In this day and age, it is almost quaint to refer to “character” as an important attribute that makes a person what he is, and it is refreshing to read a schoolboy more than 70 years ago sharing his thoughts on the subject. Lim Hong Thou, who was studying in the School Certificate class of the Singapore Anglo-Chinese Continuation School, contributed this article to The Treasure, his school magazine, in 1938.
THE WORD “CHARACTER” is derived from the Greek word charasso, which means to cut or engrave. From its derivation, it is clear that one makes or engraves one’s character.
The word “character” must not be confused with the word “reputation”, for the latter is what people think about a person, while the former is the sum of those tendencies, habits and qualities which make up the individual man and distinguish him from his fellowmen.
Character is said to be influenced by two conditions: inherited tendencies and acquired habits. It is a well-known fact that some peculiarities of disposition, temper and natural impulses towards right or wrong, are inherited and passed from generation to generation. Therefore, over this part of character one has but little control. But it is again said that what we think and do makes what we are. And although over this part of character one has little control too, yet one has opportunities to improve it.
It is undoubtedly true that we shape and engrave our character by the habits we form. In this sense, man is not a free agent, for the early influence surrounding the child, and the habits formed in youth will have great eﬀects in the child’s after-life, in making and shaping the character of the person.
It is very true that man has the making of his character in his own hand. No matter how strong the inherited faults may be, he can conquer them, and triumph over them, if he wills it. So, man has the opportunity to cultivate his habits, and here lies the fact that character has a close connection with conduct, for character determines conduct and conduct makes character.
One’s character is one’s real moral condition. It is a glorious gift. Happiness, wealth, beauty and character; of these, the one that is most precious is character. For happiness sometimes fails, wealth takes to itself wings and beauty fades, but the one lasting quality in man is character. It is said to live even beyond the grave.
A man’s character has a great deal to do with the nation. A nation depends upon its every citizen, so the worth of a good character can never be over-estimated. No nation whose citizens are morally weak and corrupt can last long.
History tells us that the fall of great nations and powerful empires has always been due to their moral decay. It is the good man and woman, the just and pure minded, the unselfish, merciful and conscientious people in a nation that build it strong and preserve it from decay. They are the “salt of the earth”.
A wise man once said, “The best thing a man can do for his country is to be a good man.”
ACJC Fun-O-Rama returns on March 27
FUN-O-RAMA XX promises to be the best yet! The much-anticipated biennial food and fun fair returns on March 27 from 9.30 am to 6 pm at Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC).
The event showcases the enterprising and innovative talents of the ACJC students in an astounding variety of food and games stalls, and provides a wonderful opportunity for alumni, friends and supporters of the school to meet and revel in the carnival atmosphere.
Fans of Fun-O-Rama can look forward to old favourites like the Cake Stall as well as the updated supermarket, now known as the “shopping mall”.
The proceeds raised will go to the upgrading of college facilities to support future developments in the instructional programme. This will ensure that the education provided by ACJC prepares its students for the future.
The ACJC Fun-O-Rama is an event not to be missed. Coupons may be obtained from the ACJC General Oﬃce at 25 Dover Close East (tel: 6775-0511).
Further information may also be obtained by visiting the oﬃcial website at http://www.acjc.edu.sg/funorama or by emailing the college at email@example.com