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MCI (P) 095/04/2016

MARCH 2017










Dhirren Haridas Achary





Working Together as a Community for a Better Future

Good News for More Families

Google in the Community

Dear Friends, Each year, SINDA looks at renewing and re-energising our efforts for the benefit of everyone in the Singaporean Indian community. We do this because the landscape is ever-evolving and the needs of our people change in tandem with it.

CEO’s Message

In 2017, we are excited about a number of new strategies and initiatives that will make a tangible difference in the lives of our people. For one, we have revised our subsidy criteria upwards. This means that more participants enrolled in our education, youth and family programmes can enjoy subsidies and our programmes continue to stay affordable. With this revision, families with a Per Capita Income (PCI) of $1,000 and below will enjoy greater fee benefits from 2017. You can read more about this within the pages of this issue. We have also launched an island-wide door knocking exercise in collaboration with our grassroots partners in various constituencies. This will allow us to connect better with heartlanders, understand their needs and provide them with assistance or direct them to the right solutions. We want to do all we can to reach out to those in need and support them so that they can lead better, more fruitful lives. Going to where the people are is a firm step in the right direction for the organisation. We have also refreshed our SINDA website to enhance awareness of our programmes and services. I encourage you to visit the site at www.sinda.org.sg and learn more about our services so that you can benefit from them. These are only some of the changes we have introduced for the betterment of the community. In the coming months, you will hear more about our other new projects. I am confident that these changes will support our students, youth and families in their pursuits and help propel the Indian community forward, together.

K Barathan CEO, SINDA

Contents 01

Looking Back


What’s New

• From October 2016 to January 2017

• Good News for More Families • Connect with the Community




• Working Together as a Community for a Better Future


STEP Tuition • Registration for STEP Tuition is Still Open!


• Dhirren Haridas Achary


• Appreciating Our Tutors • ITELP Making Headway • Families Enjoy a Christmas Wonderland • PYD Highlights • Google in the Community



• String Art

Event Highlights 16 • A Community that Keeps on Giving • All Set for the New School Year Quiz-O-Mania • Post-PSLE Soccer Time


About Us 17

One of Us

• Advanced Peer Leader Rathi Chandran

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 4554, or visit www.sinda.org.sg.


Looking Back

Project Give Booth Gets Boost from DPM’s Visit DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam takes the opportunity to interact with children at SINDA’s Project Give booth at the Deepavali Festival Village on 20 October last year. More on page 10.

PYD Awards Night 2016 Salman Fasrudeen, the 2016 valedictorian for SINDA’s Positive Youth Development (PYD) programmes, gives a speech to his fellow youth participants at the PYD Awards Night. Read the full article on page 14.

Tutors Step Up Their Work plans Tutors from STEP and Project Teach get updates on academic trends and students’ developmental needs at SINDA’s Tutor Work Plan Seminar on 7 January at Spectra Secondary School.



Working Together as a Community for

a Better Future

The continued progress of a community is in the hands of its people. When we put aside our selfinterests and work together for the common good, we create a brighter collective future—one in which every member of the community can thrive and lead a fruitful life. Senior Minister of State and SINDA President, Ms Indranee Rajah recently unveiled SINDA’s strategies and shared key goals that the community must work towards. With these, we and our future generations can stride confidently in a changing global landscape. Below are excerpts of her speech:

The Indian community The Indian community in Singapore has been a resilient and forward-looking community, making steady progress over the years even as a minority group. Within this community lies a number of sub-ethnic and language groups, each with its own culture and traditions, and when we look at progress of the Indian community, we want every single one of these groups to flourish and prosper. We need to consider ourselves as one Indian community and actively work towards helping those in need and ensuring that no one is left behind.


The Indian community has shown progress—the percentage of Indians with only post-secondary qualifications and below has dropped. Instead, in the last 15 years, we have seen a sharp increase in those with diplomas and degrees, from 3.1% to 14.5% and 16.5% to 40%, respectively. More of our people are attaining better qualifications and this means greater career prospects. This may also have been a contributing factor in the rise of Indian households’ median income: from $3,805 in 2000 to $8,443 in 2015.

