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MCI (P) 098/06/2018












Empowering Women

in Asia 02



Many Paths To Success

SINDA Launches Community Impact Fund

Top Achievers Honoured At SINDA Excellence Awards


Dear Friends, We are coming to the end of another significant year, filled with accomplishments and achievements. At the recent Joint Tuition Awards and the SINDA Excellence Awards, we commended our Indian students for excelling not just in academics, but also in sports and the arts. It makes me proud to see our students succeed in their chosen pathways—they have their loved ones, teachers, coaches and the community to thank for the community for providing them with encouragement and guidance. One such student was 25-year-old Faraaz Amzaar—Valedictorian at the SINDA Excellence Awards. In secondary school, his lack of motivation caused his grades to suffer, leading him to leave school to complete his O-Levels privately. Despite countless setbacks, Faraaz persevered with the support of his friends and family, who helped renew his sense of purpose and drive. The former STEP beneficiary has since graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Law, and is currently pursuing a successful career.

Individuals like Faraaz inspire us and are proof that regardless of setbacks, anything can be achieved when one is determined. We want to maximise opportunities available to our people so that they receive optimal support. In May, we saw the launch of the Hello Baby Gift Hamper, which includes toys and learning tools for newborns to aid their holistic development from an early age. Youth now have a conducive space in the form of a SINDA Youth Hub at Jurong Point, where they can study and interact with their peers. We also introduced ‘Mentor Me’ for our tertiary students to better understand their chosen industries and benefit from the experience of those who have walked the path before them.

hands to do all we can for our people. We want to achieve an inclusive and cohesive community, where every single individual receives holistic support on their path to success. I am always heartened and encouraged by the many conversations with members in the community and by their support for SINDA. Fulfilling the needs of our people and serving our community well is at the heart of everything that we do at SINDA and we aim to do it well. With 2019 on the horizon, let us return in the new year with a renewed spirit and the determination to excel and attain greater heights! Happy holidays from Team SINDA!

All of these were not just efforts by SINDA alone. Instead, it was the coming together of many

Anbarasu Rajendran Acting CEO, SINDA


Looking Back 02–03


• Community Article: Many Paths to Success


What’s New

• SINDA Community Impact Fund • Vibrance @ Yishun Self-Help Groups Centre



• Roshni Mahtani

• Shiraz Alexander Joseph • Rajkiran Parienan


One of Us


Event Highlights 16 Quiz-O-Mania • Top Achievers Honoured at 27th SINDA Excellence Awards • High Spirits During the Holidays • Writing the Code for the Future • The Helping Hands That Make a Difference • The Call of Futsal • Game for a Challenge • Go-Getters Excel at 15th Joint Tuition Awards



• Jar Lanterns

PUBLISHER Singapore Indian Development Association EDITORIAL TEAM Corporate & Marketing Communications Division CHIEF EDITOR Ravindran Nagalingam, COO, SINDA DEPUTY EDITOR Dhanasegaran Narayanasamy PRODUCTION EDITORS Priyaa Vasudevan, Manesh Rangarajan, Gowri Kanagarajah DESIGN & LAYOUT Green House Design + Communications PRINTER Stamford Press Pte Ltd, Licence No: L022/04/2012 TO SUBSCRIBE to SINDA Connections or inform us of a change of mailing address, send your updated home or office address to connections@sinda.org.sg. TO CONTRIBUTE towards the SINDA CPF Fund (to start contributing or increase contributions), please contact us at 1800 295 3333, or visit www.sinda.org.sg.



CREATIVE CHEFS WORKSHOPS The Creative Chefs workshops were held on 18 and 19 August. Families cooked up a storm at The Little Things Cooking School, where they tried their hands at mixing, stirring and cutting, while picking up culinary do’s and don’ts. Children were taught to use kitchen utensils and ingredients with confidence and finesse. Then they teamed up with their parents to create sweet and savoury delights from scratch, such as pizza, smoothies and fruit tarts!

