of Tanglin Trust School Vol 37 / 2022
THE CENTENNIAL ARTS PROJECT How Singaporean sculptor Victor Tan conceived the project’s first artwork for Tanglin’s 100th birthday
Alumni of the Year 2021
Meet the wave-makers inside Tanglin’s Coaching Culture
How does our community benefit from it?
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10 Student Art Showcase
THE VOICE Editor
Lilian Wu, Marketing & Communications
Lauren Khoury, Marketing & Communications
• Marketing & Communications • Contributors from across the school “The Voice” herein refers to “The Voice of Tanglin Trust School” All students’ year groups referenced in this issue are accurate at time of publication. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this issue.
CONTENTS Volume 37: Celebration of Arts at Tanglin
People of Tanglin
Alumni of the Year 2021
Student Art Showcase
From Passion to Purpose
WHAT’S NEW AT TANGLIN
Follow us! tanglintrustschool
Art on Campus
Griff, the Lion Heart
From the Archives
Strand Up for Neurodiversity
Tanglin’s Coaching Culture
95 Portsdown Road, Singapore 139299 Tel: 6778 0771 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: tts.edu.sg
Going Beyond the Classroom
The Sustainability Mural
Snail Mail Connections
“Citizen of the World”:
Young Leaders in Action
Understanding Neurodiversity at Tanglin
Myth or Reality?
Tanglin Trust School
ON THE COVER:
Victor Tan working on The Brain for the Centennial Arts Project
The Art of Public Speaking
The Tanglin Centenary Building will house the work of Victor Tan in the entrance to the new reception space.
Victor Tan (p14)
by Craig Considine, CEO
he COVID generation has found their voice in many ways throughout the pandemic. We see some of it in this edition of The Voice. It focuses on our students’ artistic and cultural representation of their identity, an appropriate topic in a world that has been so challenged over the last 24 months. Children and staff across the Tanglin campus have found opportunities to express themselves in alternative ways. Rob Le Grice, our inspirational Head of Art & Design at Senior School, leaves Tanglin this summer to return to the UK. Rob has created a great legacy in the Senior School Art department. He initiated the Singapore International Schools Art Exhibition, ‘IN’, an annual exhibition of the best art from 15 international schools in Singapore and Malaysia. These young artists have experienced an opportunity to shine their lens on how they see the world. Thank you, Rob. Much of the inspiration of our Infant, Junior and Senior specialists in the arts and literature is reflected in this magazine. This is expressed in their art, music, writing, dance, and theatrical performances that are presented here. I know you will enjoy this. An essential element of all communities and societies is to capture the lives of its constituents. The Tanglin Centenary Building will house the work of Victor Tan in the entrance to the new reception space. Victor is a prominent Singaporean artist. As a visually impaired artist, Victor challenges our
pre-conceptions of disability, provoking us to engage with his work. I hope you will enjoy reading about him. Victor’s sculpture is the first piece of our ambitious Centennial Arts Project. We will commission a series of artwork that reflect Tanglin’s place as a British international school located in Singapore. This reflects the ten decades of the school’s existence and will tell a story of Tanglin’s establishment and development, diversity, and place in providing outstanding education for the expatriate Singapore community. The Tanglin Centenary building will provide a palette to showcase the arts with wonderful facilities for the continued development of a Tanglin education. The Music School will be located on Levels 8 and 9, and the Infant children have a wonderful space for music on the mezzanine at Level 2. We look forward to the voices and melodies lifting our spirits as we move around this new and exciting part of the school. Elsewhere in this edition we hear more stories from our alumni. The path travelled by our former students is a beacon for their younger peers, and regardless of whether their achievements are monumental or minor, the lessons learned at school and in Singapore find their expression in the myriad activities our alumni undertake. Thanks to all the contributors to The Voice. Thank you to our editor, Lilian Wu, our band of photographers and writers, and the subjects of stories. The creative content will be used on social media and tell the Tanglin story for another six months to come.
Tanglin Talk We are coming to the end of another school year, but in the meantime here’s what our community has achieved lately. Samuel
TOP IN THE WORLD
Our students have often done us proud with their academic achievements. This time, three of them have achieved ‘Top in the World’ for the June 2021 Cambridge AS exam series. They are Year 13’s Samuel (Computer Science), Bella (Geography) and Harry (Music). Natasha, who had previously achieved the same title in her AS Geography exam in November 2020, also won ‘Top in the World’ for her overall A levels. Why is it such an important achievement? ‘Top in the World’ is an award issued by the Cambridge Assessment International Education. It’s part of the Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards that recognises exceptional learner achievements in Cambridge examinations around the world. ‘Top in the World’ in particular refers to ‘the learner* who has gained the highest
standard mark in the world for a single subject’ so it’s indeed an achievement worth celebrating! Bella said, “I’m really proud of winning the award and being able to receive it on behalf of this school. My Geography teachers have been amazing and have given me the learning experience to help me achieve my best potential. I’m thankful for all the hard work they put into seeing us thrive.” Well done, everyone. Natasha has since graduated from Tanglin but if you see Samuel, Bella, and Harry at school, don’t forget to congratulate them and give them a socially distanced hi-5! *https://bit.ly/3BraiAp
The Merlions were in action at the recent Singapore National Short Course championships held at the OCBC Aquatic Centre over the 25m laps. The two-day swim meet saw athletes, schools and clubs from around the country come together to showcase their skills in numerous strokes and distances. Tanglin’s Katie, who is in her final year, snagged two bronze medals while Chloe (Year 9), bagged a bronze. In addition, Stella (Year 10) and Annie (Year 4) both emerged as winners of their respective age groups at the Metasprint National Aquathlon competition. “We are very proud of Team Merlion’s performance and look forward to many more opportunities for our swim team to gain competitive experience with the easing of Singapore’s safe management measures,” said Andrew Hailey, Director of Aquatics. »
Tanglin Talk BATTLE OF THE BANDS
Congratulations to all the talented bands who participated in Battle of the Bands - an annual musical affair that sees our senior students performing a variety of music that range from 80s ballads to heavy metal. This year, 17 bands and approximately 80 students from Years 7 to 13 were involved as they contended for the top spots. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the participants had to record a video piece that would be reviewed by a panel of judges but that didn’t stop them from performing their best! The judges, which included Tanglin alumni music graduates, Senior School staff members and students, as well as Roo Pigott (internationally renowned songwriter and producer), were impressed by the performances. Helen Owain, Head of Senior Music, said, “I was genuinely blown away by the quality of the performances. It was tough for the judges to make a decision, but we are definitely proud of all the Senior Music students who participated. Well done, everyone!” The winners who emerged victorious from the Battle of the Bands are: The Bin Rats for the Middle School category and Ukiyo for the Upper School/Sixth Form category. The winning band videos from the Middle School and Upper School/Sixth Form competitions will be entered into the FOBISIA Battle of the Bands to compete with bands from other schools across Asia so let’s wish them the very best of luck! In the meantime, you can catch our students’ performance at youtu.be/Rvcd4hbgnmY.
Cara and Tamara (right)
Communication skills have become very important in a world where remote learning and interactions are the norm. At Tanglin, students are often given opportunities to master and hone their ability to articulate their ideas clearly, coherently, and persuasively. One such opportunity is ARTiculation Asia 2022, the Roche Court Educational Trust’s nationally acclaimed public speaking initiative designed to promote the appreciation and discussion of visual culture. Tanglin brought this prestigious public speaking event to Asia last year and is thrilled to be organising it again this year. This initiative engages young people between the ages of 14 and 23 by encouraging them to develop their confidence and ability to express themselves through art. The event recently climaxed in March as our students pitted their skills against participants from Garden School (Kuala Lumpur) during the online finals and we are proud to say that our students outdid themselves. Congratulations to Year 12’s Aanika for winning second place and well done!
We have many sporting talents here at Tanglin, and Cara (Year 8) along with her sister Tamara (Year 7) are two fine examples. Both girls have been selected to represent the Singapore National Women’s Football Team in 2022 so a huge congratulations to them! Cara will join the U16 team in preparation for the ASEAN Football Federation Championships in July, while Tamara will play for the U14 team. Dave Radcliffe, Director of Sport, said, “The passion Cara and Tamara have for football really shines through and we are very proud to see them rewarded with national team selection. Alongside their very considerable talent, the girls’ hard work and dedication serves as a great example to others, and we hope their success will inspire all our young football players.” We are sure Cara and Tamara will have a bright future on the football field, and we can’t wait to read all about their sporting achievements!
A SMASHING RETURN
The Alpha Age Group Badminton Series, hosted by Tanglin Trust School, is one of the longest running Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) sanctioned tournaments. Now in its seventh year, the latest tournament in December 2021 would be remembered as one held in the most challenging of circumstances, after a twoyear hiatus due to safe management restrictions brought on by the pandemic. Tanglin’s Director of Sport, Dave Radcliffe, was delighted at the opportunity the tournament presented to our own badminton players, “in addition to players from over 100 badminton clubs and schools, the tournament saw a record-high 25 Tanglin Lions players who enjoyed the opportunity to test themselves at such a high level”. Players from the Singapore Sports School (SSP) and National Intermediate Squad (NIS) dominated the competition, recording multiple successes across the different age groups and formats. This level of competition inspired and opened our players’ eyes to the high standards of youth badminton in Singapore and how they could bridge this gap by investing time and consistent effort towards perfecting their craft. It was a bold step forward for many of our players, some of whom had never competed before this. The experience gained will no doubt be invaluable to all players as they continue on their path to achieving their personal best. Congratulations to all who competed. Tanglin is already looking forward to partnering Alpha Badminton Academy in hosting next year’s event!
NURTURING FUTURE LEADERS
Public speaking skills and the ability to communicate with the utmost confidence are integral to the success of our students
If you know of someone who has been preparing for a poetry performance or presentation in Junior School, they may have just taken part in an English Speaking Board (ESB) examination. What is ESB and how does it help our Junior children? According to Jessica Cheung, ESB leader and Year 6 teacher, the programme was first introduced by Mrs Harrington-Wilcox, Head of the Junior School, and Mr O’Brien, then Head of Junior English (now Deputy Head of Pastoral in Junior School). They had identified speaking and listening as an area for development and discovered that the ESB examinations provided an opportunity for children to take part in high quality, accredited qualifications which would have a lasting impact on their future success. She explained, “public speaking skills and the ability to communicate with the utmost confidence are integral to the success of our students as aspiring future leaders. ESB was initially introduced in Year 3 and 4 before becoming embedded to complement our curriculum from Year 3 to Year 6. As our relationship with ESB grows, we have seen the award and our approach evolve, with our students consistently achieving outstanding results. The programme progresses from reciting poetry and reading aloud, to presenting on an area of interest from their school curriculum and building persuasive arguments. Children carry out their own research to participate in a formal debate with their peers in Year 6 at the end of their time in Junior School.” As the first school in Asia to offer the ESB award, we have been able to grow the programme and continually raise our standards of speaking and listening. Jessica said, “new members of staff and parents often comment on how beautifully our children express themselves and we believe that our commitment to the progression of our speaking and listening, alongside the ESB examinations, are significant factors in achieving this.”
PEOPLE of TANGLIN How well do you know the people of Tanglin? We catch up with a few of them to find out what makes them tick. David Fourie Assistant Head of Faculty, Senior School Computer Science What did you do before Tanglin? I joined Tanglin in 2011. I had worked at a couple of schools in Newcastle Upon Tyne while I completed a GTP and then achieved QTS. I was also studying for my postgraduate in Computational Neurology.
