2019 starts off with the celebration of the Lunar New Year and the festive mood is palpable all around town. Lively Chinese music can be heard everywhere, crowds are gathered around lion dance performances, the mouthwatering scent of bak kwa can be smelt in every nook and cranny, and the vibrant splash of red can be seen far and wide, marking the prosperous beginning to a new year as the distinctive colour symbolises. Chinese New Year is a bustling festival that engages all of our senses at once.
A magical 2019 calls for the celebration of the Year of the Pig to fall squarely amidst the orientation period of the incoming JC1s. It is truly the perfect way to introduce the new J1s to the school and showcase the Victorian Spirit in all its glory as we celebrate as one big Victorian family.
The first festivities of the school celebration began as classes convened at their designated areas for the Lo Hei, a Chinese tradition now made available to all through the celebration of tastes and talk. As the emcees announced each ingredient and the symbolism behind it, students could be seen eagerly ripping open packagings and spreading their contents into the plastic plate with a flourish. All this was followed by the raucous bellows of “HUAT AH” as the unskilled flutter of chopsticks raised each smattering of noodles to a new high, painting the stone grey floors in a vibrant hue with copious servings of yusheng. It is these events that bring a dash of colour to the grey canvas of our mundane school life. Unruly as it is, it is telling that without the spirit and energy of youth, our lives will continue to carry on in linear motion, with the rigidity of formal processions, but the laughter and the memories made are ultimately the things that truly characterise the Victorian experience. It is in such high spirits and lively environment of school events that greater bonds are fostered, and the incoming J1s experience firsthand how Victorians work hard and play hard.
After the sumptuous treat, the school population gathered at the hall, waiting in anticipation for the CNY concert to begin. For the first event, VJC’s Chinese Orchestra graced the stage with its ebullient display of festive tunes, which included the iconic Gong Xi Gong Xi and Senbonzakura, which mingles both the Chinese and Japanese cultures in a single tune. Indeed, such diversity is welcomed here in VJ, where the Chinese New Year is no longer a parochial event for a select few, but a mark of inclusivity for all races, and a welcome to our new batch of freshees into VJC. Truly an enchanting moment!
Next, the mood was uplifted with the arrival of our two resident stand-up comedians, with their witty line delivery and humorous dramatic movements. An auspicious herald to the new year, their idioms and greetings filled the hall with cherubic laughter. Even for those who were not fluent or familiar with Mandarin, the wild gesticulations and slapstick humour were enough to brighten the mood and set the atmosphere for the day. But a greater lesson to be learned was that despite being J1s, our two comedians went above and beyond their call of duty to help contribute to our new year festivities and joy. A commendable effort to the both of them!
This was swiftly followed by a cultural dance from the Malay Cultural Society where dancers adorned in sparkling costumes took centre stage and captivated the audience with their stunning display of traditional dance moves. All this was met with warm applause from the ground as students cheered for their friends who were performing on stage, a true indicator of our multiculturalism and an example of how our relationships transcend racial boundaries here in VJC, and in Singapore. Similar to the Chinese Orchestra’s performance, the performance of the Malay dance is a reflection of how our holidays are not meant to be divisive, but embracing of the different cultures within Singapore.
Finally, ending off on a high, the Wushu team entered the fray in a blazing display of swords and spears, the belligerence of their strict training routine paying off with each precise thrust of their weapons. Their ferocious roars captured the spirit and pride of the Wushu team as every move was infused with effort and energy. The audience were left awe-struck and amazed by the strict discipline in which the Wushu team performed their routine. Likewise, as students, we have a similar duty to exhibit discipline and effort into our schoolwork and studies. On this day, the Wushu team set a firm reminder to everyone that only with hardwork and effort, will we then be able to achieve our desired results and favourable outcomes in our endeavours. In fact, for the new batch of J1s, this echoes the sentiments of our school motto, Nil Sine Labore, or Nothing without Labour, which teaches us that we will not be able to achieve anything if we do not put in the requisite effort. An amazing performance and lesson delivered by our Wushu team!
2019’s CNY celebrations were truly a blast. It is more than the celebration of a new year but also a celebration of diversity and inclusiveness by our CCA groups and the effort of individual Victorians willing to make a positive impact on the Victorian experience. With that, here’s to a year of prosperity, happiness, good results, and of course, a timely reminder that nothing comes without labour. Happy CNY to all!
18S43 Ernest Yong
18S43 Xiang Le