NATURE WALKS On 9 August, a group of parents and children embarked on a 2.5 kilometre-long walk through the Singapore Botanic Gardens. This was the first in a series of walks aimed at encouraging parents to unwind from their busy schedules, get active with their families and be positive influences in their children’s lives. Both fun and meaningful, the walks brought families to various iconic locations in Singapore, from Labrador Park and the Southern Ridges to Fort Canning Park. Along the way, they learnt new things about our local flora and fauna! To top it off, everyone received a finisher medal to commemorate completing the walk.

BOEING CAMPUS TOUR On 22 June, our youth got the incredible opportunity to visit Asia’s largest aviation training facility, the Boeing Training & Professional Services Campus in Changi, as part of SINDA’s Holiday Engagement Programme. Not only did they get to tour the facilities, but they also experienced being in a flight simulator. Other activities such as building aeroplanes out of craft materials added to a most memorable time. 1



Many Paths to Success By Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister, Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Finance and Education and President, SINDA Education is a topic close to every parent’s heart. We want the best for our children and we want to ensure good jobs for them when they leave school and enter the working world. At the same time, many parents are concerned about competition, exam stress and whether children can still enjoy their childhood and youth. As a government, this is our preoccupation too. In the last few years, we have made major shifts in the direction of our education system to address these issues. The old paradigm is heavily focused on grades. This has led to the fear that if children do not get into particular schools, then they will not have a bright future. There is also concern that if a child is not in the Express stream, then they will not succeed in life. These fears are based on the assumption that there is only one path to success. However, the reality is that there are many paths. Our children have various personalities, talents, abilities and interests. Some might find their calling in the arts or sports, whereas some might be more inclined towards mathematics, science or linguistics. Many parents still aspire for their children to become doctors, lawyers and accountants—these being the professions by which success is most often benchmarked. There is nothing wrong with this. However, the future economy will be much more diverse than today’s. We are already seeing demand for many new types of jobs and professional skills which pay well. Growth areas of the future include cyber security, data analytics, artificial intelligence, financial forensics, intellectual property management and asset valuation, to name just a few. At the same time, there is also a growing demand for artisanal skills. Following a pathway that one is passionate about instead of an academic path can also lead to a rewarding and fulfilling career.


In April, the Business Times carried an article on a young Singaporean, John Chung, who won the world championships in the World Shoe Shining Competition! Now, most parents would not aspire for their child to be a shoe-shiner. But John is not just any shoe shiner. He owns a shoe-shine bar called Mason & Smith at Telok Ayer Street, and charges for their shoe shines start at $18. A military-grade mirror shine with 50 layers of wax costs $60. Repairs can come up to $450. John is not just a shoe shiner – he is someone who has taken a humble skill and made it into a successful business. On 24 June, the South China Morning Post reported on Sean Lee, who decided to withdraw from university and pursue a career in photography instead. The photos he took of his family and of people in Cambodia won the ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu photography award in 2011, bringing him a steady stream of work and subsequently, a successful photography business of his own. An ageing population, changing demographic profiles, social needs and the gig economy will also combine to generate unusual new jobs. I was discussing the future of work with fellow SINDA EXCO member, Mr K.V. Rao of the Tata group, who told me about a job with a fascinating title “Walker/ Talker”, which made the list of “21 Jobs of the Future” by Cognizant’s Centre for the Future of Work. What is that, you might ask? Well, as the name implies, a walker/talker is someone who provides companionship, conversation and a listening ear to those in need of it, such as the lonely elderly. In an increasingly fast-paced world driven by technology, we will experience a deficit in human attention. The walker/talker fills that gap. The skills and qualifications needed are: any type of work background and experience, the ability to use phone-based apps, the ability to travel to the customer’s home, excellent time management and follow-through skills.

We are re-shaping our education system to cater for the varied job landscape ahead. Our system offers choices to cater for the diversity in interests and abilities. Hence, in the school system the different streams—Express, Normal Academic and Normal Technical—cater to students with different strengths and learning paces. In addition to the usual O- and A-Levels, we have the Integrated Programme (IP) and the International Baccalaureate (IB). We have specialist schools like Northlight, Spectra, and Crest for those who prefer practical hands-on learning, School of the Arts for those who love the arts and the Singapore Sports School for those who excel in sports. We have the junior college route for those who are more academically inclined; and the polytechnic and ITE routes for those who prefer an applied pathway. Within the polys and ITEs there is a wide range of courses to choose from—from nursing, mechatronics and sports management to aviation, maritime and design.

