Sports should in the long run lead to sports for life.
When I left my 3 months teaching practice at Dunearn Secondary School, in 1987, the cross country CCA group had a big following. During my teaching practice, the cross country group were winning many races, Swift Cross- Country, Singapore Athletics Association Cross-Country races, in a span of 3 months and the school had many talents. The principal at that time was Ms Peck and she had requested to the Ministry of Education in placing me in Dunearn Secondary School. However, I was given Clementi Town Secondary School to teach, instead.
The Dunearn Secondary School students, especially by the name of Helen Toh, and other students, suggested to me to come back to Dunearn Secondary School. I was very hesitant in this, but I was also disappointed to hear the news that I was not able to teach at Dunearn Secondary School. However, the enthusiasm of the student athletes made me to go to the Ministry of Education, at Kay Siang Road, to personally request for the change in the school to teach. The Dunearn Cross Country students also marched with me to MOE, but they stayed below the Placement building. However much I hope to go to Dunearn Secondary School, the earnest request was rejected from start till the end by the officer, who was attending to me, at that time. When I came out of the MOE building, I did not know how to share the news, but I finally had to break the sad news. The feeling on that day was, for me, going through a funeral procession. I had hopes but the hopes were dashed.
The students were very sad but Helen told me to give the training programme, and with the help of a responsible student called Shuxian, I was able to assist Dunearn Secondary School while I was in Clementi Secondary School. At Clementi Town Secondary School, I nearly became a teacher in-charge for NCC under the principal called Sister Maria. Later at the recommendation of a teacher, Sister Maria finally put me as a teacher in - charge for Cross-country The amazing thing is that my school was somehow able to come in second, nearly first, in one of the year for National Schools Cross Country race.
I believed that with the leadership of the following athletes by the names of Helen Toh, and Pei Hua, the Dunearn Secondary School became team champions under 17 girls in the National Schools Cross Country. Over time, I suggested to Helen Toh and Pei Hua to go to ACJC as the college was welcoming them to come in to the school. My friend Eric, was chasing me for the two athletes to come over to ACJC. Finally, both went to ACJC, over time.
For me, looking back, I am very surprised that nowadays the mainstream schools are not able to win championships easily. Usually the autonomous schools and independent schools are winning currently as the budget given to these school are very good. I believe that the mainstream schools can emulate schools like Dunearn Secondary School, and defy the odds, like the Dunearn Secondary School team led by Helen. I am very happy now as Helen Toh and Pei Hua are very successful in their education and career as well. It is false notion that running will make us a failure as some parents at that time had, especially when we train hard. I remember the days where, rain or shine, both runners< Pei Hua and Helen Toh, will always train, and they do not give any form of excuses in training. Xu Pei Hua's best was being third in under 14 girl's race and Helen as second in Under 17 girls National Schools Cross Country race. They are still in contact with me and they are at present living symbols of sports for life. On top of that, they are still running currently in 10km races and half- marathon race. I feel that this is in a way success for me, in terms of enabling the student to empower them to balance life and go, and not to neglect health for the sake of wealth, as health forms one part of the eight forms of wealth.