“In your career, we will be your anchor for lifelong learning so that you can make sense of the future economy, and your future jobs.” P R O F E S S O R TA N E N G C H Y E ( S C I E N C E ’ 8 5 ) , N U S P R E S I D E N T
The Adventures Of A 25-year Old Serial Entrepreneur M S P A Y A L L A L ( Y A L E - N U S ’ 17 )
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION: HOW INTEGRATED ARE WE TRULY?
TA P P I N G THE
WHEN THE EYE IN THE SKY IS WATCHING YOU ...AND MORE THE NEXT WAVE OF RESEARCH INTO UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY
KNOWL E D G E
A L U M N I M A G A Z I N E O F T H E N AT I O N A L U N I V E R S I T Y O F S I N G A P O R E
HOW NUS IS NURTURING THE PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL GROWTH OF ITS ALUMNI THROUGH LIFELONG LEARNING
nus.edu.sg/alumnet . facebook.com/nusoar
F I R S T
W O R D
JUL – SEP 2018
What’s the Lesson Here?
Fellow alumni and friends,
The Depth of Diversity
26 PA N O R A M A
You have every reason to be proud of your achievements and journey at NUS, and undoubtedly, delighted to be an NUS alumnus. Our University has once again done well in the global rankings, placing us 24th globally in the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2018, climbing three spots from last year. We are recognised globally by leading academics for research and teaching – which will also benefit you, our alumni when seeking jobs in Singapore and beyond knowing you have been nurtured at one of the world’s best institutions. And if work takes you beyond our Singapore shores, we have alumni and alumni chapters in a number of leading cities (drop us a note at OARconnect@nus.edu.sg). Your alumni family can help you professionally and even personally to settle into your new environment. Once again we feature alumni who are successful in their own ways. Ms Michelle Wan (Science ’91), talks about the fulfilling volunteer work as a council member for TEDxSingapore. Ms Payal Lal (Yale-NUS ’17) and Mr Lee Xin Li (Design and Environment ’15) may be very young, but with three start-up companies for Ms Lal and two exhibitions at Singapore museums for Mr Lee under their belt, they have very practical advice to share for the rest of us. As much as we are committed to the pursuit of excellence, NUS is also dedicated to service, and to giving back to society. I would like to urge you to join us for the third annual NUS Day of Service on 1 September (Saturday). Roll up your sleeves and participate in a cause that you would like to support – we have many activities lined-up, including with youths, elderly, and those with
ASEAN Connectivity: From Rhetoric to Reality Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria
In Good Company
Ms Michelle Wan (Science ’91)
Lifelong Learning Journey Led to Bursary Xi Hu Bursary
32 PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE
Seizing the Day
Ms Payal Lal (Yale-NUS ’17)
C A M P U S U P D AT E S
02 In Recognition of Excellence 03 Honouring FASS Alumni Contributions 04 Higher Education in the Fourth Industrial Revolution 06 LKY School Celebrates Commencement in Beijing 07 Conquering the Gobi Desert
08 SkillsFuture Advice Workshop 10 Book Corner/Alumni Concerts/ Health & Wellness 11 Lifelong Learners Highlight 12 Thirsty Thursdays 13 Breakfast Dialogues 14
CALENDAR OF ALUM NI EVENTS
Professor Ben Chen
36 NUS ALUMNI LEADERS FORUM
Taking NUS to the Next Lap
Ms Hillary Lee Shu Hsing (Law ’98, LKYSPP ’08)
48 T H E PAT H LESS TRAVELLED
Mastering the Art of Being Uncertain
OFFICE OF ALU M N I R E LATION S 11 Kent Ridge Drive #05-01 Shaw Foundation Alumni House Singapore 119244 Tel: (65) 6516-5775 Fax: (65) 6777-2065
Advisor MR BERNARD TOH (Architecture ’84) Editor MS YEAP SU PHING (MBA ’17) Assistant Editor MS TAN LING ING Production Assistant MS NOREEN KWAN Publishing Consultant MEDIACORP PTE LTD
The AlumNUS is published quarterly by the NUS Office of Alumni Relations. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the NUS Office of Alumni Relations or the National University of Singapore.
special needs, as well as for the environment, animal welfare and health matters. We also have the highly anticipated annual alumni homecomings at Bukit Timah and Kent Ridge Campuses, on 7 July and 18 August, respectively. Both events carry a Southeast Asian theme this year – come learn and experience our region’s culture as well as catch up with fellow alumni and your faculty members. For a listing of all upcoming alumni events, please see pages 14 –15. I hope you will also enjoy the cover story on NUS’ efforts on lifelong learning. It represents our University’s strong commitment to our students and alumni, to ensure that we stay updated on the developments and disruptions that globalisation and learning technologies are bringing to the workplace. And should you decide to take one of the many courses made available for alumni, I hope you also drop by to visit us at the Shaw Foundation Alumni House. Stay Connected!
Mr Bernard Toh Archite cture ’84 Director, NUS Alumni Relations
Mr Lee Xin Li (Design and Environment ’15)
Fo r m o re i n fo r m at i o n o r t o re a d T h e A l u m N U S o n l i n e , p l e a s e v i s i t a l u m n e t . n u s . e d u . s g / a l u m n u s m a g a z i n e .
would like to begin by addressing the Class of 2018. Congratulations, and welcome to the NUS alumni family!
We would love to hear your views on our articles, the issues and topics in discussion, the events you have attended, or even your own encounters with people we have interviewed. Selected comments will be published here.
H OW D O E S TH I S WO R K? 1 Email OARconnect@nus.edu.sg. 2 Please keep comments to no more than 350 words. 3 Let us know your name, faculty and graduation year. We regret that we will not
THE BEST COMMENT WILL RECEIVE A
SPECIAL GIFT WORTH $30 FROM NUS ALUMNI RELATIONS!
publish comments under a pseudonym.
PLEASE N OTE THAT TH E ALU M N US HAS TH E RI G HT TO SELECT AN D PU BLISH ANY CO M M ENTS RECEIVED, AN D TO ED IT ALL SU BM ISSI O NS FO R SPACE, CLARITY, TO N E AN D ACCU RACY.
Copyright 2018 by the National University of Singapore. All rights reserved. Printed in Singapore by KHL Printing Co Pte Ltd.
JUL—SEP 2018 . 1
C A M P U S U P D AT E S
IN RECOGNITION OF EXCELLENCE A salute to exemplary efforts at the NUS University Awards 2018.
The seven award recipients were honoured for their transformative contributions to education, research and service.
SEVEN EXCEPTIONAL INDIVIDUALS were honoured for their transformative contributions to education, research and service at the NUS University Awards 2018 held on 14 May. Applauding the award recipients, NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye (Science ’85) said, “Our University Awards recipients exemplify the NUS values. They have pursued their passions at NUS with an indefatigable spirit, bold imagination for betterment, and an assiduous quest for excellence. Their achievements give us a peek into the boundless possibilities of what we can each reach for at NUS, if only we dare.”
OU TSTANDIN G SE RVIC E AWARD This award honours accomplished and respected individuals from the NUS community who have distinguished themselves through their sustained and exceptional contributions in serving the University and society. Professor Chong Chi Tat
University Professor with the Department of Mathematics in NUS Science and Director of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences at NUS Mr Lim Chuan Poh
Chairman of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
OU TSTANDIN G E DU CAT OR AWARD Associate Professor Kelvin Foong Weng Chiong (Dentistry ’05)
NUS Faculty of Dentistry Dr Soo Yuen Jien (Computing ’06)
Department of Computer Science,
From left: Former FASS Dean Prof Brenda Yeoh, Mr Edward Lee, Ms Pang, Dr Lee Soo Ann, Prof Wang Gungwu (’53 ’55), Mr Hsieh, Mr Goh, NUS President Prof Tan Eng Chye (Science ’85), FASS Dean Prof Robbie Goh (’88 ’89), Mr Yap, Dr Lee Tzu Pheng and Mr Viswa.
Honouring FASS alumni contributions
Professor Toh Kim Chuan (Science ’92)
Department of Mathematics, NUS Faculty of Science, Department of Analytics and Operations, NUS Business School, and NUS Institute of Operations Research and Analytics Professor Henry Yeung (Arts and Social Sciences ’92)
Department of Geography, NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
YO U N G R E SE A R C HE R AWA RD Assistant Professor Zhao Dan
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, NUS Faculty of Engineering
The award recipients were (from left): Prof Yeung; Dr Soo, Mr Lim, Prof Chong, Prof Toh, Assoc Prof Foong, and Asst Prof Zhao. This article was first published on 14 May in NUS News at news.nus.edu.sg/highlights/ recognition-excellence, and has been edited for The AlumNUS.
2 4. .TA HLEUA MLN UU MSN U S
For more information on University Awards 2018 and its recipients, visit nus.edu.sg/uawards.
Dr Lee Soo Ann (’60, ’69), Senior Fellow, NUS Economics and Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS
NUS School of Computing
U NIVE R S I T Y R E SE A R C H R E C O GNI TIO N AWA R D
FASS STARS Awards 2018 (FASS Service, Teaching, Alumni, Research, Long Service Awards 2018) on 22 March.
NUS ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES (FASS) honoured Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong (’64) with the Distinguished Arts and Social Sciences Alumni Award (Lifetime Achievement) for his outstanding contributions to the Faculty, NUS and the nation, as well as his resolute support of education and research in the social sciences. Mr Goh graduated from the University of Singapore, NUS’ predecessor institution, in 1964 with First Class Honours in Economics. Upon graduation, he joined the Administrative Service of the Singapore Government. He went on to dedicate more than 50 years of distinguished service to the nation, including 14 years as Prime Minister. His unwavering support for education and research in the social sciences led him
to moot and serve as advisor to FASS’ Social Service Research Centre. Accepting his award, conferred by NUS Chairman Mr Hsieh Fu Hua (Business ’74), Mr Goh said that FASS is a good place to produce leaders for society, the public sector, business as well as philanthropy, and especially in politics. “The Humanities teach us to look at civilisations, communities, people and economies both at the macro and micro level. They teach us to understand human nature and society, identify and analyse problems, anticipate trends and challenges and think out solutions for them,” he elaborated. Six exceptional alumni were also conferred with the Distinguished Arts and Social Sciences Alumni Award. The awards were presented at the
Mr Arthur Yap Hock Seng (’63), Former Chairman, NUS Alumni Vancouver Chapter, British Columbia Ms Pang Cheng Lian (’66, ’70), Director, Temasek Foundation Cares and Mee Toh Foundation Dr Lee Tzu Pheng (’68, ’72), an award-winning and internationally acclaimed poet Mr Edward Lee Kwong Foo (’70), Chairman and Lead Independent Director, Indofood Agri Resources Ltd Mr Viswa Sadasivan (’83), CEO, Strategic Moves. Mr Viswa is also an NUS Alumni Advisory Board Member.
