Thursday, March 26, 2009

District 80 Area L1 Toastmasters Competition

24 March 2009

Time flies. I remember that I participated in the District 80 Area L1 Toastmasters competition last year. I had joined Toastmasters for a brief period and was asked to represent the club in the English prepared speech competition. It's a pity there isn't any English competition this year.

I rushed down from school and reached in time to assume my duty as a photographer.

The contestants were well prepared and spoke with their unique style. There was much to learn - from the blunders and beauties of their presentation.

Weiquan and Adelene represented Kg Chai Chee CC Toastmasters Club and did us proud.

I'm beginning to like the Toastmasters culture. It's a place where everyone gathers to learn from one another and where it's perfectly alright to make mistakes.

Attendees (who stayed back for the photo-taking):

The Kg Chai Chee CC TMC Family:

Log onto today to realise your speaking potential. Kg Chai Chee CC Toastmasters Club is a unique bilingual Toastmasters Club!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Qing Ming Festival 2009

22 March 2009

I always look forward to offer prayers to my ancestors during Qing Ming Festival. It is a time when relatives gather and I get to catch up with my cousins. Our journey there usually starts with a fun lorry ride.

I love sitting at the back of the lorry as it speeds down the expressway. The strong wind with the scenery clear the hectic mind. My Uncle would drive us in his lorry until we reach Fong Yun Thai Association Columbarium off Holland Drive. Most of the people who come here to pray to their ancestors belong to the Hakka dialect group. My paternal relatives used to reside in kampongs at Pulau Tekong before the Government decided to use the land for military training. Here, they would bump into their kampong friends.

I remember when we came last year, Felicia Chin smiled and walked past us. Too bad, no celebrities this year.

In my childhood days, I would always be folding incense papers every month, together with Grandma. Until now, my folding still looks ugly. Cousin Felicia picked up this new skill on this very day.

Right after the burning of the incense, everyone loaded the logistics back onto the lorry. This is the time where all of us would feast into the buns and pastries.

Headed to school from Bukit Timah to submit my essay on a beautiful Sunday...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Trip to Singapore Flyer

21 March 2009

After Fun With Email, I had some rest before heading to meet Baohui. 

I thought the Singapore Flyer would be crowded on a weekend afternoon. I was apparently wrong. We bought the tickets (very costly!) and went straight into the Ferris Wheel.

The Wheel turned real slow. Without looking at a fixed point, one won't be able to feel the movement of it. As we climbed towards the top, the scenery just got fantastic.

The sun was setting as we climbed to the peak. I'm deeply impressed with the Urban Redevelopment Authority for coming up with such a powerful landscape. It makes me feel proud to be a Singaporean.

As we were coming down, Baohui felt the height effect.

Fun With Email

21 March 2009

The idea of providing email training to the residents of Eunos had been proposed during the North East CDC meeting. This was to be part of Neighbours Connect!, a project which aims to allow neighbours to get to know one another better through grassroots events as well as the New Media.

After our February YEC meeting, a group of us - Brenda, Chee Lee, Hock Rong and Ming Choo - chilled at the coffeeshop and decided to organise this meaningful event and we named it Fun With Email, in our attempt to make it sound youthful, and at the same time, dispel the myth that learning IT is difficult.

When Hock Rong and I returned from the Hong Kong exchange programme, we received updates from Edmund that Bedok North Secondary School would be providing us with the premises for the Email workshop. Special thanks to BNSS SLC teachers-in-charge, Ms Haidah and Ms Sunarti, as well as the HOD IT!

In the early morning of the workshop, Hock Rong, Chee Lee and I bought the refreshments and headed to the BNSS Computer Lab. Wei Kiat was already there with the students. The workshop started at 10 am, and we were encouraged by a few residents who walked in after seeing our publicity materials.

Among the participants were some grassroots leaders, including Eunos Zone '3' Residents' Committee Chairman, Mr Sawaran Singh and Treasurer, Mdm Kim Bay.

Students from the BNSS Service Learning Club interacted with the residents, guided and answered their queries. Without the students, I doubt I could complete the workshop in less than 2 hours.

The topics covered were: Why Learn Email; Setting up a Gmail account; Reading Emails; Reading and Composing Emails; Attaching Documents and Pictures to Emails; Making your own Address Book; Email Etiquettes.

