SEP 2017 ISSUE NO.11 MCI (P) 142/11/2017
Social Integration 5
“We drew a CIRCLE, and took him in!” 24 (design x community)
Contents 2 President’s Message 4 Packs and “Hacks” of love Packed with more food and action, WSC gave the underpriviledged families a pleasant surprise by including a carnival in this year’s Community Service Day.
7 “We drew a CIRCLE, and took him in!” Assisting and empowering others can be simple: it’s always a matter of perception.
9 Eye Am Aware 2017: A Visit To Paradise For A More Inclusive Singapore Fancy a break from the concrete jungle? Join our visually handicapped friends on a Zen Sunday trip to Bollywood Veggies to explore mother nature.
12 Waking up with no memories Assisting and empowering others can be simple: it’s always a matter of perception.
14 Walking with a Friend in the Dark: Inside RSP (Visually Handicapped) Get to know more about how our regular volunteering session with the visually handicapped is like.
19 Keep ‘Em Rolling with more Fun and Ease Join our volunteers in a day of fun with the physically challenged.
21 Old and Alone Old and Alone...no longer! Various initiatives in place along with passionate youth volunteers, we seek to understand and reach out to the elderly members in society.
25 (design x community) A group of inspired youths take things in their hands to create social change through design.
31 OVE’17: Acts of Kindness 34 Inspire Hope to Ignite Change Freshman Orientation Programme 2017.
35 Our WSC Journey
Presidentâ€™s Message Lim Sze Chi Outgoing President of 22nd Executive Committee NTU Welfare Services Club
One year has passed, and we are now welcoming a brand new academic year! I feel nostalgic, recalling how at this time last year, the 22nd Executive Committee including myself, had been learning the ropes quickly and gearing ourselves to lead WSC. Stepping down would mean a partial end to my fruitful journey with WSC. I am more than grateful to have discovered this really huge family that has always been full of warmth. I have had so many
To all WSC members, do continue to ignite the spirit of volunteerism and grow with WSC! To the 23rd Executive Committee, I wish you the very best in moulding the WSC you envision. Onward WSC, and thank you for having been a huge part of my university memories.
Presidentâ€™s Message Jessica Lim Jia Ying Incoming President of 23rd Executive Committee NTU Welfare Services Club
WSC Recruitment Drive, as well as the Information Session. In addition, the Annual Appreciation Dinner will witness the annual heartwarming reunion of WSC members and alumni, with acts of appreciation from the 22nd Executive Committee and As we forge ahead into the new academic year, WSC members can look forward to many new and exciting initiatives coming their way. our partners and sponsors, but also among our members. Do continue to give us your support and most importantly, enjoy yourselves along with your fellow WSC members! I believe 2016/2017 has been a memorable year for many of us. As we bid farewell to our graduating members and welcome new fresh faces, may we continue to uphold the spirit of WSC as one, with our passion for volunteering in the year ahead. To all WSC members, may we all strive to serve with joy and inspire others to do the same, and to Stand Out, Volunteer!
Packs and “Hacks” of love By: Alexis Ong En Na Edited by: Chin Wei Lu
care to make sure no pack was overlooked.
In a new twist, WSC Internal Relations introduced a carnival at this year’s Share and Care, in parallel with the distribution of provisions, to foster the ties that bind.
WSC Internal Relations’ (IR) Community Service Day events packing and distribution to underprivileged families living in Boon Lay, but something An extra two months of meticulous planning and discussion, beginning all the way back in June 2016, gave rise to Share and Care 2017: a vibrant
carnival brimming with games and learning opportunities for everyone in the family (on top of the food packs, of course!). Kick-starting the February event were an exciting line-up of song and dance performances, including one by NTU’s very own CAC (Cultural Activities Club) Lion Dance Troupe, and in true Singaporean fashion, lunch for all participants.
Share and Care 2017 was one of the rare few events in which she could participate more actively, when joining her husband of the same age, Syed Ibrahim Fakifeer. “I like that we could take photos,” she said with a smile, while her husband was partaking in the exercises some distance away. “I can’t take part in the ball-throwing or the exercising (because of my muscle weakness), but my husband is enjoying them.”
Volunteers and participants alike enjoyed the game booths, which wove bitesized pieces of information on useful concepts like nutrition into fun activities.”
Meanwhile, “House Hacks”, the carnival’s highlight, proffered a range of ingenious money-saving tips around the household, compiled by the IR team. Examples include making bags from clothes, and simple magazine racks out of clothes hangers. Madam Suthey, 62, who has
Volunteers and participants alike enjoyed the game booths, which wove bite-sized pieces of information on useful concepts like nutrition into fun activities.” Spanning three levels of Boon Lay Community Centre and managed by a 200-strong team of volunteers from NTU’s Welfare Services Club (WSC) and beyond, the carnival had About 120 families were able to pick up new skills, including
of NTU Red Cross Society as well as simple exercises,which are particularly useful for elderly with muscle weaknesses. Volunteers also taught participants strength-building arm raises and mini squats, as well as a simple grapevine walk to improve their balance. For 55-year-old Madam Fauziah to a mobility scooter due to her diabetes and muscle weakness,
distribution programme for three years, hailed the carnival as a refreshing addition, taking particular note of the “house hacks” taught. “I’ll be trying out the hanger magazine rack (when I get home),” she said enthusiastically when asked which “hack” she liked most. “It’s good because (my husband and I) can put newspapers in it and just hang it at the window.” As the carnival pulsed on, a separate group of volunteers from all portfolios alike, laboured away, gathering at the basketball court to pack food into goodie bags for distribution
Despite many volunteers not having known one another prior to the event, the site emanated with warmth and a shared sense of purpose, as people worked together to vast number of food packs to be prepared -- not only for the carnival attendees, but for all the everyone took to the task like an According to Zhang Li’En, 21, an IR volunteer, everyone pitched in to do as much as they could during the packing process. “Though everyone was a little tired before the packing, they were enthusiastic by the time we started,” she said. “Some volunteers would go out of their way to check the packs after we were done packing, too. I felt it was a meaningful activity.” 2017 then saw participants being invited up on stage to either sing or take part in exciting games, and for a lucky draw. Instead of giving them the met-
On the same day, after the packing was done, volunteers went around the neighbourhood to distribute the food packs
mere distribution of food packs, IR Chairperson, Chan Wei Jie, hopes that the educational activities imparted practical hacks that would ‘feed them for a lifetime’ instead. More than that, however, he hopes the carnival has given participants a platform to spend quality time with their loved ones. Participants and their families had the chance to pose for pictures with funny props at the photo-booths. The prints could photo frame, which the kids could then decorate with markers and stickers. “Even if they do not remember most of the tips here, they can at least enjoy themselves with their families or friends at this carnival,” he said.
On the same day, after the packing was done, volunteers went around the neighbourhood to distribute the food packs to
This is also the reason why participants like Mrs Huang
“Getting families to spend time together, is one of the main objectives of this event.” - Chan Wei Jie, WSC IR Chairperson
Shao Zhen would appreciate the carnival. ter, Rin Huang, was participating avidly in the carnival and stage games, the 42-year-old mother watched on with a doting smile. “We liked the activities and the performances on stage,” said Mrs Huang in Mandarin. “(Rin) really likes these activities, so I bring my daughter here whenever I can, for events at the Community Centre.”
