The annual WOU Christmas high tea had a tinge of bitter sweetness and yet reverberated with feelings of thanksgiving as staff gathered for the celebration at the main campus today.
Everyone was greeted with a delightful door gift of a rabbit-shaped wooden phone holder of varied colours. The event then commenced on a rather sombre note as the venue for the high tea, the cafeteria, recently lost ‘Mami’ the chief cook, whose birthday falls on Christmas Day.
Event organising chairperson Jasmine Emmanuel drew everyone’s thoughts to Mami, a “loving, friendly and cute” person and led in observing a minute of silence. “Her dedication made her very special in our WOU family. She was an inspiration to all of us who knew her and her life and work resonate with a truth expressed by Mother Teresa who once said: ‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love,’” she said.
The event was bittersweet also because it would be the last WOU festive gathering for Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye. Jasmine declared, “Through your compassionate heart and support, you have put smiles on many faces. Your leadership has made working in this university a memorable one. You have instilled in us values, such as determination, tolerance, equity, kindness, honesty, patience, and professional skills that are needed to get on with the job even in your absence.”
Prof Ho spoke of gratitude and thanksgiving for what WOU has achieved, with a message to staff to continue to persevere and work hard for the University. “Christmas is a merry season for thanksgiving, a time for gratitude. “ He said despite the tough times, WOU has managed to survive. “We should be thankful for what we have. I maintain we have a great team at WOU.” He called for staff to pool their resources together and to put more effort to ride on the accomplishments to consolidate the position of the University.
Lecturer Kevin Tan presented a gift to Prof Ho on behalf of the organising committee. It was a framed wooden plaque with the wordings, “Having somewhere to go is a Home; having someone to love is a Family; and having both is a Blessing”.
The staff mingled and feasted on chicken spaghetti bolognaise, sausage puff pastry, chicken ham sandwich, jam tarts, cheese sandwich, and an array of cakes and cookies complemented by coffee, tea and juice.