There are about 113,000 households in our community. With the number of those living in 4-room flats and below having decreased, we see a corresponding increase in the number of Indians living in condominiums and other such apartments. However, of concern is the bottom 20% of Indian households—about 20,400—that are earning a monthly income of $1,000 or less. We want to focus on this group. Together with SINDA, the Indian community as a whole must help them fare better and improve their socioeconomic status. The key to this is improving educational performance.

Educational Performance of Indian Students In the past 15 years, our Indian students have made stable and significant progress in the educational arena. However, together with us, the other races have also improved, leaving a gap in important areas that we must close. We must strive for better overall performance, especially in core subjects such as Mathematics and Science. These core subjects are important, regardless of the career path one wishes to pursue. Based on the Ministry of Education’s educational performance indicators released each year, we see that there has been an improvement in our students’ educational performance in the last decade. Overall, we are doing well in English and Mother Tongue and are on par with the national average in terms of qualifying for the next level

of study. However, we do not have a similar grasp on Mathematics and Science and this affects the quality of the PSLE passes. As these are also foundation subjects, the continued weak performance is affecting the performance at the ‘O-Level’ examinations and subsequent stages. It is important that we reverse this trend. If we do not improve our performance in Mathematics and Science, we will not have access to the best jobs and opportunities and we will not thrive in the future economy— an economy that is very much based on the concept of a SMART Nation, in which digital technology, computerisation and coding (all dependent on one’s understanding of Mathematics and Science) are emerging as key sectors.

Community Goals The responsibility of improving the community falls upon each one of us. We are looking at improving the educational performance of students in the bottom 20% of households—about 23,715 students aged between 7 to 25 years—and it is no small task. It requires an “all hands on deck” approach, with each one contributing in his or her own way. To do this, we at SINDA have devised key community goals that we must all work towards: 1. Increased pre-school participation 2. Better quality PSLE passes 3. Better spread across secondarylevel streams 4. Greater enrolment in junior colleges and polytechnics 5. Lower drop-out rate from ITE 6. More university enrolments and better spread across different disciplines, including the Sciences and Engineering 7. Better job prospects and more employment

These are broad goals with specific strategies and programmes set for each. We need the help of the Indian community—both organisations as well as individuals—to make these a reality, as SINDA cannot be the universal service provider. While SINDA functions as a catalyst, the betterment of our people must be driven as a community effort, with Indians helping fellow Indians. The goals we have set for ourselves are not difficult to reach. With determination, passion and the community’s collective efforts, we can achieve even greater success. We may be a small community, but we must be an exceptional community, filled with high achievers. And the only ones who can make it happen, is us.

Do Your Part for the Indian Community! Whether you are an organisation, business or individual, there is always an opportunity to help that’s right for you! Join us in our efforts for the betterment of the Indian community:

Referrals If you know of someone who is in need of assistance, or if you as an organisation are already helping students in need, you can refer them to SINDA. Our combined efforts will benefit students even more!

Resources SINDA runs island-wide programmes for students, youth and families. Share your resources with us so that we are able to reach out to our people better!

Raising Awareness Help us spread the word to your members and constituents. In addition, your events and programmes can be useful platforms for SINDA staff to meet and share our initiatives with people from all walks of life.

Volunteering Volunteers play a key role in many of our programmes and we are more than happy to have you and your organisation contribute towards our initiatives. Together, we can touch the lives of thousands.


registration for STEP tuition is still open! Don’t wait—join us at one of our accessible and convenient locations island-wide today. Find the centre nearest to you or visit www.sinda.org.sg to find out more. STEP CENTRES IN 2017 North





Our well-qualified, experienced teachers and small class sizes ensure your child gets the attention he/she needs. With our heavy subsidies, all students can afford quality tuition at a fraction of what a similar programme elsewhere costs!

