RAFFLES INSTITUTION’S BICENTENNIAL (RI200): LAUNCH OF THE RI200 LITERARY ANTHOLOGY
In conjunction with Raffles Institution’s (RI) Bicentennial (RI200) in 2023, the school launched the RI200 Literary Anthology – Some Dreams From Now: 135 Years of Rafflesian Writing on 14 January 2023, Saturday, to celebrate the school’s rich history, heritage and literary legacy. With writings from as long ago as 1886, all the way to 2021, the anthology encapsulates the psyches of the past, present and future in an unbroken chain of generational dreams and aspirations, keeping in poetic step with RI200’s theme of Honouring the Past by Inspiring the Future.
The anthology, incepted in 2020, was put together by 14 RI student researchers, and alumnus, Theophilus Kwek (RI Class of 2012), contains works from Amanda Chong, Sir Lim Boon Keng, Sir Song Ong Siang and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.
The anthology launch, which is the first of RI200 events in 2023, was graced by former Headmaster, Mr Wong Siew Hoong, Advisor to the Ministry of Education. Also at the launch was a panel discussion on the publication of the anthology led by Dr Ann Ang, poet, short story writer and editor. Dr Ang spent her junior college years at RI’s Mt Sinai campus, and is also an Assistant Professor of English Literature at the National Institute of Education, NTU. Other panellists include Mrs Cheryl Yap, who has been with the Raffles schools for 37 years and is currently heading the Raffles Archives and Museum (RAM), and alumna Miss Clarice Chee, who was part of the pioneer batch of RI’s Year 5-6 RAM Club, and contributed to the compilation of the anthology.
Beyond Some Dreams from Now, we cordially invite all alumni and friends to join us further as we celebrate this momentous year. RI200 began since the 1,000-day countdown on 8 Sep 2020, with DPM Heng’s launch of the RI200 microsite at our 199th Founder’s Day on 23 Jul 2022. This site can be accessed at: https://ri200.ri.edu.sg.
With a series of 10 bicentennial events lined up in 2023, there is something for everyone to look forward to and be excited about. Upcoming events are the Raffles Science Symposium held on 1 Feb, and the Festival of Ideas (9-11 March 2023) which celebrates thinkers, leaders and pioneers in society, sustainability, and innovation. Closer to our actual Founder’s Day on 5 June 2023, there is also the fun atmosphere of Open House & Carnival (29 April 2023), and our Founder’s Day Ceremony itself, held on 28 May 2023. The full list of bicentennial events can be accessed here: https://ri200.ri.edu.sg/events-and-announcements.
About Some Dreams From Now
Some Dreams From Now contains 70 pieces of literature, representing 135 years of Rafflesian writing (1886-2021):
- Part One (1886-1939) takes us from the founding of the school magazine The Rafflesian, which contains some of the oldest local Anglophone creative writing from the Straits Settlements, to the outbreak of the Pacific War. The pieces reflect on pivotal moments in British colonial history and give some of the first voices to a distinct local identity, patois and landscape.
- Part Two (1945-1971) reflects the enduring trauma and psychic shocks of the Japanese Occupation, as well as new existential questions brought on by the Cold War: from Singapore’s emergence from the shadow of empire, to new anxieties about entering a global nuclear age. It ends with the school’s move from its iconic Bras Basah campus, synonymous with our colonial city, to suburban Grange Road.
- With this move, Part Three (1972-2021) navigates a different place for Raffles in the world: a quieter, more reflective one, willing to grapple with the pace of change and the intricacies of human dynamics, arriving in the 2000s with a new cosmopolitan awareness of the tensions and uncertainties of a post-globalisation era, even as quintessential themes, of love, identity and aspiration, remain evergreen.
Some Dreams From Now is available online and in-store at Books Kinokuniya.