APRIl // Action & adventure
erhaps the easiest way to add life to your years is to venture. After all, is life not just one big adventure? Whether it is taking that leap of faith in trying out the Asian Ala Carte Set or traversing the oceans between our CT Benches and Central Plaza every morning, it takes courage to make the first foray into the unknown. The theme for this 2nd issue of the MOCH (Hwa Chong’s Own Magazine spelt backwards) trilogy by the 44th Students’ Council is Action & Adventure. Get ready to be thrown into a world of unsung heroes and unknown exploits as we take you on a journey from the recently waged Great Faculty War, to the plains on which Hwa Chongians fight for glory. We sincerely express our gratitude to all whom, without which, this issue would definitely have remained a fantasy. To all interviewees, models, CCAs, Faculty Committees - thank you for sharing your stories and being a part of MOCH.
Last but not least, a warm welcome to all those who have joined the Hwa Chong Family! May your ride be thrilling, unforgettable and filled with wonder. We are all warriors struggling against our inner demons. Yet, the kryptonite to our Superman is none other than familiarity and comfort. It is when you feel most secure that you stop growing, struggling, progressing. And that’s when the decay begins. Everyone needs a little action and adventure to keep things exciting so let the stories here inspire you and set you on your own adventure! Yours Sincerely, Cyril and Dragon 44th MOCH Coordinators
To 44th PubCo and the design team - your effort has woven our dreams into reality. To our new TeacherAdvisor, Ms Nicole Law - thank you for your invaluable guidance and work.
Teacher-Advisor Ms Nicole Law Chairperson Alan Seah Secretary-Treasurer Edeline Tenges NSE Attaché Charmaine Chua MOCH Coordinators Cyril Teo Dragon Chew
TEAM Art Directors Dominic Yap Goo How-zer Jovan Lee IT Directors Adrian Ow Clio Chuang Yang Chun Wei
04 War of Words 12 Centrespread NO U
E Pluribus Unum
06 Surviving the War
14 Flying the
Hwach Flag High And...Action!
22 Faculty Pages
war of words
The Force is strong in this one. Reviewed by Milo Man
04 | MOCH 2018
The Last Jedi is a film which to me, incorporates a lot of subtle themes, boldly breaking genre conventions and expectations its predecessors have set. To many long time fans, it is the movie’s portrayal of Luke Skywalker that harms the movie the most. Luke, the beloved main character of the original trilogy and pure embodiment of hope is seen here in a broken state, a shadow of his former self, even entertaining the thought of killing his own nephew. This decision enraged many fans because god forbid there be any character development for Luke in the time span between episodes 6 and 7. As a long time fan myself, this creative decision was the main reason I loved the movie as much as I did. This mature take of Luke Skywalker has allowed me to view the original trilogy from so many years ago in a new light, to examine how a character so hopeful can turn so dark, even for just an instant. And looking back, the clues are obvious. In the final fight between Darth Vader and Luke, we see Luke go through so many states of disarray and frustration, going so far as to cutting off his fathers’ hand. By the end of the scene and the trilogy, the viewer is left with one conclusion: at the face of light and evil, Luke would stand his ground with the light. However, this does not mean that the internal conflict in Luke has died. It is a bold, and believable choice for Luke to want to prevent a repeat of the rising of the Sith through whatever means necessary given his experiences with them in his youth in a split second decision and it is this internal turmoil that is ultimately Luke’s tragic flaw. This change in character is the freshest thing Star Wars has ever done. While it enraged fans who spent decades fantasising about what Luke would have done after the original trilogy through the Legends series of stories which portrayed Luke as a godlike, flawless figure, it is a far more engaging approach on the filmmaker’s part to portray an amplification of Luke’s flaws in the original trilogy and left me at my seat wondering what would happen next, a feeling I rarely feel given the recent predictability of the franchise. Perhaps the most talked about part of the movie would be its third act where the sudden death of Snoke, the false redemption of Kylo Ren, the reveal of Rey’s parents being a nobody, the death of Luke, all come together in an epic finale where the story is told through bombastic action. However, I would like to make the case that the severely underrated Canto Bight sequence is one of the more important aspects of the film. It is a sequence that is ultimately inconsequential to the main plot, yet so very important in the overarching message of the movie. It is a sequence which is important due to its lack of impact to the story being told, showing how the rebels, through pure heart to do the right thing have the ability to inspire a new generation of people with the same mindset even if they do not accomplish their initial goals. While the scene itself might not be perfectly paced, the message it sends to the audiences that having good intentions is important, even if you do not achieve your desired goal. This bold storytelling technique has never been shown in any Star Wars movie before where the inconsequential nature of a plot line is the point of the plot line and really defies all expectations of viewers who expect all plot lines to weave into each other. Here, the filmmakers show us that this is not needed in order to tell a compelling story. Overall, The Last Jedi was not just a great cinema experience that entertained me as a fan of Star Wars and a lover of film but it was also a great philosophical deep story that I thought about for nights on end. Given, there are a couple of flaws like the pacing of the film which really suffers on repeat viewings, the largely wasted character of Admiral Holdo who was portrayed as a villain purely for the sake of tension when there really wasn’t any reason for her to act that way and the awkward kiss between Finn and Rose (following the powerful sacrifice Finn was about to make) that really brought the film down a little bit from being Empire level. However, the experience the movie delivers and what it means for the future of Star Wars really brings this movie above everything Star Wars produced over the past 2 decades for me and I hope that the hate this movie has received from fans does not deter Disney from moulding their original vision of a new style of Star Wars movies.
