Humans of Eunoia x Leadership – A PlethORA of Opportunities

In our final Humans of Eunoia article, The Origin* interviewed Jiya who will share with us her leadership journey as part of the Ora House Committee. Read on to find out more!

Written by Li Xin Rong (19-I4) and Lee En Tong (19-U2)

Designed by Lee En Tong (19-U2)

“[My times spent as leadership positions] were similar in that I grew from each of them, and realised leadership wasn’t just about leading people; it’s more about listening to them and serving them.”



As 2019 draws to a close, we interviewed Jiya Dutta (19-O1), a member of the Ora House Committee, to end off Humans of Eunoia on a sweet note. 


If money wasn’t an issue, what profession would you choose?

Hmm… I like to dance. Ok, I would pursue writing, as an author. I’ve been reading ever since I can remember. Initially, I didn’t start out with English medium books since I used to study in India. I used to read a lot of Indian mythology and books of similar genre, but once I came over to Singapore, I started with Rick Riordan’s books. (Rick Riordan is the author of Percy Jackson & The Olympians series and The Heroes of Olympus, to name a few) I just loved how he was able to use mythology and weave it into a brand new story in an original way.

It would be a really fulfilling and fun endeavour to try writing my own story. I’ve tried writing my own in the past, but unfortunately, it’s not likely something I would pursue if money was an issue. However, if money wasn’t an issue, writing would be something I’d love to do.


In what ways do you find meaning in the positions that you serve?

I am a member of the House Committee, and I find it really meaningful. I’m doing something not only for the house, but for the school’s culture as a whole. I feel that leadership positions are a way for you to give back to the community who has given so much to you. Serving in House Comm so far has taught me that I can find a lot of meaning in doing things for the House, and helping out in school activities. I feel that as a new school, we really need to cultivate a very strong school culture right from the start, so that we are able to help newer J1s next year integrate better into the whole system.

I find particular meaning in working together with my committee mates and teachers. Through this leadership position, I really learnt the value of teamwork. Without any help from my House Comm mates and teachers, I don’t think I’ll be able to do many of the things I have contributed so far. Road Run, organising signature events and house parties are some of these instances when I was really grateful for the social support structure around me.


Is this your first leadership position, or have you had other opportunities in your life so far?

I was actually Head Prefect back in primary school, and in secondary school I was a Councillor for a while. I was also the Captain of my CCA. The experiences that I have gathered from those different stints are similar, but also different. It was similar in that I grew from each of them, and realised leadership wasn’t just about leading people; it’s more about listening to them and serving them. 


It has been almost half a year since you were invested into your leadership position. If given the chance to go back to the start of the year, what would you do differently?

If given the chance to go back to the start… I think right now, there isn’t much I regret from my time as House Comm member. However, I would have tried running for Vice Captain. Looking at how my Vice Captains are doing their jobs and putting so much time and effort in it, I would like to try that as well.

I would also try to take more initiative. I remember not being that outspoken or vocal with my ideas at the start. I felt that not being from one of the IP schools, my views would not count for much and that they had more experience than I did. If I had been more vocal, I would have welcomed more new opportunities instead of shying away from them.

It was actually a unanimous decision for my classmates to nominate me as the House Rep. It came from a place of wanting to include and make me feel welcomed, which I am very grateful for. I wouldn’t be the same person I am now without this leadership opportunity.


Outro: Reflections


We are at the final article of our Humans of Eunoia series. When first starting out, I met with unprecedented challenges such as coming up with creative interview questions and learning how to best represent the interviewee in our articles. I learnt how important the transcription process (we voice recorded our interviewees) was in changing the tone and meaning of the article. For each interviewee, whether coordinating available timings, making my interviewee feel comfortable or taking a genuine interest in them, a lot of learning took place, and I have gained valuable experience. I am very grateful for this opportunity to get to know Eunoians a little better and strive to write their colourful stories.


