Inspiring Teachers Awards: He's a father figure who taught us to be masters of our own lives

After more than 25 years, Christine still remembers the teachings of her former Taekwondo instructor, Mr RA Jeyaraman.

Here is Christine's entry for the Samsung-Stomp Inspiring Teachers Awards:

"My most inspiring teacher is none other than my former Taekwondo instructor, Mr RA Jeyaraman.

"Back in the late 1980s, not every child had the opportunity to learn martial arts. My parents enrolled us at Sembawang Community Club so we could spend our time meaningfully and hopefully, we learn to defend ourselves. We were expecting the training to be fun and easy but we got more than what we had anticipated for.

"My master commanded complete discipline - not only during the training but also in our lives. He was like a stern yet caring father figure inculcating us to have respect for the martial arts, for our parents, as well as for others.

"He imparted important life skills and values we did not get to learn from books. He emphasised on a fair play of sportsmanship and building resilience in the face of adversity.

"He was one of the significant adults who believed in us more than we could ever believe in ourselves. He placed us in tournaments to compete on the same platform as those from private clubs. He knew when we were ready to experience defeats as he wanted us to appreciate the taste of victory.

"After we attained our first dan and moved on to tertiary institutions, we stopped training and gradually lost contact with our master. Nevertheless his teachings remained etched in our hearts and somewhat impacted us to be who and where we are today. As teachers and as a counsellor, we strive to impart those values and believe our changes are capable to make a difference in other people's lives too.

"Last week we finally met up with Master again after 25 long years. He is teaching at Chong Pang Community Club and he is still the same stern master with a really big heart. As a Senior Examiner and Advisor to President of Singapore Taekwondo Federation (STF), he strongly believes in instilling the values of respect and discipline in our younger generation just like he did with us decades ago. This was clearly reflected in the way he conducted training as stipulated in STF guidelines and it still stands true today. 

"Thank you for teaching us to be masters of our own lives, Sir."

Have a teacher you want to nominate? Find out how to join the Samsung-Stomp Inspiring Teachers Awards here.

Read all entries for the contest here.