Orchid Park Secondary School *

Wed & Sat

Seng Kang Secondary School *

Mon, Wed & Fri

Woodlands Ring Primary School*

Mon, Tues & Thurs

Woodlands Secondary School (New) *

Tues & Sat

Yishun Primary School

Mon, Wed & Fri

Bendemeer Secondary School *

Wed & Sat

Chong Boon Secondary School *

Mon, Wed & Thurs

First Toa Payoh Primary School *

Mon, Wed & Fri

Gan Eng Seng Primary School (New) *

Wed & Sat

Serangoon Garden Secondary School *

Wed & Sat

Yangzheng Primary School *

Mon, Wed & Fri

East View Secondary School *

Mon, Wed & Fri

Pasir Ris Crest Secondary School*

Wed & Sat

Ping Yi Secondary School *

Mon, Wed & Fri

Bukit View Secondary School *

Mon, Wed & Fri

Chua Chu Kang Secondary School *

Wed & Sat

Clementi Primary School *

Mon, Wed & Fri

Pioneer Primary School *

Wed & Sat

Shuqun Primary School *

Mon, Wed & Thurs


Shuqun Secondary School *

Mon, Wed & Fri

Fee subsidies and waivers are only applicable to Indian students who are Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents

Unity Secondary School *

Mon, Wed & Fri

Zhenghua Secondary School (New) *

Tues, Wed & Thurs

* Also offers the Collaborative Tuition Programme (CTP) Weekdays: 7pm–9pm Weekend: 8am–12.30pm


Subjects Available

Primary 1 & 2

Maths & English

Primary 3 to 6 (including P5 and P6 Foundation)

Maths, Science & English

Secondary 1 & 2 (Express & Normal Academic)

Maths & General Science

Secondary 3 to 5 (Express & Normal Academic)

Maths, Additional Maths & Combined Science (Physics / Chemistry)

Secondary 1 to 4 (Normal Technical)

Resource Material Fees


per subject per month One-time payment per subject

$5 $20

per subject per month

Maths & English


• MOE Financial Assistance Scheme Recipients • School Pocket Money Fund Recipients • SINDA Bursary Recipients • Households with per capita income of $650 and below Households with per capita income of above $650 and up to $1,000


Subject Fees

Tuition Fees

Resource Material Fees

Waived Waived $5 per month (regardless of number of subjects)


Good News for More Families From 2017 onwards, more of our clients will be eligible for financial assistance and programme fee subsidies, with the revision of the Per Capita Income (PCI) eligibility criteria. PCI refers to the total monthly gross household income divided by the number of members in the household. The last revision of PCI criteria was in 2014, with an increase from $450 to $650 for one to be eligible for subsidies. Now, the enhanced subsidy model allows those with a PCI of $650 or less to enjoy full fee waivers for our programmes. Furthermore, those with a PCI between $650 and $1,000 need only pay a nominal commitment fee, while those with a PCI above $1,000 can still expect subsidised rates of between $10 and $30. This makes SINDA’s programmes more affordable than ever! The move is expected to benefit close to 14,000 students, youths and parents, or some 70% of those we serve. With this, we hope to encourage more of you to enrol in our pre-school, educational, youth and family programmes.

Per Capita Income (PCI)


From January 2017 onwards

≤ $650

Commitment Full Fee Waiver Fee

> $650 and up to $1,000

Subsidised Fees

Commitment Fee

Subsidised Fee

> $ 1,000

*All Singaporeans and Permanent Residents of Indian origin qualify

If you’d like more information, call the SINDA hotline at 1800 295 4554.

Connect with the Community If you’re a Singaporean who has a knack for talking to people and are concerned about the community,

you might be just the one we’re looking for! CRITERIA


- 21 to 65 years old - Able to attend at least one volunteer training session

Prakash - 6393 6346 Jaysree - 6393 7200 5


DHIRREN Haridas Achary

Tuned for Success 6

11-year-old Dhirren Haridas Achary’s talent at the piano led him to be enrolled in A R Rahman’s KM Music Conservatory in Chennai at the tender age of five. Now back in Singapore, Dhirren continues to shine—he came in 2nd at the 2016 Singapore Asia Youth Piano Competition, and has qualified to participate in the prestigious 21st Japan Piara 2017 Piano Competition in Hamamatsu, Japan this year. We hear from Dhirren and his mum, Vani Maz.