It used to be the case where education stopped when you left school. Now however, education is a continuum. Learning continues throughout working life. To help Singaporeans continue learning through life and keep up with changes in the various sectors, we have the SkillsFuture programmes, the Adapt & Grow schemes and the Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP). With such a diverse and varied landscape, the key to success is in choosing the path that best suits the individual, and not having everyone follow the same path. This is where career counselling, internships and career trials come in. Career counselling is available in schools and from Workforce Singapore. We are making the system much more flexible so people can progress at different stages of life. We must move away from thinking that there is only one path to success. There are many paths for young people and adults to reach their goals. Choose the one that is right for you.

Poly and ITE graduates have many options upon completing their courses: they can pursue further studies, then work; or start work immediately and perhaps, pursue further studies later. They can also choose to take part in the Earn and Learn programme, at the end of which they get an Advanced Diploma (for poly graduates) or a diploma (for ITE graduates).




SMALL STEPS. BIG HEART. GREATER CHANGE. Have you always wanted to make a difference in the community and improve the lives of those around you? The SINDA Community Impact Fund (SCIF) is here to help you turn your aspirations into reality. SINDA welcomes individuals or organisations to provide innovative ideas that will generate a positive and sustainable social impact. We are looking for solutions driven by a social purpose that contribute to key groups in the Indian community, such as preschoolers, students, youth, parents, families and the elderly. Proposals will be evaluated and put through a selection process. SINDA will provide funding of up to $25,000 to individuals or organisations whose projects are accepted. Ultimately, the SCIF aims to foster collaborations to address the Indian community’s needs and facilitate its continued progress. The SCIF will allow fresh perspectives to emerge and change to happen. SINDA hopes that this grant funding will motivate individuals and organisations to play an active role in shaping the future of our society.

Interested applicants may apply at any time throughout the year. For more information about the grant and application procedures, please visit www.sinda.org.sg/scif

FEEL THE VIBRANCE! At its official launch on 5 August, Vibrance @ Yishun opened its doors to about 1,000 residents of Yishun, Chong Pang, Gambas and Nee Soon East. The residents sampled the centre’s facilities and programmes, after which they participated in fringe activities organised for the day, such as hands-on crafts and science experiments. The centre was launched by Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education and Chairman of the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC), and Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment & Water Resources, Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs and Chairman, Yayasan MENDAKI Board of Directors, together with the heads of the Eurasian Association (EA) and SINDA, on a day abuzz with the spirit of National Day. Vibrance @ Yishun is a collaborative effort by the four SHGs: CDAC, EA, SINDA and Yayasan MENDAKI, who together provide educational and developmental programmes to the various communities. The SHGs have collaborated to provide tuition programmes, enrichment programmes, workshops and seminars for all races. Additionally, the SHGs have reached out to their respective ethnic groups by offering customised programmes. Having benefitted some 2,750 participants through more than 230 activities since its opening, the centre looks set to be a common space for the community to get together and foster greater rapport and cultural appreciation. If you’re in the neighbourhood, drop by and check out what Vibrance @ Yishun has to offer!





Entrepreneur Roshni Mahtani knows a thing or two about charting her own path to success and paving the way for other women to do the same. A former beneficiary of SINDA’s STEP tuition, Roshni is the founder and CEO of Tickled Media, a media-tech company focused on developing content and community platforms for Asian women.

You were praised by the Prime Minister in his National Day Rally speech earlier this year for breaking new ground and doing Singapore proud. How did you venture into this industry? R: In 2009, I was babysitting and couldn’t find the answer to “Can you feed a 3-year-old paneer?” online, which made me think about how parents are caught between ground-breaking information from the internet—but in a Western context—and knowledge from their parents and centuries of tradition. That’s how I started theAsianparent, for mums and dads on this side of the world. It all grew at a frightening pace from that one insight. I had been eyeing a career in broadcast journalism, but this became a huge twist in the plot of my professional life! Fortunately, I had the guidance of mentors who helped me get a foothold in the industry and navigate it. What made you create content catered to Asian women?

