G N I H C R A E
E T A S E T R H G EIG H E R
C JC N E WS L E TTE R I SS U E T WO
JU L 2015
EDITORS Nadia Arianna Bte Ramli Suzie Yanti Jumadi Sng Mee Lian Aprilene Goh Huishan
PRESIDENT Lorraine Tan
VICE PRESIDENT Glen Tan
PHOTOGRAPHERS Benedict Kang Ng Zi Xuan Zher Min Shawn Goh Yip Feng
Amos Wong Kit Yong
CONTRIBUTORS Ang Si Jia Boo Wen Si Cindy Ho Charles Mak Glen Tan Huang Guohua Khasnavis Ashrita Li Yan Lorranie Tan Megan Lee Melissa Khoo Mona Chia Ryan Siew Sharyn Loh Simran Kaur Wendy Gao
DESIGN JAB Design Pte Ltd
his issue of the Flame covers the term when CJCians are most active. It is the season where the students juggle the competitions for their various CCAs and their academic preparation for the MidYear Examinations. Like the story of the pupa and the cocoon, shared at the Parent Information Evening in January, the challenge can bring about individual growth. CJCians who face a hectic time have learned that discipline and good time management build resilience and help them achieve personal growth and success. We are very pleased to see CJCians uphold the values of Truth and Love both on stage and in the sporting arena. The teamwork and support for each other is strongly evident. Despite the odds the teams face, where many members learn to play the game or the musical instrument from scratch, they strive to beat their personal best at all times. While competitions, medals and awards get the adrenaline rushing, CJCians are encouraged to look beyond the competitions and build their passion and talent for their specific sport or art form. As we celebrate our 40th anniversary we note there are several talented musicians, artistes, sportsmen and sportswomen from CJC who have made their mark in our nation or on the global stage. As we look to the future, we are confident CJCians will continue to be Thinkers with a Mission, Leaders with a Heart, not only in the usual careers and sectors of society but in the arts and sports scene of the 21st century. Most important of all, they will excel in these areas while upholding the values of “Truth and Love”; “In Veritate et Caritate”. God bless
Mrs Christine Kong
“Children of the track”
CROSSING THE Finish Line
TEXT BY MELISSA KHOO (2T32) & KHASNAVIS ASHRITA (1T10)
Running, stretching, endless hours of intense training, and even more running – this routine for the Cross Country Team saw them achieve 7th place overall for both the Boys’ and the Girls’ Teams. The Flame spoke to Aisleen D/O Yobbo (1T10) and Vice-Captain Maximilian Sin (2T32), to discover the finer details of a fast-paced life on the track.
he training was undeniably difficult as Aisleen recounts. “Training can get really tough sometimes. I’m always trying to achieve my personal best on the track, so more often than not I’d be aching after the session,” says Aisleen. “Cross involves not only your physical strength but also your mental strength, as you have to keep pushing your limits to achieve your personal goals.” Yet, the crossers’ love for their sport keeps them going. For Aisleen, her passion and interest in running and exercise is a constant source of motivation, while Maximilian derives his inspiration from a former schoolmate who is now in another college’s cross country team. “One thing that he shared will always stick with me. He once asked, ‘What do you know about big dreams?’ That question is what drives me forward.” In addition, support and encouragement from the team as a whole were the other factors that accounted for their success. This ranged from checking one another for injuries to even bringing fruits to share with the team after training. “To be honest, the team wasn’t too close at the beginning,” admits Maximilian. “But training became very memorable towards the end, and all the banter and pain shared will never be forgotten.” As the ‘A’ Division has drawn to a close, it is up to the next generation of crossers to carry on the legacy of their seniors. Maximilian leaves his juniors with some precious words of advice - “Keep your heads up. You have to be proud, because this is one of the toughest sports out there. You have to do it with grace, not just as Team CJ, but as children of the track. It’s all in, or nothing at all.”