. The X-wing is a versatile Rebel Alliance starﬁghter that balances speed with ﬁrepower. Armed with four laser cannons and two proton torpedo launchers, the X-wing can take on anything the Empire throws at it. Nimble engines give the X-wing an edge during dogﬁghts, and it can make long-range jumps with its hyperdrive and its astromech droid co-pilot.
THE DARK SIDE Oh Porgs! What a rancid performance! Reviewed by Cereal Couple of hours to burn? Good. Fancy a movie to kill some time? If you are a movie buff, then odds are that you have watched Disney’s latest instalment of the Star Wars franchise - The Last Jedi. It came at a very opportune moment: Christmas was approaching, a perfect reason to sell toys (Kylo Ren’s Lightsaber is my personal favourite). And for millions of fans across the world, it was a proverbial oasis in the desert; we could hardly contain our excitement for this movie, what with the seeds of questions planted by the previous movie The Force Awakens. For a longtime fan like myself, I knew I had to catch it as soon as I could. And yet, somehow I found myself vastly underwhelmed, even aggravated, by the movie. I was in disbelief when it ended - what had I sat through? It took me a second, then a third rewatching to understand what was going on. And boy, was it unpleasant when I realised what I had spent a good chunk of my pocket money on. Where do I begin with this mess? Unfortunately, The Last Jedi is plagued by many poor plot choices and questionable decisions. Simply analysing a few scenes will reflect this often misguided direction. My biggest gripes were the choices taken with Finn’s character, of Admiral Holdo (We’ll refer to her as purple hair), and of the way the First Order is treated. Finn is trapped in a boring B-story looking for some code-breaker, and spoilers: the entire plot becomes irrelevant to the overall story. His character moment is ruined by his co-star when he attempts to save the resistance in a daring kamikaze attack, a wasted opportunity character-wise. Holdo was perhaps the embodiment of how command DOESN’T work - not commanding trust, not communicating plans, alienating officers such as Poe and worse of all acting like a double agent. This is not how to write strong female characters - simply putting down strong male characters is not empowering if nothing of significance or respectable is done in place. The First Order was shown to be incompetent, at times morbidly inept at their job. Trust me, the countdown chase scene of the resistance is perhaps the most entertaining aspect of this movie, just as watching water dry is fun. Luke is one of the classic heroes; a pop culture icon and an infallible hero, a person we endear to who triumphed over evil and redeemed his father from the brink of the abyss. A character who would rush headfirst to rescue his friends and family even at personal risk. This is a person who threw his lightsaber aside in the face of Palpatine, refusing to strike his father down and became a symbol for righteousness. I highly doubt he would even, for a single moment, want to strike down his disciple, his nephew for being tempted by the dark side. As a Jedi Master who knows why the old order failed, he wouldn’t have reacted the way the movie made him - truly illogical and denigrating to his character. The counter to this argument is that Luke made a mistake, a conscious choice that reflected his subconscious: that the dark side had never truly left him, and he was tempted by evil thoughts as well. It was, therefore, human for him to have wanted to strike down Ren when he sensed the darkness in the boy. Afterall, the galaxy is a violent place, and even Jedi Masters the supposed peacekeepers were no strangers to violent means to preserve the peace. But we are not talking about a time of warfare, of a galaxy in conflict. Luke is a man who had seen war, but the root of the Jedi is not to live in fear, not to act rashly and not to kill an unarmed, defenceless person. Raising a blade against Ren is not just an act against the code; it is unthinkable for an uncle, a mentor and a hero to do. And why the death of Luke is more than just literal; it is metaphorical that Star Wars has died - the old Star Wars that we loved. It is unforgivable what has transpired. Final thoughts? Star Wars: The Last Jedi would make a good movie romp for anyone looking for a blockbuster with just enough action and storyline to fill a quiet afternoon. True fans of Star Wars will, however, be enraged by what the movie has done to our favourite characters. And rightfully so. Star Wars: The Last Jedi takes many bold steps attempting to be creative and tip our expectations. Tragically, these attempts to subvert our expectations fall short and fall painfully. Like Empire, this was a turning point for the story being told in this trilogy, only this time, there doesn’t appear to be a definitive conclusion in sight, no logical character development, and most frighteningly, no real reason to root for our main heroes. The Last Jedi may be a box office success, but might just be the last outing for many Star Wars fans.