Tell us something about yourself that most people wouldn’t know about. I am a very active individual and enjoy taking part in many sports with my wife and children. My favourite sport is rock climbing, but I also run, cycle, play squash, tennis and go to the gym regularly. As a family we love setting goals and monthly challenges. I am an experienced diver with over a hundred logged dives. I also enjoy editing videos of family travels and sharing them on YouTube.
What is the most fulfilling part of your career at Tanglin? The best part about working in Tanglin are the opportunities for me to share my passions with others, starting co-curricular activities allow me to bring my enthusiasm to students and help them find their passions. Nothing highlighted this better than my time with the Tanglin Climbing Team. It has been incredibly fulfilling to start a team and see it grow. Moving from a handful of students to taking dozens to compete in overseas competitions was magical. I have so many memories of trips and events that will stay with me forever.
Maia Salti Head Girl 2021-22 When did you start studying in Tanglin? I came to Tanglin in 2015. Previously I went to St. Margaret’s School in London for eight years. Going from a small girl’s school in England to an international school with 2,800 students was a big jump for me and it took me time to adjust, but I was excited to explore what was on offer at Tanglin. I signed up for a variety of sport like softball, and I really enjoyed trying lots of new activities and meeting new people along the way. I took advantage of the co-curriculars that Tanglin offered to further my passion for mathematics by becoming a math prefect and a math tutor to help others who are learning the subject.
What’s the best part about living in Singapore? My favourite part is being surrounded by a diverse community with a welcoming culture. I am Indian, Chinese, English, Arab, and Singaporean so I have never really felt like I “belong” to one place. But in Singapore, I don’t feel like I need to. Meeting people from an array of countries has really opened my eyes and helped me to realise just how wonderful it is to be multicultural.
How do you feel about being Head Girl this year?
It’s a huge responsibility but I am grateful for the opportunity. I love working in a team with people who are just as excited about making a difference as I am. With the pandemic, planning events with the uncertainty of not knowing whether the rules are going to change for the better or the worse is not easy and we are all trying to learn along the way. However, these challenges will help us learn to be more adaptable and resilient. »
Meeting people from an array of countries has really opened my eyes and helped me to realise just how wonderful it is to be multicultural. 7
Deputy Head (Academic), Junior School
Director of Sport, Senior School
What were you doing before you joined us at Tanglin?
How would your friends describe you?
I joined Tanglin as Deputy Head (Academic) in 2016. Before coming to Singapore, I worked in leadership roles in South Korea and Spain and prior to that in a school in Bristol.
Tell us about yourself. I am originally from Bristol, in the Southwest of England. I live in Singapore with my husband, our two children; Orson aged two and Imogen who is four and in Reception at Tanglin. We also have Indie, a Yorkshire Terrier. I enjoy exploring Singapore on my bicycle and have recently started a new hobby of sewing and am working towards creating my own wardrobe of clothes. I am a keen Bristol City Football Club supporter, although that generally brings more sorrow than joy. My husband and I are both from large families, and our children have over 20 cousins, two of whom also go to Tanglin.
What does a typical day look like for you? I arrive at about 7am and head to the bus bay to welcome the children. Throughout the day, I have meetings with teachers and leaders across the Junior School to design and develop our approach towards teaching and learning. I love getting into class as often as possible, whether it is to read a story, share school updates or teach a lesson to the children.
My friends would describe me as fun, caring and personable, which is great because I can just be myself every day and enjoy spending time with the students and my colleagues.
Tell us about yourself. I am a proud Yorkshireman at heart, spending my childhood years playing the ‘holy trinity’ of rugby league, football, and then cricket in the summer months. I developed a love of travel in my early years of teaching, and it was on a year-long secondment from work that I met my future wife in Argentina. We now have two bilingual children and one of these days, I am going to learn Spanish myself!
What has been the most fulfilling part of your career at Tanglin? Sport has the power to evoke incredible emotions and sharing that with students over the years has been extremely rewarding. Whether it is that memorable moment of a SEASAC winning goal or the nervous child playing their first ever badminton match, it is a daily privilege to play a small part in the journey of so many young people.
What’s the best thing about working at Tanglin? Working with young people and having the opportunity to make a difference, no matter how small, is incredibly rewarding.
Fiona Knight Lucas
Head Boy 2021-22
Head of Music, Junior School
What was your story before Tanglin?
What did you do before you joined Tanglin?
I was born in Auckland, New Zealand, right about the time SARS hit the region. Before Tanglin, I lived and attended numerous other schools in the Asia Pacific region - Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo and New Zealand. At first, I did not appreciate having to move countries once every few years, especially as a young one. It was hard making new friends and leaving them so soon after. It was not until later that I gained an appreciation for the wonderful cultures and experiences with which I had spent so much time engaging with.
Before joining Tanglin in 2006 I taught music at a college prep school in the USA. Prior to that I worked at international schools in Japan and Jakarta. I taught in London and worked as a professional violinist before leaving the United Kingdom.
Tell us about yourself. As a New Zealander, I have grown up watching and playing rugby, so it has been something I have continued throughout my life both in and outside of school. I am also an avid photographer and dog lover. My family has two beautiful black and chocolate Labrador retrievers called Coco and Molly.
How do you feel about being Head Boy this academic year? When I was in Year 7, I vividly remember looking at the past Head teams with a mixture of admiration, respect, and awe. I never quite thought that I’d make it. Being Head Boy this year has taught me a lot and I’m grateful for the experience and exposure that have come with the role.
What has been the most fulfilling part of your career at Tanglin? Directing the FOBISIA Primary Music Festival at Tanglin with over 300 students and staff from 13 international schools was a real highlight for me. Creating performance opportunities for the children at Tanglin has always been one of my passions. Whether it is sharing a drumming pattern in a class music lesson, singing in the chorus in the Year 6 production, or performing a concerto in the Junior Young Musicians concert, there are many opportunities for children to enjoy performing at every level.
What are your hopes for the future? Two levels of the Centenary Building will be dedicated to Tanglin’s Music Academy and the creation of a Junior School Arts Hub. I am very much looking forward to providing new opportunities for the students, with the music team, in these state-of-the-art facilities and hope that there will be a return to larger scale performances, with choral singing in particular, in the not-too-distant future.
STUDENT ART SHOWCASE
It’s all about art! Read on to find out what the Infant, Junior, and Senior School have been up to in the second half of the school year.
A GOLDEN TOUCH
By Libby Henderson, Head of Infant Art
e have been very excited to be able to start Year 2 Unit again in the Infant School each Friday, albeit in a slightly different way due to the restrictions that are in place. As Head of Infant Art, and a Year 1 class teacher, I love the opportunity to work with a smaller group of Year 2 children each week. We began the session by discussing what a role model was and who their
role model may be. Children listed friends, family members, different professions and even some famous celebrities. Their challenge was to make a representation of their role model using a cardboard tile and some plasticine. They thought about facial expressions and what the person may be wearing. Gold paint was the finishing touch and I think you’ll agree they look rather impressive!
By Peter Hinckley, Head of Junior Art & Design
nspiration is a catalyst for creativity. We can be inspired to create our own artwork from listening to a piece of music, a song or poem, a memory or event, or be motivated to create and develop our own ideas from the visual ideas of other artists. This term, Year 5 and 6 were inspired by the work of two very different artists and styles of painting. As part of Year 6’s focus on World War 2, we examined the atmospheric paintings of artist and designer Wilfred Stanley Haines, famous for his vivid paintings of the blitz of London (his paintings can be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London). Using their prior experience and knowledge in using watercolour paints, the Year 6 students were asked to create their own blitz paintings based on Wilfred Stanley Haines’ work. The students created fiery backgrounds using the ‘wet on wet’ technique. Careful use of scissors was required for the next stage in creating a silhouette of the London skyline. To add to the composition, the use of masking techniques was employed to create searchlights penetrating the fiery sky. The final addition of silhouetted drawings of aircraft was added to complete the atmospheric blitz composition. Year 5 headed to infinity and beyond in their mixed media compositions. Working from an analysis of Chesley Bonestell’s stunning science fiction artwork, the Year 5 students created their own imaginary planet landscapes. This was an ideal opportunity to fully immerse in exploring mixed media; the compositions included oil and chalk pastel work, flick painting, torn and crumpled paper collage with pastels and watercolour painting. Keeping within a futuristic theme, the children’s pictures were exhibited in a digital walk-through virtual gallery. »
UNDER THE SURFACE
By Anthony Mcnair, Visual Arts Specialist
n early February, the senior art department was delighted to once again welcome artist Ian Murphy to Tanglin, to share with our Year 10 and 12 students his individual approach to artmaking. Murphy is renowned for the subtle textural surfaces that he creates as a base before layering in meticulously detailed and atmospheric tonal drawings and paintings. He develops his artworks from initial observational studies that he recorded in his sketchbooks during his cultural adventures throughout Asia and Europe. Larger scale works are later developed back in his studio space. This was a hands-on opportunity for students to observe the content of his stunning sketchbooks and to inspect original spectacular artworks up close, before undertaking a series of creative workshop challenges based on his technique and distinct style. Students prepared surfaces by gluing torn and crumpled paper on a cartridge paper base before smoothing out the surface with sandpaper once it dried. This was followed by a gentle working of graphite power into the base, causing
the textural surface to appear like magic. Under Murphy’s guidance, drawings were then layered upon this in ink and graphite as he shared by example how to create exciting work with basic shapes and plenty of technique, within short timescales. Coloured inks and bleach were dripped down wet vertical surfaces, allowing gravity to do its job to psychedelic effect. The work was messy but the smiles from everyone communicated clearly that they had relished the experience. His visit was incredibly well received by students who were able to generate experimental artwork while pushing confidence with an array of new techniques. Murphy’s style has already embedded itself into the art department from previous visits and we feel incredibly grateful that after a gap of two years of restrictions, we were once again able to enrich our curriculum by having such inspiring artists visit our school. We would like to thank the TTS Foundation for supporting us in providing our students with this unique and unforgettable creative experience.
What’s New at Tanglin
As Tanglin approaches its centennial in 2025, it’s embarking on the Centennial Arts Project - an ambitious arts project to celebrate its hundredth anniversary in Singapore. The first artwork commission, which will be installed in the Atrium of Tanglin’s new Centenary Building, is The Brain by Singaporean sculptor Victor Tan. We chatted with him to find out more.
he Brain is the first of a series of commissions of visual and performance artworks to take place over the next decade. The theme will be focused on Respect, Responsibility, and Purpose - Tanglin’s core values that are relevant for both future and past generations. Awarded artists like Victor, who are selected for the Centennial Arts Project, will commit to including students in the artistic process of creating a significant work that’s aligned with the theme, context, location. Take the Year 12 students who visited Victor’s studio at Telok Kurau Studios for example. They were given the opportunity to learn about sculpture making, understand the process of making a public sculpture and the various stages of the creation. Elaine, one of the student visitors, said, “Victor told us to create a sphere without looking at anyone else’s and without being taught anything about how to make it. I coiled the wire around in a very random way and tried to form the shape of a ball. In the end, we turned around and looked at everyone else’s spheres and I saw that they had all done it in a very different way. It was very interesting to see that we all thought differently and had different methods of getting to the desired result.” Rajata, another student visitor, couldn’t have agreed more. He explained, “I learned that as an artist, you have to express yourself clearly and be different from everyone else. As an artist, you have to find your own meaning behind your artwork. Before Victor found his voice in wires, he was doing ceramics. When he realised that no one else was doing wires, he decided to stick with it and became one of the best local sculptors in Singapore.” Rob Le Grice, Head of Art & Design, said, “Victor is an artist with a presence, and he has a way of talking about art. His artwork is so intertwined with his personality and that is the message we want to share with our students. [Art] is about finding who you are and your voice, then letting that turn into something. It’s really inspirational.”
