It has been a great week after the holidays! We had the 10th Anniversary celebration held in conjunction with the International Day event on Friday, followed by the Halloween event on Sunday. The Halloween event, jointly organized by the Parents Support Group and the Hillside Neighbourhood Committee, was the first collaboration between the school community and the local community and totally blew me away with the scale and success of the event.
At the 10th Anniversary celebration, I cannot help but also wonder how many staff, parents and students observe my trembling when I had to deliver Chairman’s speech in Chinese on his behalf. The Chairman of the Huijia Group (which owns HWA) is a strong Chinese writer, and the prose he used was especially difficult to understand and to deliver. And I had to deliver it in front of an audience of many, many Chinese native speakers.
Delivering the speech brought back memories of my high school days, when I used to struggle with Chinese (I studied it at native level, the last batch of students in Singapore to do “Chinese as a First Language”) and was the subject of much teasing from my more proficient classmates. My experience with studying Chinese gave me a strong understanding of the struggles my students face when studying English and Chinese in this school.
The boys and girls struggling with languages may not appreciate it now, but one day when they are in their 30s and wondering at their next career move (like I did when I left the teaching service in Singapore to venture overseas more than a decade ago), they shall appreciate how much HWA had prepared them for a world where being bicultural is not just a fancy word but the key to opportunities otherwise not open to any monocultural person.
I shall wait for that day when my students return to tell me this!
Michael Chan 曾俊成
Hillside World Academy