Lost and Found: The “Ulu”, Unexplored Places in RI

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By Thet Hninn Zin (21A13A)

As you navigate through this inextricably large campus, roaming through the green-and-grey corridors with the prettiest willow trees (the school genuinely has amazing greenery) and lined glass windows, you might miss out on some of the more obscure places in Raffles Institution. Especially with safe-distancing measures, it may be difficult for you to go around to explore the campus, the place where you’re going to spend your last two years of pre-tertiary education at. 

Well, whether it’s because they are out of the way from your classroom-bound venues or perched in an unassuming corner, here are some of the ‘lost’ locations in school, which have now been found for you!

Block J

Block J.

Though those in the Humanities Programme (HP) are familiar with the sight of Block J, it is indeed isolated from the rest of the school. With the secluded LT6 and the Performing Arts Centre (PAC), Block J is a stone’s throw away from both the cages and the canteen. If you ever need to meet any one of your batch mates residing in the HP classrooms, do not fret! Make your way up the stairs along Hodge Lodge at the canteen, and cross the sheltered walkway. The classrooms’ configuration may seem strange to you but depending on where you turn, you’ll be led to two adjacent glass-walled classrooms, or the ‘fishbowl’ classroom where all who walk by can easily witness whatever’s going on inside.

Hidden ‘study’ spot behind the gym

The study area behind the gym.

After being introduced to the school gym in PE class, one might be intimidated by the dark, slightly eerie high ceilings that stretch through the hallway near the E W Barker Sports Institute. However, nestled behind the gym—right outside the Chinese Orchestra room—there is an entire cluster of study tables unbeknownst to even most of the Y6s. Though not conducive for studying, it provides a suitable atmosphere for private heart-to-heart talks, when you need a respite from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the school. 

The Crib 

The Crib!

As the home of Teddy, our school’s acclaimed cat, one might not notice the Crib if they do not venture a bit further from the canteen or from the front of the Student Affairs Centre (SAC). Those who are in Sports CCAs like Ultimate Frisbee and Tennis might be accustomed to walking past the Crib to and from their training locations. For the rest of us, this makes a conducive spot for hang-outs and lunch with friends, or even for some after-school studying (with the companionship of Teddy, of course). 

Teddy lounging on one of the tables at the Crib.

The drawings on the whiteboard, together with the artwork on the House Sheds further add to the nostalgia and cumulative history of the place, with tiny ‘legacies’ left behind by previous batches of Rafflesians. When you’re at the Crib, do try to resist the temptation of over-feeding Teddy!

Mini LT

Mini LT.

Located near the D Block classrooms, the elusive mini Lecture Theatre (LT) (that some students might not even know of) is a place that one could easily miss due to the fact that it is nearly the size of a tutorial room. Surrounded by mirrors, it might mimic a dance studio, but it is known to be the smallest lecture location in RI (if it wasn’t already quite obvious from its name). Due to it looking like a glorified tutorial room, its former glory days as a lecture location are long gone. It is now used as a classroom, as well as one of the locations for PW Oral Presentation dry-run. Do keep an eye out when you’re exploring the school if you want to find this hidden gem!

Hodge Lodge Mini Theatre

Probably the coolest location in RI (in my honest opinion), this mini theatre mimics a small cinema that can seat about 30 people.  It is tucked away within a small section of Hodge Lodge, which is located right beside the canteen. Though it is restricted by teachers’ card access, it is meant to provide students with a platform (our own little movie theatre!) for leisure. Before the implementation of SMMs, it would be the prime location to screen movies and shows, for your viewing pleasure with the added convenience of being in school. Students would enjoy mini-guest talks and movie screenings in the mini theatre, but its velvet red seats have barely been used in the past year attributed to the onslaught of Covid-19 restrictions. Nonetheless, it is a pretty impressive amenity that RI has been providing for the students to enjoy and hopefully you’ll have a chance to experience it some day. 

With that, I hope we have shed light on some of the less explored areas in our school that’s ever so full of surprises. Hopefully, by the end of your time here, the daunting campus would feel less like a school compound, and more like a home that you have warmed up to. Though two years may be short and fleeting, RI has sustained and arranged a plethora of amenities and facilities for everyone to enjoy, so do make full use of them during your time here! 

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