Runners finishing the race with grace
e Eyes trained on th
ON GUARD, GET SET,
TEXT BY MONA CHIA (1T06) AND MEGAN LEE (2T03)
abre, épée and foil. These are the three main weapons used in competitive fencing, which our CJ Fencers have gotten well acquainted with ever since the establishment of the CCA in 1975. In the past 5 years, they have won overall individual Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for all 3 weapon groups. It was also in 2010 that former CJC fencers Liane Wong and Lim Weihao represented Singapore in the Youth Olympic Games. This year, our fencers continue to make the college proud by attaining 3rd placing overall in the ‘A’ Division, in both the Boys’ and the Girls’ categories. To be an exceptional fencer, a great deal of rigour and strength is required, and for any athlete, disappointment and setbacks can be significant challenges. When asked how he found the strength to persevere during training, Nicholas Choong (1T06), who is also a national fencer, passionately replied that whenever he feels like giving up, he recalls the advice given by his coach. “My coach always reinforced the idea of being a fighter and what a true champion really is - one who doesn’t give up and continues to push himself whether he’s extremely tired or at the top.” As a national fencer, Nicholas has to follow pre-competition routines and maintain a special diet. “Nearer to my competition date, I try to eat more meat and follow the Atkins diet. I also stock up on carbohydrates a few days before I start competing.” Mental preparation is also crucial, hence Nicholas established his own routine prior to any competition. “I listen to pumped-up music such as ‘Latch’ by Disclosure and songs by Jason Derulo, to get me psyched and ready.” Having represented Singapore since the age of 14, Nicholas is no stranger to the pressures of competitive fencing and the accompanying struggle of keeping his academic grades up. However, it is this fighting spirit and undying determination that has pushed him, as well as the rest of the CJ Fencers, to succeed. Passion. Determination. Perseverance. These truly are the attributes and values that our CJ Fencers embody and which have helped them to achieve such great heights.
Nicholas Choong (1T06) our national and CJC fencer
TEXT BY SHARYN LOH (1T24) AND ANG SI JIA (2T08)
he sight of gymnasts executing graceful stunts without breaking a sweat often leaves audiences in awe of the capability of the human body. In reality, there is so much more that goes into perfecting their skills. So, what exactly is gymnastics all about? The Flame speaks to Michael House Captain and national gymnast, Josiah Tan from 1T19, to uncover the intricacies of gymnastics. What’s your training schedule like? I train with the national team 6 days a week. I also try to fit in trampoline training with the school team once a week. How did you fare in the different categories? I took part in trampoline and artistic gymnastics at the ‘A’ Division on 24th March and 9th April respectively. I came in 5th place for trampoline, 1st place for floor exercise, 2nd place for pommel horse, parallel bars and high bars, 3rd place for rings and vault; and 3rd place for individual all-around. Which win was most significant for you and why? Definitely the floor exercise! It’s my favourite event and I put a lot of effort into it during training. I find the most joy from it. Who would you like to attribute your success to? I attribute it to my invaluable teammates, who are always there for me, guiding and motivating me. Also to my coach who never fails to bring out the best in me and always believing that I can do better. My friends in school who have shown me so much support, whenever my training schedule and workload become challenging. I am really grateful for the people in my life as I could never be where I am today without them.
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4 Our strong and talented gymnasts from the CJC Gymnastics Team
ACHIEVING BEYOND Medals TEXT BY CHARLES MAK (1T21) AND HUANG GUOHUA (2T12) The iconic white robes and thick coloured belts of the Judoka exemplify the ideals of Judo, which means the ‘gentle way’ in Japanese. We take a closer look at the practitioners of Judo in CJC who display their grit and perseverance in every training session and tournament.
any of our CJC Judokas were novices before joining the CJC Judo Team. Yet, they performed spectacularly in this year’s ‘A’ Division, achieving 4 individual bronze medals for the College, in the face of stiff competition from the more experienced Judo teams. Apart from their achievements on the mat, our Judokas also recognize the significant individual development they have experienced through their participation in the sport. While Judo is seen by many as an individual sport, the CJC Judo Team believes that their fiery team spirit brought out the best in them for the competition. Angela Goh (2T18), the female captain, shared that “Judo is not a sport where you can get better alone. One gets better and improves as a team.” She is thankful for her team members’ hard work during the preparation period before the competitions. Cynric Koh (1T17) added that the cheering and shouting from his teammates on the sidelines inspired him to do his best, and is grateful for the experience in the ‘A’ Division which gave him the opportunity to bring glory to the college with his team.
