Principal’s Musings

Showing 21 through 30 of 54 principal available.

  • 15 Sep 2017


    I am reading this book titled “Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality” by Dr Henry Cloud. 

    Cloud suggested that character building involves the following:

    • Ability to connect (which leads to trust)
    • Ability to be oriented toward the truth (which leads to finding and operating in reality)
    • Ability to work in a way that gets results and finishes well (which leads to reaching goals and mission)
    • Ability to embrace, engage and deal with the negative (which leads to ending problems, resolving them or transforming them)
    • Ability to be oriented towards growth ( leads to increase)
    • Ability to be transcendent (which leads to enlargement of the bigger picture and oneself)

    I have yet to finish reading the book. What I find meaningful is Cloud’s attempt to unpack “character”. He challenges the reader to reflect on the core of leadership, which is much much more than just getting things done.  As a steward of a school, I read to grow and to be better in what I do. Books like this challenge our beliefs and thinking, and make us reflect on how I could be a better steward of NJC.


    Best regards

    Service with Honour

  • 28 Aug 2017

    Teachers’ Day

    Teacher’s Day is celebrated in different countries of the world since the early 20th century. More than 100 countries across the world celebrate Teachers’ Day. UNESCO started observing Teacher’s day on October 5 since 1994.

    Countries celebrate this special occasion to show respect for educators who contribute selflessly to the growth and development of children. Singapore’s education system has progressed significantly through the years, and one of the major contributors is the dedicated teachers who serve with pride and distinction.

    Every day at school students and teachers engaged one another and every day is a day filled with significance. What happens in the day between teachers and students could shape a student’s life. Positive experiences from healthy relationships will optimise learning, while negative experiences may stifle learning for the rest of a student’s life.

    To all NJC teachers, I quote Henry Adams who famously wrote, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

    Happy Teachers’ Day.

    Best regards

    Service with Honour

  • 24 Aug 2017

    Read, Read, Read

    Early this year, I announced to all NJCians that I will be sharing the books I have read with NJCians. I am heartened to find out that NJCians have taken all the books I have placed in the Library. I asked each NJCian to pen some thoughts in a notebook, placed at the borrowing counter, on his/her choice of book. I have read all the thoughtful reflections. Thanks.

    Today, the opinion page in the Straits Times focused on the importance of reading. I agree with the comments. Many Singaporeans do not read enough and not widely. Perhaps the distractions are too many and young Singaporeans are caught up with academic pursuits. However, we must always set aside time for reading. The June vacation starts next week and sufficient time will be available for reading. Every student should make the effort to read at least 3 books.

    I have already downloaded 6 e-books from the e-books collection in the National Library. These are all “How to” books – deal with adversity, connect with nature, develop emotional health, and 3 other titles. I aim to complete reading these books during the June vacation.

    NJCians – do read.

    Have a joyful and lively vacation.

    Best regards

    Service with Honour

  • 15 May 2017

    JH2 Boarding Reflections

    The JH2 cohort completed the Boarding Programme last Friday.  I was impressed by their choral speaking performances and their dance “displays”. For each choral performance, every class demonstrated creativity and teamwork. I found out from some JH2 Njcians that each class worked in their own unique and collaborative way when preparing for the performance.  Regarding the dance, I was glad to see the students shedding some of their inhibitions in their “displays”.  Well done!

    I spent time (about an hour) with each class over a few evenings to talk about two matters of interest – good manners and being well-adjusted. I explained that conceptually “good manners” is about respect for self, others and things around us.  “Good manners” is a must have and not just a good to have. It is about behaviour, attitude and, most importantly, belief. We must have the belief that respecting self, others and things around us is fundamental.

    A well-adjusted person has an internal compass to guide him/her – to differentiate right from wrong and good from bad. Cognitively and emotionally, he/she would be able to think through issues and find solutions to problems. As such, the person will not succumb to panic, anxiety and other negative emotions.


    Best regards

    Service with Honour

  • 04 Apr 2017

    Learning to Learn

    Many times at assembly, I spoke about my observations on how NJCians learn. One pervasive practice or habit is that many NJCians use “highlighting” as a tool. A set of notes could be multi-coloured from profused highlighting. This favourite technique, unfortunately, done alone has been found to be ineffective. While highlighting requires no training, takes practically no additional time and involves very little thought, it does not help learning.

    Two well-researched learning techniques are testing and distributed practice. The benefits of testing for learning are substantial and studies have found that a practice test can double recall. Research has also shown that it is better to divide your studying over a period of time than studying in large chunks.  If you want to remember something for a year you should study at least every month, and if you want to remember something for a week you should space your learning 12-24 hours apart. Combining testing and distributed practice will yield the best results.

    Many NJCians procrastinate, and are prone to cramming right before an exam. However,  the evidence is conclusive that this is the worst way to study, especially when it comes to remembering for the long term.  Certainly,  if NJCians are able to space learning over time and practice frequently, improvement is guaranteed.