These outstanding alumni have achieved excellence in various fields locally and internationally, with their work contributing to the betterment and promotion of the arts and social sciences.
This article was first published on 23 March in NUS News under the title of ‘Honouring alumni contributions’ at news.nus.edu.sg/highlights/honouring-alumni-contributions, and has been edited for The AlumNUS.
JUL—SEP 2018 . 3
C A M P U S U P D AT E S
HIGHE R E D U CATION IN THE F O URTH IND USTRIAL REVOLUTION
Prof Tan (centre) at the President’s Roundtable held at NUS.
Addressing the winds of change that are assailing the learning sector in today’s world.
A RECORD NUMBER OF DELEGATES — 2,200 from 58 countries — gathered at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre from 25 to 28 March for the Asia-Pacific Association for International Education (APAIE) 2018 Conference & Exhibition. Led by NUS, and co-hosted with three other Singapore universities, the four-day conference brought together professionals in higher education from around the world to discuss and share ideas on the theme “The Impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on Higher Education in the Asia Pacific”. “Industries are creating new job titles all the time, and new ways of organising work. And it would be foolish to think that the old way of planning education will continue to be effective. We must now foster human ingenuity and resilience so that our children will grow up and thrive in an environment we cannot yet fully fathom or discern,” said Guest-of-Honour Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung in his welcome address. Setting the tone for the conference, Mr Ong gave the audience a quick overview of the various education reforms that Singapore’s
Prof Tan (2nd from right) in conversation with Vice-President of APAIE NUS University & Global Relations Assoc Prof Anne Pakir (Arts and Social Sciences ‘71) (far right), Prof Todd (3rd from right) and fellow Global Dialogue panellists.
42 4. .TA HLEUA MLN UU MSN U S
Ministry of Education has embarked on, including reducing excessive focus on academic results, launching a systemic education and guidance programme, as well as promoting lifelong learning. On the latter point, he highlighted the new NUS Lifelong Learners initiative as a trailblazing example. A key feature of the conference was the Provost Plenary where the provosts of the four co-hosting universities discussed how the Fourth Industrial Revolution would affect Singapore’s higher education landscape and the initiatives that could help students meet the challenges ahead. NUS Senior Deputy President and Provost Professor Ho Teck Hua (Engineering MORE THAN ’85) envisioned a “dramatic change” in the education landscape. “…you might be sitting next to someone who is 10 years older than you, and the professor has to teach a group of BOOTHS BY people who are highly heterogeneous, instead of homogenous,” Prof Ho said. ORGANISATIONS AND To fully grasp the possibilities of this HIGHER EDUCATION industrial revolution, Prof Ho believes that INSTITUTES FROM a platform that allows “positive synergy COUNTRIES between sectors” should be developed. He INCLUDING THAILAND, described an area where people from a range SOUTH KOREA, RUSSIA of industries and specialisations could work AND POLAND, WERE together to seek solutions to the challenges SET UP OVER THE that may occur. FOUR-DAY EVENT. A Global Dialogue featuring a panel of international experts marked the end of the conference. Representing Singapore, NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye (Science ’85) shared that looking at the twin missions of a university — knowledge creation and Opposite page: Prof Ho talent production — preparing graduates (right) speaking at the for the future is critical. He emphasised Provost Plenary with moderator that addressing the challenges of the Prof Tan Chin Tiong, Singapore Fourth Industrial Revolution needs to be a Management University Senior conversation across society at large and not Advisor to President, looking on.
Universities are structured in a way, I would say, as a consequence of the previous industrial revolutions. In order for us to respond to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, some structures will have to go. Professor Tan Eng Chye (Science ’85), NUS President
just focused on universities, and highlighted the necessity of changing mindsets in society and the way universities are run. “Universities are structured in a way, I would say, as a consequence of the previous industrial revolutions. In order for us to respond to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, some structures will have to go. So universities will have to be prepared to dismantle our current structures in order to make way for initiatives that can promote future preparedness,” he explained. Along with the other panellists — Professor Sarah Todd, President of APAIE; Mr Markus Laitinen, President of the
European Association for International Education; Mr Leolyn Jackson, President of the International Education Association of South Africa; Dr Esther Brimmer, Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators; and Dr José Celso Freire Junior, President of the Association of Brazilian Higher Education Institutions Officers for International Relations — Prof Tan then fielded questions on a range of topics posed by members of the audience, including the possibility of data leakages, as well as whether a rise in nationalism and populism could have an impact. Addressing a question on the relevance of brick and mortar campuses in the light of increasing content available online, Prof Tan shared that he believed a complete education cannot be achieved using just online content. “If you look at learning itself, there is the content aspect of it and there’s also critical thinking; the thinking part of it. We universities will continue to exist because
we are better at teaching the thinking part of it. The content part you can use Google, you can look up many sources, but it’s the thinking part that can be reinforced through human-to-human interaction and that’s where I think the universities play a very important role,” he said. The presidents, vice-chancellors and rectors of the various higher education institutes had the opportunity to meet at a special roundtable themed “Futureready graduates: Three big ideas for nurturing students at your university”, held at NUS on 27 March. Chaired by Prof Tan, the roundtable discussion was a lively one where each representative shared experiences from their individual institutions. Some common themes were work-study integration, encouraging entrepreneurship, increasing employability, as well as collaborative learning. Smaller sessions during the conference centring on topics such as “Empowering Future-Ready Graduates” and “Technological Advances Impacting Internationalisation in Higher Education”, also gave participants an opportunity to network and take part in more indepth discussions. More than 270 booths by 360 organisations and higher education institutes from countries including Thailand, South Korea, Russia and Poland, were set up over the four-day event.
This article was first published on 29 March in NUS News at news.nus.edu.sg/highlights/higher-education-fourth-industrial-revolution.
J U L - S E P 2 0J 1U7L .— AS LE UPM 2N 0U S1 8. .2 5
C A M P U S U P D AT E S
LKY SCHOOL CELEBRATES COMMENCEMENT IN BEIJING
HARSH TERRAIN AND UNFORGIVING CLIMATE conditions did not stand in the way of the NUS contingent, who successfully completed Gobi Desert Challenge 2018 from 2 to 5 May. The 48-member group, spread over Teams A, B and C, included students from the NUS Executive MBA (Chinese) Programme, NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye
Congratulating China-based alumni and strengthening bilateral relations.
THE LEE KUAN YEW SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY (LKY SCHOOL) at NUS held its Graduate Presentation Ceremony in Beijing, China for the first time on 21 April. The ceremony was attended by NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye (Science ’85), Dean of LKY School Professor Danny Quah (then Acting Dean) and Dean of NUS Business Professor Bernard Yeung, along with scores of alumni from four of LKY School’s graduate programmes — Master in Public Policy; Master in Public Administration; Master in Public Management; and Master
This article was first published on 23 April in NUS News at news.nus.edu.sg/ highlights/lky-school-celebrates-commencement-beijing.
62 4. .TA HLEUA MLN UU MSN U S
READ MORE ABOUT: NUS-Tsinghua Extreme Search Centre nextcenter.org NUS (Suzhou) Research Institute nusri.cn/en BLOCK71 Suzhou news.nus.edu.sg/highlights/spurringentrepreneurship-singapore-china
(Science ’85), NUS Business School Dean Professor Bernard Yeung, NUS Enterprise CEO Dr Lily Chan, as well as faculty, staff and alumni. The event is an annual test of endurance and teamwork for top Asian business schools with Chinese Executive MBA programmes and sees participants traversing 112km in the Gobi Desert starting from Ta’er Temple (塔尔寺) and
Conquering the Gobi Desert
NUS staff, EMBA students and alumni embark on a test of endurance.
P H OTO : L E E K UAN Y EW S C H O O L O F P U B LI C P O L I CY
Prof Tan congratulated graduates of the LKY School and highlighted the strong Singapore-China ties in his speech at the forum.
in Public Administration and Management (MPAM), a collaboration with NUS Business. The LKY School has more than 700 alumni based in China and the special commencement ceremony was a welcome treat for those who had not been able to attend the ceremony in Singapore. A forum on “40 Years of China’s Economic Reform” followed the ceremony, during which panellists Prof Quah; Professor Chen Kang, Director (MPAM and Chinese Executive Education) and Visiting Professor at LKY School; and Professor Zheng Yongnian, Director of the East Asian Institute at NUS engaged in a dialogue on China’s experiences and future opportunities in an era of unprecedented change and disruption, moderated by Associate Professor Gu Qingyang, Director (Chinese Executive Education) at LKY School. Prof Tan also delivered a speech at the forum, highlighting the strong Singapore-China ties forged through various joint initiatives, such as the NUS-Tsinghua Extreme Search Centre, the NUS (Suzhou) Research Institute, and BLOCK71 Suzhou.
The team members experienced riding on camels.
The jubilant team members with Prof Tan (standing in the centre).
The NUS team displayed consistent team spirit and teamwork throughout the gruelling four-day trek through the Gobi Desert.
ending at Bai Dun Zi (白墩子). During the journey, participants battle a wide variety of demanding terrain, ranging from rolling hills and volcanic pebbles to salt beds and hot desert sand. The 2018 edition saw more than 60 schools taking part in the race. Prof Tan and Prof Yeung participated in the one-day challenge on the first day of the race alongside faculty members. Prof Tan is no stranger to the Gobi Desert Challenge, having participated in three previous editions of the Challenge, while Prof Yeung is a first-time participant. Dr Chan, also participating in the Challenge for the first time, took up the gauntlet of participating in the full four-day race. In all, some 36 NUS participants consisting of students, faculty and staff participated in the full race. The annual Gobi Desert Challenge is an important component of the Executive MBA programme and NUS has participated in every edition since 2007. The students began training for it about two years ago, after they enrolled in the programme. Training was ramped up in the last year, with the students training once every three months. The participants did the University proud, winning the Endeavour Award (奋 进奖) for demonstrating impressive team spirit and excellent resilience, as well as the Shackleton Award (沙克尔顿奖) which is awarded to schools whose Teams A and B showed 100 per cent completion. This is the fifth time, and third consecutive year, that NUS has been presented with the Shackleton Award.