Tiong Jun Khai (2T14) shared that he has developed a better sense of awareness as his time in Judo trained him to be focused. He found it helpful in preparing him mentally before facing his opponents in the competition. Being a part of the CJC Judo Team has also benefitted our Judokas academically. Joann Tan (2T02) explained that through her participation in Judo, she learned critical time-management skills to help her cope with the demands of the ‘A’ Level curriculum. In addition, commitment and dedication are the hallmarks of an excellent sportsman, reflected in her belief that “Whatever you do, you commit your 100% to it”. Both Cynric and Angela believe that this maxim from their coach drives them in their daily lives to achieve their goals. Like many martial arts practitioners, the emphasis on self-improvement plays a significant part in the life of the Judoka. Ben Tan (1T21), the incoming Judo captain, remarked that as long as there are learning points for all members to improve themselves through the experience, it is a victory. Ultimately, the most important thing is to enjoy oneself while learning.
g a throw during Judokas practicin training
Our CJC Judokas (left to right), Cynric Koh (1T17), Joann Tan (2T02), Angela Goh (2T18) and Tiong Jun Khai (2T14)
SING YOUR Heart OUT! TEXT BY MEGAN LEE (2T03)
Lim Yan Xin (1T17) delivered a captivating performance at the National Xinyao Competition, winning the top accolade.
J does not just cultivate good students who simply excel academically, it also nurtures a sense of cultural appreciation and musical flair.
Lim Yan Xin (1T17) and Shanice Hedger (Class of 2014) have taken part in music competitions and embarked on various musical endeavours. Their passion for music is evident in their captivating and soulful performances as well as their efforts to pursue their passion amidst the rigorous JC system. Yan Xin participated in and won the 2015 National Xinyao (Singapore Songs) Competition, a prestigious nationwide competition throwing limelight on a genre that was established in the early 1980s and has recently resurfaced. The competition is focused on a genre of music that is unique to Singapore and represents the local music scene through young artists. Yan Xin shared that she was grateful for the support from the teachers in CJ who encouraged her to join the competition, “I would not have heard about the competition had it not been for my Chinese teacher. My teacher and the Head Of Department (HOD) for Mother Tongue even came down to support me during the Xinyao finals and I am really thankful to them.”
Not unlike Yan Xin, Shanice Hedger, who graduated last year, was also involved in many music-related events. Shanice took part in ‘The Final One’, the singing competition that aired on MediaCorp Channel 5 in 2013. She is also the voice of the hymn, ‘We Are Called’ that plays over the public announcement system in college every morning. An active alumna, Shanice is still involved in the CJ community and even performed in the CJ40 Carnival during Rockafella. Shanice, too, felt that it was the loving CJ community and atmosphere that really pushed her to experiment more with music. “CJ has provided me with many opportunities for music – from Rockafella to Teachers’ Day performances and even Alfresco. It gave me the opportunity to meet other people who enjoy music the way I do and it allowed me to make new friends while sharing my passion with the school community.” True passion is hard to find and hold on to, but with the help of a warm and nurturing community, it is possible to discover a talent that stays with you for life.
A day in the life of a Musician TEXT BY GLEN TAN (2T28) & LI YAN (1T14)
Behind the troupe
We may think that a usual band practice may just be the mundane rehearsing of instruments repeatedly. In this issue, The Flame brings you a backstage pass at how this band of brothers and sisters comes together to make music.