. The latest starﬁghter in the storied TIE line looks similar to its predecessors, but the TIE/FO boasts improved solar cells and higher-capacity converters, making these ships deadlier than the TIEs that saw service in the Imperial era. Unlike the Empire, the First Order values its pilots as key military assets, protecting them with onboard deﬂector shields.
05 | MOCH 2018
Gear up and stay safe; this war is going to be exciting. WAR! In a shocking turn of events, the Hwa Chong Intelligence Agency has initiated Protocol Northwoods, and this has instigated arguments between the 4 faculties. MOCH has identified where most of the action is taking place.
Neutral zone (COMMON ROOM)
06 | MOCH 2018
MESS HALL (CANTEEN)
FINAL FRONTIER 4
E S 07 | MOCH 2018
Every soldier belongs to a battalion - a closelyknit family sometimes referred to as a “Civics Group”. The barracks where each battalion resides is none other than a wooden table that serves as a rally point. All soldiers spend 2 years in this camp before graduating. Soldier! This is your life now, and these are your brothers and sisters in arms.
One of the few places where fighting is banned, soldiers of all divisions and loyalties come here to relax. Entertainment includes board games and casual chit chat, while some prefer to take a nap as a break from the war. There are reports that the other Common Room is a No Man’s Land… Rest well, Soldier.
Neutral zone COMMON ROOM
A secret venue behind the No Man’s Land hides a stash of food that will tide any soldier through a tiring day. Eat to keep your strength up.
Here’s a good place to sit and have a meal with your comrades and company. Afterall, good food and friends makes the war less boring and life that much better! Hungry go where?
MESS HALL CANTEEN
08 | MOCH 2018
A setting for inter-faculty skirmishes such as Post-Orientation Party, here is where most of the action occurs. Some fight for truth, others fight for the globe.
Many soldiers come here, noses to the grindstone, developing their minds. The best soldiers frequent here to plan strategies to triumph in greatest challenges of this war - The Blocks Tests. Good soldiers study the art of war.
So you thought POP was tough? This is where the real battles are fought - examinations. There is no escape, but fear not, we are well prepared… Steel your hearts and don’t forget your entry proofs.
FINAL FRONTIER HALL
You can’t win wars on an empty stomach. What do you do if its past 4pm and the canteen is closed? Fret not! Drop by the welfare room and welfare bench to replenish your ammunition. Eat to fight another day.
É T N A H C N
on i t a t n e MY Ori 018 2 ! ! y e n jour
2nd Feb - Enchanté!! Dear Diary, Where should I start? First, I was sorted into an Orientation Group, OG, with 35 other batch mates. It was the most awkward day of my life. How am I supposed to introduce myself and remember so many people? Thankfully, my OGL was a nice person, so I felt slightly more comfortable in the OG. Oh and side note, the OGL Introduction video was VERY good (I found myself watching it again on Youtube). Only got to play icebreakers today, but at least through games like “Speed-dating” and “Double-Whacko”, I managed to find some new friends! Overall, day 1 of Orientation was relatively quiet, but I’m definitely looking forward to OG games and outings over the next week.
P le a se d to me e t
yo u !
