Community & Service 17 Nov 2020

Alumni spotlight - Robin Muljadi (1995)

By CIS Communications
Photograph by CIS Communications

While Robin Muljadi only spent one year at CIS in 1995 (grade 8 at Toh Tuck for those of you who remember), it was a year that left a lasting impact on his life. He said, “it wasn’t a very big campus then, but the environment was warm, diverse and friendly. I made lots of international friends and celebrated many colourful festivals.”

An important milestone

Robin, who hails from Indonesia and now has two children, told us how the most memorable part of his time at CIS was the science fair. “My father was astonished at how much time and effort I was spending on my science project - which was a kaleidoscope. He was kind of dismissive at the time but I insisted on working it because I was having fun. My principal and teacher loved my project and I even got an award for it!”

It was an important milestone for him because the achievement helped him to believe in his own abilities and gave him a much needed confidence boost. At that time, Robin had low esteem because he had been bullied as a student at home in Indonesia. 

Robin’s time at CIS didn’t last very long as the family left for the USA the following year. Although he had to begin afresh in a foreign country and a new school, the transition was easier because of his experiences at CIS. “The education system in Indonesia was more directive. You just did what the teacher tells you - hardly any critical thinking skills are needed. I was good at taking tests and memorising information but I didn’t really understand what I was learning. At CIS, things were different. I learned to question things, which helped me a lot when I transitioned to high school in California.”

Stepping out of his comfort zone

After Robin graduated from high school, he went on to study computer science in the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. From there, he worked in a variety of fields that took him around the world. These included his family’s optical chain business and his wife’s family business in commodities and trading. 

From all appearances, Robin has led a pretty successful life. So why did he decide to step out of his comfort zone to become a parenting and anti-bullying specialist/certified meditation facilitator? Robin told us that it all began when his firstborn Edgar was born with a hole in his heart. 

When the doctor said that they would monitor the situation for 4 months before deciding if Edgar needed an operation, Robin and his wife were devastated. He said, “I cannot tell you how much stress this caused us. We started to question why this sort of thing happened to us and we started to blame each other.”

They eventually learned to accept and process their emotions in a healthy way. He said, “I didn’t have a hole in my heart but this was an eye-opener. I came to realise that I actually felt empty after all those years. We thought we had it all - career, house, family, but we were really just repressing our emotions.”

Although Edgar’s condition improved and he thankfully didn’t need an operation in the end, Robin knew that he had to prioritise his and his family’s personal wellbeing from then on. He was in a well-paying job at that time but he often felt like a zombie and wanted to explore something outside his comfort zone. This arrived in the form of an opportunity to pursue a career in wellness so he jumped at it and the rest is history. 

Positive transformation

That was 7 years ago. Today Robin is a parenting and anti-bullying specialist/certified meditation facilitator at The Golden Space Indonesia and he told us that he is very grateful for how things had turned out. Now his goal is to help children become more empowered and mindful of their wellbeing. 

He said, “it’s ok to be vulnerable at times. The most important thing is to develop resilience because change is normal. Many students are under immense pressure from expectations and demands. It’s never too late to learn how to be kinder to ourselves and embrace change fearlessly.”