This article was first published on 8 May in NUS News at news.nus.edu.sg/highlights/conquering-gobi-desert.
JUL—SEP 2018 . 7
ower Wing Deluxe Room. Waiver of registration fee (worth $100) and ay - Thursday) fee (worth $10.70). O A |R H I G H L Imonthly G H T membership S om per night. carclub.com.sg/nus-regular (Regular Plan) y - Sunday) | carclub.com.sg/nus-vp50 (Value Plan) om per night. r two. nlimited high-speed
nd Stay in Tropical n Wing Deluxe Room. om per night ($780.00++/ nights). r two. Lunch at Lobby Lounge
SKILLSFUTURE ADVICE WORKSHOP
rden Wing Deluxe City ool View Room. nlimited high-speed
SPORTS AND OUTDOORS SINGAPORE CABLE CAR
30% off tickets to Cable Car Sky Pass Round Trip (Usual Price: $35 – Adult, $25 – Child).
HEALTHWAY MEDICAL GROUP • GP Consultation at $17, additional surcharge of $10.70 applies for consultation after 9.30pm and $16.05 applies for consultation on a Public Holiday. • Seasonal Flu Vaccination at $25 per dose (3-in-1) and $38 per dose (4-in-1). • Basic Health Screening Services at $98 (Pink Package) and $168 (Silver Package). • Dental Services, consultation fee at $21.40 (waived if treatment is done). Privileged rates A NEW EVENT on the NUS Alumni Relations’ for various dental treatments. theHealth SkillsFuture Advice Workshop •calendar, Executive Screening Packages at, $243 $540 (Classic Plus), $810 (Deluxe aims to (Lite), provide alumni with useful Plus). information on staying ahead amid changes
healthwaymedical.com and disruptions in the workplace.
Wings of Time (Standard $18).
30% off tickets to Sentosa Merlion (Usual Price: $18 – Adult, $15 – Child).
The inaugural session held on 5 April was organised in partnership with SkillsFuture Ms Tan Swee Suan, Engage Office and NUS School of Continuing SkillsFuture Advice and Lifelong Education (SCALE). Participants Associate Facilitator. learned more about how to optimise the $500 SkillsFuture credits on upskilling and reskilling programmes, including those offered by SCALE. Participants also took a RIASEC a personality/ career test to find out if they are Realistic (Doers), Investigative (Thinkers), Artistic (Creators), Social (Helpers), Enterprising (Persuaders) or Conventional (Organisers). ROYCE DENTAL • $88 Dental Wellness Package - Includes Consultation, X-Ray, Scaling and Polishing & Fluoride Treatment. • $358 Teeth Whitening Package - Includes Consultation & Take-Home Whitening Kit. • $3,388 Dental Implant Package - Includes X-Ray, 1 Tooth Implant & 1 Crown. • $3,388 Braces Package - Includes X-rays, Photos & Study Model, Braces + Monthly Brace Adjustment Sessions and 1 Retainer set (in-house). • $5,588 Invisalign Package - Includes X-rays, Photos & Study Model, Custom Invisalign Aligner Sets, Regular Follow-Up Sessions & 1 Retainer Set (in-house).
China Film Festival 2 Dates
| 12 – 14 September
| Auditorium, Shaw Foundation Alumni House
FF18. N C / t n e v e / g s et.nus.edu. n m u l a t a r online e t s i g e r e Pleas
明月几时有 妖猫传 Legend of the Demon Cat 12 September Wednesday
Our Time Will Come 13 September Thursday
记忆大师 Battle of Memories 14 September Friday
Free Admission Film ratings will be advised on website
中华人民共和国驻新加坡共和国大使馆 Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of Singapore
LIFELONG LEARNERS HIGHLIGHT
ALUMNI C ONCERTS
HOM E IS N OT HERE
TOUCHED: A P PA S S I O N ATA
THE WRITE STUFF
U PCOM I NG EXECUTIVE E DUCATION COU RSES AT LKYSPP:
Ms Hillary Lee Shu Hsing (Law ‘98, LKYSPP ‘08) on why she embarked on a 5-month CS1010X online coding programe.
ON 5 MAY, a packed auditorium comprising alumni and guests were treated to a showcase of duet and duo piano music at the Touched: Appassionata concert. Organised by NUS Alumni Relations and featuring NUS Piano Ensemble Alumni (a member of the NUS Centre For the Arts) at the Shaw Foundation Alumni House, the musicians played romantic pieces like Mozart’s Larghetto and Allegro in E flat major, Rachmaninov’s Suite No. 2 for Two Pianos, Op. 17 and Piazolla’s La Muerte del Angel.
Public Policy and Private Sector Development 13 to 17 August 2018
What is the nature of your work currently?
What did you learn from the programme?
How has the programme benefited you?
I was an in-house counsel for a number of years, then adminstrator in the arts, and recently went back to the legal field.
I learned a little about computational thinking, how computing logic works, and how to write basic code. The programme is designed for self-learning, so a lot of it was struggling through homework, and figuring out how to apply the concepts to actual coding assignments. In the end, you learn to learn, I suppose.
There is no “direct” benefit, in that, it does not increase my employability nor contribute to upgrading skills required in the workplace. I think however, the biggest benefit to lifelong learning is that it grounds you (you realise, there are lots of things out there that you don’t know, are not good at, and will never be good at even if you try very hard!), and keeps you open to trying new things.
Why did you sign up for this programme?
The opportunity to do so came up via LKYSPP, and I was curious about it.
Essentials of Policy Development (12th Run) 13 to 17 August 2018
Futures Thinking and Scenario Planning 25 to 28 September 2018
For more details and other course listings, please visit: lkyspp.nus.edu.sg/ executive-education
By Professor Wang Gangwu (Arts ’53 ’55) Prof Wang Gungwu is one of Asia’s most important public intellectuals. He is best-known for his explorations of Chinese history in the long view, and for his writings on the Chinese diaspora. With Home Is Not Here , the historian of grand themes turns to a single life history: his own. Wise and moving, this is a fascinating reflection on family, identity and belonging, and on the ability of the individual to find a place amid the historical currents that have shaped Asia and the world.
Available in major bookstores and on nuspress.nus.edu.sg.
1204 .. TAHLEU M AL NUUM S NUS
Participants gained valuable insights into health matters at the talk.
HEALTH & WELLNES S
Mind & Body Matters Explored
HEALTH AND WELLNESS is a new series of talks organised by NUS Alumni Relations, featuring specialists from the National University Hospital (NUH) to help participants better understand common medical conditions. At the first session on ‘Keeping Your Spine Healthy’
held at Shaw Foundation Alumni House, participants learned more about common bone conditions that affect the spine in various age groups. The talk by Dr Lau Leok Lim (Medicine ’08), Consultant at NUH University Spine Centre and Division of Musculoskeletal Trauma, University Orthopaedics, Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery Cluster, also stressed the importance of strengthening core muscles and having a good posture.
Be Beininthe theknow knowabout: about: Alumni Alumni events events
your yourparticulars particularsat at
Alumni Alumni privileges privileges
alumnet.nus.edu.sg/ alumnet.nus.edu.sg/ updatemyparticulars updatemyparticulars
University Universitynews news and andupdates updates
THIRSTY T H U R S D AY S
Thirsty Thirsty Thursday_6 Thursday_6 Sept_Test.pdf Sept_Test.pdf 1 04-Jun-18 1 04-Jun-18 9:22:00 9:22:00 AMAM
HELD IN THE HEART OF TOWN and specially for young alumni, this popular networking session organised by NUS Alumni Relations took on the theme of community service on 7 June. More than 80 young alumni gathered at Kuro Izakaya, and were entertained by nd celebrity alumnus Bunz (Arts and Social Mr Fareez (2 from right) speaking with alumni. Sciences ’14), who performed songs from Singapore’s first Chinese musical web-series So Bright. Guest speaker for this session was Mr Mohamed Fareez Bin Mohamed Fahmy (Arts and Social Sciences ’06), Senior “Everyone can do a Assistant Director of AMKFSC Community Services, who part for the society received the Promising Social Worker Award in 2011 and by befriending the inaugural Prime Minister Social Service Award in 2012. someone who Mr Fareez shared how social work can be a rewarding needs help and career, and how his personal experiences inspired him to uplift them in life.” give back to the society as a social worker. — MR MOHD FAREEZ BIN MOHD FAHMY
B R E AK FAS T D I A L O G U E S
CHOCOLATE POWER Lawyer-turned-baker Ms Lyn Lee shares her recipe for success. “EVERYTHING YOU NEED to know about life can be learned in a chocolate cake shop” says Ms Lyn Lee (Law ’96), founder of Awfully Chocolate. At the Breakfast Dialogues session held at NUS Society’s Suntec City Guild House on 27 April, alumni and guests heard Ms Lee’s sharing about her experiences and journey in turning her love for baking into a successful career. The Q&A session that followed was moderated by Mr Soh Yi Da (Arts and Social Sciences ’14), member of the NUS Alumni Students’ Advancement Committee. The event ended with lively interactions and conversations among the participants and with Ms Lee.
Mr Frank Koo
Head of Southeast Asia, Korea & Japan at LinkedIn
Careers in a Jungle Gym How to Thrive Professionally in a Disruptive Environment
Registration Registrationfee: fee:$10 $10 NUS NUSYOUNG YOUNGALUMNI ALUMNIMEETUP MEETUP
6 6SEPTEMBER SEPTEMBER 6.30PM 6.30PM- -9.00PM 9.00PM
27 July (Friday), 7.30am, NUSS Suntec City Guild House, 3 Temasek Boulevard (Tower 5), #02- 401/402 Suntec City Mall, Singapore 038983
Venue: Venue:TongKang TongKangRiverboat RiverboatDining Dining 3D 3DRiver RiverValley ValleyRoad, Road,#01-06 #01-06 Singapore Singapore179023 179023
Riverboat RiverboatNetworking Networking
Registration fee: $10 (Alumni) $15 (Guest)
Light Breakfast & Networking
Sharing by Mr Frank Koo
In the modern economy, career progression is no more about increasing responsibilities, rank, pay and size of your team over time. As disruption destroys existing jobs and creates new ones at speeds beyond our imagination, any professional who wants to progress in his or her career needs to think and act differently. Frank will share the mindset and skills that are needed to do well in your career, and things you can do to thrive in the new Jungle Gym of the professional world. Frank Koo is the Head of Southeast Asia, Korea and Japan at LinkedIn and is responsible for LinkedIn’s Talent and Learning business. Frank’s organisation supports companies in talent acquisition, development and retention through LinkedIn platform and solutions.
