FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 107
Listen to Your Heart
This week I had the privilege and pleasure of speaking with Aaron Sarma who is one of Malaysia’s leading Tech Entrepreneurs. This was my first interview as part of our ‘Never Stop Learning’ web series and podcasts. See the links below.
Aaron has experience of founding and developing successful Tech companies as well as a period as COO with AirAsia. He is currently a partner with Scale Up Malaysia helping ‘startups’ to build and scale to the next level he has his own startup called Remote Ventures which is helping other entrepreneurs to achieve success.
It was fascinating to speak with Aaron and for him to share his experiences, values and tips for personal and career success. Our conversation ranged from: the characteristics he is looking for in a person who has a business idea, to the best values and motivation when considering starting your own business.
I shared with Aaron a small but powerful poem I had used in my assembly with Year 7 last week:
“It’s impossible,” said pride.
“It’s risky,” said experience.
“It’s pointless,” said reason.
“Give it a try,” whispered the heart.
Aaron’s response was to say that yes, he understood that young people may hear many messages that might deter them from pursuing their ambitions but that they should still be led by their heart.
He said that they should carefully consider WHY they want to achieve this particular goal and if it is for the right reasons then ‘go for it 100%’.
Indeed, in our conversation Aaron shared that he wished he had been even more ambitious when he was younger.
So as we are still at the beginning of this academic year and we all look forward to returning to face to face learning and living together at Epsom it may be a good time for us all to ‘listen to our hearts’ and commit to achieving our ambitions.
In response, our one priority as a school is to ensure that we give every student the best care, excellent teaching and the inspirational learning experiences that will help them to make their dreams a reality.
Mr Matthew Brown
The podcast can be found at:
If you’d prefer watching our podcast with a video feed, please go to our YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/nQcCo0nUmcc
I would like to firstly take this opportunity as Housemaster to welcome all new and existing Carrites, parents and our new tutor team. It has been an unusual and remarkable start to the new academic year with online learning and only a few boarders in the House. In spite of this, I am proud of how every boy has risen to these unique challenges in their online academic lessons as well as their involvement in the broad range of co-curricular activities that are on offer. I have been particularly impressed with all our new students and by our Year 7s, who have adapted quickly and managed the transition to Senior School remarkably well.
In our House assemblies, we have spoken about the importance of the strength of the relationships, working together and habits of excellent online learning, and this is already visible in the House, tutor times and during lessons where the boys are forming incredibly strong bonds and demonstrating tremendous engagement in their learning. I am sure in Carr House, our boys will acquire academic, social and leadership skills that will be crucial for their future success, both in the senior Boarding Houses and beyond.
During tutor times, the boys have started the term by reflecting on their progress and achievements from last year and have been setting specific targets for the academic year. There is a fantastic atmosphere within the House and I have no doubt Carr House will provide the perfect environment for the boys to maximise their time here and prosper as lifelong learners. We will also shortly be announcing our student house leadership team and all boys will be allocated a ‘family’ where they will be mentored by the Year 9 boys.
I look forward to welcoming all of the boys back to the house very soon and I am very much looking forward to nurturing our boys academically, socially and emotionally throughout this year and beyond.
Mr James Armstrong
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the pupils, parents, teachers and other staff at Epsom College in Malaysia for the wonderful welcome you have given me in starting as House master (HMM) in Granville House this September. I would also like to extend this welcome from me as Housemaster to all of the new and returning students to Granville.
In addition, although he has been a student at Epsom for a few years now we need to greet our new Head of House Yves Carden-Brown and also our resident prefect Paul Ong: these students exemplify the values of Granville House and are a vital part of our small community.
It certainly has been an unusual start to the term and new academic year and this unusual start, with its online provision and wide range of SOPs, has forced us to change our practices to accommodate the different world we face.
Although there are many disadvantages to coming away from the tried and tested procedures that have led to the success of Epsomians over the generations, there are some advantages as well. Departing from the norm allows us to question the way that we operate and consider the outcomes achieved.