    Best regards

    Service with Honour

  • 01 Mar 2017

    Learning to use a new page builder

    I have not been posting as regularly as I hope to as the transition to a more secure website has made the process of posting a musing more complex. I, like many of you, am  a creature of habit and once we have adjusted to a certain way of doing things, we sometimes find adapting and adjusting to changes in the way things operate a chastening and unedifying experience. Learning, however, is about adapting and adjusting.  As such, I have decided from here on to learn and to relearn, if necessary.

    The first batch of your fellow SH1 NJCians have started their boarding programme. They checked in last Sunday and will check out on Sat, 11 March. I spoke with them on Monday and reinforced the following:

    1. always challenge yourself and set clear goals;
    2. work together as a class and support one another;
    3. work with your teachers and be a source of joy for them; and
    4. know that there will always be someone in the school to talk to if you need help.


    Best regards

    Service with Honour

  • 06 Feb 2017

    Welcome SH1 NJCians

    Time does go by quickly.  A month ago I composed my last musing. We welcomed our new SH1 NJCians last Friday.

    Orientation has started and will continue for the next few days. The orientation team has worked diligently to plan a challenging programme which will test your decision-making skills and your ability to work as a team. Your active participation will see you enjoy the challenges and in the process engender friendships, and settling in well to life as a SH student.

    Over the next 2 years, you will need to be able to harmonise work and play. Always ensure that you listen well in class, complete your assignments and ask lots of questions. Allocate time for your CCA and rest. Enough sleep is essential for you to be fresh every morning.

    My best wishes to all and be joyful and lively.


    Best regards

    Service with Honour

  • 05 Jan 2017


    School for NJCians will start next Monday, 9 January 2017. We welcome new JH1 students who have made the choice to join us. Their seniors have been actively preparing an orientation programme aimed at integrating every one of them into life in NJC. The energy and earnestness of the seniors to prepare a joyful, lively and memorable programme have been impressive. They have worked as a team, learnt from the teacher advisors and designed activities that will challenge and enthuse the JH1 students. The NJC spirit of Service with Honour is well and alive.

    I hope all NJCians have had a good break and ready to start the new year. You will realise that 2017, like every year in the past, will go by very briskly. Therefore, you will have to adjust and tune in quickly and not let procrastination hold you back. Your teachers are already in school this week, preparing for the start of term.

    In last year’s posts, I encouraged you to spend some of your holiday time to read as much as you could. I read a book a week and the books I have read are Twilight of the Elites, Why Empathy Matters, Thinking of Answers, Thinking Small and Intelligence in Nature. If you have read any of these books, do share with me your thoughts.

    Best regards

    Service with Honour

  • 24 Oct 2016

    What do you want to do with your life?

    On 14 October 2016, we held the farewell assembly for our SH2 NJCians. I am glad that we invited, for the first time, parents to attend this assembly.

    My short address focussed on what each NJCian would want to do with their life after leaving NJC. I highlighted the difference between what we want to plan to do with our lives and how we plan to earn a living. The latter is about securing enough resources to lead a comfortable life and the former is about doing something more than leading a comfortable life. Planning to earn a living is akin to having a map which shows clearly where other people have been before. Planning what to do with our lives is about having a compass which provides a general sense of where we want to go, even though the paths are uncertain and unpredictable. The reward is new paths, and unexpected and amazing places.

    I added that the most valuable currency to possess is ideas and that we should all aim to be part of the solution and not the problem.

    My final piece of advice to the graduating NJCians so to do the following when thay have completed the A-Levels:

    • make a list of EVERYTHING you plan to DO with your life.
    • write it down in a notebook.
    • just make the list. Don’t worry about how crazy it sounds or how it’s ever going to happen.
    • at the end of every year see how many things you’ve managed to cross off.

    Best Regards

    Service with Honour

  • 20 Sep 2016

    Stephen Loh Sports Excellence Award

    Today I met Mr Victor Loh, father of Mr Stephen Loh of whom the eponymous Stephen Loh Sports Excellence Award is named after.  NJCians might not be aware of the genesis of this award as it is given out once a year during College Day to NJCians who have excelled in sports.

    This award is given in memory of Mr Stephen Loh, NJC PE teacher, who passed away while representing Singapore in the International Dragonboat Competition in Cambodia in December 2007.

    In 2008, the first award was given to Jared Chew Hong Yun captain of the NJC boys canoeing team.

    Mr Victor Loh came with a donation so that we could continue to award the Stephen Loh Sports Excellence Award to deserving students. On behalf of NJC, I would like to express my deep gratitude to Mr Loh for his generosity and his concern for NJCians. To NJCians who have received this award, I would like you to express your gratitude to Mr Loh and to reflect on how you could contribute to others in future.

    In my short conversation with Mr Loh, I learned that he is still working at an age where most would have retired. Mr Loh is a marathoner and a triathlete. Recently, he completed the Sundown Marathon. There is much to admire of Mr Loh and learn from him.

    Mr Loh, thank you once again for your unstinting support for NJC students.

    Best Regards

    Service with Honour