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MCI (P) 120/06/2017

APRIL 2018

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CONNECT

ABBAS AKBAR

A Director's

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All Aboard the SINDA Bus

Being Good Neighbours

Thanking Our Corporate Donors


Dear Friends, SINDA, like other Self-Help Groups, assists the community to take ownership of its own needs and chart its own progress. Success in our mission is possible because everyone comes together—from community partners, grassroots organisations, donors and businesses, to individuals who contribute their time, energy and expertise.

CEO’S MESSAGE

In 2017, 300 partner organisations and close to 500 volunteers collaborated with SINDA across various programmes and services. I am heartened that so many have joined hands with us in caring for the social good. More helping hands translate into greater reach and impact, allowing us to do more for our people. One initiative that we recently launched is the SINDA Bus, which allows us to extend our reach into the heartlands and make our services more accessible to those who need them the most. Through this bus, we are now able to offer people a peek into our programmes, be it reading classes for pre-schoolers, digital coding sessions or workshops specially for the family, right where they live. The bus is also easily configured to function as a mobile Family Service Centre that directs people to the assistance they require. The SINDA Bus will be stationed in different constituencies and estates, at schools and community events throughout the year. I am confident that it will be a focal point in our heartland communities, promoting cohesion and offering greater benefits.

HIGHLIGHTS

LOOKING BACK

GET YOUR GAME ON, GIRLS It’s important to present yourselves well—that includes creating a good first impression, having good conversational skills and understanding body language. For 20 Indian girls aged 15 to 20, that’s all under the belt, along with a good dose of self-confidence! Empowering them was the group-based mentoring programme, GAME Girls, which they attended over two days last December.

We’re rolling out such initiatives with our eyes set firmly upon the future. While we remain steadfast in continuing our educational support and assistance to the community, we are also more invested in the areas of preschool, youth and family. This shift allows us to provide a more supportive and complementary ecosystem, that equips families with the necessary skills and values for the future.

AN ADVENTURE EVERY HOLIDAY

As always, I look forward to active participation and contribution from all of you, in building a brighter future and ensuring progress for Singaporeans and our community. K Barathan CEO, SINDA

CONTENTS 01

06–08

• September 2017—January 2018

• Abbas Akbar

Looking Back

Interview

02–03

09–14

• The Secret to a Child's Success

• Back-to-School Kits for 2,000 Disadvantaged Students • Parents Support their Pri1 and Sec1 Starters • From Underdogs to Champions— The SINDA Lions Story • The Determined Spirit of Indian Youth • Being Good Neighbours

Editorial 05

What’s New

• All Aboard the Sinda Bus

Event Highlights

Obstacle courses, team activities and games—that’s what holidays are like with SINDA’s 2D1N holiday adventure camps. Throughout 2017, during the June, September and December school breaks, a total of 313 students from Primary 4 to 6 built self-confidence, learnt responsible decisionmaking and personal accountability in the most fun ways possible.

• Another Sucessful ITE Leadership Programme Cohort Graduates • Celebrating the Dedication of Our Star Tutors • Sharing Our Plans for the New Year • Thanking Our Corporate Donors • Conquering the Urban Grid Race

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D.I.Y

• A Twine Ball Light Garland

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Quiz-O-Mania

16

About Us 17

One of Us • Volunteer Yashaswini

TUTORS KEEP UPDATED On 13 January 2018, 231 STEP and Project Teach tutors attended the Tutor Workplan Seminar at Serangoon Junior College. This vital session, held for a few years now, helps our tutors better understand academic and student development trends, and calibrate our approach accordingly.

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 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 Tel: 1800 295 3333, or visit www.sinda.org.sg.

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EDITORIAL

THE SECRET TO

MANY PRE-SCHOOL OPTIONS

A Child's Success

The pre-school landscape has evolved in recent years. There are many options to meet varied preferences and needs. Working parents may prefer whole-day childcare. Families with adults at home may prefer half-day kindergartens.

By Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law, and President, SINDA

There are a wide range of operators at different price points to cater for different household budgets. These include private operators, and anchor operators like PCF and NTUC My First Skool. There are also MOE kindergartens (which have a childcare option) providing high-quality affordable pre-school education. There are government subsidies for preschool fees.

We all want our children to be successful in life. By success I don’t just mean academic results. Success includes having good character, good values, the ability to progress in life, being good citizens and being respected by the community. But how do we ensure success for our children? Like many, I used to think it was mostly about studying hard in school. But when I was at the Ministry of Education (MOE) I learnt a few interesting things about what helps children succeed.

