Check out Part 1 of this 2-part series here!
Written by: Elizabeth Paulyn Gostelow (RI), Ray Lim (RI), Lim Junheng, Jovan (20-O5), Leia Ong Rui En(20-U1)
Designed by: Kothandam Anusha (20-I1)
Section II: Arts and Culture
In this section, we focus on our schools’ distinct locations of arts and culture: physical manifestations of two otherwise intangible, yet vitally important ideas, especially in our current times. We look at EJC’s BSP (Bicultural Studies Programme) and HSP (Humanities Scholarship Programme) room, representative of the culture we study, and its Performing Arts studio, along with RI’s Performing Arts Centre, which speaks for the culture we make. Without further ado, let us uncover the rich histories and vibrant student lifestyles that form the backbone of our schools!
Our Arts Studios
No school is complete without its performing arts groups. The heart and soul of any academic institution, it would simply be remiss for any article on special places of significance in school to not mention the pride and joy of its performance CCAs — as such, we now shine the spotlight on EJC’s PA studio and RI’s PAC.
One might feel safe in assuming that the much-discussed Auditorium is the focus of all performing arts culture in EJC. However, they would be only partially correct — the adjacent Performing Arts (PA) Studios are where the true blood, sweat, and tears of many performing arts CCAs are shed.
EJ Rock Band performing outside the PA Studio. Photo credit: EJC Media (Note: Photo was taken pre-COVID)
Serving as practice rooms for Dance, Choir, Drama, and the Student-Initiated Interest Groups (SIIG) Rock Band and Street Dance, the PA Studios are a hub of artistic culture, and hold a dear place in many Eunoian performers’ hearts.
“The PA studio is a place to work, chill, and bond with your CCA mates,” shared Quek Hui Xin (20-E4, EJC), a member of EJ Dance. “Lots of great and unique memories are made there.”
She also cited the myriad uses of the PA Studio beyond simply for CCA practice — be it learning college dances with schoolmates, practising for VIA performances, or even learning Muay Thai for Euplay, a college-wide host of sport modules.
EJ Drama’s Open House performance. Photo credit: EJC Media (Note: Photo was taken pre-COVID)
In contrast, RI’s large, 800-seater PAC hosts annual performances and showcases by its performing arts CCAs, usually lively in-person ticketed affairs. Such joyous and wondrous events include the piano and jazz concerts put up by the RI Piano Ensemble and Jazz respectively, Film Society’s yearly short film showcase by its Year 6 batch, and the annual College Showcase of the Raffles Players theatre group, where they dazzle and delight the audience with their double or triple bills.
Brandon Tay (21A13A, RI), a member of the Piano Ensemble, lamented that “the PAC is probably the best place for performances in our school, but I haven’t seen it in a really long time.”
EJ’s PA Studios serve a similar function, by doubling as mini-stages: “Performances can also be held when we open the big glass doors and everyone sits outside to watch,” shared Hui Xin. Of course, this purpose is temporarily suspended for now.
“With the [PA Studio’s] wooden floor, the acoustics of the room are also great!” chorister Lauren Ong (20-U1, EJC) chimed in — a testament to its conduciveness.
Finally, Benjamin Silver Mathew (21A13A, RI), a member of Raffles Jazz, opined, “Our CCA doesn’t use the PAC often but we used it once for Grad Night in November 2020. The venue wasn’t that great — plain and boring — but still decent. I had a good time performing in the PAC, but now it’s under renovation. I’m never going to use it again; our 2021 Jazz annual performance will be livestreamed from the MPH.” The MPH, of course, refers to the Multi Purpose Hall, which might now have to replace the PAC in terms of its main function as a performance venue, at least until the PAC’s renovation work is complete.
Indeed, with their specialised equipment and, as Hui Xin mentioned, the “hard work and dedication [of every performing arts CCA] it represents”, EJC’s PA Studio and RI’s PAC proudly stand as emblems of the rich artistic culture that we as students create.
EJ: BSP/HSP Rooms
In EJC, there are places dedicated to the study of rich culture. The Bicultural Studies Programme (BSP) and Humanities Scholarship Programme (HSP) rooms hold a special place in the hearts of some. “The HSP room provides a sense of belonging to the school,” Michelle Leong (20-U1) remarked, as it was her homeroom for most of her academic year.
The HSP room, bedecked with everything humanities-related, from Historical propaganda to theories of philosophy, is neatly designed to “promote students’ creative and critical thinking,” HSP Head Mr Mahmood Fahmi expressed, “especially in light of the vitality of the Arts in a STEAM education”.
Posters and pictures in the HSP Room
Additionally, the strong emphasis of Chinese culture in the BSP room allows for a conducive environment for students to “fully immerse” themselves and “appreciate the Chinese culture we study even better”, as Teo Zi Ning and Melody Foo of 20-O5 delightfully remarked.
Items emblematic of Chinese culture in the BSP Room
To most, the wonders of the BSP and HSP rooms may not resonate powerfully, but it goes to show how these individual places in the campus may be of great significance to those who will eventually see the beauty of the school in its most charming of places.
Bringing back fond memories of an enriching immersion trip to China or fortifying one’s love for the humanities are the cornerstones of these students’ experiences, and they demonstrate that the story of every Eunoian is theirs to craft.
Section III: Recreation and Study
Of course, no school would be complete without places where students can relax or ‘mug’ for examinations. We hunted around our schools for the most common places used by teachers and students — that is, the windy benches of both our schools, EJC’s basketball courts and RI’s Wishing Well.
