Welcome to Hwa Chong Institution!
Whenever I meet a Hwa Chong alumnus, each one of them never fails to speak fondly of his/her school experience and how Hwa Chong has made him/her into who he/she is today. Indeed, the Hwa Chong experience is a unique one, and every student who passes through the Hwa Chong gate has encountered episodes in school that are endearing and even life-transforming.
It is therefore most heartening to see former Hwa Chongians of different ages rejoice in annual home-coming occasions like the Founders’ Day Dinner or the Mid-Autumn Festival (MAF), often bringing along their children and family members. This is a hallmark of an institution that embraces a strong family culture and a distinctive school spirit that has generated a sense of pride that binds generations of Hwa Chongians.
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.
In 2019, Hwa Chong reaches another important milestone at her 100th Anniversary. While we celebrate our involvement in Singapore’s nation-building journey, we honour our teachers, alumni and stakeholders for their dedication in nurturing the hearts and minds of all Hwa Chong students. As we rejoice in our centennial celebrations, we take stock of our achievements and what we stand for. Our founders’ firm dedication towards the betterment of Singapore inspires us daily, and urges us to put forth our utmost in each endeavour. We also acknowledge the unyielding support of MOE and the commitment of our board members, alumni, parents, school leaders, staff, educators and partners, both past and present, who have contributed generously and travelled 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. Be also fully immersed in the once-in-a-lifetime centennial celebrations.
Happy 100th Birthday, Hwa Chong!
Mr Pang Choon How