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Once a Halcyon, Always a Halcyon

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    Benjamin Chong

It has taken me a long time to process the events that have transpired in the past three days. Just a few days ago, the thought of my college ever ceasing to exist never crossed my mind and now I sit in my room feeling a mix of confusion, disappointment, and betrayal.

I have only been at Yale-NUS for just over a year, but in that time, this place has become home. I still remember one of the activities we did in the first week during orientation where we had to place several cards in order, each representing a different part of our identity. If I could do that again now, I would take a blank card and write ‘Being a Halcyon (our school’s mascot)’ and add it to the top of my list.

I never knew how much a school could mean to me, then again, upon reflection I now realise the sentiments of love and joy that Yale-NUS College (YNC) has cultivated in my heart are sentiments that naturally result from being part of any loving family. That is what YNC is, a family and a home. The struggle to understand why I was so deeply affected by the sudden forecast of its end had started with this acknowledgment. My school was not being taken away, my home was.

That being said, in times like these I am so grateful that the spirit of this good college is far from dead. You can see it in the beautiful pieces of art that span Instagram and you can hear about it in the passionate words being shared through all the batches of students, past and present. It may be cliché but YNC will always live where we as students bring our authentic selves as members of this great family to impact the lives of those around us.

I have been continually inspired in this season of crisis as I see classmates and alumni band together to do what they can to ensure that the story of YNC does not die here, that it lives on and that people never forget what has been forged behind the walls of our campus.

Sure we may not have been everyone’s favourite college, and of course, we do have the tendency to spark our fair share of controversial happenings, but I urge you, especially those who are not from YNC or in any way affiliated, to please support us and our family during these trying times. Please know that we are not just kicking up a fuss, or ‘trying to fight the power’ for the sake of it. Last Friday real people were affected by the decision to put an end to YNC. Last Friday real people found out that they were going to lose their home and the opportunity to be a part of something that would outlive them. Last Friday we were robbed and if we don’t fight for ourselves, no one will.

If you have ever felt like something was unjustly taken away from you, this is how that feels. If you feel compelled, please offer us your support in any way you can, connections, amplifying our voices, or even words of encouragement. Any help will go a long way.

Singapore was robbed of one of its first big steps towards moving into the new age. We lost a home where many who never felt like they belonged, could fit in. I lost a part of myself because although these past ten batches of students will live on, I will never be able to see the lives of future students be touched and impacted the way that I have been in my time here at Yale-NUS.

Fellow Students, Faculty, and Alumni, the days are still early and the spirit of Yale-NUS is far from dead. If there’s any way that we get through this, it will be together. Once a Halcyon, always a Halcyon.