Why did Tanglin decide to embark on such an ambitious art project with Victor?
“We’ve built up this relationship with Victor over the years,” Rob explained, “and it’s progressed to a point where we understand each other. Now it’s all about getting our students to understand Victor and vice versa, and really making sure the connection is tight. These days, a lot of students make connections with artwork through their phones and the Internet. I always worry that they are not seeing the artwork in its true entirety, and we rarely get a chance to meet the artist. Meeting Victor brings all the key learning points together and it’s a great way to build a good relationship.” Making connections with Victor is just part of the reason why Tanglin decided to install The Brain in the heart of the Centenary Building. Rob said, “it’s not just a brain, it’s about connections and people coming together. People come and go at Tanglin, but it’s important to know that the lovely connections we make in school are just as vital outside. We hope to continue building these relationships. We’ve been separated from families and friends at times, and we are hoping that over the next few years, we can bring those relationships back again with the help of art as well as Victor and other artists we connect with.”
Who is Victor Tan?
Victor is known in the local arts community for his unusual and persistent use of wire. His work explores existential ideas about humanity, the isolation of human emotions in the moment, and through the passage of time. The practising sculptor told »
What’s New at Tanglin
us that he eventually chose the wire as his medium of choice because it reminded him of the pencil lines he used to draw before he became visually impaired. Victor explained, “wire is like a pen or a pencil to me and the air is like paper. Every line of this wire is like a drawing I draw in the air.”
What got him into art?
Victor’s artistic journey began when he was just a child. He told us, “I always liked art when I was a kid but I just never thought that I’d be doing it as a career. I like to draw quietly in my own time and space, and not show anyone. I went on to study architectural technology in Singapore Polytechnic but halfway through, I started to experience visual issues. I had to stop what I was doing, but then one day I overheard a blind person say he was going to do painting over the weekend. I was like ‘wow, he can do painting and that’s what I always wanted to do’, so I decided to join them and that was it. I never looked back. During the art workshop, there were artists and they advised me that I should go to art school after seeing what I did. That’s how it all started.”
Why did he pick the human brain as the inspiration for his sculpture?
The brain and nervous system possess a unique intricate pattern of 86 billion neurons that relay information through a complex electrochemical process and make connections that affect the way we think, learn, move, and behave. When children develop life skills such as empathy, creativity, self-control and problemsolving, they are in fact nurturing the brain circuits that are involved in much of what makes us human. Victor elaborated, “the whole idea of branches and their extensions is about possibility. The connections bring about possibilities. The school system is about developing one’s brain and the brain is complicated. It’s not just about the curriculum; it’s dynamic, it’s about relationships, it’s about you, it’s about the environment, and it fits Tanglin very well. Tanglin is very receptive
to new ideas and thoughts. It’s not just about the curriculum alone, it’s about the holistic development of the child.”
Which part of the creative process excites him the most?
According to Victor, creativity has to be a holistic process. He said, “you don’t say you like one part and not the others. To me, the whole creative process is interesting from beginning to the middle and to the end. If I come up with an idea but I don’t make it, it’s not fun. If I want to make something but I don’t have an idea, I can’t do it either. Vision is important in the process of making. You can be a dreamer and don’t do anything but with vision, you can execute it.”
How does he define success as an artist?
For many people, being successful means making a lot of money or standing high up on the career ladder. But for Victor, success is very subjective. He explained, “it depends on what you want; why do you want to be successful in life? Do you want to be busy working for someone? I think working for someone is fine but if you are so busy that you don’t enjoy it, you feel very angry about it. If you are unhappy about it and dread going to work every day, then to me, no matter how rich or high up the ladder you are, you may want to think twice about it. For me, success is when you feel love for what you’re doing from the heart, and you thank God that you got a chance to do what you are doing. That, to me, is success.
Wise words indeed, Victor! We are truly inspired by your work and can’t wait to see the finished sculpture in the Centenary Building soon. In the meantime, if you want to find out more about this project or make a gift, please contact Cecilia Handel, Director of Development, at email@example.com. Want to find out more about Victor’s work? Then visit his website at victortanweetar.com.
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What’s New at Tanglin
ART Do you know that Tanglin is home to a diverse range of artworks? Join us as we take you around the campus to find these (sometimes hidden) artistic gems!
EMERGENCE The most recent art installation at Tanglin, ‘Emergence’ is created by Mona Choo, Tanglin’s former Technical Art & Design executive, and funded by TTS Foundation. It’s made from over 500 resin cubes in difference sizes, each of which encapsulates a small object contributed by the Tanglin community such as Lego, seashells, mini clay figurines and even a baby tooth. You can find this beautiful piece at the Infant School foyer.
T90 MURAL Located in the Infant School’s Hall 2, this is a gorgeous mural showing our children in a parade celebrating T90 (Tanglin’s 90th birthday) and SG50. It came about when TTS Foundation invited children’s book illustrator Karin Littlewood to visit the Infant School in 2016. During her visit, Year 2 children were asked to sketch what made Singapore special to them. Karin then worked with the children to incorporate these ideas into the mural, featuring Singapore’s impressive skyline and remembering that the lion city was once covered in rainforest and home to numerous wildlife.
ECO VISTA MURAL You walk past it every day, but do you know this 76m Eco Vista mural wall was created by a group of visiting graffiti artists called Geeksigners and RSCLS in 2017? If you look carefully, you can even spot Mr Dickon Thomas (Head of Humanities) and Mr Martin Foakes (Head of Outdoor Education) in the mural featuring their Antarctic trip! Supported by the TTS Foundation, the Eco Vista mural also showcases pieces of artwork from different classes so you can say that it’s a work of true collaboration!
WINNIE & WILBUR MURAL Are you a big fan of Winnie the witch and Wilbur her cat? Then you mustn’t miss their mural at the back of the Junior Library on level 4 of the Junior School building. These are original book characters created by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul. They had visited Junior School in 2015 to share the magical misadventures of their titular characters and were invited to leave an indelible mark of their amazing stories – aka a beautiful wall mural starring Winnie and Wilbur! »
What’s New at Tanglin
RAINFOREST MURAL You can find this wonderful rainforest-themed artwork if you walk in from the Playing Field on level two of the Junior School building. Created by author James Mayhew and theatre designer Antonio Reche-Martinez in conjunction with our Art Reps when they were TTS Foundation Inspirational Visitors to the Junior School in 2015, this beautiful artwork is a celebration of Tanglin’s commitment to environmental responsibility and supported by the TTS Foundation.
PIANO SCULPTURE BY IZUMI YONEYAMA Over at the Junior music section on the same level, is the gorgeous piano sculpture that was created by a Year 11 student Izumi Yoneyama for her GCSE art exam back in 2019. If you are wondering why the piano keys are ‘lifted’ into the air, it’s because they are meant to convey the dynamism of music and musical chaos that ensue.
HEAVEN & EARTH PAINTINGS Last but not least, the Senior School library! Here you can find two paintings that were purchased from Singaporean artist Justin Lee. He visited Tanglin 10 years ago to conduct a series of painting workshops for our art students and during that time, he shared how he combined elements from eastern and western art to create his very own unique blend. This particular set of paintings feature the Chinese characters for ‘Heaven’ and ‘Earth’ so that’s interesting!
What’s New at Tanglin
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This page: Griff visiting the Infant School; Griff celebrating Chinese New Year
f you have seen a furry brown lion decked in Tanglin’s uniform and walking around the school lately, your eyes weren’t playing tricks on you. He is Tanglin’s friendly mascot - Griff! He is a very busy lion but we managed to catch up with him for a chat over some durian ice-cream (his favourite), to find out what he’s been up to.
Tell us more about yourself; why is your name Griff? What are your hobbies?
Griff: I was named after Tanglin’s founder, Ms Anne GriffithJones! If you don’t already know, she’s the brave and amazing lady who started our school in 1925 and the children back then knew her as Miss Griff. I have plenty of hobbies. I love all kinds of sporting activities, and I am a proud supporter of the Tanglin Lions.
How would you describe yourself?
Griff: Hmm, I would say that I am brave, enthusiastic, sporty, and positive! I love learning new things from the wonderful teachers at Tanglin. I am also a very responsible lion; I make sure my uniform is freshly ironed before the start of each day so I’m all ready to take on my duties as a professional lion mascot!
What’s New at Tanglin
I would say that I am brave, enthusiastic, sporty, and positive! I love learning new things from the wonderful teachers at Tanglin.
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Griff: I hope to be at more assemblies and sporting events soon! If the children spot me, they can always come by to say hello and cheer along with me!
US E ON E OF GR IFF’S
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Where can the children find you?
GRIFF ’S GREAT CHOIC ES
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Griff: Plenty of things! The Forest School site is now ready, and I love going there during my free time to explore nature. I was also rooting for the Tanglin Lions during the Alpha Age Group Badminton Series, which took place during the term break. They did really well and I’m very proud of them! Oh and have you walked past the Tanglin Centenary Building lately? I’m pretty excited about the new facilities there and I can’t wait to cheer on our climbers on the new bespoke climbing wall, watch the Merlions train in the Olympic-length pool and learn from our talented gymnasts in the new gymnastics centre.
AL L PROB LE M?
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What gets you excited?
DO YO U HAVE A SM
Griff: I have been super busy lately! I popped by the Infant School on their House Day to play with the children. It was so great to see the children participating in various activities wearing their new House kits. I even got to work with the lion dancers to put on a special performance for Red and Gold Day to celebrate the Lunar New Year. I am also a studious lion and I love to learn new things. During Year 5’s Space Day, I learned about topics related to the universe; constellations, Mars Landers, and how astronauts sleep when they are in space. I also learned how to count during 100 Days of Reception by looking at the 100 lions that Infants drew. The teachers at the Infant school say I am a model lion so they asked me to help them think of ways to help Infant children learn how to deal with difficult situations. We came up with “Griff’s Great Choices” and showed the children how to “be like Griff” by teaching them ways I use to solve small problems. For example, if someone makes them angry, instead of becoming frustrated, the teachers will tell the children to be like Griff and walk away, talk about how they are feeling, or take a breath and count to 10, instead of arguing or letting the problem grow bigger.
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IF YOUR PROBLEM IS BIG, TELL AN ADULT AND THEY CAN HELP YOU. Above: Griff’s Great Choices
CLASSROOM What is the Duke of Edinburgh (DoE)’s Award and what important role does it play in Tanglin’s education? Martin Foakes, Director of Outdoor Education, tells us more.
Innovative Education L to R: Vanessa F, Alice G, Rehasna K, Ella C, Ella S
e all know that His Royal Highness Prince Philip is the Duke of Edinburgh, but do you also know that he founded the Duke of Edinburgh’s international award in 1956? In fact, Prince Philip did it in conjunction with the influential German educationalist Kurt Hahn and it was devised as a framework to inspire and support young people to make positive use of their time outside of the formal school environment. According to Prince Philip, its objective is “to provide an introduction to worthwhile leisure activities and voluntary service, as a challenge to the individual to discover the satisfaction of achievement and as a guide for those people and organizations who would like to encourage the development of their young fellow citizens.” Prince Philip may have passed away last year, but his legacy still leaves an indelible mark. It has seen a rapid growth in popularity in recent years and is greatly valued around the world. Today the Award boasts more than one million participants from over 130 countries. At Tanglin, we currently have over 150 young people who have committed to the Award.
Why is the DoE’s Award such an important part of Tanglin’s education?
