Since the news broke, many tears were shed and countless more hearts were broken. The tragic losses of lives were just too much for Singaporeans to bear. We all felt a collective sense of loss when we hear about the deaths.

This will be our second blog entry about the tragic loss of lives during the Sabah Eaarthquake. We find a need to let out our grief and we could find no better way other than to blog it down.

Many years down the road, time may eventually heal our wounds. We will move on and we will smile again. This tragedy however, will never be forgotten, the promise that these lives hold will forever be remembered in our hearts and soul.

Minister Heng Swee Keat , Minister for Education, aptly describe the sentiments on the ground in his letter to all the teachers.

On 8 June, the state honored the lives lost in this tragedy by organising a Day of Remembrance and raising all state flags  half mast.

We shall honor them by never forgetting the fragility of life.

I shall quote what Mr Ghazi (currently still unaccounted for) said to his classes. “Never give up. Never turn a blind eye”

Here is a part of Minister’s Heng excerpt

“All the teachers of TKPS who were on the trip gave their best to watch over our children, and they deserve our greatest respect and gratitude. Our students tell of their teachers shielding them from falling rocks, and continuing to look after them despite their own injuries. Let us remember and live up to their selflessness and courage.

We must also honour our children by remembering that they have been brave, rugged and tenacious, striving to bring out their personal bests, and excited about heading ever forward together with their schoolmates.  Let us remember and draw hope from our children’s spirit to be the best they can be. 

It is not just the staff of TKPS who have rallied, but also their alumni and the community around the school, who step forward to show all of us what it means to care for our fellow Singaporeans.  Teachers and staff from other schools have also drawn closer to lend their strength.  Let us remember and be grateful for this community of support. 

Let us also remember our friends in Sabah who suffer the lasting effects of this earthquake.  The Malaysian authorities have been helpful and supportive.  We keep them in our thoughts for the lives they have tragically lost. 

The selflessness of our teachers reminds us to give our best to our students. The spirit of our children inspires us to be teachers. The support of our community and friends helps us go on when we face difficulties. I hope we remember these today and forever, so that we may live up to our fellow teachers, our students, and our community. Let us keep up our strength and spirit in this time of grief.  Let us stand together to support and care for our students, our community, and one another.”

His full note and the compilation of tributes collected at Tanjong Katong Primary school can be found here