When we started 2021, we were all hopeful that it would be a better year after that tumultuous 2020 of fighting COVID-19. Alas, it was not to be as we were bombarded with the more vicious strains of the virus, first Delta and then Omicron.
Still, we were not defeated and I would even say, we more than survived 2021 because as a college, we held onto our 2021 theme of “Be Better Together”. Indeed, from the 2020 of “Be Better”, we moved into “Be Better Together” in 2021 because we know we can do much more when we allow ourselves to see beyond the strength of just one individual working to improve oneself.
Now that we are into 2022, we further extend our theme and we declare – “Be Better Together, United as ONE”. This extension allows us to not just tap on each other for strength and support but to also realise the potential of the WHOLE.
My dear students, are you ready for 2022?
Lets be the One
In TMJC, we always start with looking at what we can do. We believe that even when we are but one, even if we think we are a mere tiny one, we have the strength to make a difference. There is a lovely poem that aptly summarises the importance and the power of the One.
So, to my dear students, let no one despise us just because we are small, young or inexperienced. We can be that One to make the difference.
But in our college, we also believe that no one walks alone. We know when many “ones” come together, we gain more strength and energy. This is especially real to us as we have the heritage of a merged college. We count ourselves blessed to be able to tap on the strengths and illustrious traditions of both our parent colleges. Our students are therefore able to enjoy the support from the mature TPJC and MJC alumni who are established in the working world as well as the more recent and younger TMJC seniors who understand their struggles and can help them make informed decisions when it comes to university choices.
United as ONE
Indeed, in our journey as a college, we have learnt to tap on the power and strength of more than one. And more than that, we have also learnt that when we are united as ONE, the energy from the synergy is exponential. You will know of the Chinese proverb, “It is easy to break a chopstick, but they become unbreakable if we put all of them together.” Or as Aristotle would put it, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.
This is why after 2 years, our final instalment of our college theme is “Be Better Together, United as ONE”. And to illustrate this, I would like to introduce us to the story of the cute but also prickly porcupines.
(Edited from https://alltimeshortstories.com/short-stories-about-life/)
It was one of the coldest winters, and many animals were dying because of the cold. The porcupines, realising the situation, decided to group themselves together to keep each other warm. This was a great way to protect themselves from the cold but the quills of each wounded their closest companions.
After a while, they decided to distance themselves, but they began to die due to cold. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or choose death. Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. They learned to live with a few wounds caused by their close relationship with their companions to receive the warmth of their togetherness. This way, they were able to survive.
My dear students, if we reflect a little, we will realise we are much like porcupines with “quills”. Do you know that the quills of the baby porcupines are actually quite soft and gentle? They harden with time. Much like us, isn’t it?
With time, with interactions, especially the tough, unpleasant ones, we harden our exterior, sometimes even our hearts. And even if we do not harden ourselves, because of our differences in backgrounds, culture and lived experiences, others will “feel the quills” on us. So, for people to come together successfully, we must be prepared to adjust and accommodate.
The JC2s would remember the phases of group forming, norming, storming and performing as you worked on your Project Work assignment last year. Do you recall having to oblige and when it is necessary, even sacrifice with pain for the greater good?
Looking back now, I am sure you will agree that you have learnt much from the experience. Indeed, it has offered you a glimpse of what real life would be like. And as we work on accommodating and adjusting, allowing each to continue to grow and contribute to the whole, this unity is what brings greater progress, often far more than we can imagine. And when we become better and better, we can then extend our hand to uplift yet another person along life’s journey.
So, my dear students, lets be “Be Better Together, United as ONE” because in #ThatsMyJC, we do not focus on being just one, we are ONE.
Ms Pamela Yoong
updated on 10 January 2022