Tanglin Trust School was established in 1925 by Miss Griff, and a founding principle of the Tanglin education has always been a strong connection with nature and the great outdoors since those
early days at the Tanglin Club in Singapore. She firmly believed that children need to experience nature and the outdoors to ensure a healthy and happy development. The values of the Award are a very close fit with the educational values that we have always held dear, such as flourishing individuals and striving for one’s personal best. The Award continues to grow at Tanglin, despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, and around the world it continues to set the standard for positive youth development outside the formal classroom. The DoE International Award provides a structure through which young people can work alongside their mentors to set targets and achieve worthwhile goals in life. It can open doors to new activities and interests, and it can build strong partnerships in the community. Those who achieve the Gold Award often describe the tremendous sense of achievement and increased self-worth that comes with it. It is no exaggeration to say that the Award changes lives for the better and at Tanglin it is not unusual for our Gold students to talk about how their expeditions shaped their lives for the better.
How does a participant achieve an Award?
There are four sections to the Award: Service, Physical Recreation, Skill, and the Adventurous Journey. This means that a participant must learn a skill, improve their physical wellbeing, volunteer in the community, and go on a team adventure in an unfamiliar environment in order to achieve an Award. Participants need to demonstrate commitment, perseverance, and a willingness to challenge themselves. Every participant’s route to the Award may be different, but on completing the »
L to R: Last year’s Year 13 Gold participants discuss their strategy before setting off; Getting their kayaks ready for the big adventure; Cooking in the great outdoors; A row of kayaks
Award successfully there is always a tremendous sense of fulfilment. This achievement comes from the knowledge that you have completed something worthwhile, and you have overcome challenges along the way. There is an additional component at Gold level. The Residential Project which involves working alongside a group of people that you would not normally work with and completing a project together that benefits the wider community. The world is changing, and the future is uncertain, so it is important that the young people of tomorrow have resilience and adaptability when faced with new challenges that we cannot yet imagine. The great outdoors is where we learn how to cope with uncertainty and adverse conditions. Those of us who have learned how to weather a thunderstorm together are going to be better equipped for the future and they know that the sun will come out again before too long.
What do Tanglin students do on their expeditions?
The expedition must be completed as a group of no less than four and no more than seven members, to ensure that each member can contribute effectively to team challenges and decisions along the way. The essential concept of navigating your own way through the wilderness as a team, carrying all your own equipment and managing your group safely hasn’t really changed, but I am happy to say that there have been huge advances in the quality of outdoor equipment and technical clothing. While the challenge remains, some of the suffering has been reduced! Over the years we have built up some fantastic relationships with some really inspiring professional companies around Southeast Asia and in Australia. Knowing that the students are
in safe hands gives us the confidence to visit some pretty ‘out there’ destinations, with extended treks such as the iconic rite of passage in Australia with Outward Bound probably setting the bar for others to follow! Before Covid-19 brought a halt to overseas expeditions, we were looking forward to kayaking down the River Kwai, an extended journey across Mongolia and even a high-altitude trek to the Himalayas. The adult supervisors and guides work alongside the students on all these expeditions to ensure that their plans are safe and sensible, while still maintaining the required levels of independence and challenge.
Any shining examples?
It has been a particularly challenging couple of years for Outdoor Educators, so just keeping going has been a source of pride and watching a group of last year’s Year 13 Gold participants getting to complete their Gold expedition successfully was a particular highlight. These girls had planned and completed their practice sea kayaking journey and were looking forward to completing their final expedition until the pandemic struck. Singapore schools went online, school outdoor activities were cancelled, and we were unable to run the trip as planned. Faced with such a situation, many young people would have simply shrugged their shoulders and given up, but they didn’t. They rallied together, got in touch with the kayaking provider and fixed a date to start their challenging four-day sea kayaking journey. Starting at dawn and four full days of purposeful effort meant that they were able to complete their final Gold expedition together during the summer holidays. It was a tremendous achievement and one which set them up really well for the start of the next stage of their lives at university.
There are many ways to communicate, and our Year 2 students did it the traditional way with another group of Year 2s via post. What was their experience like? Read on to find out more.
echnology has changed communication in more ways than one, but who can forget the excitement when we receive a real letter from a friend living in a different country? That was what our Year 2 children experienced in Term 1 when they started exchanging letters with another group of Year 2s in Berkshire, England. It all started when Tanglin alumna Charlotte McNamara (p40) reached out to Head of Infant School Paula Craigie to propose a letter exchange between their schools. She explained: “Spending my childhood and growing up in an amazing country like Singapore inspired me. I wanted to share with my Year 2s that there is so much more to the world and there are countries and cultures that are so different to England. We had learned about Diwali before writing the letters so when they found out Diwali is celebrated in Singapore and the children there had a day off from school, they had lots more to ask them about it. Most Year 2 children at my school had never heard of Singapore. A lot of them have never left England, especially with the Covid-19 restrictions and their family backgrounds, so I really wanted to just open their eyes to the world out there. When I showed them pictures of Singapore, they couldn’t believe there is a place that really looks like that.” Paula and Acting Head of Year 2 Jess Freeborn were naturally delighted to collaborate with Charlotte, so the letter exchange initiative was kicked off without delay. Needless to say, the letter exchange was a huge success, and everyone enjoyed it immensely. Charlotte tells us more.
How did your students respond to the activity and the replies they received from Tanglin?
The children in my class could not believe they were writing to children on the other side of the world. It blew their minds that while we were writing our letters, the children we were writing to would be asleep in Singapore. I thought they would enjoy the activity, but they loved it even more than I thought they would. All the children in my class independently wrote more than I had ever
seen them write. A child, who sometimes refuses to do literacy because he doesn’t normally enjoy writing, wrote over a page, and then said to me he had lots of questions for his friend in Singapore. In the letters we received back from Tanglin, we learned so much more about Diwali we didn’t know before. Because it was personal, it made a real impact and they loved that the letter was for them.
Were there any memorable moments?
I had Parents Evening on the same day we wrote the letters and a parent of a child who really struggles and finds school challenging told me that the writing we did that day inspired their child. For the first time, he came home, sat at the table and asked for help to write a letter to Santa. The fact that we were writing to a real child their age on the other side of the world sparked their curiosity so much and inspired them to write, especially when there is a purpose for it.
Why do you think this is a good learning experience for students on both sides of the globe?
Year 2 children are still young and with Covid-19, it means that they haven’t been able to travel for the last few years. That connection with the other side of the world and talking to a child their age made a real impact. They were so engaged and asked me so many questions. Tanglin’s Jess, who is also the class teacher of 2.7, couldn’t have agreed more. She said: “The letter exchange was an excellent opportunity for our children to experience receiving a handwritten letter from a pen pal in England. It meant we could teach letter writing in a real-life context and that brings learning alive for children. It was so special for our children to receive snippets of information about a child of the same age as them, but who lives so far away. They enjoyed sharing their knowledge on Diwali with others who were so keen to learn more about the festival.”
WHAT DO THE YEAR 2 CHILDREN THINK ABOUT THE ACTIVITY?
It was super fun to write to children in the UK! - Anika, 2.7 It was exciting and fun because we wrote to children so far away! - Aadit, 2.7 I am really proud of my letter, that is more than I have ever written. - Charlotte’s student
So they really live in a country where it is hot all year. - Charlotte’s student
Junior House leaders
leaders IN ACTION
According to Donald McGannon, a devoted advocate for improving the standards of radio and television broadcasting, “leadership is an action, not a position” and that couldn’t be truer at Tanglin. Read on as we chat with Peter O’Brien, Junior School’s Deputy Head of Pastoral, to find out how the student voice is nurtured through leadership roles in the Junior School.
t Junior School, students are given many opportunities to express themselves as well as pursue their interests in various ways. There are also multiple venues for students to explore leadership. While most of us might think of leadership as one individual leading a group of people, this is not the case at Junior School. In fact, it’s a role where students are expected to take action as part of their collective responsibility to improve the school. Peter explained, “every child is assigned a role in the job squad based on their strengths and preferences. This helps to build stronger connections within the community and has been proven to have a huge positive impact on our children. The roles are also in line with Tanglin’s core values ‘Respect’, ‘Responsibility’ and ‘Purpose’ because they are designed to give each child meaningful opportunities to do their part for the community. Such opportunities increase our children’s selfesteem and sense of wellbeing as well because they feel valued, no matter what their job scope is.” So, what are these roles and what kind of responsibilities do they entail? Here are some of them:
Two children are appointed in each class to represent their classmates’ concerns, opinions, and ideas. They meet regularly with members of the leadership team
(Head of Year, Assistant Heads etc) to work on various projects that are aligned with the school’s strategic planning. One such project was pasting a QR code on each child’s desk in the classroom to make it easier for them to scan and answer questions about their wellbeing during regular check-ins. Class representatives also routinely keep an eye out for students of merit so they can highlight them to the teacher and celebrate their achievements - a great way to motivate everyone else indeed! As a Gold Rights Respecting School (the only one outside of the UK), Tanglin’s mission is to create a safe and inspiring learning environment for its students. Class representatives support this mission by raising awareness of Article of the Week (a set of learning activities focused on a specific article) and highlighting the importance of a child’s rights in their classrooms and during assemblies.
These are a group of children who represent their respective year groups. Four children per year group are appointed and they are responsible for all aspects of the academic experience ranging from school routines to behaviour. These children are also part of the Student Council in Junior School, so their roles include recruiting members for the Junior School student council and even interviewing candidates for the Senior Head Team as well as the Head Boy/Girl role!
As the name suggests, these are children who help their peers with mathematical challenges. For example, Year 6’s Maths Mentors have recently been supporting students from other year groups with multiplication tables practices. »
Such opportunities increase our children’s self-esteem and sense of wellbeing as well because they feel valued 31
These are children who support music lessons and events in the Junior School. Their job is to ensure that such activities go smoothly so they often take on roles such as introducing performers to parent visitors during the lunchtime recitals at Junior School recently.
Need a job done in the name of Tanglin’s eight Houses? Then these are the children to look out for. They don’t just represent their respective Houses; they also lead school assemblies and work with Mr Matthew Hastwell (Head of Houses) and adult House leaders to raise the profile of each House. This is a big responsibility, given that the Houses were just introduced last year (issue 36, The Voice) amidst COVID restrictions, but these children are ready and raring to make a difference. Another group of children who are just as important to the inner workings of each House are the House Point Moderators. As the name suggests, their role is to monitor the points that each House is given and ensure that all House points are calculated properly.
Children who work well with younger ones are known as Friendship Captains. Their responsibility is to interact with Infant children. One of the ways they do that is to familiarise themselves with new playground equipment at Infant School so they can create a more inclusive environment for the Infant children. On top of that, they utilise their experience with playground equipment and contribute to the design for the refurbishment of a playground at Junior School this year. Book swap
Every year, each year group oversees
events that raise community awareness on issues such as childhood cancer, feeding the needy as well as educating impoverished children in developing countries. Philanthropists contribute to charity initiatives such as Orange Day and book swaps, but they also rally their peers and help foster a sense of community within the school.
SKILLS FOR THE FUTURE
These are just a few of the important roles that Junior children take on, but no matter what role they are appointed to, there are valuable opportunities for them to learn 21st century skills like collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. Each Junior child is assigned eight different roles a year, so they can experience a variety of responsibilities that encourage them to step out of their comfort zone. While children are encouraged to be healthy risk takers, they learn to assess their abilities with the help of an assigned teacher who will discuss the role with them and how they could make it better. Peter said, “Before the pandemic, such roles typically took them across the school campus, and enabled them to work with different people and children from various schools. Although such interactions are limited for now, we hope that we can eventually open up the restrictions so our Junior School children can enjoy a more holistic experience. But in the meantime, I would say they are all doing a great job!”