“We drew a CIRCLE, and took him in!” Assisting and empowering others comes in many forms, but it almost always begins with changing our own perceptions. By: Chin Wei Lu
semester, our school welcomed some very special guests. Come lunchtime, seven students from Regular Service Project (Intellectually Disabled) [RSP (ID)] would accompany on a tour of the school premises. Perhaps they were ahead of you in the queue at MacDonald’s that day, or were enjoying a game of foosball at the Student Activities Centre as you chilled might even have noticed them at Prime Supermarket while you were there stocking up on instant noodles. Whatever it was, you can be sure that those students had more than leisure on their minds. 7
Living on the fringe It is against a social climate in which Persons with Special Needs are still generally regarded with apprehension, that these seven students volunteered for the Circles Programme. An initiative by SUN-DAC, a day activity centre which serves clients with intellectual, physical and learning disabilities, the programme aims to quell feelings of anxiety or reservation that some in the public may have towards those with special needs, as well as to help the latter get comfortable in public settings, by bringing the two into each other’s midst. Says Mr. Leong Wai, deputy director of SUN-DAC, “One
area we looked at was the importance of social inclusiveness in our client’s lives. We realised that most of their time was spent coming to our centre or staying at home. There were limited opportunities for them to spend time out in the community.” “That prompted us to imagine on how an inclusive setting would look like.” Working with trainers from SUN-DAC, the student volunteers designed a host of activities common in public places. They also made sure to incorporate in their plans, opportunities for competency skills that would
them to engage more meaningfully with others in the community (e.g. buying one’s own food, large-group dining). Goh Jia Ni (Accountancy and volunteer, was pleased to see for one another. “**Eric held Jonathan’s hand while they were walking; Larry and Sebastian helped the rest with smaller
impact given the short duration of the programme, Anna Chue volunteer, happily noted that the “more vocal and active overall.” Mr. Leong, too, was heartened by the volunteers’ good sense to innovate and “build on past learnings so that clients could successfully learn more complex tasks all while having fun.” Doing more together embrace PWSN? A survey of 1,000 respondents by Lien Foundation last year
tion of Singaporeans generally pay only lip service to the notion of building an inclusive society: a mere half of parents surveyed feel comfortable enough to let their children sit next to a handicapped child, while 64% of respondents believe Singaporeans are not very keen to interact with those with special needs. A teacher also recently highlighted, in a letter to the Straits Times Forum (dated 19 June), that there is a perceived unwillingness among many employers to hire students
from special education schools in meaningful roles, citing bottom-line considerations. And in case you think any of such examples are too remote, Jia Ni observed that during the programme, “some people (in school) would still keep a distance from us.” All three interviewed conceded that such behaviour may ultimately stem from a lack of understanding of how persons with these conditions might behave and how best to approach them. The fact that intellectual disabilities are often not as immediately obvious as physical ones further paves the way for potentially hostile exchanges.
was autistic. The passer-by then said, ‘Oh! It’s okay!’ The passer-by’s outlook towards the incident immediately changed upon understanding intellectual disability. “This case illustrates how people are generally kind if they know that someone has a disability.” We can all be friends! there may be in terms of appearance, speech and perceptions, inside, shares Mr. Leong, PwDs are really just like any of us.“They enjoy a lot of things that we do, such as good food
Anna, nonetheless, believes Singaporeans should not be criticised too quickly. Recalling an incident encountered by a fellow volunteer, she said,
In fact, reveals Jia Ni, “Some, if not many of them, can understand what we are saying and can hold simple conversations with us.”
bumped into a passer-by while walking. Instead of stopping
By displaying such displays of harmony between PWSN and volunteers out in the open, Mr. Leong hopes others can realise that interacting with
carried on walking without realising that what he had done was inconsiderate, and the passer-by was angry at him. “When the volunteer saw what had happened, she promptly went over to apologise on the
as one may think. “By opening our hearts and minds a little more, we can both enrich their lives and our own.” **Clients’ names have been changed RSP (Intellectually Disabled) volunteers treated both clients sumptuous Mookata lunch at the North Hill Halls on the last day of the programme.
Eye Am Aware 2017
A Visit To Paradise For A More Inclusive Singapore ciaries got to immerse themselves in Singapore’s very own agricultural scene, in a tour that tickled taste buds and also the mind. By: Lai Jue Hao “Smile, you are now in paradise.” Such were the idyllic words volunteers from Regular Service Project Visually Handicapped [RSP (VH)], when the group paid a visit to Bollywood Veggies one Sunday morning. Away from the bustle of the city, the organic farm - one hundred percent homegrown despite the name - was the highlight of this year’s Eye Am Aware on Feb 26. The annual event aims to foster mutual understanding between the public and the visually handicapped by bringing both together for an enjoyable day out. Trading last year’s athletic theme - participants had a game of Sound Ball and also visited a trampoline park - for a more “zen” experience with Mother Nature in this year’s edition, there were opportunities for participants to touch, smell and taste organic fruits and herbs 9
Participants potting lemongrass and pandan, which they then got to bring home. Both plants are natural insect repellents, for example, against mosquitoes. during the tour, and even feed farm animals at the Farmart Centre nearby.
Explaining the reason behind this shift, RSP (VH) Chairperson Donald Ng said: “For this year’s
Volunteers and beneat Farmart Centre. For was a rare opportunity to get up close with these animals.
more elderly participants. Hence, the activities for Eye Am Aware 2017 had to be less physically intense.” “There is a focus on nature this year, also because the activity who are of a wide age range, from as young as nine to 67,” he added. Challenging Stereotypes Despite being less physically intense, the event was by no means less impactful. Many even felt that the event’s success refutes the pre-conceived stereotypes the public may have of the visually-handicapped community. For one, Leong Jun Hao, a senior volunteer, noted that mobility, the farm visit appeared
“The (main) challenge for many of the visually handicapped is navigating unfamiliar places. However, once they are comfortable and familiar with the terrain, they have no problem moving around from place to place,” he said. did not feel that their own handicap hindered their enjoyment of the tour. For Mr. Franthe tour was enjoyable if a bit poignant – it reminded him of his married daughter.
“Interacting with the many young volunteers helped me said as he thought about his daughter whom he seldom get to see anymore. Manda Foo, personal assistant to the owner of Bollywood the quality of the tour conducted. “We do not accord customers. The quality of our tours, our standard of service, and our attentiveness do not change. As a farm, we do also have safety measures put in place to ensure visitors’ safety.” A hearty organic lunch at Bollywood Veggies. The farm regularly provides partial sponsorships for events with a cause.
Participants got to engage their sense of touch and smell on the guided farm tour. Many were surprised to learn that our everyday food incorporated elements from common plants.
Need For Greater Integration Although calls for a more disability-friendly society have grown in recent years, many of feel there is still some way to go in practice. While some companies practise inclusive employment and are willing to hire people who are 75% blind, Manda notes that
there is still an “inherent divide” between the handicapped community and the general public. “These people have been very much sidelined by society and we see it here as well,” she said. She feels that there remains a general lack of understanding towards people with disabilities. Citing a store assistant with cerebral palsy who faced
discrimination while at work, she said: “People are impatient. They don’t want to have to stand there for eight seconds to listen to her.” Takalah Tan, a senior can be more understanding, especially towards people with rare disabilities. The 47-yearold is not only blind in his left eye, but was also a victim oftraumatic brain injury-- both of which, had resulted from a years ago. “It (society’s understanding of disabilities) is better nowadays, except for disabilities that are so complex, like brain injuries,” he notes. “They (society) have a lack of awareness of such disabilities, and this gives rise to misunderstandings,” he said.