The start to this term has certainly seen Granville pupils examine their individual and collective strengths and weaknesses; appraise their objectives for this academic year, and; plan for how they are going to achieve these targets. It is now time to put these plans into action!
It is the same for us housemasters. My methods are sure to have elements that vary from my previous school and also from my predecessor, Mr Foden. However, in some ways I am sure my systems will remain essentially the same: the safety, happiness and success of the boys in the boarding house remain at the centre of my role and I am very excited to work with you and our young men to develop and then action our targets.
Mr Dean Jones
Our Propertians have gotten off to a good start this term, hitting the ground running as it were with academic classes and CCAs all being attended to with much excitement and vigour.
The academic year has been a little disruptive with regards to allowing all our students back into the House, but we are confident that this will change soon. I am proud to say that many of our boys have taken this in their stride and are doing well under the circumstances.
Our term started with a lot of new faces including the annual intake of Year 10s. Welcome to you all; both new and returning students and staff.
My challenge to the House this term was to make sure that they are paying attention and are visible on screens in their classes and to make sure they strive for their best in all areas. I am sure there may be times where the screens do ‘switch off’ but I am pleased to see that many of the boys are still working hard and the merit tallies are on the rise!
This term we began our weekly student-led assemblies which take place on Friday’s. Each of the students will have a chance to talk to the House about a topic of their choice. These assemblies were kicked off by our Head of House, Mike Hong.
The Year 13 students will also be shortly divided up to lead ‘families’ in the House where they will act as mentors and older brothers to the younger students and provide advice and feedback on any concerns they may have to me or their tutors so we can address these.
House committees will also soon be announced where students will be able to communicate school-related matters amongst themselves and come up with suggestions or votes on improvements related to their daily activities. This does not mean they can vote for chocolate cake for breakfast! (Although I am sure that will go down well!)
Various social gatherings will be arranged throughout the term. We managed to have a BBQ already with some of the other students from the other houses and look forward to more of these types of outdoor, fresh air activities.
We are looking forward to welcoming more boys back and having a buzz around the House once more.
Mr Ian Schoeman
It has been a pleasure to welcome back old Crawfurdians and to say “Hello” to the new girls these past three weeks. In this short space of time, the girls have fully settled into the swing of things with their on-line academic studies, getting involved in the diverse selection of CCAs on offer this term, and participating in the Crawfurd Social. Indeed, we will not allow the current circumstances to dampen our girls’ spirit in fully embracing and engaging in life in a British boarding school.
Saying that, although there has been some degree of disruption due to the distance-learning with the limitations of lagging wi-fi, G Syncing, broken cameras and mics, and time differences for some of our pupils who are logging in from various countries around the world, I believe these are moments when our children will learn the virtues of resilience and grit, that will lend themselves as tools to carry them along life’s journey. We, as their teachers, will continue to encourage and guide them along this journey.
It was a special moment to welcome our newest and youngest members of the House, the Year 7s. They have impressed me with their determination to get settled in quickly to life in Senior School. I am confident that the School will be opening its doors for physical learning soon, and I look forward to meeting them in person, as well as the rest of the Crawfurdians.
My House team has been busy preparing the House for the return of the girls for physical learning. We are working hard to ensure that the House will look as homely, warm and welcoming as possible for our girls, as evidenced by the photographs attached.
We have divided all the girls into three ‘families’. Each ‘family’ will be led by the Year 13s as the oldest girls of the House, and they will act as a ‘big sister or mentor’ to the younger girls. These family groups will meet weekly, and it will provide a platform for the girls to discuss any concerns or issues, which can be fed back to me or their tutors.
We also plan to set up a House Committee in the near future. We would encourage every girl to apply for this termly role, which will afford them the opportunity to acquire some leadership skills. There will be various roles which will involve representation by a pupil from each of the Key Stages. Students will be able to discuss school-related matters amongst themselves, and come up with suggestions or improvements related to their daily activities. These suggestions will then be put forward to the College Prefects Committee for consideration. I am really hoping that all our girls will challenge themselves and put themselves forward for these roles.