Understanding neurodiversity at Tanglin
Like plants, students have a range of strengths and needs that require different input, care, or support. How does Tanglin address this within the school community? Clare Lancaster, Tanglin’s Educational Psychologist, shares more with us. 34
Illustration designed rawpixel.com/freepik
ven simple organisms like plants have particular care needs – some prefer a sunny windowsill, others like a cool climate, and some only flower in very specific conditions. In the same way that we would try to meet the care needs of our different types of plants, we must recognise that in more complex organisms, there is a greater range and complexity of needs. Humans, too, have a huge range of variation so it is important to recognise that giving everyone the exact same input, care or support isn’t going to help - we need to recognise and respond to the individual’s unique pattern of strengths and needs.
DEFINING NEUROLOGICAL DIFFERENCES
“Neurodiversity” is a broad and relatively new term that helps to promote the view that neurological differences in the way we perceive the world, think, learn, or communicate should be recognised and respected just as much as any other human variation. Differences in the way people take in, process or output information are all to be expected and valued. By valuing these differences, we can counter negative social connotations that can exist about people who think or learn in unique ways, and to make it easier for all people to contribute to the world in ways that work best for them.
RECOGNISING NEURODIVERSITY AT TANGLIN
Across the schools, we have started having staff training and conversations about neurodiversity and equity*, and what that means in practice. In a nutshell, it’s about recognising that everyone has their own unique pattern of strengths and needs, and that by meeting those needs, we help everyone to flourish.
For example, we wouldn’t think twice about a person on crutches who needs a seat, question someone with asthma taking a 5-minute break to use their inhaler in the middle of PE or even spend some time comforting an injured student. When things are obvious or medically related, it’s clear that some people will need more or different interventions from others. However, this doesn’t mean that others with less obvious needs or differences are less important. Some students need validation and a chance in the spotlight while others need extension tasks and space to explore. This is where teachers play an important role because they know their students well and can provide differentiated lessons, tasks, and support to help everyone flourish. In Tanglin, we are lucky to have committed and dedicated teachers and an outstanding Learning Support Team in each school. This enables us to provide differentiated opportunities and support to everyone. For example, some students need a differentiated presentation of handouts (e.g. larger font, double spaced paragraphs), some need extra time to finish a test while others need to talk through or break down their learning with concrete examples. Some need a quiet space during break or lunch, and others need mentoring from a trusted older student or adult. There are all sorts of ways of supporting, and we try to ensure that every student gets what works for them. When we provide individualised support and opportunities, we create the right environment for all our students to flourish and thrive.
*To understand the difference between equity and equality, you can read all about the band aid activity a teacher shared online at: boredpanda.com/equality-equity-band-aid-student-lesson.
CLASS We are almost halfway through 2022; what have our Tanglin alumni been up to? Let’s hear it from them.
emember Charlotte Harris (2009 cohort) from issue 36 of The Voice? Back then, she was preparing for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge (TWAC) and now a few months later, she and her friend Jess have fully unlocked the achievement of rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic! On top of that, the duo has done it in record time by breaking the world record for the fastest women’s pair to cross the Atlantic. Congratulations to them both! We also heard from Tanglin alumni of the 2013 cohort and Anira Perera is one of them. She is currently living in Italy and working for Novartis, a pharmaceutical company that specialises in providing solutions to address the evolving needs of patients worldwide. At the moment, Anira is working on a small, but
exciting manufacturing site that produces a radioactive therapy for prostate cancer. Truly worthwhile work, if you ask us. And in case you don’t already know, Yin Noe (2013 cohort) is Alumni of the Year 2021 for Professional Excellence! You can read why she was nominated for the award on page 39. Another noteworthy alumnus from the 2013 cohort is Jack Ridley. He’s currently living in Edinburgh where he is studying a Master’s in Sound Design at the University of Edinburgh. Jack told us that his journey after Tanglin had been a strange, winding one. It began with a short stint of mechanical engineering at university, which swiftly transformed into a degree focusing on performance art. Then through a number of odd turns, it led him into the world of sound design. Jack first worked in London’s theatre scene,
Illustration designed by Freepik
Clockwise: Charlotte Harris and Jess, Liam Gibford, Britt Wilen, Yin Noe, Kimberley Duff
designing sounds and composing music for performances, and now he is returning to university to learn the technical skills of the worlds of game audio and audio software design. He said, “don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself changing in unexpected ways and remember that at the end of the day - regardless of what dreams and goals you do or don’t achieve, your greatest hope for finding joy in life is through other people.” Liam Gibford (formally Lydia Gibbs, 2013 cohort) wrote in to tell us that he is currently living and working in Leuchars, Scotland, near St Andrews. After Tanglin, he went on to study the classics in the University of Wales Trinity St David and graduated in 2016. He is currently part of the Royal Military Police in the British Army and has been there since completing his training in October 2019. Liam is also engaged to his partner, Zephyr Gibford, and is due to get married in October 2022 after a three-year engagement so our heartiest congratulations! In the meantime, teaching right at Tanglin is Kimberley Duff from the 2003 cohort! She is not only the Computing & ICT Specialist at the Senior School, she’s also the Assistant Head of Year 12. Kimberley has led numerous projects and mentored many students at Tanglin, including the student organisers behind last school term’s Hack-lation (issue 36, The Voice) so she has been pretty busy. Kimberley also told us that she got married and gave birth to her daughter two years ago in 2020 – double happiness indeed!
Britt Wilen, also from the 2003 cohort, is now a Global Creative Director living and working in Los Angeles for advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi. Britt, who has been married for nine years and recently purchased a house in Beachwood Canyon (the neighbourhood just beneath the infamous Hollywood sign), said that her current role allows her to work on exciting projects such as Toyota’s sponsorship of the Olympics and Paralympics as well as the travel brand Expedia. She is also a part time filmmaker and photographer with many independent projects that she produces, directs, films, and edits. Between her professional and personal endeavours, her work has been featured on People, Hoda & Jenna, AdAge, ESPN, Thrillest, Campaign US, and many more. Britt counts a recent career highlight to be last year when Mindy Kaling (American actress/comedian) showed her appreciation for Britt’s 2021 Super Bowl work by saying, “I’ve never been more moved than watching that Toyota ad”. During the pandemic Britt temporarily relocated to Newfoundland, Canada where she began writing and recording an album which is set to be released once she and her husband settled back into life in California.
Sounds like our alumni are living their best lives out there and if you have something you’d like to share with our community, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Tanglin Alumni website at alumni.tts.edu.sg. We are always happy to hear from former staff and students!
20 Alumni OF THE YEAR
Congratulations to Finn Elliot (2020 cohort), Yin Noe (2013 cohort) and Josh Basham (2017 cohort) for winning Tanglin’s Alumni of the Year 2021! Having carved out a niche in their respective fields, these alumni truly embody our school’s values and aspirations. Here’s why they deserve their award.
he Alumni of the Year 2021 Awards is a celebration of Tanglin alumni who have made significant contributions or attained high levels of success in their industry - be it as a professional, sports person, arts extraordinaire or an avid contributor to the society. The criteria: they should be a living alumni who is at least 18 years old and attended minimally two years of schooling at Tanglin Trust School (including Raeburn Park, Tanglin Preparatory School, Winchester School, Weyhill Preparatory School, Alexandra Park, Tanglin Infant & Junior School). Nominations are made by fellow alumni and members of the school community, and they are reviewed by the Tanglin Alumni Committee as well as our CEO, Mr Craig Considine. Here are our three 2021 winners.
Finn Elliot (2020 cohort) • Excellence in Arts Attended Tanglin from Nursery to Year 4 • Studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Exeter • Nominated by Tanglin Community – James Rushworth
Finn (The Voice, Issue 36) is a talented actor who has acted in several shows including Netflix’s The Crown where he played young Prince Philip and The Last Kingdom where he was young Uhtred, son of the main character. The talented young man is not only an active member of the Chichester Festival Youth Theatre, he also acted in films such as The Mercy with Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz. James Rushworth, who nominated the talented young man, said: “Finn managed to carve out a successful acting career across multiple stages/
platforms (more recently during the pandemic and therefore on his own overseas) while remaining focused on his studies and exams (he has done very well). He remains extremely humble and grounded in what he has already achieved so far in his short acting career. He’s a fantastic example to children and the broader Tanglin community, showing that with hard work (and talent), grit, a supportive family and friendship circle (and a little bit of luck) that one can make dreams come true. He’s a remarkable, decent young man that the school should rightly celebrate.”
Yin Noe (2013 cohort) • Professional Excellence
Josh Basham (2017 cohort) • Excellence in Sports
Attended Tanglin Year 9 to 13 • Entrepreneur
Attended Tanglin from Year 6 to 8 • Professional rugby player
Nominated by Faculty – Mhairi Aluthge-Donna
(Newcastle Falcons) • Nominated by Staff – Sarah Le Grice
Yin Noe is an award-winning entrepreneur who has founded several successful ventures. In 2021, AccelerateHER & Google named Yin as one of the UK’s Top Inspiring 50 Tech Leaders in the Financial Times. In this list, she is one of the youngest winners and the first winner in history from Myanmar. She is also the founder of Coillection, a sustainability startup that generates clean energy (biodiesel) from used cooking oil. The startup received funding and recognition as the number one start up from Imperial College London and Shell. Outside of her day-to-day activities, Yin takes an active role as an Associate for the Gandhi Centre for Inclusive Innovation, helping to mentor startups and organise funding events for mission-driven companies that create social impact. She also partakes in coding competitions and was named ‘Best Student Hacker’ at FinTech. Mhairi Aluthge-Donna (Head of Business Studies & Economics), who has been nominating worthy candidates for the Alumni of the Year award since it was first launched, told us, “I was motivated to nominate Yin for Alumni of the Year after she was named as one of the UK’s Top Inspiring 50 Tech Leaders. She is not only the CEO of her own startup business, she also gives back as part of her mentorship role at the Gandhi Centre. Yin is a true embodiment of the Tanglin ethos, and a worthy and inspirational role model to current students.”
Josh left Tanglin to pursue his rugby career at Wellington College in the UK and quickly made his way into the first XV as captain, where he helped win three Daily Mail Trophy finals. He went on to play for England Under-18s as captain and then for England Under-20s in the 2018 Junior World Championship final against France. He followed this with a place at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Argentina in the summer of 2019. Josh made his professional debut for London Irish during the 2017-18 season. On starting Durham University, Josh was able to link up with the Newcastle Falcons where he made his Premiership debut during the 2020-21 season. He scored his first Falcons try during that campaign in the European Challenge Cup victory away to Castres, earning his promotion into the first team squad where you can see him regularly playing in the back row. Sounds like Josh is heading for a bright future! Sarah Le Grice, Josh’s nominator and Tanglin’s Lead Nurse, has nothing but praises for the accomplished sportsman. “Josh is a fantastic role model for our students, on and off the rugby pitch. He thoroughly deserves the Alumni of the Year Award 2021, and I am thrilled that his achievements have been recognised.”
If you have someone in mind for next year’s awards, then don’t forget to keep a lookout on the Tanglin Alumni website at alumni.tts.edu.sg. In the meantime, let’s pop the celebratory drinks and toast to our Alumni of 2021. Congratulations, everyone!
FROM PASSION TO PURPOSE
Like many Alumni, Charlotte McNamara still maintains close ties with Tanglin even after she graduated and found her calling as a teacher*. Here’s her story.
