Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Racial Harmony Day - 21 July 2010

What does Racial Harmony Day mean to you?
For the parent volunteers of TK Racial Harmony Day Celebration, it is literally the day to share the message of racial harmony with the students through their dedication, teamwork and friendship.
This is the 4th year that the parents have facilitated the Know-Do-Be sessions of the Racial Harmony Day Celebration. Their fruit of labour was very well-received by TK students and the guest students from the international schools. "Kampong Game - Those were the Days" and "Souplicious Harmony" were the titles of the two sessions.
Here are the reports from the PSG Committee members, Norlia and Smrita.

Kampong Games - Those were the Days

Once again “Racial Harmony Day” is here! This year it falls on 21 July 2010. This is definitely an eye-opener for many. It offers a platform for students to explore the cultural dynamism of different nationalities, races and religions. "Kampong Games - Those were the Days” is our team's theme for this year’s RH Day.
Our students learnt to play the kampong games like, congkak, capteh, biji saga, pick-up stick, five stones, kite, hopscotch, marble,
paper doll, chess, ludo, etc., and the most beautiful part was playing on our traditional mat (tikar mengkuang).
This mat is made of screw pine leaves (Pandanus odoratissimus). It is a huge pandan-like plant that grows along the back of mangroves and also in the local jungles. The fruits can be eaten, and leaves may be used for weaving. Mengkuang weaving is usually practiced by womenfolk in the rural kampong areas.
The process requires patience, skill and dedication. Those were the days where all the village boys and girls would gather and sit on this special mat to play their indoor games.

Besides browsing through the showcase of all the kampong games, the students got a hands-on experience of the games, playing together with their friends and the parent volunteers. It was indeed a very good way of interacting and bonding with each other.
There were lots of posters showing different games played around the world. The students got to see and read the beautiful posters done by our parent volunteers.
We even collected all the dry palm leaves to decorate the room just to signify the traditional kampong houses.

We had a good time bringing back those memories of playing during our younger days and the student had a very good experience in playing those games too. At the end of the day, they were not only able to experience playing Kampong games but they learnt to have patience, build good relationships and good sportsmanship and most importantly they have a good feeling of the good old times compared to today where most children are communicating via computer and play at the computer unlike those days where we played and met together all the time.

We ended the session with Norsiah giving a quiz and reflection of the events. Each student received a packet of five stones which was packed nicely, hand-made by our parent volunteers.

We all had a good time and see you again next year!!

Written by Norlia
Photos by Alena
Souplicious Harmony

Our team’s title for the Know-Do-Be session this year was “Souplicious Harmony”. What a delicious way to know the differences and the similarities of different cultures! Students from the Global Indian International School and the Indonesian International School were also invited to partake in the ‘learn-as-you-eat’ session.
Soup and sweets stalls were put up; a small presentation was prepared on the ingredients that went into the soups and sweets; and all of this was followed by a quiz to find out if the students took away more than soup-filled stomachs from the event!

The Myanmar stall had an offering of chicken soup with vermicelli, bean curd, black fungus and lotus flower. Spicy and flavourful! Yum!

And the Chinese-Indonesian Chicken Delight – it was a real delight! With the stock made of carrots and potatoes, garnished with fried shallot and seasoned with some of the most flavourful herbs of Asia, it was just what the cook had ordered.

There was the Malay chicken soup. And then the Thai chicken soup – lip smacking stuff! Why not when the ingredients included things like lemongrass, galangal, finely chopped lemon leaves, and hot, hot, hot Thai red chillies! The quickly emptying pots were testimony to the successful coming together of these ingredients into a delicious soup.

The Indian stall also had a chicken soup, giving credence to the almost universal acceptance of chicken as a meat of choice in the cuisine of the 5 cultures although each with a taste uniquely its own. And the Indian chicken soup was marked by the flavours and aromas of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and star anise.

Along with the various chicken soups, the students also enjoyed the dessert - Ondeh Ondeh and the similar sweet rice dumplings from various cultures such as Chinese Tang Yuan and Mon-Lone-Ye-Paw from Myanmar, as well as Rava Laddu, Indian semolina sweets.

Soup and sweets tasting was the kickoff event to let the kids get a taste of things to come (please excuse the pun but it was irresistible). It was followed by the presentation on the medicinal properties of the herbs that went into the soups, then the quiz to ensure that the head had an equal opportunity to participate in the event and take something away from it. And since all of this was thirst and hunger-provoking, the children were let free to improve their understanding of different cultures through a sampling of their soups and sweets.

Personally, I found the day quite exhilarating – I am a mother and I just enjoy seeing kids eat good, wholesome food and learn a little bit about the country and the people from where it originated while they are at it.

