Wednesday, December 23, 2009

25th SEA Games @ Laos * Updated with Video

Fung Jinjie from Victoria School represented Singapore to participate in the 25th Seagames in Laos this year.

Jinjie and his team mates did Singapore and their schools proud when they emerged with the Silver in their Group Sparring event.

A triumphant Jin Jie said :
"The 25th seagames at Laos was really a very good experience to me. I am only 16 years old, so for me to participate in his major event and do singapore pround by winning a silver medal, is really a honour and a very good lesson for me."

"With 2 days of rest, on the day of event I felt really fresh and fit, I was really able to focus on my event and was confident that i would be able to do really well. The moment I stepped on the carpet, I told myself-" This is it."
I was really focused on performing the routine well and did not think of the outcome."


"At last, we did a perfect routine and got a score of 9.4 currently first position with only the Vietnam team left for the event. They too, did a perfect routine and their score was 9.5. They won us with a score of 0.1. I felt really delighted with the result as we got second place. Overall, I felt that the process of the competition was really good and it is not any usual competition that we would have that type of feeling. The 25th SEA Games at laos taught me alot of things and was really a wonderful journey and experience for me."

Well done, Jin Jie
We are really proud of you.

You have placed Victoria School and Victoria School's Wushu team on the map!
Nil Sine Labore

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Time-out for me

Students, parents, colleagues- I'm off!
See ya all after Christmas!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Veloci-T 2009- The PULSE of Victoria

At the end of every year, VS runs a leadership camp aimed at training Sec 2 students that have the potential to take up leadership appointmentsin Sec 3. Over the years, seperate programs like the CIC (Camp Instructors Course focusing on Outdoor Adventure Skills) and LTC (Leadership Training Course focusing on Leadership Experience) have merged into what the current Veloci-T camp (Victorian Enhanced Leadership Outdoor Camp Instructor Training)
This year, we have evolved yet again to welcome the Peer Support Leaders as part of our training framework. This year we have also revised our training methodology to incorporate the Kouzes and Pousner's framework for effective leadership.

Our camp began with in-house sessions in VS conducted by TRYBE.
The boys began their modules on 'Modelling the Way' and on effetive public speaking.
Here we seem them role playing how to deliver effective team-building instructions to future camp participants:

Our leaders were given topics for public speaker in which to engage their audience- such as 'marketing' a different CCA from their own:

You can see that it is a challenge for boys to speak confidently about areas outside their immediate experience. However, it is necessary to overcome this to become an effective leader. And we see how Matthew and Christopher attempt to convince the audience to join Concert Band and to overturn some common misconceptions about it.

Our boys also worked through the values that they felt were essential to be effective role models and to discover for themselves what they were their core personal beliefs and value system:

Handling young teens and maintaining their attention is always a challenge, so our trainers from TRYBE shared with our prospective junior leaders some tips to manage large group dynamics:

In the afternoon, we headed over to Changi Coast Adventure Campsite. Despite the down pour that started upon arrival, we still managed to proceed with out pre-liminary briefing and belay school. Here we see our instructor Mark emphasising the correct wearing of safety harnesses- and the consequence of not doing so :P

After that the boys practiced both their climbing and their belaying skills (supporting the climber via safey rope and belay system)

With proper belaying skills even smaller boys can belay bigger ones- like David and Songyu here

(But David you must remember to keep both hands on the belay rope at all times! Good reminder to all our leaders as you gain competence- always keep going back to your fundamentals.)

In the evening, the boys explored another K&P competency "Encourage the Heart" under Mr Chen Zhongyi. Mr Chen is our new inductee into the Veloci-T planning committee and made a great impact with his facilitation of this module.
The boys were given a series of obstacles to cross while blindfolded. They relied on the instructions given to them by teachers and seniors. Teachers and seniors 2 different approaches to facilitate their progress- affirmative encouragement versus critical commands.

The students got a chance to experience the powerful reinforcement of language and tone of voice and during the post-activity reflection, many stated the realisation of how much better it felt to have simple words of encouragement in order to overcome a daunting task. Whereas sharp, critical and bossy commands only kept tensions high.