What have you been up to since graduating in 2018?
Since graduating Tanglin in 2018, I went straight to the University of Worcester to start my teacher training. The transition from living in Singapore to England was definitely challenging at first and something to get used to. After my first year of university, I went back to Asia to visit my family. I also volunteered in Vietnam with my sister for two weeks working with children with special needs. I loved volunteering so much that I went to Barcelona to teach English in a school in November 2019. Halfway through my second year of university, because of Covid-19 I returned to my family in Singapore which was experiencing a circuit breaker. During that time, I raised money for a UK charity called Show Racism the Red Card by walking, running, or cycling a kilometre for every 1 pound donated and raised 625 pounds in total. My family then left Singapore, sadly after 19 years, and returned to England. Unfortunately, I had missed my secondyear teaching placement because of Covid-19 so I went straight into my third year to do my dissertation and my final teaching placement. As we went back into lockdown in England, the first month of my final placement was teaching through Zoom which was interesting! At the end of May last year, I was asked to go for an interview at a school I had applied to, and I got the call an hour after where the head teacher said she would love me to be a part of their school.
The things I love most about Tanglin are how our achievements were celebrated.
My first term teaching has been tougher than I ever thought it would be, I never thought I would have a class of 29 Year 2 students who are fully my responsibility only three years after leaving Tanglin. We also had Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) turn up last minute to inspect our school and a lot of children going down with Covid-19, but it is definitely the most rewarding job and so worth it!
How did Tanglin inspire you to go into teaching?
For a long time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in university. While I was in 6th Form at Tanglin, I found A levels a very stressful time, I am not sure how it started but most lunchtimes when I felt overwhelmed, I went to Mrs Pearce’s Nursery class and played with the children or read them a story and it helped me a lot. Mrs Pearce was my Reception teacher in 2004. She taught me from when I was four years old and had just started school until I was 18 and leaving school. She showed me why teaching is such a special job, and she also went to the University of Worcester to study Primary Education, so I decided to follow in her footsteps. I initially decided I wanted to do paediatric nursing and had mock interviews at Tanglin with Ms Sarah Le Grice and flew to England for interviews but then decided that didn’t feel right and not what I really wanted to do. I then found my love for teaching and working with children just before I graduated from Tanglin.
What were some of your favourite moments at Tanglin?
There are so many, but I know I will never forget the amazing opportunities I had while at Tanglin, my school trip to Australia and New Zealand will be times I will remember forever. The service we got to do to help others for CAS will always stay with me and the relationships I had with teachers, which made lessons memorable.
What did you love most about Tanglin?
Thinking back, the things I love most about Tanglin are how our achievements were celebrated. I remember feeling proud of every small achievement as it didn’t go unnoticed. I also love the opportunities we were able to have at Tanglin and the community feel there always was.
What advice would you give to someone graduating this year?
My advice would be to do something you are really passionate about because then you know no matter how hard it is, it will be worthwhile in the end.
*Turn to page 28 to read how Charlotte collaborated with our Infant School on a letter writing activity between her own Year 2 class in England and Tanglin’s Year 2 students.
COMPILED How does Tanglin prepare its students for the uncertain future? By equipping them with the necessary skills to handle challenges with grace and tenacity - much like Oliver Reeves (2016 Cohort) who set up Compiled, his own social media tool business. Here’s his story.
ike many Tanglin Alumni, Oliver has many interests he wanted to pursue, and IT was one of them. He said, “I always had an interest in technology when I was young, but I didn’t fully understand how it could be used in a business context. Since I’ve seen how technology can really make an impact, and often change the way we work or live, it’s definitely been a dream to start a business in this space.” With his skills and interest, one might expect Oliver to work in one of the more prominent tech companies like Facebook or Amazon, but he chose to strike out on his own instead. Oliver explained, “I have done work for larger tech companies in the past, and I still do, but I personally don’t find it quite as rewarding. When building your own tech product, you’re able to oversee all areas of the business (the product design, customer journey, customer success, etc) and continuously make improvements to these. As a result, you build a real community around the product. It’s being a part of a community like that which excites me because I’m able to hear about how the product has helped a customer to grow their own business, save time in their day, or make their life easier. It’s true that you gain exposure to some of these business functions at larger tech companies, but I think it’s rarely to the same extent.”
GOING INTO IT
Oliver’s venture into technology started back in Tanglin when he developed an
This page: The Compiled app, Oliver catching up with Tanglin Alumni in Durham in October 2021
interest in coding. As part of his CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) in Sixth Form, Oliver developed a small online video game and presented it to his peers during a Senior School assembly. He reminisced, “at that time, I wasn’t too keen on public speaking, but it’s a good example of how you are always encouraged to try new things at Tanglin. After the assembly, it was great to see Year 7s playing the game online!” Shortly after graduating from Tanglin at Sixth Form, Oliver had the idea for his current business called Compiled. It allows people, companies, brands and public figures like British politician and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, to share all their online content with a single link. Although it wasn’t his first project, Oliver was thrilled to have found a substantial problem and he wanted to find a way to solve it.
WORKING THROUGH THE SPEED BUMPS
Setting up a business on his own is not easy and Oliver learned early on that he had to face a really steep learning curve. He explained, “it’s often said that you have to ‘wear all the hats’ and I think that’s true - there’s nobody else there to cover the marketing, customer support, accounting, etc on top of the actual development. For example, I didn’t focus enough time on marketing and sales at the start, and this led to months with no users at all. After realising this, fast forward to 2022 and there are now over 25,000 registered users on Compiled, including the UK
government and well-known brands like DogsOfInstagram.” Given a choice to do it again, would Oliver have gone down the same path? He said with a smile, “I’d definitely consider funding options available to the business. I had bootstrapped Compiled which means it has never had a funding round or any external investment. The benefit is that there is no pressure from investors but ultimately it means that competitors could get ahead through large cash injections. That said, I have enjoyed the freedom that comes with being selffunded, so it does depend on what makes sense at the time.”
BUILDING A SOLID FOUNDATION
Some say the key to success is building a solid foundation and this often takes place at school. In Oliver’s case, he felt that his teachers at Tanglin always went above and beyond their role. “They really cared about a student’s wider education, and it wasn’t just about ticking the boxes within a syllabus. By the time I was at university, it felt like I’d been prepared well, and I had a good understanding of the modules in my degree.
I remember being supported through any particular subjects I found interesting, and co-curricular activities (for me, it was cross country) were always encouraged.” Now that he has some experience under his belt, what advice does Oliver have for Tanglin alumni or students who want to set up their own business or develop their own app? He said, “I’d encourage them to pursue their own ideas and persevere with them. I had several failed ideas before Compiled, and I definitely still don’t get everything right. It’s easy to focus on success stories, but everyone was in the same position at some point, and it’s important to keep persevering if you fail. I’d also encourage them to focus on the skill that they don’t naturally enjoy (for me it was marketing), because they’ll likely avoid that area without realising. Alternatively, I’d recommend that they find somebody with complementary skills to co-found the business with.”
Sounds like good advice, Oliver! Want to find out more about his work? Then don’t forget to visit his website at https://compiled.social. We wish you all the best, Ollie!
After the assembly, it was great to see Year 7s playing the game online! 43
Alumni Below: Tanglin School trip to Chinatown. Right: Tanglin Class Photo with Mr John Palmer, 1997
Natasha Cullen has always been keen to go into medicine but when she realised that it doesn’t have as much patient contact as she would like, she decided to head in a different direction. Join us as we chat with Natasha - Tanglin alumna and founder of Beloved Bumps, a pregnancy care centre that offers prenatal and postnatal classes in Singapore.
atasha may have only spent Year 4 and 5 at Tanglin, but she counts her memories there as one of her most favourite ones. She said, “I loved my teachers! I had Mr Palmer in Year 4 and will never forget our trip to Pulau Ubin - I had so much fun! The other most memorable moment I had from Tanglin was ‘Victorian day’ - I was made a dunce for the day and had to sit in a corner with a board, and in the playground we played with skipping ropes etc. There was so much prep work that went into it but it was probably one of my favourite days at school ever!” Natasha would eventually relocate to Brunei and attend a boarding school in England after that. Like most young people her age, she began thinking about her dream career. She said, “I have always known that I wanted to be in medicine. I started off wanting to be a vet before moving on to wanting to be a doctor. When I was in Singapore on a holiday from boarding school, I worked with a wonderful paediatrician for my work experience and I found that there wasn’t as much patient contact as I wanted. I love talking and getting to know clients, and there was limited time to do that as a doctor. I was also struggling with chemistry at the time and started to wonder if medicine was really the right career path for me.”
A PIVOTAL MOMENT
Although she had her doubts, Natasha didn’t let it faze her. Instead she looked into different medical fields such as nursing and physiotherapy. When she stumbled across midwifery, she knew then that it was exactly what she wanted to do. Natasha applied to a three year degree in Direct Entry Midwifery at the University of Leeds and managed to get one of the very few places available. “It was a tough course,” Natasha recalled her experience with a smile, “while most university students were on holiday, we were in placements at the hospital so you definitely have to want to do it! But I love it because I got to know clients really well. As a midwife, I make my own decisions and care plans. In the UK, if you are considered ‘low risk’ for your pregnancy, you may
never see a doctor since midwives are regarded as the experts in normal birth.”
SETTING UP HER OWN BUSINESS
In 2017, Natasha moved to Singapore with her children. When she was in the UK, she had attended prenatal classes because she wanted to meet other people in her area. She had assumed that it would be just as popular in Singapore if one has no family staying in the same country but she soon realised that this was not the case. Natasha said, “everyone seemed to be meeting people in baby classes but not before, so I set up Beloved Bumps in 2017 to help pregnant couples meet one another and deliver evidencedbased classes on labour, birth and baby. A huge part of our classes is the community you join when you come to our classes. Our clients keep in touch for years and it’s such a supportive network of families! I’m also happy to say that we have grown from six couples a month in November 2017 to around 35 now.”
WORDS OF WISDOM
Going into midwifery and setting up a business aren’t the easiest things to do in the world, so what kind of advice does Natasha have for like-minded Tanglin students or alumni? She said, “It sounds really cheesy but you need to believe you can do it. Setting up a business takes a lot of commitment as well and I had to put in a lot of time when I first started this business. The main thing is to remember that you’d always have setbacks when growing your business. People who are able to think outside the box are the ones who will succeed. If you have a business idea, start exploring what’s out there on offer currently and then formulate a plan of how you are going to get it up and running. Lastly, be brave! It definitely takes guts to start a business.”
It sure does, Natasha! If you want to find out more about what she does at Beloved Bumps, then visit her website at belovedbumps.sg or share it with someone with a beloved bump on the way!
FROM THE ARCHIVES 46
We dug into our archives and here’s what we found on Tanglin’s long history of excellence.
At Tanglin, we celebrate arts as much as we do in academics and much of it began way back then when our school was in its infancy! Here are a few fun facts you may not know:
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Our founder Miss Griff’s first formal hire in 1925 was a teacher who could play the piano. Tanglin students were given the chance to perform on the BBC radio in 1937, which was broadcast all the way back home in England. Tanglin’s first ever AS Level Art student was Beth Stead in 2002. Her original artwork had to be sent to London for external moderation. It was also digitally produced and displayed on a computer—quite the technological breakthrough in those days! In 2009, a group of enthusiastic students and staff participated in the Singapore Chingay Parade. The costumes and massive float were all designed and created by the students, supported by our wonderful Art department staff.
