Girls’ School Culture
When parents think of all-girls schools in Singapore, most would picture a prestigious distraction-free institution, for their daughters to further their studies and blossom into well-groomed young women.
But when actual alumni think of girls’ school, they remember a pretty different picture.
From ratchet catfights to rumours about haunted toilets, life in an all-girls school is… exciting, to say the least.
Whether you were the guai-est nerd or the biggest slacker, here are some real-life stories you can probably relate to if you went to an all-girls school in Singapore.
*Some names were changed to protect identities
1. Boy drama when girls hooked up with church mates
In my girls’ school, I was happily single but incredibly bored. As there were no boys in school, most girls hooked up with guys from church, an affiliated school, or tuition class. And whenever there was boy drama, the gossip turned into lunch topics we lived for.
When my friend was the first girl in class to get a boyfriend from church, she had the juiciest relationship drama. Her first time story had us all shook because we’d never known anyone else who’d ‘done it’.
Girls would also fight over popz guys from the affiliated boys’ school. While I managed to stay out of it, there were girls who fell out with each other because of these crushes.
2. Widespread lesbianism
In Sec 1, a rumour about one girl being gay was the most controversial thing we’d ever heard. When she got a girlfriend, they became the most famous couple in school.
But fast forward to Sec 4, 30% of the school had come out as gay or bi, including myself.
No one treated it like a controversy anymore, and it was comforting to be in a community which didn’t discriminate.
3. Unique school rules
Most schools have strict rules, but girls’ schools take it to another level. Skirt too short? Buy a new one. Hair too long? Cut it off with the pair of scissors in the staff room.
There were several things we could be reprimanded for: coloured bras, wearing a suit to prom, hugging (the school thought we would turn gay), not having a school logo on our socks, having hair too long or too short, etc.
Once, a girl who participated in Hair For Hope was forced to wear a wig to school.
But by Sec 4, many found ourselves criticising juniors for looking unkempt and ruining our public image.
4. Rabak catfights
I think being in a girls’ school makes you more confident, but not always in a good way. Especially with no guys around to impress, many girls had no qualms about going full-ratchet and picking fights with others.
The first time I witnessed a catfight was when someone talked shit about my classmate’s girlfriend. She got defensive and responded by splashing water on the girl’s face.
From there, there was slapping and hair-pulling, and a huge crowd formed. We only dispersed when some prefects showed up and broke up the fight.
5. Girls supporting girls
My school had a culture of fiercely cheering friends who were on stage, whether for a performance, an award ceremony, or even morning announcements. It would take forever to get the hall to settle down and carry on with the assembly.
Once, I was about to make an announcement about my CCA’s upcoming event, but my anxiety made my voice shake.
From a corner of the hall where my classmates sat, I heard a collective “Go, Melanie!” It was unnecessarily enthusiastic for a short announcement, but I was extremely grateful.
6. Getting caught changing in class
Changing in and out of our PE attire in class was the norm because the bathroom queue was always too long.
Initially, we would face the wall or hide under tables to be discreet. But by Sec 4, most girls would be shamelessly flashing their bras in the middle of the classroom.
Once, a male teacher accidentally walked in while we were getting ready. We made him wait outside and started class 15 minutes late, but he didn’t scold us because the whole ordeal was too embarrassing for him.
7. No shame or boundaries
Without guys around, we were free from patriarchal expectations of women. Some girls flashed their hairy pits, while others sat with their legs opened because they were “wearing shorts anyway”.
The absence of guys also let us openly discuss topics from periods to masturbation.
My no-filter friend once exclaimed in the middle of class “my vagina damn pain sia!” and excused herself to the sick bay.
8. Valentine’s Day was lit
Valentine’s Day was a huge event every year, with girls spending hours handcrafting gifts, writing letters, or buying candies for each other.
One year, there was even an external vendor selling roses during recess due to the demand.
In JC1, not realising the tradition was a girls’ school thing, I made the mistake of getting chocolates for all my classmates. Almost everyone, especially the guys, thought I was weird. Or worse, trying to ‘hit’ on them.
9. Fangirling over seniors
It was a big thing, especially in the uniform groups, to idolise your seniors or send anonymous gifts to them.
But by the time we outgrew it, we had our own juniors fangirling about us, and so the cycle continued.
10. Being shook when boys show up
While we were independent women who could live without a man, we’d still freak out when groups of guys came for joint-school programmes.
We’d gasp and whisper as we watched them from the opposite end of the canteen as if we had discovered a new species of men. Because back in primary school, these guys were scrawny, prepubescent children.
Visits from these more matured boys were an exciting glimpse into our future of EC-ing guys on a regular basis in JC.
11. Excessive skinship
I always felt comfortable hugging and snuggling with my girls’ school friends.
It probably stemmed from all the long, boring assemblies where we’d take naps in the laps of the girl behind us. That, and braiding our friends’ hair, always pissed the speakers off.
My best friend and I enjoyed holding each other’s hands and confusing teachers as to whether we were a couple, knowing it wasn’t within their comfort zone to ask.
12. Crushing on hot teachers
I’m sure many schoolgirls were infatuated with their hot male teachers, but in girls’ schools, it was intense. The lack of boys to crush on made some teachers the unwilling object of many students’ attention, for four whole years.
There was always some young hottie who’d have his mail tray flooded with gifts and flowers from admirers on Teachers’ Day. Some girls would even sign up for remedial to spend more time with their teacher-crushes.
I cringe when I reflect on my angsty teen days, sighing over unrequited love for a man who was twice my age and married.
13. Angels & Mortals
Angels and Mortals was a big deal in my school. I’d put so much effort into my letters to my Angel, and kept all her letters to me in a special box.
It felt nice to know there was someone supporting and looking out for me.
But apparently, my school banned the game after I graduated, because it was causing trouble among students. It’s a shame current students will never experience this meaningful tradition.
Just Girls’ School Things
The girls’ school experience is something many never forget, long after graduation. Despite some bad memories, many old girls admit those were some of the best years of their lives.
And looking back on the weird shit you and your friends used to do, and still do, it’s clear some things never change.
Cover image: Source