The session ended with positive feedback from all of the residents. Most asked if this would be held weekly, others asked to provide advanced courses. We were extremely excited by their enthusiasm and will definitely come back with more. I hope I would be able to realise my dream of connecting the whole of Eunos via FaceBook :)

Special Thanks to Hock Rong for the wonderful photography and ensuring that all went well~

Friday, March 20, 2009

Touring Naval Diving Unit Camp

18 March 2009

Lin Qiang enrols into National Service today. Mother, Lin Qiang and I met Uncle at 6.30am to be driven to Sembawang Camp. I didn't know it was that far away from home. It took us 1 hour to reach.

On our way in, we saw the mascot of the NDU. It was a frog with wings. From Lin Qiang, I understood that NDU divers are frogman, a direct translation of the Chinese term for divers 蛙人.

The enlistees took their seats at the front while their family members sat at the back. When everyone had arrived, the training warrants took us for a tour round the camp. The deepest impression I had was the training ground at the open sea. Right opposite within visible range is Malaysia. Nuff said...

The enlistees recited their pledge and that brought back fond memories. A few years ago, I was there pledging my life for Singapore. When we're done in the hall, we went to the cookhouse for our last meal in camp together.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Launch of Eunos Zone '3' Website

15 March 2009

As New Media Champion of Eunos, I had actively come up with new initiatives to outreach to residents and youths. So when my Residents' Committee Vice-Chairlady Mdm Sim asked me to launch our website, I agreed to it.

Slightly before 10am, I went to Eunos Community Club to set up the projector and prepare myself for the presentation.

I presented the features of the website and also explained how we stay connected with the residents via photo albums and FaceBook. Technology is constantly changing and the aim to use New Media as a tool to bond residents must involve creative marketing and strategies.

And I am glad to have a supportive committee which share the same vision :)

After the event, I rushed off to NUS Openhouse to help out at NUS Students' Political Association booth.

It is great to be able to apply the skills I develop from grassroots into school activities. Talked with a lot of people and felt great being able to offer them advice on their education prospects.

SSG Koh's Baby First Month Celebrations

14 March 2009

After the weekly meeting with Bedok North Secondary School Service Learning Club students, I rushed off to Jurong Spring Community Club to attend SSG Koh's Baby First Month Celebrations.

This is a traditional Chinese custom of celebrating the first month for newborn babies. In Singapore, this is usually carried out in the form of a housewarming party, with buffets and red-dyed eggs for friends and relatives. Friends and relatives will come with gifts and to catch a glimpse of the lucky couple and the cute offspring.

Tengda arrived at the same time as Wee Keat and I. We chatted with our upper studies and our under studies. The last time all of us met was at SSG Koh's wedding dinner.

Sergeant Nick came with his baby too!

It's good to see that everyone looked the same. Memories of my military life resurfaced in my head.

Policy Studies 2009 Grand Finals

13 March 2009

Out of 16 teams, the best 2 teams would compete to clinch the Championship for Policy Studies 2009 Grand Finals. The motion of the debate is THW legalise pornography. The proposition is Raffles Junior College and the opposition is Pioneer Junior College.

After months of planning, meetings after meetings, the BIG day finally arrived! I collected the certificates and reached campus at 4pm, where we brought the logistics to the venue (LT 17).

As the event was open to public, I rallied all my contacts to attend the Grand Finals. I truly appreciate Hock Rong, Chee Lee, Liling, Hao En as well as Stephanie and Dorothy (who didn't manage to find the place) for their support.

I conducted the briefing at 5.30pm and participants began to walk in.

The Guest-of-Honour is Mr Teo Ser Luck, Senior Parlimentary Secretary, Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports & Ministry of Transport.

I was the timer for the debate session. With me was the emcee and chairperson for the debate, Soo Kuang. He is the President of NUS Toastmasters Club and we had a great talk over our Toastmasters experience before the event.

The judges were Dr Daniel Pellerin from the Political Science Department, FASS, NUS and Dr Cheah Wui Ling from Faculty of Law, NUS.

Both teams fought hard during the crossfire. The Championship eventually went to Raffles Junior College, who walked away with $600 cash prize and trophies. Pioneer Junior College walked away with $400 cash prize and trophies.

We had a small chat with Mr Teo during refreshments. He could still remember us from a meeting that we attended a few days ago.

Singapore PMTA Mandarin Toastmasters Chapter Meeting

10 March 2009

Was invited by Angie to help out as a Table Topics Master at her Toastmasters Club chapter meeting. The fact that I am an English Toastmaster did not affect her decision to invite me. I gladly accepted the challenge and turned up at Textile Centre at 7pm.

