This time last year, no one knew that the world would change so drastically because of a virus, which we now know as COVID-19.
Indeed, the world has changed so much. Today, every one you meet in Singapore wears a mask and we have learnt to smile with our eyes. Even the modest handshake is shunned. With our hands clasped, greetings are exchanged with a gentle nod.
My dear students, how has COVID-19 affected you?
TMJC – where we are safe
As we come into college, we would have noticed that over the year-end vacation break, several new safety features have been added. This tells you just how Singaporean we are. Singaporeans never rest on our laurels. We work on improving ourselves that we become stronger and better in managing challenges. In this season of fighting the pandemic, we want to be able to protect our college and our Singapore so that life can continue and there will be progress. In different ways, we have had our 2020 affected. As a college, we will continue to do our best to keep all of us safe, allowing all to learn and grow the best way possible. We will wear our masks despite the discomfort, continue our hygiene practices despite the inconvenience and maintain safe distancing despite the temptation to draw close, because this is demonstration of true care and love.
TMJC – where we are supported
In our college, no one walks alone. Each year we welcome students coming from more than 100 different secondary schools. And within a short time, with the support of our teachers and seniors, the cohort comes together, displaying their beautiful mosaic array of talents and giftings. This has become our distinctive advantage and strength. While we stand tall on the shoulders of our parent colleges, as a merged college of 2 years, I am particularly proud of the way we have established ourselves as a community where we look beyond ourselves in the way we do things. This is what education should lead us to become. And here in TMJC, our students learn and grow, and seize the opportunity to contribute because this is who we are.
TMJC – where “I am because we are”
Each year, I would find a story to illustrate the theme for the year. In 2020, we worked on “Be Better” – in our doing and our being, and you can still refer to the Principal’s Message 2020 on this website.
For 2021, I would like to encourage us to “Be Better Together” and here’s a lovely story to bring out the theme.
(Edited from https://jamesclear.com/how-can-i-be-happy-if-you-are-sad)
There was an anthropologist who had been studying the habits and culture of a remote African tribe. He had been working in the village for quite some time and the day before he was to return home, he put together a gift basket filled with delicious fruits from around the region and wrapped it with a ribbon. He placed the basket under a tree and then gathered the children in the village.
The man drew a line in the dirt, looked at the children, and said, “When I tell you to start, run to the tree and whoever gets there first will win the basket of fruit.”
When he told them to run, they all took each other’s hands and ran together to the tree. There, they sat together around the basket and enjoyed their treat as a group. The anthropologist was shocked and asked them why they went together when one of them could have won all the fruit for himself / herself.
A young girl looked up at him and said, “How can one of us be happy if all the others are sad?”
Years later, the well-known South African activist Desmond Tutu would describe the little girl’s thought process by using the word Ubuntu, which means “I am because we are.”
This was how Tutu explained the concept, “Africans have a thing called ubuntu. We believe that a person is a person through other persons. That my humanity is caught up, bound up, inextricably, with yours. When I dehumanise you, I dehumanise myself. The solitary human being is a contradiction in terms. Therefore you seek to work for the common good because your humanity comes into its own in community, in belonging.”
So, my dear students, as we work on the inevitable challenges that life would throw at us, remember 2 things:
(1) We never walk alone and so in the same way,
(2) let us always extend our hand to help another along life’s journey because this is what makes us humans and what makes us a community.
Yes, we will “Be Better Together” because “I am because we are”!
Ms Pamela Yoong
Note to potential students: if you are seeking for a place to learn and grow, and a place to belong, come and join us to be better together = )
updated on 11 January 2021