During the tour, the guide shared many interesting facts about
Waking Up With No Memories From zero to hero: one man’s extraordinary journey on the road to recovery By: Lai Jue Hao
Imagine this: you have just graduated from university and are ready to move on to the next stage in life, having secured a coveted job at a globally and Tan Kok Liang, at only 24 years old, was in his prime. As fate would cruelly have it, Kok Liang soon found himself in hospital with permanent
Fortunately, his deductive ability remained, despite losing all his environment. In a deed poll done to re-establish his he took the opportunity to include “Takalah” in his name. Kok Liang believed that this would help him move on from the past and start afresh with a new identity. However, tragedy struck a second time. Two weeks before Takalah was discharged
surgery he was originally due for, as he wanted to focus all his attention on his ailing son. “Ma, where is daddy? Why is brother carrying daddy’s photograph?” Those were the words Takalah said to his mother when he attended his father’s funeral. At that time, despite his age, he was unable to comprehend the concepts of life and death. “Can you imagine that,” he said, “A person who knew so much, can, after an unfortunate encounter, come to know so little?” Starting From Zero Not knowing how to cope with his situation, Takalah’s family plunged into a state of desperation after his discharge.
“I did not want to be a longterm burden, especially when the prospects of recovery seemed bleak. I was contemplating suicide and I even postulated on the best way to succeed,” he admitted. During this time, he became acquainted with a neighbour who had similarly survived a robbed him of his cognitive abilities. “I became ugly, but I was still rational,” he said. “That was when I realised it was a blessing in disguise.” Faced with a loss of identity from his amnesia, Takalah resolved to go on a journeyto re-discover himself. Who was he? How will he be in future? As a young man before the accident, Takalah was very athletic. This photo was taken in 1987 during a 100km triathlon.
a cardiac arrest and passed away in his sleep. Takalah’s father had chosen to forgo a heart bypass
Image below: Takalah trying his hand at potting at this year’s Eye Am Aware, an annual event which aims to raise public awareness of the visually-handicapped through outings
Takalah recounted how, after his accident, not a single Chinese character seemed to ring a bell. It turned out he was never good at the language to begin with, having attained an F9 for his O-level Chinese examination. While recuperating, Takalah made the decision to re-take the examination. To improve his pronunciation, he practised Together with the help of his Chinese teacher, he managed to secure a D7 on his second attempt. Takalah also joined the Thomson Toastmasters Club-- a club under Toastmasters International, a global organisation that aims to develop members’communication and leadership skills-- to re-learn his speech. Three months later, he successfully gave a public speech at a medical forum. “I shared my personal experiences with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) with the audience. Despite because I spoke from the heart,” he said. Rejection By Society However, life was still not what it had used to be, for Takalah. After the accident, many people could not accept him for what he had become. “Because I looked ugly and I had a limp, people distanced themselves from me. It was a painful solo-battle,” he said.
Image above: Takalah had also devoted himself to scuba-diving, rock climbing, and hiking. Subsequently, through a friend’s recommendation, he underwent extensive cranio-facial corrective surgeries, which included dental, cheek, and eye-socket realignment.
acquired brain injury; instead, it casts punitive judgement.
Those corrections gave him hope of integrating back into society successfully. However, it was not just his physical appearance that people were uncomfortable with.
they concluded that it was my choice to disobey and not take them in regard,” he said.
When he became well enough to work, Takalah came to realise that many Singaporeans were rather ignorant of the common, believed that misunderstandings a widespread lack of awareness and knowledge of ABI. “Society simply makes no room for re-entrants with post
Because people lacked understanding of things like ABI and the memory retention
Although he feels that the situation in Singapore is improving gradually, he believes that rare conditions like brain trauma and their consequences still do not garner enough attention. Today, the 47-year-old is an active champion for greater inclusivity in Singapore, especially for those with cerebral injuries. Takalah also lends his support to the visually handicapped community and is a familiar face at events organized by WSC Regular Service Project (Visually Handicapped).
Walking with a Friend in the Dark: Inside RSP (Visually Handicapped) Rain or shine, volunteers from RSP (VH) can always be counted upon to warmly welcome their “benes”, from whom all of us can learn a thing or two about persevering against the odds. By: Delia Chew
April 1, 2017. Despite the drizzly weather, the mood was buoyant in the third-storey activity room located at the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped [SAVH]. Chairs drawn together around tables, spirits were high as volunteers enthusiastically conversation and games. About RSP (Visually Handicapped) [VH] Every Saturday afternoon in the academic year, such a scene plays out at SAVH, as part of weekly volunteering sessions organised by Regular Service Project – Visually Handicapped [RSP (VH)]. Set up in 2002, RSP (VH) actively reaches out to the visually handicapped community in Singapore, mainly through befriending them and providing tuition services, held at SAVH’s Caldecott premises. To foster stronger bonds between its volunteers and
volunteering session for the academic year. As a small and warm comtight-knit.
ly dubbed “benes”, RSP (VH) organises special engagements, such as Christmas and Chinese Eye Am Aware, the portfolio’s signature event. Past editions of Christmas celebrations include festive activities like cookiebaking (2016) and ice-creammaking (2015). This year, in a
break with convention, RSP (VH) planned a unique Bene Fun Day where volunteers and picnic in Bishan Park, in place Breaking down boundaries Eye Am Aware was conceptualised to raise public awareness
Beyond SAVH, awareness Dialogue in the Dark at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and an annual edition of Dining in the Dark
her homework. To facilitate clients in completing tasks, the Assistive Devices Centre of SAVH provides aids
Such external projects are organised to provide opportunities for the public to experience life in which one’s fundamental ability to see becomes compromised. Through such events, SAVH hopes to encourage empathy amongst the public and foster social inclusion of the visually handicapped community. Behind the Regular Volunteering Sessions
on the visually handicapped community. Sarah Sujadan Ng, Vice-Chairperson of RSP (VH), shared that the latest edition took place at Farmart and Bollywood Veggies, where both delighted in an afternoon of wildlife interaction and other unique activities planned, such as learning to use their sense of smell to identify plant species. Events are thoughtfully planned ticipate in activities that might otherwise be more challenging for them, due to their condition. About SAVH portfolio works closely with are clients referred by SAVH. As the main support organisation for the visually handicapped in Singapore, SAVH’s programmes can be separated into 2 arms: support services and employment programmes.
SAVH’s support services facilitate clients’ integration within the community, byequipping them with useful aids and gadgets for everyday living, such as Braille textbooks and use of the cane, as part of the White Cane Club, and in various employment skills like computer literacy under its Skills Development Programme. Upon mastering these skills, clients can then seek employment in any of SAVH’s Social Businesses, namely the Mobile Massage Team, Dining in the Dark and Touch Art. These employment programmes are crucial avenues for client empowerment, allowing the visually impaired to earn their The public is most welcome to head down to SAVH premises and support these initiatives!