The next day, we carried on with our various High Ropes Activities- rock climbing, abseiling and CRC

And who can forget, the one and only Sanjeev

One of the more challenging obstacles that our leaders got to try was the Wild Woozy, which require 2 participants to cross the obstacle supporting each other.

After 2 days in Changi Coast, we all head off to Mawai Eco-Camp in Malaysia for the second leg of our training. There we went jungle trekking, climbed Mount Arong, played volleyball in the mud paddies. The camp is a back to basics nature environment, so there was no electricity, thus I only have 2 videos to show from there- here our boys are attempting the Asli Water Obstacle course

It was a tiring but rewarding experience (it always is...)
I asked our students what it is that makes education in Victoria School unique, what qualifies our existence in the face of a fast changing educational landscape.
Well, I guess the following clip says it all- the all-pervading desire in Victoria School to be something more. I first encountered Mustaqim in Sec 1 during the Orientation Camp and I was concerned whether he would be able to participate in all the activities. When I mentioned my concern to him, he gave me a puzzled look because to him, he say himself no differently from any other Victorian. Over the years, we the teachers and his peers have indeed seen it to be so. Mustaqim is as mischievous, cheeky and rowdy as any other Sec 2 boy and he is as indomitable as any true blue Victorian.

(During the climb, instructors and student leaders were always on hand to provide additional support for him and maintain safety)
Just look at the amount of cheering, support and spotting given by all his peers and seniors during his climb!

Well done Mustaqim, your actions have allowed many of your friends and peers to re-evaluate the god-given gifts they have in life and not to take things for granted.

I asked you all during Veloci-t what makes Victoria School unique.
This is what makes VS unique.
While life and circumstances may handicap us; they will never disable us and stop us from being something more.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New boarders and our volunteer hosts families

We've just welcomed our new batch of ASEAN and A*star scholars for 2010.
Me and Mr Su are getting to know them gradually. This year we are really fortunate to have another group of volunteer families to assist them in integrating in Singapore.

The volunteer host families aim to help our boarders get a glimpse of daily life in the average family in Singapore as well as to provide them with additional support and company.

One such volunteer family is the Koh family who took our Indonesian scholars: Gregory, Eric and Steven out to visit various sites and especially try out local cuisine!

Nothing breaks barriers down quite like steam-boat!
Welcome to Singapore scholars!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Veloci-T 2009 Schedule

velocit schedule 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Post-Exam Activities (Floorball)

Exams are finally over for Sec 1s to Sec 3s
So now it's time to let our hair down and allow the boys to have a well-deserved break.

Today it was Inter-Class games
Here we see our Sec 1s playing Floorball as part of the Inter-Class competitions.

Friday, October 16, 2009

VS Roadshow @ Gongshan Primary

Today, VS visited Gongshan Primary for their 'P6 to Sec1' presentation. Many schools were present to introduce themselves to the graduating batch of P6 students from Gongshan Primary. VS was honored to be there

Today with me were boys from the RSP and AEP classes, impressed the parents and P6 students alike with their clear articulation and passionate delivery of what it means to be a Victorian:

But the one who captured the most attention was soccer player Faris from Sec 2E. To show that Victorians are well-rounded individuals, excelling both on and off the field, we had a sports challenge where students who could juggle the sepak takraw ball were given a prize.

This proved to be a hit with the P6 students- especially with the infectious humor and agile skill demonstrated by Faris:

We hope to be back next year to share more about Victoria School with students from Gongshan Primary!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Graduation Day Videos 2

Here is a video that we did not get to see on Graduation Day due to time constraints.
Again, it is another Serious PE Production from the bunch of horrigible but 'swee' boys in Sec 4B.

Where the previous video made many of us howl with laughter; this one nearly made me cry. Serious.
Why? It made me proud to be a teacher in 4B. D@mn proud.
See it and see what the 4B Serious PE boys are seriously capable of doing.

Some people subscribe to the belief that sportsmen are not academically inclined.
Some people feel that sportsmen themselves do not believe they are capable of academic excellence.
But the teachers in VS have always believed in you and after watching the pride you have exhibited as Victorians in this video, we know you believe in yourselves too!

