Principal’s Message 2018
Each year as I write the Principal’s Message, I am mindful that it is not so much just a message for my own students. There would be future students (and parents) who may want to find out more about the college, and decide that this page could possibly offer a glimpse of the school culture. There would perhaps be that alumnus who may for some reason overwhelmed by certain nostalgia, decides to check out this page before reconnecting with his/her alma mater.
But this year’s Principal’s Message is written with a different focus.
Following the merger announcement on 20 April last year, 2018 will be, in a certain sense, Tampines Junior College’s final year. The merged college is sited at Meridian Junior College which will therefore be the only one hosting the Year 1 students in 2018. And on 11 Jan this year, it was announced that the new name for the merged college would be a combined name of the two – Tampines Meridian Junior College.
A combined name will be helpful in allowing the alumni of both colleges to still find meaning in its identity and continue to connect and contribute to the college. It signifies clearly it is the coming together of equals, the recognition of the history and heritage of both colleges, the significant work of the staff and alumni, and the building upon of strengths and the standing on the shoulders of pioneering giants.
While the acronym of the merged college is yet to be discussed and confirmed, the spontaneous and natural acronym would be TMJC. This, as I shared with the current Year 2s, can be read as ‘That’s My JC’. And it would be for both TPJC and MJC students, past, present and future, to look at the merged college and proclaim ‘That’s (indeed) My JC’.
Also announced on 11 Jan is that I will be the Principal-designate for Tampines Meridian Junior College. While there will certainly be much to be done to prepare for Tampines Meridian Junior College’s full operation in 2019, I have assured my current staff and students that my primary role this year is Principal of Tampines Junior College and it remains my main priority to support TPJC in our effort to make this final year a most significant and beautiful one.
But the TPJC I know and have grown to love is not one who is inward looking. We believe we grow, become better and stronger when we, as grateful people show our gratitude and give by helping and supporting others. As such, we have planned several events in the course of this year to do exactly that and we invite especially our alumni to join us in our efforts. With TPJC turning 32 this year, I have issued a personal 320km walk/run challenge to members of our TPJC community to mark our 32nd year. We hope to culminate with a final 3.2km run/ walk at our Family Carnival cum Birthday Bash on 26 May 2018. If you are keen to join us for any of the events, please do refer to the calendar attached for the details.
Every year, I would choose a story to anchor some focus for TPJCians at our Day 1 Assembly. This year, I shared not one but two stories because after deciding on that one story for the year, a friend shared a second one which simply confirmed the focus set for this year.
Story 1 (source: unknown as this was shared via text)
A man was engaged to help re-paint a boat. While painting, he noticed that there was a small hole in the hull and he quietly repaired it. When he had finished painting, he received his money and left.
The next day, the owner of the boat came to the painter and presented him with another cheque, much higher than the payment for the painting.
The painter was surprised and said, “You’ve already paid me for painting the boat, Sir!”
“But this is not for the paint job. It’s for having repaired the hole in the boat.” said the owner.
“Ah! But it was such a small service… certainly it’s not worth paying me such a high amount for something so insignificant.”
“My dear friend, you do not understand. Let me tell you what happened. When I asked you to paint the boat, I forgot to mention about the hole. When the boat dried, my kids took the boat and went on a fishing trip, not knowing that there was a hole. I was not at home at that time.”
“When I returned and noticed they had taken the boat, I was desperate because I remembered that the boat had a hole. Imagine my relief and joy when I saw them returning from fishing.”
“Then, I examined the boat and found that you had repaired the hole. You see now, what you did? You have saved the life of my children! I do not have enough money to pay you for your ‘small’ good deed.”
Indeed, sometimes we don’t realise our “small” good deed has that significant impact in the lives of others. So, my dear TPJCians, the question is when we are given a job, how do we look at it? Is any task given too small or insignificant? And because you think it is small or insignificant, what then is your attitude towards completing it? And what if you see you can do that bit more, even when it is not “part” of the job, would you do it?
What about when someone did something nice for you? What do you do? Do you take it for granted or would you be like this owner and go that extra mile to track the painter down to express your gratitude?
Now, for the bonus story.
Story 2 (source: also unknown as it was shared via word of mouth)
There was a King who wanted to thank all his people for their love for his son, the Prince and decided to open the doors to his palace for a party. The only thing he set as a requirement to enter the palace was that his people must bring with them a container made of precious metal.
His people were very unhappy and grumbled amongst themselves, “What kind of a King, is he? Does he really think we even want to attend this party for his son?”
