By Huang Beihua (20A03A) and Gabrielle Ng (20A01E)
Pictures courtesy of Raffles Photographic Society
The first week of September was one of many emotions: joy, perhaps, at the dawning of a glorious break; disappointment, possibly, at the realisation that it was no break at all; or maybe nervousness, as you glanced at your revision schedule (or lack thereof). Yet, chances were that you noticed the booths lining the canteen entrance, caught a glimpse at the elaborately drawn cards in someone’s hands, or even received a copy of our meticulously penned Teachers’ Day newsletters. It seemed appropriate that appreciation be added to that list—there was no better occasion to thank those who had worked just as hard for our grades and growth.
Celebrations had been going on long before 5 September. Game booths bordering the canteen entrance were impossible to miss, and neither was the colourful blackboard lovingly drawn by the Students’ Council. Behind the tables were councillors busy at work, greeting each participant with an exuberant smile.
You would probably have known by now that not everything went according to plan—the serenade for teachers had to be cancelled due to conflicting schedules, and the activities found themselves competing with the allure of REACH froyos. Yet, the councillors’ enthusiasm was undeterred, and that was no coincidence: as Ian Michael Yam (20A01A) explained, the effort put in by the Teachers’ Day Committee to plan the activities meant that those on duty were motivated to “try their best in getting people to play, so their efforts wouldn’t go to waste” in “increasing the hype for the actual celebration”.
If that was their aim, the Avengers-themed games made effective means to accomplish them. Centred around a select few of the popular superheroes each day, the games planned were creative in their associations with their namesake: Thor Ping-pong, for example, demanded one bounce a table tennis ball into a bucket, but only with the use of a (plastic) hammer. Indeed, as Ma Fanghe (20S06L) remarked, it was “quite good” that “more participated than [he had] thought.”
Yet, hype for hype’s sake was meaningless. There was a conscious effort by the Council to always fall back on its theme of appreciation. Those manning the booths kept a constant lookout for teachers to invite them away from the daily tedium of marking and lecturing for a game or two, while Fanghe took evident pride in that “the teachers were very happy about” decorations in the teachers’ lift that took myriads of trips up and down to complete.
It was in this spirit that we entered the celebrations of the day itself. Opening the concert was Modern Dance with their elegant and evocative choreography. Created under the backdrop of the reflective “Older” by Ben Platt, their nimble movements wowed the audience.
Next up was Physics teacher Mr Harapan Ong, who strode onto the stage to thunderous applause. Featured in our very own Teacher’s Day newsletter for his outstanding talent, Mr Ong aptly introduced himself just as we had him—as a magician. Even before his enthralling magic tricks could fully unfold, his lighthearted jokes kept the audience reeling: when the audience looked down, eager to avoid eye contact as he chose volunteers, he promptly quipped with endearing honesty that this was but a familiar sight in tutorials for him.
After this mind-blowing performance, Mr Ashton Tan took the stage for an amazing rendition of “Hero” by Mariah Carey. It was clear from the beginning that this was sure to be jaw-dropping—and it was. During his performance, debaters in the gallery stood up with handmade boards that spelled out “We <3 Mr Tan”, showing their appreciation and gratitude for their teacher-in-charge.
Chinese Orchestra’s Xinyao medley, arranged by Cheng Wentuo (20S06L), incited much curious excitement amongst the thoroughly entertained audience members. Skilfully executed, the performers put a twist on traditional Xinyao music.
The stage was then graced by Ms Michelle Kwok and Mr Patrick Wong, both of the Knowledge Skills Department. Their humorous preambles (“we can’t mark your scripts in two hours—which we can but we won’t tell them”) quickly gave way to the mellifluous, undulating melody of “Every Little Thing” by Dishwalla. Its tender, loving lyrics embraced the audience in a heartfelt sincerity so rare for a hall performance. Thus, it was no surprise when a wave of dreamy gazes and soft white iPhone lights swept over the hall, as audience members wistfully nodded their heads to the sound of the duo’s angelic harmony.
Last but not least, Raffles Rock ended off the concert with a bang, as audience members finally arose from their warmed seats to jam to the classic headbanger of “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey, and cult favourite “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi. The smoke machine employed only increased the hype of the crowd, who enthusiastically cheered along to the music.
Of course, no concert is complete without its leading emcees. Entertaining transitions and hilarious puns between the various acts were courtesy of Joanne Sitorus (20S03G) and Jannatun Tajrian (20S03A), whose effortless chemistry and radiant smiles heaped on the day’s jubilance. However, the most memorable event of the day would probably be the mini-game played by Mr Harapan Ong and Mr Ashton Tan, where both had to guess what object they were holding while blindfolded. Hilariously, one of the objects was a fire extinguisher—this caused a giggle to break out in the audience when Mr Ong started doing bicep curls with it.
After the concert, students filtered out of the hall and streamed into the canteen, relishing precious bonding time with their class and teachers.
The animated chatter blended with Jazz’s spirited performance as the last and lasting soundtrack of that homely morning, a warm send-off into the holidays ahead and a cozy conclusion to a term of hard work. Students and teachers alike lingered behind, perhaps reluctant to leave the cozy atmosphere. As the crowd gradually dispersed, it was with a sense of longing and contentment. Though celebrations may have ended, our gratitude towards our teachers will continue on even after.