Principal’s Musings

Showing 21 through 30 of 59 principal available.

  • 15 Jan 2018

    JAE 2018

    Last Saturday, many students who recently received their O level results would probably have visited JCs and Schools which held “Open Houses”.

    I had the opportunity to talk with some parents and students.  I made the point that all schools and JCs will do the best for students. Once a child receives the posting, he/she should look ahead and be positive, even if the child is not posted to the first choice JC or school. Our attitude determines our behaviour and how we respond to the environment and circumstances. Two years in a JC is not a long time and the quicker a child adjusts, the more he/she will be able to thrive and grow.

    I am glad to note that NJCians have been very welcoming of the students and parents who visited our school last Saturday. All staff and students have worked hard together to provide our visitors an enjoyable experience and, most importantly, the NJC spirit of service. Kudos to all.

    Best regards

    Service with Honour

  • 05 Jan 2018

    Welcome Back

    Dear NJCians,

    Today is Friday, 5 Jan 2018. The time now is 4 pm.

    Your teachers have been in school for the past 2 days for meetings and preparing for the beginning of year 2018. Besides administrative and curricular matters, your teachers have attended a workshop on “Restorative Practice” (RP).  RP focuses on building caring and healthy communities. The workshop went well and this is attributable to your teachers wanting to learn more about becoming better in the work that they do, in particular how to help all of you learn and grow. The commitment of your teachers to you is commendable.

    On your part, you must return ready to learn. You must assure your teachers that you are committed to begin the year with clear and achievable learning goals. Learning goals are holistic, not just about academic achievements.

    I wish you all the best and a joyful year ahead.

    Best regards

    Service with Honour

  • 21 Dec 2017

    Welcome 2018 JH1 NJCians

    This year’s PSLE pupils would have received their secondary school postings early this morning. On behalf of all colleagues and NJCians, I would like to welcome the 2018 JH1 students to our school. For pupils who have applied to join NJC and were not successful, I wish them the best in the schools that they have been posted to. I am certain you will thrive in any school as long as you adopt a positive attitude and do your best.

    I would like 2018 JH1 NJCians to immediately embrace our motto “Service with Honour”.  NJC was created in 1969 with the belief that NJCians will serve the community and wider humanity. “Service with Honour” binds all NJCians and must be the motto that all NJCians live by even after leaving school.

    You will spend the next 6 years here. You will experience the warmth of your fellow students, teachers, administrative staff, canteen stallholders, and all who work in NJC to provide a conducive learning environment for you.


    Best regards

    Service with Honour

  • 26 Oct 2017

    Road to Character

    “The Road to Character” written by David Brooks discusses a current affliction he calls the “Big Me” which emphasises external success. Brooks argues for a need to rebalance “résumé virtues” achieving wealth, fame, and status with “eulogy virtues” of kindness, bravery, honesty, or faithfulness. He warned against “merit love” where rewards are dished out or withdrawn according to a child’s achievements (or underachievement) in academics or in other areas.

    An article in a local social media website highlighted the practice of a tuition agency. This agency dishes out rewards to “achieving tutees”. This is an egregious marketing tactic masked as a motivational tool. It places a psychological burden on those students who have paid a large sum of money to the agency.

    NJCians must not be lured by such marketing tactics. Always remember that learning is hard and consistent work.


    Best regards

    Service with Honour

  • 29 Sep 2017

    Ye Old Raintree

    NJCians would have noticed that less and less of the Raintree could be seen. Over the last few Saturdays, I witnessed a team working co-operatively to gradually slice off parts of the tree. It was tough work. I videoed the moment a branched was felled. It showed teamwork, skill and process.

    I wouldlike to declare that the poem penned by Shannon Or Shao Ning of JH403 has been selected to best capture the passing of the raintree. I would like to thank Meng DaKe (17SH07), Vanessa Chan (17SH09), Ho Yin Kiat (JH403), Chen Ke Yuan (17SH12) for their contributions. Ke Yuan wrote a rap piece.

    Here is Shannons’s poem :

    Change is coming,

    a new phase of life beginning.

    A sense of wonder,

    ominous as the clap of thunder.


    A sea of new faces,

    all of them leaving different traces.

    An occasional glance is all it receives,

    not many stop long enough to perceive,

    to wallow in its great magnificence,

    a silent but overarching presence.


    Time passes, leaves fall,

    generation after generation answering a nation’s call.

    A place to grow, a place to nurture,

    all amidst the beauty of nature.


    Collections of memories,

    will live on for centuries,

    Passed on from year to year,

    stories we will continue to hear.

    Even when the old rain tree is gone,

    its NJ legacy will still live on.


    Best regards

    Service with Honour

  • 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