So what they did was to make the smallest of vessels they could. Everyone except a little girl. She adored the King and the Prince though she was poor. She gathered everything she had and made the biggest container she could.
The day of the party came and when the gate to the palace was open, the King said to his people, “Welcome to the Palace. Thank you for attending my beloved son’s birthday celebration. To show my appreciation for your love, I have decided to open the doors of my treasury and you can take so much of the gold and precious gems that your container can hold.”
Essentially, the two stories share two main points:
(1) When you do something, do the best you can, not just what is expected of you.
(2) Never take things / people for granted. Be grateful and thankful always.
So, in conclusion, my dear kiddos, as I end my Day 1 Message for this year, what do you want for yourself in 2018?
I hope that you will give 100% in whatever you do because nobody has ever regretted giving his best. And remember, be thankful people. Thankful people see good in and do good to others and for that, they are happy people. Lets start with being thankful for our family.
And so, I say to all of you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you, my TPJC Ohana, and I love you so much.
Ms Pamela Yoong
Tampines Junior College
Speech by Ms Pamela Yoong, Principal,
My dear TPJC Ohana
Today is our special birthday celebration. As explained, we have for the past 3 years set aside a day for the current student population to have a part of the celebrations of a milestone in the history of TPJC. This is because the design of College Day tends to be focusing on the batch that would have just graduated and a celebration of their achievements at A levels. And we want something the current batch of students could enjoy and remember, hence the July Birthday Bash.
So, Birthday Bash is different because it is about the current batch of students – the students who can still and will create history for TPJC. So, can I ask my current students to join me after a count of 3 to shout as loud as possible –Happy Birthday TPJC?
But of course, the current TPJC never celebrates alone. Standing with me on stage are representations from the various groups that are part of the TPJC larger Ohana – our CAC members, especially Mr Sim, our Chairman, the different batches of alumni members, especially the pioneer batch of 86-87, the parents who are our PSG members and even our canteen vendors.
So, to those on stage, lets see if we out-cry the current students with our birthday wish for TPJC. Again, after a count of 3 – Happy Birthday TPJC.
This morning, with the various sectors of our TPJC Ohana represented, I would like to take the opportunity to make a few announcements. Announcements that would affect both the current as well as Alumni students.
While as a family, we are saddened by the news of the merger, TPJC recognises that the Spirit of TPJC resides in each of us and we will always carry that with us wherever we go. This is something no one, no announcement, no merger can take away from us.
But we know what we all have grown to love is so special and we want it to be something our future generations will get to know of and about. So, there will be efforts we will put in to archive this aspect.
Very quickly, the intent is to look at 2 major aspects starting with the journey from today’s Birthday Bash till 2018’s Birthday Bash in July.
The first – Heritage – we will be looking at the creation of a Heritage Corner / Room / Display at the merged JC site, a coffee table book, both a print and digital version. In fact, the Digital Project will attempt to capture everything about TPJC, including interviews with past & present TPJC members. And, with today’s technology and careful archiving, I am confident we may even be able to use Virtual Reality one day to re-create the entire TPJC, room by room. We are also looking at a time capsule to be buried and re-opened at a specific milestone at the merged college site.
We hope that all the effort will capture the TPJC we love for the many generations to come.
The second – Programmes. For this piece, we have tried to be as comprehensive as we can.
For the alumni, we plan to have batch reunion events during specific block periods, starting with in Nov for the batches 1986-1996. In Feb/Mar 2018 for the batches 1997-2006 and May/Jun for 2007-2016. We will also be opening the college grounds for alumni visits every last Sat of the month for 6 months, from Jan – Jun next year.
What about our programmes in college? Events will take a different flavour next year. We will have a 3D2N Ohana Special in Jan next year, pegged at CCA group level for our current students. A key highlight would be to invite alumni students (by CCA) to join us for alumni-student games and performances. In place of Road Run, we will have a Charity Walk/Run followed by HOT Concert in the evening. For College Day, the award ceremony will only be a part of the celebrations because we plan to end with a public performance, our Panorama Concert. And in May, in place of the usual Track & Field, we will have a College Family Carnival with a Singapore Book of Records attempt and the sealing of the Time Capsule.
A lot of the events we will be having will have a fund-raising part to them. This is because the current and alumni students have given their feedback that they would like in the new merged JC the opportunity to give out a “Spirit of TPJC” award to the students of the merged college. This is indeed a most commendable suggestion showing how warm and big-hearted TPJC truly is.
This is why I love my TPJC Ohana.