Have fun and be happy! I believe if you do anything with a fun attitude and with happiness, you can succeed.


What was it like, living away from home and training in Chennai? D: It was scary at first, because I was the youngest in my piano class at school. Most of the students were in their late teens or young adults. Our Russiantrained teacher had high expectations of us and was extremely demanding. Thankfully, because I was so young, all of them looked after me and even pampered me! I had countless unforgettable experiences and so much fun. Things like jamming with my classmates in a garden; adjusting to daily power cuts, especially in the hot summers without a fan; looking forward to my dad’s visits and goodies from Singapore from my visiting godmother and others. Mum: Being in Chennai was good exposure for Dhirren. I home-schooled him while we were there, so we spent almost all our time together, learning about everything from the solar system to geography and world events. Home-schooling takes a lot of commitment and discipline. How did you prepare for it? Mum: I made sure I was always one level ahead of Dhirren’s current school standard, so in Primary 1, he was learning the Primary 2 syllabus. I read up teachers’ books, guide books and assessment books. I was completely focused on meeting his academic needs. I developed a strict timeline and set objectives and targets for myself. It was more of a marathon than a race, so my efforts had to be consistent. However, we never had a rigid lifestyle. With kids, when you break down lessons simply and use a fun approach, their ability to grasp knowledge is very high. D: Now that I am back and in school, I really miss those times with my mother. My mother taught me in a fun and effective manner. There was so much freedom, and the best part was that I did not have to wake up early in the morning to study! School life in Singapore is really fun and I have lots of friends and time to play, but I wish school didn’t start so early or have teachers giving us so much homework.

What do you enjoy doing nowadays? D: I enjoy Maths and Science—I am in my school’s Maths Olympiad team, and am also part of the E2K Science Programme (Excellence 2000 is an Israel-developed Science enrichment programme run by the Ministry of Education). I play right wing for my school’s soccer team and PE is most definitely my favourite subject! I play chess for leisure—previously I was part of the Singapore Chess Federation’s National Junior Squad and was part of Team Singapore at the 15th ASEAN Plus Championship in Macau, and also played in other national chess tournaments. However, my biggest love is music, both piano and drums. Tell us about your musical journey so far. D: My grandmother gave me a simple keyboard for my fourth birthday. I was mesmerised, and tried to reproduce the nursery rhymes my father played on his iPad. My mother pasted labels on the keyboard to help me with the notes. I got so hooked that I would rather play the piano than go to kindergarten! When I was five, I was accepted into the KM Music Conservatory in Chennai and spent two enriching years there. I got to play two concerts there on a huge stage in a grand concert hall, with over 300 pairs of eyes on me—with one pair belonging to Dr AR Rahman himself, whom I really admire. It was an indescribable feeling. Now, I am taking my Grade 6 ABRSM exams. My current teacher, Ms Vanessa Loh, encourages me to take part in competitions, like last year’s 2016 Singapore-Asia Youth Piano Competition organised by Cristofori Music School. I used to play the drums with my school percussion club, too. Some musicians have told my parents that it is a rare combination for someone to play both the piano and percussion. Mum: As parents, we believe that every child is born with a talent, so we looked out for Dhirren’s interests and passions, and observed his knack for music. His musical journey had a very humble beginning, with his initial classes in a community centre. Our first piano was a rental piano.


Dhirren, would you say that music has helped you in a personal way? D: Yes. It has taught me to have an undivided focus. I’ve also developed discipline and learnt what it means to make a commitment. I train countless hours for months before a competition. The week before, I would play the piano every morning at 6.30am before heading to school. The ultimate reward is being able to play the pieces well, and that gives me the biggest happiness. My mother also told me that those who are good in music tend to be good in Maths, and I guess it’s true because I am pretty good in Maths.

Mum, you yourself keep very busy: as a grassroots volunteer since 2008, a member of the Young Entrepreneurs Network at the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (YEN@SICCI) and a freelance Doping Control Officer with Anti-Doping Singapore. How do you find the time for all these, besides taking care of Dhirren and working full-time?

