MY SCHOOLDAYS: ‘I used to think that my voice was a curse’

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IT is a case of encountering three men named Constantine/Constantin in three consecutive years.

In 2010, I finally found time to watch the 2005 movie Constantine starring Keanu Reeves over the Hari Raya holidays. As I watch only about the grand total of two DVDs a year and do not go to the movies, this is more of a feat than it first appears.

Last year, Berlin native art director Constantin Eberle flew in from Germany for several visits to Malaysia to oversee the revamp of the New Straits Times. “Even I don’t have a piece of the Berlin Wall,” says Consti, as he is called, when he found out about mine which is still in a shoe box from 1989 and on a bookshelf.

And this year, there is Constantine Anthony, the LiteFm deejay, who is Dr Love on the station’s The Love Zone weekdays from 10pm to 1am. If he cannot “sort out” your matters of the heart, start the tone for a quiet night by listening to his soothing voice on the two-hour The 80s Music Marathon, prepping listeners for The Love Zone. He shows a fine balance of songs and minimal chat — after all, it is called a music marathon and was not helmed by a deejay before his advent.

He also hosts Radio Bayu (Astro Channel 869) and i@4 (formerly known as IU 1Malaysia), a news segment that airs over TVi (Astro Channel 180). i@4 features news updates in Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin, Tamil and English that cater to youth. “I enjoy working and will keep on doing it as long as I can,” says Constantine, 36, who is also a TV news presenter and emcee for events such as beauty pageants and business conferences.

He is named after the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great. “My parents wanted to name me ‘Christian’ in sync with my siblings’ names, Christine and Christina. However, at the last minute, my father got a bit creative.”
Constantine answers questions on his schooldays:

Yaqin: Which primary and secondary schools did you attend?
Constantine:
I attended Aliiolani Elementary School Honolulu, Hawaii. My father took the family with him when he was pursuing his degree there. When he finished his studies, we returned to Sabah. Then I joined SMK St John, Tuaran in Sabah; SK Tanjung Aru and Sabah College, both in Kota Kinabalu.

At first I found it difficult to cope in school because I was weak in the Malay language. But thanks to an English teacher, who helped me a lot, and many great friends as classmates, it didn’t take me that long to learn to speak the language.

Yaqin: Did you have a favourite teacher and why did you like him/her?
Constantine:
My favourite teacher was Puan Wan Sharizam, my Geography teacher, at Sabah College. She was strict, loving, kind, compassionate, understanding and wanted the best out of her students.

Yaqin: What subject(s) did you like at school?
Constantine:
I enjoyed English, Geography, History and the Arts.

Yaqin: Were you rewarded for good performance by your parents? If yes, in what way.
Constantine:
My mother showed me love and support and this has encouraged me to do greater things in life. My mother is a great tailor and made me a nice suit and traditional Kadazandusun attire as a reward.

Yaqin: What was your best (and worst) school holiday?
Constantine:
My best school holiday was when I was 15 years old. I took up my first job working at an arcade centre nearby my neighbourhood. My job was to exchange cash for tokens and I did a lot of cleaning, but it felt really good to get my first salary.

My worst school holiday was when I helped my father to sell watermelons at the wet market. It was embarrassing and was totally not cool then. But looking back now, it was fun and quite an experience.

Yaqin: What hobbies did you have while at school?
Constantine:
I loved music and the performing arts. I used to be in a band. I enjoyed music and had an extensive collection of cassettes. I also loved collecting videotapes of my favourite movies.

Yaqin: What was your ambition while schooling?
Constantine:
I somehow knew I was going into the communications field. My English teacher told me I should get into broadcasting because at 16, I had the radio voice of a 40-year-old man. I used to think that my voice was a curse but today I feel blessed to have such a gift.

Yaqin: If you were to live your schooldays all over again, is there anything you would like to change?
Constantine:
I wouldn’t change a thing as my schooldays were amazing. However, it would be nice to have today’s technology, such as an iPad and lots of e-books to read. It could have made life a lot more interesting!

 


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