In July 2018, with our 32nd Birthday Bash, the date for our Final Homecoming will be announced. Our Class of 2018 will then concentrate on their preparation for their A levels and create TPJC history with the best results ever as their gift for TPJC Ohana.
Now, to help Class of 2018 create that wonderful history, the timetabling committee is currently looking at a possible 4 late days for next year, Mon – Thu, starting at 840am and lecture group size reduced to not more than 150 with a lot of opportunities for small group consultations.
In one breath, ok, in a few breaths, I have made known the several ideas and recommendations that the current and alumni batches have asked and we have agreed to.
I know we all love TPJC and we want the best for our family. So, today, we kick start our year-long TPJC Ohana celebrations with our uniquely TPJC Kampong Spirit Bazaar Party.
Let the party begin.
Principal’s Message 2017
The new year of 2017 has just begun.
Are you one who likes to set goals for yourself at the end of the previous year, aspiring to make the coming one most memorable and most significant? This is certainly laudable except if you are one who either sets unrealistic goals or one who loses steam along the way and when discouraged, would allow yourself to spiral downwards like a high speed train.
But the start of a new year is always a lovely time to reflect on that which had happened the year or years before and to consider deeply the new opportunities that may arise or could be created with effort. The thing you have to bear in mind is your own gifting and strengths and to build on these. And just as you are building on your strengths, you will need to know your weaknesses too, especially what would derail you so that you can proactively make the effort to prevent that from happening.
To the JC2s, it seems only yesterday that you were wide-eyed and lost as you walked around this campus wondering what JC life would be like for you. And now, a year later, you are walking down the corridors of the college purposeful and driven, and confidently leading your peers and the in-coming juniors, assuring them all’s well.
Yes, all would be well as we press on, working consistently and diligently towards the goal(s) we have set for ourselves. But is that all to life?
TPJC is not just a college. This is a place where you find life and the meaning of living and working together as a community.
A story was told of a young man who while roaming the desert came across a spring of delicious crystal-clear water. The water was so sweet and he filled his leather pouch so he could bring some back to a tribal elder who had been his teacher.
After a four-day journey, he presented the water to the old man who took a deep drink, smiled warmly and thanked his student lavishly for the sweet water. The young man returned to his village with a happy heart.
Later, the teacher let another student taste the water. He spat it out, saying it was awful. It apparently had become stale because of the old leather container.
The student challenged his teacher: “Teacher, the water was foul. Why did you pretend to like it?”
The teacher replied, “You only tasted the water. I tasted the gift. The water was simply the container for an act of loving-kindness and nothing could be sweeter.”
I chose to share this story for a few reasons.
Firstly, TPJC is 31 this year. The college has been standing on this very premise since the start. Some people may see this as a minus point especially when they compare us with the newer campuses. But if you take a closer look at our facilities, I dare say we have just as many, if not more, state-of-the-art support for teaching and learning. We all know resources are not unlimited and as good stewards, we would have to prioritise. But TPJC has been unsparingly in our effort to provide our students with the best of resources because we believe all these matter to our students’ learning. That said, the exterior (the old leather container) remains superficial. You have to experience and “taste” for yourself this “gift”- TPJC as a human community. In TPJC, you find people who genuinely care for each other and trust me, it is infectious. Just ask any of our alumni members, parent support group members, even the chance encounters. If you give yourself a chance to be involved, you will find that strange attraction that keeps you coming back. This is what makes TPJC special. We are serious about our people business. We are TPJC.
Secondly, I speak now to my kiddos. I will be truthful. The road ahead will be very much desert-like. It will be tough. For some, it will be tougher than for others. But don’t give up and keep walking. You will reach that oasis of delicious crystal-clear water. And I know amongst you are the many young men (and women) who would save that delicious crystal-clear water and bring it back to your teachers in appreciation for all that they have done for you. We see that in your seniors. This is TPJC. But there are also some who would be like the second student needing the enlightenment to understand the true purpose of our human connection. That’s why we, your teachers, will keep working with you and walking this journey with you as far as we can go with you. We are TPJC.
My dear TPJCians, at this start of a new year, as you go about deciding what you want out of 2017, may I ask you to add loving yourself and loving others to that list? You see, when you love yourself, you will make sure you look for and do things that are good and healthy for you physically, mentally and emotionally. When you love others, you would do likewise to and for them. And because your heart is always looking for the positive, you will become a happier person. The focus is on the actual Gift, and not the superficial container. So yes, my dear students, take good care of yourself and those around you because that’s what TPJC is all about. And remember, you are TPJC.
I wish everyone the very best in 2017 and may it be filled with wonderful and loving experiences.
Ms Pamela Yoong