THE STILL FACE EXPERIMENT At one MOE conference on Early Childhood Education I was introduced to the “Still Face Experiment”. This is a famous experiment by Dr Edward Tronick in 1975 which shows the dramatic impact of parent-child interactions. It starts with a mother actively engaging her 1-year-old child. The baby responds happily and positively. Then the mother abruptly stops and shows a still face, not reacting to anything the baby does. At first the child tries to engage the mother’s attention. When there is still no response the child reacts negatively, showing signs of stress and eventually crying. The experiment with fathers had the same result. The experiment shows that even at a very early age, children are sensitive to their environment and respond to it. The quality of social interaction they receive is important. Lack of positive emotional connection and attention from their parents produces insecurity, anxiety and distress in them, eventually resulting in negative behaviour. The first key to a child’s success therefore is the parent-child relationship. Children who come from loving and caring environments, whose parents engage, talk to, teach, play and bond with them regularly, show interest in their activities and support them are more likely to become confident, welladjusted individuals who do well in life.

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LEARNING BEGINS LONG BEFORE PRIMARY SCHOOL The next key to success is a good early childhood education. Research shows that those with early childhood education generally do better in life than those who don’t receive any. The pre-school age is an important stage of a child’s brain development. At this age they learn very rapidly. Studies show that children start learning as early as when they are in the womb! These are formative years during which the foundations are laid for the child’s way of thinking, ability to grasp concepts, social interaction and motor skills. This is also the best age to learn languages. Pre-school is essential preparation for primary school. Children without a pre-school education will be at a disadvantage in primary school compared to children who have had it.

Parents who have difficulty getting pre-school places for their children can approach the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) for assistance.

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY The traditional way of pre-school learning was mostly by memorisation. Some memorisation is still necessary, but teaching and learning methods today are very different. One important technique is letting children learn through play. This is different from leaving children alone to play by themselves. Instead, it is structured play. For example, a visit to the neighbourhood mini-mart can teach children many things: discipline (lining up), new vocabulary (learning names of shop items), handling money and maths (buying a sweet and counting the change). Play stimulates children’s imagination, intelligence and language ability. It helps them become confident and sociable through interaction with other children. This is especially important when they start formal schooling and also later as adults.

SINDA’S PRE-SCHOOL ENRICHMENT PROGRAMME To complement our children’s pre-school education, SINDA offers a quality pre-school Literacy and Numeracy (LYNN) enrichment programme for children aged 3 to 6, at very affordable rates. These classes are available island-wide at accessible locations. Learn more and sign up now for 2018 classes at http://www.sinda.org.sg/lynn. In conclusion, how our children will fare as adults depends a lot on the quality of their relationship with their parents when young and on their pre-school education. We must invest in both to give them the best chance to succeed in life.

Therefore, parents should not only focus on academics but also allocate time to engage and teach their pre-school children through purposeful play. This is also a good way to teach values. It would be good to avoid distractions during such play—for example, the TV shouldn’t be on at the same time, so the child can focus fully on the learning play.

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WHAT’S NEW

ALL ABOARD THE SINDA BUS

There’s a new bus in town—one with a difference—and it’s coming near you! It’s none other than the SINDA Bus, a first-of-its kind for Indian organisations in Singapore. This mobile resource centre will be bringing its services right to the doorsteps of Indian heartlanders, from Gambas to Kampung Glam, Macpherson to Marsiling. Wherever there may be those who are unsure where to get the help they need, the SINDA Bus will go! It’s part of our commitment to you, to connect our community to national help schemes and services, whether for enrichment or aid. The bus extends SINDA’s reach from 20,000 people in 2017 to 25,000 in 2018—that’s 20% more Singaporean Indians that we’ll get to know. The environmentally friendly vehicle made its debut at the Gambas Pongal Celebrations 2018 on 21 January, where it was launched by Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) & Second Minister for Defence. Mr Ong urged everyone “to take advantage of the bus”, which boasts a modular design that allows it to be easily configured to suit a whole range of purposes. On board, you can get directed to the right avenues for help, find out about our various programmes and sign up for them, or even have your preschooler learn to read. It’s like a one-stop SINDA office-on-wheels.

