Regina Marie Lee

Teacher Feature: Mr Tan Boon Poh

Reading Time: 6 minutes

By Kimberley Yeo (13S05B) and Rachel Tan (13S06D)

Watch out, everyone – you may be issued a white slip for forgetting your exam register number!

As RI’s no-nonsense discipline master, Mr Tan Boon Poh is known for the poker face expression that accompanies his interactions with students, from doling out lame jokes and white slips to reciting the infamous THINK. But if “Hurry up, come in!” or “Eh, where’s your badge?” is all you remember of him, you might have to tweak that opinion soon. In today’s Teacher Feature, we find out more about our stoic DM’s mysterious life as RI’s head rule enforcer and his marathon pursuits.

THINK is Mr Tan's much-loved mantra
THINK is Mr Tan’s much-loved mantra

All his working life, Mr Tan has faithfully lectured batches after batches of Physics students in RI. Yet. why teaching in the first place? “As part of my mechanical engineering degree, I was on an industrial attachment for 6 months. I found it quite boring to do a 9 to 5 job, so I decided to do something more interesting and less regimental,” Mr Tan explained. But regiment eventually caught up – since 2008, he has been our second official Discipline Master.

Press: How exactly is a DM appointed and how did you feel when you first heard of your appointment? Any reservations?

Mr Tan: How ah? I don’t know leh. RJC only has only had two DMs, which are Mr Leong Yew Wah (Deputy Principal, Special Projects) and me. I was quite surprised when Mr Winston Hodge first asked me and I was wondering, “Why me?” Of course I had some reservations as I had totally no idea of what to do as a discipline master.  The DM’s job is not just dealing with students. Part of it is also about working with teachers – how to get them to support the rules, how to enforce them and so on.

Fun fact: Mr Tan’s rule-enforcing days actually date back to primary school, where he was a prefect!

What is the best and worst thing about being DM?

Well, they are somewhat the same thing. When nothing happens and there are no cases to handle, I have more time for myself and I can be assured that the students are self-regulating. However, the worst thing would be when a lot of serious offences happen back to back and I will be busy with investigations, counselling the students and meeting parents.

Mr Tan at CCAL Camp
Mr Tan at CCAL Camp

What are some of the most absurd excuses you have heard from students?

Hmm, most absurd excuses… There was one during Take 5 just recently where two girls and one boy were trying to climb over the fence into the Port of Lost Wonder (the water play area for children with the pirate ship). So I stopped them and when I asked them why they were climbing over the fence – the boy had already climbed over, they responded saying they were going to the toilet, but there was no toilet in sight.

Also, I once came across this boy who was sitting in the canteen in slippers and he said it was because he was going for swimming training. And so I asked him why wasn’t he in his swimming trunks too.

What is the most annoying thing students do which you wish you could issue a warning slip for?

Students who write the wrong number on their OMR (Optical Mark Reader) answer sheet during exams. Because the marking is done automatically by computer, once someone shades the wrong number, I have to take out the piece and re-shade his number correctly for him. Actually, it is even worse when he shades in his classmate’s instead. This results in the machine computing his marks as his classmate’s. What is the worst is when his goes in before his classmates and the machine jams as there is a repetition of the same number. Then I’ll have to go and readjust and it takes a lot of time.

Also, students who don’t remember their register number and sit at the wrong tables in the examination hall. The whole class ends up sitting in the wrong place and they all have to shift, which can disrupt the concentration of the rest in the hall.


If you’ve caught Mr Tan running around the track, you might be immediately drawn to his attention-catching barefoot shoes. Interestingly enough, his interest in running was founded on more practical concerns rather than love for the activity itself. As he puts it, “The running was because I was preparing for my 2.4km run a few years ago. Since I take a bath after I run, I thought ‘Why not run further?’ And as I ran farther and farther I found it more enjoyable”.

As for the barefoot shoes, he discovered them in a book on running entitled “Born to Run”. And for the Physics behind it? Let’s just say that it’s somewhere along the lines of reaction forces, centre of gravity and acceleration.

So the barefoot shoes help you run farther?

