Woman of substance

The recent death of MM Lee Kuan Yew’s wife sparked in me, an interest in her life and accomplishments. Listening to the news today on Channel News Asia, the reporter mentioned 3 words – ‘woman of substance’. This triggered a memory of me sitting in line, on a tar road, sometimes under the sun, listening to speeches by my already-retired secondary school principal in Monday morning assemblies. In almost all her speeches, she has always stressed the importance of being women of substance. Most of my teachers have also always told us that although it is important to do well in the exams, what is most important is inside us – our characters – humility, integrity, kindness, graciousness, patience, self-respect and respect for others, and tenacity. It is even okay to not be able to do well academically, as long as we graduate with good characters in place. The one most-uttered phrase in school was, “The end goal of education is the education of the heart”.

Till today, I’m glad that they did not stop telling us that, and it is probably the reason why i see that most of my classmates have grown up into intelligent, confident and beautiful women with strong characters to match. I pray that there will be many more teachers such as these, not teachers who are merely concerned about grades and the standing of a school in national exams; so that there will be many more people as lucky as I have been.

Today, I reminisce fondly upon the memories of my secondary school days with a slight feeling of nostalgia and a huge amount of gratitude…

Thank you, dear teachers…


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