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,

(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.)


  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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….

  7. 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….

  8. 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!



  9. 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.

  10. A great man, and a great mentor, im how i m now because of your dad. If not i would hav quit school long ago. A man whom i have high regards equal to how i regard my dad.

  11. If I am not too old now to recall, I always remember Mr Ang as a smiley man, head a bit tilted and every Monday morning assembly had mass 汉语拼音 lesson. That was how I got quite good in my Chinese and fell in love with Mandarin. He definitely was the one who sprouted the seed of my love for Chinese. Thank you very much, Mr Ang. No matter where you are, I hope you are always happy. Daniel, I hope you are happy too.

  12. Yes, Mr Ang KT never give up on his students. He always trust his students. I’ll always remember him and the eye exercise which he introduced to us.


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