Saturday, 15 August 2009

Candle 21: Lisa Ng

With all the publicity generated by the Back2BBGS event, so many stories have been flowing in from BBGSians that this blog is practically writing itself. We're re-joining the Project Kindle series with Lisa Ng from the Class of 1990, which was the year she also served as School Captain.

Hi Joanna,

Firstly, great job on the Back2BBGS website and for keeping the school
spirit alive with your many initiatives. I got into the site and listening to the school song again just made me feel really emotional.The words mean so much now whereas when I was younger, I sang the lyrics on autopilot and was perhaps too immature to reflect on their

I was in BB from 1980 till 1990. I still remember the many carnival
days in primary school. We had to get our mums to cook or buy food
from the market and sell them under the huge tree in the middle of the
school grounds.

I also remember my first teacher - Mrs. Chan - who was really strict
when it came to spelling. Then there was Miss Teh for (petite lady who
raised her eyebrows at me when I said I wanted to become a
"geographist" in standard 4), Pn. Rashimah (standard 5 teacher who
would punish us with an ink-moustache if we didn't do our corrections
after 2 warnings) and Mrs Yeoh (standard 6 teacher who told us
interesting stories about her travels to Europe in between lessons).

My secondary school life was also filled with lasting memories. I am
sure every BBGSian remembers choral speaking, the co-op, and the two
feisty aunties who worked the drink stall. They would sometimes scold
us prefects for being too generous with the orange cordial drinks we
helped sold when on duty.

Also, who can forget the aunty who sold Malay-style economy rice in
the canteen? You could pick two pieces of chicken, some taugeh and a
fried egg every day and the price would vary. Why? Because she was one
human calculator who'd "agak-agak" the price of your plate and your

I love the Prefects' Room too. It was a cosy little place where we had
our meetings and talked about issues. In fact, us prefects practised
out Teacher's Day presentation every year in that room.

Cleanliness was a big thing for BBGSians. Classroom duty meant
prefects were assigned to assess the cleanliness of blocks of classes.
Marks were given for how pristinely green the blackboard was (no chalk
dust anywhere at all, please!), how pristinely grey the floor was
(runaway staples were generally tolerated as they blended into the
grey) and how well aligned the desks were (I wonder if many BBGSians
are victims of obssessive-compulsive disorder).

I could go on and on about many other things but I'd like to most
bring up "decency and discipline". Having been a prefect, I could
safely say that even the naughtiest girl in school had decency and the
ability to be polite. It is a BBGS trait I believe and it's due to the
values the school inculcates in her students. We rebel but we never
forget the boundaries that help make us human. I've had a naughty girl
tell me about another girl who has trouble at home even though she's a
friend of a friend.

Discipline has also taught all of us to persevere, to take the "narrow
gate" as it were, and not choose the easy way to our dreams. I believe
we are hardy women with a keen sense of responsibility and hands lined
with deeds done in service to friends, neighbours, family and
community. We are that kind of girls.

I left school after Form 5 with the fondest memories of Ms. Yeap, the
headmistress then, whom I remember gave me advice about my future
career while driving me somewhere (can't remember what I was doing in
her car now). Did my university years in Australia and returned with a
degree in Marketing and Business Communications. I've been a
copywriter in the advertising industry now for 14 years and have my
own creative department to lead. But I can tell you that despite the
kind of politics that occur in corporations and the fact that I work
in an industry that's partially reponsible for an increasingly
consumerism-numbed society, it's my years at BBGS that have shaped the
voice of reason I hear in my head when tough decisions have to be

I am married to a St.John's boy and have a 5-month-old boy who gives
me the kind of joy no fancy house or car could. And I think that too,
is something our school has given me: an appreciation for the things
that truly matter at the end of the day.

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