Content usually includes rants about teachers, the other lians in school, and wistful paragraphs about your crushes as well as whining about your grades.


10. You (still!) lapse into Hokkien unknowingly

Source: Flickr // awee_19

And your lexicon of dialect expletives is the finest it has been in years, now that you’re (somewhat of) a full-fledged adult and can swear whenever you want. Out of earshot of your mum, of course.


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About Mandy How

Mandy is a pantry rat. She eats everything in the pantry.

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