– Xin Rong


Oh how time flies! This article officially marks the end of Humans of Eunoia and I am incredibly thankful to have been able to meet so many inspiring members of our Eunoian community. While we embarked on this project with the hope of achieving many of our intended ideals, we encountered various obstacles, ranging from generating questions to interviewing skills that truth be told, really stumped us. However, no journey is never fraught with difficulties and this genuinely made me better appreciate the effort that goes into journalism. As the rather cliche saying goes, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. It’s the colourful experiences of every member of EJC that intertwine to make our community uniquely beautiful.  


– En Tong


Humans of Eunoia x Leadership: Behind the Scenes

In this Humans of Eunoia x Leadership installment, Elizabeth Low, President of Drama, reflects on her leadership journey.

Written by: Li Xin Rong (19-I4), Lee En Tong (19-U2)

Designed by: Lee En Tong (19-U2)

Image credits here

“I think I’ll choose olive green as there’s a lot of ambiguity about it. People will see it and wonder if it is brown, green or yellow so I think it will be fun. It’s quite similar to how a person has multiple facets, so I think it’s quite an interesting colour.”


As we eagerly (or dreadfully) tread steadily towards J2 (oh how time flies), we’ve checked in with Elizabeth Low (19-E5), President of Drama, this week to discover her thoughts and reflections about her leadership journey thus far.



If you could choose the name of a crayon colour, what would you name it? 

Wow, there are so many options. I think I’ll choose olive green as there’s a lot of ambiguity about it. People will see it and wonder if it is brown, green or yellow so I think it will be fun. It’s quite similar to how a person has multiple facets, so I think it’s quite an interesting colour. Also, I like the colour green and I’m from Eder so olive green is quite a patriotic choice.


Image result for olive green crayon

(Writer’s note: in case you’re wondering what olive green looks like)



As we will be receiving a new batch of JC1s next year, what would you say you are looking for in potential leaders? 

Ah, interesting. I think what I would look for in a potential leader is how they carry themselves in terms of whether they are the same or different in front of their teachers or other students. For example, are they nice in front of their teachers but mean behind their backs? I think it’s very telling of a person’s character from how they interact with others. 

Personally, I also feel that integrity and empathy are very important qualities in a leader, so that’s what I will usually look for. For example, the value that we emphasise the most on in my CCA is inclusivity. Since drama requires different skills, we need everyone to work together. If I were looking for the next leader of Drama, I will look for someone who is very caring and helps every member to achieve their fullest potential, whether it is script writing, set design or lighting design. 


In what ways do you find meaning in the position that you serve?

Hmm… I feel very happy when I see the joy of my fellow members after each performance and after they manage to memorise a monologue. Even though some of them may feel that they could have done better, it was also a very meaningful experience from which they learnt a lot. 

I also find it very meaningful when we simply sit down to discuss ideas and how everyone is very encouraging of one another. I feel very happy that my exco and I have been able to cultivate such an environment where members are comfortable and everyone is respectful of the opinions of others. 

Humans of Eunoia x Leadership: Within and Without

In our latest Humans of Eunoia article, Lum Wan Tong, President of the 3rd Student Council, will share some insights about her leadership journey.

Written by: Li Xin Rong (19-I4) and Lee En Tong (19-U2)

Designed by: Lee En Tong (19-U2)


You’ve seen our student leaders filling the shoes of their predecessors earlier last term but we bet that you don’t know their entire journey and their individual passions!

As the second installment of Humans of Eunoia, the theme for Term 3 is leadership which goes hand in hand with Deep Dive Day 3. We hope to feature student leaders from the 4 distinct directorates and delve into their leadership journeys, their experiences with leadership and some memorable revelations along the way.

