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Appreciating Cultures Through Experiential Fun

Mother Tongue Fortnight

Every year, the Mother Tongue department puts together the Mother Tongue Fortnight, a special programme that includes a line-up of activities to expose student-athletes to their Mother Tongue languages and cultures. Over two weeks from 7 to 18 February 2022, student-athletes engaged in art forms, pop culture and traditional games. Some of the activities include seal carving, Chinese knot making, Chinese painting, Sahibba (Malay scrabble), Khat (Jawi Calligraphy), Indian textile painting, clay lamp painting and more. The whole Secondary 1 cohort also tried their hand at making Chinese dumplings.

Ilham Iskandar Iskandar (Secondary 4, Football) shared: “I enjoyed the Seni Khat workshop a lot. Seni Khai is a traditional form of Malay calligraphy. From this activity, I learnt that back in the early days of Singapore, there were many other ancient languages used, like Pali, which was an ancient form of Sanskrit language. There was also the influence of the Arabs when Malays started to use Jawi as a writing system.”

The other highlight for Ilham was the Pop Culture display at the school library, where he learnt about the changing genres of pop music over the years, through examples from our local artistes like Taufik Batisah, Benjamin Kheng (Alumnus) and Shabir Tabare Alam.

Steffi Chan Min (Secondary 3, Gymnastics) had also found the Mother Tongue Fortnight activities enriching and entertaining. Like Ilham, she took a strong interest in the Pop Culture display at the library. She learnt many new Chinese songs, which have now been added to her list of “favourite songs”. Besides that, she also enjoyed the Chinese seal carving activity where she learnt to carve her surname.

The Mother Tongue Fortnight programme for Indian student-athletes was just as enjoyable. They learnt about their colourful and vibrant culture through glass painting, textile painting, rangoli, clay lamp painting and using clay to make Indian musical instruments. Student-athletes also played traditional Indian games such as ‘Pallanguzhi’ and 'Aadupuliyattam’, and gained an appreciation of the culture through songs and dance.

“I had never heard of or played the two traditional games before. Learning how to play was hard at first, but we quickly got the hang of it and had a great time playing them. I never knew that traditional games were so interesting and intriguing. We also did an activity where we changed the lyrics of a verse of a traditional song, and sang and danced to our version of it. I had a good laugh and really enjoyed myself. All in all, it was a very good experience and a very fun two weeks. I had indeed learnt many new things about my heritage and culture,” said Nina Joseph (Secondary 2, Netball).

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