Some are familiar faces, having been with RP for several years. A few have gone as far as to say that RP feels like a second family. Like a family member, they stand ready to lend a helping hand. Tashinnya Chandrasekaran speaks to five familiar faces who have made a lasting impact on RP students. Photos by Zinho De Costa.
‘RP students amaze me, even after 13 years’
Mr Ganesh Kalyanam, Director of Office of Students and Graduate Affairs and Director of The Republic Cultural Centre. He has been with RP for 13 years.
“Having had the pleasure of working with so many batches of students, I am always amazed at their energy, passion and compassion that they have. It is always a joy working with them and seeing them grow as individuals. One unforgettable memory I have about RP is seeing some of the programs we have started such as Momentum, Ignite, Reflections as well as the service learning projects like One Heart, Supermarket Run, which were initially started by students and guided by staff, but these programmes have now become students taking charge running it with a level of professionalism that I think even other polytechnic students would envy. It is actually something that I am very proud to see. I love my job. In fact, I love it so much that I don’t think that it is even a job.”
‘I have a secret code with my customers’
Mdm Supiah, cook at Del’s Kitchen in North Canteen. She has been working at RP for four years.
“I love the students. They are very friendly. Even on busy days, I’ll never get tired of serving them. There is this group of four to six boys who like to come to this stall and buy food. They have a special order called ‘Big Mac’ and always orders it. ‘Big Mac’ is for when they want an extra big serving portion and only these boys will use the term. It is like a secret code.”
‘I help students and parents make important choices’
Ms Yoko Song, Manager of Office of Corporate Communications. She has been working at RP for more than seven years.
“I am part of the school outreach team and what I do is that my team and I build relationships with secondary school teachers and principals so that it helps secondary school students and their parents make informed decisions about their post-secondary school options. A couple months ago, I had another of this event and I met a parent who I met a year ago and we both recognised each other. Last year, she was there at the event for her older child and this year she was at the event for her second child. She told me about how her older child had chosen to go to RP because of the talk that I had with them and she also told of how her child was doing very well in her course. I do not always get to hear stories of how my work had impacted someone and when I heard that from her, it made me very happy as I felt rewarded. I realised that my job is very important and means a lot to me that I play a part in helping someone make important decisions.”
‘I help to keep the social harmony in RP’
Ms Shena Lu, Assistant Manager Office of Student and Graduate Affairs. She has been working at RP for five years.
“I am in the service learning portfolio. My job requires me to look at local and international service learning projects for RP students. We work with the school’s staff leaders to organise local and overseas service learning projects. I also look into the integration of local and international students in RP. This refers to me looking into the social harmony of the students within RP. We have a small percentage of international students and we want them to feel welcomed. I think that it is a two-way effort. It is not just the international students trying to fit in but our local students also need to reach out to them. It is very important for our social fabric especially in a multi-cultural context like Singapore. This ensures harmony.
‘Challenges help me to improve’
Mr Medel Gonda, RP Resource Centre (RPRC) Support Engineer. He has been working at RP for five years.
“My duties are extensive but it is mainly manning counter, loaning out the equipment from RPRC, performing the laptop imaging and reformatting as well as handling asset management. I get to meet a lot of people like the students and staff. I like challenges, and therefore when we face difficulties like complaints, it is when I am pushed to the limit and they always leave a lasting impression on me. It helps me learn and improve.”