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The Awakener

— Shaun Elijah Tan
    Ex-student of Mr Brian Tan (HOD Character and Citizenship Education)

Mr Ng Chee Meng, 

Minister of Education.   

Dear Sir,   

Robert Frost once said: “I am not a teacher, but an awakener”. The poet may have been too dichotomistic, but the idea is as clear as it is true:  good teachers impart, but the best ones speak life and hope into their students’ lives. This is a letter about several Awakeners in my life. 


My second Awakener is Mr Brian Tan Wei Ming, who was my secondary four form-teacher. He is now a Head of Department at Yuhua Secondary School. Secondary school days, for me, were tumultuous and topsy-turvy. The study of the sciences, which I was hopeless at, was prized whereas the humanities, which I was good at, was downplayed. If ever there were a real-life lesson of the Law of Diminishing Returns, my relationship with mathematics and the sciences had to be it. This exposed my confidence to a rain of blows. The watershed came when I met Mr Brian Tan. Looking back on those days, I have much to thank him for. Mr Tan was always steadfastly pragmatic in his advice. Whenever I went to him bemoaning the surfeit of science options and the paucity of humanities options, he would remind me that life consists, in part, of doing things that we dislike. We become more resilient people by shouldering the burden of things we dislike. He also has the most innovative lesson plans. He taught me English and History and never did a class pass me by, without me being in awe of his seemingly unending creativity. One fond memory was a “Hitler’s cake” worksheet that he had devised. He superimposed Hitler’s face onto a cake and made us analyse the “ingredients” that went into Hitler’s cake (i.e. the rise of Hitler). That was a brilliant piece of pedagogy, the litmus test being that all of us, till this very day, still remember the historical elements that led to the rise of Hitler. My second encounter with an Awakener left me with a new-found passion for the arts and humanities. 


Though this is ironically a small letter that does scant justice to these Awakeners’ contribution, I hope that you, Sir, can recognise their immeasurably large impact, whether on my life or on the lives of their past, present and future students. I sincerely hope that you can convey all my thanks, and I am sure the thanks of their past and present students as well, to these Awakeners. 

Shaun Elijah Tan

Tan Meng Hock
    Ex-student of Yuhua Secondary School

I hereby would like to express my sincere appreciation to my three most respected teachers of Yuhua Secondary School: Mrs T. Sivasubramaniam, Ms. Tan Seow Pheng and Mr Sewa Ne Hua. Mrs Sivasubramaniam who had taught me English Language and Mr Sewa taught me Basic Chinese back in my secondary school days. I am really glad that I have made it this far in my education journey despite my education background was a EM3 and Normal (Technical) student. These three teachers have been very dedicated and inspiring towards me and the other students during our secondary school days back in Yuhua.

I believe that if it is not them, I would not make it this far in life up to university level where I am currently pursuing an accountancy degree and I am truly grateful to their words of encouragement given to me during my secondary school days. I would like to take this opportunity to thank especially Mrs Sivasubramaniam whom I have been keeping in touch all these years and whenever I faced any difficulties, she would always be there for me no matter what. 

Once again, thank you all for your dedication and all the guidance the three of you have given me and I am truly appreciative of it. The three of you are always great teachers I ever met. 

— Norhayati Sultan

When my son was posted to Yuhua Secondary School, I was sceptical I had not heard much about the school. However, I have to say that this was probably one of the best decisions I had made as Mr Raguvaran, my child’s Mathematics and Form teacher, was not only an exemplary figure, but also had a vibrant influence on his students. He has interesting teaching approaches to invigorate and bring life to the class. There has never been a day where my son did not look forward to attending school. With a remarkable teacher like Mr Raguvaran who takes initiative to help his students, I am sure I have made the right decision in placing my son in Yuhua Secondary School!

GCE O Certificate & Appreciation

— Mrs Rozman Norwati

I am writing this letter as a humble note of appreciation for the outstanding customer service provided by your officer these few  days back on 22nd April 2015. My family and I were facing financial difficulties of paying off my son's past dues school fees and library fine during his study in year 2010 and my appeal to release of the GCE O Certificate.   

I was attended by Ms Janice Soh, working as an executive in your Yuhua Secondary School took care of all my queries in a jiffy. She also provided timely and helpful advice regarding the correct documents for smooth submission She let me know all the important information and was extremely attentive and she listened to all my concerns with a great deal of patience. 

She also ensured that I received all the updated information regarding my appeal outcome. I am really pleased with the knowledge and skills of your staff. She has a caring approach and she is a true professional whom has put herself in my shoes. Yes indeed, I have received the mentioned certificate with many thanks.   

Please accept my gratitude towards her for her kind assistance, speedy and efficient services. I would especially like to commend Ms Janice Soh for her professionalism and superlative skills.