By Keiran Koh (22S06M) and See Man Teng (22S03A)
You are in Hawaii, the palm trees are swaying in the balmy afternoon breeze and suddenly out of the blue… you see the 41st Students’ Council?
While travelling and meeting each other in person may be impossible given the COVID-19 situation, Council has successfully integrated the sense of Hawaiian spirit into its investiture this year. Having investiture online this year is a reminder to all Councillors that the passion to serve the school can transcend all obstacles, including physical distance.
“41OHA!” (Aloha!) was the theme of this year’s investiture, a warm greeting extended to all Rafflesians that exudes joyful exuberance. It is symbolic of Council’s hope for Rafflesians to live vivaciously and contribute to creating a warm and inclusive school community.
A Howling Good Time
To kick start the investiture, all Councillors took part in a game of Telegram Werewolf. It served as a good avenue for Councillors to loosen up and have a good laugh with their friends. “It was really funny and hectic!” Neha Rajkumar (22S03P), Head of Welfare, commented.
It was arguably one of the highlights for many Councillors as the breakout groups gave them the invaluable opportunity to bond with their departments. “Given the updated SMMs, bonding opportunities among Councillors are limited, so virtual bonding sessions are definitely valuable!” Tham Yun Xin (22S06D), Vice President of Departments, pointed out.
The Guest of Honour was Mr I Naishad Kai-ren, President of the 31st Students’ Council. He strongly urged Councillors to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances and underscored the importance of versatility as a leader. He also reminded the Councillors to always focus on the bigger picture and work hand in hand with the school community.
“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”Mr Naishad, quoting from L. P. Hartley
The subsequent speech was made by the President of the 40th Students’ Council, Cai Sirui (21S06A). She likened her Council journey to a marathon, a “run towards the end goal of enlivening the lives of Rafflesians”. While the marathon may be arduous at times, she reflected that “it is not about how much distance you cover but creating meaning in the path that we forged for ourselves”.
With a wide smile on her face, she recalled how the rocky road of 2020 gave impetus to refreshing ideas and initiatives such as the Scavenger hunt, inflatable suits, and zoo move rides. Her parting words of advice to the 41sts can be succinctly encapsulated in the phrase, “Be bold, be true and be there for each other”.
Wong Kin Feng (22S03L), newly-minted president of the 41st Students’ Council, then wrapped up the speech segment. He shared his vision for the ‘Aloha’ way of life in Raffles by bringing all Rafflesians together to form a more inclusive and welcoming community.
“Always be grounded and remain attuned with the people, and never lose sight of the reason you ran for Council.”Wong Kin Feng (22S03L), President
It’s Official Now!
A tear-jerking moment was the blazer handover, a simple yet integral tradition that encapsulates the Council spirit. This event occurs during every Council Investiture, an established symbolic act representing the handing over of authority. A video featuring the newly elected Student Councillors donning their striking blazers in the presence of their predecessors was displayed.
“[It symbolises] the passing down of leadership, responsibilities, and most importantly hope—hope for the future generations of Councillors to soar higher and achieve greater results.” Wu Zhijun (22S03L), Secretary of Finance said.
Another symbolic moment was the recitation of the Council Oath led by Kin Feng. Despite physical separation, the Council spirit was not dampened as all the Councillors proudly and unanimously pledged their loyalty and dedication to the school. “Although we couldn’t be together physically, we were still one Council”, said Neha.
And The Memories Bring Back, Memories Bring Back You
One of the most heartwarming parts was the exchange of appreciation notes between the 40th and 41st Students’ Council. The 41st Students’ Council further prepared a slideshow of heartening digital appreciation cards to the 40th Students’ Council, sharing their hopes to ‘live up to their legacy’.
To end off on a high note, a heartfelt video put together by the investiture organising team was screened. The video featured each Councillor singing a line of a remix of Maroon 5’s hit song “Memories”, with lyrics contextualised to the Raffles setting, warming the cockles of our hearts. The video sent out a clear message: to the 40ths, treasure all the memories made and to the 41sts, here’s to creating new memories.
“I hope we can remain grounded and remember the purpose of what we’re doing: serving the school, enlivening students’ experiences and remaining enthusiastic about what we do for Raffles!”
Tham Yun Xin (22S05D), Vice-President of Departments
Despite the obstacles the 41sts faced in organising a fully online Investiture, they surmounted the challenges and executed it smoothly. This year’s online investiture is truly a testament to the united spirit of Council.
Looking ahead, the next Students’ Council is working towards being adaptable and spontaneous to the unpredictability of circumstances and aim for the goals they promised the school and its students. We wish the 41st Students’ Council all the best!
A previous version of this article named Neha Rajkumar as Deputy Head of Welfare. We apologise for the mistake and have edited it to reflect her proper title.