A National Day Like No Other: Conversation with the Principal

A National Day Like No Other: Conversation with the Principal

24 Jun 2021

“It was fun and enjoyable, as I have not had a chance to pick up my guitar for quite a while!” Mr Pang Choon How, Principal/Hwa Chong Institution, certainly made big waves with his live guitar performance during the school’s 2020 National Day Celebrations. When asked if he would reprise this performance, he gamely said that he would definitely sing again if there will be a request – but hopefully with fellow students or staff members the next time. 

Home Performed by Our Principal, Mr Pang Choon How

As Mr Pang explained, innovation is a major part of the school’s National Day celebrations, with fresh elements making each year’s experience distinctive. At the same time, though, there is a balance between innovation and tradition. Like many of our students and staff, Mr Pang believes that one of the most distinctive features of the celebrations in Hwa Chong is the march-past undertaken annually by our Uniformed Groups. He is extremely proud of their coming together to contribute to this ceremony – a solemn tradition which highlights the solidarity of both the school and nation.

Mr Pang also feels that 2020’s unique celebrations – an unprecedented experience for all – would be one that we all remembered. This was in no small part due to the wonderful Organising Team – who, as Mr Pang noted, put together a creative and enriching programme despite the overwhelming odds.

Student Organisers in Conference Room 1

Although students could no longer come together as a school to participate in the traditionally festive elements of our celebrations, their sense of national pride did not diminish either. All were full of zest throughout the games planned, while – striking a more serious note – an interview with elderly Singaporeans instilled in us a greater appreciation of how far Singapore has progressed, and how much the lives of its people have been transformed. It was clear that all felt proud to be Singaporean, and a part of this rich Singaporean legacy.

1i3 Taking the Pledge

Mr Pang also noted seeing a greater variety of CCAs coming together to contribute and showcase their various talents and strengths. He felt that there were also more interactive elements, which enhanced the level of engagement. Nonetheless, whether as a student or principal, this is still one of the annual events that he has always looked forward to the most.  

Online Pledge Taking
The String Orchestra’s National Day Performance

Nonetheless, performances and performers aside, what is most important in these trying times is that we stick together (metaphorically, of course!) and do our best to overcome the adversity of Covid-19 as one. Indeed, it is imperative that we treasure these memories and pull through this crisis together – all while taking care not to leave anyone behind.

Stay strong, Hwa Chong!

Written by Toh Jun Hao (1i4)

Edited by Isaiah Yip Jin Eu (1i4) and Tsun Ming Yi Ewan (2i1)