“I don’t like to inconvenience anyone,” said Ayu Puspitatsari in the reception area of Aegis English this morning, “but I have paid for the course and it would be nice to finish it.”
Blowing dust and cobwebs from a damp-damaged manila folder, Fransisca Dewi Putri confirmed that due to the school’s payment policy during the Suharto era, Puspitasari was still entitled to four classes.
“She’s all paid up,” confirmed Ms. Putri. “Either someone will have to teach her or we’ll have to refund her seven hundred and fifty rupiah.” (5c in today’s money)
When the news was broken to her by Ms. Putri, Hannah Walsh seemed taken aback but reluctant to cause offence. “I’m used to students coming a bit late,” she told our reporter, “sometimes there’s rain or the start of the class clashes with prayer times so we start a few minutes late and I let the lesson run a bit longer.”
Walsh bit her lip and stared at her schedule. “Is it Islamophobic if I just tell her to get lost?” she asked meekly.
Back in reception, Mrs. Puspitasari was enthusiastic.
“I’ve done my homework and checked the articles and verbs thoroughly,” she said, producing a sheet of A4 paper from a plastic wallet. “Mr Graham had told us to write about what’s going to happen when the Millennium Bug hits and I had been looking forward to getting feedback from him about my use of futurity.”
When informed that Graham Manning had passed away in 2004 from liver failure, Puspitasari was downcast.
“That is a shame,” she said, shaking her head. “I’d been meaning to come to class on the Thursday but my motorbike wouldn’t start. Then I had exams the next week and after graduation I got a job with the civil service which clashed with the schedule. I thought I might have time to join the classes after my children started school but in 2012 it just started raining so I thought I’d better wait until it stopped.”
At time of going to print, Ms Walsh was being presented with the coursebooks from Mrs Puspitasari’s class.
“So before there was New English File it was just English File?” she asked. “I though the new part was just branding. Was there an Old Headway too?”