Dear Singa, My Father Was The Most Courteous Principal. No, He Did Not Quit.

   

Dear Singa,

My late dad, won the your award – the “Friend of Singa Award” in 1992 for being the “Most Courteous Principal Award” in recognition for his “courteous, considerate and caring character towards others”. If you remember, he was then the principal of Pearl Park Primary School.

Did he win it because he was the meet-and-greet, and all smiling principal?

From what I recall, he was far from it. He was like a typical strict and straight-faced Chinese teacher. He won because he was a non-quitter.

For years, the primary school was plagued with problems of littering and discipline. Despite the school having a few part-time cleaners, litter was everywhere –coming from both the students and public. He took the broom and swept the entire school himself. The entire school.

I remember then I felt slightly embarrassed that the head of a school would be seen sweeping the compound, “Papa, you should not be sweeping the floor. You are the principal. The workers should do it. Or make it compulsory for the students.”

“If the principal doesn’t do it, who would?”

He showed his version of being caring and considerate – to lead by example day-in-day-out. A year later, the school was spin and span. Students, and even teachers helped in keeping the area clean. I felt very proud that even the hawkers at the People’s Park district knew and were talking about it.

He continued sweeping though. He did not quit.

The primary school then was not known to be the best in academic students. In fact, there were the typical rude students with problems of discipline.

He got to know every one of them personally. Every one of his delinquent students. He had an exercise book where he wrote them the names of all his students (In typical Chinese language fashion, that was how he remembered).

Every now and there, I would find a stranger in my house – getting free tuition from my father because they were not performing well in school. You would have thought that all the students would be appreciative of that act, but I can say it is far from it.

Many were disgruntled and still complained. But my father preserved and those who continued ended up improving for their examinations.

He continued giving free tuition after he retired. He did not quit.

Like you, my father was 30 years into his career and could have just taken the back-seat and let the teachers do the ‘work’. I am sure at many points in time, he was also tired.

You gave my late-father the courtesy award because he showed by example what it really meant to be courteous: to care for others, even strangers from the bottom of the heart; to be generous in giving, even if people do not appreciate.

I ask myself what my father would do if he were you and was “too tired to continue facing an increasingly angry and disagreeable society”. He would have started from the basics, led by example and preserved.

One thing for sure. He would not quit.

Your friend,
Daniel

(The writer has been a teacher for the last 11 years, knowing he has big shoes to fill. He will always remember what his Papa told him “帮助人的人 有永恒的快乐”. A person who helps others will get eternal happiness.)

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21 Responses to “Dear Singa, My Father Was The Most Courteous Principal. No, He Did Not Quit.”

  1. May 16, 2013 at 3:14 am #

    Aww what a great dad you have

  2. May 16, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    Good read! You are right, Singa, shouldn’t quit!

  3. jfkwt
    May 17, 2013 at 1:27 am #

    Hey, I think there’s a typo in the last line – eternal happiness, not external happiness 😉

    • admin
      May 17, 2013 at 10:14 am #

      Thanks for the note. Corrected :)

  4. May 20, 2013 at 3:34 am #

    A role model.

  5. May 22, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    I’m a part time educator too. Hats off to your Dad! The world needs more dedicated and committed educators like him.

    You are blessed to become his son. And I believe, your Dad also did his mission of raising a great person like you.

  6. Wilson Yew
    May 22, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this intimate story about your dad.

  7. Annsley
    June 3, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

    What an admirable dad. I admire your dad, his actions and all he stood for: determination, preservation and his undying spirit to help others. 让我们把他的精神发扬光大!

  8. Charles Kwa
    October 26, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    Yes I remember your dad I was a student there fr 1983-1989, your late father also a friend of one of my uncle, he was the best of the best principal ever in my schooling years.

  9. Angela Low
    October 26, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    Yes , I remember Mr Ang , 1986 to 1990
    1 of my classmate no money pay for the school fee Mr Ang take out his own money and pay for my classmate. He is the best principal in Pearl Park Pr Sch.

    • admin
      October 29, 2013 at 7:53 am #

      Thank you for sharing this. It warms my heart and continues to inspire me.

  10. Alex Chai
    February 27, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    Totally remember Mr Ang, I was in Pearl Park (4 years Pearl Bank) in 1981-1986.

    Mr Ang was the best principal any student can have. He’s always smiling and amiable, yet very strict when necessary.

    He has definitely left a deep imprint in every of his students’ heart.

    You should be so proud of your dad, Daniel!

  11. June 11, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

    HI! I graduate in 1987. He is my fav principal. I rememeber he demo and teach us Qigong every morning during our assembly.

  12. June 11, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    HI! I graduate in 1987. He is my fav principal. I remember he demo and teach us Qigong every morning during our assembly.

  13. September 4, 2014 at 2:20 am #

    Oh my…. I graduated in 1992…. Mr Ang had always been on the back of my mind. He was the best principal anyone could ask for…. Not only did he take on the cleaning duties, he also installed foot reflexology facilities for us!
    I remember being down with diarrhea one day and he brought me to his office and did foot reflexology for me…. I miss him so much….

  14. September 4, 2014 at 2:23 am #

    Oh my…. I graduated in 1992…. Mr Ang had always been on the back of my mind. He was the best principal… He did so much more than what you mentioned.
    I remember being down with diarrhea one day and he brought me to his office and did foot reflexology for me…. I miss him so much….

  15. Dee
    September 4, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this blog. I was a former student of PPPS, Mr Ang was an amazing principle and I didn’t know his passing till I read your blog.

    He had left a legacy in many students’ life. Bless his soul!

    :)

    Dee

  16. Yugui
    September 26, 2015 at 11:28 am #

    I have such fond memories of Pearl Park Primary and Mr Ang. I was one of the many lucky students who benefitted from his remedial lessons, several occasions in fact. Yes, I remember the foot reflexology “slabs” in school, and the eye massage exercises that he made us do every morning. Very dedicated principal who sought to make a difference in his students’ lives.

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