s we entered the Band Room, we were greeted by warm smiles for the session ahead. A strong spirit of enthusiasm can be sensed in the room. Everyone meticulously set up their instruments and arranged their seats quickly before the conductor arrived. After all the preparation, one is set to immerse oneself in music for the next few hours, having fun and forging stronger bonds with friends. Their achievement of the Certificate of Distinction for this year’s Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) did not come easily. The band conducted intense practice sessions throughout the weeks leading up to the competition. Time was not the only factor that is demanded of any good musician. The Symphonic Band President, Theng Juay (2T17) shares that he tries to “avoid ‘heaty’ and spicy food”, while member Aqil Subahan (1T14) would “try to figure out the drum rhythms from songs (he) listens to on the bus.” Before and during the SYF performance, Aqil tells us what he does to relieve stress. “Personally, I usually try to smile at the audience. I try to be more relaxed with my body language instead of making my body unnaturally stiff because to me, that is a sign of nervousness which really does show when you perform. I don't have any fancy way to get rid of stage fright or nervousness but I do deal with it by simply treating it like another practice session.” In light of their achievement, Juay is elated with the whole experience. “I am grateful and really happy because our hard work translated into success! As President, I hope that my juniors will use our SYF achievement as a springboard for greater achievements and enjoy making music just like we always do.”
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act f pr o y da
CJC Choir’s hand gestures were as expressive as their voices
TEXT BY RYAN SIEW (1T04) AND LORRAINE TAN (2T03)
he CJC Choir earned themselves a Certificate of Distinction in this year’s Singapore Youth Festival (SYF). They performed their pieces - including “Impressions”, “Amor de mi Alma” and “Pok Pok Alimpako” – with stunning dynamism, and it was their consistent and tremendous effort that made this possible. Performing was not just about singing ability. As an ensemble, the Choir needed the fortitude and confidence to progress as a whole. The rigorous CCA practices grew the choristers in this aspect as well, as Clarissa Quah (2T03) shared with the Flame: “The hard work we put in for our songs and the many training sessions we received during the months of intense preparation have taught me to persevere and have discipline. It made me stronger not only as a singer but a person!” It was heartwarming to see our choristers display not only determination in juggling their commitments between practice and schoolwork, but also in their
efforts to bond as a group. “Being in Choir has given me confidence, in knowing that your contributions do mean something even though you may be in a huge group,” said Chan Bi Xuan (1T04). Despite the difficulties they faced in the run-up to the SYF, their passion for singing pulled them through. “The harmony of human voices and its capacity to do things that even instruments can’t do has always been of interest to me. The exposure to a variety of songs in different languages and varying levels of difficulty kept me wanting to learn,” adds Clarissa. In the end, the Choir’s triumphs are greater than the award they received. The road to Distinction served as a process of personal development for them. Their success is a model for all CJCians. The many invaluable experiences gained throughout the demanding, yet fruitful journey, will undoubtedly stay with the choristers for years to come.
Smiles were all around as the CJC Choir completed their performance
IN CONVERSATION WITH
CJ DANCE PRESIDENT
Erica Tay (2T01)
TEXT BY SIMRAN KAUR (1T02) AND WENDY GAO (2T29) What were some of the constraints during SYF preparations? Time was one of the larger problems as we only had a mere 2 months to ensure that everything was good. In addition, we struggled with the constraint of space as we often had to try to work around smaller stages to rehearse. What do you think was the most challenging aspect of the SYF preparations and how did you overcome it? The most challenging aspect was the struggle to keep everyone motivated and determined to get through the obstacles we had to face. The exhaustion and fatigue often got to us and many of us felt like giving up. We managed it with moral support from teachers and friends, as well as our hunger to achieve what we wanted. How did the dancers motivate themselves to get through the arduous and stressful dance practices? We often reminded one another of our collective and personal goals. We found strength in one another and persevered for the team. In short, our desire to make ourselves, our instructors and our teachers proud allowed us to push through the pain and the physical exhaustion. As the Dance President, what do you hope this accomplishment will bring for the CCA? I hope that the generations of CJ Dancers to come will pass on this legacy and our culture of excellence. I also hope that these accomplishments will inspire future CJ Dancers to do what seems impossible and achieve whatever they set out to do, as a team. Describe how you felt the moment you stepped off the stage after the performance. I felt at peace and relieved because we finally got to where we wanted to be. I also felt ecstatic and proud at the same time because we gave everything we had to that performance and we all left our hearts on the stage that afternoon.