I believe you boys, I know you will value-add and give us "SWEEEEEEEE" results
Har le, boys...; Har le

Graduation Day Videos 1

Some of you have been requesting for footage of the Graduation Day presentations and videos.
As I only have those from 4B, I'll post them here.
Here is the brilliant spoof done by Jeremy

Must say that Jeremy and gang fooled us all with your 'fake' interview; but it was indeed the most hilarious video I saw and each time I watch it, I can't help laughing.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

2009 Sec 4 Graduation Ceremony & Farewell Dinner

Fri 9th Oct was Class of 2009's Sec 4 Graduation Ceremony and Farewell Dinner.

The ceremony began in the auditorium with Mr Low's address to the cohort.

Next came the various prize presentations for academic excellence and improvement.
The Serious PE Class of 4B was proud to annouce Jaren Thun as our best student:

Next came the CCA awards for achievement and service:

Our Victorians showed us that they had class as well as they celebrated their achievements in song. And it is heart-warming to see that your talents span both academic, literary, musical and sporting pursuits!

With the ceremony over, we proceeded to the hall for a formal sit-down dinner.
After 2 years of nagging, it was with a sense of pride as we sat down formally as a cohort of teachers and students for the last time to toast our triumphs in overcoming all our adversities:

It was a great-time for photos and I will cherish the memories of your batch. See my first batch of Serious PE students graduate fills me with strange sense of emotion. No less heart-warming are the handshakes, photos, hugs and thanks from the scholars, the student leaders and various other students that I have had the chance to come in contact with.

Stay strong and focused boys- we will finish this race together!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Serious PE Revision Schedule

Revision schedule for GCE PE (UPDATED)

Thu 8 Oct: 1.40pm to 3.00pm
Sat 10 Oct: 4.00pm to 6.00pm (Desmond to confirm if session on)
Mon 12 Oct: Need to reschedule, will update
Tue 13 Oct: 3.00pm - 5.00pm
Wed 14 Oct: 3.00pm - 5.00pm
Thu 15 Oct: 3.00pm - 5.00pm
Mon 19th Oct (Deepavali Holiday): 10.00am - 12.00pm
Tue 20th Oct: 6.00pm - 8.00pm

Schedules here will be subject to change depending on turn-out.
If there is any confusion or queries, call me boys.

Push on ok? Couple more weeks left.
Push On With Excellent Results: POWER !!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Space Hulk Minatures

After 20 years, Games Workshop finally released an updated version of the minature boardgame, Space Hulk. I loved the game as a kid and it was what got me hooked on the Warhammer 40,000 Universe.

The Warhammer franchise is basically a minature table-top gaming series which allows collectors to build their own army of minature figurines and then to battle it out on various terrains modelled on table-top (kinda like a diorama) The Warhammer 40,000 story line is one of the few flagship titles from Games Workshop- they've got minature games for Lord of the Rings, Warhammer fantasy (set in medieval times), Epic battles, etc.
See here for their official website

So when I first heard that Space Hulk would be re-released, I was estatic- a blast from the past. However, the website said that all stocks world-wide had already been pre-ordered! Luckily, I managed to secure a set from the great guys at Paradigm Games in Orchard.
Here's a link to Games Workshop's intro on Space Hulk and you can see why we Gen-X fanboys are so hooked on it. Click here for Space Hulk: First Contact

Well, one of the best but most tedious part of minature gaming is having to paint your own army-- sure you can play with it unpainted, but where's the fun in that?

So here I started with the models still unassembled:

These are the Space Marines 'Blood Angels' models. You can see that on the left, I've just coated all the pieces with Bone White primer and on the right I've started to lay a foundation of Blood Red to the pieces.

Here,I'm starting to paint the more difficult pieces in smally details as well as to use paints that are mixed in batches. For the weapons, I mixed silver, with foundation of Chaos Black as well as Badab Black wash to give it a dull metallic glint so that the weapons look more aged.