A multitude of engagements has been planned for the SINDA Bus in 2018. You’ll see it at family-centric programmes like our parenting workshops and SINDA’s Back-to-School Festival; at youth programmes; and at community events from block parties to door-knocking activities. The SINDA Bus will be deployed at our community partner events, too, leveraging on their networks so that we can cater to our community’s many different demographical groups. We hope to engage the community better as we ply Singapore’s roads, so look out for the SINDA Bus in your estate, soon! 5


INTERVIEW

ABBAS AKBAR:

A DIRECTOR'S STORY—

REFUSING TO LOSE THE PLOT 6

A life-long fascination with film has fuelled Abbas Akbar’s career. From a stellar outing with an internationallyacclaimed short film and making the first Tamil music videos on MTV Asia, to directing the award winning TV drama series Vettai that took Singapore by storm and breaking into Kollywood with a full-length feature, his success almost seems scripted. We find out that there is more to the story, behind the scenes.

Please share with us a little about your family. A: I am the second of three brothers. My parents divorced when we were young, and my mother raised us as a single parent. Growing up, I wanted to be an actor like my older brother, Ilyas. There is no way I would be in this industry if not for him. He was the one who inspired me to follow my heart. It was my younger brother [Vasantham Star 2005 winner] Shabir, who is also an actor and singer-composer, who first believed I could be a good director. My wife, a writer, has been so crucial on my journey that I can confidently say that without her I could not have completed the film. She supported me throughout the journey and never once suggested I quit. When there were setbacks, she would talk me through and help me move forward. She is the foundation of my success. Lastly, I am ever grateful to my mother. Six years back when I needed capital to start the company, I thought of selling my house to her and she didn't hesitate, despite the risk. She has an incredible amount of faith in me. Definitely, without my family, I wouldn’t have come this far.

You are now a celebrated director—for TV, music videos and even movies, but what were your early days in the media industry like? A: As a teen, I wanted to study filmmaking but my family could not afford it. However, I got an opportunity to work as a camera assistant with Verite Productions after National Service, and things went on from there. The first day was amazing—I still remember it, as it was the day the doors to my dreams opened. I learnt everything on the job, honing my skills on set for the most part. Step by step, I rose to be grip, then gaffer; I did sound, became cameraman. I worked as a crew member in every aspect of production. What kept you dreaming big? A: Passion. I am totally dedicated to this field. I am not in here just for the money—I may have chased money when I was younger, but it didn’t get me far—I am just extremely passionate about what I do. I made my first short film and released it online [it was nominated for Best Short Film at the Asian Festival of First Films, and screened at several international film festivals from Kathmandu to New Jersey], and the calls started to come in. I got to direct Akshaya, a Mediacorp Vasantham telemovie, and the kids’ series Iyanthra. My big break came a few years later with the Vettai series, followed by the drama Nijangal 2. After that, I established my own production company, Comicbook Pte Ltd. To truly grow and be an expert in a field of work, you cannot just involve your mind—it must be from your heart. How did it feel to venture into ‘Kollywood’, with your debut Tamillanguage feature Chennai2Singapore? A: I actually had a very tough time, because this was my first film. It was unlike what I’d done before, with a totally different technical process. This is a highly competitive industry which is challenging to keep up with. It was constant pain and constant worrying; I just had to stay patient. To be honest, it didn’t matter whether I was in Kollywood or in Singapore. For me, if I get to do what I do, I am happy, but given the limitations at home it was necessary to venture abroad.

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Nov 2017

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

BACK-TO-SCHOOL KITS FOR 2,000 DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS At the same time, students from low-income families also received financial support at the Indian Community Bursary Awards Ceremony (ICBAC). These bursaries are funded through SINDA’s Project Give campaign, and are part of the $10 million that SINDA invests in education-related initiatives each year. The ICBAC is jointly organised by SINDA, the Singapore Indian Education Trust (SIET) and the Tamils Representative Council (TRC). SINDA’s CEO Mr K Barathan, in his address that day, hailed the community for rallying together to champion the improvement of our students’ lives. Pointing to education as “the crucial factor that facilitates social mobility and better aspirations for the community”, Mr Barathan assured the families that SINDA will continue to help all students maximise educational opportunities. Education remains SINDA’s chief mandate, and we are working to create a holistic support network for our students. While the way forward may present challenges, we are always excited to explore new ways to benefit the community.

Abbas and his team filming on location for Chennai2Singapore. Photo: Chennai2Singapore

No matter how bad the crashand-burn, the experience is invaluable and only makes you more capable. Just don’t be afraid of failure or listen to the naysayers. You only live once, and the regret will be more painful than the failure itself.

