By Nick Yen

As Rafflesians, we are all familiar with the Rafflesian Spirit. Some say that it is something that cannot be defined, yet others believe that it is the sense of belonging, pride and shared camaraderie as well as our primary DNA. However it is defined, it is the common bond that is shared by every person who has walked through the halls of the school. It is manifested in every competition that we win, or not win. It is the engine that drives us to do our best, come what may. The Rafflesian Spirit was what set us apart when we were in school.

Unfortunately for many of us, it is also one of the things that we leave behind when we move on to bigger things. For some, it may just have evolved into something else. For others, the effervescent flame somehow fizzles out as our priorities change. For too many, the stirring in our hearts when we hear our school song quickly becomes just another distant memory.

It is ironic that at Raffles we talk constantly about the Rafflesian Spirit and how it pervades everything that we do in school, yet we abandon it so quickly once we leave it. In recent times, other institutions have surpassed us in maintaining their school spirit.

As such, the resuscitation of the Rafflesian Spirit among the alumni became a top priority for the current ORA council when we took office last year. Our mission extended beyond the social events that had always been popular—it encompassed a re-examination of the role of the ORA, and the word that encapsulated our mission was ‘connections’.

As alumni, we are the sentinels of the Rafflesian Spirit. We are entrusted as torchbearers and we have the responsibility to stoke the flames that keep the spirit alive. And if the flame fizzles, then what better way to rekindle this flame than to go back to the source of it all—our Mount Olympus—our alma mater.

Starting with the Business Leaders Programme that was launched last year to the amalgamation of the ORA dinner with Homecoming at RI this year, we continue to reach out and forge new ties with alumni from different generations. To leverage the value of the Rafflesian network, we have organised various sessions for alumni to share their experiences and knowledge. Numerous activities have also taken place in and out of the school to encourage alumni to re-connect. In the coming months, we will continue to put into place various initiatives and platforms with the school to promote connections and re-connections.

The council hopes that as we approach the 190th anniversary of RI and the 90th anniversary of the ORA this year, we can look forward to a reinvigoration of the Rafflesian Spirit as well as the alumni network. We believe that this is the beginning of a better age for the school and for the ORA. Auspicium Melioris Aevi.

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