It is not so much that the barefoot shoes help me in running farther. I find that it helps me have a more natural style of running and reduce the impact on my knee. You try to land on the ground first with the middle of your foot or your forefoot below your center of gravity (CG). To me, it’s a new style of running. Most people who wear barefoot shoes run in this style, because it’s very painful to strike the ground first with your heel as barefoot shoes do not offer any cushioning. So the more technical part is that you try to take shorter strides to prevent overextending your leg. You make up for the shorter strides by taking more frequent steps.


Have you gone for any marathons?

I’ve run two marathons and more than ten half marathons. Which is why I say you need to set a target. Because if you just run, you’ll just get bored. So usually I will sign up for a race, like my upcoming one is the RUN350. Once I paid to sign up, must go right? Then go already, should come in with some good timing, right. So every race, I’ll set a target, like 2 h 15 min for a half marathon. Then I’ll follow a training programme – run how many times a week, what type of run to run and timing for each run.

Best timing?

2 h 15 min. For a half marathon.

Any ultimate goal?

No I’m not the competitive type, so as long as I enjoy running that’s fine.

Mr Tan was the first one shaved at Hair For Hope 2012
Mr Tan was the first one shaved at Hair For Hope 2012

It’s not just about issuing white slips and applying Physics concepts to running – Mr Tan also shared with us how being DM has prepared him for the nobler task of parenthood.

So do you have any other hobbies?

Hmm not really, I think it’s just running, and taking care of my kids. I don’t have much time for anything else.

May we ask if you discipline your children in the same way as you do in school?

It depends. When I talk to most of the students in RI, they do understand and change their behaviour. But for kids, they can be too young to understand what you are talking about, so that’s where a cane comes in useful.

Do you think being DM has prepared you for disciplining your children?

Yes, sad to say, from the cases I handle I’ve learnt what not to do when bringing up children.

So to end off, any advice for someone who would like to start exercising regularly?

Begin with the end in mind. You need to set up a target, what you want to do. Then come up with a plan and have the discipline to stick to the plan.

We would like to convey our sincerest thanks to Mr Tan for so graciously agreeing to this candid interview and hope that none of you will forget your register numbers this upcoming CTs!

Photos courtesy of Mr Tan and Tsai Minyi.

Confession is Good for the Rafflesian Soul

Reading Time: 7 minutes

By Jeremy Yew (13A01B)
Additional Reporting by Allison Choong (14S05B) and Bryan Chua (14A01A)

“I confess…that I check the RJ Confessions Page everyday without fail!”

On Feb 10th (strategically timed before Valentine’s Day), the RJ Confessions Facebook page was created, and has garnered more than 3500 likes and 7000 people talking about it. For those who have been living under their Math tutorial booklet, this is the RI Y5 and 6 equivalent of an online anonymous confessions trend that has been all over everyone’s news feed. The first page that sparked it all off was probably the NUS Confessions Page, which spawned a slew of pages for both undergrad and tertiary student communities such as NTU, SMU, and ACSI, with even a little-sibling Raffles Confessions meant for the Y1-4 side and RGS students.

“All dat BGRs”, indeed…90% of all posts on the RJ Confessions page are related to infatuation, relationships or love. The longest ever post was a 741-word essay (word count included) on BGR in JC.
“All dat BGRs”, indeed…90% of all posts on the RJ Confessions page are related to infatuation, relationships or love. The longest ever post was a 741-word essay (word count included) on BGR in JC.

Trivial, shocking, or funny; encouraging, honest, or thought-provoking. The wide range of ‘confessions’ that appear on the constantly updated RJ Confessions page could be seen as testament to a unique Rafflesian creativity, humor, and expression (or perhaps repression). They include everything from actual confessions and anecdotes on school life to rants, moralistic policing and even original poetry!

Not to forget the bread and butter of any confession page: the romantic confessions, and their counterfeit counterparts: the ‘troll’ confessions. These probably number as many as the genuine ones, and are done for laughs or to embarrass friends.