A U G U S T
Kaleidoscope of Southeast Asia
Upper Quadrangle, Bukit Timah Campus, Sat, 5.30pm Registration is now closed Contact: Ms Josephine Chng firstname.lastname@example.org
ASEAN E X T R AVA G A N Z A
Register: alumnet.nus.edu.sg/ event/MMjul18 Contact: Mr Delon Lim email@example.com
14 . T H E A L U M N U S
© 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.
Join us at the annual NUS alumni family day, for a fun-filled evening of entertainment to welcome the entire NUS community (alumni, students and staff, and your families and friends) back to campus.
Shaw Foundation Alumni House, Thu, 7.30pm
Shaw Foundation Alumni House, Thu, 7.30pm
18 August 2018, Sat NUS University Town, 5.00pm – 9.30pm Register: alumnet.nus.edu.sg/ event/KR18 Contact: Mr Samuel Tan firstname.lastname@example.org
Careers in a Jungle Gym – How to Thrive Professionally in a Disruptive Environment Breakfast Dialogues Mr Frank Koo (Business ‘90) from LinkedIn will share the mindset and skills that are needed to do well in your career in the professional world.
NUSS Suntec City Guild House, Fri, 7.30am
Ticket Price: $10 (Alumnus/Student), $15 (Guest) Register: alumnet.nus.edu.sg/event/BFjul18 Contact: Ms Cassandra Lua email@example.com
Shaw Foundation Alumni House, Fri, 7.30pm
Register: alumnet.nus.edu.sg/ event/TSaug18 Contact: Ms Josephine Chng firstname.lastname@example.org
All information is correct at time of print and is subject to change without prior notice.
SkillsFuture Advice Workshop The ability to analyse data is a powerful skill that will help you make better business decisions. Learn the basics of Data Analytics, and find out more about NUS Lifelong Learners (L³) programme and SkillsFuture initiatives.
Kent Ridge Alumni Family Day
Movies On The House
Tech Talk Blockchain research expert Assistant Professor Prateek Saxena from NUS Computing explains how to make more informed judgements on the acceptability and disruptive power of cryptocurrencies.
Volunteer registration is now open! Check out our website to find out how you can join, and make a difference through service activities.
NUS Day of Service
Movies On The House AU G
Shaw Foundation Alumni House, Thu, 7.30pm
Register: alumnet.nus.edu.sg/ event/MMaug18 Contact: Mr Delon Lim email@example.com
Shaw Foundation Alumni House, Fri, 7.30pm
Register: alumnet.nus.edu.sg/ event/HWsep18 Contact: Mr Chua Sin Chew firstname.lastname@example.org
Various locations and timings, Sat
Register: alumnet.nus.edu.sg/DOS Contact: Mr Chua Sin Chew email@example.com
Thirsty Thursdays @ TongKang Riverboat Dining
Popular event for young alumni to catch up and network with one another over drinks and snacks.
A Quiet Place (PG13) 30
3D River Valley Road, #01-06, Singapore 179023, Thu, 6.30pm
Ticket Price: $10 Register: alumnet.nus.edu.sg/ event/TTsep18 Contact: Ms Cassandra Lua firstname.lastname@example.org
Ready Player One (PG13) Movies On The House
Shaw Foundation Alumni House, Thu, 7.30pm
Register: alumnet.nus.edu.sg/ event/MMsep18 Contact: Mr Delon Lim email@example.com
China Film Festival
© 2018 Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved.
Bukit Timah Homecoming Enjoy a cultural evening and catch up with friends at this much anticipated homecoming at the beautiful Bukit Timah Campus. Watch performances and savour food showcasing the unique culture of Southeast Asia.
The Greatest Showman (PG)
Shaw Foundation Alumni House, Sat, 7.30pm
Ticket Price: $15 Register: alumnet.nus.edu.sg/ event/ACaug18 Contact: Ms Idy Lim firstname.lastname@example.org
J U LY
Register: alumnet.nus.edu.sg/ event/SFjul18 Contact: Mr Ng Shan Jun email@example.com
Calling all parents with young children. Learn about common childhood illnesses – how to spot symptoms and safeguard your children. (Topic to be announced).
Features talented alumni musicians. AU G
Health and Wellness
S E P T E M B E R
Watch acclaimed Chinese films jointly brought to you by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Singapore China Friendship Association and NUS Alumni Relations. 12 Sep: Legend of the Demon Cat 13 Sep: Our Time Will Come 14 Sep: Battle of Memories Film ratings will be advised on the webpage below. 12 -14 SEP
Shaw Foundation Alumni House, Wed-Fri, 7.30pm
Register: alumnet.nus.edu.sg/ event/CNFF18 Contact: Mr Delon Lim firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.
CALENDAR OF ALUMNI EVENTS
All Movies On The House, are open to NUS alumni, students, faculty and staff. Friends and family members are welcome. J U L — S E P 2 0 1 8 . 15
F O C U S
W H AT ’ S T H E
TEXT BY WANDA TAN
M In this age where change is the only constant, it is said that the surest way to keep pace with disruption is to embrace lifelong learning, as NUS is doing via several alumni-centred initiatives.
UCH HAS BEEN MADE OF THE STAGGERING CHANGES IN TODAY’S FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION. Innovative technologies such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence are driving the confluence of the physical, digital and biological worlds at an exponential rate. Younger, digitally-connected millennials and Gen Z are amassing more influence and purchasing power, even as demographic trends point to an ageing global population. We now live in an age of disruption, where all industries and countries are scrambling to adapt to a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world. What does this mean for Singapore and its higher education landscape? At the macro level, the Government is leading the push to transform Singapore into a Smart Nation. It is also encouraging citizens, young and old, to take ownership of their learning, both for personal enrichment and to enhance their career prospects as they contribute to the Smart Nation ambition. Universities have a crucial part to play in this endeavour, given their role in preparing students for the workforce and instilling in them a lifelong love of learning. Indeed, this emphasis on lifelong learning has led to an expanded institutional focus for NUS — and, by implication, deeper engagement between the University and its alumni.
T O WA R D S A S M A R T N AT I O N In Singapore, efforts to harness the positive impact of technological disruption are underway through its Smart Nation vision. By implementing key strategic projects such as building e-payment platforms and deploying autonomous vehicles, the Government hopes to advance the city-state’s economic competitiveness and liveability. National initiatives like SkillsFuture and Adapt & Grow have also been launched to promote lifelong learning among Singaporeans of all ages, so that they can upgrade their skills and take on new jobs in existing and emerging industries.
In your career, we will be your anchor for lifelong learning so that you can make sense of the future economy, and your future jobs. Prof Tan Eng Chye, NUS President
16 . THE ALUM NUS
The latest figures show that many Singaporeans are proactive in charting their own learning and career paths. More than 285,000 working adults have utilised the SkillsFuture Credit scheme to date, with many pursuing infocomm technology courses at substantially-discounted rates. And out of the 24,000 individuals who found jobs in 2017 through Adapt & Grow, 3,300 underwent the Professional Conversion Programme to reskill themselves and move into new occupations or sectors. Speaking at the recent May Day Rally, Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong urged mature workers in particular to take advantage of these initiatives amid the ongoing economic restructuring and changing job demands. “For younger Singaporeans not in the workforce, you will have sound education and market-relevant skills that will be sought after in the job market. For those already in the workforce, especially the older ones, we look out for you, and support you with all these schemes and programmes, [to] make you more employable,” said the Prime Minister. Mr Lee’s remarks on “sound education” call attention to the importance of universities in equipping pre-employment learners with the requisite knowledge and skills to succeed in tomorrow’s workplace. This is certainly true of NUS — however, it only tells half the story. While NUS continues to be a leading provider of undergraduate education, the last few years have also seen the University upping its efforts in serving adult learners through continuing education and training (CET).
STUDENTS FOR LIFE The tone for NUS’ lifelong learning strategy was set by NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye (Science ’85) as soon as he assumed office early this year. In a speech delivered on 5 January, Prof Tan said, “To our students, we say that NUS is committed to helping you grow as a person. NUS will be here for you, for life. In your career, we will be your anchor for lifelong learning so that you can make sense of the future economy, and your future jobs. We aim to empower you so that you can give back to the community, to help others succeed.” He also outlined NUS’ plans over the next five years to “re-imagine teaching and learning for the future”, including progressively opening up programmes to non–NUS alumni and gradually integrating adult learners into undergraduate and postgraduate classes. This is a continuation of Prof Tan’s efforts in his former capacity as NUS Provost to ramp up the University’s foray into the CET space, most notably through the launch of the School of Continuing and Lifelong Education (SCALE) in 2016.
THE NUMBERS SO FAR SkillsFuture Credit scheme LAUNCHED:
January 2016 TAKE-UP:
SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy for Singaporeans aged 40 and above LAUNCHED:
October 2015 TAKE-UP:
SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace training programme LAUNCHED:
October 2017 TAKE-UP:
SkillsFuture Series of training programmes in 8 priority and emerging skills areas LAUNCHED:
October 2017 TAKE-UP:
people Source: www.skillsfuture.sg Statistics as of 31 December 2017.
J U L — S E P 2 0 1 8 . 17
F O C U S
Having become the NUS Senior Deputy President and Provost, Professor Ho Teck Hua (Engineering ’85) is eager to further strengthen this commitment to lifelong learning. “NUS sees CET as an integral part of our students’ education and personal development. The importance of CET or lifelong learning is heightened by the rapidly-changing VUCA environment,” Prof Ho tells The AlumNUS. “We at NUS are committed to serving our students and alumni over their entire career span by providing ready access to skills-based, industry-relevant courses necessary for upskilling or reskilling, so that they remain competitive and continue to make a significant and meaningful impact on the economy.”
LEARNING COMES IN MANY FORMS Most NUS faculties and schools offer executive education courses in their respective fields. To give a few wide-ranging examples, two-day courses on enhancing public engagement and PR skills are available under the Department of Communications and New Media, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences; the Institute of Systems Science conducts courses for digital professionals to keep abreast of technological and business trends; the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy’s executive programmes aim to help people become more effective managers and leaders; and both open-enrolment and customised programmes are offered by NUS Business School for senior executives and organisations, respectively. On the pedagogy side, new innovations in adult education are explored and disseminated by staff at several NUS institutions, such as the Institute for Application of Learning Science and Educational Technology (ALSET) and the Centre for Development of Teaching and Learning (CDTL). Even the alumni community occasionally organises lifelong learning
We at NUS are committed to serving our students and alumni over their entire career span by providing ready access to skills-based, industry-relevant courses necessary for upskilling or reskilling. Prof Ho Teck Hua, NUS Senior Deputy President and Provost
18 . THE ALUM NUS
A FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND PROGRAMME
“With NUS alumni adopting a lifelong learning mindset and CET becoming an institutional focus for NUS, NUS’ responsibility as a provider of university education will shift from preparing our students for ‘a career of a lifetime’ to ‘a lifetime of careers,’” says Prof Ho. The University is thus in the midst of redesigning its teaching delivery to accommodate adult learners, guided by four main principles:
PATHWAY Varying pathways will be created for students and alumni to retool and upskill themselves.
