Welcome to Hwa Chong Institution!
When I first stepped into the Hwa Chong campus twenty-nine years ago, I was in awe of the scenic campus and magnificent architecture of the school buildings, in particular, the iconic Clock Tower which has since become a National Monument. I spent a meaningful six years at Hwa Chong which has laid a strong foundation in building my character and knowledge and shaping my outlook of life. Indeed, to have the opportunity to learn, grow and build friendships and camaraderie in an institution of heritage, character and vibrancy is a privilege and unique experience that one will cherish for life.
Today, it is with a deep sense of honour and responsibility that I return to Hwa Chong. Being able to contribute back to my alma mater is one of the best things in life, and more so to be able to work alongside a team of highly capable and committed staff to ignite and pass on the Hwa Chong Spirit （华中精神）, and nurture the next generation of leaders for the nation and the global community.
So, what constitutes the Hwa Chong Spirit?
Firstly, it is the undaunted spirit of strength, resilience and tenacity, as espoused in the school value of “自强不息”. Guided by the continual quest for excellence and continual self-improvement, it is manifested by an innate entrepreneurial dare and the determination to persevere and never give up. Indeed, “自强不息” has its roots from the Book of Changes or I-Ching, and describes a philosophy of life derived from the Qian （乾）hexagram, depicting the ceaseless evolution of nature and flow of the universe. (天行健，君子以自强不息。)
Secondly, it is the enduring spirit of community and service to others, as espoused in the school value of WIN-WIN or “己立立人，己达达人”. Guided by a deep sense of humility and gratitude to others who have nurtured or developed us (饮水思源)，it is to consciously seek a virtuous and meaningful cause larger than oneself, with an innate understanding that the greatest self-worth that one can achieve is the selfless and wholehearted contribution to the greater “I” (大我), by bestowing self-worth and success to others and the community. I-Ching also offers a similar worldview as captured in the Kun (坤) hexagram which depicts how nature nurtures life and supports growth. (地势坤，君子以厚德载物。)
Together, “自强不息” and “己立立人，己达达人” complement each other and form the Yang （阳）and the Yin (阴) of a balanced disposition and character. It also describes how the cultivation of one’s heart and mind should not cease at the personal mastery level, but should be extended to an active contribution towards the betterment of society and humanity, including the family, nation and the global community (修身、齐家、治国、平天下).
Indeed, these values are exemplified by the life stories and outstanding work of our forefathers, including Mr Tan Kah Kee and Mr Lee Kong Chian, whose statues stand tall in the school campus and continue to inspire generations of Hwa Chongians. As one of the earliest industrial pioneers in Southeast Asia, our founder, Mr Tan Kah Kee, made a profound impact in Singapore and China through his resilience and enterprising spirit. The commitment in devoting his life and fortune wholeheartedly to establishing the school as well as many other education causes encapsulates the enduring spirit of community and service.
Likewise, Mr Lee Kong Chian spent much of his time and wealth in education and other philanthropic work to carve out a better future for the Chinese community during his time. He made significant contributions to Hwa Chong in many ways and served in the school board for 38 years. Even till today, generations continue to benefit from the legacy of our founders, through their selfless contributions in entrepreneurship, philanthropy, social reform and education. Their passion and courage to rise above social norms and seek out a better life for all in the face of multiple challenges continue to be an inspiration not just for Hwa Chongians, but for all Singaporeans.
Today, as Hwa Chong remains anchored on values education, we are equally committed to the quest to spearhead innovation and lead change so that we continue to stay current and relevant in a fast evolving world environment, with groundbreaking work in various fields. Our focus on critical thinking, entrepreneurship and leadership will equip students with the skills they need to thrive in this changing landscape. Equally important is bilingual proficiency and a bicultural outlook that Hwa Chong seeks to inculcate in all of our students, so that Hwa Chongians are adept at learning the best from both the East and the West, develop a holistic worldview and navigate confidently across different cultures.
Hwa Chong has come a long way and very soon, we will be reaching another important milestone, our 100th Anniversary. As we look forward to our centennial celebrations, it is also a good time to take stock of what we have achieved and what we stand for, while remembering and honouring the hard work of our founders, as well as all who have walked with us to make Hwa Chong what it is today. Indeed, Hwa Chong’s success is built upon the firm support of MOE and commitment of our board members, alumni, parents, school leaders, staff, educators and partners, both past and present, who have contributed relentlessly and journeyed alongside the school through the years. It is this strong family spirit, passion and belief by all members of Hwa Chong that has made us more than a school.
On this note, I wish all an enriching and rewarding experience with Hwa Chong!
Mr Pang Choon How
二十九年前，当我首次踏入华中校园，站在华岗上环视四周，有一股“海天寥廓”之感。校园四处绿意盎然、花团锦簇，校园建筑更是巍峨雄伟、尤其是已升格为国家古迹的标志性建筑 – 华中钟楼。我在母校度过美好的六载，奠定了我在各学科的基础，也塑造了我的品格与人生观。的确，能在一所文化底蕴深厚、特色鲜明、生机勃勃的学府求学，是一生中难能可贵的一件事。