A site that sees such heavy traffic and volume cannot be single-handedly maintained. But who are the genii behind this source of entertainment (or disdain) for thousands of Rafflesians and non-Rafflesians alike? Admins 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of course! You know them by their comments, now here’s a chance to find out more about how they operate, and what they think of the phenomenon itself. Raffles Press presents our exclusive interview with the RJ Confessions Page admins.

Which batch(es) are you from? Tell us more about yourselves!
We will reveal it when the time is right. Admin 1 is a guy, Admins 2 and 5 are girls, Admins 3 and 4 are currently in NS.

Do any of your friends know who you are, or do you keep your identity as secret as super-heroes?
Only a few of Admin1’s friends know.

How has the frequency of confession submissions been since the page’s opening? Do you think this phenomenon will die down?
We don’t really measure the frequency, but yes the frequency has been decreasing, but barely. Admin 2 thinks this phenomenon is just a fad that will die down as everyone starts mugging, but Admin 1 thinks then, this page will still be used but to rant about different matters such as PW.

What inspired you to create this page? What motivates you to keep it running?
Well Admin 1 does this page really just to give other Rafflesians an avenue to voice out concerns they’re afraid of voicing out usually, because Admin 1 has been hoping for something like this for a long time but since no one did it, he got inspired by the recent confessions trend in local universities and decided to create such a page. We keep it running because we are sure there will be other Rafflesians like Admin 1 out there who want this page.

How long do you plan to do this?
We’ll do it for as long as people continue to support us and use this page.

How often do you check/post stuff? How much time do you spend sifting through submissions? How do you find the time?!
We do it any time and all the time – we use time turners.

You sometimes add in snide, humorous or corrective comments at the end of some posts; for example, pointing out the other side of an extreme opinion. Do you see yourselves as neutral facilitators, or moralistic arbiters of the RJ confessions community?
Nope, not at all, we’re just adding our own comments because sometimes we just feel that something needs to be said about the confession; it’s quite entertaining too.

What is your censorship policy? How many submissions do you reject daily?
Well we reject all posts containing obvious names and posts containing vulgarities or highly defamatory ones, especially if they are ungrounded accusations. Different admins have different criteria. Admin 2 generally does not like posts about love whereas Admin 1 favors those posts. Generally nowadays we hardly reject submissions because people are starting to learn what is acceptable and what is not.

How do you feel about bearing the burden of responsibility to maintain the institution’s reputation? (Do you even consider that your duty?)

Yes, many people reminded Admin 1 of that at the start, and yes we do bear that in mind.

A wet blanket or a prudent warning? We’ll find out eventually.
A wet blanket or a prudent warning? We’ll find out eventually.

Is it…True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, Kind? What do you think is the risk of ‘offensive’ or ‘disagreeable’ content being posted? What if the school requests that the page be shut down?
Honestly, I think THINK isn’t really Necessary, because if all those conditions had to be met, then 90% of RJ Confessions posts would never have existed. I think only the T aspect of THINK is important. I think the risk of such acts is already amply covered in newspapers/GP lessons, but I still think it would only have, at most, a short term impact on our school’s reputation. I don’t think I will agree with the school if they asked me to shut this page down; there is little they can do to force me into doing it too.

What are some examples of the “ugliest” confessions you receive?
Well, basically there were vivid descriptions of sexual fantasies. I certainly hope those were trolls.

In your opinion, do you think RJ Confessions has debunked or reinforced Rafflesian stereotypes in the public eye?
I doubt so. Some things are too ingrained for a few comments on the Internet. To change such stereotypes requires the long-term co-operation of all Rafflesians – past, present and future.

Wouldn’t a Twitter feed be well-suited to posting confessions?
We think the Facebook page is enough on our plates as it is.

Indeed, they do have a lot on their plates – these admins have filtered and posted a whopping 2400 entries to date, excluding those that are not aligned with their censorship policy, as well as many romantic confessions they deemed not interesting enough.

And Raffles Press has slogged through every one of those 2400 posts (okay, confession: that’s just Jeremy…who needs to get a life) to come up with some of our favorite posts, based on a range of criteria such as originality, humor, and memorability. Presenting, in no order of merit:

Raffles Press’ Top 10 Favorite RJ Confessions

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And of course, the most famous one of all, the “payphone” confession! Too long to be posted here, it has garnered more than 3300 likes and has even been featured on 9GAG Singapore!