PACE Students and alumni will be allowed to learn at their desired pace.
PEDAGOGY Backed by pedagogical research, focus will be given to the quality of teaching.
PLACE ‘Learning on demand’ systems will enable students and alumni to learn at a time and place of their choice.
initiatives for NUS graduates. At the NUS Society’s first-ever Active Ageing and Lifelong Learning Day this past April, participants joined a variety of interesting workshops, from picking up the ukulele and guitar to receiving health and wealth management tips. SCALE is also making headway in the CET space through its spectrum of offerings for working adults. These include part-time Bachelor’s degree programmes, certificate courses and executive development programmes spanning across various disciplines and industries to support the SkillsFuture national movement. Today, SCALE is the largest provider of Data Analytics courses for the SkillsFuture Series. A standout programme is the Lifelong Learning Initiative for NUS Alumni (LLINA), which is administered by SCALE. Under LLINA, NUS alumni can study up to two University-wide modules for free over a three-year period from 1 August 2017 to 31 July 2020. A total of 140 modules across eight schools and faculties were offered during the firstyear pilot phase, with 8,000 applicants vying for the first batch of 400 seats in 79 modules in Semester 1 of AY2017/2018.
“Our computing- and business-related modules, such as data analytics and entrepreneurship courses, have been very well-subscribed because these skills are what the market demands of professionals in the workplace,” says Professor Susanna Leong (Law ’89), Vice Provost (Lifelong Education) of NUS, on LLINA. Encouraged by the positive response from alumni, NUS has rolled out a bigger, better programme — NUS Lifelong Learners (NUS L3) — which is eventually meant to replace LLINA.
N US L 3 WHO IT IS FOR: NUS alumni + current and future students upon
graduation. NUS’ student enrolment is valid for 20 years from the point of first admission to a Degree/ Graduate Diploma in NUS. Some courses are open to the public.
“We constantly disrupt our own thinking and challenge ourselves — what else can we do to encourage more of our alumni to embrace the lifelong learning mindset and make it easier and more intuitive for them to embark on this journey?” says Professor Wei Kwok Kee, Dean of SCALE. “The NUS L³ programme innovatively reconfigures the entire construct of NUS’ CET offerings, advancing it beyond merely lining up a suite of CET courses for subscription,” Prof Wei further notes. The unique features of NUS L³ include a ‘20-year enrolment’; one free module to encourage the first step towards lifelong learning; an attractive option to stack modules towards a second qualification; and a substantial suite of CET courses that cover current areas such as Industry 4.0. The NUS L3 CET catalogue is carefully curated to ensure that the courses are skills-based and industry-relevant. Depending on shifting demands and industry needs, the modules on offer will be changed periodically. Those enrolled in the programme — including LLINA participants who continue with CET under NUS L3 — also have the option of stacking up courses to earn a second qualification. Such professional upgrading will give alumni a chance to take on new job responsibilities or pursue alternative careers in their area of interest. In debating whether or not to return to study, accessibility of classes is usually the foremost factor on the minds of alumni. “The decision to go back to school for adult learners invariably involves tradeoffs, as they also have to deal with work and family obligations,” says Prof Leong. To help them readily access the courses, blended-learning pedagogy combining physical classroom instruction and online materials will be employed. Other measures to create a conducive learning environment for alumni include a free first module, shorter semesters, as well as evening and weekend classes.
HOW IT WORKS – TWO PARTS:
SkillsFuture Singapore Funded Courses (including SkillsFuture Series Courses) Made up of modules and short courses in selected Industry Transformation Map clusters and matching 8 priority and emerging skills areas: Data Analytics, Finance, Tech-Enabled Services, Digital Media, Cybersecurity, Entrepreneurship, Urban Solutions and Advanced Manufacturing. Funding support of 70% to 90% from SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents. Modules stackable toward a Certificate.
Our computingand businessrelated modules, such as data analytics and entrepreneurship courses, have been very wellsubscribed because these skills are what the market demands of professionals in the workplace. Prof Susanna Leong, NUS Vice Provost (Lifelong Education)
NUS Courses Made up of existing modules for NUS students and new modules designed specifically for adult learners. Funding support via virtual
vouchers for 1 free module of the alumnus’ choosing; subsequent modules to be self-paid. Modules stackable toward a
Graduate Diploma or 2nd Bachelor’s/ Master’s degree, when combined with Part 1 modules and/or Certificates.
About 500 courses in
total for 1st edition of CET catalogue; more courses to be launched in phases. WHEN IT STARTS: Applications open 1 July 2018 1st intake commences 13 August 2018
J U L — S E P 2 0 1 8 . 19
F O C U S
For example, people often enter an MBA degree programme with the expectation that it will earn them a hefty pay raise. While this is not an entirely unfounded assumption — NUS MBA graduates earn an average annual salary of US$143,917 three years after graduation, with a postgraduation salary increase of 134 per cent, according to a recent Financial Times survey — not all MBA holders will achieve those figures. There are other factors that come into consideration, like whether they were selected or sponsored by their employer to embark on the programme, and how much professional experience they possess. Ms Erin Wong, regional HR lead for a multinational IT company, believes that at the end of the day, nothing beats the work environment. “The reality is, no classroom or online learning is a replication of hands-on experience,” she explains. Especially now that digitalisation and automation are disrupting conventional business models, “companies need to be serious about providing opportunities for employees to take on projects outside of their job scope and continuously learn new skills on the job.” Her message to working professionals? “Put your hands up and volunteer for projects or work in the area you are looking to upskill or reskill,” says Ms Wong. Corporate restructuring Dr Chan Mun Kitt, may raise fears of losing one’s job, or of being Vice Dean replaced by computers or machines, but “it is (Executive and exactly during restructuring of a company that Professional employees have the opportunity to proactively Development) acquire new skills”. of SCALE. Taking ownership of one’s career also means looking elsewhere for upgrading opportunities, if required. Ms Wong advises, “Should your company not provide any reskilling or upskilling opportunities, an equally effective route is to reach out to your [wider] network.” One’s alma mater, particularly an institution as reputable as NUS, is a great place to look.
We constantly disrupt our own thinking and challenge ourselves — what else can we do to encourage more of our alumni to embrace the lifelong learning mindset and make it easier and more intuitive for them to embark on this journey?
Having undergraduates and adult learners in the same classroom throws up the added challenge of combining pedagogy and andragogy.
Prof Wei Kwok Kee, Dean, NUS SCALE
Like LLINA, the non–SSG-funded courses under NUS L will bring together current and returning students, with NUS alumni comprising about 10 per cent of each class. For NUS faculty accustomed to educating undergraduates through a pedagogical or teacher-led approach, a different tack is needed in the case of adult learners with work experience. “Faculty members must be trained in andragogy, or adult learning principles, grounded in a facilitation-style method of teaching and self-directed learning,” says Dr Chan Mun Kitt, Vice Dean (Executive and Professional Development) of SCALE. Dr Chan notes, “Having undergraduates and adult learners in the same classroom throws up the added challenge of combining pedagogy and andragogy.” SCALE is working closely with CDTL to develop an in-house training programme for faculty members, so that they can transit into this new model of education and serve both categories of students. 3
A DOSE OF REALISM Without detracting from the importance of government- or university-initiated lifelong learning courses, a note of caution should be sounded for those contemplating taking that step. Attending a course and getting a paper qualification beyond one’s basic degree will likely improve an individual’s job prospects, or help in switching careers, but by no means is it a golden ticket to success.
BACK TO SCHOOL
TWO OF THEM HAVE TAKEN LIFELONG LEARNING COURSES AT NUS; THE OTHER TWO HAVE YET TO DO SO. EITHER WAY, THESE ALUMNI ALL LOVE TO LEARN.
“To be honest, I had expected most of my learning to come from the course material or insights from fellow alumni classmates. But I was impressed by the business undergraduates. They seemed smart and knowledgeable, and knew how to utilise certain apps to enhance their presentations.” Ms Leanne Lim (Arts and Social Sciences ’13), 28, a business development manager who took the LLINA module Strategic Management in AY2017/2018, Semester 2
2 0 . THE ALUM NUS
“I am trained in chemistry, but my line of work requires basic to intermediate Microsoft Excel skills for performing data analysis. The course covered areas such as the PivotTable function in Excel, decision tree analysis and simulations. It has been very useful for my job.” Mr Timothy Joachim (Science ’17), 26, an administrative executive who took the LLINA module Decision Analytics Using Spreadsheets in AY2017/2018, Semester 2
“I think NUS L3 is a great idea. It provides an additional platform for professionals to enhance their knowledge and skills. Lifelong learning is vital for mid-career professionals like myself to augment our existing skillsets and stay on par with the changing work dynamics.” Mr Itmam Choudhury (Arts and Social Sciences ’99), 43, HR expert
“My Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering have made what I’m doing now easier, but I need to keep learning to keep up with new trends. Having used up my SkillsFuture Credit, I am interested in taking courses on data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning under NUS L3.” Mr Sim Kwang Meng (Engineering ’98), 48, IT professional
HITTING THE BOOKS To support the lifelong learning needs of alumni, NUS Libraries grants them free access to consult the physical collections in all eight of the University’s libraries. A Library membership is required for borrowing privileges, and NUS alumni are entitled to a considerable discount of the annual fee (see: nus.edu/2JPnZ48).
ATTENDING RESEARCHER UNBOUND WORKSHOPS This series of workshops helps participants at various stages of their learning and research
journeys. Examples of topics include how to ask relevant questions, tips and tricks to using Google, and how to spot fake news (more details: j.mp/RU_ABOUT).
REGISTERING FOR NUS LIBRARIES ONLINE COURSE The course covers skills such as scoping and framing ideas, information and literature searching, as well as acknowledging sources. It resides online in NUS’ Integrated Virtual Learning Environment.
Look out for these seminars once the AY2018/2019 commences in August! For more information, visit lib.nus.edu.sg or write to email@example.com.