Here’s a brief overview of EJC’s current leadership structure:

ejc leadership overview 2019

This week, we will be featuring Lum Wan Tong  (19-U1), the President of the 3rd Student Council. Here’s what she has to say!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Wan Tong from 19-U1, I’m in the arts stream and I take History, Econs, Literature, H1 Math and KI. I have three younger siblings 🙂

Describe your leadership journey in EJC in one word or phrase.

Very cliche, but, growth. When I went to EJC, I didn’t know a lot of people, only those from SCGS since I was from the SC Integrated Programme (IP). Also, in secondary school, I wasn’t a prefect. I took on other leadership roles so joining Council was something I always wanted to do. 

It’s about getting to know new people and taking up the challenge of running for President. It led me to grow and learn a lot about myself, as well as how to work with others and how to drive a vision across. So far, my leadership journey has been a lot about growth and learning from the mistakes I made.

How is your leadership experience in JC different from secondary school?

In secondary school, I was the head of my CCA, so it was on a smaller scale. It was just managing the club, looking at how we could progress as a CCA and maintaining the welfare of everyone. Whereas in JC, Council itself is quite big (47 of us), so learning to work with different groups of people was more important than before. 

Additionally, beyond Council, I also had to learn to work with the CCA leaders and make sure that everyone is included. Sometimes it’s impossible for Council to do all the work, so it’s important to learn to delegate work to others.

What is one memorable experience you’ve had in your leadership journey thus far?

Student Investiture, because it was the first event we had to do. The first rehearsal went quite smoothly, but the second rehearsal had quite a lot of hiccups such as not having enough time to set up the chairs so it was very messy. It was the day before Investiture itself, so I remember feeling quite nervous and stressed on the actual day. People were rather uncoordinated, and people were trying to leave as well. 

Fortunately, on the day itself, nothing majorly bad happened and the teachers were quite happy with us. This was a memorable event for the start of my leadership journey.

Despite being Council President for a short time, could you tell us a challenge you faced as a leader in EJ?

As a leader, I don’t think I’ve faced many big challenges working with people. The people I’ve worked with (the councillors) have made it enjoyable. On a more personal level, however, it was a lot about managing my own expectations and learning how to assume this role. When I first eased into this role, it was as if everybody suddenly knew my name, so it was about dealing with this new position I was placed in.

Even now, people associate me as Council President. I have to be aware of not changing my actions too much because of this but to remain as myself. However, whatever I do would seem representative of a larger body.

Since people have come to associate you with being the Council President, has there come a time when people have treated you differently?

Inevitably, in some ways. Most of the time, my friends and classmates address me as ‘Pres’ and not really by my name anymore. It’s not something I really mind as long as it’s not the only thing they can associate with my identity. Apart from being President, there are still many things that I’m interested in.

So, what else are you interested in?

I guess I’m someone who’s very interested in history and culture and I really enjoy reading,  SingLit (Singaporean Literature) in particular as it is very interesting. My favourite authors are Amanda Lee Koe and Sharlene Teo. I like going out in nature, I don’t know, I sound really boring as a person. Hiking, spending quality time with my family and friends. I also like baking even though I mess up sometimes as I find it really fun and therapeutic. I like going to museums and festivals like the Night Festival.

They say that ‘Anyone can be a leader”. What do you think is the most important mindset/trait that people should have when they lead others? 

Everyone has the potential to step up as a leader. It’s something that requires a lot of courage because everyone starts out the same so it’s really about finding the courage, being self-aware to step up and do something that you really believe in. I believe that conviction and courage is what helps you to grow as a leader. However, we can all start by leading ourselves first. It’s just whether we can find that drive in us to really get it done. 

Is there anything else that you would like to say? 

I think one thing that we can all work on together, as an entire student body, is to be more forthcoming especially since we haven’t been in this school for that long so our school identity is still not as strong. For example, when we call for people to participate in events, they are not really inclined to volunteer and step up. This could also be because they feel that “Oh, I am in no position to do so or people might judge me”, but I think it’s time for us to discard that mentality and to step up regardless of whether we have a leadership position or not. I think we really need that courage in us, even in small everyday things. With orientation coming up, we will definitely need people to step up and fill all these different roles. Regardless of whether you have the experience, something I would really like to see is to have different people coming together. You don’t have to be the most extroverted or loud person, as long as you have the passion, that’s what really matters.