Our vibrant CJC dancers after their SYF performance
TUGGING Heart AT Strings TEXT BY BOO WEN SI (1T30) AND CINDY HO (2T05)
laying the guitar is not about individual glory or mad strumming to a wild audience. It certainly takes the effort of an ensemble or a band to create the most melodious tunes. Enter CJ’s very own Guitar Ensemble, whose hard work clinched them a Certificate of Distinction in the recent Singapore Youth Festival (SYF). The confidence that the Guitar members exuded did not come easy and was a result of arduous 2-hour sessions consisting of two main segments: sectionals, where the entire ensemble breaks off into their sections, and combined practice, where all the sections gather at the Ensemble Room and play as one. In fact, Mabel Kho (2T05) battled with an uncomfortable
stomach on that very day of the SYF presentation. “I felt very nervous and had to calm myself down. I had to also constantly remind myself that we (Guitar members) had already practised so much and were prepared to impress everyone with our performance.” The stage anxiety did not escape even the most experienced of them. Kristian Lee Pineda (2T05), President of the Guitar Ensemble, admitted that there was certainly some pressure on him for the Guitar Ensemble to do well. “The Ensemble has never gotten a Gold or Distinction for SYF. This, and the fact that a majority of our members have little to no musical background, made me realise that I wasn’t the only one who wanted to do well. Everyone took ownership and channelled the pressure and expectations into their music, and in the end, we achieved great results.” Having tirelessly prepared for the SYF competition, our guitarists were relieved that their efforts have not gone down the drain. Mabel stated that she was heartened by the fact that all the members have worked so hard for the competition and it ended with good memories of their practice sessions as one big family.
The Alto Section looking confident to scale greater heights
CJC SPORTS CARNIVAL 2015
T he Fight Goes On TEXT BY ANG SI JIA (2T08) AND CINDY HO (2T05)
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ports Carnival – a battle of the fittest, a test of wits and strength and where CJ’s four houses battled it out on the field. This year’s Sports Carnival, themed “Ignite the Torch, Rekindling the Memories” was held in conjunction with CJ40 celebrations. Running up to the event, a photo exhibition highlighted the legacies of former CJC sporting giants. On the day of the carnival, CJCians rose to the legacies of the past. As with Sports Carnival, there was a huge variety of games, ranging from volleyball, floorball to games with the teachers, which included a telematch and football. New activities like Running Math were also available for those who like to push both their physical and mental boundaries. Even those who did not participate in a sporting event found joy in supporting their fellow friends – carrying on the deep-rooted CJ tradition of family and love for one another.
Joseph House was crowned House Champion in the 2015 Sports Carnival
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One of the main highlights was the cheerleading competition. The cheerleading teams entertained the cohort with leaps and bounds. It was the retro ‘throwback’ by Patrick House that garnered the loudest cheers from the students. The peak of the excitement, however, was to find out which house would be crowned champion, based on academic and non-academic scores, as well as the points tabulated from the matches played during the Carnival. With that, Joseph, was crowned the champion house again, with Patrick in hot pursuit and Albert and Michael bringing up the rear. Despite the keen competition amongst the houses, it is undeniable that CJ will continue to be one big family, In Veritate, et Caritate. Even as the sporting events for the year drew to a close, CJ’s fighting spirit will still go on – and for many generations to come.
A friendly but intense football match between teachers and students
12 The telematch was a test of teamwork for Joseph House
The end of a long but fulfilling journey - students proudly pose with their certificates of achievement
Reach Castle Co-ordinator Luke Billingham guiding a group of students
REACHING FOR Excellence O
TEXT BY MELISSA KHOO (2T32)
ne of the many highlights of any English Language and Linguistics (ELL) student’s journey in Catholic Junior College is the annual Reach Castle Programme. Contrary to what the name might suggest, we did not, in fact, enjoy the luxuries of an actual castle during our two-week stay in the historic city of Cambridge, England. However, our overall experience, learning and undertaking challenging things in a foreign land, more than made up for it. Travelling to the heart of the English language itself and listening to lectures by world-renowned linguists in the cosy premises of Reach Cambridge is truly a once-in-alifetime opportunity. The content covered went above and beyond our Singapore syllabus – familiar topics such as regional varieties of English and language change were explored in much greater detail, while other topics such as psycholinguistics, which concerns how one actually learns a language, were completely new to us.