Since I was a relative newbie to minature painting, I decided to start with the alien Tyranids first (after all if I mess up, I can always claim that this is how the aliens look :P)
So with a coat of black primer laid down, I proceeded to give a base coat of Leviathan purple

I then proceeded to fill in the highlights and detailing. Here is the work in progress for the 'Boss' Tyranid, the Brood Lord:

I washed the model with various shades of blue and purple to create a ripplied effect. I did the same with the skulls- originally they were all bleached white but that did not give them any depth, so i washed them with sepia to make them look aged. I liked that effect more.
This is my finished Brood Lord

The new edition box set has much improved models compared to the original I play as a kid- you've now got tyranid aliens in various poses: emerging from the floor, scuttling down the walls, etc.

With some experience with the Tyranids, I proceeded to paint the Space Marine 'Blood Angels'

The detailing here was more complicated since each marine was outfitted with different gear and many had specific heraldry and insignia to be painted.
The various shoulder pads, banners, skulls, amulets to be painted required me to work out a scheme. Basically, what I did was paint all the armour Red, then all the weapons, then all the skulls on each model-- in that way, I worked through methodically from color to color and touching up each model as I assembled it towards the end.

I had problems with the Bone White primer as it gave a powdery finish, but it worked well for the skulls as the powdery texture made them look more organic as opposed to the smoother surfaces of the marines armour. More of a chance happening than by intention.

However, my two personal favourite models in terms of their moulding and painting, were the 2 I had saved for last. By this time, I seemed to get the hang of things and my hand was more sure in coloring.
So here's the Dead Marine on Throne and the Blood Angels Librarian:

It was an enjoybale experience painting these during the last 2 weeks as it help me to unwind and destress after the series of mock exams and prelims for the students.
Now, back to the grind to prepare the graduating class for their final O-Levels and finish up for planning for Veloci-T Camp in Nov.

Will update samples of Space Hulk game play for interested readers. Hope this entry sheds some light on what I do and enjoy in my free time as well as to give some of you boys an insight into a fascinating hobby to take up during the holidays :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

3-3 Basket Ball

Having been doing basketball for the last 3 weeks, today our Sec 1C class had a 3-3 mini-league.

The boys played 3 on 3 for Basketball.
The rules were simple- each team plays for 1min 30secs
Winner stays, loser out
Draw both teams out.

I tell you, sometimes it's just so enjoyable teaching Sec 1 Classes- they are so energtic, vibrant and youthful!

Yet despite being Sec 1s, there are some who are really competent in basketball and have really good sense of space and ball control

Well done, 1C!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

2009 Evening of Music & Drama

Fri 18th of Sep, many of our boys rushed back from the Colors Awards to get back in school in time to watch the myriad entertaining performances from our VS boys for this year's Evening of Music and Drama.

The night's event kicked off with a hilarious tribute to Michael Jackson by our emcess Kym Hwe and Sanjeev

Next we had great acoustic performances from the E-Z Band featureing Hadi, Jason and Daniel with a cover of Howie Day's "Collide"

They followed this with a great rendition of "I will follow you into the dark"

Then it was magic show-time when Joshua Chin, our very own Sec 1 Asean scholar from Malaysia, entertained us with some close up magic:

Cool right? At one point he even got Mr Low, our principal to participate by shuffling an imaginary deck of cards. hmmmmm.... maybe next year, Joshua you try and saw him into 2-- but must make sure can put back together again arh.

Our next item was also by another ASEAN scholar- this time it was Alex (Mai) from Vietnam who sang "You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban

Well done boys- looks like this year we have a lot of talented performances in the Siow and Su gang :)

After that we had the Chinese Orchestra performing for us. Their rendition of Pachabel's Cannon in D gave a nice Oriental twist on a Western classical piece

They even did an evocative cover of Jay Chou's "菊花台"

Not to be outdone, the Concert Band gave us a rousing piece from "Pirates of the Carribean" :

Next Shahrizal and Vignesh showed us that old skool b-boy beatboxing is never dead.
They gave us "Jump" from Kriss Cross (yes, with Hwe and Sanjeev as back-up dancers)

Finally, the suave, smooth and polished voices of the choir gave us "Come go with me"

Well done boys! Hope to see these talents blossom even further next year!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Focus Group Discussion for YOG Arts Program at the Esplanade

On Thu 17th Sep, Ryan and Benjamin, 2 of our student leaders were invited down to the Esplanade to be part of a focus group discussion on upcoming arts performance events that would be held at the Esplanade next year in conjunction with the Youth Olympic Games
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Wah, see Ryan and Benjamin in animated discussion here :)
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39th Schools Color Awards

Today, was the presentation of School Colors Award at Pasir Ris Crest Secondary School.