Humans of Eunoia X Kindness: Going Above and Beyond

Wherever you go in school, you will never fail to miss this friendly sight. Highly popular among Eunoians, you can sometimes catch him having a lively conversation with students and even tending to our school garden. No idea who he is? This week, The Origin* is featuring Uncle Lye, an Operations Support Officer.

Written by: Li Xin Rong (19-I4) and Lee En Tong (19-U2)

Designed by: Lee En Tong (19-U2)

“The joy you get from showing kindness to others is indescribable. Just like when I give flowers to people, I feel incredibly happy and get a sense of fulfilment.”

What do you work as in Eunoia Junior College? 



I work as an Operations Support Officer but I also teach students how to garden. I used to grow a lot of vegetables and fruits such as bananas and papayas. However, I don’t garden that often now. I also grew many flowers. *excitedly shows off photos of the flowers he grew*




What did you work as when you were young?



I came out to work when I was very young as I did not study that much. I started working when I was around 12 or 13 years old. I used to work in a hardware shop, general store and hotel. I also constructed houses. I then moved on to work in a shipyard when I turned 16.




Are there any interesting stories or experiences you had in EJC so far? 



I used the vegetables that I grew to make salads for the students and teachers to eat. The teachers also used my vegetables to cook Korean dishes. There’s no special occasion, I like to share my vegetables with my beloved students. 




I heard that you’ve planted many varieties of fruits and vegetables in our rooftop garden. How did you discover your love for gardening?



I enjoy gardening as it is beneficial for the environment. I used to work as a gardener. As my house does not have sufficient space for gardening, I decided to try growing fruits and vegetables in school which was relatively successful! 




Besides gardening, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?



Singing. Have you heard me sing before? I sang at one of the school events last year for all the students. If the school invites me to perform again, I would like to sing again. When I was in China, I enjoyed karaoke sessions. I even sang at Getai performances. Do you follow my Instagram or YouTube account? 


唱歌。你有没有听过我唱歌?我去年在礼堂里唱给学生听。如果学校请我,我想唱。我在中国的时候也喜欢唱卡拉OK。我有上去歌台表演唱过。你有没有跟着我的 Instagram 或者我的 YouTube?


Are students here generally courteous? Are they considerate users of their environment?



Many of the students here are polite and kind. There is only a small group of students who are not considerate users of the environment but I will teach them slowly and will not blame them for their mistakes.  




Do you think it is important that Singaporeans show kindness towards one another? Why?



It is important because when you treat others kindly, you will definitely be rewarded in some way. The joy you get from showing kindness to others is indescribable. Just like when I give flowers to people, I feel incredibly happy and get a sense of fulfilment. 




You could tell that Uncle Lye truly enjoys interacting with students here as his eyes light up with joy whenever he talks about the students he formed close bonds with. He even excitedly shared photos of his flower arrangements, vegetables, and videos of him singing. What struck me the most was his kind gesture of gifting me a pot of flowers that he grew and arranged himself. I am incredibly honoured to have had the chance to hear about Uncle Lye’s life and interests outside of school and I am sure Eunoians from the past and present will continue to remember him for being more than just an Operations Support Officer. 


humans of eunoia going above and beyond photo

Humans of Eunoia X Kindness: Celebrating the Paralympic Spirit

You may have seen or heard about them around college but do you really know them? Our fascination with humans and what interests them has inspired us to create a Humans of New York-esque feature series (but with our very own Eunoian touch) that showcases the flavourful lives and personalities in Eunoia, as well as projects the yet unheard voices of the school population. We have exciting themes that accompany our articles and the theme for the next few weeks is kindness.