I am already looking forward to the next Racial Harmony Day – perhaps an exhibition of old photographs from the childhood days of the teachers and the parents to show the different places and the environments in which they grew up.

Written by Smrita
Photos by Emily & Roger

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Racial Harmony Day: Amazing Race

Bee Chin volunteered her time to help tend to the amazing race. She contributed the article on the event. The race is part of the Know-Do-Be activities planned for the students to appreciate the diversity of Singapore.

Amazing Race – Racial Harmony Day, 21 Jul 2010, Wednesday

One of the activities of this year’s Racial Harmony Day at TKSS is the Amazing Race. Similar to its TV namesake the Amazing Race, participants have to get to various points, in this instance within the neighbourhood of TKSS. Unlike the TV show however, no teams will be eliminated.
Students who have signed up for this activity were formed into groups. At each designated location, they have to perform a task before they can move on to the next location. These criteria are again not new to many of us who are fans of the TV reality show Amazing Race.
What I find really amazing (no pun intended) is how the planning committee has so carefully and succinctly planned the locations around the race(ial) theme to give full effect to the intent of a race as well as addressing the intent of the racial harmony day.
The locations that the participants have to criss-cross are an Indian temple close to Katong,
a Chinese temple in Joo Chiat, a mosque near Paya Lebar MRT,
the Eurasian Community Club not far from TKSS and
the Katong Antique House.

I am sure the participants are now more aware of the rich cultural heritage that surrounds TKSS. Credit to the planning committe for such a well thought out activity.

Monday, June 14, 2010

National Education Learning Journey - 25 May 2010

Everyone was a little anxious in the early morning on the 25th May. It was the first time. All the students from Sec1 to 3 were to go on the National Education Learning Journey on that day. Each of them had been given a choice of venues. Each group consisted of the students from different classes and levels. 25 buses would come and go at the staggared timing. 50 adults - 25 teachers/staff and 25 parent volunteers - were required to accompany them.

But there were many happy faces at the end of the programme. The students seemed to be more attentive this year than the previous year when they went to the preselected venues. Many thanks to everyone involved, the parent volunteers in particular. School wouldn't have been able to proceed with many other matters of the day if 50 teachers and staff had had to go with the students.

Ms. Loretta Lee and Mrs. Kelly Tay were among them. They accompanied 80 students to Farmart Centre. Here's the report by Loretta with the photos by Kelly.

Visiting the Farmart Centre on 25 May

The Farmart Centre actually has a total of forty-three shops selling goods or products related with farm or nature, like fishes and pets etc. During the TK Learning Journey, we only visited one shop: Uncle William’s shop located at #39-40.

The tour was organised by William, the owner of the Quail Farm. William brought the whole group (group three, thirty-five students & group four, twenty-eight students) to a big classroom and gave us a “bird lesson”. Uncle William gave us a very informative and humorous talk about the quail.

If you are given one quail, do you know how to tell whether is female of male? Looking at their butt? Actually, there is another other way to tell: if the chest feather is brown, it is a male; if there are black polka dots, then it is a female. Simple and easy, right? However, if the quail is all white in colour, what should we do? Left with no choice, we would then have to see their derrière : if the anus is an “o” shape, then it is a male; if it is like a horizontal line, then it is a female.

We also learnt that the life cycle of a quail from egg to adult quail is only forty-five days . The baby quail can start to walk, and even look for food two hours later. The adult quail can lay one egg every day after it turns forty-five days old. Thus this makes it a highly-productive farm business.
Uncle William also taught us how to say ‘quail’ and ‘quail egg’ in five different languages : English, Mandarin , Malay, Tamil & Japanese, and then I taught him in Cantonese!! Also, the quail belongs to the poultry family.

He used a “Phua Chu Kang” way of speaking to talk to the students, so it was humorous and at the same time easy to remember the information.

He also gave out prizes to students , teachers & parents who could answer his questions after the talk. Both Kelly & myself won 4 Guinea Fowl eggs. I shared 2 with Mdm Saedah, TK staff in charge of group three.
Uncle William had also asked the students to go for the questions hunt. They had tried their best to answer and about twelve students won the prize. Other than that, each student got four eggs as souvenir.
Overall, the trip was a fun & enjoyable .

Written by Loretta
Photos by Kelly


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Coffee Talk & Sharing - 24 May 2010

One parent lamented on the Sunday Times Lifestyle page recently, "My teenage daughter is very materialistic, forgetful, rude, leaves her things on the floor when she comes back from school, procrastinates on homework ..."
I smiled, "I'm not alone."
If he/she was a TK parent, I would have invited him/her to our "Coffee Talk & Sharing" session.

