Hey there! The name’s Syamsul Anwar and I’m a teacher of English Language and Literature at
Bukit View Secondary School. On this page I’m supposed to put up a bit about myself (just don’t expect anything scandalous).
Right now I’m way too lazy to compress the Syamsul Chronicles into a single page, so here are just some brief facts about me.
- 1984-1989 – Jin Tai Primary School
- 1990-1993 – Raffles Institution
- 1994-1995 – Raffles Junior College
- 1998-2002 – National University of Singapore
- 2003 – National Institute of Education
Highest academic qualifications
- 2003 – Postgraduate Diploma in Education
- 2002 – Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Psychology
Ok, since this page seems to be rather bare right now, I’ll just write a bit about my life so far. To make it easier for myself, I’ll just write it according to place of study/work:
Primary School years
Wow, these were probably the most stress-free years of my life. In fact, they were so peaceful that I can’t really recall much about them. I do remember being taught by some wonderful teachers though, especially one Mrs Tan, my Primary 6 Form teacher. The only bad memory was my first encounter with a racist. Of course, back then I was too innocent to realise what that really was (anyway, we all meet these “people” sooner or later)…
Secondary School years
These were really the most
happening years, largely because of the many activities I was involved in i.e. military band, choir, library and a bit of drama, etc. Teachers here were also very supportive people and they really go all out to help anybody in need. Especially impressed by the dedication of my Maths teacher, Ms Cho Wai Lin (I think she’s married now) who helped train lots of people get A1s for Maths and Physics teacher Ms Lee Wai Ying (she’s left RI for further studies). In fact, ALL the teachers who taught me were so positive that I was almost convinced to become a teacher one day.
It was also in secondary school that one first encounters “politics”; backstabbing, consolidation of power bases etc etc. all happen, though thankfully this was very rare. I learned you can’t survive as a neutral party: when the crunch comes, you’re either with one group or the other. I also learned the value of voicing your opinions; you can’t just sit around being unhappy and hoping for things to change on their own. When necessary, you have to push for the change. I still prefer to keep my opinions to myself most of the time though…
Junior College Years
I must’ve been really distracted these 2 years, largely because of the rather drastic change of environment. You can really see people change in these 2 years, but somehow I wasn’t really affected. Probably because I was too busy with trying to strike a balance between studies and ECA. Sigh, what a time to be grappling with something like that. So you can imagine I probably missed out on the “very exciting life” most JC people were having that time. Compounding this situation was my class getting a rather uninspiring (to say the least) form teacher who adversely affected my class attitude to no end. Even my normally optimistic self felt rather broken. Thankfully, most of us managed to recover sufficiently from this “shock” to our mental health just in time for the A-levels.
Reading my comments above, it almost seems as if life in RI and RJC was rather depressing huh? Well actually it isn’t so bad, thanks to some musical diversions that presented themselves 🙂 Now let’s start from the beginning..
Raffles Institution Military Band (1990-1993)
I really enjoyed making music in a band (I was a percussionist for the six years I was in primary school): that’s why I joined the RIMB. I even ended up as the Secretary and Treasurer! Unfortunately, some things didn’t quite work out …. But, that’s all in the past now! And I still enjoy listening to good band music! Don’t expect me to ever pick up a drum stick or mallet though..whatever meagre skills I had seem to have atrophied and are now gone forever…
Raffles Voices (1993)
Guess what: I was actually the first graduating BASS in the history of RI’s Raffles Voices! I still remember how pathetically small we were then…we had so many problems trying to retain members. The picture is the choir’s first stab at competition: we got a consolation prize or something like that, which was really OK. David, Arnold and I were the first of the wave of ex-RV members to swell the ranks of the RJC Chorale. RV, under the guidance of Ms Charmaine Chiang, has since grown in strength as a competent (last I checked) all-boys’ choir!
1994 was also the most influential period in shaping my vocal style, thanks to exposure to several outstanding singers of the 1994 batch and a simply superb singer in my batch (who later had to leave the choir). Sadly, mounting academic pressure and tight schedules in the second year stressed me rather badly, causing me to pick up “bad singing habits” that was detrimental to good bel canto singing. Have since managed to lose some of these bad habits, but don’t think I’ve sung that well ever since.
|RJC Chorale at SYF 1994
The highlight of our item was certainly non other than Toru Takemitsu’s Tsubasa(Wings).
The Committee of 1994/95
(Alex, myself, Junning and Alethea)
Take a look at the photo and you’ll know what kind of world we live in…hehheh, just kidding! Actually, Junning (the Chairperson) and Alethea (the Secretary) were in positions of greater authority than myself (the Treasurer) and Alex (the Librarian).
|PUNCH of 1994/95
Serene, Dominic, Alethea, myself and Joseph)
We were “Perfectly United in a Neurotic, Corny and (hopefully) Harmonious” way in performing a capella items for VE, Teacher’s Day, Talentime and Open House. Whew! Some of the *interesting* things we did included attempting to perform vocals-only renditions of “Tears on my pillow”, “Lion sleeps tonight”, “Blue moon”, “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” and even “Kokomo”! Inevitably, not all our efforts were successful 😉 but those were exciting (albeit rather stressful) times!
Here’s a picture of the whole PUNCH gang of 1995. The folks standing at the back are Jason, Lennie, Melissa, Trudy and Daphne. Cool-looking group, huh?
Another chorale sub-group, we performed for the VE concerts and Open House recruitment efforts. A *major embarrassment* was 1994’s “You”ll Never Walk Alone” which probably sounded more like “We’ll never sing again”! Fringe went on to do very well in 1995 with a “politically-correct” take on Little Red Riding Hood that was an instant hit with the audience.
(Joseph, Ivan,myself and Arnold)
We were another informal “sub-group” in the choir, formed to compete in RJC’s 1994 Talentime. Our competition entry a rendition of the 60’s hit “Sh-boom” later became our signature tune. We also performed at 1995’s Chorale Farewell Party and at 1995’s RJC Prom Nite. Any guesses what QuadRex stands for? :o)
Heh, with so many performances to rehearse for and so many songs to memorise, whoever had time to say that being in a choir was dead boring? 🙂
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