5th Feb - OG Dry Games >.< Dear Diary, Today certainly surpassed all my expectations of what OG was all about! Turns out everyone was just awkward and nervous - just like me. Today, we played OG games, a rotation of varied games that promoted OG bonding. It was a time to showcase our OG pride, and even the quiet OG mates came
Attem p ti ng to fa n b ub @ B ubble Po p ble s !
forward to pit their skills in games. I’ll always remember cheering
(or pretending to) and playing games such as Cloth Volleyball and Queen
Dodgeball, where teamwork and strategically playing made way for all-out fun and a sheer determination to win. Sad though, that there won’t be any games for the next three days :( But glad that I’ll get to still interact with my OG at lectures and breaks!! Can’t wait for Friday to play more games!
9th Feb - OG Wet Games Dear Diary, I haven’t written much these past few days, and actually forgot to record the past three days! But it’s been a really hectic past three days of non-stop lectures; a first taste of JC life. Won’t
S c is s o rs, Pa p e
r, St o ne?
say it’s boring but certainly mundane :( Still, today was OG wet games and definitely something to remember.
While our OG’s game performance on Monday wasn’t the best, we still managed to play one of the slippery slopes called “Slippery Paper Stone”, which I hear is actually a new concept game. Also, today ended with more SODACHE, which is slowly growing on me! It’s actually quite fun, and I finally learnt how to do “Wild Wild West”, a dance filled with butt-jerks and presents. Went out for OG dinner so it’s quite late when I’m writing this. It’s sad that class is starting soon :”( I don’t want this to end.
S O DA C H
12th Feb - CT Games! Dear Diary, I’d been wondering how my class was going to be, whether the people would be as fantastic as my OG mates. While I miss my OG, I don’t think it would be healthy to only stick with them. I should also open up to my classmates, whom I will spending the next 2 years of my life with. So I told myself to be friendly today, and I think it really helped? I think we are all feeling similar emotions,
Ne w b e g in n in
g s .. .
but as long as we all keep our minds and hearts open, all will be fine! CT games today was pretty cool though, with the “Amazing Race” concept, and getting to work towards something as a class. And finally, I know my Faculty!! Looking forward to tomorrow, as we proceed to WAR together! Also, I have some ideas for SODACHE Challenge on Campfire Night, let me go share them with the class!
13th Feb - WAR GAMES ! Dear Diary, Today was a GREAT day!! I was treated to a super duper hyped War Games trailer and soaked up some really good vibes at War Games :D My Faculty Committee was really enthusiastic, and they guided us well through the War Games, strategizing and calling attack patterns like experienced soldiers! Donned in faculty paraphernalia, it was a proud moment for me to be part of my
ame Le t t h e g
s be gi n!
faculty, working towards a common goal of transporting water from our starting base to the end. It was also a good time to find my OG mates, decked in different faculty colours, a solid reminder that even as we have parted, we never truly left. Ended the day with
class dinner after rigorously practicing for the SODACHE challenge tomorrow. Hoping that my class gets a chance to perform for the faculty tomorrow (fingers crossed xx.)
14th Feb - CAMPFIRE NIGHT!!! Dear Diary, I will always recall the hum of anticipation and the growing exuberance of the night to come. It was really exciting to see the Faculty Committees performing to both POP 2017 and 2018. At that moment, I realised how important POP was to the Faculties and I decided - okay, I’m going to put my best for POP 2018! Oh and SODACHE Challenge was the funniest part of Campfire, seeing classes mix SODACHE with today’s pop culture.
Next was the Students’ Council Performance. It was heartwarming to see that even through the difficult two weeks planning for Orientation, they were still hard at work putting up a performance for us :”) But the highlight of the night? It was none other than the Fireball light-up - I had no idea Hwa Chong had such impressive pyrotechnics? SODACHE after was something that jolted me too, as I witnessed the Hwa Chong spirit being ignited with every song, dance and cheer. The night ended nicely with a montage of the Orientation journey, and I already feel a rush of nostalgia thinking about it. The seniors were not joking when they said 2 weeks of Orientation will fly by. Luckily, for us, the party can continue at tomorrow’s Chinese New Year celebrations!! What a time to be a Hwa Chong student. Here’s to crazier days ahead!
They say a picture speaks a thou Put them together,
Out of many, one; this is Hereâ€™s a recap of Orien
usand words; each telling a story a collective is born
s the face of Hwa Chong. ntation 2018 -EnchantĂŠ !