Finally, we look forward to welcoming all the girls back to the House physically as soon as we can, and, what wouldn’t we do to be able to hear the chatter and babble of our dear girls once again in the House!
Ms Denu Sankey
As I write, at the shady table outside Rosebery, our six girls are chatting and chilling before lunch. No doubt it will be delicious; it always is and, on Malaysia Day, I wonder what treats our talented kitchen crew have in store for us.
In Rosebery, too, there have been treats this week: Neneka’s piano playing; Terry’s laughter and Sora’s ebullience; Yunju’s smile. Leah joined us midweek (with gifts from The Body Shop!) and Iroha has been here for about half an hour! With each new arrival, I am struck once again by the warmth of the girls’ welcome, the unconditional embrace they extend.
As Epsom reveals itself to me – also, of course, a new girl! – I realise that this outward-looking open heartedness is part of its essence, and at the heart of its vision. It is practised daily: Korean students clamouring for the CCA in anime; Japanese enjoying kimchi; my English pair saying ‘sama sama’ instead of ‘You’re welcome’ (and who wouldn’t? Its sing-song gentleness is irresistible). In Rosebery, the girls are curious and celebratory of difference, delightfully aware that the world is painted in more than one colour and that no one shade on the palette is superior to the others.
We hope you enjoy this snapshot of September so far.
Ms Kate Orpwood
Life Is Short – Some Musing From A Strange Summer Holiday
What is the significance of this number you may ask?
This number represents the total time in minutes that I spent with my family in quarantine, during my journey to the UK and then back to Malaysia.
At this point I am not asking for sympathy. Although I would add that 14 days locked in a room (albeit a nice room) does somewhat test even the strongest of family bonds. So perhaps a little sympathy would be appreciated.
This time, all 28800 minutes were worth it. The reason for this, considering it was enough time for Eliud Kipchoge to run 240 marathons, was that it allowed us all to spend time with both family and friends. We had been separated from them for over two years which started to feel too long. Having met family and reignited childhood friendships it was a stark reminder of what had been missing during the darker days of Covid. It reminded us of the value of ‘living life’ and engaging with people.
Post quarantine I started to muse on the time I wasted during this period. Particularly so, as the common question we were asked was ‘how was quarantine?’ The answer to this question was somewhat strange. When locked up in a room I wasted days, literally days, in the ‘scroll hole’ on a device. The scroll hole is when you aimlessly use a device to flick through different screens without actually paying any real attention to anything. When I considered this time in a little more detail I realised how much time passed with me doing very little of value. My life was literally passing me by as I scrolled through memes of animals dancing and people pulling strange faces on video. In a Back to the Future type moment, it is possible that I had actually turned back into a teenager whilst still looking middle aged. This was an unfortunate turn of events. I was not alone in this, after all the video for Baby Shark (yes Baby Shark) has been viewed over 9 billion times – I am included in that number (at least three times). Whilst a picture of an Egg was liked on instagram over 55 million times – I have also viewed this post.
I would not say this was normal behaviour for me, it was after all a slightly strange experience – being imprisoned for a crime I did not commit. However, it did make me consider in some depth what I value in life and what opportunities I would like my own children and the pupils at our school to experience. At times Covid has cast a dark shadow over life, much like Modor for those fans of The Lord of the Rings. In fact I have included some pictures of the social events that were a normal part of our school calendar pre-Covid.
With my furry Hobbit feet firmly crossed, I very much hope we are moving towards a fuller and thus richer life again. There will continue to be some restrictions and safety remains at the forefront of our thoughts. At the same time we look forward to finding a balance. One in which we can offer an environment where we can stop watching life pass us by, living in a virtual existence, and very much grab it by the scruff of the neck. A life where we can enjoy the extensive range of opportunities available to us, mix with peers and face new challenges in the flesh. There will remain a place for technology and we will not cast all mobiles into the flames as Frodo did with the one true ring. However, we will be able to find a better balance and that is very much our aim at ECiM as we move forward.
Mr Ian Squires
Deputy Head (Pastoral)