What about diversity in the workplace? R: I fully support it. The Tickled team is as diverse as they come. Across our offices in Southeast Asia, we’ve got mums and dads (and many times also kids running around the office!), interns, corporate veterans and everyone in between. It is this blend of cultures and perspectives that makes what we provide our audience and brand partners that much richer. What were some challenges you faced as you started out? R: The learning curve for running a business is pretty steep, from day-to-day operations and establishing a company culture, to crisis management. It was hard for me in the beginning. There was even a point when my whole team left the project. I had to start again—just the first of many reinventions in this company’s history. Each day presented new challenges; although I’ll admit that was also part of the fun! How did you overcome your trials?

R: We’re focusing on Asian women because it’s a great time to be one, but not everyone knows that. Looking back to when I started and wasn’t being taken seriously at meetings, to today when glass ceilings are being shattered in every industry—progress can really take your breath away. It is change that needs to occur throughout the region. As long as there are women being denied their rights, our work isn’t done. That’s why across our platforms, we empower women through knowledge and community.

R: You crash, you burn, you learn. Unfortunately, failure is inevitable in building and running a start-up, no matter how calculated your moves are. So you hire experts or you become one. Trust your team for smaller challenges, without completely letting go, so there’s still some guidance. Most importantly, you need to set up an ecosystem that can withstand anything; a system that can be standardised for solving problems. If every step of this process is well-oiled and robust, you’ll be fine. What are three key things one must know to be a leader? R: “We’re kept from our goal not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal.” This one line from the Bhagavad Gita offers three powerful lessons: • Dream big • Be true—value your and your team’s integrity and don’t take shortcuts • Keep your eyes on the prize. Don’t be distracted by huge obstacles or small wins, and don’t stop until your vision becomes reality

Mrs Roshni Mahtani and staff of Tickled Media 7

It is change that needs to occur throughout the region. As long as there are women being denied their rights, our work isn’t done.

What three things motivate you each day? R: My daughter, whose world I’m doing all of this for. She is also my little alarm clock so she literally coaxes me out of bed each morning! My team, who give their all every single day. Our audience and the belief that what we do makes their lives better—even if just by the tiniest bit. You are also invested in several startups as an angel investor. Tell us about that. R: I co-founded the Female Founders Network, a non-profit organisation that nurtures female entrepreneurs. Through the network, I met many impressive, tenacious women with bright ideas and solid business plans, but with nowhere to turn to. I believe in investing in people. The returns aren’t just monetary; they’re so much more valuable. Who do you consider as role models? R: My personal role models are the game-changers, those who succeed in shifting mass perspectives through what they do and achieve. They include the late Lee Kuan Yew for his single-minded vision and inspiring people to make the impossible possible; Indra Nooyi, as it’s amazing to see a woman who looks like me running such a large, successful organisation; and Cut Nyak Dhien, for her bravery and sheer relentlessness.


There’s the unstoppable Yip Pin Xiu, who was born with muscular dystrophy but now has more gold medals than any other Paralympian or even Olympian in Singapore. We also have Danah and Stacy Gutierrez, who are plus-sized models and body positivity advocates in the Philippines. Fransiska Hadiwidjana, who is an ace coder and entrepreneur who works towards green technology and community empowerment. Dian Pelangi, an Indonesian entrepreneur who is pushing the boundaries of Muslim fashion and redefining it for this generation. All of them are bold, brilliant and resilient. What advice can you give the younger generation of Singapore Indians? R: Your heritage is rich, so be proud of it! The most definitive trait of a young Singaporean today is being open to other cultures and the ability to adapt to changing environments. To invite openness, you have to be receptive to the many people you will encounter and the many opportunities right before you. You’re steeped in technology that makes your social bubble shrink, so make sure the same cannot be said of your world view. Learn to adapt to changing environments and take charge of your dreams.