Does what you’ve learnt being part of YEN@SICCI also apply to your parenting journey?

Mum: I am not a one-man army—I am blessed with an amazing support system which includes my immediate family and my very close friends who have been there through it all. When I am busy, my family, including my mother, and domestic helper help me out. Sometimes, my friends step in and take Dhirren out for a break. A support system is essential if we want to reach for the stars.

From a family aspect, financial management has helped me differentiate very clearly between our needs and wants. I’ve learnt to prioritise and bite the bullet when the need arises. It’s enabled me to continue to help my son live his dreams.

When you grow up… D: I want to be either a music composer or a mathematician! How do you juggle your piano practice, studies and co-curricular activities? D: My dad helps me manage my time. Whenever possible, I play FIFA 17 with my dad or cycle with my mum, and we watch movies and soccer matches together as a family. When it comes to the other stuff, my parents tell me that we will take things one at a time and that we can do it together. That encourages me to press on. Mum: It’s a big challenge. We try to overcome it by keeping a close watch over his timetable. We ensure he has enough play time and that his sleep is never compromised. He is in bed by 10pm at the latest. If he is unable to finish his homework for the day he will request for additional time from his teacher the next day. Are there other challenges? Mum: Dhirren always wants to deliver his best in everything he does, but this makes him anxious. Before examinations, tournaments or concerts he can be sleepless worrying about the outcome, and sometimes even fall sick from worrying too much. Till today, this is one of the biggest challenges we face. We tell him results don’t matter; what matters is the journey and that you have done your best. We tell him failure is the mother of all greater successes. We believe experiencing failure will enable him to face life with resilience. With resilience, he can overcome anxiety. 8

I also prioritise my activities and keep closely to a schedule. The Red Pill Programme you are involved in through SICCI is a mentorship scheme for aspiring young entrepreneurs. Please share more about it with us. Mum: It’s very inspiring, as it guides young entrepreneurs towards their dreams. Personally, I learned a lot, such as the fundamentals of business and business ethics. Financial management and resilience are key factors for any aspiring entrepreneur’s success; good governance is also vital.

Mum: There have been great takeaways. For example, good governance is not about making correct decisions, but about the best process for making them; and being accountable for the consequences.

How would you encourage other parents to support their child’s passion, especially if it entails taking a path less travelled? Mum: Be committed towards your children. Whatever their passion, encourage them. We cannot just send them for classes and assume we have done our part; we have to sit with them and spend enough time to ensure that they are enjoying and growing in their talents. Have the faith and confidence to go all the way for them. Nobody says it will be easy, but this is your journey with your child. The sky is the limit. Dhirren, what would you like to tell other kids around your age? D: Have fun and be happy! I believe if you do anything with a fun attitude and with happiness, you can succeed.

Oct 2016

EVENT Highlights

A Community that Keeps on Giving

2016 was another great year for Project Give, SINDA’s flagship fundraising event that has been going strong for 15 years already! It’s something close to our hearts, because it just shows how our community comes together to look after the educational and financial needs of Indian students in Singapore. While the campaign runs throughout the year, Deepavali is traditionally its peak, when we open a booth at the Deepavali Festival Village in Little India. As always, SINDA is heartened by the strong community support unstintingly given. SINDA has been blessed with meaningful partnerships with community grassroots, religious and ethnic groups, which help us reach out to and connect effectively with individuals. We count among our friends 147 Indian and religious organisations, besides the support of 94 Indian Activity Executive Committees (IAECs). In 2016, Project Give focused on greater engagement with the community. Our CEO, Mr K Barathan, was delighted by the “overwhelming response” from the hundreds of people who


not only gave generously, but took the effort to learn more about SINDA’s programmes and services. Our strong academic focus at SINDA has not changed over the years—we believe in the infinite potential of every child, and try to ensure that this potential is not hindered by family, social or economic circumstances. This is the main thrust of Project Give fundraising. The year before, in 2015, half of SINDA’s annual expenditure, or $12 million, went towards educational programmes. We engaged 6,000 students through these programmes, and also distributed school kits, bursaries, subsidies and scholarships. It’s not just the students who benefit, but families, too. In 2016, 998 festive gift packs were distributed to low-income families to help celebrate Deepavali, Hari Raya and Christmas collectively. As Mr Barathan says, we wouldn’t have the success of Project Give without your support. Thank you, all!