Funding the movie on my own was a tall order. Today, though, I have many people backing me because I have proof-of-concept. That, I believe, is my greatest achievement: showing that Singaporeans can make profitable films in a bigger market.

and certainly wiser. There has been a tremendous difference. My family understands how important it is for me to get out there, even if it means getting scarred; they have learnt to live with it. I love them for that!

If the annual Back to School Festival (BTSF) seemed livelier than usual last 18 November, it was for the happy reason that there were 800 more recipients of the school kits than in the previous year.

What’s harder: Getting started or being able to keep going? Have you ever thought of walking away?

What are you working on right now?

Filling SINDA and Umar Pulavar Tamil Language Centre were 2,000 students and their families, buzzing with anticipation of the new school year. To ensure all Indian students were properly equipped when term started, each of them collected $160 worth of stationery and shoe vouchers to kick start their preparations.

A: Definitely to keep going! Getting started is the most exciting part, and hope is at its highest. Then when reality kicks in everything changes. It’s tough to stay excited, but if you can do that you can keep going. I have never thought of giving up, even in the face of extreme and incredibly intense resistance. Good times and bad times come and go, and the true test of what you believe in is how willing you are to hold on when challenges appear. How have your experiences shaped you? A: I used to be someone who was very reserved, without any confidence. Going out there has made me tougher, sharper

A: Several projects, including a remake of the Billa movie as a series.

Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister, Prime Minister's Office & Second Minister for Manpower & Home Affairs, and Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law and President, SINDA, were among the distinguished guests at the event. Participants were also excited to see Singa and the Kindness Cubbies who were present that day. Keeping all engaged at the festival were story-telling sessions by the National Library Board, along with coding and digital literacy activities by Google and the Info-Communication Media Development Authority of Singapore. Important parenting strategies were also shared by Dr Agnes Tan from the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

It is important to stay curious and keep open to new things, for freshness in concept and vision. As Steve Jobs said, "Stay hungry, stay foolish”. Yours is an unusual career in Singapore. What advice do you have for someone keen to break into the film industry? A: Go for it. Many people told me it would be tough or even impossible. No matter how bad the crash-and-burn, the experience is invaluable and only makes you more capable. Just don’t be afraid of failure or listen to the naysayers. You only live once, and the regret will be more painful than the failure itself.

Abbas 8

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Nov 2017

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

PARENTS SUPPORT THEIR PRI1 AND SEC1 STARTERS

Nov 2017

THE DETERMINED SPIRIT OF INDIAN YOUTH

The transition to a new school and new system was eased for some happy pupils whose parents joined our Starters Series last year. For the 280 dedicated parents of K2 children, that entailed an empowering journey over nine months, learning how to help their child cope with their impending primary school enrolment. The P1 Starters programme certainly worked as much to allay the fears of the parents as the children, as they came to understand the primary curriculum and expectations. As for the S1 Starters, 225 parents of Primary 5 and 6 students were not just introduced to the secondary school curriculum, but also gained insights into the current educational landscape. They also learnt how to boost the social and emotional well-being of their children—so here’s to happy, well-balanced students in our schools!

FROM UNDERDOGS TO CHAMPIONS— THE SINDA LIONS STORY It’s a tale of resilience and hard work, one to make you sit up, cheer, and have faith in sports as an enabler. It’s also a tale of everyday heroes, youths who go about their daily business as ordinary folk but who come together to make magic happen. SINDA LIONS was formed in 2014 by 15 ex-participants of GAME Football who wanted to continue playing under the SINDA banner, registering in an amateur football league. With no formal coaching and a lack of match experience, the SINDA LIONS secured just one win and one draw out of 14 matches, completing their season second from last. In 2015, the team was strengthened with new players, training sessions, and a steely determination to improve—a strategy that brought them all the way to the season finals, only to lose by one point. Disappointment and frustration only lasted till the new season resumed in 2016. By then, interest had grown enough to set up a second squad, SINDA LIONS B. Starting off at the bottom of the table but with a positive outlook, the B team boys worked on their strengths to overcome their weaknesses, eventually climbing to fourth place in the league. As for Team A, there were major hurdles to overcome, with injuries and examinations affecting their training. They refused to give up, taking turns to play through their exam schedules, and achieved what they had set out to be: Champions. In 2017, defending champions after just two years of existence, the SINDA LIONS were still hungry to prove their mettle, and signed up for two competitions: an Under-21 youth league and 10