The main goal of RSP (VH) in integrating more deeply with society, a mission more easily and volunteers share close bonds teering sessions. The portfolio works with a pool of 20 benare rotationally present for each session. Each week, volunteers to and fro their homes to SAVH. On this Saturday afternoon, the laughter of children, interspersed with the warm chatter of elders. This is not as familiar a scene for the RSP as one might expect. Donald Ng, Chairperson of RSP (VH), explains: “We used to conduct tuition only for the students from primary to university level. This year, we started the Conversational English programme for the elder
from eight to 67 years old.” Rendy, currently a student at Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School, sits at a table to read his literature notes with the aid of aminations have concluded. In ciaries study and complete their homework, with guidance from the volunteers. However, having not get in the way of having fun, as Rendy later joins the other youngsters for a merry game of Uno, using cards marked with Braille. In their downtime, Monopoly, or play with the volunteers. In a corner away from the energetic Uno crowd, Auntie the novel, Animal Farm, read in English by Sarah, who has a record book lying open beside her. The volunteers maintain a ry to keep track of the activities done each week. As the pairing
ciary – coordinated by Sarah, concurrently serving as Centre
awareness of the visually handicapped within NTU, David hopes that the portfolio can
books allow volunteers to tailor their activities with the
in developing their capabilities
When asked if she enjoyed reply, saying that she liked the story, and that “all the volunteers are very kind”. In spite of their visual impairself-improvement is evident in the growing pool of students many of whom had come to know about the lessons by word of mouth - attending the English lessons.
“We hope to teach the elderly they can use daily, so we will improve on the current syllabus to make it more robust and practical,” he said, regarding the English Conversational programme. “We also hope to work towards organising events that allow interests, or that expose them to new activities to widen their horizons,” David added.
his future plans for the portfolio.
It is inspiring to see how the VH community refuses to let their perceived disability hinder them from pursuing their own interests and aspirations. Facilitating them in this journey are volunteers like the RSP (VH)
In addition to expanding the range of volunteering opportunities, and raising greater
to take assured steps in the direction of their dreams.
On the horizon As the session wound down, David Lai, incoming Chairper-
An entry in Auntie Yuet Meng’s record book from a previous ciary has a record book, in which volunteers note for instance, elder lessons, or any issues or concerns may be facing.
More about Braille… That the visually-impaired all over the world today can lead lives as normally as the sighted – reading, writing, indulging in popular board games like Uno – is thanks in no small part, to the Frenchman, Louis Braille. Braille is a system of raised dots that allows people with full or partial vision loss to “read” by ly-arranged set of dots within a “cell” represents a particular alphabet, punctuation mark, number or special character (e.g. #, (, *). There exists two forms of Braille: Uncontracted or Grade 1 Braille, and Contracted Braille – otherwise known as literary Braille. As its name suggests, Uncontracted Braille faithfully translates every letter of every word in a text into its counterpart in Braille. While this is usually the to students, volumes that utilise Uncontracted Braille soon become bulky and tedious to read, which is why Contracted Braille makes more sense in everyday situations. Contracted Braille is essentially shorthand, where certain whole
“---ation” as in “cancellation”, “---hood” as in “neighbourhood”) are reduced to a unique ing one or more cells, or the Braille equivalent of a standalone alphabet. History of Braille Louis Braille was born on 4 January 1809, in Coupvray, a small town east of Paris. At the tender age of three, Braille injured one of his eyes with a sharp awl while playing in his father’s leather workshop.
Unfortunately, severe infection from the damaged eye would soon rob his other eye of sight, making Braille completely blind.
An intelligent and determined boy, young Braille never let his disability get the better of him, even going on to study at the Royal Institution for Blind There, students were taught to read by feeling raised letters embossed on pages using shaped copper wires. This system however, meant that it was nearly impossible for visually-impaired people like Braille to write anything for themselves. He soon grew frustrated. Until Charles Barbier de la Serre, a retired French army captain, visited the school one day to promote what would later become the source of inspiration for modern Braille. Barbier had developed a tactile system of raised dots (called Night Writing) to enable soldiers to communicate in the dark without speaking. However, when his invention was rejected by the army, Barbier thought he could modify it for use by the blind instead. In Barbier’s Night Writing, each unique combination of dots represented a sound or a syllable. This, and other reasons made it impractical for use by the visually-impaired too, although it did stir a Eureka moment in young Braille.
Image above: Moon Type Braille in the world today combinations of Braille dots represent sounds, rather than letters, in pictorial, “non-spelt” languages such as Chinese. dots, a raised system of curves and lines represents the alphabet. As these curves and lines are typically larger than Braille’s dots and shaped similarly to conventional, printed alphabets, Moon is more useful for those who possess a less acute sense or touch, or whose visual impairment came later in life. Moon was invented by an English Dr. William Moon in 1845. Image and Information source: American Foundation for the Blind Royal Institute of Blind People, United Kingdom https://i.pinimg.com/originals/14/a9/04/14a904a3461b7f1db2ef823f043b3360.jpg https://i.pinimg.com/originals/22/41/92/224192b56ec56a69f1138696739f6aef.jpg Day and night, Braille laboured and so in 1824, when Braille was just 15, Braille, the system
of code, was born. Today, Braille is composed using a slate-and-stylus, or special Braille typewriters.
Keep ’Em Rolling with More Fun and Ease By: Jesleen Soh
At the end of the day, it didn’t matter whether the participants got to the bottom of the make-believe mystery plot or not, for the bigger aim of the event was getting the public to re-examine their own beliefs and attitudes towards the physically disabled, and what social inclusion might mean. Just a year ago, she had zero experience interacting with the physically disabled. Today, after a year of volunteering with WSC Regular Service Project (Physically Challenged) [RSP (PC)], Ang noeuvring wheelchairs. “I learned how to use a wheelchair properly, and using a wheelchair is not as easy as I’d thought it But that was not the only unexpected challenge she faced. It also came as a surprise to her that some in the physically challenged community are unable to talk and could only make sounds, which volunteers have to interpret. However, her acute sense of observation soon even when no words are spoken. 19
“I would observe their body language, and also them,” she explained. “There’s a grandma, who I think is blind as well. When she wants to go to the washroom, she will repeat ‘Ah’ very loudly. I will ask her if she wants to go to the washroom, and she will say, (yes) ‘ah’. Then we will guide her there.” The 22-year-old feels that her volunteering experiences with RSP (PC) have been nothing short of a meaningful journey. “I think it’s a cool experience. We play games with them and try to help them spend their time more happily by becoming their companions,” she said. “I may not be able to make them happy
every day, but at least I can make them happier for a period of time.” who, along with 19 other external volunteers and four caregivers, were involved in Keep ‘Em Rolling on 3 June this year. The amazing racestyle event, held annually, is a platform both for participants to delight in a day of fun, and for heightening public awareness and empathy for the physically disabled community. Despite the sweltering heat on the day of the event, 25 Friends of the Disabled Society (FDS) the Obstacle Race, Scavengers Hunt, Uno Bingo, teams progressed through the race, they obtained video clues for a “murder mystery” plot that was expertly constructed by the RSP (PC) committee. Solving the mystery, more of a fringe activity in the past, formed the main arc of this year’s edition. smaller-scaled. This year, [we] upped the game, dropping many hints to help them solve the mystery, and entwining the mystery with the murder plot, because the committee decided
to make it more fun for the volunteers,” elaboratAnother notable change from last year’s edition was a reduction in the geographical span over which the race was conducted. Apart from the Tic Tac Toe station at Labrador Park, the other pit-stops were all situated within Sentosa. Transport and movement were among several grapple with when planning the event. “It is an event for the physically disabled, and there are wheelchairs involved. Even if you can hard to accommodate the wheelchairs, or to go up and down levels,” she noted. The hard work of the committee indeed came to fruition on the day itself. ries playing everything and having fun,” she said. “Normally, we just have lunch or dinner together. However, we decided to bring them out for an adventure today, so it was a very fun
regular day like this.” 20
Alone By: Teo Xuan Wei (guest contributor) and Chin Wei Lu
As the number of elderly persons living alone climbs to unprecedented highs, it is vital that the community steps in to prevent our seniors from falling into the abyss of social isolation. Having already endured much hardship working to build the nation in their youth, our elderly deserve to enjoy their golden years relaxing in the company of friends, family and people willing to reach out to connect with them. 85-year-old Mr. Ng Teak Boon spends his days selling ice-cream under the glare of the hot sun to make ends meet. However, for two months, he did not return home until late at night because his electrical supply had been terminated, and he did not want to sit in the dark. It was a summary penalty for failing to pay his utility bills on time, despite the dozens of served â€“ only they were all in English, leaving a less literate own situation and an unwitting debtor of the tax, rental and service and conservancy charges that were to come.
