In this chat with her son Ng Yi Xian, Executive Director of EtonHouse, Mrs Ng shares words of encouragement to the EtonHouse community amidst the COVID 19 pandemic. As she sheds light on dealing with challenges during difficult times, Mrs Ng hopes to spread positivity and comfort as we battle through these times of changes and uncertainties together. She too has had to adjust with many changes at work and at home. The new normalcy has led her to take up newfound hobbies as well as stepping up her proficiency in technology to connect with the EtonHouse staff and host webinars. May we also find the inspiration to continue learning new things and the passion to make the most of every day as we go through these unprecedented times.
Q1 - Mum, can you share with everyone what EtonHouse has been going through during this COVID 19 period?
This is a very special time and an extraordinary time. It is unfortunate that at the beginning of 2020, we are faced with the attack of COVID 19. And our lives have never been the same. We have lost the opportunity for face to face contact and meeting one another online is never the same!
So, at the moment, almost all our 120 schools across the world are offering online learning. During this time, it is quite difficult for us. We do not have revenue but continue to incur expenditure on staff costs and overheads. Our financial position is adversely affected. Fortunately for the last 25 years, EtonHouse has accumulated healthy reserves and we are confident that we will be able to overcome this difficult time.
Q2 - And, is this your first crisis?
During my 25 years at EtonHouse, we have gone through many, many crises. We suffered during the SARS period. That was in 2003 when we first went to China. We couldn’t visit China and had to go through a quarantine period. The school was in a disaster when it was first being renovated.
Against all odds, we overcame that difficult time during SARS and our expansion in China flourished. I belong to the Merdeka generation and have seen many crises for the last sixty years. SARS, Ebola, and now Covid 19.
Similarly, I hope that through this crisis, EtonHouse will come out even stronger than before.
Q3 - Is there anything different about this crisis with EtonHouse compared to the last few crises you’ve seen?
This crisis is quite special because it is worldwide. Besides China, Singapore and Europe, it’s in the East and West as well. So, I think the economy is going to be adversely affected. We have to prepare for the long haul. But, I also hope that we can do some deep thinking and reflection. I hope we will also see innovations related to education and new ideas that will allow us to impact the lives of children. Perhaps new ways of teaching and learning as well as unique ways to connect and engage with children.
One very special thing that’s been happening is that everyone has been doing home-based-learning. And I laugh because even you have also had to become a lifelong learner. You have had to learn how to do video conferencing on your own.So, everyone is a lifelong learner throughout this period.
Q4 - Is there a final message you want to share with the EtonHouse community?
The Chinese word for crisis- 危机 (Wéijī) means that during difficult times, opportunities will surface. So, I do hope that all of us take this quiet time to do some deep reflection, some deep thinking and spend quality time with the family.
Who knows, you may fall in love with new passions you did not realise you would and change your lives completely!
Q5 - Mum, I think you have 2 new loves and 1 big passion for cooking. Do share with everyone.
Yes, the good news is that I am promoted to being a grandmother.
The feeling of holding my grandchildren is like falling in love again! My husband used to complain that I fell in love with EtonHouse and then E-Bridge. I fell in love with my three children E-Ching, Yi-Sheng, and Yi-Xian. The good thing is that he can’t complain that I have fallen in love with my grandchildren as he too has fallen in love with them.
Personally, I am enjoying time with my family. It was as if going back 40 years ago when I was a full-time mother except I don’t have to fetch children to and from school.
I also enjoy cooking and catching up with technology. I learnt how to cook some new dishes on YouTube!
I know that because I have gained 5kgs.
Thank you mum, and thank you, everyone, for all your hard work. Thank you.