The T90 Festival of the Arts took place between mid-May to mid-June in 2015 and highlights included the summer musical, Junior School Ensembles, dance performances and exhibitions by talented artists. Tanglin also hosted the Shakespeare Festival and welcomed Scottish Opera back during its 90th anniversary year. ■
Do you have photos or stories from Tanglin’s rich and long history you want to share with us? Then don’t forget to drop us a note at email@example.com!
for Neurodiversity Like many students at Tanglin, Charlotte (Year 13) and Harriet (Year 11) are often encouraged to develop civic mindedness through community causes. But why did they decide to team up and organise a non uniform day for Neurodiversity Day last school term? We catch up with the sisters to find out more.
t Tanglin, every effort is made to create a supportive and inclusive environment for neurodiverse students like Charlotte and Harriet. Its mission is to enable every student to succeed in life by helping them optimise their strengths and overcome challenges, no matter what their learning differences are.
A SUPPORTIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
Harriet said, “We have been incredibly privileged to have the Learning Support team support us all this time. They help us understand our strengths to overcome our challenges and guide us with targeted learning strategies. But having said that, although we are both dyslexics, the challenges we each encounter and deal with are different. This made us realise that if we could help more people in the community understand the different ways that individuals experience and interact with the world around them, it will create a more supportive and inclusive environment for everyone.” With the seed of action now taking root in their minds, the sisters were further motivated by Richard Branson’s post on Dyslexia Awareness Month that takes place annually in October. His purpose was to write a message of hope for the future and encourage the world to support dyslexics so they can reach their full potential. Charlotte elaborated, “Successful people like Richard Branson, who is also dyslexic, really inspire us. They show us that it’s not the end of the world when you have dyslexia or a neurodevelopmental difference, and we want to share this with the Tanglin community.’
RALLYING THE COMMUNITY
To begin the process, the sisters approached Ms Gillian Sams who is also the Head of Learning Support at Senior School. Ms Sams was naturally happy to support them, because it fitted really well
with ongoing Learning Support efforts to promote neurodiversity and celebrate individual profiles and achievement, so they began planning in earnest. They were also running against time since school would be out for two weeks during the October mid-term break. With Ms Sams’ help, they set the event date on 29 October, created a presentation on dyslexia, and conceptualised a non uniform day where Senior School students could donate $2 to the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) and wear the colour that represents dyslexia - red. Although Charlotte and Harriet only had a short time to prepare, their event went off without a hitch. In fact, it was so popular that the sisters had emails from parents and people in Infant and Junior School requesting that the event be extended across the entire community in future. Charlotte said, “It was really heartwarming to hear from so many people. Tanglin is a big school and we had to follow COVID-19 restrictions, so we faced the challenge of spreading our message, but I think it worked well in the end!”
Tanglin’s neurodiversity efforts continue with regular staff training, communication from the Learning Support team to teachers as well as individual planning and support for students who require this.
We faced the challenge of spreading our message, but I think it worked well in the end!
L to R: Charlotte and Harriet; Classmates wearing red in support of Neurodiversity 2021
Achievements U locked ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’ is a Chinese idiom that’s often used to describe people with special hidden talents and that couldn’t be truer at Tanglin! Here are four individuals who are not only amazing teachers but are also talented people who have other incredible talents you might not be aware of. TEAM SINGAPORE
Did you know that Natalie Ho, one of our PE STLAs (Senior Teaching and Learning Assistant), recently proudly represented Singapore as part of the National Women’s Hockey Team in the Women’s Asia Cup 2022? She was also selected to be the team leader, so you can say that Natalie has unlocked a worthy achievement! As a PE STLA, Natalie has always been an active and sporty person. She said, “I love being outdoors, running around, and chasing after my friends and family members. All kinds of sports interest me, especially ball games. I started playing hockey at the age of 13 as part of my school CCA in secondary school. We won a few championships together and it was an amazing experience. While studying, I was chosen to be part of the Singapore U21s and U18s squad, and eventually made my debut in the Senior team upon graduating at 17. It has been an exciting adventure thus far!” So how did Natalie manage to clinch the team leader position for the national team? She explained, “This tournament was important as it was a qualifier for the 2022 Asian Games. We faced a few Big Asian teams that have played in the recent Tokyo Olympics. It was during SEA Games 2017 in Kuala Lumpur where I took over the role as Team Captain. Having captained the U21s and U18s previously in the junior team, it gave me the opportunity to lead again in the women’s senior team. I was a little reluctant at first as I didn’t know if I could do well. However, there were a few senior players in the team who encouraged me and trusted that I could lead them as well as the younger players in the team. It has been four years now and I enjoy this role because it gives me a huge sense of responsibility. I step in and boost the team’s morale when it is low and lead by example on the playing field.” Well said, Natalie! We can’t wait to see you lead the Singapore team to more sporting successes in future.
YOUNGEST FEMALE TRIO
Over at the Senior School, we have Geography specialist Hannah Walton who was part of the youngest female trio to row across any ocean (with an average age of 26) in 2020. Like Tanglin alumna Charlotte Harris (The Voice, issue 36), Hannah participated in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge (TWAC) with her friends because they thought that it was the perfect way to support their preferred charities, Women in Sport and Rowing Together for Healthy Minds. She explained, “Sport, especially rowing, has always been a way for us to look after our own mental health, so rowing for charities that encourage participation in sport and amplify conversations
about mental health within it, felt fitting. We managed to raise just over £16,000, something we’re really proud of.” Now that she has accomplished such an impressive milestone, what are Hannah’s future plans? “I would absolutely love to do another row in the future, or a long trek like the Pacific Coast Trail, but that’s probably a long way off for now! The time and money required is a huge investment and at the moment, I’m focused on my new adventure of having moved to Singapore.” And her advice for anyone who wants to take on TWAC with their friends? “I would say go for it – it takes a lot of preparation and organisation, but I think we learned that even the biggest tasks can be split up into lots of little ones on a very long to-do list! That’s how we took on the row itself – we focused on one shift at a time, until eventually we’d rowed 3000 miles....and those 3000 miles are definitely worth it!” »
Sport, especially rowing, has always been a way for us to look after our own mental health 51
Tanglin Lifestyle WALKING DOWN MEMORY LANE
To commemorate Tanglin’s centenary in 2025, our community has been busy with various projects. One such person is Lee Lee Chua, a TLA at Infant School, and her wood burning project. She explained, “Tanglin has come a long way - 97 years! With the new building coming up, what better way to celebrate Tanglin’s history and new developments than with a wood burned art piece of an old school building, the Winchester School?” Lee Lee’s art piece certainly looks gorgeous with additional watercolours applied to brighten up the overall look, but how did she pick up the skill in the first place? She said, “I’ve always loved vintage objects, especially antique phones. I also enjoy hobbies like this because they help me exercise my brain. I’ve sewed a bucket hat from pieces of scrap fabrics, did punch needle embroidery, and I’m currently working on a Love, Nils charity initiative where I make sewing bags with my fellow TLAs. I decided to pick up wood burning during the circuit breaker in 2020 and dived in without any prior training. I did a snail picture for a nursery class and from there I started to work on bigger pieces like the one I did for Tanglin.” Lee Lee also went on to share that she will be incorporating carving into her wood burned artwork so that’s something to look forward to!
DEMYSTIFYING THE GLOBAL IDENTITY NARRATIVE You might have heard of the term ‘Third Culture Kids’ but did you know that Alban Ferrieu, one of our Careers and University Guidance Counsellors in the Senior School, has done a doctorate degree on it? He said, “I have just completed an international joint PhD in Education between Université de Sherbrooke (Québec, Canada) and Université Catholique de l’Ouest (France). Despite the pandemic, I was able to travel to Canada to defend in person in October 2021. This 389-page thesis was written in French and the research focused on the cultural identity of internationally mobile adolescents (TCK - Third Culture Kids). More specifically, I focused on expatriate children attending a school from the same “national” background as their ‘home/passport’ country (for example British students at Tanglin Trust School!). I explored how this ‘national’ schooling opportunity abroad is influencing their cultural identity.” Sounds interesting! How will his research be useful at Tanglin? Alban explained, “Through its robust LifeSkills programme, topics like international transitions and Third Culture Kids/multicultural identity issues are being addressed in Tanglin’s Sixth Form every year. In my role as a university counsellor, I have to help internationally mobile and internationally minded students in their post-secondary exploration. When making these life-defining decisions, our students are not only faced with the question of “what” they wish to study but also “where” in the world! Navigating options in multiple countries is no easy task and questions of transitions and cultural adjustments must be discussed. Even for students moving “back” to their passport
country, the reverse culture shock is often very real. The more the students prepare, as well as explore their multicultural identity, the better these international transitions will unfold. The expertise I have developed through this PhD is shared both in my personal counselling practice and at the institutional level through revamping and developing new LifeSkills sessions, offering conferences, or writing articles (p58).” Sounds good, Alban! We are sure our Sixth Form students will benefit enormously from your knowledge on the topic as they learn how to transition smoothly into the real world.
IT’S YOUR SERVE...
TTS FOUNDATION TENNIS DAY Thank you to all the parents who participated in the TTS Foundation Tennis Day event on 17 March 2022 at the Hollandse Club. We thank those who had made a donation to the TTS Foundation.
COACHING CULTURE Over the last two years, Tanglin has been working on developing a coaching culture. This has evolved into a successful programme that has a huge positive impact on the staff and students across all three schools. How did it all begin? Krista Magee, Arts Faculty Technical Executive (Film Studies) and accredited Coach, tells us more. 54
Illustration designed by pch.vector/Freepik
The student community also has access to coaching, especially when senior students lead initiatives. Students learn coaching through LifeSkills lessons as well, and their feedback has been extremely positive about this.
WHO IS LEADING THE COACHING CULTURE AT TANGLIN?
I’ve been incredibly privileged to lead Tanglin’s coaching culture with Sarah Aldous (Head of Faculty for Maths and Computing) and Flora Xu (Chinese teacher). For the past two years, we have been proudly taking the coaching programme to new heights. Between us, we have amassed 400 coaching hours, trained 24 coaches and still counting! But that’s not all we do. We have trained as supervisors so we can support Tanglin coaches with their practices.
Tanglin coaches have attended ‘Coach Up’, an international school conference on Coaching in Education, where some have presented their thoughts and lessons on coaching in schools. We will be hosting the next ‘Coach Up’ in September later this year and we also hope that as COVID-19 restrictions ease, we would be able to open our doors to the parent community. Parents will not only get the opportunity to train as coaches; they will also enjoy insights on coaching as a parent through ParentWise workshops. Many parents at Tanglin are already coaches themselves and we look forward to welcoming their viewpoints soon, as Tanglin’s coaching culture goes from strength to strength! John Ridley, Director of Learning, said, “It’s hard to overstate the power of coaching to both support and challenge individuals. Developing a coaching culture has been an important strategic goal for the school and it has been really exciting to see our pool of in-house coaches reach a critical mass, led by Krista, Sarah and Flora. I’m proud of what they have achieved so far and looking forward to the next steps on Tanglin’s coaching journey.”
HERE’S WHAT SOME OF OUR COACHES AND COACHEES SAY WHAT IS A COACHING CULTURE?
Coaching is a way of framing conversations by inviting people to focus on their goals and the route to achieve them. People are motivated to achieve more when they are more aware of their goals and are challenged to go for a greater one. A coach believes that the ‘coachee’ can attain astonishing heights. By demonstrating this belief, a coachee feels recognised and empowered to reach for gold. This works with students too, because teachers already have the ability to inspire, motivate, and create positive behaviours in their classrooms. That is one of the reasons why coaching in schools is so successful. When the whole community is engaged in this endeavour, everyone’s possibilities are valued.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT ON THE TANGLIN COMMUNITY?