RJ Confessions is not just about infatuated declarations and unrequited crushes. It’s about freedom of speech (though some might disagree, given the unchecked moderating power of the Admins), and the boundaries our community is willing to challenge. It’s about Rafflesian creativity and humor at its best (and worst) – for many students this may be a new opportunity to try their hand at creative writing, something they may not get the chance to do in the daily grind of academic life. It’s about Rafflesians helping each other out – either by sharing inspiration or dispensing experienced advice; a support network of individuals united by common experiences.

The staff of RI are not to be left out of the fun, of course; quite a number of them do follow the page closely, including Mr. Dominic Chua (Head of Creative Direction of the Communications, Alumni Relations and Advancement Department), who has himself responded to a post by a senior complaining about the corporatization of RI’s image. He muses: ‘From a sociological and communications point of view, it’s a listening post, gossip centre and rantboard all rolled into one!”

While naysayers might claim that anonymity can breed irresponsibility, and that such an uncontrolled media platform could lead to disastrous PR situations, Mr Chua thinks otherwise: “I think [such confession pages] make people in positions of authority nervous because salacious or even hateful material could in theory get posted, but with the RI pages at least we’re trusting in the two checks that do exist – first, the intelligence and good sense of the various admins, and second, the ability of the community of readers to step in and moderate what’s been said – to keep the pages working in the best interests of the Rafflesian community.’

RJ Confessions also plays a crucial role as a space for Rafflesians to talk about and deal with stereotypes within our community (albeit in an open platform). Since its inception, the page has seen more than 20 posts that denounce, qualify, reinforce or discuss Rafflesian stereotypes, including contributions from non-Rafflesians or members of the public. It can also be an avenue for socially marginalized groups to speak up; for example, there have been numerous sexual-minority confessions that talk about the challenges they face being ‘open’ or ‘closed’ amongst peers about their sexual identities, calling for greater tolerance and acceptance.

It is easy to dismiss this page as frivolous or trivial, a passing phenomenon that will eventually fade. Yet, more than one month on, it is still going relatively strong; perhaps its enduring appeal lies beyond the anonymity it grants and the audience response it guarantees. As the quote on the pillar in the library says, the Rafflesian Spirit is “…that which transcends generations to bind Rafflesians to work as one to strive towards a better age”. RJ Confessions’ continued relevance may be in the niche that it fulfills – allowing Rafflesians across batches and from all facets of the rich RI(JC) experience to connect. Ultimately, beyond functioning as the sole cross-experiential and cross-generational platform of discourse for Rafflesians to engage in, the roles that RJ Confessions can embody will be defined by the discernment and ingenuity of individual Rafflesians.

Diary of an All-Rounded Performer

Reading Time: 5 minutes

By Regina Marie Lee (13A01B)
Additional Interviews by Allison Choong, Gao Wenxin, Trung Huan Nguyen and Hoang Nhan Nguyen

Even as we admire the A Level results of the Class of 2012, Raffles Press takes a look at students who have managed to pursue academic excellence as well as personal passions. Who are these people who manage to do so much? How do they do it? We speak to some about their journey in Raffles, as well as the people and things that have spurred them on.

Personal Passions

Samuel Ching
Samuel Ching

Samuel Ching (12A03A)’s twin interests are in healthcare policy and social entrepreneurship. “I’ll advise juniors to try to have a specific interest when doing activities,” he said. This was how he balanced his commitments while still managing to take part in numerous competitions. For competitions such as EDB’s Competition and the Singapore Budget Challenge 2012, Samuel chose questions related to healthcare policy. “(If you pursue an interest), you will have specific domain knowledge (on the subject). There is bound to be overlap, so you just have to apply the same knowledge,” said Samuel.