However, our learning was not strictly limited to the classroom – we also ventured out to carry out fieldwork. This was probably one of the most challenging parts of the trip. There was a certain fear underlying our actions that morning – what if we were ignored or brushed aside? Would we even be able to get enough respondents? Carrying out questionnaires in Singapore is tough enough (as any ex-Project Work student can attest to) – would it be even more difficult in England? Luckily for us, the residents of Cambridge were more than willing to help us out, and just like that the morning flew by and one of the most daunting parts of the programme was over. Our travels in England brought us outside of Cambridge as well to gain more historical and cultural insights. Visits to Reach Academy and Norwich School allowed us to experience different methods of teaching and even subjects, such as Religious Education, as we sat in for lessons and toured the well-established schools. We even gave a presentation on Singapore, CJC and Singapore English to the students of Reach Academy. Our time in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare, as well as the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, also helped us become more acquainted with the arts, while walking tours around London and Cambridge – including a visit to the British Museum to catch a glimpse of the famous Rosetta Stone – greatly increased our knowledge of the history and culture of England. Despite the challenges of learning in a completely new environment, our greatly enriched knowledge and life experiences made everything worthwhile. One thing’s for sure – our targets for ELL in the upcoming ‘A’ Levels are, undoubtedly, within reach.
Students attending a lecture in the classroom of Reach Cambridge
LET THE QUIZZING begin!
Opponents ready for battle? Let’s begin.
TEXT BY KHASNAVIS ASHRITA (1T10) AND RYAN SIEW (1T04)
April saw our JC1 cohort streaming into the Performing Arts Centre, eagerly waiting for the 4th annual Straits Times National Current Affairs Quiz, hosted for the first time in CJC, to commence. The quiz tested the participants’ knowledge of current affairs and aimed to promote awareness and interest in national and global issues. Following the insightful speech on Singapore’s Budget 2015 by Ms Fiona Chan, Deputy Political Editor of The Straits Times, the floor was open to an engaging question and answer session moderated by Ng Kok Yin (2T27). Afterwards, the event’s emcee, Mr Charles Ravi, arrested our attention to kick off the Big Quiz. Our school’s current affairs team, consisting of Tron Ng (1T12), Russell Lee (1T27) and Tee Jeeng Yeeng (1T28), was up against participants from Dunman High School (DHS), School of the Arts (SOTA) and Saint Andrew’s Junior College (SAJC). Round 1: Think-Fast The teams raced against the clock in a bid to earn their team the highest number of points. Each team was given 60 seconds to answer a total of 10 consecutive multiplechoice questions. CJ was off to a great start, emerging as the front-runner from this high-speed round whilst the audience cheered with excitement. Scores: 1. CJC, 40; 2. DHS, 30; 3. SOTA & SAJC, 20
Round 3: Team’s Choice The energy of the event culminated in the third and last segment, as the competition between the teams became a battle of strategy on top of knowledge. Each team was allowed the use of three wildcards: “Sabo King”, “Double the Points” and “Shout In”. As the teams took turns to answer questions of either 10, 20 or 30 points in a round robin format, they were able to field these cards to maximise their advantage (or to the detriment of their opponents!). The audience was on the edge of their seats throughout this final stand-off. SAJC emerged as champions from this deciding match. Although we did not manage to take the crown in the end, the event certainly showcased the CJ spirit in full vigour. The JC1s “were a huge support and showed their true CJ spirit,” said Ms Sylvia Tong, teacher-in-charge for the event. “The applause for SAJC, even with them being our friendly rival, exemplified our good sportsmanship.”
DID YOU KNOW? The Northern Rockhopper Penguin species is endangered (The ICUN Red List of Protected Species) Singapore was originally known as Temasek, meaning 'sea town' in Javanese.