This is but one of the many cases where attention for elderly living alone, had come too late. In 2012, it was only after neighbours alerted authorities of an unbearable stench emanating from a particular Bedok body of 76-year-old Mr. Quek was found, buried beneath the heaps of junk he had hoarded. Mr. Ng and Mr. Quekâ€™s cases illuminate some of the heart-wrenching consequences of social and emotional isolation amongst elderly here. Within 15 years, the number of elderly persons aged 65 and
above living alone had tripled, from 14,500 households in 2000, to 42,100 in 2015. As such, the rapid increase in the number of people living alone is a concern, considering the risks of elderly becoming socially and emotionally isolated, which includes depression, suicide, falls, and deaths that go unnoticed. Social and Emotional Isolation: Common push factors Depression is both a cause and a consequence of social and emotional isolation. The death of oneâ€™s spouse or siblings due to old age and other illnesses sends many seniors into a state of melancholy. They lose interest
Image credits: NTUC Health Cluster for Taman Jurong and Bukit Merah residents. [Online image]. Retrieved August 20, 2017, from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/cnainsider/lonely-and- waiting-to21
in activities they used to enjoy and slowly become more withdrawn. This can lead to a vicious cycle they are unable to break out of: as they participate less in their social circles, relationships cool and turn distant, and they would then be reluctant or embarrassed to reach out for help or companionship, should they need it later. For some elderly, however, what hinders them from participating fully in their community is the issue of mobility. Imagine having to negotiate long zebra crossings with feeble legs and other bulky mobility aids such as walking frames and wheelchairs. Staying at home
naturally becomes the more attractive option. Recognising the dire social consequences of unchecked elderly isolation, creative ways have been mooted at the community level to promote some forms of social re-integration among lonely elderly. Maintaining a healthy social circle The NTUC Health Cluster Support works with hospitals to identify elderly patients who live alone, and arranges for appropriate follow-up care upon their discharge. These include referrals to senior activity centres, and other welfare
Founded in 2012, Helping Joy Limited also makes funeral arrangements for elderly without familial support or who come from low-income households. They also distribute food rations and basic necessities to physicallyand mentally-challenged individuals in the community. Find out more about Helping Joy at http://www.helpingjoy.org.sg Image credits: Helping Joy volunteers bringing elderly on an outing. [Online image]. Retrieved August 20, 2017, from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/cnainsider/ lonely-and- waiting-to- die-
home-cleaning and befriending services such as Helping Joy Ltd. Some, like Dorcas Home Care Service, also deliver meals and rope in volunteers to accompany seniors for their medical appointments. With the community keeping a watchful eye, our seniors are less likely to fall prey to helplessness. Creating a common space Meeting new people can be an intimidating experience for youngsters, let alone the elderly. What better way to break the ice then, than with our national “obsession” – food! Montfort Care’s “GoodLife! Makan” for stay-alone seniors to prepare, cook and share their food with one another, fostering conversations and friendships as they bumble about in the community kitchen. When one feels hungry, and has a group of friends waiting just around the corner, the elderly have more reasons to leave their homes, which is a vital starting point to breaking out of isolation. “Go forth, change Singapore … for the better.” – Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announcing the setup of Youth Corps Singapore in 2013 Charities may be mourning a slight dip in donations, according to a Straits Times report dated November last year, but there is no denying that the tide of civic-mindedness, especially among youth, is stronger than ever before.
Image below: Old but not alone. Mr. Ng Teak Boon is grateful for the Good Samaritans he has met who mounting bills. Read moreabout Mr. Ng’s story on CNA Insider Commentary: For elderly Uncle Ng, the struggle tonavigate a modern world (online). Image credits: Mr. Ng in his home. [Online image]. Retrieved August 20, 2017, from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/ cnainsider/commentary-for- elderly-uncle- ng-thestruggle-to- navigate-a- 9076550?cid=FBcna
Image above: Julian with other volunteers and an elderly dinner hosted by charity organisation, The New Charis Mission. Image credits: Julian Choo/TNCM [Online image]. Retrieved August 20, 2017, from http://www.myvolunteeringjourney.com/
taking matters into their own hands by forming groups to spearhead community service projects ranging from something simple, such as bringing seniors on a tour of our pristine Changi Airport, to something For example, social enterprise, Strong Mind Fit Body, organises that serve as a space for seniors and combat the physical deterioration that inevitably comes with age. Juggling between school and volunteering commitments is tough, but for long-time volunteer Julian Choo, when there is a will, there is always a way.
As an elderly befriender with Lions Befrienders, he visits lonely elderly in their homes to chat with them or see if they need help in any way, having a broken appliance repaired. He also distributes gifts and brings them on outings whenever there are sponsors or organisations engaging in corporate social responsibility work. Julian acknowledges that being a committed volunteer and discipline. Says Julian, “One question that I am asked often is this: ‘What keeps me volunteering?’ After all, there are countless other things I could be doing with
my time. It can also be tiring to volunteer, especially after a long day of studying. “However, with proper planning, it is actually possible to volunteer and handle other priorities as well. Furthermore, after two years of building relationships with my elderly simply getting to see them smile is what keeps me coming back. This is one of the most meaningful things in my life, and is not something that can be easily explained. “I believe the feeling is mutual. Whenever I do not manage to visit them, my elderly ask the other volunteers where I am. Many of their memories are starting to fade, so the fact that
Image below: Julian Choo (left) with his elderly buddy at Lions Befrienders. Visit Julian’s website at http://www.myvolunteeringjourney.com/ Image credits: Julian Choo/Lions Befrienders [Online image]. Retrieved August 20, 2017, from http://www.myvolunteeringjourney.com/
“However, what I’ve learned is that love is a universal language. It can be communicated through handshakes, smiles, hugs and laughter. “Of course,” he adds, “Visiting the elderly with an experienced befriender helps as well, and verbal communication skills can improve over time, with practice.” Julian believes that connections forged in our everyday lives-may appear-- should not be underestimated.
they remember me tells me that
of faith for him when he had
volunteering. Aside from time concerns, the potential language barrier with elderly had also been a source of apprehension.
However, volunteering one’s time as a befriender is as much about receiving as giving, reveals Julian. And contrary to what many may think, the elderly are not all grumpy, ‘slow’, forgetful or unfriendly.
on them week after week also helps me to become a better person! The friendships I’ve made members makes volunteering more enjoyable too.” While Julian is now a passionate volunteer, it had also been a leap
“If I cannot understand what the elderly are saying,” he points out, “how could I help them?”