TOP ACHIEVERS HONOURED AT 27TH SINDA EXCELLENCE AWARDS This year’s SINDA Excellence Awards (SEA) Ceremony on 22 September was extra special for SINDA—a record 11% of the award winners were previous beneficiaries of our educational, youth and family enrichment programmes; the largest cohort to date! All 469 top achievers, some of whom were second-time SEA winners, received the highest honours bestowed by SINDA upon those who had displayed excellence in 20 academic and non-academic fields, such as arts and sports. This was a testament to the impact and success of SINDA's programmes, showing us that more Indian students have been excelling in their studies. More importantly, the awards celebrated the tenacity and grit of the students themselves for overcoming personal challenges and succeeding beyond their expectations.

constant support and encouragement from his family and friends helped him during difficult times. Faraaz also received help from SINDA’s STEP tuition programme. Later in his life, he taught night classes to finance his tertiary education and studied hard to earn his scholarship. “I will always remember the generosity of the many helping hands and I hope to pay this forward in due time,” he said. And he already has, returning to teach current STEP students and finding it “immensely rewarding”. The call to serve the community was clear during the event. Ms Indranee reminded those present to remember those who are not faring as well, and to ensure that no one is left behind. “Remember to make your successes count,” she told the awardees, urging them to contribute to our nation, inspire hope in the community and motivate their peers along their own paths to success.

Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and Education and President, SINDA, who was in attendance with Guest of Honour Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Law and Life Trustee, SINDA, had nothing but praise for the students. In her speech to the 800 guests at the Singapore Polytechnic Convention Centre that morning, Ms Indranee lauded the hard work, determination and positive mind-sets which contributed to the students’ achievements. Valedictorian and recent Law graduate from NUS, Faraaz Amzar Mohamed Farook, 25, spoke about resilience in his speech. Sharing examples from his own life—from lacking motivation to having to leave secondary school—Faraaz explained how 9

JUN 2018



After half a year of school, some 100 Primary 4 to 6 students were raring to have fun over the holidays, and SINDA was more than ready for them with our popular overnight Holiday Enrichment Camp. This year, the tweens settled into the Costa Sands Resort and engaged in a range of activities to build their selfconfidence, sense of responsibility, decision-making and personal accountability, besides team bonding. The favourite experience of the camp? Without doubt, the MegaClimb adventure course! The brave youngsters navigated high ropes and obstacles winding around formidable eucalyptus trees five to 15 metres tall, to cross a jungle route.

It wasn’t just the participants who were standing tall at the end of the camp—their parents were just as proud. Sailesh Veera’s father, Mr Selvaraj Visalam noted how his son rarely used to take part in games, but really enjoyed himself at the camp. Likewise, Mr Jegatheesan Rajanthy, dad to Aathithya, beamed, “My child is feeling much more confident after attending the camp and is looking forward to other exciting programmes that SINDA organises.” Certainly, there’s more excitement planned for the year-end holidays so keep your eye out for it!


SEP 2018

“Coding is vital in our daily lives. As it gains momentum and prominence in the world, it will become even more necessary to know how to code,” says Gopinath Kavya. A recent graduate of Google’s 11-week Code in the Community (CITC) programme, it is no surprise that 14-year-old Kavya (pictured on the right) sees herself as either a computer scientist or coder at Google in the future. At a momentous ceremony held at the Google Asia Pacific HQ on 8 September, 550 participants graduated from the CITC programme and were cheered on by their peers and parents. Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport & Ministry of Communications and Information, was Guest of Honour at the event. A Google-sponsored initiative started in 2017, the CITC programme aims to provide 3,000 eight-to-15-year-olds from low-income backgrounds with free coding classes in order to develop their creativity, teamwork, problem-solving and computational-thinking skillsets. To that end, Google has partnered with the four Self-Help Groups, to inspire students to pursue careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industries, and contribute towards Singapore’s goal of becoming a ‘Smart Nation’. 10

JUL 2018


Every community treasures their young generation, for our future is in their hands. Equally, we treasure those who step up to lead them— those who inspire others to be the best that they can be. At SINDA, we honour these special members of our community every year, for the difference they have made in the lives of many.

