Interviewing Principal Ha(English Day)

日期: 21/05/2019


1. In POMA, we believe that everyone has their strengths. Principal Ha, can you share with us one of your signature strengths and how this strength has allowed you to become a better person in life or at work?


Love of learning is my signature strength.


Being a principal gives me all the reasons to be a life-long learner. The education sector today and what it calls for are very much different from what it used to be like 10 years ago. When education is ever-changing, there is no way I can stop myself from being a keen observer and learner. It is this constant sense of insufficiency that has allowed me to equip myself for more. I seize every chance to be exposed to new information, to master new skills, to keep abreast of the latest trends and development in the education sector and to be informed by others’ experience as a way to enrich and broaden my thinking.


Working at the office could be tiresome sometimes. What I perhaps enjoy doing more is engaging myself in the dialogues that I have with different people – whether they are students, colleagues or other principals. This melting-pot experience allows growth points and I would not shut myself off any channels where information and ideas come in. Over time, qualities such as tolerance, appreciation of differences and diversity come about naturally. This process of value-addedness allows me to view education as growing, not stagnant. It is this thinking that has allowed me to bring POMA to new heights while ensuring that development takes places in a way that is in line with the current education reforms.


I wouldn’t call myself a bookworm but I set myself a target of reading two books every month to just make sure that I am not too much detached from society and the world. Reading encourages thinking and cultivates a greater degree of awareness of the many viewpoints that I would otherwise overlook.


2. Coming almost to the end of the school year, I guess we are no stranger to the PERMA-H model. In what ways can this model help us become a better person?


PERMA-H model is in essence a way to make us better people who lead flourishing lives.


The basis of a better life rests with good health – physical, psychological and mental health. A good health is a precursor to any great plans that we have in mind. If we are not in our best conditions, even a best plan cannot be executed.


Another essential component is about finding meaning or purpose of what we do. Know what gives us a sense of satisfaction and engage in it. While we may get bored sometimes, it is essential to know how to keep this fire growing. In other words, many things bring a sense of satisfaction but whether this is the satisfaction that we derive from within and whether it can be sustained over time is a more important question to answer.


Equally important is the element of positive relationship. It gives rise to not only positive emotions, but it also allows us to work with others more effectively and smoothly. Believe it or not, with better interpersonal relationships, success will come about more easily.


3. How can positive thinking benefit your work life and your personal life?


I am sure many must have heard of the saying “Where there is a will, there is a way.” A strong will has to be honed and strengthened with experience. I do not wish for a life that is plain-sailing, but a life where I am able to sail through obstacles and hardship.


Sometimes, a bit of reverse thinking is needed, like seeing things as not the way they seem. There isn’t a good life or bad life. It is how we respond to circumstances that determines whether it is good or not. It can’t be more true that everything comes down to our perception and outlook.


I enjoy basking myself in this kind of experience, for it allows me to be at peace with myself, to rise to challenges more readily and to think that there are no lack of possibilities and options in dealing with a problem.


4. How can POMA students balance their school life and personal life?


For one thing, get your priority right. Physical and mental health should be above all else. Allow sufficient time for exercise. Excessive revision could be counter-productive. Sufficient rest allows our body to function at its best. When our mind and body are attuned to learning, effective learning and sound performance come about naturally.


It is equally important to set aside quality time for people that you love. Family and friends are a good source of positivity, from which you feel loved and supported. Be really generous with the time that you reserve for them – or I should say for yourself – and rid yourself of the thinking that the time spent with your family and friends could be better spent on revision.


To some, their school life is shaped by circumstances but some take school life into their hands and they define it themselves. What I mean is that it takes courage to venture out of our comfort zone. The joy, the rewards and the memories that we gain from the sacrifice that we are willing to make in whether being a student leader or engaging ourselves more extensively in extra-curricular activities will definitely make our effort all the more worthwhile.


In short, making an effort in what I said could bring your life to fruition.


5. The exam is coming. Any tips for POMA students to better prepare for the final exam?


Different people are at different points along their journey of improvement. If you always compare your chapter 1 to somebody else’s chapter 10, you will only end up disappointing yourself. I know it’s hard not to compare ourselves with others but try to focus on yourself when you set a goal for yourself – a goal that is specific and sufficiently challenging. Nobody can do it all at a time and it is why I emphasize sufficiently challenging. A goal that is too remote is bound to disappoint; a goal that is readily within reach is simply not a goal.


I don’t believe in a standard receipt when it comes to revision. Depending on your personality and styles of learning, when, where and who should be among your considerations. In other words, when to revise, how long to revise, where to revise and who to revise with could have an impact on the effectiveness of the process of revision. Don’t lose sight of priority and steer clear of distractions.


If we study only for exams, our passion and momentum can only be short-lived and limited. Rather, if we look beyond the exams and turn revision into some kind of habit, we see a bigger picture. The trick lies in giving what we do a facelift, a new meaning or a new dimension.


6. To end, what do you think of the performance of two of us as the Chief English Ambassadors and the whole English Ambassador Team?


A big thumbs-up to the whole team of English Ambassadors, especially the two of you. The very good response in different activities is testimony to your hard work and teamwork. Of all activities, I am particularly impressed with the English Week, which is no less a showcase of talents, enthusiasm and great thinking. I am sure this experience of learning outside the classroom has abundantly enriched your school life and added to the fun of language learning. I am very pleased to see students taking the lead in the planning and organisation of activities. Opportunities like these exactly give students the chance to step out of their comfort zone where they will be informed by their experience, become more willing to try and set themselves on a path of achieving excellence over time. Along the path of growth, self-discovery and sustained improvement, students’ effort is indeed a direct response to the school’s major concerns, especially over the primacy of “growth”.


I would like to take this chance to thank the two of you for being very good role models for your fellow schoolmates. No one should feel that they can’t be a good leader without giving it a try. Leaders are made, not born. And, of course, being a leader entails a willingness to take up duties and being receptive to advice.


Don’t limit your challenge but challenge your limits.