We hope to provide a fresh perspective through raw and insightful conversations with students, teachers and non-teaching staff. This week, we’re featuring Zhi Wei (19-I1), a national para swimmer. We’re incredibly excited to embark on this series and we hope you will enjoy it too!

Written by: Li Xin Rong (19-I4) and Lee En Tong (19-U2)

Designed by: Athena Lim (19-A4) and Lee En Tong (19-U2)

“I don’t think there are any significant moments but if any friend needs help, you should help them.”

Congratulations on making it to the World Para Swimming World Series Finals! How do you feel about it? 

Zhi Wei: I feel that my performance this time was quite good. I’m very satisfied with my performance because I suffered from a foot injury last year and had to recover from it. At least I’ve hit my personal best and qualified for the World Championships Finals round this time.

So what was your preparation like given that you were injured?

Zhi Wei: Ever since I got injured last year, I had to focus on rehabilitation, but that was during the June holidays. When school started, it became harder and more stressful because of the increasing workload, especially in February. It was especially overwhelming as I had training from 5 to 7am, had to go to school for lessons, then resume training from 5 to 7pm after school. I train from Monday to Saturday; Sunday is my rest day.

Zhi Wei trains at both Hougang and OCBC complex. Hougang, being nearer to where he lives at Sengkang, is where he normally goes swimming.

How did you discover your passion for swimming?

Zhi Wei: Actually, I only started in Sec 1. At first, the main aim was to keep fit as I was quite fat (laughs). After that, it gradually became an interest. It was only in Secondary 3 when I managed to qualify for the National Team that I realised that I wanted to pursue swimming as a career. 

Are you planning to pursue your training overseas?

Zhi Wei: I don’t plan to train overseas. However, I do plan to be a full-time athlete. I hope to receive the Sports Excellence Scholarship (spexScholarship) which is a sports scholarship offered by Team Singapore.

Besides swimming, what are the most important aspects of your life right now?

Zhi Wei: Friends, family, and health. Friends, since JC life can get quite tough and you need your friends from the same class and other classes to support you. Also, my family members support me as my parents drive me to swimming training while my mum cooks for me during training and competitions. As an athlete, you need to keep your body in tip-top shape all the time. This includes watching your diet and refraining from eating at fast-food restaurants.

Do you have any other hobbies?

Zhi Wei: Swimming takes up a large portion of my time so I don’t really have time for other hobbies. If I didn’t swim, I’d probably pursue something in the Arts since I am an Arts student. 

How do you balance your commitments? 

Zhi Wei: You have to make priorities and sacrifices. 

If I have to go for training continuously, I have to miss out on certain school events and even class bonding activities. For example, I had to miss my class outing as I had to go for training. I sacrificed some of my social life, as well as my chance to interact with other people. But it’s give and take. You need to have the knowledge that you have to sacrifice this amount to get what you want.

In the context of a person’s character, do you think kindness is underrated? 

Zhi Wei: Kindness is particularly underrated especially in Singapore’s society because we are very academically driven. Schools are now focusing a lot more on character development. For example, many schools reward students who display good character. I do believe that it is underrated but at least it is now recognised as an important trait. 

Tell me about an experience you had in the past when someone acted kindly towards you? 

In Secondary 4, my Additional Mathematics grades were really bad. I failed my Mid-Year Examinations because of swimming. Hence, my school came up with a tutoring system. Before the End of Year Examinations, my buddy stayed with me until 9pm every day to study A-Math. He even stayed at my house because he said that we need to make sure that I can at least get a decent grade. A week before the exam, he came over often to tutor me. That’s what I consider to be one of the kindest things that someone has ever done for me. 

What is a kind act you’ve done that involved putting yourself out of your comfort zone?

Nothing in particular but I think it is important to be kind throughout the day. For example, helping anyone who needs help with their homework. I don’t think there are any significant moments but if any friend needs help, you should help them.