Temasek Hall turns 35: Poignant reflections, wonderful memories, and lifelong friendships
When Mr Vincent Tay (Science ‘05) and Ms Jacklyn Kong (Science ‘04) took on roles as active leaders in various committees at their student residence at NUS Temasek Hall (TH) in the early 2000s, they did not expect that to lead to a lifelong bond together. Now married for 14 years with three lovely children, the couple joined close to 300 other guests at a gala dinner held on 27 May 2023 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Temasek Hall, where they first met.
A visit of Temasek Hall briefly before the dinner was altogether a nostalgic experience for the couple as they reminisced on the times they spent together there. “This is a homecoming for us – we haven’t been back to Temasek Hall for more than a decade. It was amazing to catch up with our peers and walk through the campus!” shared Mr Tay. Today, Mr Tay and Ms Kong are one of numerous alumni couples from Temasek Hall, each with a unique experience from their undergraduate days.
An enduring spirit and close-knit community
Temasek Hall welcomed its first 485 residents in July 1988 as a full-fledged student residence. Now in its 35th year, it counts around 7,000 individuals as alumni, and prides itself on a fun-loving and innovative culture, a legacy of sporting triumphs, and its achievements in staging annual productions and charity activities.
In his welcome address, Temasek Hall Master Associate Professor Victor Tan who is also Deputy Head (Teaching) at NUS Mathematics, shared: “Your presence is a testament to the enduring spirit and close-knit community that we have fostered over the years.”
“It is a delight to see alumni from our very first 1988 cohort to classes of 1990s right up to 2023, including former Hall Master, Professor Francis Tay, as well as numerous resident fellows. We have built strong support and partnerships over the years,” he added.
Guests were also treated to various celebrations and performances throughout the evening, including a welcome toast, cake-cutting, and a special performance from Temasek Hall alumni band Imprompt-3. Consisting of four members, Mr Amos Yang (Arts and Social Sciences, ‘10), Mr Douglas Wong (Law, ‘10), Mr Mark Ng (Arts and Social Sciences, ‘10) and Mr Jensen Tan (Engineering, ‘11) first met in Temasek Hall in 2008. Since the band’s formation in 2009, they have won numerous university competitions and performed at various NUS and Temasek Hall events. In 2014, they also opened for American musician Taylor Swift's Red Tour concert after winning the Cornetto Ride for Fame competition.
“Our musical repertoire was inspired by our days in Temasek Hall. Little did we expect that our impromptu night-time jam sessions would turn into this 14-year journey,” said lead singer Amos, who was also Temasek Hall’s 14th Junior Common Room Committee President. “It was amazing to perform today in front of our home crowd and to see our alumni standing up to sing and dance to our tunes. Their appreciation is priceless and keeps us on stage,” he enthused.
An ongoing sporting legacy
Temasek Hall established its strengths in sporting achievements early in the Hall’s history, with this legacy continuing even today. At the gala dinner, the Hall celebrated and honoured the long-held legacy with the hoisting of the NUS Inter-Hall Games (IHG) Championship Trophy, which they clinched earlier this year.
With the past 14 Sports Directors gathered on stage, along with Hall Master Assoc Prof Tan and current co-Sport Director Calvin Loke (Year 4, NUS Business), the championship trophy was lifted with much pride and to the enthusiastic applause from the Hall community in the audience.
“Temasek Hall is the most awarded sports champion, having won 15 championships in NUS history. This year, our sportspeople continued to perform outstandingly. From handball to takraw to basketball – we came up tops, winning 16 gold medals,” said Calvin.
Speaking at the sidelines of the dinner, NUS Dean of Students Associate Professor Ho Han Kiat emphasised on the importance of bonds formed during the living and learning experiences of campus life.
“Residential experiences are an integral part of University life,” he said. “This is where friendships are ignited and lifetime bonds created outside the classroom – be they personal, formal or industry alliances. Vincent and Jacklyn, as well as Temasek Hall’s Imprompt-3, are some of many such amazing stories.”
“The 35th is a memorable year for all of us – from sporting and performing, to the gala dinner, it gave us an opportunity to deepen our ties with our seniors, Temasek Hall – our home away from home – as well as each other. It was a wonderful to engage and hear stories of yesteryear – share the stage and sports courts with alumni,” said Cultural Director Jermayne Yeo (Year 3, NUS Business)
Watch this video on the key milestones and student life at Temasek Hall over the past 35 years.
By Temasek Hall