Dec 2017

Cup. Rallying, the boys redoubled their efforts: the NS boys ensured they maintained good conduct to avoid weekend confinements; the students ensured their assignments were completed in good time; those who worked rescheduled their weekend shifts. Goalkeeper Muhd Wasim Akkram, 19, said, “Every win and loss was special as we played with our hearts.” By the end of it, the results showed. The SINDA LIONS achieved a double victory last year: League Champions and Cup winners. The success has been sweet, but Captain Muhamed Haashrol points to a bigger take-away. He says, “Being part of the SINDA LIONS, you learn more about yourself; your character; strengths you never knew you had.” This year, the SINDA LIONS are 60-strong, with two teams being fielded: the Under 21s and the Under 25s.

The resilience of the young people in our community was recognised and rewarded on 18 November, when some 100 youths with SINDA were fêted. These were participants of our various programmes—some from Youth Victory or the Youth Football Initiative, others from ITE Aspire or the Guidance and Mentorship programme (GAME), and the SINDA Peer Leadership Programme. Many were returning participants, who contributed their time and support for the juniors. Many did so in spite of struggles they were facing in their personal lives. Whatever programme they joined, all of them demonstrated an outstanding commitment and laudable progress in their character development. The 2017 SINDA Youth Awards, held at the Umar Pulavar Tamil Language Centre, held these youths up as role models for their peers. 24 in particular were remarkable for the integral role they played as mentors, having selflessly devoted their time and energy towards helping other youths grow. “All of us are proud of what we have achieved, and this award will encourage us to progress further,” declared Kesavan Krisnan, the year’s valedictorian. Kesavan himself is a prime example of a student who overcame challenging circumstances and turned out all the better for it. An alumnus of Camp Arise and GAME, Kesavan struggled in school and with his family’s financial situation after his father had a heart attack. Now, though, the Advanced Peer Leader says he appreciates having faced the challenges, as he learnt much along the way, with support from family, school and SINDA. In the end, Kesavan’s efforts to improve himself were validated—he was

a top student in his school’s N Levels cohort. He told the other awardees, “One day you will be sharing your journey to success with everyone, just like me today.” As SINDA CEO K Barathan also noted, “Where there is commitment and dedication, success will follow.” Guest of Honour, Advisor to SINDA Mr Vikram Nair also urged the youths to be open to learning new things, and to strive for excellence in every area. “This mastery will expand your abilities, add value to what you do and allow you to grow into successful adults,” he encouraged. Overall, it was an evening to remember with pride for every recipient and family—an occasion, as Mr Nair said, that “honours the determined spirit of Indian youth”. 11


EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

Jan-Dec 2017

BEING GOOD NEIGHBOURS Who’s behind that closed door? Sometimes it could be someone who could do with a little help, but doesn’t know how to get it. When that is the case, SINDA’s Door Knocking Exercise brings aid right where it’s needed.

Nov 2017

ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL ITE LEADERSHIP PROGRAMME COHORT GRADUATES

Last year, eight Community Centres and their respective Indian Activity Executive Committees (IAECs) joined us to make 12 rounds in eight neighbourhoods. Together, we visited 425 households and got to know over 200 Indian residents. For many, it was a welcome call. Our volunteers enquired how they were faring, and got to understand any difficulties they faced. SINDA was ever-ready to assist, either referring them to the relevant aid agencies or attending to them personally. Through last year’s exercise alone, our Family Service Centre tended to 156 cases. The Door Knocking Exercise is a wonderful example of how community organisations, grassroots and friendly neighbours work together as a community, for the community. It was piloted just in 2016, but already we have trained and equipped scores of volunteers to engage their neighbours. If you’d like to volunteer your time for a worthy cause, do join us!

Nov 2017

CELEBRATING THE DEDICATION OF OUR STAR TUTORS By all accounts, Ms Charanjeet Kaur is super at tutoring her charges in STEP, which she has been doing for five years. In fact, she was super as a Project Teach tutor for the nine years before that, too. Not only has she spent much time teaching students, but she has faithfully attended all the training sessions SINDA organised for tutors, in order to give her students her best.

Each year, over 4,000 students benefit from the care of the tutors in STEP and Project Teach. As a testament to their achievements, we have seen a steady growth year after year in the number of students showing significant improvement and qualifying for the Joint Tuition Awards at landmark examinations. Just last year, the cohort comprised 199 such students.

