I realise I have readers who read this column who are neither students nor their parents. I thought I would reproduce the contents of my speech at the Chinese New Year celebrations (on 20 January 2017) for this post.
Before I begin, let me introduce to you a new member of the HWA family, Ms Katty Zhao, VP of Admissions, Marketing and Communications. She has lots of exciting ideas to contribute to the school, and I welcome this new addition.
It has been nearly half a year since I took over the school. I would have thought it clear by now that I am a bilingual and bicultural Principal, but surprises still crop up now and then. Just last week, I spoke to an elementary student in Chinese, and he replied in shock, “老师，您会说中文？”(“Teacher, you can speak Chinese?”)
I could only smile at him and informed him that, yes, his Principal can speak Chinese too. After 4 years in high school studying Chinese at a native level, with Chinese being the medium of instruction for classes like PE and Art, and with another 12 years of working in China under my belt, I had better be able to speak Chinese too!
Today, as we celebrate the Chinese New Year, I observe that in no other international school in Singapore do we see aspects of Chinese culture so celebrated, so wide-spread. At the same time, I would like to remind my students that we are also an international school, and so we celebrate diversity and expect our students to be open-minded to learning from the various cultures represented in our midst.
Today, as we celebrate the Chinese New Year, I am proud to mention that, in my half-year tenure here, I have kept pushing for HWA to become a better school than before, with better facilities, more quality teachers and a culture of good manners.
I am especially happy with the final product. My students have learnt to knock on doors before they enter a room, and to greet their teachers and each other along the hallways as they walk. While we still have a long way to go, these baby steps are the beginnings of great pounding runs in future.
Today, as we celebrate the Chinese New Year, I realise how the parents, staff and students have become an important part of my life. I would like to wish these important people a Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year.
我只能对着他微笑然后告诉他：“是的，你的校长也可以说中文！” 在高中学习了四年的华文母语课程 （高中的体育和艺术课都是由中文授课的）， 之后又在中国工作了12年。经过这些经历中文讲不好就惨了！
我对取得的最后一个成果最为开心。 当我的学生在进入房间之前学会了敲门，并且当他们路过走廊时会跟老师和其他同学打招呼 。 虽然我们还有很长的路要走，但是这些小小的进步将会是我们成就巨大飞跃的开始 !
Michael Chan 曾俊成
Hillside World Academy