Additionally, more than 200 SINDA Liaison Officers in schools help identify and refer Indian students to SINDA for assistance, and many more volunteers serve as our ambassadors and mentors in our programmes. These helping hands are unified by their common passion to give back to the community, and together they have made an impact.

At the SINDA Appreciation Ceremony on 14 July, 135 community partners, schools and volunteers were awarded in recognition of their contributions. Mr Tharman Shamugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies and Chairman, SINDA who was Guest of Honour at the event held at The Grassroots Club, thanked all present for their assistance over the years.

As Ms V Sangari, IAEC Chairman of the Ci Yuan Community Centre, put it, “Receiving the award is an encouragement to continue our partnership to uplift the Indian community. With sustained engagement, we will be able to match our available resources to the needs of our Indian residents.”

SINDA’s helping hands include over 300 community partners, who have been instrumental in reaching out to Indian families in need. We have 88 educational institutions partnering us to help over 6,000 students in our STEP, Project Teach and Youth Victory programmes.

SYC volunteer Ms Druga Rajendran said, “It’s important for us to create the space for others to step up and serve. It’s a reminder to all of us that even as we celebrate how much we have achieved, every person in our community can come forward to play a part.” Find out more about how you can contribute to the community, at www.sinda.org.sg/get-involved


JUL 2018


THE CALL OF FUTSAL It was 1 July—Youth Day—and the teens and young adults came out in force. At Kovan Sports Centre, the draw was the SINDA Futsal Challenge 2018—a one-day tournament comprising of three categories: Under-15, Under-18 and Under-25. Coming from 63 educational institutions such as ITE, universities, schools and Shatec, 222 competitive participants found a great opportunity to make new friends and strengthen sporting bonds, while challenging themselves. “It was a great experience for my team and me as we played against stronger sides,” affirmed 20-year-old Srivishnu Naidu Seenivasagan. In a first-ever, the friendly saw 16 girls join in—an encouraging show now that the SINDA Football Club is recruiting girls as well. SINDA Futsal Challenge 2018 Results U25 Champions

Dorset Juniors

U18 Champions

Atlanta Boys

U15 Champions

Flaming Eagles

GAME FOR A CHALLENGE A free-fall from 15 metres would certainly put your heart in your mouth, but for 44 youths between the ages of 13 and 21, this was all in the name of building their confidence. These brave youngsters were participants of GAME Challenge, an intensive three-week motivational programme where they were mentored to develop values such as resilience and courage, after which they faced outdoor challenges. The Mega Jump free-fall was only one of such exhilarating challenges. At Sentosa’s MEGA Adventure Park, the youths conquered high-element activities such as zip-lining 450 metres from a 75-metre height (at a heart-pounding speed of 60 km/h!) and a high-rope adventure course as high as 15 metres in the air. Other activities had the participants strapped inside a giant ball and sent rolling down a hill, or engaged in electrifying go-kart races. Each activity was more than just thrilling—it was designed to put what the youth had learnt in the mentoring sessions to the test. For Rajendran Naresh, 14, a key takeaway was how he began relating to others. “I learned to work in a team with people I had just met for the first time,” he shared. 12

Keerthivashan Balakrishnan, 19, who walked away with the Most Valuable Player award in the U18 category as well as the U18 Champions trophy, shared, “A great lesson I learnt from the Futsal Challenge was that if you continue to dwell on the obstacles, you will be distracted from achieving your goals. Focus on the goals instead of the obstacles and you will find the path to success easily.”