In TK, "Coffee Talk & Sharing" started 3 years ago as one of the School Family Education programmes under Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports.
It's an informal sharing session on a topic related to parenting or marriage in a small group of about 10.

The topic of the day was, "Accepting your teens for who they are". Sounds familiar, but it's not easy. Honestly, there are times I wish my kids to be a little more A- attentive, B- brave, C- compassionate, D- diligent ... But must I lower my expectations? Are they living up to their potential? How can I accept them and still instill in them morals, values, ambition and drive?

A TK parent, Ms. Loretta Lee volunteered to facilitate the session. Loretta is a working mother of two girls in Sec2 and 4. She's been a Class Rep and an active volunteer in various programmes such as the Learning Journey.

She began to talk about her experience in keeping a good relationship and open communication with her daughters. Everyone agreed on the importance of good communication in parenting. That's the first step to understand and accept a child for who he/she is.

But discipline is important too. The traditional authoritarian approach seems to backfire with today's teenagers. "Taking a privilege away seems to work," a parent suggested. Another parent shared a mistake she made, "Yes, it works, but be careful. Once I took away my son's handphone to discipline him, then realised I needed to call him on the next day!"

The SFE Coordinator, Mega introduced two articles on the same topic, and a few related books.
Loretta followed up, "I give my girls space to be themselves. But at the same time, I ask them to put themselves in my shoes sometimes. A mutual understanding builds a relationship."

The one-and-a-half-hour session was a meaningful break from a daily routine, like an oasis for a parenting journey. It certainly empowered the participants. Thank you, Loretta!

Come join in the next "Coffee Talk & Sharing" which is on the way! Contact us at

Monday, June 7, 2010

Preparing for Racial Harmony Day

It started like the season's greetings to old friends. "It's been a long time. How are you?" The e-mail was sent on the first day of April. "Let's have a meeting for Racial Harmony Day!" Of course, no one took it as a joke. In fact, it was the time for serious business.

Racial Harmony Day falls on Wednesday the 21st July this year. TK parents have been involved in the various activities of it.
One of them is called KDB, or Know-Do-Be sessions. These are the workshops conducted by every department of TK and PSG. There are more than 15 different workshops for the students to choose from.

The PSG team consists of the parent volunteers and some of the committee members of the various races. Many of the participants have been doing this for a few years, and naturally friendship grows in true racial harmony.

This year, the team will conduct two sessions, "Souplicious Harmony" and "Kampong Games - Those were the Days". The "Soup" group had the second meeting on the 24th May. The members cooked the chicken soups of various Asian origins, such as of India, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand. We tasted each and every
soup, which had distinctive flavour and ingredients.

At the actual KDB session of "Souplicious Harmony", there will be even more varieties! The students will not just taste the soups, but learn the facts about these ingredients, such as some of their medicinal properties, anecdotes or cultural significance, as well as the recipes.

The teacher in charge, Mrs. Chen droped by to give us useful information and support.
With such warm collaboration, we strive to work even harder to nourish TK's soul.

Come join us to promote racial harmony!
We have a few vacancies in another activity, "TK Amazing Race". The duty is to supervise the participating students who go through a trail in the Katong neighbourhood to experience the heritage and culture of different races. Contact us at

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Parenting Seminar 2010 ...( 27 Mar 2010)

Million thanks to TK PSG & TKSS for their initiative in organising the recent parenting seminar held last weekend. This was indeed our very first parenting seminar session. We were overwhelmed by the invited speakers and the topics presented were relevant.

Our favourite speaker was Mdm Foo Kum Fong, a math specialist. She spoke of the importance of us as parents being the tutor to our children. She emphasized that parents should be well equipped with the school curriculum so that we will be able to assist our children.

I took her advise and made effort to re-learn the Maths topics, finding ways to put things in simpler and interesting way for my son. However i have to admit that i have to rely on the numerous assessment books with model answers. It was indeed a fruitful.

But one thing I learn is that parents should not be too kiasu and pressure the kids to excel in Maths. What is more important is to create a conducive environment for them to like Maths and make them understand that the subject is very much relevant in our everyday life.

Learning Maths can be fun and this is a challenge - that we parents must try to create such fun experience.

One take away that I got from the workshop was that every child is different, and their ability, aspirations and views of life are not one similar with another child. Hence, parents must guide their kids based on their unique characteristics and abilities.

Perhaps in the future such workshops can be organised together with the students so they and their parents can learn together as a family. This is good for family bonding and shared aspirations.


Siti Alawiya

Sec 1F parent