Similarly for Joseph Lee (12S06F), his passion for computer science made him take part in the Informatics Olympiad and the Singapore Science and Engineering Fair. Joseph also managed to attain 8 distinctions at his A Levels. “You will always come up with a schedule, like today I will do two A Level papers…to be honest the most important thing is to have the discipline to keep to your schedule…even if your friends ask you, ‘Eh, come and play DOTA’,” he said.

Joseph Lee
Joseph Lee

On the other hand, Seah Ern Xu (12A01C) feels that students should try out as many experiences as possible. “The best part of Raffles is that it gives you a lot of opportunities. There are so many activities, experiences and rewards to go for, ” he enthused. On top of being Buckle-Buckley House Captain in Council, Ern Xu was a primer for Boys Brigade, and participated in ISLE Vietnam. Still, even as students take on many commitments, they must be consistent in their work. Ern Xu admitted that he was not a “crazy genius who didn’t need to study”. “For me, I made sure I paid attention in class, and did my tutorials even during breaks…because at times such as IHC season, I got home past 12AM.” Even though he received “no As for prelims”, he eventually attained 8 distinctions at the A levels.

Seah Ernxu
Seah Ern Xu

Spurring Them On
Meanwhile, Angeline Teo (12S03U) played on both the school and national Waterpolo teams. Her team was the first Singapore women’s team to make it to the SEA games in 2011, winning the gold for Singapore. As a student, her after-school schedule involved studying until school team training, then studying until her training with the national team, sometimes lasting till 9.30PM. She credited her teachers for helping her with consultations. For those juggling packed schedules, she has this advice: “Be honest with yourself, and seek help if you need it.”

Angeline Teo
Angeline Teo

Both Samuel and Joseph credit their faith for providing motivation and reassurance during the A Level journey. “Before every paper, me and a group of Christian friends would gather and pray,” Joseph said.

Gerard Low (12S06J) acknowledged his family’s “strong atmosphere of support” helped him to achieve 9 distinctions at the A Levels. “My brother and I would study at opposite sides of the table until late at night drinking copious amounts of coffee,” he reminisced. Also important were his friends, who included the “physics guy, the math girl and me — the chem nerd”. He added, “We could pull our information together (in discussions). They made me want to learn more. It’s quite a privilege to be in this school with such a conducive learning environment.”

Mohamed Danish Fawaz
Mohamed Danish Fawaz

At the end of Year 5, Mohamed Danish Fawaz (12A01D) decided to quit Soccer or he would not be able to cope with his studies. “It was a tough decision because I really liked soccer, and had the urge to play, especially since there was no soccer in RI (Y1-4),” he admitted. He had done badly in Year 4, with a GPA of 2.3. He recalled the time he visited the Principal’s office with his parents. The doubts that others had of his ability to cope in JC only spurred him on. “I wanted to prove them wrong,” he said. And he did — Danish declined to reveal his A Level results, but Raffles Press learnt that he did well. As with the other top scorers we spoke to, he credits this to consistent work, conscientiously preparing for lectures and tutorials. He also went for extra consultations with his tutors, and is grateful to his tutors who obligingly marked his many extra essays.

Stephanie Siow
Stephanie Siow

At the end of the day, Stephanie Siow (12S03C) feels that all-round excellence must also be balanced with a good dose of fun. “It’s important to participate in school activities,” she said.
The Vice-President of the 31st Students’ Council, who was offered a place at Yale, tells us that her class routinely went out together, to karaoke at KBOX, or spend a day at Sentosa.

After talking to these students, it appears that both a passionate interest and a willingness to try different experiences allow students to excel. At the same time, they are fortunate to receive much support from tutors, peers and family through their journey. After all, no one achieves excellence by chance.

Photos courtesy of Chen Zheng Wei, Natalia Chioang and Zhang Ziyu of Photographic Society

IHC Remix 2013: Dancefeste

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Bryan Chua and Vo Van Quoc Toan

The RI Auditorium was packed to the brim, with many having to resort to the stairs and even the floor just to watch the performances. They were there to catch Dancefeste 2013. With 5 houses giving 2 performances each, the audience was understandably excited.

