Memories of National Day – Sharing by Mr Low Swee Xiang

Memories of National Day – Sharing by Mr Low Swee Xiang

24 Jun 2021

In 2020, Panorama celebrated alongside the school our shared Hwa Chong memories of National Day, and what better way to do so than to talk to an alumnus?

Online Flag Raising

“When I was a student, I was a Scout, so my fondest memory of National Day Celebrations will always be about being part of the parade,” shared Mr Low Swee Xiang, who is an alumnus of The Chinese High School and a Chemistry lecturer at Hwa Chong.

When Panorama interviewed him, Mr Low reminisced about how he and his peers were always eager to present the best of themselves during the National Day’s school parade, as the whole Institution’s attention would be focused on the four Uniform Groups involved. He also recounted the experience of training hard under the sun, and the challenge of not allowing anyone to fall out from the proceedings – a gruelling experience, as any Uniformed Group member would attest to even today.

But to Mr Low, that was precisely what made the National Day experience truly memorable – the hard work and camaraderie that went on before and during the parade itself. This sentiment lives on within him today, as he makes it a point to personally be involved in each National Day Parade as a teacher. He felt that it was a pity in 2020, our Secondary One students did not have the opportunity to experience how the school traditionally celebrates this important event, as there was not a full parade due to social distancing and safety measures – only the Guard-of-Honour raised the national flag. To this point, Mr Low looked forward to hopefully having the entire Hwa Chong family celebrate National Day at the terraces in the near future.

Mr Low further recounts seeing how celebrations in Hwa Chong have evolved over the years – in particular, he noted that the standard of our annual Wushu performance has gone up since Mr He Changjiang (our current Wushu teacher) joined Hwa Chong. Indeed, Mr Low was amazed by the Wushu video clip on display, and was impressed by how professional the camera and editing work was, adding that the cameraman (Mr He himself) did an excellent job. 

Mr Low also notes that – as a school – Hwa Chong is known for its close ties to the wider community: in particular, for its value of 饮水思源, or the spirit of giving back to the community. He hopes that students will continue to have the heart to serve the community despite the social distancing measures, for National Day is truly about Singaporeans standing together – and the best way to stand together, he adds, is by keeping our hearts connected and looking out for ways to contribute to society at large.

It is clear that Mr Low’s fond memories as a Chinese High student have stayed with him throughout the years. As we commemorate this special occasion in a different fashion this year, everyone should find his or her special memory of this unique National Day – hopefully, a memory that would last a lifetime. As we move into the future, Hwa Chong students should continue to remain engaged with the community and find ways to help those less privileged, and in doing so, carrying on the spirit that our founding fathers have inculcated within us. 

Written by Isaiah Yip Jin Eu (1i4)

Edited by Toh Jun Hao (1i4) and Tsun Ming Yi Ewan (2i1)