Participants attending a Researcher Unbound workshop.
JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME
Through NUS L3, the University is further burnishing its credentials as a leader in education innovation — and both students and alumni are reaping the benefits. Alumni now have more recourse to lifelong learning so as to remain employable, and they can continue to contribute to the economy in a meaningful and impactful manner. NUS can also draw on their experiences and insights to make course offerings more in tune with market needs, creating a positive knock-on effect for undergraduates taking those courses. With NUS expected to roll out other initiatives targeting different segments of adult learners in the future, more advantages await the alumni community. “Lifelong learning brings in another important dimension to the NUS–alumni relationship, beyond the social and other forms of engagement we already offer,” says Prof Leong. “There will be better vertical and horizontal integration, as alumni can connect with graduates from different cohorts in the classroom and also enjoy the flexibility of taking modules in various disciplines, resulting in a vibrant alumni culture.” J U L — S E P 2 0 1 8 . 21
TEXT BY FAIROZA MANSOR . PHOTOS BY EALBERT HO
THE DEFINITION Diversity in the workplace usually means ensuring employees better reflect the company’s or brand’s customer base in categories such as gender, generation, ethnicity and disability (inherent diversity); and hiring people with a wide range of skills, experiences and industry backgrounds (acquired diversity).
THE DEPTH OF DIVERSITY There has been much talk on the need to promote diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace. In fact, studies have shown that companies which embrace this culture outperform those that do not. NUS alumni offer their take on the topic.
What does the term ‘diversity in the workplace’ mean to you? And do you think it exists in your work environment?
O U R PA N E L
LI N G LI N G: To me, it means having a mix of employees from different backgrounds and races/ nationalities, and who speak different languages. There is in fact great diversity in the law firm that I am in now. M O H A M M A D: I too think ‘diversity’ implies this. Our start-up comprises six people from four different countries — I think that speaks to how diverse our company is. There is also diversity in terms of technical skills. We recruit people of varying specialties which include business, engineering and sales. B E T T Y: On top of race and religion, diversity also means a gamut of backgrounds. This refers to what the employee studied in school, and as a result, his or her respective area of expertise. My team at
MR MOHAMMAD SHERAFATMAND (ENGINEERING ‘16) 29, CEO AND FOUNDER AT HYDROLEAP
Diversity is a catalyst for innovation. Understanding the cultural nuances in each country help us better innovate for the world’s consumers.
MS BETTY TSAI (ENGINEERING ‘12) 29, RESEARCHER AT P&G
- MS BETTY TSAI
Procter & Gamble (P&G) comprises people from France, Japan, Italy, China and Turkey. Then there’s me, a born and bred Singaporean. But in spite of our diversity, we have a common business goal, so there is a sense of inclusion. J U NXI A N: My company, Moovaz, is a software firm that does international relocation. By nature, we already interface with people globally. Their respective demands are different, as are the ways they view our products. I look at “diversity” from a more antithetical perspective. Rather than trying to force diversity down our company’s throat and maintain a certain ratio within the company, we make a conscious effort to hire people who can offer different opinions and value to the table. That is fundamental to us, and helps us expand our talent pool. Why in your opinion is diversity in the workplace so important?
M O H A M M A D: As a start-up, the structure in our company is flat, not hierarchical. An exchange of
22 . THE ALUM NUS
MS LUO LING LING (LAW ‘07) 34, LAWYER AND PARTNER AT RHTLAW TAYLOR WESSING LLP
MR LEE JUNXIAN (BUSINESS ‘08) 34, CO-FOUNDER AT MOOVAZ
ideas from a diverse group is a good thing as it helps us make our product better. This is important if we want to get to the next stage and keep growing. B E T T Y: Diversity is a catalyst for innovation. Understanding the cultural nuances in each country help us better innovate for the world’s consumers. There is thus a higher chance that the product we create can make a greater impact on people’s lives. Besides being good for business, diversity also brings about a more vibrant workplace environment. Lunchtime conversations, from my personal experience, are also very interesting! J U NXI A N: In a start-up, ideation is key. How fast we can iterate correlates to how fast we can go to market. Therefore, it helps to have a diverse group of people as each one tends to look at the problem very differently, and can come up with more creative solutions. From your observation, is there an age bias — towards the young or the old — at work?
LI N G LI N G: There are certainly stereotypes. For example, there is an assumption that older workers are not as ambitious or driven, and willing to devote only a limited amount of time to work. From my experience, that’s not true! I’ve seen older workers who are willing to work hard, if not harder, than the younger staff. If need be, they stay late as well. So to me, this is an unfair stereotype. M O H A M M A D: At work I deal with a number of younger people — interns mostly. The stereotype about fresh graduates is that their expectations can at times be too high even at the start of their career. They expect to hold great positions in great companies because they come from a reputable university and have done well academically. These are achievements undeniably, but they have to also keep in mind that they lack industry experience. My advice is to stay humble and be open to learning from more experienced colleagues. We’ve all had to hustle in the beginning. That being said, I do applaud young staff for being bold in expressing their opinions and ideas. In a start-up, every single idea is welcomed, so I do in fact encourage even new-hires to speak up. J U NXI A N: Millennials are frequently accused of being entitled. They grew up in the age of the Internet and are therefore accustomed
J U L — S E P 2 0 1 8 . 23
cognizant about equal opportunities. The value you bring to the project and to the team comes first and foremost. No longer are employees discriminated based on race and ethnicity. M O H A M M A D: As a quick background, I was born in Iran. I ended up in Singapore about seven years ago as I had wanted to experience Asian culture. It turned out to be a very good place to live in. I like that I don’t experience or have witnessed much racism. Singapore is also welcoming to foreigners who are keen on building their careers and setting up their business here.
GENDER GAP More needs to be done for gender diversity in the workplace. In Singapore, only
Betty and Ling Ling, have you ever felt that you are at a disadvantage because of your gender?
of board seats across listed companies are held by women. S o u r ce : M i n i s t e r f o r C u ltu r e, C o m m u n i t y a n d Yo u t h M s G r ac e F u (Business ‘91) at a S in g a p o r e C hi ne s e C h a m b e r o f C o m m e r ce and Industry’s C a r e e r Wo m en ’ s Gro u p co n f er en c e i n M a r ch 2 0 17.
Women on the board of Singapore-listed firms were paid an average
43% less than their male counterparts. S o u r c e : A 2 0 17 s t ud y b y t he N a tio n a l U n i v er s i t y of Singapore B u s i n e s s S ch o o l
24 . THE ALUM NUS
to instant gratification. As such, they can be perceived as impatient. However, I don’t think it’s their fault — this is after all the world they are born into. I find that the youths of today all want to create impact, and this is good. The problem is that some can only see the summit but not the mountain they first have to climb — there is no shortcut. B E T T Y: I guess I speak for the millennials you just mentioned. Indeed, my manager often has to remind me to be patient. In my first couple of years at the company, I was always asking for feedback on my work performance, and wanting to know if my project is creating impact. I do have another manager who would actually listen to the progress I’ve been making and offer advice as to how best to move forward. The direct feedback motivates me to make my project happen.
Has the issue of race ever come into play to affect one’s value as an employee based on your experience?
LI N G LI N G: Not at all. I don’t think race plays a part at work, at least not in all the companies I’ve been in. We are in a way “colour-blind”. From my experience, each employee is measured by their performance, not their race. B E T T Y: I agree. In my company, performance is key. We are expected to hit our success criteria no matter our age or birthplace — that’s the key to promotion, advancement and opportunity. On top of performance, it’s crucial to be adept at networking as being able to work well as a team is part of the company’s culture. J U NXI A N: Yes, I agree. What’s way more important than race is how well the employee can fit into the company’s culture. Most companies now are
LI N G LI N G: My first-hand experience at being discriminated is for being a pregnant mother. I was in another firm, on my first job, and carrying my fourth child. I disclosed that I was expecting when I was about five months into the pregnancy. A few days later, I received an employment termination letter. Being a woman and a mother can at times put me at a disadvantage. I’ve been on the receiving end of disparaging remarks such as “Did this [unfavourable incident] happen because you had to go home to your kids?” when that certainly was not the case, or “I think a mother should stay at home”. There are still people who think the mother must be the children’s primary caregiver, which is no longer relevant in today’s world. My husband in fact contributes more time to taking care of our kids because I pull quite a number of late nights. The stereotype that women can’t contribute or be successful in their careers should cease. B E T T Y: At P&G Asia-Pacific, women hold 50 per cent of the leadership roles. In the past three to five years, there has been an increase in the number of leadership programmes conducted for female employees (but also open to males) organised by the ‘Women in Innovation’ group within the company. These are certainly welcomed. Some years back, I was keen on applying for a modelling stimulation position in Boston, USA, but I hesitated as I did not quite understand two points in the job description. My brother urged me to go for it anyway and to read up on those two points before my interview. I ended up getting the job. I find that women tend to feel that they have to be 100 per cent ready and equipped for the role they covet while men somehow have this confident to just press on even if they are not fully qualified. Hopefully, through more leadership programmes in the workplace, women too feel empowered to be as bold.
I disclosed that I was expecting when I was about five months into a pregnancy. A few days later, I received an employment termination letter. - MS LUO LING LING
Junxian and Mohammad, any thoughts on the issue of gender disparity?
J U NXI A N: Half of our manpower is made up of women. I think this problem is not as pronounced in Singapore because we are exposed to western ideologies. But because we have offices overseas as well, I personally find that things are not as equal in other countries. In Jakarta for example, it is considered more significant to be a man — there’s quite a fair bit of gender stereotypes still being held on to. M O H A M M A D: Since we are a tech start-up, the focus is on very much tech skills. These are what we look for in a potential hire whenever we put up a job opening. Gender in our company is inconsequential. Any positive example of diversity in the workplace that you’ve experienced and would like to see more of?
LI N G LI N G: My mentor, who is an Indian man, and I have a very good working relationship. He’s no longer practising and has now become my client. When I became a lawyer, he had been practising for some 25 years, which meant that he got called to the bar when I was born! I was young and inexperienced but hungry to learn. When I was just one year and 11 months into the job, he gave me the opportunity to argue in a court of appeal hearing. He could have just made me do all the preparatory work and argued the case himself, but he didn’t. This was unheard of for a lawyer as young as I was, but we won. I will be forever grateful for that opportunity. J U NXI A N: Every week, our chief technology officer will gather staff from different departments and get their perspectives on our up-and-coming products or services. These sessions are often exciting as we each look at the products and problems from a different lens. Diversity enables for the best and most well-rounded product to be made. To me, that’s the strength of having a diverse workforce.