Nov 2016

All Set for the New School Year

For some low-income families, the year-end festivities are overshadowed by the expense of getting ready for the new school year ahead. However, SINDA helped put some joy back into the season with our annual Back-to-School Festival (BTSF) held on 26 November, at the Umar Pulavar Tamil Language Centre. 1,200 students were the pleased recipients of school kits, comprising $120 stationery vouchers, $60 shoe vouchers and $20 food vouchers. Happily, most of these students also signed up for our STEP tuition classes this year. BTSF beneficiaries also include children from the other self-help groups: the Chinese Development Assistance Council, Yayasan Mendaki and the Eurasian Association. Running concurrently with the BTSF was the Indian Community Bursary Awards Ceremony (ICBAC), which was jointly organised by SINDA, the Singapore Indian Education Trust (SIET) and the Tamils Representative Council (TRC). Through the ICBAC, the three organisations disbursed a combined $580,000 in bursaries to Indian students. 2016 was the 14th year of both the BTSF and the ICBAC.


Nov 2016

EVENT Highlights

Oct 2016

Appreciating Our Tutors It is a proverb worth repeating that “It takes a village to raise a child”, which SINDA CEO Mr K Barathan reminded educators on 4 November last year.

Post-PSLE Soccer Time With the PSLE over, it was time for the Primary 6-ers to finally unwind and indulge in their passions. For many boys, this meant football, football and more football! Fortunately, SINDA had just the thing—a soccer workshop, held at Spectra Secondary School from 17–20 October 2016 for 37 of them. Singaravelan Sripriyan of Jurong Primary School enthused: “The soccer workshop was fun! The coaches were kind and patient and taught us many techniques to be better players. I got to befriend students from various schools, and we worked great together as a team. We put our new skills to good use in the closing tournament and got medals as well as free shin pads and shoe bags.”

He was addressing STEP centre principals and administrators, as well as tutors from both STEP and TEACH, at the 2016 Tutor Appreciation Night. Honouring them at the Serangoon Gardens Country Club that evening, Mr Barathan noted how they are SINDA’s ambassadors, reaching out in the Indian community to every child who needs support. 5,500 students annually come through our STEP and TEACH programmes. Most recently, 139 of them made significant improvement in the various 2015 landmark examinations and qualified for last year’s Joint Tuition Awards. Their success is validation for our tutors too, who work in partnership with their respective schools to achieve student academic outcomes. Each one of our tutors is an integral member of the SINDA family. And like families do, they nurture not just the children’s academic lives, but also their social-emotional development. Some of these children face family, financial or emotional challenges, but our tutors’ vigilance has brought help through SINDA’s Family Service Centre. As a result, we see more students who are motivated, engaged and mentally resilient, and able to realise their full potential. At the event, a total of 75 Long Service Awards, ranging from three to 25 years, were also presented to tutors and centre personnel. We wish all of them a rewarding and fulfilling journey with SINDA, as we move forward together!


Nov 2016

ITELP Making Headway It has only been two years since SINDA Youth Club set up the ITE Leadership Programme (ITELP), but already parents and participants are giving it a glowing endorsement. Suseela Nair was among the mums beaming with pride as 15 teens were recognised at the ITELP 2016 Graduation Ceremony on 12 November last year. Her twins, Dheepan and Divyan, both first-year students in ITE, have developed a clear sense of direction and are doing well in school, she says. It is, Suseela believes, the nurturing they received during the five-month ITELP that helped them develop a good understanding of community service and the passion to serve others. Indeed, ITELP’s aim is to cultivate effective leaders like Dheepan and Divyan. It was established to provide Indian ITE students with opportunities for self-development, better understanding of social issues and leadership training. Participants get the chance to conceptualise and execute their own plans for social good, and this batch showed keen interest in areas such as disabilities, animal abuse and environmental care. Since ITELP, they have also demonstrated a sharper awareness of matters outside the classroom. The proud parents at the SINDA Auditorium witnessed 15 of this cohort make their project presentations, to no less than Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Finance and President of SINDA, Ms Indranee Rajah. Congratulations to all ITELP participants and their mentors— keep believing in yourselves, keep learning and never give up!