HWACH FLAG HIGH
An anthology of war stories. MOCH features our best and brightest as they fight for school pride in their endeavours.
WHO DARES WINS FENCING Fear, a natural instinct toward the unknown. You stop dead in your tracks, cold sweat running down your face. Perhaps you aren’t good enough? Doubt in yourself has led to your run ending before it has even begun. But what about those who dare to try, who dare to rise up to the occasion, who dare to fight? For Jorelle, the answer is clear. CCA selections were in town for another batch of students about ten years ago, and for a young Jorelle, he was initially spoilt for choice. Would he fancy a passion in an orchestra, his days spent mastering a horn? Perhaps as an actor in a drama production, paying homage to Shakespeare? Instead, he found himself drawn to the lure of fencing. This would be a part of him for a long time. There, he found a new home in the sabre, where the unrestricted combat and unforgiving blade complimented his unpredictable personality. Gradually, he found himself being molded by his craft, and made the blade a part of himself. “Fencing is like physical chess”, as fondly referred to by Jorelle, citing the calculated risks every fencer must take in every spar. To lunge now or to defend? Each move could be decisive, and each point deciding. With instinct guiding his heart, and the accumulated experience of his harsh training, Jorelle faces every match with utmost concentration and never takes an opponent lightly. Eventually, he would make it into the school competition team. It was 2016. Competition season. In the exceptionally demanding National School Games, Hwa Chong had made it all the way to the finals, vying for the championship. A close fight was in the wings, and it all came down to a decisive tie-breaker. 2 to 2; Hwa Chong to go for gold, or settle for heartbreak. For the fencing team, the mere thought of this proposition was difficult to stomach. As the final seed, Jorelle carried the hopes of Hwa Chong. With his grip firmly around his trusty sabre, - Jorelle See he faced his opponent and saluted. Time stood, as did both competitors, either equally focused yet only one could win. The whistle blew, and he lunged, the buzzer blazing. With each point he took, the roars intensified. Inching closer to the match point, he had never been so attuned, or so focused. As the cold steel of his sabre rattled, resonating with the resounding cheers having landed the deciding blow, he only realised what had just transpired. Pulling off his mask, Jorelle knew the goal had been achieved, and the gold was Hwa Chong’s. The only thing louder than the cheers erupting around him was the thumping in his chest. Bringing back the gold for the B boys felt good, but never enough to sate this ambitious gentleman.
“Fencing is like physical chess.”
Yesterday, he fenced in Singapore, today Bulgaria, tomorrow Dubai. Perhaps someday, he will stand at the peak as one of the best. Cynics question: who dares? But to Jorelle, the answer is clear. Who dares wins.
16 | MOCH 2018
Last year’s National Competitions was a bittersweet affair for the Hwa Chong Wushu team. The girls lived up to expectations and emerged triumphant as national championships. The boys, on the other hand, faltered in the final few days of competition and had to settle for 4th. 2018, however, would be different and kinder as the team seeks to win both the boys and girls championship. While the girls remain titans on the carpet, the boys have yet to transcend to such a level and are still the black horse in the competition. Both the girls and guys have consistently faced tough competition from traditional strongholds such as Victoria Junior College and Meridian Junior College, but in the words of Captain Choo Yi Xuan (17S63), “So long as we put our hearts and minds to it, I am confident that we will walk away from Nationals feeling fulfilled.” This year, the team comprises a handful of members who have never had prior competition experience. Competing is always an adrenaline-filled experience and during such a period of uncertainty and pressure, it is even more crucial that the team members support one another. Ultimately though, it is not the medals that mean the most, but the process and the people - those we cheer for, and those who cheer for us.
is no “end point” in Wushu. Practicing and repeating the same routine day in day out for two years, for some more, becomes highly draining and quite mundane at times. Yet, with each practice, there are new learning points for the Wushu team to review and reflect upon. At the end of the day, you simply have to trust the system. Yet, Wushu is much more than just a CCA or afternoons spent in the Central Plaza – it is a gathering point of happiness and warmth. The forging of irreplaceable friendships through Wushu is crystallized in graduated seniors frequently returning to train juniors and relive the jester fests, jives, “banter” and laughter. Each and every memory has been part of a bigger learning process about what it means to be human. Among the sweat and heat, the innumerable hours spent on the carpet, painful injuries weathered through, all the times the Wushu team had to frantically save the carpet from the rain by dragging it into Inner Plaza and even simply studying/resting in the CCA room together, Wushu is more than just a CCA; for its members, it has defined their Hwa Chong experience. Wushu is the fire that forges the steel of friendship.
