Jean-Marc Deromedi, Former IFS Student and now President of the Executive Committee
As part of Lepetitjournal.com’s 20th anniversary, Jean-Marc Deromedi, President of the IFS Executive Committee, was interviewed by Le Petit Journal to share his experiences and memories of his many years in Singapore.
After arriving in Singapore at the age of 14, Jean-Marc Deromedi went to France for university, before returning to develop his family’s interior design business for over 20 years. Feeling very French, he has been involved over the years with the French Chamber of Commerce (FCCS), the French Foreign Trade Advisors or CCEs, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation for the Environment, as well as the International French School (Singapore), of which he is now President of the Executive Committee.
Find below an extract of the interview:
What memories do you have of Singapore when you first arrived? In the 2000s?
When I arrived in 1989, we took the ECP. I think I’ll remember for the rest of my life going up that majestic bridge with the City in the background. The rest was less majestic… It was too hot and humid for me, the school in Bukit Tinggi was tiny (less than 400 students from kindergarten to high school). Coming from Stanislas (editor’s note: a well-known French Parisian High School), I was a bit disappointed. I left on the day of the French Baccalaureate results, with the firm intention of never coming back. However, when I finished my studies, I came back… For 3 months… And I stayed. I grew up with Singapore and I could see the superb transformation of the city-state. What I thought was too small has become gigantic like the LFS… Oops the IFS…
On the economic front, the 2000s highlighted the fragility of these countries, which grew very fast, or too fast. The crises of 2001 and 2007 were particularly violent. Fortunately, Singapore was able to take strong measures to limit the damage. I remember, for example, being surprised to see my electricity bill reduced by 25% overnight. Singapore’s ability to react is really impressive! Events like 9/11 also had an impact. As a friend of the US, Singapore was considered untouchable. Security in the broadest sense is a real asset. Even though no one is untouchable anymore, there is still a real sense of security and, honestly, I love it!
Over the years, you have been involved in various French institutions in Singapore. Which ones?
I am very French. I constantly (and still after 32 years) feel the need to be in France. It was, first of all as a student at LFS. I never got caught for leaving school without permission. So, let’s say it didn’t happen… Nevertheless, I found myself on several occasions facing the assistant of the headmaster while waiting for a sanction that was often deserved. 30 years later, it is funny to note that Kamini is still the Principal’s assistant…
Then the French Chamber of Commerce as a member of the “youth” group, then as a member and co-chair of the business club. Here we worked to create a very important network of professionals to develop synergies. One day, in a business club meeting, I proposed a pétanque tournament… At the time I thought I had a chance of winning it… Still at the French Chamber of Commerce, after a few years of good and loyal service, I was elected administrator and finally vice-president. I was “retired” from this beautiful association after 4 mandates (the maximum).
In the meantime, I joined the Executive Committee of the LFS. The President at the time was my friend. One day he said to me: “Are you putting your son in the kindergarten? I need someone on the Board to take care of the kindergarten construction project…”. Again, I answer “of course”! The projects always end with new projects, so I helped build 2/3 of the current campus. And I’m not talking about the upcoming project. IFS is a great institution and will be even better tomorrow! I am now the President until I am retired again for having reached the maximum number of mandates…
I am also a French Foreign Trade Advisor when IFS gives me a break. Finally, I represent Monaco in Singapore and I co-organise fundraising for the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation for the Environment. In addition to fundraising, we are now planning to set up actions locally. I still need to get things moving! French institutions are very important in Singapore. For me personally, they are vital. I need to remember that I am French…
How do you see your future?
The future is normally conjugated in my house from 3 months to 3 months. At this point, I would say in Singapore, at least until our kids graduate… Maybe more… But I will be retired again in a year and a half… This time from IFS…
I won’t have many French institutions left to help me continue to feel French… Why not Le Petit Journal ?! 🙂
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