Dec 2016 Families Enjoy a Christmas Wonderland It was a most unusual sight that enthralled several SINDA families on 2 December 2016: snow falling in Singapore! The Gardens by the Bay had transformed into a true Christmas Wonderland, complete with magnificent sculptures of light and charming festive markets. The fair not only transported our visitors to a different realm with its sights and sounds and cheer, but also offered a myriad photo opportunities, bringing families together. As magical as the yuletide carnival was, nothing beat the magic of sharing the experience with loved ones. Said Khalit s/o Abdul Wahab, “We went as a family of five and both adults and children were excited about the snow, lights, games and crowd—it really was wonderful.”


EVENT Highlights

PYD Highlights Nov 2016

Dec 2016

Shining Stars of the PYD Awards Night 2016 SINDA’s Positive Youth Development (PYD) Department marked its third year of instilling resilience and confidence in our youth, celebrating the more than 600 youngsters who came through its programmes in 2016. In particular, 115 participants were honoured at its annual Awards Night on 19 November 2016. These outstanding youths, who include SINDA Peer Leaders, have demonstrated not just a strong sense of commitment but also growth in their characters. Proud parents were among the 235 guests who watched them receive medals, certificates and gift vouchers. Valedictorian Salman Fasrudeen in his speech credited SINDA for helping him realise and gain the “keys to success: confidence, hard work and determination”. He added, “This award has given me the extra boost and motivation to continue giving my best.”

SINDA Lions Show their Strength Both our SINDA Lions teams have done us proud, with Team A emerging champion and Team B a strong 4th in the 2016 MOF Minor League. These 17 to 20-year-old alumni of the GAME Football programme supported and pushed each other to do their very best, not just in their sport, but also in their school work and personal lives. Well done, Lions!

Bounce! As the year-end holidays drew to a close last year, 37 youths decided to amp up the fun with SINDA, at the Amped Trampoline Park in River Valley on 16 December. They had the full facility to themselves—imagine 35 interconnected trampolines—and kept the adrenaline up with dodgeball and basketball, slack lines and high dives into foam pits. Later, it was back to SINDA for a barbecue and time to chill out with new friends. The activities that day were a first for Haridharan s/o Karthikeyan, 19. All smiles, he declared, “It was really fun!”

google in the Community Starting this year, some of our SINDA students will get a head start in the digital world, with lessons in coding sponsored by Google. The computing giant has chosen to partner with SINDA and the other Self-Help Groups to roll out its Code in the Community programme. Mr Caesar Sengupta, Vice-President of Google’s The Next Billion Users division explains, “Google can play a part to inspire students to take up technology as a career. We need more engineers and product designers coming out of local schools.” SINDA CEO, Mr K Barathan, points out that we are already seeing many of our youth involved in start-ups and technepreneurship, so this training is timely in adding value to our students’ holistic growth. He says, “This will add a different dimension to our students’ learning and development. We hope to get them to start thinking of technology in creative ways from the onset.”


Coding school Saturday Kids and non-profit organisation 21C Girls will conduct the 20-week course on weekends over two terms, for students aged 8 to 15.

String art


Math and art often cross paths. Try this activity to see how you can create curves using straight lines.

Materials needed

Round dinner plate

1 sheet of paper


Corrugated cardboard*

String, yarn, or embroidery thread

16 straight pins*

Sticky tape

* You can also create your string art board using nails hammered into a piece of wood.


Pin 1

Pin 2




Make a circle by placing the plate on the piece of paper. Use the pencil to trace around the edge. Cut the circle out.

Fold the circle in half four times. You will end up with a folded shape that looks like a slice of pie.

Open the circle and place it on the cardboard. Tape the paper in place. Push a straight pin into the cardboard at each crease in the paper.