Wushu – like life, art and endeavor – is a constant striving towards the ever-elusive state of the ideal. You are never in direct competition with someone else – rather, you are in perpetual conflict with yourself. You do not “become better than others”, you best the exponent you were a few days ago, last month, last year. You simply take a step towards an impossibly flawless execution of a routine. Frankly, it can get quite draining at times. There is an infinite amount of things to work on for every single routine, so there are always areas to improve on. There
Forging Steel Through Fire Hwa Chong ‘A’ Division Wushu
MOCH 2018 | 17
NO GUTS, NO GLORY Hwa Chong ‘A’ Division Boys Basketball
The goal is simple: to win it all. And until the flag flies high, the lustre of gold clenched between teeth, the Basketball team cannot, and will not rest. There will be no deviation from this single minded devotion. Greatness demands that much. In face of training that is punishing, brutal and quotidian, their conviction remains resolute and unflinching. It has to. Improvement may come at a bodily cost, but victory comes at no lower price. Maybe this was why Basketball Captain Travis Thong (17S70) emphatically stressed, “We do not just play using our minds, we play with heart, intensity and hunger.” To that end, the team is still learning how to play together and has much to grow before Nationals come knocking. Recent scrimmages against top schools such as Raffles Junior College (RJC) were valuable learning opportunities as they revealed key weaknesses and deficiencies. Beyond picking up valuable game time and exposure, these matches gave the basketballers a taste of the competition they would be facing during Nationals. Win some, lose some; what matters is improvement. But how do you elevate your game to the next tier? Simply put, by evolving. By keeping what works and discarding what does not. And you must be shameless in this belief. Even if a strategy comes from the opponent, so long as it makes you a more versatile and competent player, you should mould it into your liking and add another weapon to 18 | MOCH 2018
“We do not just play using our minds, we play with heart, intensity and hunger.”
your arsenal. To this end, it also entails being an intelligent player and constantly polishing one’s craft.
This is where the Michael Wong Training™ comes into play. Mr Wong is the team’s basketball coach who was a High School and College boy, - Travis Thong ex-national player and has competed professionally locally and abroad. He expects, demands and extracts the basketballers’ 100% in every single training and is extremely strict with their conduct on and off the court – CCA culture is as important as work ethic to him. Mr Wong also motivates his disciples to set personal goals and continuously strive for them during each rigorous training session. Ultimately, the pain of training is temporary, but memories last a lifetime. It is the camaraderie and sense that the team has got your back which inspires the team to persevere through drills, injuries and hardship together. This abiding belief that you are playing for everyone on the team, not yourself, empowers everyone to push themselves to the limit everyday no matter how daunting the prospect seems. The grind time prime time don’t wait for nobody. Last year, Hwa Chong fought her way out of the group stages, upstaged the remaining competition and found herself in an exhilarating final pitted against Anderson Junior College (AJC). The AJC supporters were boisterous but the Hwa Chong team let their actions speak louder. Going into the final quarter, the team found themselves ahead with a double digit lead, the most of both sides so far. But they say the last step off the battlefield is always the most dangerous – a few balls stolen, a couple of failed rebounds, decidedly questionable refereeing and the basketballers were left reeling in shock at the final score line. For the graduating seniors, what was supposed to be a swansong ending ended in tears and disappointment. Yet, this was not a new feeling. In 2015, Raffles Institution ended Hwa Chong’s 9 year winning streak. In 2016, redemption eluded us as we crashed in the 2nd round. But that is the nature of sports. This was just one of those things you shrug your shoulders and call life. No need for emotion. No room for it. What happened last year and the year before and the year before does not affect what happens this year. So, when the boys call themselves neither underdogs nor titans, know that what they mean is that they are just a team with a goal. Just guts and glory, nothing more.
Just a team with a goal.