They were not disappointed. Several performances worked to tell a story with their dances – one made use of moves and music to tell the story of a troubled relationship – reeling the audience in and appealing to their emotions. Others, went with hilarity – one featured Kanye West’s memorable interruption of Taylor Swift, and another featured two dancers wearing pants over their shirts and shoes for hands.

BB1's dance, featuring a Joker
BB1’s dance, featuring a Joker

Not just creative, the dancing on the night was brilliant. “Many of the dances were synchronized so well, they were like an Olympic synchronized swimming team!” said Giam Jia Hao (13S06M).

The dedication and passion from countless hours spent rehearsing certainly showed on stage. Michelle Lim (14S03P) said:“The dancers were elegant and entertaining, engaging and exciting. But to me, what mattered more than the sleek moves was the obvious effort that was put into the routine!

BW2 doing the dubstep
BW2 doing the dubstep

Amazingly, many of the dance crews only had just over a week to prepare – including choreographing, memorizing a full 3-5 minute dance and rehearsing it to perfection. For some, dancing has always been a passion, and they jumped at the chance to take part. Srivathsan Anirudh (14S06M) of Moor-Tarbet said that dancing “has always been the thing I loved to do. ” The experience certainly etched itself into the minds of the performers, as Anirudh goes on to add, “I’m really glad we did it as a group, and I wouldn’t mind doing it again. Now after all of it is over, I really miss all the intense dance practices and all the crazy fun we had.”

Yet, participation in Dancefest is not just for dance aficionados. Joel Tang (14S06A) and Derrick Tang (14S07B) from Hadley-Hullett, had no experience in dancing, let alone performing. When asked why they signed up, they both agreed that they thought signing up would be a fun idea. “People who signed up (for Dancefest) before said that it was exciting, so I decided to try it out for myself and true enough, it turned out to be really fun,” said Joel.

With no prior experience dancing, it is without question that the rehearsal process would have been much more challenging for them. Joel said the experience was “intimidating at first, seeing all the other dancers moving naturally. It was quite scary too, but the process proved to be really fun.” When it came to getting on stage, Derrick recalls how “the large crowd seemed daunting at the start but performing on stage was really enjoyable, and I would jump at the chance to participate again next year.” Both of them also heard their friends yelling out their names from the crowd (whether in horror or surprise upon seeing them appear from behind the curtain, however, remains unknown), which Joel found “nerve-wracking and cool at the same”, while Derrick said it felt really good hearing their support.

MR2 team with their final pose
MR2 team with their final pose

There is one final group of people that should receive as much praise as the dancers – the AV team. They contributed to the atmosphere of each performance, working their way through the fast-moving beats to match the dancers on stage.

Dancefeste may have been an inter-house competition – but that didn’t mean that everyone tried to go to war with each other and deprive each other of rehearsal space. Rather, it was the exact opposite. Madeleine Cheng (14S03O) of Bayley-Waddle shared of how everyone still maintained a respect for each other, despite being in different houses, sharing speakers and the mirrors wherever possible. Even on performance night, while there still might have been an ongoing competition, it really felt like one major performance, with audience members shouting out names of whoever they recognized on stage, be it from their house or not.

While awaiting the results, emcees Gan Hui Zhen and David Lee called for audience members to come up on stage and perform the IHC Dancefeste version of the Harlem Shake. It was a moment of priceless hilarity.

At the end of the night, the results were announced. They were as follows:

5th – Hadley Hullet
4th – Moor Tarbet
3rd – Bayley Waddle
2nd – Morrison Richardson
1st – Buckle Buckley

Comparing this year’s event with the previous year’s, Jia Hao felt that last year’s performance had a more “fun dance segment that was a lot less uptight – while it may not have had dance moves that were as polished, they had a large element of fun to them, which made it incredibly entertaining to watch.”

That being said, a view echoed across the board was that Dancefeste was incredibly fun for both performers and the audience. For Zaky Askari (14S06S), “(It was) a real party and the atmosphere was exhilarating. The night was well worth it, filled with spectacular dances and mouth-watering moves.” It probably goes without saying that the event may have inspired several Y5s to consider signing up next year for the fun of it – one of whom is Zaky, who said he would definitely take part if he could.

