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Parents Spread the Chinese New Year Cheer

29 Feb 2008

Lo hei at Temasek Secondary

The students who lo hei together - will do well together!

“For excellence in our studies!
For progress in every step we take!
For success in everything we do!”

It was the usual Chinese New Year lo hei good wishes, but with a twist: foreign scholars at Temasek Secondary School were tossing raw fish and vegetables - some for the first time - at a special Chinese New Year lunch organised for them. Their hosts: the school’s Parent Support Group (PSG), which was stepping up to play surrogate parents for a few hours and share some Chinese New Year cheer with the scholars.

For scholars who come from China, it was an opportunity to celebrate Chinese New Year in a different way. “We don’t have lo hei in China. Hence, it was quite an eye-opener,” said Li Ling, a scholar from China.

For Pullakhandam Vinay from India, it was a fresh encounter with local festivities. “It’s interesting to learn more about Singapore’s Chinese culture, and it was also the first time that I tried using chopsticks to eat rice!”

Lo hei at Temasek Secondary

The foreign scholars tucked into the hearty meals prepared by the parents.

The lunch spread was not just limited to the yusheng ingredients used for the lo hei. Members of the PSG prepared many other colourful and multicultural dishes, such as seafood nasi goreng, fried noodles, spring rolls, ondeh-ondeh and honey sea coconut. The food was all cooked at home and brought to school for the special event, which warmed the hearts of the scholars.

“It was nice to see parents of different races working together to organise this event for us,” reflected Cai Xianjin, also from China. “For example, some Malay parents cooked some of the delicious dishes and celebrated the festival together with us.”

The event also boosted the morale of the scholars. “We really appreciate the parents’ effort to make Chinese New Year meaningful for us,” said Athit Chanthalath, a scholar from Laos. His counterpart Adari Rasphone added, “Such events motivate us to work hard in our studies. It would be great if it could be held again next year!”

Lo hei at Temasek Secondary

The Chinese New Year lunch included Malay and Indian dishes as well.

This was the first time the PSG organised such an activity, which was targeted at the school's foreign scholars as they are staying in a hostel, unlike most of the other foreign students at the school, who are staying with their families or guardians. "The foreign scholars are away from home and this is one of the ways in which we can make them feel the warmth of Singaporeans," explained Mrs Jane Koe, who coordinated the event. "This type of get-together will let us build good rapport with the foreign scholars, as many of the PSG members did not have the opportunity to meet them beforehand. We'll definitely continue to liaise with the school to plan such events for the scholars in future."

PSG members and school staff also tried to make the foreign scholars feel at home during the Chinese New Year holidays. One PSG member hosted two students in her home and the students took part in the family’s various Chinese New Year celebrations. On the second day of the Chinese New Year, teacher Jared Oh organised a trip to the Istana and Sentosa for the foreign scholars who had remained in Singapore during the break.

Ms Pamela Yoong, the Vice-Principal of Temasek Secondary School, was full of praise for the PSG’s kindness and generosity towards the foreign scholars. “We are very proud of the parents of our school. The food at the Chinese New Year lunch was extra delicious - because it was prepared and cooked with the kind of love parents have for their children, love that these parents shared with our foreign scholars. Our school motto is ‘We care’, and our parents have truly exhibited the spirit of Temasek.”

Contributed by:
Mr Leonard Lu
Temasek Secondary School