Sunday, 27 November 2011
Interesting piece on a part of my school history. Used to remember playing hide-and-seek or catching at the clock tower, during my secondary school days. Also, the AV sound room where I served as a PA crew which was situated there that peered into our auditorium from the back, much like those old cinema projection rooms.
Thursday, 6 October 2011
by Dylan Loh (CNA, 6 Oct 2011)
During my NUS social work studies (1998-2001), we were already reading research on integrated social services. This included multi-use of facilities e.g. schools, community centres, one-stop social service centres, community hospitals, etc. It also involved a more novel approach of having practitioners work and live in the same community as clients. Imagine a small town, where your family doctor, social worker, or lawyer lives down the street, and neighbours’ homes are within access and communal.
Looking ahead, the Singapore government and particularly the social service sector must be moving in this direction. Not so much of communal services, but rather integrated approaches. Some of the bigger and mature housing estates already have one-stop civic centres, including the offices of HDB, town council, banks, library, clinics, etc. The marrying of schools and community centres is a good pairing, as facilities can be shared and enjoyed, especially when schools are hardly used on weeknights, less on Saturdays, and hardly on Sundays.
The same goes for churches which partner or found schools, or which have their social service arms, kindergartens within the church premises. Having just moved back to our newly completed church building, I often wonder why we fight so hard for space on Sundays, primetime (9am-1pm), when the rest of the week, most if not all the rooms are vacant and unused. At the moment, our youths use our multi-purpose hall for exam revision, and our retired elderly, and housewive mothers come by for small groups. Soon, our kindergarten will return in Nov, so at least that’s better maximizing of our facilities on weekdays.
One dream I have, capital constraints aside, is to purchase a big plot of land in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and to construct or design a retreat center and camp grounds. It could be used for trainings, small group retreats, church or youth camps, adventure learning, etc. In my honest opinion, Singapore is over-saturated with church buildings, and the amount we spend on building projects and camp venues could well be used for what I mentioned, and have so much more space and potential for blessing God’s kingdom. Either that, or plant a church overseas, e.g. in a third-world or developing country, and support a local missionary or pastor.
Monday, 16 April 2007
The Virginia Tech massacre was a school shooting comprising two separate attacks about two hours apart on April 16, 2007, on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, United States. The perpetrator, Seung-Hui Cho, killed 32 people and wounded many more, before committing suicide, making it the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.
Cho, a South Korean who had moved to the United States at age eight, was a senior English major at Virginia Tech. Cho had been diagnosed with and treated for a severe anxiety disorder beginning in middle school, and he continued receiving therapy and special education support until his junior year of high school. While in college in 2005, Cho had been accused of stalking two female students and was declared mentally ill by a Virginia special justice. At least one professor had asked him to seek counseling.
The incident received international media coverage and drew criticism of U.S. laws and culture from commentators around the world. It sparked intense debate about gun laws, gaps in the U.S. system for treating mental health issues, the perpetrator’s state of mind, the responsibility of college administrations, privacy laws, journalism ethics, and other issues. Television news organizations that aired portions of the killer’s multimedia manifesto were criticized by victims’ families, Virginia law enforcement officials, and the American Psychiatric Association.
The incident prompted immediate changes in Virginia law that had allowed Cho, an individual adjudicated as mentally unsound, to purchase handguns and led federal lawmakers to take up the issue of strengthening the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The Virginia Tech Review Panel, a state-appointed body assigned to review the incident, criticized Virginia Tech administrators for failing to take action that may have reduced the number of casualties. The panel’s report also reviewed gun laws and pointed out gaps in mental health care as well as misinterpretations of privacy laws that left Cho’s deteriorating condition in college untreated.
Are U.S. Schools Safe? (CNN In-depth special)
A Message of Hope: Columbine Father on Va. Tech Shootings (Newsweek, 17 Apr 2007)
From Heartbreak to Hope (Review Panel Assembled for Virginia Tech Massacre; Columbine Anniversary, 20 Apr 2007)
Lessons from Virginia Tech (Dr Tim Elmore, Growing Leaders)
Virginia Tech massacre
Tuesday, 25 October 2005
by MOE (25 Oct 2005)
- A recent ST Insight article (“Say Aaah…men”, 15 Oct) discussed the issue of proselytisation.