Photos courtesy of Photography Society

Great Expectations, Hard Times

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Better Ways to Save

By Sarah Yeo (13AO1E)

Everyone must be yearning for a first-period lecture these days—after all, the lecture theatres are the only places with air-con in the early morning (in fact, even the 4th floor of the crystal palace is not spared). A tutorial would mean sitting in a hot, stuffy classroom (the fans are not of much use, especially if the sun is shining right at you through the windows) and sweating through a shirt or blouse. Given this, turning off the air-con for the first fifty minutes of every school day isn’t really a fantastic way to save.

Here at Raffles Press, we’ve come up with a few better ways for the school to save.

1. Adjust the air-con temperature!
We don’t want to sound like a bunch of whiners, but some classrooms are freezing cold when the air-cons are turned on. That’s right, not just one, but TWO air-cons. With an average class size of about 20-odd people, there just aren’t enough humans to give off heat to offset the cold. Now, this would change if we were actually allowed to increase the temperature to an optimum of 25 degrees Celsius, in line with NEA’s recommended guidelines. For each degree increased in temperature, $25 is taken off the yearly bill. Multiply that by two air-cons in 62 classrooms (in Blocks A and B only), and we have savings of $3100. This will also save us the trouble of taking our jackets on and off. After all, what is air-con if no one enjoys it?

2. Reduce printing of school handbooks
Every year, all of us get new handbooks, regardless of whether you’re a Year 5 or 6. While there is a need for the Year 5s to familiarize themselves with school rules, the Year 6s don’t need two copies of the same booklet (which many people don’t read anyway). A Year 6, who declined to be named, said: “I’ve only flipped through [the handbook] in passing, it now permanently inhabits a corner of my room and I have no idea where it is”. Clearly, the online version on Stamford’s Resources is enough.

The handbook: sadly abandoned on the canteen table
The handbook: sadly abandoned on the canteen table

3. Why the LCD screens?
The new LCD screens advertising school events haven’t gone unnoticed, but most people wouldn’t give it more than a glance while walking past. Having gotten most of our information on school events from Facebook, Twitter and even the projector screen in the canteen, the screens don’t really serve any purpose. A Year 6, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I don’t find [the screens] to be particularly useful, but that could be because I never look at them. It would be more functional if it had a navigation function, but that probably wouldn’t help much in the way of costs”. A lot of money could have been saved if they weren’t installed.

Who looks at this anyway?
Who looks at this anyway?

4. Revive Eco-Wednesday
Many people don’t know this, but the Team Raffles shirt day that we have now has its origins in what was previously Eco-Wednesday. Back in 2009 and 2010, the air-cons were turned off in tutorials on Wednesdays, and for that reason, became a dress-down day for both teachers and students. It was eventually scrapped as the air-cons had to be turned on during the Hungry Ghosts Festival to prevent incense smoke from getting blown into classrooms through the open windows. However, it’s a better way of cutting electricity costs compared to the current Eco-first periods. More money can be saved: As a huge part of air-con costs is the initial ramp-up to cool the room, switching off for one period doesn’t actually help much. With Eco-Wednesday, the air-cons are saved from ‘ramping-up’ for the entire day, and less electricity costs are incurred. Also, being able to wear the Team Raffles shirt means that students don’t suffer as much from the heat, and the teachers won’t mind having another dress-down day (on top of Friday). So, revive Eco-Wednesday!

5. Take a walk at Take 5!
The time spent queuing for the Sentosa Express could have been better used taking a ‘leisurely stroll’ or ‘experiential walk’ (as the Sentosa website puts it) along the Boardwalk. It has two-way canopy-covered travellators, features five tropical landscapes indigenous to Singapore, AND most importantly, costs only $1 to enjoy. This is considerably cheaper than the Sentosa Express, which costs $3.50. With the school sponsoring 5000 tickets, opting for the Boardwalk would help to save…a whopping $12,500! For those who aren’t keen on admiring the pretty flowers along the Boardwalk with thousands of people, however, a swim to Sentosa Island can be considered.