The Windy Benches of EJC and RI
A surprising commonality between both schools? The presence of windy study benches!
Many students share memories of these ideal, accessible and highly-frequented places for last-minute homework, watching an overdue Economics lecture, or consulting teachers on academic topics. The benches boast the perk of being an open space without pesky opening and closing time restrictions.
Besides homerooms, a typical Eunoian’s second (or third) home would have to be these wooden benches. Sitting at levels 4, 8 and 12, these iconic, lofty benches represent the similarly high grades students wish to achieve.
Windy benches at level 4. Photo credit: EJC Media
Rafflesians too enjoy the perks of RI’s windy benches located opposite and next to the bookshop, and conveniently close to the washrooms.
The windy benches near the bookshop.
A place with no air conditioning sounds like a huge no-no for students looking to pass the time, especially in Singapore’s hot weather. But as the name suggests, the surprisingly strong breezes which drift through the benches make them a popular location for students to study with friends and relax. “[It’s] a cute, fun spot to meet people,” Sun Yi (21A01B, RI) commented. “I always see faces I recognise there.”
“[The benches are] Super open and windy!” enthused Loy Kai Xuan (20-U1, EJC), an avid proponent of using the wooden benches for completing CSC essays. “Since it’s [near to] classrooms, it’s a convenient place to complete work with a change of scenery.”
In the same sentiment, Mathilda Lee (20-I4, EJC), self-professed mugger, elaborated: “The wind is really nice when studying, and we can enjoy the great view too when we take breaks.”
How, though, do these benches compare to the comfort of home or other places? “The benches aren’t as cold as the library,” Mathilda quipped. “Plus, studying in school is more productive for me, and I can study with friends, which makes me want to do work, too.”
The benches are also surrounded by wonderful sights — be they the beautiful artwork adorning the walls, or the bird’s eye view of the surrounding residential flats and lush greenery, a welcome change from the monotony of printed paper and the blue light of screens. What’s not to like?
(Left and right) Paintings hanging on the walls near the RI windy benches.
Thus, it is certainly not surprising that the windy benches are a place of fond remembrance for teachers and students alike.
“Honestly, this place brings back a lot of memories. From Project Work discussions to just simply laying my head on the table there to get a quick energy nap before lessons, it is a very iconic place in school to me,” shared Jolin (21A13B, RI).
“I like holding consults at the bright and breezy study deck on level 4, a nice contrast to [those at] level 3,” Mr Marc Kenji Lim, EJC Literature teacher, commented. “Moreover, if my consults don’t go as well as I hope, I rest in the knowledge that divine intervention is nearby.”
EJ: Basketball Courts
The exultant cries of “Kobe!” The sounds of basketballs thudding against grey concrete, reverberating through the nearby canteen. These are as characteristic of EJ as the colours blue and gold: the sight of students balling enthusiastically at the open-air basketball courts.
Students and teachers playing a match. Photo credit: EJC Media
There is seldom a day that the court is not used at least once. Free for all to use, the courts are prime places for Eunoians during breaks or after school to unwind from the day’s hectic and draining studies.
“I go [to the courts] almost every day,” Han Xinchen (20-A6, EJC), a casual player, shared. “I just play for fun, but it’s a good place to de-stress and meet new people to play with.”
Evidently, the courts are for everybody, be they experienced players (or ‘ballers’, as they are affectionately called) or those looking to pick up a new sport or new friends. “It’s a great place for training my plays,” Jace Bong (20-E1, EJC) mentioned, as an avid ‘baller’. “I get to play and practice with my friends anytime!”
“Some teachers enjoy going down to ball too during breaks,” Ms Karine Teo, EJC PE teacher, mentioned. With the courts beloved by both students and teachers alike, the recreation of basketball looks to be a permanent, unofficial part of EJ culture.
RI: The Wishing Well
View of the Wishing Well from its entrance near the lift.
One would easily be forgiven for their surprise at the name of this location — after all, this is no place for you to toss your coins in hopes of finding true love…
But it is a place for your academic wishes to be fulfilled! Located next to the Level 3 staffroom, the Wishing Well is the most popular place for students and teachers to have consultations for a wide multitude of subjects. “I use it to meet teachers for consultations, but otherwise I don’t really go there often,” Rachel (21A01B, RI) remarked.
On the other hand, the Wishing Well is also a place for teachers to catch up with ex-students. “When it isn’t in huge demand and ex-students come back (when they were allowed to pre Covid-19), we sometimes sit there and reminisce as they recall earlier days sitting studying there rather than chit-chatting,” shared Mrs Nicola Perry, RI Literature teacher.
In fact, the Wishing Well gets its apt name from the large, circular balcony in the centre of the space, which overlooks the Mezzanine floor below.
The Wishing Well also has a unique feature that not everyone notices at first glance.
The quirky door in the Wishing Well — a real mystery!
“One of my favourite features of the Wishing Well [is] the door which leads to nowhere and everywhere!” commented Mrs Perry.
“Is this symbolic of the Well helping some students to more deftly unpick the lock of the metaphorical doors that RI allows you access to through education, but, where you actually go to when you cross the threshold is for you to determine? In such a serious institution such a quirky feature just delights me! A moment of frivolity in the expanse of earnest endeavour. So necessary.”
Whether our school colours are blue and gold or green, black, and white, it is simply undeniable that all of us share common experiences as students — be they our striking experiences at some of these iconic places, or the unforgettable memories made therein which will stick with us for years to come after graduation.
On that note, all four of us hope that we have done justice in documenting these poignant places that are so instrumental in shaping each of our unique, prismatic collegiate stories!