There are currently 30 active coaches among Tanglin’s staff and more are being trained. Coaching is available to all staff for free. This can support them with new projects, managing teams, building positive relationships with colleagues and students, and raising their self-awareness.
JUNIOR SCHOOL TEACHER
The coaching learning journey has been one of self-discovery and adaptation. The accreditation has altered what I perceive a good leader to be and the leader I would like to become. My understanding of communication and collaboration has deepened, and I can see how a generative thinking meeting can be so impactful and foster a meaningful rapport. To support others through coaching is something I am looking forward to.
I have learned how to effectively revise and complete a seemingly impossible task by breaking it down into chunks that I can do each day within a certain amount of time.
[I now know] that I can do it, and anyone can. People often doubt themselves, as to why they are not able to do the things that they do and why they aren’t ‘good enough’ to do something they really enjoy. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is your passion and drive to achieve either an aim or objective that is personal to you.
Dedicated students bringing the mural to life
THE SUSTAINABILITY MURAL – A CAS Project
CAS is all about making real world connections, just like what Year 13 students Eve, Amelia, Geralyn, Lianna, and Vihastika experienced during their CAS project where they designed murals for a local company. Here’s their story.
his CAS project came to life when our art teacher, Ms Magee approached us with an amazing opportunity to design murals for a local company, Lestari Capital. Lestari is a small company located near our school that acts as an advocate for sustainable finance and works closely with companies to develop a sustainable marketplace by advising them on how to develop environmental policies. Taking inspiration from Lestari’s mission, our designs attempted to encapsulate the three pillars of sustainability: economy, society, and the environment, while adding a touch of modern flair. Due to its relation to ‘Service’ through environmental advocacy, and its requirement for artistic creativity, we immediately knew that this project would be an incredible CAS opportunity.
four of us working together. Our project management skills came to the fore and with some rearrangement of resources during the following weeks, we skilfully cleaned our line work and finished the smaller details within the designs.
LEARNING IMPORTANT LESSONS
Our experience with this CAS project taught us the importance of time management, communication, and perseverance. As it was our first experience working with an external company, we were nervous about how Lestari would react to us as students since we were delivering such an important design that would be the public face of their company. With the guidance of Ms Magee, we were able to finish the project within our self-appointed deadline. Additionally, we were aided by the head of CAS, Mr Roberts, who helped us to develop our communication, prioritisation, and problem-solving skills. Overall, this CAS project was a challenging and ultimately very uplifting experience. We are now looking forward to doing another one!
THE DESIGN PROCESS
We created initial designs quickly but after early roadblocks, we soon learned the importance of constant communication with our client, Gabriel Eickhoff (CEO of Lestari), and organised a call with him to discuss our ideas. We reflected upon our initial designs and revised them to represent Lestari’s mission more effectively. We paid regular visits to the office, in order to understand the space we would be working on and it was agreed that we would combine our separate mural ideas into one piece that would represent the connections between society, the economy and environment as well as a second piece that displayed the company values of connection and conservation. We also chose to use a professional monochromatic colour palette, incorporating accents of the company’s signature blue. The discussions we were involved in to get this point gave us a real insight into how the corporate world works.
With the use of projectors, we completed most of the sketching and painting work during our October half term. However, we had underestimated the time that the mural would take, even with all
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Main Photo: jcomp/freepik
“CITIZEN of the WORLD”
What is the global identity narrative and how is this explored in international schools like Tanglin? Alban Ferrieu, one of our Careers and University Guidance Counsellors who completed his doctorate on this topic, tells us more.
he population of globally mobile children has significantly increased in the last few decades. 24 million children were living outside of their countries of citizenship in 1990, versus 33 million in 2019. The rapid growth1 of the global international school market can be linked to this progression but also to an increasing demand from local families. Thousands of schools around the globe are now labelled as “international” and the global identity narrative they convey can be approached from two different perspectives. One perspective is that, through organisations like the International Baccalaureate, the goal is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through education that builds intercultural understanding and respect. The other perspective comes from some authors like Danau Tanu who contend that it is also about making sure that these children learn how to operate “in a transnational world left behind by a colonial past and modernized by contemporary capitalism”. Are international schools offering an education that promotes intercultural dialogue towards peace between nations or an education that seeks to prepare the global elites of tomorrow to serve western capitalism? Recent research seems to suggest that it is often both! The “global identity narrative” developed in international schools will inevitably shape the students’ cultural identity. If we look at the student population within international schools, we could distinguish many different groups. The “TCKs” (Third Culture Kids)2, the “local” kids, the internationally mobile students, the students with the same cultural background as their international school, etc. Despite all these differences, all students attending an international school fall under the “Cross Cultural Kid” umbrella that encompasses all cross-cultural experiences occurring during childhood. Beyond international mobility, an international school education exposes students to multiple cultures for a significant amount of time. The scientific literature establishes that this has a concrete impact as it occurs during key developmental years. While some children struggle with the feeling of not having a sense of belonging, they also develop strong intercultural competence, are more adaptable and often multilingual! On a cultural identity level, complex ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and national backgrounds may cause misalignment between how a student looks, speaks, feels and what is indicated on their passport. Even when students don’t feel different from students from their country of origin, they often experience a reverse
An international school education exposes students to multiple cultures for a significant amount of time.
culture shock when they relocate to what is supposed to be their “home” country. This is one of the reasons why Tanglin has programmes in place to address these issues with the students. Another temptation would be to consider that, within our international school community, we are all the same. By having the shared experience of living abroad or being in contact with multiple cultures, we may consider ourselves “citizens of the world”. While this is a very positive intention, we tend to forget that some citizenships are much more privileged than others when it comes to international mobility. While Singapore and the UK are high up on the passport index and can easily travel to 147 countries, some passports only give access to as few as 34 countries. Feeling like a citizen of the world when you can freely travel is easier than when your citizenship and/or financial situation reminds you every day that you are “stuck” where you are. Nations still structure and organise the world as we know it, looking after health, education, protection, infrastructures, etc. Passports and borders are a tangible reality that remain, even when we believe that we can feel at home “anywhere”. The way we perceive the world remains anchored in specific cultures and languages, but our perception of the world can thankfully evolve! Growing up in an international school community is a chance to push cultural boundaries and to not let a citizenship status define who we are. Tanglin students, whether they identify with their citizenship, as Third Culture Kids, Bi/multicultural Kids or Cross-cultural Kids, are all on the same journey towards greater open-mindedness, intercultural competence, multilingualism and working towards a better future!
1. According to ISC Research’s 10-year comparison, the number of students has grown from 3.54 million in July 2011 to 5.68 million in July 2021. International schools have also increased from 7,655 to 12,373 during the same period. 2. A person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of the same background (Van Reken & Pollock, 2001).
The Art of Public Speaking Why is it important for your child to learn the art of public speaking? Elizabeth Anstiss, Senior Art Specialist, tells us why.
peech Coach Anthony Gordon Lennox wanted to teach the world to talk. After he passed away, The Times said, “he didn’t put marbles in people’s mouths or give them elocution lessons but helped everyone from princesses to prime ministers, CEOs and trainee hairdressers to speak articulately and authentically.” Public speaking, or how Lennox described it, ‘clear expression’ is the ‘key to social mobility’. We all know that a string of A-grades is not all that is required by universities to open their doors to students. We also know that employers seek good communication skills before much else. In fact, if you cannot articulate yourself at an interview, the job is most probably not yours.
Education policy has grown dramatically in the last five years. Theorists like Martin Scicluna have acknowledged that ‘it was once almost entirely about being literate and numerate rather than being able to orate’. A noisy classroom most probably would have been interpreted as a disruptive one in the past. Now the buzz of debate is encouraged and favoured. We want our children to find their voices and use them efficaciously. Subsequently, there is now a need more than ever to teach our children to communicate well. Children and adolescents seem to communicate with their peers more electronically than face to face. They converse with their friends through WhatsApp, Messenger, Snapchat, and a variety of different digital platforms. There is even an over reliance to use photos to communicate their voices through platforms like Instagram. Although all have their place, sometimes the space to use their voice to master expression, intonation and persuasive conversations is often lost in favour of acronyms and emojis.
EQUIPPING OUR CHILDREN FOR THE FUTURE
An infant’s first experience of written narrative is listening to books being read aloud. It’s this act that inspires interest. When poems are written, the sound of the words are paramount and will only be experienced if recited well. Discussions are more enticing if ideas are presented sophisticatedly and persuasively. We need to carve out more space for our children to practise these skills whether it’s over the dinner table, in the car on the way to school or during their lunch break. This is reinforced with ample opportunities in the Infant, Junior and Senior schools. Public speaking needs to be practised and taught.
We all want to equip our children with the tools for a successful future. Social and professional success increasingly depends upon oral communication. Remote learning, for one, has highlighted the increasing need to articulate clearly, coherently, and persuasively. A student’s oral skills are put on full display during online lessons on platforms like Zoom, Teams, Skype, and Facetime. This is how many lessons are conducted nowadays and as digital trends in many industries have shown us, it’s not likely to change soon. George Anders (Senior Editor-at-Large at LinkedIn, a New York Times bestselling author, and a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter) made a similar observation during HMH’s Shaping the Future podcast. He said that oral communication now dominates the business world and believes that there is no shortage of people with brilliant ideas, but there is a shortage of people who can articulate those ideas verbally. He states turning ideas into reality requires talking to others. At Tanglin, Sixth Form students are given an opportunity to practise their public speaking skills at events such as ARTiculation Asia 2022. They prepared speeches on topics that ranged from film, fine art, and even mathematical graphs but the emphasis was on the delivery of their knowledge, effective communication, and captivating stage presence. They pitted their skills against students from Garden School (Kuala Lumpur) during the online finals in March and we are proud to say that our students were articulate communicators who delivered their speeches without an acronym or emoji in sight!
Illustration designed by Freepik
THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATING WELL
Enriching teaching, learning, and the student experience through collaboration and support
What is FOBISIA?
FOBISIA started as a small group of headteachers working in SEA over 30 years ago. We are now a diverse and inclusive community of 87 Member Schools and growing. We connect teachers to share best practice and access leading educational thinkers. We bring students together for enrichment activities across a range of learning areas. We represent an important educational link between Asia and the United Kingdom. Our reach extends from Mongolia to Indonesia, and Kazakhstan to Japan.
Student Events HIGHLIGHTS
UPCOMING Student Events Drama Junior Festival 2022 Robotics Competition 2022 Short Film Festival 2022 Student Environmental Conference Tennis Invitational 2022
Drama Monologue Challenge Online 2021 Girls in Science Online Maths Competition 2021 Pop-Up Book Design Competition 2021 Virtual Gymnastics
Looking ahead! FOBISIA is already looking ahead! We have begun the process for more great FOBISIA events for the next academic year and are excited to help our Member Schools continue with the excellent activities both in person and online.
DID YOU KNOW?
Virtual Running Challenge 2022
Global Languages Championships
FOBISIA is the first School Organisation to work with the Race4Good - a programme that brings students together from around the world to uplift remote communities in need, empowering them to make meaningful changes that are implemented within 2 weeks.
www.fobisia.org KS2 Online Maths Competition
Virtual Swimming Championship 2022
To infinity and beyond! These Junior School students are all ready to begin their adventures in space.
95 Portsdown Road, Singapore 139299 www.tts.edu.sg Tel: 6778 0771 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org CPE Registration No.: 196100114C CPE Registration Period: 7 June 2017 to 6 June 2023