Ms Kaur was among the 96 tutors who last year received Long Service Awards for three to 15 years of service with SINDA. Together with centre principals and administrators, tutors and other partners in SINDA’s Education Division, they were commended for their dedication to making a difference in the lives of our children.

It strengthens SINDA’s ethos of putting education first. We make sure everyone can afford quality tuition, with financial assistance given to 53% of these STEP and Project Teach pupils. We also develop our tutors with differentiated instruction, assessment training and coaching so that they can provide first-rate academic support.

At the annual Appreciation Night on 3 November at Holiday Inn Orchard, CEO Mr K Barathan thanked those present for helping to move the community forward.

We’re optimistic that our students will be ready for success in a future full of opportunity—not least due to the efforts of star tutors like Ms Kaur.

Every youth dreams of a Singapore in which their hopes and aspirations can be realised. There are those, too, who are taking the first steps towards building a brighter future for our country— our own upcoming young Indian leaders among them. Last year, a third batch of students trained extensively under SINDA's ITE Leadership Programme (ITELP) to become agents of change. For five months, they explored themes of leadership and social change, gaining greater insight into community concerns and devising practical solutions to address the issues. Along the way, they acquired a better understanding of their own capabilities, and were inspired to live up to their promise. On 25 November 2017, 20 of them graduated from ITELP in a ceremony to celebrate their potential. At the event, SINDA CEO Mr K Barathan reminded them, “The opportunities are aplenty for you to do good and contribute positively.” SINDA will be standing right by them, and all other Indian youths, with schemes like ITELP which are invested in developing this generation to its fullest potential. Together, our community can contribute to the nation’s success, and that of every individual in it.

Jan 2018 SHARING OUR PLANS FOR THE NEW YEAR On 20 January, SINDA unveiled its new initiatives for 2018 to its stakeholders and Indian community leaders.

SINDA President Ms Indranee Rajah addressed some 300 guests at the morning’s briefing. The update included our latest strategies to meet the evolving needs of our community, and was followed by a dialogue session at the Umar Pulavar Tamil Language Centre. The new projects are tailored towards preschoolers, youth and families. Designed to encourage active learning, bolster holistic growth, instil good values, and develop appropriate skill sets, they aim to counter some of our community challenges upstream. Stay tuned as we roll out the schemes through the year.

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Feb 2018

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

THANKING OUR CORPORATE DONORS regular givers. In fact, as Mr Barathan noted, among the familiar faces that day were 26 who contributed $2 million, or 75% of all receipts in 2017.

Mr K Barathan, our CEO, welcomed the distinguished donors and guests, who included Guest of Honour Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who is also SINDA Chairman.

As the Singaporean Indian community takes ownership of its own needs and progress, such contributions, on top of national policies, will allow SINDA to do more in the coming years, providing avenues for the betterment of the community, and fostering a stronger and more vibrant identity. As always, the child is at the heart of all our programmes, and these gifts help us ensure that no child will be denied opportunities because they lack support.

CONQUERING THE URBAN GRID RACE Not one to be undertaken lightly, last year’s Urban Grid Race on 26 November was the culmination of six months’ dedicated gym training and multiple sports activities organised under the SINDA Sports Initiative (SPIN). And what a race it was! It led the 25 participants in groups of five round the island from the National Stadium to Gardens by the Bay, the Esplanade and all the way to Sentosa, even to Universal Studios Singapore. Along the way, the youths completed nine rigorous challenges which tested their physical, mental and social fitness. Imagine going through a gruelling cardio regime including Zumba, yoga and boxing elements, and still having the energy to collaborate on creating a video and solve puzzles…To top it all off, contestants ended with a big leap of faith—a 15 metre free fall that was as exhilarating as it was daunting.

D.I.Y.

MATERIALS NEEDED

SINDA recently thanked our staunch supporters who help fund our many programmes, at the annual Donor Appreciation Lunch on 8 February at the Shangri-La Hotel.

It is with the help of donors that SINDA has built a robust support system for students and families. Thousands have benefited from the generosity of others, many of whom are

A TWINE BALL LIGHT GARLAND

Nov 2017

shot—a lot of us in our group were not sporty, but with strategy and determination we claimed second place!”