J U L — S E P 2 0 1 8 . 25
cultural pillars. Bear with me as I explain the intricacies of the implementation of MPAC. As it stands today, the ASEAN Coordinating Committee for Connectivity (ACCC) is the oversight for MPAC 2025 implementation. ACCC comprises the Permanent Representatives of member states to ASEAN. In other words, these are folks from the Political-Security pillar. Aspects of transportation and logistics of MPAC are assigned to the ASEAN Transport Ministers, which come under the Economic Pillar. And of course the people-to-people dimension of the connectivity Master Plan is left to the folks in the Socio-Cultural pillar. This “siloed” structure is not effective. The initiatives in MPAC require alignment among all three pillars. For example, physical connectivity involves investment in sustainable infrastructure, seamless logistics and trade facilitation (Economic Pillar); skills development
“To achieve a seamlessly and comprehensively connected and integrated ASEAN that will promote competitiveness, inclusiveness, and a greater sense of Community” - Master Plan for ASEAN Connectivity 2025
Ultimately, these initiatives cannot be relegated to just any one of the pillars but must see all three coordinating, and aligning the various initiatives to ensure effective implementation.
SEAN HAS ALWAYS BEEN able to articulate its vision and clarify how to become a highly integrated and inclusive region. To that end, there are Blueprints, Masterplans and action plans. However, the challenge is always in implementation. Let’s take connectivity for instance. To achieve its vision, the Master Plan for ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC 2025) outlines five strategic areas, namely, sustainable infrastructure; digital innovation; seamless logistics; regulatory excellence and people mobility. These five areas are deemed key to enhancing physical, institutional and people-to-people connectivity. MPAC 2025 is integral to building the ASEAN Community in general, and the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), specifically. There is consistency in the goals of the AEC 2025 Blueprint and MPAC 2025. Both focus on making ASEAN a highly integrated and cohesive economy; competitive, innovative, dynamic and inclusive as well as people-oriented and people-centred. So ASEAN got the rhetoric right. Now it’s time to translate that into reality, i.e., implementation. For the implementation of the AEC 2025, there is the Consolidated Strategic Action Plan (CSAP), which comprises 153 measures and 513 actions. Of these, five measures and 28 action lines are related to connectivity in the region. Clearly, there is much to do. ASEAN must go back to basics. It must review its structure for the implementation of its many Blueprints and Master Plans. Structure must be driven by strategy. Here’s what I mean: it is time to take a holistic approach to implementation. Currently, implementation is divided according to ASEAN’s three pillars: the political-security, economic and socio-
(Socio-Cultural Pillar); and must take into consideration aspects of secure trade, cross-border security issues as well as movement of skilled and unskilled workers (Political-Security Pillar). Similarly, for institutional connectivity. This involves matters of harmonising rules and regulations, standards and conformance, and governance. These call for aligning the business imperative for Mutual Recognition Agreements with relevant and timely skills development. Ultimately, these initiatives cannot be relegated to just any one of the pillars but must see all three coordinating, and aligning the various initiatives to ensure effective implementation.
2 6 . THE ALUM NUS
HARNESSING PEOPLE P OWER, AND MORE
ASEAN C ONNECTI V I TY:
From Rhetoric to Reality Just what would it truly take to bring the region together? Malaysian academic and policymaker Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria weighs in on the debate.
In the case of people-to-people connectivity, let’s just take the case of the business traveller. This is surely not just a matter for the Economic Pillar. It involves immigration (PoliticalSecurity) and aspects of tourism (Socio-Cultural). The proposals for a single travel visa, or a common visa application form, are very much on the table. It would require policy and decision-makers from all three pillars working together to get these proposals off the ground. We cannot underestimate the impact that ASEAN Open Skies and the Single Aviation Market can have on people-to-people connectivity as well as e-commerce. One just has to look at how the emergence of low-cost carriers has helped with bringing people together. But while working across the three pillars is necessary for the effective implementation of MPAC 2025, it is not sufficient. There must also be deeper engagement with the people, civil society, academia and research bodies, and the business community. The stated goal of sustainable infrastructure is “smart urbanisation” and better quality of life. Clearly, this goal cannot
be met by governments alone. There must be involvement and engagement from various stakeholders. This is similarly true for the strategies for digital innovation, seamless logistics, regulatory excellence and people mobility as well. Such holistic engagement and coordination would effectively make better use of resources, and facilitate improved mechanisms for the sharing of information, research and best practices on the various aspects of connectivity. MPAC 2025 states that digital innovation requires — among other things — the establishment of regulatory frameworks for the delivery of new digital services (including data management and digital financial services); and equipping micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with the capabilities to access new technologies. This must involve regulators from across the region, the MSMEs as well as technology service providers and skills development institutions. ‘Seamless logistics’ meanwhile involves not just physical infrastructure but also customs cooperation, logistics service providers, and research bodies to help identify and overcome the bottlenecks across the supply chains. The work being undertaken by ERIA (Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia), the ASEAN Secretariat and relevant agencies in the ASEAN Members States on the ASEAN Seamless Trade Facilitation Indicators (ASTFI) and the database of Non Tariff Measures are key in helping member states achieve the goal of seamless logistics. In addition, there is also work being done on maritime logistics as well as the ASEAN Open Skies initiative. The challenge now is to integrate and align these initiatves and policy actions. Work on regulatory excellence involves a candid review of regulations that are impeding seamless trade. Efforts to achieve Good Regulatory Practice and Reducing Unnecessary Regulatory Burden are progressing well and would just require a measure of acceleration. These must be clearly linked to the initiatives on logistics, specifcally those that relate to technical regulations, as well as trade distorting rules and regulations. There is much that can be done to improve people mobility as well. This includes not just facilitating tourist and business travel but also strengthening skills mobility by establishing high-quality qualification frameworks in critical vocational occupations, and to encourage greater mobility of intra-ASEAN university students. So the implementation of the five strategic areas outlined MPAC calls for a review of the structure of implementation with ASEAN. The ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Connectivity must do precisely that: coordinate across the pillars. And this should not be limited to just the public sector but civil society, academia and research institutes, as well as making better use of print, electronic and social media. Tan Sri Datuk Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria is the Senior Policy Fellow at the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN (ERIA). She was previously in the Government of Malaysia, retiring as the Secretary-General of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry in 2016. In this role, she provided oversight for the formulation and implementation of Malaysia’s global trade policies and positions.
J U L — S E P 2 0 1 8 . 27
changemaker TEXT BY KOH YUEN LIN
WHO IS SHE? Ms Michelle Wan, Director of Corporate Communications at The Fullerton Heritage and TEDx Council Member of TEDxSingapore.
LE T ’ S TALK CHANGE
In Good Company
Some past TedxSingapore speakers and what they touched on. M R Z AK I R H U S SAI N K H OK H ON
A Bangladeshi construction supervisor and winner of the Migrant Workers’ Poetry Competition in 2014 and 2015, who spoke on homecoming, migration and love.
Volunteering with TEDxSingapore has given Ms Michelle Wan (Science ‘91) a sense of purpose — and belonging. S A HOSPITALITY VETERAN — who has headed the communications department at the likes of Portman Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai, Four Seasons Singapore and now The Fullerton Heritage — Ms Michelle Wan is in the business of making people feel at home. Yet when she relocated from China back to Singapore in 2008, she felt strangely out of place. “It was quite difficult to assimilate back to Singapore after eight and a half years,” she recalls. In 2012, she was introduced to TEDxSingapore through work. With this group that is dedicated to giving inspiring ideas a platform, she found a community that shared the same outlook in life. Ms Wan went on to co-curate TEDxSingapore alongside its founder Mr Dave Lim, and played a key role in putting together a two-day event that attracted some 1,700 attendees in 2015. “That SG50 event was my first experience of being among fellow TEDx organisers around the world and it felt like family. There were no barriers between us. That was the power of having people who are aligned in purpose,” she shares. Ms Wan is moved not simply by camaraderie, but by conviction that the work at TEDx betters society on many different levels. “People are hungry to share their knowledge and make the world a better place. It sounds like fluff but collectively we have seen the impact it has made on people’s lives — even on the lives of the speakers. The speakers go through three to four months of professional speech training and when they finally get on stage to present their personal story or idea, you see how they have grown — it fills me with pride and joy.”
Have you always appreciated the company of those from diverse backgrounds?
Even though I was a science student, I loved literary expression and went on to join Ogilvy & Mather Advertising and Promotions as a copywriter. My colleagues were eclectic people and we still adore each
2 8 . THE ALUM NUS
M R LI M S E NG
When the community voice is amplified, it makes people realise that there is more outside of the pressures of life and work. other. Also, while working in Shanghai, I attended dinner salons organised by my friend Mr Richard Hsu (a creative director whose work crosses architecture, city planning to education). The dinner guests were typically made up of his friends from different fields, and in 2001, one of these dinners became a ‘focus group’ to create the Beijing Olympics logo which he was sending in a proposal for. His proposal might not have been selected in the end, but the process through which it was created — that of chewing on the ideas of others and refining them to present something that stands for the community — was most memorable.
Ms Wan at the TEDGlobal 2017 event in Tanzania.
Did your professional background help in putting together the talks?
As a hospitality professional I found the utopian ideal in conference organising through TEDx. TEDxSingapore 2015 was organised by a disjointed group of 100 volunteers with no experience in putting a conference together, let alone one that saw thousands of attendees. Yet we pulled it off with no glitches. It was done through acknowledging that we are all different, and bringing our collective strengths together. It was also done through tapping into the power of our shared purpose. How does TEDxSingapore benefit Singaporeans?
Why did TEDxSingapore strike a chord with you?
I was looking for something that is Singaporean in terms of values and chanced upon a group of people with the same passion and outlook. These people who volunteer their time do so not to up their street cred, bump up their CV or rub shoulders. Nobody goes in there to fluff their ego — we are all down to earth. it is modern-day kampung ideation – an evolution of the gotong-royong (cooperative) spirit.
