Shortly after JJ's school reopens every year, parents would receive a red envelop each. In it is a greeting to wish the family a Happy New Year. And together with the greeting card is a donation form. These are all in Chinese characters except for the words "LEMBAGA PENGURUS SEKOLAH SJK (C) ST. JAMES" at the top of the document. It is basically a donation drive to raise money for the construction of a new classroom block as well as the refurbishment of the canteen building. It is not known when exactly the construction would commence, but presumably as soon as there is sufficient funds. Of course this may mean several years down the road.
Unfortunately, I can't read Chinese. I'm not very good in Mandarin, although I can speak the local dialect, Hakka. To save myself from embarrassment, I sometimes say that I only know a few Chinese characters when asked. But actually, I only know how to write one, two and three in Chinese. That is why Mia would usually be the one who'd handle JJ's school matters, including donations. She's not exactly an expert in Mandarin, but at least she's slightly better than me.
The donation form was a simple document. There's a short paragraph containing information, seeking to justify the donation drive by giving short explanation for the purpose of the fund. That more or less occupied about half of the A4 size paper. The bottom half of the document was where several blanks were found. These were where I was supposed to fill up my full name, my signature, the amount donated, the cheque number (if any), the pupil's name as well as his or her class.
However, Mia was away for a few days to Hong Kong for an ultra trail marathon recently, so I had to be the one to handle the donation thing this time. There was of course no specific amount mentioned, and parents could donate whatever amount they could afford. I decided to donate RM300. It's not a big donation, but I thought it's still big enough to be a little risky for JJ to handle it in cash. Since there's a blank to fill in the cheque number, I thought it's best that I make the donation by cheque. Although there's no mention of which party the cheque should be made payable to, it seemed only logical to just address it to those words found at the top of the document. So I wrote out the cheque to "LEMBAGA PENGURUS SEKOLAH SJK (C) ST. JAMES".
This evening, JJ brought the cheque home from school, informing me that the name of the payee was wrong. Instead of paying to Lembaga Pengurus, the payee should have been "ST. JAMES PRIMARY SCHOOL BUILDING FUND". Bear in mind that nowhere on the donation form could such a name be found. JJ's teacher sent his apology through JJ, saying that they did not expect that parents would donate with cheques. A strange explanation, considering that there was a blank space on the donation form for filling up the cheque number. This is the place where my kid is acquiring valuable knowledge to compete in the job market in the future.