“Elderly isolation is really not something that can be understood through statistics or stories. Ultimately, it can only be understood with the heart. I always ask myself this: when I am 90 years old, what will matter most in life? Family and friends will. Relationships will,” he says. “So the next time you meet your elderly neighbour, consider stopping for a short make the world a better place, one connection at a time.”
Inspired to volunteer? There are opportunities right here in NTU! Volunteers from WSC RSP (Elders) pay a visit to seniors at various charities every week. Join them and bring some cheer to the lives For more information about RSP (Elders), please visit their Facebook page at NTU WSC RSP Elders.
(design x community). We tend to take the form and function of everyday objects and processes for granted-- and that is exactly what The Design Cultivation wants to change. By: Chin Wei Lu
Have a cause you care deeply about? Just in July, scores of demonstrators from animal rights activist group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) stormed the narrow streets of Pamplona naked, smeared in fake blood from head to toe, to demand an end to the Spanish bull-running festival. However, we do not always have to go to such Noting how the solutions to many social issues actually lie within the very environment around us, Desiree Ng transformed her observation into concrete action, as she co-founded The Design Cultivation (TDC) with her friend, Fiona Lim. The youth collective aims to help other youths appreciate the value of good design– be it in the form of a tangible product or simply a novel process– in alleviating social problems. Its pilot programme, run over June and July this year, saw 21 tertiary-level students putting on
their “design thinking” hats to create solutions for social groups, ranging from migrant workers to persons with intellectual disabilities. Weeks of stakeholder consultation and research, ideation and rigorous prototyping (one group even got to experiment with the Arduino and other electronics!) culminated in an exhibition showFor the team behind Clean Slate - which explores spatial design as a means to de-stigmatise seeking counsellors and social workers for help – it is, as they say, no pain, no gain. “There were times when we felt slightly overwhelmed, particularly with the amount of research, interviews & weekend meetings. We felt a bit lost, and had issues and questions with our initial ideas that in turn created doubts as to the direction to pursue (in our project).” It was also not particularly encouraging to hear from industry experts that “youth-at-risk were a tricky community to work with, encompassing tivations that would almost certainly make any design solution inadequate.”
A TDC main committee member, Tan Jie Lin (facing the camera), posters of some of the members of the target communities interviewed.
Q: Hi Desiree! Maybe you’d like to introduce -
cation major at NTU’s School of Art, Design and Media (ADM), and together with my friend, Fiona Lim (also a third-year ADM student), we founded The Design Cultivation! I’m also currently a member of WSC, in the Publicity and Publications portfolio. Q: How did the idea for The Design Cultivation come about?
Perseverance was key though, the team noted. “We also had the TDC leadership team coming in and having online Skype calls to guide us. We eventually came up with more ideas, and fortunately found ourselves positively progressing well towards our ideal objective.” And progress there will be. On the cards for the teams are further talks and collaborations with their product and set it on a course for actualisation. Behind the scenes, StandOUT! spoke to Desiree on this very refreshing approach to community service :)
For myself, looking back to when I was a student studying science back in JC and barely knowing anything about “design thinking”, I realised that I was actually exposed to design in my everyday environment. I have a friend who is wheelchair-bound, and bringing her around made me realise how much I wanted to change the environment to help her get around more easily. That was a very early derstand more about the things that we create (which are often technical and science-y) and how we, as humans, interact with them. After I got to know Fiona, we were involved in projects together, including Documenting Serangoon Road (a photography project organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority where we went to Serangoon Road to take photos) and In My Shoes (a multi-disciplinary
Helme+ach Recent construction site tragedies, including the collapse of a viaduct near the Pan-Island Expressway in July, which resulted in one fatality and serious injury to 10 other workers, are a grim are. Helme+ach incorporates a sensor into a construction worker’s falling bricks), the sensor immediately wires an alert to the project manager’s mobile phone, who can then summon medical attention quickly. Team members: (Left to right) Delia Chew, Siti Hana Binte Amran, Lee Jia Xin 26
Clean Slate In recognising the social stigma attached to seeing counsellors or social workers, Clean Slate is a modern re-invention of the nondescript HDB void deck – into perhaps a hip café joint or wellness space where youths can seek professional guidance and advice should they require, in a relaxed environment safe from judgemental eyes. Team members: (Left to right) Christopher Soh, Sherilyn Shaan Veera, Ng Shi Ya, Celia Low Not in photo: Nur Sabreena Binte Haron
project where we co-created works with people with mental health conditions). Through these projects, we were exposed to the overlap between design and people, and that it was important for the world around us to be designed with an intent for the people who live in it. During In My Shoes, we were co-creating works with youths in recovery that represented the hopes and aspirations for the community of people with mental health conditions. We to work with, and when they had a template
The other Tim -- Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, a consultancy company that is centred around thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” So basically, it’s plucking out the ways that a designer works to solve people’s problems. If you’re interested in the origins of design thinking, this is an interesting article to read (online): Design thinking origin story plus some of the
from, they were able to be more creative and express themselves better. From this, we realised that it was important for us to be empathetic and sensitive to the needs of others. And when you extrapolate this insight into our everyday lives, you’ll realise that the world around us has many areas for improvement, from the width of your doorway to the size of your light switches. And this was what we want to bring to people through TDC -- to realise that we can do good for the community through design, even if you’re not from design school. Q: “Design thinking” sounds like a ground-breaking concept that Tim Cook or more about what it is? The concept of design thinking actually goes
Souvenir badges distributed to guests at the exhibition. These badges bore the signature avatars the TDC committee had crafted for the project. Each committee member also had a unique one in his/her own likeness.
Board game for ID This colourful and easy-to-understand board game aims to help persons with intellectual disability practise legitimate coins as player tokens to mirror real-life situations as closely as possible. Team members: Nur Farzana Bte Mohammad Arsad Not in photo: Edmund Pang, Woh Jing Ru
people who made it all happen by Jo Szczepanska Elaborate. “A good design, in my opinion, _____________________.” Is a clear intent coupled with technical skills, placed in an appropriate context. Designing with clear intent refers to the focus the problem that we want to solve for the target user is. Trying to solve 654 problems for your user might render your solution a useless one, if it is too confusing or complicated to use. The technical skills part is also important if you are designing something, because you’d want to be able to almost-perfectly execute your brilliant ideas, in order to really bring them to life. Design does not exist in a vacuum -- you need to understand the context of where, who and what you are designing before you create something. Chindogu (the pseudo-art of inventing comical gadgets to solve every-day problems, originating shoes with mini umbrellas on them), yet people will not use them because they look too ridiculous to wear! As designers, we must understand
the emotions, thoughts, motivations of the user when they meet with your design solution. User empathy is not about designing for the user the way you want them to act, but rather, designing for the user the way they would want to act. Q: Share with us your favourite innovative solution to a social problem? There are so many social issues that are tackled subtly by design solutions. Personally I love it when I discover a design solution in things/ services you use every day -- e.g. accessibility functions in smartphones, sliding doors, etc. It’s so ubiquitous, you’ll probably not realise that it’s a design solution until something comes up to make you notice it. There are also a lot of projects done to take a step towards solving social problems, e.g. Quiet hour in supermarkets to cater to children with autism (a project by Q: What do you envision for the future of TDC? you concrete plans of what we have in store for
Photo 1, 2: Destination Remittance Long hours of back-breaking work under the sun, debt and the very real threat of work-related injury or death only just begin to describe the many issues foreign construction workers here have to contend with. Destination Remittance is another board game that invites youths to learn more about their daily struggles and in so doing, fosters a greater appreciation for the hardworking men who built our schools and homes. Team members: (Left to right) Tay Jie Qi, Raquel Karina Andika, Shawn Teo Photo 3: Mama Go Kart The team behind Mama Go Kart hopes to provide a reason for lonely elderly to be isolated no more. Ambulant seniors can look forward to operating roving food carts - provided by community centres or other social service organisations – to sell snacks or other trinkets and in the process, meet and develop budding friendships with peers in the same neighbourhood whom they may never have approached before. Team members: (Left to right) Darren Mok, Jaclyn Chong, Wendy Han (not in photo)
the next 5-10 years. But one thing for sure is that we are keen to carry on showing more youths how design can be used for social good and to bring like-minded people together to collaborate. We hope to see more youths coming together
For now, we’re thinking of running other activities promoting empathy and interest in design for the everyday person! The next edition of the full TDC experience (that just concluded) will likely only be in two years’ time, as we want to give the current projects some time to develop, possibly and hopefully for implementation. We’ll still be sticking around, and we will be updating our anything! :) Q: What was the most heartening moment for you throughout TDC’s journey thus far?
