MR ADRIAN PHUAH
Mr Adrian Phuah is one of the rare few fellow pupils who can claim to be the pioneer batch at TPSS. He could recall vividly how TPSS began operating at a holding school in Tampines before moving to the current site.As a pioneer batch he relished every lesson at TPSS especially History and Maths which has given him the good foundation to further upgrade himself academically.Although three decades have elapsed, M Phuah is grateful for the selfless support and encouragement that teachers have given him. He still keeps in contact with the teachers who had taught him through Facebook. He believes that the teachers influence has certainly made an impact on his aspiration which led him to be in the current profession as lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. He remarked “I still feel I owe a great debt to these people (teachers).”
Although Mr Phua spent his secondary school days in the pre Internet era, he claims that it was a boon as his classmates were able to bond better without the distractions of the electronic gadgets. Mr Phuah was able to bond with his school mates playing table tennis.
Mr Phuah believes that the school environment played a crucial role in developing in close bonds as there were sufficient amenities to enable students to spend their time there to revise or complete their homework. As estate was relatively new there were no shopping malls or cinemas to distract the pupils. This enabled most pupils to spend their time in school engaged in CCA’s or remedials.
Mr Phuah concluded his thoughts about his time at Tampines Secondary with the following:
“One strong point I see from the people at TPSS is that they persevered [lah], they really really persevered. We are not the best in the grades arena you know we are not the RIs or the Dunman Highs, but i think, beyond grades, the rest of the students have done well. Whether is it grades or not”
“At the end of the day... It is about what you want to make yourself to be.
It's not only about grades.
Don't let grades bring you down.
Continue to persevere.
That's what I see in a lot of my friends out there.”
MR THOMAS WAN
“A feeling of coming back home” – Thomas Wan, Math HOD of TPSS As an ex-student, Mr Thomas Wan has returned to his alma mater in a most significant way – as a teacher and now Math HOD. Despite Tampines Secondary School not being his first choice after PSLE, he nonetheless expresses great satisfaction and pride in counting himself as a Tampinesian due to everything he has learnt from his years here.
His fondest memories stem from the space given to students to develop their interests outside the classroom, and in particular the values instilled from participation in co-curricular programmes. As a member of the St. John Brigade almost 20 years ago, Thomas recounts being put through the paces by stern seniors, undergoing tough drills and punishments under the hot sun. “Surprisingly, none of us gave up and complained to our parents! We just encouraged one another and persevered through the sessions.” It was there that the spirit of camaraderie was formed and developed over the years as the squad became a cohesive unit that showed discipline and teamwork – even in the celebratory pranking of their seniors. “We threw our seniors into the pond at the back of the old school on the last day of our Junior N.C.O. course!”
It was all in good humour, of course, because Thomas affirms his appreciation towards his seniors for giving him a ‘hard’ time in training. Through the experience, he forged strong friendships and values such as punctuality, responsibility, teamwork and perseverance which has positively shaped his behaviour and interactions with others. Due to the great impact it has on the development of student character, Thomas speaks passionately about how he hopes support for the Uniform Groups will continue.
“I hope every Tampinesian can graduate from TPSS with a collection of wonderful memories from their school experiences and also be well equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge embedded with sound values in order to adapt and navigate successfully through the ever changing world.”
The return to TPSS was thus most sweet for Thomas when he came back as a teacher. “It felt like coming back home,” he says. “It was certainly a special moment for me to become colleagues with my former teachers.” Joining their ranks was an honour because he had always remembered his teachers to be caring and dedicated professionals. This is still true today, despite the now increased demands and expectations in the changing educational landscape where teachers need to be able to put on many different hats – beyond being teachers, they must be administrators, counsellors, coaches and partners to all various stakeholders. Parents are becoming more well-informed, and there are a much greater number of avenues for students to achieve success in life.
Indeed, the school is poised to take on the opportunities of the future with the upgrading of its facilities (of which Thomas was privileged to experience both times) – first undergoing renovation in 1998 and then PRIME in 2009. “The new premise is a total makeover and I certainly welcome the new design and structure of the school as well as the spacious classrooms.” The importance of a conducive learning environment cannot be understated in enabling our students to be competent 21st century citizens, as it gives them the means and tools to pursue their goals.
With such support and resources put in place, Thomas feels that teachers will be able to perform their duties well and he hopes that they will continue to be able to provide fun and meaningful programmes for the students. The culture of a values-driven school experience must be kept alive to allow future generations of Tampinesians to feel the same sense of achievement that Thomas feels as he talks about Tampines Secondary School.
“I hope Tampines remains one of the top-choice schools among the parents and that at each decade, we will have more to celebrate at our milestone anniversaries!”
MR MUHD SYUKRIFootball is a very popular sport and it is not surprising that many Tampinesians are passionate with the sport. However, despite their dedication to the sport, few actually achieve the level of skill necessary to compete at a higher level. A rare example would be Syukri of 5N2, as he has represented Singapore in the Asian Schools Under-18 Tournament.
It was a proud day for Syukri when he was chosen to participate in the Asian Schools Under-18 Tournament. It was an affirmation of his abilities and he felt that he had finally been recognised. His dedication to the sport has paid off and he felt grateful for the support of his team members and his teachers.
Syukri says that he chose to come to TPSS because of football. Football must run in the family because his brother once played for the school’s football team too. Syukri says that his brother’s observable joy when he was playing for the team greatly influenced him too. He was inspired to follow in his brother’s footsteps and be part of the Tampinesian football family. To him, football is truly enjoyable. His teammates were always there to support him and their camaraderie has helped him to grow as an individual and as a leader in the CCA.
Throughout his five years in TPSS, Syukri experienced many ups and downs. He recounts a particularly painful memory last year when the Tampinesian team did not qualify for the nationals in the East Zone Tournament. The team was devastated. Luckily his teacher, Mr Aloysius Ong, spoke to Syukri personally and motivated him. He told him that no matter how tough the going gets, it was not the end. To grow as an individual, a person must continuously motivate himself to keep going and never give up. This served as a source of inspiration to him. With his teachers pushing him, he learnt to refocus his energies on future endeavours. As they pushed him to succeed, he worked doubly hard because he knew that he had the support of the team.
The deepest impression that TPSS has left on Syukri is that the school is like a big family. Obstacles are faced together and the school moves forward into the future as a team. If he has to describe TPSS, he would use the words Focused, Motivated and Passionate.
It is a lucky coincidence that our 30th anniversary coincides with Syukri’s graduating year and he wishes to thank the school for all the support he has received throughout the years. He hopes that the school community can remain bonded and aspire to achieve greater heights together. All the best TPSS!