VS showed our strong presence today and we were happy to have many of our parent's join us for the award presentation today!

Also, I felt proud and priviledged to be with our first graduating batch of GCE PE candidates- the "Serious PE" Class of 2009 to share in their pride in receiving their awards.

Of course, not forgetting our VS Wushu Team.
This year, our C-Div managed to achieve National 3rd Position.
Also, we had Individual medal award winners:
Ho Mun Yong (Sec 1B):
42 Taiji - Gold

Bernie Ang (Sec 2F):
4 Duan Broadsword - Silver, 4-Duan Cudgel - Silver

Fung Jin Jie (3E):
Changquan 2nd International - Silver
Cudgel 2nd International - Silver
Broadsword 2nd International - Gold

Congrats to all award winners- Let the Victorian Spirit fly high!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rock never die....

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fitting Tribute to MJ

Friday, September 4, 2009

Thanks Boys!!!

It's been a trying few weeks coming to the end of Term

I've been setting and marking Pre-Lim 2 papers for the GCE PE class, had to submit their coursework on time, had to weather some trying times for my family.

But when I came back on Wed, I was pleasantly surprised to see the layout of the rock garden changed. We've had the rock garden in the hostel for awhile now and every now and then I get different groups of boys to landscape it to add colour to our 'turf'

But Wed's layout was a sweet surprise for me:

That was so touching- especially coming from boys. That the 'gang' actually bothered was a heartwarming sign.

But that's not all, plastered to my door were some really well-made cards:

One of them was made by the Vietnamese scholars and it seems that my birthday is the same day as Vietnam's Independence Day! Hahaha

The other card was made by the rest of the 'mini Mafia' gangsters under me:

Ok before you all go call the police and report, we're talking about Facebook's "Mafia Wars" application here.
Yup Don Siow's Mafia gang in facebook is growing day by day and we are set to take over New York, Cuba and Moscow soon!

Thank you all boys, really.
Da Boss is very touched

Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Teachers Day

Today, we celebrated Teacher's Day in VS

Of the many performances, the most outstanding one was the Thriller tribute by the Prefects.

It was absolutely hilarious.

I was waiting happily at the end of this clip to film so of our teachers that kena sabo to come up on stage; but life is unpredictable. You know why there is no video of that? Cos I also got chio-ed by the boys to go up.

Despite my protests that the only form of dancing I knew was Lion Dancing, the boys persisted and I ended up on stage clowning around.

But hey, life is short; let's enjoy ourselves while we can.
So altough I gamely strutted around and flail my limbs about enthusiastically, you'll find no clips of me dancing on stage-- (if any of you boys snuck out your handphones to capture my embarrassing moment, for the love of god and all that is good, please delete it)

But kudos to Mr David Lee and Mr Daniel Tan- Man, they Rock the house cos they got the moves!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

50th National Inter-School Chess Championship

Just got an update by one of our parents for the 50th National Inter-School Chess Championship which Victoria School participated in yesterday.
Amongst the participants from VS was Nicholas Lee, one of our ASEAN scholars from Malaysia

Nicholas and team played in the Secondary Open category and won the East Zone championship as well as tied 4-6th placing with Yishun and Nanyang Girls with 15 points each. This is very good placing given that they were ahead of RI Team 2 and RGS who are strong teams.

Here we see our boys competing hard:
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Compared to being in 12th position last year, we have made a marked improvement this year!
Well done boys!
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Friday, August 28, 2009

School's Sports Council Presentation of 50th Anniversary 'Service Awards'

Today, Mr Lee Boon Kee HOD-PE of VS PE Dept and Mr Sng Yiam Kwee Sports Secretary of the VS PE Dept received their service awards from the Singapore Schools Sports Council

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We were there to cheer them on (and dig into the sumptuous food !)
Well done Mr Lee and Mr Sng

Monday, August 24, 2009

VS C-Div Soccer 2009

Like their B-Div seniors, the C-Div boys showed what they were made of by meeting our esteemed rivals, Sports School in the C-Div soccer finals.