Image left: Itâ€™s normal to want to be heard. This group came up with the idea of having music veterans coach youths-at-risk in song composition and instrument-playing, so they may eventually play to an audience in a setting that few can the world of your neighbourhood youths through creative expression, passengers are also in for a feast for the ears. Team members: (Left to right) Ng Sze Min, Michelle Liew Not in photo: Natasha Vincent Image right: The TDC main committee, together with some of the participants and exhibition volunteers. Top row: Kim Tae Joon (TDC external (corporate) liaison and logistics coordinator), Yu Xuan (Volunteer), Christopher Soh (Participant), Natasha Vincent (Participant), Shi Yun (Volunteer), Jack Kong (Volunteer), Darren Mok (Participant), Jaclyn Chong (Participant), Matthew Tan (TDC Internal liaison and programme manager) Second row: Fiona Lim (TDC co-founder and overall coordinator), Delia Chew (Participant), Woh Jing Ru (Participant), Najiha (Volunteer), Tan Jie Lin (TDC secretary and special projects manager), Desiree Ng (TDC Bottom row: Low Heng Yi (TDC external (community) liaison and programme manager), Brandon (Volunteer) Other members of TDC main committee (absent): Tan Yong Heng (Publicity coordinator and social media manager), Bae Soo Min and Ivy Chen (both online magazine editors and writers)
We are always heartened to hear from others about how they share our vision and actively support us. Our very competent team members, many of whom are schooling or very busy with other commitments, came on-board this project Our participants also signed up and voluntarily our pilot run. And of course, many mentors and
others, who helped us along the way, providing Theyâ€™ve been invaluable to this project, and we would not have gotten to where we are, without all these people. Like or Follow The Design Cultivation on Facebook and Instagram!
OVE’17: Acts of Kindness “No act of kindness, no matter how small,is ever wasted.” By: Amanda Ong
While volunteering comes with ly makes for an enriching and rewarding experience. For 22 earnest volunteers from WSC OVE’17, their expedition to Cambodia from 3 - 17 July, had been an epitome of such an experience. The many challenges the volunteers faced, all served to mould their character. Partnering with Operation Hope Foundation to serve the Cambodian community for the second consecutive year, the team spent their time in Hope Village Prey Veng and Preah Sdach Village this July. The 15-day trip was dedicated to conducting English workshops for the Cambodian children from Hope Village, and building two houses to provide shelter for the poorer families of Preah Sdach Village.
The team also engaged in a cultural exchange with students from Hope Training Centre in the latter village. positive note, with the children at Hope Village responding enthusiastically to the simple yet engaging workshops the volunteers had conducted, singing along to popular English nursery rhymes and sharing their dream jobs, among others. Apart from the workshops, there had also been a baking session and a full-day educational carnival, which sought to foster bonding and mutual understanding between the children and volunteers, beyond their language barrier. Our volunteers also aimed to promote sportsmanship and build friendships with the children through interactions and games.
Outside of the planned activities, the children were also warm in their interactions with our volunteers. One notable incident had happened while our volunteers were painting part of the to revamp and enliven the children’s learning environment. When some paint splattered
ing process and the volunteers dren voluntarily joined us in the cleaning up-- even when it had been their free time. They had not only expedited the whole cleaning process, but also made it a more enjoyable one. This was a heartwarming reminder to us that one need
tend a helping hand. The children embodied the spirit of true generosity - giving, without expecting reciprocation.
â€œThe Cambodians might not possess much material possessions, but their hearts are full of goodness.â€? - Amanda Ong, OVE Chairperson Hands full, Hearts full During the second week of the expedition, the team prepared themselves for the task of building two houses in the span of them had never hammered a nail before, one could only imagine the amount of skills they had to pick up within these four days.
Image above: Volunteers actively engaged the children in the workshops, getting them to participate in various hands-on activities, like drawing, and playing charades.
However, the villagers also stepped in to help, lending necessary expertise. Whenever a volunteer was seen struggling to chisel the planks of wood to the desired shape or sawing hardwood, a villager would inOf course, the advice was largely conveyed through non-verbal communication, due to the language barrier. Nonetheless, the exchange of up between the volunteers and were not needed to communiin those moments. Although there had been a lot of hard work put into the construction process, it warmed our
Image above: The volunteers chipping in to give a building in Hope Village a fresh coat of bright blue paint. The team hopes that they were not only able to better the villagersâ€™ physical living environment, but also add vibrancy into their lives. having a roof over their heads a place they can truly call home. The team also distributed Milo and household packs to 50 households in the village, as well as 200 stationery sets and
notebooks to the less privileged children studying in a neighbouring village school. While the Cambodians might have been the ones receiving the gifts, they had also taught the volunteers to be appreciative of what they have.
Image Left: with bamboo strips. Building sturdier housing for the villagers is important, as the traditional Khmer houses had become tattered after long-term exposure to the elements. Image Right: The volunteers in the process of whipping up a Singaporean feast for the TJSSS students, in the way the villagers
Our volunteers also engaged with students under the Training Job Skills for the Service Sector (TJSSS) programme, in which topics like geography, tourism, healthcare and astronomy were discussed. However, the scope of conversation between the volunteers and students soon expanded to include just about anything under the sun, as they bonded over the span of the programme. One common topic that had often come up in conversations Both the Cambodian students and the OVE volunteers from Singapore were equally eager to learn about one another’s culture, and how life was like in the other country. They got the chance to do just that, during the cooking and cultural night - the last session the OVE team had with the TJSSS students before they left. The volunteers worked hard for the whole day to serve up 33
an authentic Singaporean feast for their Cambodian counterparts. The team then donned their cheongsams, sarees & baju kurungs, as they put up a song and dance performance, which exhibited elements from each ethnic group in Singapore. The TJSSS students, on their part, shared about their Cambodian culture, through an informative presentation, as well as song performances. The sharing sessions certainly encouraged an appreciation for cultural diversity, and deepened understanding between the different cultures.
Leaving with Memories and Lessons The day for us to leave Prey Veng came too soon, and saying goodbye was one of the hardest things we had had to do. The warmth and generosity of the Cambodians certainly left a huge impact on our volunteers, and inspired a greater passion for volunteerism in all of us. OVE’17 came to a successful end, and as all the volunteers would agree, the experience motto - Reaching Out and Up As One.
