The moment construction began in the garden, questions were raised – the most morbid of which was “Whose grave are they digging?”
“After CT1? Mine.”
It was clear that even while construction of the installation was underway, the student population was buzzing about it — pretty much everybody had noticed something was happening in the garden. They just didn’t know what. When the installation was finally complete, however, first impressions varied — greatly.
While responses could range from a “wow” from Im Chaeyeon of 16S39, to being “quite neutral with it” from Mr Derrick Wong, the most common sentiment was the opportunity that this new feature offered – the opportunity as a new and alternative photo-taking site in our college campus. Be it for the members of the school; the staff, non-staff, teachers, students, ex-students or even possibly for the visitors, many saw it as great venue to capture more memories and their time in the college together with the people around them.
Low Siang Ern of 15S41 found the new installation “quite confusing actually, because it popped up out of nowhere”. He then suggested a different use for the patch of land — “a swing, or something else that would fit into the garden a bit more.”
There were also some, like Yuki Pan of 15S48 and Jewel Char of 16A13, who questioned the financial practicality of spending money on building the installation. Yuki questioned “how much does it cost?”, despite feeling that it was “great” and “photogenic”; and Jewel felt that she did not really like it because she found it a “waste of money” and added how she thought that there was“more important stuff that we can use the money on instead.”
Others like Paul Sim of 16A13 thought that it was “very interesting, because it’s like a monument to commemorate VJC’s past and history. The design of it is really simple, yet it’s effective in representing who we are as a school as well.” Om Sakthi Taneshvari of 16S37 also shared similar positive responses to it, saying that she liked it and that it “kind of adds on to the VJ spirit.”.
While some took the new installation quite flatly at face value, they were honest and candid enough to share with us that although they “don’t know why the school built it, but it’s like there la, so okay lor”, as said by Lim Xiang Yin of 16A13.
Just as numerous were the student theories about the reason for the sign. A student who wishes to remain anonymous, thought that “it was probably built to instill a sense of Victorian pride and identity in us” while Siti Nur Iman of 15A12, also felt that quite similarly, the new installation “To mark the new generation of Victorians after 30le (the commemoration of VJ’s 30th anniversary)”.
Ms Fatma, who is one of the teachers (alongside Ms Goh Hui Hua, Ms Jaclyn Ng, Ms Marliza, and Ms Beryl Kwok) responsible for the installation in our school, was able to give us more insight behind the installation of this “VJC sign”, which students have been speculating the significance of. To our pleasant surprise, we learnt from Ms Fatma that the VJC installation was actually only the first part of the ‘Heritage Corner’, which is a large-scale project that the teachers and Ms Fatma are embarking on which is “meant to allow Victorians to record and reminisce their memories here in VJC”.
We learnt more as Ms Fatma continued, saying “While this installation is not ‘informative’ and doesn’t explicitly showcase the college’s heritage in text/old images as one would expect a heritage corner to, it allows us to create new memories. For the alumni, it is a way for them to reminisce about their younger days. As a photo spot to record memories, the bold letters will make it clear that the venue is VJC. We’d felt that it’d be good to have a space in college where photos taken will become clearly ‘VJ’ and easily recognisable. We hope Victorians will look at these photos and feel a sense of pride as a Victorian.”
Other parts of the Heritage Corner (slated for completion later this year), aim to expose Victorians to our heritage; Victorians can learn more about our school’s beginnings and how it developed over time. The stories of Victorians from yesteryears will hopefully inspire all to do their part to keep her flag unfurled.
Furthermore, what stood out to us the most when we asked why the VJC installation was built in the middle garden, was the practicality of the answer, “as it is meant to be a photo spot, there needs to be ample space for large groups and the garden can accommodate that”. The garden is also a central location in the school where one is able to view all the familiar activities that take place, such as “the concourse, where one spends breaks hanging out, being a space for CCA practices, studying, or having consultations; the classrooms where learning (and napping?) takes place; the LTs, where knowledge is gained.” Therefore, since the location of the garden can allow a Victorian to access so many memorise, this reinforces the significance the VJC installation and its chosen location as a “means to allow Victorians (past and present) to reminisce their days here”
To wrap up the interview, we also got to understand more about the thought process behind the VJC installation from Ms Fatma’s thoughtful and patient explanation. Below is a short summary of it:
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When the sign was finally “officially” opened, it coincided with the day of the A-level results release — and V Press reporters watched as many of the returning J3s queued up and took turns to pose with the three red letters forming the name of their alma mater (Read more about the release of A-Level results here: http://thevictorianpress.com/a-day-the-results-release/) . Many of them then took to Instagram, using the hashtag #hereinVJ, which had been recommended by @thevictorianverve, to show their Victorian spirit.
(The sign after the “n” went missing)
At one point, however, we did note that the ‘n’ in “Since 1984” had vanished from the sign. Though it has since been replaced, there’s a point to be made about how we as Victorians should take better care of our school. After all, it is our second home, so any form of damage — whether it be graffiting our desks, breaking tables and chairs, or damaging our new VJC sign — is quite irresponsible. A public service announcement from your reporters: Don’t Damage School Property!
The VJC sign is an embodiment of the past, present and future. As part of our Heritage Corner, it symbolises the Victorians that ‘came before and went’. Yet, as “Phase 0.5” (as Ms Goh Hui Hua described it) of VJC’s upcoming revamp, it speaks of greater things to come; of the victories that we’ll share yet. Here’s to more successful years ahead, and keeping our flag unfurled.
Ng Xue Ying 16A13
Yeong Su Ann 15A12