This is the first chapter meeting I attended that is not held by my club. I arrived early and made some new friends. There, I found out that PMTA stands for Professional Manipulative Therapist Association. The club has now only 2 of them from the association, while others come from various walks of life.

Due to absentees, I also helped out as the timer. I was rather affected when the Club President, both in his opening address and closing speech, talked more about the company than Toastmasters. The chapter meeting was held at the office of an American MLM company.

The theme of my Table Topics segment was on Women since the past Sunday was International Women's Day. It was a fun experience interacting with the members.

Policy Studies 2009 Preliminaries

9 March 2009

Policy Studies (PS) 2009 is an inaugural debate series targeted at all youths across Singapore. It provides an avenue for youths to analyse local public policies and engage in meaningful crossfire. The proposed theme is “Moral and Ethical Dilemmas in Policymaking”. The competition should prove to be a battle of brains, a war of words. [see]

Cash for Organs?

Policy Studies 2009 committee includes Genim Tan (Director), Cam Anh Emily (Programme Director), See Teng (Marketing Director), Lee Jun Hoong (Logistics Director), Joyce Lee (Liaison Director) and myself as Publicity Director.

At 4pm, together with some helpers from other committees, we set up the rooms to prepare for the policy debate preliminaries. A total of 16 teams of 4 members participated. There were 2 sessions and in each session, there would be 4 ongoing debates.

The first motion was THW (This House Would) abolish the opt-out system of HOTA. I was the Chairperson for the debate in my room. The proposition team was Temasek JC and the opposition was Raffles JC. Enjoyed chatting with my juniors from TJC, but had to be the bad guy to announce that they didn't win the debate.

Smoking in the Yellow Box

The second motion was THW allow organ donors to receive compensation. The proposition was Alpha Lancers (NUS students) and the opposition was Pioneer Junior College. Alpha Lancers won.

2 teams would enter the Grand finals held on the coming Friday, where teams will debate on:

Should Pornography be Legalised in Singapore?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Eunos Town Day 2009

8 March 2009

Eunos Town Day 2009 is spearheaded by Zone '5' & '6' RCs. During this annual event, the Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC (Eunos Division), Mayor Zainul Abidin Rasheed, would meet residents for a dialogue. He would be joined by representatives from the CCC Chairman, CCMC Chairman, as well as representatives from various agencies such as Town Council, HDB, LTA and NEA.

As this is a constituent event, Eunos Zone '3' RC members participated by helping out at the Popcorn and Candy floss stall.

The YEC and Bedok North Secondary School SLC managed a massaging booth, providing free services to residents. After being declined by some professional masseurs to teach the students massaging techniques, I came up with 5 simple steps. It was heartening to see that the residents enjoyed the massaging.

During the dialogue, most of the residents who asked questions were concerned about the ailing economy. There was a Sociology graduate who voiced concern about employment. As usual, there are also feedback on the aesthetic aspects and maintenance of the estate.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

"Home is Where the Heart is?"

1 March 2009

Went for the PAYM Policy Forum @ Aljunied GRC & Hougang SMC at The Art House @ The Old Parliament.

As we were walking towards the Art House, we bumped into MediaCorp Artiste Tay Ping Hui. The rest were so shy so Hock Rong and I just proceeded to have a picture with him. He is friendly and approachable.

The forum was held at the Blue Room, a very conducive setting for discussion.

The Guest-of-Honour is Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport. The topic was about the meaning of National Identity and Family Bonds in the age of globalisation. Mrs Lim started the session by her speech and then the participants discussed among ourselves on various scopes, such as Arts & Culture, National Icons, Connectivity and Foreign Workers.

I acted as the facilitator for my group which was discussing on Connectivity. Singapore's connectivity with the rest of the world has its advantages and disadvantages. How do we achieve such a balance?

My group went round a loop, starting from how we thought Singapore was too competitive and stressful, then understanding that we are proud of the Singapore Brand, and then realised without the competitiveness and the continual strive to succeed, there could be no Singapore Brand.

Eunos Youths with Mrs Lim Hwee Hua:

It rained heavily after the forum. With just 3 umbrellas (1 would later be destroyed by the strong wind), we shuttled one another to various shelters until we reached the bus stop. All of us enjoyed dinner with our Youth Staff, Edmund.