During August, last year, 10 of us then-Secondary 3 students undertook a challenge that would test not only our skills in both English and Chinese, but also our understanding of an array of complex issues. Our task? To translate 24 different poems from English to Chinese. These poems, were written by foreign construction worker Md Mukul Hossine, were published in his second poetry anthology, Braving Life, and explored themes such as migration, hope and loss. The book was sponsored by Healthserve, a migrant worker community clinic which Mr Mukul had volunteered in for the past three years.
Our journey with the book culminated in its launch, on the 30th of November, 2017, in our own school canteen. The event saw many of Mr. Mukul’s friends and supporters come together, including Dr. Goh Wei Leong, together with friends from Healthserve, NUS CAPT team lead by Dr Tan Lai Yong, the family of Swagata Sen Pillai who translated the poems from Bangla to English, the poetry collection’s trans-creator and notable Singaporean poet Cyril Wong. A project team from Hwa Chong, involved in playing various sports with migrant workers at their dormitories, was also present. And there were us from Nanyang.
Many had a lot to say about the book’s publication, noting that it would not have been possible without the continued efforts of all involved, people who had fought and raised funds for the book’s publication, nor the bravery of Ethos Books, which had chosen to take the risk to publish Me Migrant, Mr Mukul’s first poetry anthology, a year prior—the first poetry collection by a foreign worker to be put out by a local publisher.
To the ten of us involved in translating Mr. Mukul’s work from English to Chinese, the experience as an eye-opening one. Most of us have never interacted closely with a migrant worker before, so this was a unique and valuable chance for all of us to tear down the wall of fear and prejudice, showing us not only the importance of both the English and Chinese language, but also how we can see more clearly and with greater nuance the issues of human migration. This, of course, would not have been possible without the assistance of our teachers. Mr Mukul himself thanked Miss Sandra Teng for initiating the project, and we would have been lost without the guidance of our Chinese teachers, Mr Zhang Ronghua, Mr Zhu Haibin and Mr Zhang Bo.
Charlotte Ho (105), for Wushu, started practising Wushu in primary three. She is in the Singapore National Youth Team and trains almost everyday. She aims to qualify to represent Singapore this year for the upcoming World Junior Wushu Championships in Brazil.
Kelly Lin (108), for Chinese Dance, trains for up to 15 hours a week, and is currently training at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and Young Dancers Academy. She aims to take part in more individual ballet competitions and aspires to bring back the distinction award from the SYF competition for Chinese Dance.
Meghan Tan (106), for Sailing, is in the National Training Team A of the optimist class for sailing, and trains 4 times weekly. She has represented Singapore in overseas training camps and competitions and aims to qualify for the SEA games and other international sailing competitions.
Tan Zhao Yun (106), for Table Tennis, is currently trains with her private coach at least five times a week. She hopes that the team can continue to bring glory to the school and that she can represent Singapore in the SEA Junior Table Tennis Championships 2018.
Making school a happy learning place for all is the combined efforts of teachers, parents and students. An inspiring atmosphere in school contributes much to a student’s love for learning and engagement in school life. As such, making the school a positive place is as worthwhile a pursuit as developing our curriculum.
In developing our school infrastructure, we worked to meet energy-transition goals, the school has, over the years focussed on developing an environmentally conscious mindset amongst staff and students. This is also encapsulated in the development of the school’s infrastructure.
The buildings, including the new blocks, are connected by walkways that are airy and cool with natural ventilation and light – it’s like stepping onto the grounds of siheyuan.
The outdoor spaces are colourful and provide students comfortable nooks for silent reading as much as corners for small group time. Students can also enjoy the Backyard Café and Garden, a student initiative, that provides a happy place for class activities, tea-breaks, birthday celebrations and gatherings.
Towards a Greener Environment
Since 2016, NYGH has been working with LTA to promote the use of public transport. We encourage all our guests for mega events like Open House, Funfairs and Homecoming days to use public transport in support of a greener lifestyle. We also promote the use of public transport to visitors from abroad; when student groups host foreign visitors, they make use of our public transport proudly.
Early on 26 Dec 2017, right after Christmas,18 NYGH students set off for Coney Island. They were participants in the NUS-NParks Monitoring of Marine Debris Programme, a citizen science programme to collect data on marine debris found on Singapore’s beaches. The data collected forms the national baseline of marine debris for Singapore which would help inform decision-making and policy development for our marine resources.
NUS staff member Ms Joleen Chan who is in-charge of the programme briefed the group and marked out the area along the beach where they were to collect the debris (trash). Working in pairs, they collected the debris using tongs and put them in trash bags. The group was astonished to find so much debris that included plastics bags, plastics bottles, wrappers, styrofoam boxes, slippers, shoes, toys, jelly cans, fishing nets, fishing cages and many other items. After one hour of collection, they proceeded to take out the debris one by one and record the details of each to find out the possible sources. The data was submitted to Ms Joleen Chan who would then continue to collect such data at different sites of Singapore over a period of three years.
Aesthetics education has always been a vital part of the curriculum at NYGH. The arts can impact and develop in our students the soft skills in life - such as creativity, respect, empathy, having an open mind, and the ability to take perspectives and appreciate the beauty in things and people around them. It is with this belief that our students will continue to receive aesthetics education at upper secondary from 2018. This inaugural Enhanced Aesthetics Programme (EAP) offers 9 different modules, ranging from the visual arts and dance and drama to music.
Students choose 2 out of 9 modules, and where possible, these modules are allocated to them. The 9 modules include Indian Dance, Chinese Opera, Paper Engineering, Minimalist Design, Paint & Palette, Guitar, A Cappella Singing, Calligraphy and Chinese Drama. Besides catering to the aesthetic taste and interests of our students, this opportunity also lends itself to bringing less familiar arts cultures to the school community such as Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance and Chinese Opera. It is hoped that through such modules, students will be able to gain further insights into the world of Indian music and dance as well as develop a deeper understanding of the Chinese culture.