Threescore years ago Raffles Hall was founded. Its origin was a residence for the first few batches of male students studying at the old Bukit Timah campus. Fast forward to today, in 2018, the Raffles community has grown tremendously since then. With the upcoming year marking the start of RH’s 60th Anniversary, a celebration of its long and prestigious history, the inaugural bursary award presentation and dinner was certainly symbolic and fitting. Made possible with the generous contributions of past and present Senior Common Room Committee (SCRC) members, and RH alumni that had passed through the Raffles family through the years, this bursary awards presentation for current RH residents was the first of six events to celebrate RH60.
The proceeds raised by alumni from the RH Charity Golf 2015: Justice Tan Lee Meng Cup formed the basis of the bursaries awarded at this event, with the proceeds forming multiple bursaries for beneficiaries with different outstanding qualities, helping RHesidents to get the best experience in hall that they can get.
Graced by our Guest-of-Honour Mr Edward D’Silva and our Hall Master, the event was off to a brilliant start with formalities exchanged between the attendees. Merry conversations were made at every table amongst all who attended, including the current Junior Common Room Committee (JCRC) members, enlivening the jovial atmosphere in the Communal Hall. On stage, speaking of financial assistance, the raison d'être of the bursary awards, Hall Master thanked the donors for their generosity in raising the funds that were given out that day, and in giving back to society, having made their mark in industry and society. The alumni gave roars of approval and rousing cheers when Mr Edward d'Silva took to the stage. Mr D’Silva’s speech on ‘Home Away from Home’ brought out the sense of camaraderie among RHesidents, emphasising the care provided by the RH community which let the Hall flourish over the years and how he hoped that the contributions in the present and the future will help to keep the flame of RH burning for years to come.
It was an event filled with fanfare and joy for Rafflesians of all ages, with alumni reminiscing of their youthful past, and sharing their boundless experiences and passion for Raffles Hall with the current generation of Rafflesians. However reminiscence is but one of the main highlights, as the programme planned for the day took center stage. Amidst the conversations and hearty laughter, our dedicated members from the AEAC Committee served up hot and piping meals whipped up behind the scenes for this special occasion. The sumptuous spread was nothing like one had ever seen in the communal hall, with Rafflesians past and present tucking in heartily, while recipients made merry conversations with the donors of their bursaries over dinner. On stage, Unplugged belted out familiar tunes, with the alumni singing along and clapping to the performances. Later, the emotions of everyone present went on a rollercoaster as a former recipient and two current recipients shared their stories, hardships and ultimately the joy and experience of being part of the Raffles Hall experience. Listening to the recipients talk about their experience brought a tear or two to the alumni’s eyes as they reminisced their own experiences staying in Raffles Hall.
Testament to the impression Raffles Hall has left on them and their still present connection to this Hall are the contributions by past RHesidents to present and future RHesidents. As the day wound down to an end, Rafflesians shared smiles and goodbyes to friends old and new, each leaving with their own commitment and bond to Raffles Hall renewed and reaffirmed. Perhaps one day we might have the capacity to set up a bursary or two in future. Till then, our Rafflesians express a heartfelt gratitude to those who continue to contribute, and to keep the pride and commitment to Raffles Hall burning strong for the years to come.
-Chiang Shun Yi, Phoenix Press AY17/18