- Any form of proselytisation to students is strictly not allowed in our schools, including both government and mission schools. Schools will take action against any teacher found to have engaged in proselytisation.
- The article cited the case of a National Junior College physics lecturer who invited his class to a Christmas party and prayed over them, and who attached Christian sayings to his lecture notes. The Principal has warned the lecturer and counselled him. The lecturer is remorseful about his actions.
- If parents have any concerns regarding any actions involving their children being encouraged to join a religion other than their own, I encourage them to approach the school.
- Geraldine Chay Mei Fong (“Not true that all schools are secular”, ST Forum, 14 Oct 05) had pointed out that religious values are imparted in mission schools. She supported the practice of mission schools, and felt that parents who want a secular education for their children should send them to government schools.
- Mission schools follow clear rules. While they can conduct prayers, religious classes and chapel services or mass, these must be optional. Mission schools cannot compel any student to participate in any religious activity against the student’s wish. Students are allowed to withdraw from any such activity if they are uncomfortable with participating in it, or if requested by their parents.
- Further, attendance in any such activity cannot be a condition for students to be admitted to the school. The time used for these activities must also be in addition to that required for the schools to cover the subjects in the regular MOE curriculum.
- It is in schools that children of different backgrounds build bonds and develop shared aspirations as Singaporeans. We encourage parents and schools to work together to ensure that we sustain the strong social cohesion that we have built so far.
Wong Siew Hoong
Director of Schools
Ministry of Education
Saturday, 15 October 2005
by Li Xueying and Ken Kwek (ST Insight, 15 Oct 2005)
Proselytising in public institutions such as schools and hospitals has been in the news. Is it acceptable for doctors to try and save not just the body but also the soul? Should teachers be allowed not just to teach but also preach? LI XUEYING and KEN KWEK search for some answers.
IN 2002, Mr Alvin Choo, 55, suffered a relapse of nose cancer and sought treatment at Singapore General Hospital.
Not only did his nose get attention, so did his soul.
During separate consultations, not one but three, oncologists urged him to consider Christianity.
Religious heads’ response (excerpt):
In Singapore, where religion and race remain sensitive topics, there is uneasiness in some quarters about Christians who are perceived to be over-aggressive in promoting their faith. One area where it is felt more acutely is when proselytising takes place in public institutions such as government schools, hospitals or offices.
Up to half of teachers here are Christians, according to the website of the Teachers’ Christian Fellowship, whose members ‘yearn to see a closer link between our church-based spiritual life and our ministry in school’.
Given that evangelism is a key thrust of Christianity, how might Christian teachers and doctors discharge their evangelical duty without undermining their professionalism?
The Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship, an ‘inter-denominational, evangelical fellowship of Christian doctors and dentists’, tells Insight: ‘Under no circumstances should doctors abuse the professional relationship with the patient and compel a patient to embrace a certain faith’.
But its chairman Dr Goh Wei-Leong believes that ‘in a friendly atmosphere’, the doctor can share his religious faith when the patient asks.
The Teachers’ Christian Fellowship past chairman Irene Phoon says that when discussing religious issues, ‘some teachers do refer to what they personally believe without imposing this belief or belittling the views of others’.
Excerpts from Bishop Robert Solomon’s response:
‘WE HAVE always maintained that evangelism is part of our Christian faith. If you’re a good Christian, you have to tell others about Jesus Christ. ‘But we have to do that with great sensitivity, especially in our multi-cultural, multi-religious society.
‘I disagree with people who use their professional relationship which gives them an advantage to push their faith onto others, whether it’s a doctor-patient or teacher-student relationship. That’s unethical.
‘But I think that if there’s an over-reaction to such cases, we may lose out in other fronts.
‘We will build walls and erode communication between people of different religious faiths. People will not be willing to talk about religion at all, and I don’t think that makes for a healthy, open society.
‘I am a medical doctor myself, and you cannot actually divorce faith and religion from health issues.
‘When you’re treating patients, their religious views are important and need to be taken into consideration.
‘That dimension will be cut off from the process of healing if we get to the stage where talking about religion is complete anathema… But if the doctor brings up the issue, and the patient is uncomfortable, then I think a line has been crossed.’
– METHODIST BISHOP DR ROBERT SOLOMON, who is also a medical doctor
No proselytisation allowed in schools (MOE, 25 Oct 05) – response to the above article