AUG 2018

AUG 2018


Perseverance, resilience and the courage to realise one’s dreams—these were the values exemplified by the award recipients at the 15th Joint Tuition Awards (JTA) Ceremony on 25 August. Jointly organised by SINDA, CDAC, EA and Yayasan MENDAKI since 2004, the annual Joint Tuition Awards recognises students who have achieved good results at the PSLE, GCE N- and O-Level examinations. The awards are also an opportunity for the SHGs to foster rapport among students of various ethnicities. At this year’s ceremony at the Singapore Polytechnic Convention Centre, a total of 517 students received some $66,050 worth of vouchers to help them on their academic journeys. Of these, 114 achievers were beneficiaries of SINDA’s programmes. One such beneficiary was 13-year-old Jagjeet Singh, who was mentioned by the Guest of Honour, Mr Ng Chee Meng, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office & Secretary-General, NTUC, in his speech. Referring to the teenager as a “filial, devoted and conscientious son”, Mr Ng praised Jagjeet for diligently attending his STEP classes while helping his mother run a provision shop. Having joined STEP since Primary 4, Jagjeet

improved by three grades in his PSLE English, Mathematics and Science, which led him to win the Overall Best Award in the PSLE category. “I aim to keep working harder. As my father passed away recently, I hope to make him proud by achieving more successes in the future,” he said. Muhammad Rafiuddin Bin Ismail, 17, is another such achiever. The winner of the Overall Best Award in the N-Level category shared, “Because of STEP, I became more disciplined and began to study diligently at home. I feel thankful—I know that I have made an improvement in my studies and this award is a reward for my hard work.” At the event, Mr Ng thanked the tutors who had made a difference in the lives of their students. To parents, he urged that they allow their children to explore their interests. He also reminded the youngsters to be filial and to give back to society. “When you grow up and succeed in life, remember to give back to those who need your help as well, regardless of your own circumstances. Study, because it is a stepping stone to make life better for yourselves, achieve your dreams, and make life better for your parents,” he said.



What is one piece of advice you have received that you would like to pass on to others?

Shiraz: Don’t just believe that anything is possible—make it possible! Try everything you can. Follow your passions from a young age and set out to achieve them as you grow up.


SHIRAZ ALEXANDER JOSEPH Shiraz Alexander Joseph dreams of becoming an urban farmer in the future—how serendipitous that he ended up acting as one in a National Day film!


“My mother is constantly encouraging me to try new things—she is my source of motivation,” says Shiraz shyly. That is how the 10-year-old scored the lead role in a short film shown at this year’s National Day Parade. In the film, Shiraz plays the younger version of Mr Veera Sekaran, the founder of local urban greening specialist Greenology. “I realise he has gone through a lot to get to the point he is at now in his life. I learned from him that anything is possible; you just have to work hard at making it come true,” says Shiraz.

In a surprise arranged by his mother with SINDA, Shiraz and Mr Veera were supposed to meet for a meal at Changi Village. Unknown to Shiraz, it was “Uncle Veera” himself who picked him up, under the guise of a private hire driver. Imagine his surprise when the “driver” reappeared later, introducing himself as the real deal! In the future, Shiraz hopes to run his own urban farm, along with doing his part for humanity by building housing for the underprivileged.


You may not recognise his name, but you might have taken one of Rajkiran Parienan’s designs home on this year’s National Day. When Rajkiran was chosen as one of the 38 artists to design the 2018 National Day Parade fun packs, he was both happy and honoured. For someone who describes himself as “happy to see others smile because of me”, this was an opportunity the then-student at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance of Singapore (CPAS) School treasured.



Last year, Rajkiran had taken part in an art competition through his Special Arts co-curricular activity in his final year at CPAS. His talent was recognised by his teacher; from then on, he was roped into the designing process for the fun packs. The 18-year-old has since been sharing his artistic skills as an arts-andcrafts instructor at social enterprise Personalised Love, besides teaching at CPAS and Metta School. He has also volunteered at the AWWA School, working with children with autism and multiple disabilities. “I love helping others,” he says simply.

IN HIS WORDS What is one piece of advice you have received that you would like to pass on to others?

Rajkiran: Always work hard and do your best at everything. When you have succeeded at something, no matter how big or small, keep working hard to repeat that success. Don’t give up easily. 15

Read everything in this issue of SINDA Connections without skipping a page? Let’s see how well you know its contents!