Round 2: Show Your Answers The teams answered the same questions simultaneously, each raising their answers written on a mini-whiteboard. CJ maintained their lead, but their fellow competitors were catching up. Scores: 1. CJC, 70; 2. DHS, 60; 3. SAJC, 50; 4. SOTA, 40
FOR THE LOVE OF THE Written Word
heryl Lu-Lien Tan is a New York-based journalist and author of “A Tiger In The Kitchen: A Memoir of Food & Family” (Hyperion, 2011). She is the editor of the fiction anthology “Singapore Noir” (Akashic Books, 2014) and is currently working on her first novel. She was a staff writer at the Wall Street Journal, In Style magazine and the Baltimore Sun. Her stories have also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Marie Claire, Newsweek, Bloomberg Businessweek, Martha Stewart Weddings, Chicago Tribune, The (Portland) Oregonian, The (Topeka) CapitalJournal and The (Singapore) Straits Times among other publications. Cheryl also found time to mentor college students in journalism as a member of the Asian American Journalists Association. Cheryl, from the class of 1992 (home tutorial group A1), still remembers vividly her two years in CJC as ‘two of the best years in my life’. She stated emphatically, “Everything became very focused because of my teachers, my classmates and the college activities”. Cheryl has been residing in the United States since 1993 but she often comes back to Singapore to visit her family and to engage in research for her writing. Her books are unique in that they are inspired by her love of her grandmother’s pineapple tarts and Peranakan food.
Cheryl has always been passionate about reading and stated that she used to borrow books from the National Library and read ten books a week. She also aspired to be a writer even at the age at five when she wrote a short story about a woman who became pregnant, went to the market and gave birth! Cheryl was supposed to pursue a law degree but she chose to follow her dream to be a writer. After graduating from CJC, she studied journalism in the United States. Her creative talent was nurtured by excellent Literature teachers in CHIJ and CJC. She remembers with great fondness her Primary 6 English teacher, Ms Magdalene Chen, and her Literature teachers in CJC, especially Ms Marion Green, Ms Evelyn Ng and Mr Chiam Toon Ling. “Literature lectures were always stimulating and enjoyable!” Another CJC teacher who had an impact on Cheryl was her home tutor, Mrs Kuah Siou Koon. Intense involvement in CCA also forms part of her happy memories of CJC. Cheryl was a student councillor and the President of the Debate Society. She proudly recalls that the debating team made it to the finals of the Radio and Television Singapore Debate Competition for Junior Colleges in 1991. One of her favourite spots in CJC was the Council Room where she did her studying between classes. She still has her CJ school uniform, college pin and Council badge. We are indeed very proud of Cheryl and her achievements!
ALL IN THEFamily
Wilson and Jillian Wong with their sons (left to right) Trevor, Jared and Kevin
A match made in college, siblings with a lot of heart, and an education across the generation. Wilson Wong and his wife Jillian Ann Martens met in CJC in 1981. Their three sons, Kevin, Trevor and Jared Wong followed in their parents’ footsteps in CJC. The Wong family shares their story with The Flame. What is your most memorable moment in CJC? Jared Martens Wong Zhi Wei: Before the 2014 Teachers’ Day performances, all the performing musicians gathered in the lecture theatre and just jammed and sang our hearts out. In the midst of ‘A’ Level stress and problems of our own, we reminded ourselves we had each other for support. To me that was a simple and beautiful moment, doing what we love in spite of the challenges ahead of us, which is a belief that has stuck with me until now. Jillian Ann Martens: When I met my husband, Wilson. Kevin Martens Wong Zhi Qiang: I don’t think I have one particular moment, but a few stand out. A Literature tutorial where my tutor Mr Alfred Pang took us through the ending of Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls, turned our expectations inside out and completely blew our minds. Collecting my ‘A’ Level results. And inaugurating the thennew CJC chapel. I felt very alive in these moments, and they cemented my desire to teach. Trevor Martens Zhi Ming: Crying my eyes out with the rest of the dancers after completing our final performance at CJC Celebrates 2013 because we knew that we would never again find a group of people that was as special to us. Wilson Wong: The day I met my wife, Jill.