MOCH 2018 | 19
THE PRESSURE TO DELIVER DEBATES Motion: This house believes in you Without intentions, words become meaningless. Every line spoken, every word enunciated carries meaning; every speaker does so with a purpose. Some speak to exert control, exercise authority, others speak to transmit knowledge. For members of the Hwa Chong Debates team, speaking is more than just a luxury, more than just a purpose. Speaking is a profession, and there is an expectation to do well. Great expectations laden with rich legacies of triumph and glory. Legacy. Certainly a powerful word; three syllables that summarises history, 6 letters that encompasses generations. For the team, this legacy manifests in the spirit of debating - to achieve greater heights as a speaker and as an individual. Debates, at its core, is simply about making better speeches, persuading the opponent and polishing the art. Yet, even in this furnace of discipline, the team knows how to have a good time, retaining their personalities, exchanging laughter and feeling the most comfortable in their own skins. Nevertheless, the team takes every competition seriously, and the weeks leading up a debate can be the most hectic moments, knowing that hard work is necessary to achieving any form of positive results. Of course, a debate is steeped in general knowledge, so widely reading up on global, regional and local happenings is paramount in pre-competition preparations. The team entered the Singapore International Schools’ Debating League with high hopes. It was a hard fought match, but the team eventually succumbed to their competitors in the semi-finals, the dream for the title crushed. Debilitated by frustration, the team was in a brief denial phase. Reflecting on their performance, the same thoughts nagged them: What if the motion were better? What if I had said this? Definitely difficult for the team, they had to accept that their A game was not on the competition, and victory eluded them for a variety of reasons, many impossible to predict. Undeniably, the results were a shocker, as
20 | MOCH 2018
“If you don’t fuel that talent with hard work and determination, it’s only going to remain at that same point and you will stagnate.”
they carried the legacy of Hwa Chong debates, receiving the mantle from seniors who - Eugene Lee had established themselves as Champions in the MOE-ACJC Intercollegiate Debate Championships (MIs). The whirlwind of emotions clung to them - were they ready for the MIs to protect their title in this state? Perhaps the moral of the story is that of doing our best in all that we embark on. Going into the MIs, the debates team has found new optimism in their preparation. Just as debates has taught them the importance of considering multiple perspectives, the team has approached their performance in the previous competition with a growth mindset, focusing on how each member fought to their best. Still, they cannot shake off the looming expectations that comes with the mantle. They know it too: one last chance to fly the Hwach Flag High, one last chance to be a team. And the pressure to deliver will spur them on, as they complete their run and pass the torch to their juniors. Either way, their legacy will be inked, and their stories in the making. Until then, the competition awaits. And thus, this house is happy to propose the motion.
Livening up the mood at Open House 2018.
If the essence of band were to be captured in one fleeting sentiment, it would be that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Only when every member plays their part can the discordant instruments ring out in an indescribable moment of perfect clarity. For just long enough to tease our memories, something hangs in the air, but in a heartbeat, it vanishes and the soul is left forever haunting. The band has played its first note. Yet, that one golden note of harmony often proves too elusive. If anything, the Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) 2017 was such a story of hubris. Originally, the band selected St. Antony’s Variations, a highly challenging song, as their choice piece. Even if it meant going against the advice of their conductor, the band was willing to put in everything to bring to fruition their dream of achieving more. Yet, as the days passed, progress remained excruciatingly slow. The band found itself increasingly confronted with the terrifying possibility that their piece would remain incomplete when SYF came knocking. As such, there was a difficult decision to be made – press on with St. Antony’s Variation and pray for the best, or switch to a less technical piece that would definitely be finished in time. Eventually, despite hours of single-minded practice on their original piece, they elected to start from scratch with The Music Makers.
They say every action has its own consequences and not every story has a happy ending. This year’s run was just not meant to be. When news of their SYF “Accomplishment” hit, it felt as if all their hope, devotion and hard work were for absolutely nothing. With that, the band’s only shot at glory was over and they were left picking up the shards of a shattered dream. It was in this stormy sea of emotions that the band approached ArtsFest one week later. Many members were highly reluctant to perform the same pieces from SYF as it was a testament to their complete failure. However, the band wanted to make it their best performance so that they could leave with no regrets. And as the band went onstage and poured all their feelings into their music, a beautiful song floated throughout the auditorium. It was a song composed from the shards of a shattered dream but at the same time, a song sung from the heart. Band President Toh Wei Chuan (17A15) aptly summed it up, “We still have a long way to go, but ultimately we hope to instill in our juniors a culture of really taking ownership and being brave and ambitious enough to want to try new things. So we are going back to basics, ensuring that practices are efficient and productive, that people are motivated to come for practice, and that the music we play is enjoyable and fun.” The Music Makers will never fall silent.
The Music Makers hwa chong college SYMpHONIC BAND MOCH 2018 | 21