CCA Previews ’22: Raffles Archives and Museum

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Eugene Teo (22A01B), Club Secretary 

Echoes and whispers reverberate from the white and green walls of the school grounds as you head to the gates after your afternoon CCA session. Are your senses playing tricks on you? Has the stress and fatigue of JC life finally caught up with you? As you walk past rows of monochrome stills preserving alumni memories from a distant past, shelves of yesteryear’s trophies and awards, and lastly the imposing bust of Raffles himself outside the RGC, you will find that it is quite the contrary. Your dull spirits are instantly uplifted, your aching muscles are miraculously soothed, and an unknown warmth envelops your heart.

Can this be the work of the supernatural? What can explain this peculiar occurrence?

This is no hallucination; it is the elusive Rafflesian Spirit, “a powerful force that takes control of a person, [that] inspires and instils courage and determination. It stems from a certain pride and from a proud heritage… a dynamo that lies deep inside the Rafflesian psyche”. 

This observation, made by former RI Headmaster Eugene Wijeysingha (1986-1994), aptly encapsulates the essence of RI’s rich history since its 1823 founding. The Raffles Archives and Museum (RAM) was started in 1994 to uncover what this intangible force means to our dynamic Rafflesian identity, which has since been the guiding hand for our various archival and outreach initiatives. 

It is with this very spirit in mind that the Y56 RAM Club was formed in 2021, having initially been a CCA only in Y14 RI. We are one of the few schools that actively involves students in the custody of its heritage. As we herald the arrival of RI’s Bicentennial in 2023, Y56 RAM has been at the forefront of related initiatives:

  • Organising The Rafflesian Album (TRA) that aims to collect 200 oral history interviews featuring Rafflesian stories
  • Participating in the RI@200 History Series featuring alumni and student research articles
  • DiscoveRI social media campaigns 
  • Upcoming 2022 Y5 Ori History of RI segment ;)

We hope that through these efforts, we are able to spread the “festive Bicentennial cheer” among the student population, and lay the groundwork for initiatives dedicated to uncovering RJC’s own unique heritage and identity. 

Conversation with Mr Theophilus Kwek and Clarice Chee (22A01B)
 for the RI@200 History Series
Our TRA volunteers – over 70 this year!

We are a rather modest club of five; in fact, with only one batch, we might be the smallest CCA in the school ! Fret not about the club size, for the hospitable CCA environment and the common passion for history ties us together. Other than working on projects contributing to the Bicentennial, members are also able to explore their own interests and strengths with the occasional enrichment programmes and workshops (mainly webinars for 2021). 

Being a pioneer batch, your involvement and experiences will set the precedent for future batches of Y56 RAM members not involved in the hectic Bicentennial preparations, and in our formative years every member will have a voice in shaping our club identity and goals.

RAM CCA Dinner on the first session earlier this year. *Picture taken in accordance with SMMs during the prior phase of Covid-19 measures.

Club meetings are held in the museum at the Yusof Ishak Block (Y14 side) every Wednesday afternoon from 3.30pm to 5.30pm. At the juncture of writing this preview, we are unfortunately still confined to online sessions. With SMMs relaxed, you can look forward to club outings around Singapore’s heritage galleries, trails and precincts, especially if there are new exhibitions or exclusive curator’s tours. The traditional year-end RAM camp will be a memorable post-pandemic highlight of any RAM member’s journey, something that any Y14 member can testify to. 

Our teachers in charge are Mrs Cheryl Yap (Head of RAM) and Ms Low Siew Hsien. Although they hail from the Y14 side it does not take one long to be acquainted with them — they are really friendly and experienced teachers. Along your RAM journey, you’ll be no stranger to any nook or cranny of the museum (except the archives where the dustiest of records and the darkest of secrets lurk…), and you’ll get to meet the rest of our lovely Office of Alumni Relations staff. 

Part of the RAM experience is to be in the museum itself… 
but scenes of meetings like this are rare now (eCCA) *Picture taken in accordance with SMMs during the prior phase of Covid-19 measures.
The pioneer team of 2021 Year 5s, looking forward to expand our family :D *Picture taken in accordance with SMMs during the prior phase of Covid-19 measures.

If you have a passion in history, an interest in the intricacies of the heritage industry, or if you strongly believe in the value and merits of contributing to the preservation of RI’s identity, being urged on by the echoes and voices of the past, do consider applying and attending our interviews. 

We are looking out for the legendary “Rafflesian Spirit” in our potential members, characterised by an appreciation of the school’s heritage, the pride of being its custodian, and crucially, the dedication to pave the ground as a pioneering batch of juniors. We look forward to members emerging as confident archivists and researchers, and leaving their legacies in our club’s genesis (who knows, maybe someday, even in history books and records)!

You may find out more about the museum in our social media sites (IG: Y56ramembers) and our blog here.

*Cover image taken in accordance with SMMs during the prior phase of Covid-19 measures.

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