What was your experience in CJ like? How was it different from what your children experienced? Jill: I had to have initiative and be responsible in my studies and in organising and participating in my CCA. I think my children have a lot more guidance and supervision from their teachers than I had. Wilson: We were trusted and empowered as student leaders to plan, organise and lead school functions and the various CCAs we were in. We were given room to express our individuality and to make mistakes. As students we truly owned our triumphs and failures. Our teachers and parents were less anxious about managing processes and outcomes. This is more a reflection of the change from the social landscape of the 80s to the highly strung society that we have become, than of any deliberate change in the college’s culture. Conversely, it is good that our boys have had more creative oppqqqqaqzortunities to express themselves musically through events like Alfresco and CJ Celebrates. How have you seen your children grow in CJC? Jill: They have become responsible and capable and are willing to give of 4 time and talents to help others. Wilson: They have learnt how to handle challenging situations and difficult people on their own. They have learnt that it takes courage and integrity to do the right
thing in the face of pressure to conform. They have learnt to seek out nurturing and positive mentors and friends, of which there were many in CJC. Why did you boys choose to study in CJC? Did your parents’ experience influence you in any way? Jared: I heard good things about the culture in CJ not only from my parents but from friends as well. There isn’t a need to be someone you’re not in CJ, and that really appealed to me. Kevin: I chose CJC mainly because I saw it as the ‘natural’ extension of the experience I had had in SJI -- a strong sense of family and community. During O-Levels, I decided that I would prefer studying in a Catholic environment as opposed to a secular one for Junior College. The main draw was the sense of community that I believed CJC would provide. Of course, the fact that my parents had also attended CJC made the decision even easier. Trevor: I believed that there was more to JC than the ‘A’ levels and that CJ could give me that. I also didn’t want to be grouped together with the students from the more “elite” colleges because I strongly believe that it takes a lot away from the educational experience. What were some of the shared experiences that you and your siblings have in CJ? Jared: I performed with my brother for Alfresco in 2013 for the first time and it was the start of a lot performances together in other bands. I was really grateful for this opportunity and it has definitely shaped my musical path in that it has improved the closeness of my family through music. Kevin: The other two are much closer in age, so I don’t really have the kind of shared experiences that they do -- but I have come back to CJC to watch them sing and dance and perform to their hearts’ content, and that’s always a pleasure. I’ve also come back to facilitate several of the JC1 and JC2 retreats over the years, including theirs, and seeing them grow has been one of those secret eldestsibling sources of pride. Trevor: I performed with my younger brother at Alfresco 2013. The three of us were also all in leadership positions in CJ and this gave us a lot of good experience in working with people and helped us to mature.
What are your hopes for the future and current generation of CJCians? Jared: Believe that you are more than the circumstances you are in, be it in your studies, CCA or other endeavours. People excel when they have the confidence and don’t let other people dictate their goals and dreams. Jill: That they will be given the best learning experiences CJC can provide them so that they can discover their passions, their talent and excel at what they love and do best. That their teachers are empathetic, nurturing, hardworking and confident in themselves as teachers. Kevin: I hope you will always remain true to yourself -- be enormously proud of the things you can do, unconquerable in your acknowledgement and pursuit of the things you can’t, and always committed to finding the quiet, amazing serenity that lies between the two. CJCians are called especially to live in truth and love, and I hope you always do your best to leave your door open to all the new and beautiful ways of seeing both of these things. And finally, I hope you always cherish both your families -- your real one, and the one in school, because both of them will be your foundation and your strength in the years to come. Trevor: To use the talents they have to make a difference in the world. Wilson: That they will find their time in CJC to be an empowering experience, and that they will be given opportunities and trusted as student leaders to lead their fellow students. That they will find true friends and clarify their calling in life. Describe the CJ experience in 10 words or less. Jared: A place to explore the opportunities given to you. Jill: A opportunity to discover your potential. Kevin: A very idiosyncratic, and very, very, very genuine family. Trevor: Finding yourself and the people you love. Wilson: We forged lifelong friendships and learned the meaning of community.
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