In the evening at 6.30pm, Mr Sng and I were decked out in our finest and together with other teachers from Eaton Bank, we headed to Shrigley Hall for the Year 11 Leavers Prom.
The boys were dressed up in their tuxedos and the girls in elaborate gowns.
Shrigley Hall was a like a huge manor house, getting to the ballroom involved going through a maze of corridors and climbing up flights of steps.
Over the course of the year, the staff here at Eaton Bank have the same challenge that we do in reminding their students to maintain the standards of their attire. Like us in VS, they're constantly reminding all of you to tuck in your shirts, wear your ties properly- It was a refreshing change to see all the boys looking smart and dandy; and all the girls done up nicely
Tonight, was definitely a night for staff and student to let their hair down. A hilarious point in the night came as I was queueing up for drinks. Having had such wonderful care and hospitality shown by Matt and the team, I went to the bar to get us some drinks and was asked by the bar tender for my ID. Looks like all that qigong stuff keeps me looking young.
Soon the dancing started, and it was almost as if it was Retro-night at Zouk- they played everything from Macarena, to the Ketchup Song and yes, even YMCA-
One enthusiastic teacher, Jo, from Matt's IT department managed to drag me up to the dance floor. Despite my protests that the only dancing I do was Lion Dancing (see http://mrsiow.blogspot.com/2007_02_11_archive.html, I was mercilessly dragged onto the dance floor. I tried to divert some of Jo's attention to Mr Sng using the force diversion techniques of Tai Ji, but Mr Sng's internal strength as too strong as he laughed gleefully while watching me being dragged off.
The lucky thing is this is MY blog and I'm the one behind the camera, so you all don't get to see me look as if I'm having an epilectic fit in the middle of the floor, or stomping on ants in.
Yeah, go ahead and laugh boys, but if one day I come back to Singapore and make you do some folk dancing during PE, we'll see who's laughing. heh heh. (I can just see Xiang Ting and Wei Liang doing the Ha'Tsiporim Chicken Dance)
Towards the end of the night, 2 girls took the stage to sing their tribute song to their teachers- some of whom had taught them continuously from year 7 till now for the past 5 years.
Staff and students were all in high spirits as the night closed to an end, Matt Hogan and fellow teachers at Eaton Bank High School sent all their regards to our teachers back in Victoria School
It was kind of a bizzare and surreal experience as we walked out the door, seeing these gradudating students start addressing their teachers by their first names. I guess, this marks a transition to adulthood and it subsequent acknowledgement by their adult teachers. Victorians, that is where we differ and where we are proud to differ. You will notice that when Mr Ho Kiat Chong was teaching in VS, many of his former students had also become teachers in VS. Teachers like Mr Tan Chong Kiat, Mr James Wong Wai Lit, etc- they still refer to him as Sir or Mr Ho. When I see my former PE teacher in VS, Mr Azman; I still call him 'Mister Azman', never 'Azman'.
It is not that we teachers seeking to lord it over you, but rather I see it as one of the important values in our Asian society where the Chinese say, "一日为师，终身为父” Meaning, "A day as a teacher, a lifetime a father to you"
So Victorians know that when you graduate and return to VS, your status as a Gentleman is not diminished by the fact that you still call us 'Sir' or 'Mr XX'; rather, it is an acknowledgement that the teacher-pupil bond in VS is a perpetual one. For once a Victorian, always a Victorian.
We see our roles as teachers extending beyond the classrooms and into your lives, so boys when you meet your teachers in the street and still aknowledge them by 'Sir' or 'Mr'; we know that the bond we had in school is still there.
So unless one of you boys ends up marrying one of my grand-aunts and thereby obtaining a senior position in the Siow family, making you my elder; then it'll be fine if you call me Randell Siow to my face- and I'll call you Grand Uncle
But until that unlikely day happens, I'll expect all of you boys in Victoria School to address ALL TEACHERS teachers as 'Sir', 'Mdm'.
When my own teacher comes to VS to help me train the wushu team, and you see me having my personal training with him- is it ever thinkable or conceivable that I would address him by his first name?
I don't think so, not unless I want to get the stuffing kicked out of me. For those of you who've met him, and seen us spar, you know that he is still someone I hold in awe and respect.