“The purpose of OCIP is to, perhaps, help the underprivileged, but we were privileged to have spent the two weeks in Cambodia, living in gratitude and appreciation.”
“I bid you farewell but never goodbye. I wish for nothing but the best in everything you do. And in everything you do, never lose hope, faith, and most importantly, yourself.”
- Yeo Xing Jie, OVE Head Business Manager
- Wong Zheng Xiong, OVE Programmer.
Inspire Hope to Ignite Change By: Jesleen Soh It is the year 3017 and technological advancements have made the best that technology can. Kindness has become rare in this society, where people are more invested in their self-interests. While these elements may appear familiar to you, the dystopian context, set a century into the future, forms the backdrop to the WSC Ignite Change (IGC) Freshmen Orientation Programme 2017. The Orientation Programme, held from Aug 3-6, saw 121 freshmen strive to make a back into the world, in respecAthena, Caerus, Elpis, Khaos, Pazu, and Zelus. The IGC team had a part to play in the Orientation Programme’s
narrative as well. The 48-strong IGC main committee, led by The Politicians, took up roles as The Merchants, The Workmen, The Rebels, The Media, and The Students. nance, logistics, event planning, publicity and publications, and group leaders respectively. The storyline ties in with this Spanish for “hope”. Wei, Timothy, believes that inspiring hope in volunteers precedes igniting a change in the world. “We’re trying to bring this sense of hope to (potential) volunteers,” he explains. “We want
so they can go on to be a spark ries.” A slew of programmes, including a Regular Service Project mini showcase, as well as visits (Elders), RSP (Physically Challenged), RSP (Intellectually Disabled) and RSP (Visually
men the opportunity to learn more about some of the WSC RSPs, and also interact with the
For some freshmen participants, the programme would only be the start of their journey in WSC. “We hope these potential volunteers can go on to join the Welfare Services Club, to serve we have,” Timothy says.
Our WSC Journey Our WSC Journey is a regular initiative in our newsmembers as they progress through their volunteering journey with the club.
Aaron Chang RSP Deaf Community (DC) 1 year in WSC Being in WSC exposed me to things that I wouldn’t have normally seen-- the community that has been forgotten, those that aren’t as fortunate as the rest of us. Becoming a volunteer without expecting anything back. It let me bond with them on a personal level, getting to know the day, I wasn’t doing a community or volunteering service; I was making a friend.
Fang Shawn Camp OutReach (COR) 1 year in WSC
NTU WSC is a wonderful platform for individuals to, as its motto implies, stand out and volunteer. I feel that many people want to help and give back to society, but more often than not, are unsure about what else they can do, other than through the tangible and monetary means of donations. WSC is a great way to help; we are now presented the opportunity to head care, and give a voice to whoever is in need of it. I feel that that is a very beautiful and meaningful way to spend our time outside of academia.
Phin Internal Relations (IR) 1 year in WSC It has been an eye-opening experience, in which I feel like I’ve been challenged to step out of my comfort zone many times. Being in WSC has taught me to be more aware of my surroundings and to be a lot more tactful. I’m also very thankful for the opportunity to meet and work with like-minded peers-- I had thoroughly enjoyed WSC Bonding Day, even if it meant I had to be the group leader for over 20 members! One really memorable experience thus far would be when IR was invited for a RSPDC visit. We went rock-climbing with some of them and at the start, we could not communicate at all without the help of the translators. It was really frustrating not being able to communicate my thoughts and then it struck me-- how much worse it must be for them? And yet, we see that they are also the ones who are ever so positive, and eager to make the most of their everyday life. I had a lot of fun interacting with them and getting to know them better, and I am thankful to them for teaching me that real disability is when people
Koh Jit Woon RSP Elders 2 years in WSC
from a stroke. He could not speak, and our only means of communication was through yes/no questions, as he would either nod or shake
Occasionally, the porridge would spill out from the side of his mouth. Suddenly, he motioned for me to stop, and slowly took out a pen. I was puzzled, but I gave him some paper to write on. He wrote three words in chinese: “ (not tasty)”. It was so unexpected that I laughed, but immediately after that, I felt sorry for him. I was so helpless about the situation, even as he smiled back at me. I realised how blessed I am to be healthy and have the freedom to pursue my hobbies. I am thankful for his positivity; he has taught me an important lesson-- to appreciate what you have.
Nicholas RSP Visually Handicapped (VH) 1 year in WSC Joining WSC was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in NTU. Aside from being able to meet new friends, it also provided me a unique opportunity to help the visually handicapped beneficiaries. It was always a joy tutoring and guiding the beneficiaries, as they were simply just pumped up with so much cheerfulness and curiosity. The WSC community is also an extremely supportive and dedicated group, in terms of looking out for one another, as well as pulling off numerous events. It was a pleasure, being able to work with everyone.
Yiling RSP Friends of Children (FoC) 3 years in WSC my university life. I’m really grateful I was given an opportunity to grow and enjoying themselves during our annual events really motivates me to keep going, despite the hardships and hassles that come together with the event preparation. people who kept me going are the people I have volunteered with. These like-minded people made my volunteering journey a lot more enjoyable and heartwarming. Regardless of which portfolio in WSC we are from, we are all can actually cause a positive impact in another person’s life, the sense of satisfaction is indescribable.
Tan He Jiang Volunteer Management (VM) 2 years in WSC Being in WSC-- and VM, in particular-- has allowed me to faces and their expression of gratitude with a simple or thank you, really does fuel you to do the same for the less privileged in the community. I feel that serving the underprivileged is my calling. As undergraduate students, it is important to understand the needs of the society, and make Singapore-- and the world, in general-- an even better
Rodericks 2 years in WSC Let me start by saying that Iâ€™ve never regretted participating in IGCâ€™15 and thereafter, joining WSC. Having met so many like-minded individuals trudging Philip towards the same cause of volunteering, my journey Growth & Opportunities (GO!) thus far has been nothing short of amazing. Weekly RSP sessions, where I have met and interacted with 2 years in WSC the underprivileged, have also been an eye-opener for Life is a journey, where you me. Putting a smile on their faces always reminds me should never stop giving. continue to burn, and I hope the same goes for you.
Fienny Angelina 1 year in WSC WSC has provided us with the opportunity to serve the society, while sharpening our leadership, interpersonal, and communication skills.
Want to share about your journey in WSC and what it means to you? Pen down your thoughts and feelings to be featured in the next issue of StandOUT! You are also welcome to share any guiding tips or valuable experiences you have gained in your time at the club. There is no minimum word requirement, so come onboard and inspire! Please submit your entries at tinyurl.com/StandOUT-12
Behind the scenes: A huge shout-out to our WSC Publications and Publicity team for all the hardwork in creating StandOUT 11!!
Chairperson Qian Qikai Vice-Chairpersons
Writers Alexis Ong En Na . Amanda Ong . Delia Chew . Jesleen Soh . Lai Jue Hao . Teo Wei Xuan
Cheng Hui Jie Chief Editors Chin Wei Lu Nicholas De Silva
Layout Designers Cindy Suryautama Sukiato . Desiree Ng . Germaine Koh Gee Hui . Kim Minju . Koh Jie Lyn . Koh Mun En . Koh Mun Tuen .
Lee Shu Liang Qian Qikai Tan Ee Chao Jethro Talise New Shu Wen Serene Lim Hui Geok
Photographers Cheng Hui Jie . Fiona Ng . Foo Xin Ting . Grace Ting . Kevin Lee