Twine— plain or coloured

PVA glue, about ½ litre

Cornflour

Warm water

Small balloons

String (or fishing line)

Marker pens / paint

Vaseline

Old tray for the glue mixture

A broomstick (or pole) to hang the balloons from

Twinkly light garland to attach the twine balls to

INSTRUCTIONS 1.

2.

3.

Blow up one balloon for each twine ball you are making. • Smear the balloons with a thin coat of Vaseline to prevent the twine from sticking. • Tie a string to each balloon.

Balance the pole across two chairs and string up your balloons along the pole. Line the floor underneath with newspapers so there won’t be a mess.

Mix the PVA glue, a few tablespoons of cornflour and warm water in the tray. The mixture should be smooth and not too runny. You will need quite a lot.

4.

5.

6.

This is the really messy part! Take the twine and dip it into the glue mixture. Make sure it is entirely soaked.

Wrap the twine around the balloons in various directions until you get the desired effect. To finish, snip off the end of the twine and tuck it under another part so it doesn’t stick out. Let the twine dry.

If the balloons haven’t popped by themselves by the time the twine is dry, go ahead and pop and remove them from the twine balls.

The Urban Grid Race proved to be a hit with the youths, and bodes well for a healthier sporting culture.

7.

8.

Use the markers or paint to colour the twine balls as you like.

Attach the twine balls to the fairy lights with the string or fishing line. There! Your personalised twine ball garland is now done.

Participants, like Dakshitaa Babu, loved how they were pushed out of their comfort zone to discover how fun a healthy lifestyle can be. Dakshitaa enthused, “The best learning point was to never underestimate our capabilities without giving the tasks a

Adapted from Rock n Roll Bride, January 21, 2012. 14

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

Quiz-O-Mania

Answer the questions below for a chance to win a $50 voucher. 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 31 May 2018.

ONE OF US

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

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 correct 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:

IC/BC No.:

School:

School Level:

YASHASWINI

Contact No.:

Address:

Email:

Circle one answer for each question: (You can find the answers in the articles in this magazine) Question 1 How can one benefit from the SINDA Bus? a) Treat it as a place for social gatherings b) Find out more about SINDA's programmes and services and national help schemes c) Use it for excursion purposes Question 2 What did Abbas Akbar start out as in the media industry? a) Camera Assistant

VOLUNTEER

b) Assistant Director

c) Producer

Yashaswini: “If you would like to see positive change in society, do something about it. Do not blame society for the way the world is, because YOU are part of society and you have the power to make a difference.”

Congratulations to the winners of the previous contest! 1) Ifra Fatima Yumin Primary School 2) Kavinaya Ganesan Northland Primary School 3) Fadhrisa Illiyana Qashrina Junyuan Primary School

Question 3 What were the two competitions that the SINDA LIONS won in 2017? a) Under-18 Youth League and Cup b) Under-25 Youth League and Cup c) Under-21 Youth League and Cup

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

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BOARD OF TRUSTEES

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 Life Trustees Justice Judith Prakash ​Prof S Jayakumar Mr K Kesavapany Mr S Dhanabalan Mr Viswa Sadasivan Mr S Chandra Das Mr Shabbir Hassanbhai Mr J Y Pillay Mr Timothy Chia Mr Sat Pal Khattar Mr Piyush Gupta Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam Dr Sudha Nair Mr K Shanmugam Advisors Dr N Varaprasad 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

When Yashaswini signed up to help with Project Read, she didn’t think of the impact it would have on the children. Having since seen how her efforts have made a real difference to her charges, Yashaswini is now a regular force and firm advocate for volunteerism.

“It is the least I can do as a youth,” Yashaswini says about volunteering. Like many others her age, she had other commitments, juggling school and work, but still desired to make a difference. She explored the SINDA website for volunteering opportunities and settled on Project Read, “thinking all I had to do was read to the child”. As it turned out, Yashaswini was surprised to find that the K2 child assigned was unable to read threesyllabled words. Worried about how he would adapt to primary school, she went back to basics and drilled him in phonics for a good three months. When, at the

end of the year, his teacher reported tremendous improvements in his reading and oratory skills, Yashaswini says, “That was truly the most satisfying experience I have had!” She hopes youngsters will not view volunteering as a one-off event, but a long-term commitment entailing responsibility and time, and one that is definitely worthwhile. She likens it to nurturing a plant until it bears fruit— “a very fulfilling experience”. “It is important to make a difference within our own community, in whatever ways we can,” she says.

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Management Development Institute of Singapore

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