Having had training outside school, I rushed down late to realise that we were trailing 1-0. However, within minutes after I arrived, VS had scored the equalising goal. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, Sports School took the Championship with 3-1.

Here are some clips from the game:

Although, the announcer attempted to comfort the VS boys by mentioning that 'at least we managed to score one goal'; I would like to remind the VS boys that we all know that you can take them. Put the pressure on and next year come back stronger- never underestimate your opponent but neither be intimidated by mere dint of their reputation.

Strength lies in perserverence and in the belief that you are something more.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Future for VS

Sure many of you saw the article in the Straits Times and Today Online
Here is the link to the article

Well, many thoughts and voices are up and about on the net. However, here is a little light of the issue shed by a VS alumni and fellow educator that I believe sheds a new insight on the issue. Beyond the issues of the Integrated Program, the Co-ed issue, or even merger; his view on what it means to teach and educate in Victoria School (or for that matter, any school) strike a chord deep within me.

So here it is from fjmv, Victorian- Class of 83
My Dearest Fellow Victorians,

I am not good in my English Language but I shall attempt to write something from my heart. This is more meant for those who walked through both VS and VJC. For my fellow VJ friends who had not come from VS, feel free to also read it. Perhaps it may give you some insights into why VS students fight so passionately about this issue. Let me begin….

Remember a day in 1983, we were told that there will be a college soon to be named after Victoria. Recall the joy and jubilation in our hearts….the hearts of young 16 year old boys who knew nothing much about the world outside but all eager and ready to do what it takes to keep another Victorian flag unfurled (the VJC flag that is).

Without much hesitation, almost all of us chose VJC as our first choice. At that point of time, we did not know if VJC would ever emerge as a top college. The thoughts in our minds then were not whether in future, we could name a top college in our resume or whether we belong to an elite school that rule or own Singapore. All we wanted was to be able to help her grow because she carries the name we loved.

Have you ever thought why we had behaved so ‘senselessly’ during that time? Why had we not gone to the top colleges at that time so that we can be associated with the elite of Singapore?

What had Victoria done to brainwash us to do such a ‘senseless’ act…that is to go to a totally new college…with no reputation to begin with?

Did Victoria taught us to be the top academically…otherwise we do not deserved to be a Victorian? Did Victoria insisted that we must obtain GOLD in uniformed groups, sports and the aesthetics…..otherwise we do not deserved to be a Victorian? I would like to believe not. We had behaved so ‘senselessly’ because we came from a school who loved us no matter what, spur us on even when we fail, reprimand us when we do wrong, teach us to grow up with a heart.

We had given two of the best years of our lives to help build a NAME we believed in, a college which we hope to pass on to our fellow junior Victorians. Many Victorians, who came before us (but did not have the privilege to be VJ students), also contributed much time and money to the college for the same believe. But each year, as the cut-off point for VJ goes lower and lower, fewer and fewer VS students qualify for VJC (about 100 out of 320 a year). Imagine you are a true-blooded VS student who worked hard, wished to continue to keep the Victoria flag unfurled but could not.

Have we given birth to a college, only to have it squashed the ‘mother’ to death?
Is being the best and the most renowned the only way to keep the Victorian flag unfurled?

Do spare a minute to reflect on the poem written by Prof Edwin Thumboo (see your yearbook), which we all loved so much. Think of what drove him to write these words:

‘We did not returned to you mother, because we never really left’

Would we not love Victoria if she had dropped from 10th position to 50th position in ranking? No way, we would still love her because she first loved us!


From a humble VS boy of the 1983 batch, pioneer VJ student,
Who did not make it big in society today
But believed that Victoria loved him nonetheless

Look deep enough beyond the murky surface and we can see that our Victorian here has pierced the veil of ambiguity and hit the nail right on the spot.

In short, we are not mere Sons of Victoria
We are Suns of Victoria because we shine, now and always for her.

Nil Sine Labore