By Bryan Ling (17S06C) and Ernest Lee (17A01A)
Photographs by Cheah Shen (17S03K) of Raffles Photographic Society
What caught our eye when we entered the foyer were the numerous school blazers and unfamiliar faces milling about. Guest Interactors from other schools were invited to observe the RI Interact Installation, an investiture of sorts, in a showcase of solidarity among the Singapore Interact Club community.
We arrived at our designated seats to a rather unfamiliar sight. The PAC had been transformed with red and white balloons everywhere. Raffles Interactors themselves, all donning club t-shirts, buzzed in their seats, looking like an excited mass of red.
Alanna Tham (17S03G), and Natalie Pang (17S03G), the emcees for the night, introduced the event. Centering around the theme of ‘Prism: Uniting Spectrums’, this year’s installation would emphasize the close-knit spirit of Interact Club despite Interactors’ diverse goals and personalities. This would be the 54th batch of Interactors invested: the continuity and legacy of Interact Club was indeed very awe inspiring.
The night started off with a speech by Guest of Honor Mr Ong Kah Kuang, Executive Director of Youth Corps Singapore, who spoke about the importance of ground-up interaction, respecting the dignity of the beneficiaries and empowering the community. A short video was played that chronicled the impacts and initiatives of Youth Corps Singapore, which paralleled that of Interact Club.
After Mr Ong’s speech, outgoing president Angela Tham (16S06D) gave her address, sharing her thoughts on her experience in Interact, especially the difficulty of persevering in service in the face of overwhelming odds.
“It’s true, we cannot solve the troubles of the world, and we cannot take the pain away, or the sorrow, or the injustice, or social inequity. And maybe sometimes all we can do is to make someone else happy, but even that is fleeting and temporary.”
The Secretary’s Report followed, with the 54th Board of Directors’ secretaries Yang Yu Hao (17S06I) and Jean Lim Hui Qin (17S06L) giving a summarized report of the club’s activities over the last year.
The recount of various service partnerships with Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s School, COMNET at Sin Ming, RI Mentorship Program, Henderson Student Care Centre, Jamiyah Children’s Home, MINDS, and Sunlove Home brought smiles to the Interactors’ faces. A loud cheer erupted from each cluster as their beneficiary was mentioned, making it clear that every Interactor were immensely proud of what they did.
There was also a brief overview of the several major club events of the year – Club Camp, Connect Camp, Youth Got Heart, and Dine in the Dark.
After the report, the acknowledgement ceremony for the J2 Interact Club members commenced, as well as an award presentation for Outstanding Interactors. Guest-of-honor Mr Ong Kah Kuang received and congratulated each Interactor for their service: not just to the club or the school, but to the community. The usual thunderous applause greeted each Interactor as their reached the stage, and each J2 did not go unthanked.
The J1 Installation then commenced: it was now time for the J1s to take up the mantle of the club. Calling each Interactor up by their cluster was a sure way to remind everyone that each Rafflesian getting installed today had already, and would continue to make a tangible impact on the community.
Interactor Ethan Chia livened up the evening with a wonderful piano performance, playing renditions of the songs “Colours of the Wind” from Pocahontas, “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables, and “I Lived” by OneRepublic. Impressing both guests and students alike, the interlude showcased that Interactors each had their unique talents and skills.
The RI Y1-4 Board of Directors handover came next. Much to the audience’s surprise, an exchange of balloon animals and other small toys occurred: yet another small glimpse into the friendships that laid behind the scenes. Incoming President of the Y1-4 Interact Club Lim Zinn-E gave his speech, reflecting on his Interact journey so far.
Last but not least came the handover ceremony for the Y5-6 Board of Directors, with incoming President Alden Tan (17S06L) giving his speech to conclude the handover.
Acknowledging that service could bring about realizations that “there [are] many problems out there [students] can’t solve”, his speech nonetheless tied up the theme running through all speeches thus far. “Service is a way of life, and Interact cultivates that way of life in each and every one of us.”
The ceremony ended off with a short group dance by the J1 Interactors to the song “One Way or Another”. It brought about laughs, brought out phones and brought out the best in all of us.
After the ceremony, Interactors mingled over a buffet spread, consisting of bee hoon, samosa, eclairs, and sandwiches. “I think it was very well planned actually, very professional,” said an ACJC guest Interactor. “[The community of volunteering in Singapore] is quite strong. Interact is actually a bigger (movement) than you might think, and there are different layers to it, you have Interact Clubs in schools, as well as Rotary [on a wider level].”
When asked about the planning process of the event itself, President Alden Tan mentioned that “there were many hiccups along the way […] It was a surprisingly long and tedious planning process for a 2 hour event, as there were many aspects to be taken care of. However, […] seeing everyone have a great time made the planning more than worth it. […] We sought to make it a memorable event for all guests and particularly our fellow Interactors, and I think we achieved that goal.”
Regarding future hopes for Interact’s growth, outgoing President Angela Tham said “I hope for Interact to be able to involve more of the larger school population so rather than simply organizing events where non-interactors join as participants, Interact can spearhead events where others can take part as volunteers.”
- Alden Tan Ming Yang (President) – 17S06L
- Koh Shih Ann, Joan (Vice-President) – 17S03G
- Yang Yuhao (Secretary-Treasurer) – 17S06I
- Jean Lim Hui Qin (Secretary-Treasurer) – 17S06L
- Loh Yi Wen Gabrielle (Community Service Director) – 17S03L
- Pisupati Anushka (Community Service Director) – 17S03N
- Vanessa Chuang Zhen Xuan (Community Service Director) – 17S06C
- S. Anusri (International Understanding Director) – 17S06S
- Koh Xiao Ting Anne (International Understanding Director) – 17S07C
- Angela Tham (President) – 16S06D
- Cheung Chun Man (Vice-President) – 16S07B
- Chan Chin Qi (Secretary-Treasurer) – 16S07B
- Yang Jierui (Secretary-Treasurer) – 16S06R
- Goh Jia Ling (Community Service Director) – 16S06S
- Melvina Yeo Yun Xuan (Community Service Director) – 16A01E
- Vinod S/O Jaya Kumar (International Understanding Director) – 16S06N
- Chung Ray Ern (Community Service Director) – 16S06N
- Chua Cailin Cara (International Understanding Director) – 16S03L
- Vanessa Chia Qi En (Community Service Director) – 16A13A