Simply submit your answers together with your particulars to SINDA Connections Contest c/o SINDA Corporate & Marketing Communications Division, No 1 Beatty Road, Singapore 209943. Your entries have to reach SINDA by 7 January 2019. This contest is open only to primary and secondary school students, who are Singaporeans or Permanent Residents. Three correct entries will win a $50 voucher each. The winning entries will be picked in a draw and the judges’ decision is final. Winners will be contacted by SINDA to collect their prizes and the winners’ names will be published in the next issue of SINDA Connections.

Name: School:

IC/BC No.: School Level:

Contact No.: Email:

Address: Select one answer for each question: (You can find the answers in the articles in this magazine) Question 1 What was the height of the zipline course at Sentosa’s MEGA Adventure Park? a) 15 metres b) 45 metres c) 75 metres

Congratulations to the winners of the previous contest! 1) Mohamed Mubeen Mohamed Raseem Teck Ghee Primary School 2) T. Prarthana CHIJ Kellock

Question 2 Where was the Holiday Enrichment Programme in June held? a) Singapore Botanic Gardens b) Boeing Training & Professional Services Singapore Campus c) Singapore Polytechnic Convention Centre

3) Dharani D/O Manimaran Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ Secondary

Question 3 Which team won the Under-18 category in the SINDA Futsal Challenge? a) Flaming Eagles b) Dorset Juniors c) Atlanta Boys

About Us VISION To build a strong and vibrant Singaporean Indian community together MISSION To build a well-educated, resilient and confident community of Indians that stands together with the other communities in contributing to the progress of multi-racial Singapore VALUES Respect, our culture Integrity, our foundation Service, our promise Excellence, our pursuit



Term Trustees Ms Indranee Rajah Patron Mr Ravi Menon Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Mr R Jayachandran Mr Girija Pande Chairman Mr Gautam Banerjee Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam Mr Ravinder Singh Justice Judith Prakash Life Trustees Mr K Kesavapany Prof S Jayakumar Mr Viswa Sadasivan Mr S Dhanabalan Mr Shabbir Hassanbhai Mr S Chandra Das Mr Timothy Chia Mr J Y Pillay Mr Piyush Gupta Mr Sat Pal Khattar Dr Sudha Nair Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam Mr Harjit Singh Bhatia Mr K Shanmugam Dr N Varaprasad Advisors Dr Vivian Balakrishnan Mr S Iswaran Mr Vikram Nair Mr Murali Pillai

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE President Ms Indranee Rajah Vice Presidents Mr Shekaran Krishnan ​Mr K V Rao Secretary Mr Sarjit Singh Treasurer Mr R Subramaniam Iyer Members Dr Joshua V M Kuma Mr R Chandra Mohan Mr K Ramamoorthy Mr Sarbjit Singh Mr T Thambyrajah Mr Darryl David Mrs Rathi Parimalan Mr Mohamed Nasim Dr Rakhee Yash Pal Mr Ramesh Narayanaswamy




Several clean glass jars

Assorted yarn or string

White acrylic or spray paint

Plastic sheets or newspaper to cover your workspace

Instead of discarding your empty peanut butter and jam jars, you can turn them into stylish lanterns with paint and a few pieces of string! These lanterns are rewarding to make, and beautiful placed around your home. Experiment with different types of strings, textures, paint colours and materials!











Soak your jars in water to get rid of their labels and use rubbing alcohol to remove any glue residue.

Tie the end of the string to the knot you made and trim the ends.

Once the paint has fully dried, cut the string and unwrap it slowly.

Wrap your choice of string once tightly around the jar and tie a knot to secure it.

Repeat for the rest of the jars.

Place tea lights or candles inside the jars and light up your home!

Adapted from http://theforgestyle.blogspot.com/2011/11/diy-yarn-wrapped-painted-jars.html

Continue wrapping the string around the rest of the jar, criss-crossing and overlapping it tightly until you are satisfied with the look of it. Make sure not to wrap the entire surface of the jar, though!

Place the jars upside-down onto a protected surface and paint them evenly, with 2-3 coats. Let the jars dry for 5-10 minutes in between coats of paint.

You can experiment with different paint colours and even glitter to get different looks.

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SINDA Connections - Dec 2018  

SINDA Connections - Dec 2018  

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