The pin in the 12 o’clock position is Pin 1. The pin to the right is Pin 2, then Pin 3 and so on. Remove the paper.

Tie one end of a piece of string around Pin 1. Wrap the string around Pin 4. Now go back to Pin 2, then to Pin 5. Carry on around the circle in this pattern (3, 6; 4, 7; 5, 8; etc.) Continue until you arrive back at Pin 1. Knot the string and cut off the excess thread.

Repeat this process with other colours, but begin at a different pin. Or, you can choose a new pattern (e.g., Pin 1, Pin 6; Pin 2, Pin 7; etc.) beginning on Pin 1.

How it works By using only straight lines in a repeated pattern, you have created a rounded shape called a BĂŠzier curve. There are many different ways to create art using string and repeated patterns. For more ideas on string art, go to this site for some patterns: http://www.mathcats.com/crafts/stringart.html#top


Like the new look of SINDA Connections and read everything without skipping a page? Let’s see how well you know its contents!


Answer the questions below and submit your answers together with your particulars, to SINDA Connections Contest c/o CMC, No 1 Beatty Road, Singapore 209943. Your entries have to reach SINDA by 15 May 2017. This contest is only open to primary and secondary school students, who are Singaporeans or Permananet 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.




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Circle one answer for each question: (You can find the answers in the articles in this magazine) Question 1 With the latest revision of the Per Capita Income (PCI) eligibility criteria, who can receive a full fee waiver for SINDA’s programmes from January 2017 onwards? a) A family with a PCI of ≤ $650

b) A family with a PCI of > $650 and up to $1,000

c) A family with a PCI of > $ 1,000

Question 2 Which other musical instrument does Dhirren play besides the piano? a) Guitar

b) Drums

c) Flute

Question 3 What is one of the key community goals devised by SINDA, which we must work towards? a) Moving forward as one b) Greater enrolment in junior colleges and polytechnics c) Getting more people to attend SkillsFuture courses




To build a strong and vibrant Singaporean Indian community together

Term Trustees Patron Mr Inderjit Singh Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Ms Indranee Rajah Chairman Mr M Rajaram Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam Mr V Shankar Mr Ravi Menon Life Trustees Mr R Jayachandran Prof S Jayakumar Mr Girija Pande Mr S Dhanabalan Mr Gautam Banerjee Mr S Chandra Das Mr Ravinder Singh Mr J Y Pillay Justice Judith Prakash Mr Sat Pal Khattar Mr K Kesavapany Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam Mr K Shanmugam Advisors Dr N Varaprasad Dr Vivian Balakrishnan

President Ms Indranee Rajah

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


Mr S Iswaran Mr Vikram Nair

Vice Presidents Mr Viswa Sadasivan Mr Shabbir Hassanbhai Secretary Mr Sarjit Singh Treasurer Mr Shekaran Krishnan Members Mr V P Jothi Mr R Rajaram Mr Puvan Ariaratnam Mr R Subramaniam Iyer Dr Joshua V M Kuma Mr K V Rao Mr R Chandra Mohan Mr K Ramamoorthy Mr Sarbjit Singh


Rathi has embraced what she calls the “many opportunities to shine” since she joined SINDA in 2014. Like many teens, Secondary 3 student Rathi loved music. So, when she discovered SINDA’s GAME Music programme, she grabbed the chance to learn something new. Three years on, Rathi, now a Human Resource & Administration student at ITE, is still with GAME Music, albeit as a facilitator. She recalls how she participated wholeheartedly upon joining GAME, which “paved the way for my selection as a Peer Leader,” she says. From then, Rathi has tirelessly worked on improving her leadership skills in order to motivate other youths, helping them to tackle problems with a positive approach. She has even gone for overseas training, and planned and led Camp Arise 2016. Rathi is now eagerly looking forward to the next step in her leadership journey with SINDA—becoming a Junior Mentor.

Advanced Peer Leader


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

Rathi: “Even if you fail, keep trying and don’t give up. Many of us stop chasing our dreams when we keep failing, but always remember that with hard work and constant trying, you will definitely get there some day.” 17

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SINDA Connections - March 2017  

SINDA Connections - March 2017  

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