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About the Book
Hwa Chong Junior College (华中初级学院), established in 1974 is one of the top junior colleges in Singapore. Its’ bilingual (English and Chinese) and bicultural junior college programme prepares enrolled full-time 16 to 18 year-old students for the Singapore-Cambridge GCE A-level examinations for entry into the top local and prestigious foreign universities – such as the Oxbridge universities in the UK and the Ivy League universities in the US.
The College attracts the best local students after their GCE O-level examinations, top-tier foreign students, the Ministry of Education’s ASEAN Scholars as well as other sponsored scholarship students from China and India.
This book of memoirs, covering my years at Hwa Chong as a pioneer teacher from its very first year, shares with all my Hwa Chong colleagues, students Councillors and students (past, current and future) the history and traditions of the College whose deep rooted ethos and spirit help it to consistently deliver many top students and scholars into the best local and most prestigious universities overseas.
These memoirs, written on the occasion of the College’s 40th Anniversary, also record and share the travails and distressing times of the College, as it was forced to spend several years ‘on the move’ in temporary premises. The memoirs also share the triumphs of the College’s students and student Councillors as they excel not only in their studies but also in various Co-Curricular Activites, and in leadership appointments – while enjoying their College life.
 Hwa Chong Junior College, set up in January 1974 as the first government-aided, bilingual and bicultural Junior College, became an independent Junior College in January 2004. The College merged with The Chinese High School (both institutions share a common Board) in January 2005 to become Hwa Chong Institution.
About the Author
Lai Kuin was born in Batu Pahat, Johor in W. Malaysia. She attended the local Tengku Mariam’s Girls’ School and then the Temenggong Ibrahim Girls’ Secondary School before going on to English College, Johor Baru, for her Pre-University education. She then won a Federal Government Scholarship to the University of Malaya to earn her Bachelor of Arts and Diploma in Education degrees.
She also has a Graduate Diploma in Applied Linguistics from the SEAMEO Regional English Language Centre in Singapore, as well as a Master of Arts (Applied Linguistics) from the Institute of Education, University of London.
Lai Kuin joined Hwa Chong Junior College as one of its pioneer teachers, when the College first opened its doors in 1974, teaching General Paper, English Literature and, English as a Second Language to the Chinese Stream students. During her 34 years teaching career at Hwa Chong, she also held appointments as the students’ Mentor for the Ministry of Education ASEAN Scholarship students to the College each year, and as Senior Teacher Adviser of the Students’ Council from 1994 until her retirement in 2007.
She was in charge of the College’s students’ annual UCAS universities applications for admissions programme to the Oxbridge universities in the UK, and to the Ivy League universities in the US.
Lai Kuin took early retirement at the end of 2007 to devote her time to the enlarged family. Today, she has 3 grandchildren. Aside from enjoying time with them, she also enjoys cooking and baking, reading, writing and traveling, and she regularly helps out at a Church outreach program for one of the centres for the elderly.