It makes the world recognise that we are TED-worthy, that there is something more to Singapore. It celebrates the diverse communities we have, all the people doing odd and weird things — from Mirella Ang who spoke, as a six year-old, about learning kindness from the poor in Chiangmai at the TEDxYouth@Singapore in 2010, to the late centenerian Ms Teresa Hsu; from mountaineers to tech entrepreneurs who want to launch themselves to space. We celebrate the human spirit. When the
The man behind GoSpace.sg — a local venture that wants to send a Singaporean to the edge of space — talked about his initiative and quest to inspire Singaporeans to dream beyond the confines of our nation. M S N I LU S H I K A S I LVA JAYAW E E R
The Sri Lakan entrepreneur shared her journey from being a domestic worker in Singapore to being the boss of her own e-commerce business. M S L E N A CH AN
The biodiversity expert spoke on her work in documenting, protecting, and enhancing Singapore’s biodiversity. M S M I CH E L L E L I M
The ceramic artist who rekindled dragon kiln pottery in Singapore and succesfully rallied the community to save Singapore’s two remaining kilns.
community voice is amplified, it makes people realise that there is more beyond the pressures of life and work. There in lies power. Everybody in the audience is there as a pupil satiating his curiosity. You could be sitting next to a professor or CEO but nobody is overwhelmed, because everyone is there to learn from each other. What about outside of Singapore?
The TED global community is also very actively connected, and through them, I can do my part to help somebody outside of Singapore. For example, Mr Pierre Thiam, a Senegalese chef based in America and a TED Global speaker, is promoting Fonio, a grain that grows in the Sahara. He wants to do this to uplift the livelihood of his fellow man, and has given them hope now that he has gotten Fonio into Walmart. I have a contact who imports African products and connected Pierre to him. I am also open to see what we can do at the hotel if there were to be an promotion of African products. Though I don’t have time to do the traditional forms of social work, through TED I am able to make an impact with the limited amount of time I have. How did your years at NUS lead you to where you are today?
Though I did not pursue science after graduation, the precision, timeliness and discipline that called of us as chemistry and biochemistry students have stood me well through the years. I’ve always been interested in a multidisciplinary range of subjects and am not one-track-minded — though back then cross-faculty courses were not available, and we simply didn’t have the time for that given our 40-hour weeks with long hours in the laboratory. That said, looking back, my creative journey might have started even at NUS, when I took to editing the science faculty newsletter. Ours was not as “happening” a faculty, so we also learned to make things happen for ourselves. How much time do you dedicate to your work at TEDxSingapore?
During the more intensive months when we were organising the big event, my “second job” was from 10pm to 2am. People say that we are suckers. They say that we are in a cult! But I do what I do because I have seen how it works as a community for good. These days, I watch a TED talk whenever I am stressed. It grounds you to hear positive stories of the human spirit while fighting war, racial bias and other bigger, harder fights than yours.
J U L — S E P 2 0 1 8 . 29
LIFELONG LEARNING J O U R N E Y L E D T O B U R S A RY â€œI
AM A PRIVATE BANKER who has been in the banking industry for 28 years. I have had clients who became happier when they shared their wealth with the less-fortunate. I also have had more than a few clients who were unhappy because they were never satisfied with what they had,â€? muses Msâ€ŻAnne Chen (EMBA â€™07), former managing director (wealth management) at UBS Singapore. Ms Chen, who hails from Taiwan, established the Xi Hu Bursary at NUS Business School to honour her late parents. Her experience in managing the wealth of her high net-worth clients led her to question the true value of wealth and philanthropy. Ms Chen shared a little more about her past. â€œMy first lesson in generosity was taught by my late father. He was a humble soldier who took it upon himself to support his friendsâ€™ children through school though he didnâ€™t have much himself. He believed that education was the key to a better life.â€? â€œWhen I was 19, my father passed away suddenly. My brother and I finished school with government support while my mother, who was a
Ms Chen and her son, Phillip.
3 0 . THE ALUM NUS
housewife, took on odd jobs to support us. Though times were tough, we got by. Subsequently, in 1990, I had the opportunity to work in private banking before I relocated to Singapore in 2001.â€? Today, she is happy, grateful and proud that her two children â€” son Phillip, a freshman at NUS Business School, and daughter May, a scholarship recipient at Hwa Chong International â€” are independent learners who understand the importance of giving.
My parents were always generous and willing to share what they had, and that has definitely shaped my mindsetâ€Żtowards philanthropy. When her then-nine-year-old son challenged her with the question: â€œWhy do adults always push children to study when they do not do it themselves,â€? her determination to become a positive role model to her children led her to pursue the EMBA course atâ€ŻNUS. â€œHe was right,â€? Ms Chen adds, â€œAnd taking up the EMBA course turned out to be a great blessing.â€? She is grateful to Singapore and NUS for providing her with a solid platform for lifelong learning. She decided to set up a bursary for NUS students before she headed back to Taiwan to take on a new role in UBSâ€ŻTaiwan. â€œĺ?–äš‹ć–źç¤žäźšďźŒç”¨äš‹ć–źç¤žäźšâ€? (After receiving the benefits from society, one must give back to the community). My parents were always generous and willing to share what they had, and that has definitely shaped my mindset towards philanthropy,â€? Ms Chen says. Similarly shaped by his parentsâ€™ teachings, Philip now contributes to theâ€ŻBursary established by his mother and is set to discover his own path ofâ€Żgiving.â€Ż
Shaw Foundatio S
Register at: alumnet.nus.
ÂŠ 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.
ÂŠ 2017 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. AllSightsSeserved.
186$OXPQL5HODWLRQVRUJDQLVHVUHJXODUPRYLHVFUHHQLQJVIRUPHPEHUVRIWKH186FRPPXQL -RLQXVIRUMovies On The HouseUDQJLQJIURPDOOWLPHFODVVLFVWRIDPLO\IDYRXULWHV)ULHQGVDQGIDPLO\PHPE
pursuit of excellence
TEXT BY THERESA TAN . PHOTO BY KELVIN CHIA
WHO IS SHE? An India-born, Singapore-based Yale-NUS graduate and entrepreneur who hopes to make further inroads into the education sector, particularly in the area of ‘social learning’.
Seizing The Day By the age of 22, Ms Payal Lal (Yale-NUS ‘17) had started three companies as an undergraduate. She shares the secrets to her bold approach to life and learning.
a difference. Then Yale-NUS opened up for applications for its first cohort in 2012. “I thought it would be a unique school, and Singapore is an interesting place to be in,” recalls Ms Lal, and so she sent in her application. At that time, Ms Lal was knee-deep in a competition for young entrepreneurs called the Thiel Fellowship. “It rewards 20 teens with $100,000 to drop out of school to create world-changing ideas. My parents had wanted me to apply to college, but I just wanted to do what I wanted to do. I made it to the semi-finals. The results of the semifinals and my Yale-NUS application were two days apart. I was hoping one would work out so I didn’t have to choose!”
People should just do what they are passionate about — they will make a dent one day. As it turns out, it was the Yale-NUS application that came through. In July 2013, she began her university education in Singapore. Moving from New Delhi forced her to shutter her second start-up — a T-shirt company begun with a friend six months before, with a start-up capital of just $100. “We ended up making about $2,000 within that time,” she says with some pride. “The first year at Yale-NUS, I spent being a student, going to classes,” she describes. But soon, her entrepreneurial streak loomed large again and Ms Lal founded her third company, a plugin that allowed for interaction on massive open online courses (MOOC) called Social MOOC Taker at the end of 2014. It was born out of her personal experience of learning more effectively through group interaction, versus one-way classroom style.
T H E I D E A FA C T O RY
HEN SHE WAS 18, Ms Payal Lal began her studies as a law student at the National Law University, Delhi. A month later, she quit. “Sometimes you take a step, then you realise it’s not what you want to do,” she explains. She then promptly started her first business: a telephone service linking students with tutors, called Tutor Connect. It began when Ms Lal, daughter of an entrepreneur, saw an unmet need. “As a student, I had problems finding a private tutor,” she says. “In India, tutors are hired based on recommendations. So the students may not do as well as they expected, because you can’t really tell if the tutor
32 . THE ALUM NUS
is suitable till your results come out. This is especially a problem for lower-income families, who end up spending a lot of money on someone who may not be the best tutor. I started Tutor Connect to make tutor selection more scientific.” Unfortunately, Tutor Connect proved too hard to scale; she was forced to close it down after a year. “Once I got to 400 tutors, it was hard to keep track of them,” she explains. “But I was on point on identifying the problem [in education in India].” Ms Lal admits her parents were worried that she had given up on going to college altogether, because she was far more passionate about creating businesses that made
As it turned out, Yale-NUS was the perfect environment for Ms Lal. “It really supported the entrepreneurial spirit,” she says. “Every other student had a startup. The moment you’re given time to explore, things happen.” Ms Lal is quick to point out that she was present at classes — a strict Yale-NUS requirement — but what she appreciated was “having the ability to do what I wanted, to do projects, to go to events. Having that space was very helpful.” It may have seemed a odd combination, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Computer Science, but Ms Lal appreciates her liberal arts education because of its relevance. “I like to understand people and I like coding. It was not till I decided to do both that I realised how relevant it is today, especially in AI (artificial intelligence), where they’re trying to copy what humans can do.” Part of her studies included an internship overseas as part of the NUS Overseas Colleges experience: she was attached to a tech start-up called e-Rated in Tel Aviv,
Israel. Ms Lal credits this experience with developing her personally. “It was so different. Communication in Israel is not dependent on the listener, but on the speaker. So you have to spell it out.” She also received valuable advice from one of the founders of e-Rated. Seeing that she was balancing university and getting Social MOOC Taker up and running, he suggested that it was better she picked one and focused. So, she took a semester off and concentrated on building her business, returning to the University in August 2016 to complete her studies. She graduated from Yale-NUS in December 2017.
A LABOUR OF LOVE It was not long before Ms Lal was hired by CognaLearn, a learning science company that has its roots at the Duke-NUS Medical School. CognaLearn uses patentpending methods and technologies to optimise learning that is based on cognitive science. The company has created over $1m in revenue from education solutions provided to pharmaceutical giants like GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer. Ms Lal, who turns 25 this December, is in charge of “customer success” at CognaLearn, working with customers using CognaLearn’s InteDashboardTM, a teaching software used by 10 universities in Asia, Australia and the US, including Yale-NUS. “The product is a team-based learning pedagogy. I make sure the customers are using it optimally,” she says. CognaLearn may not be her start-up but it feeds Ms Lal’s deep dream to transform education. Social MOOC Taker focuses on group learning, while CognaLearn promotes team learning — but both fall under the umbrella known as social learning. “I do it because I love it,” she declares, “and being in a company that supports team-based learning, I get to talk to professors who are devoted to teach better. That is inspiring to me.” What drives her? It’s not her skills, says Ms Lal, distilling it to her desire to remove the disparity that exists in education today. “In my first company (Tutor Connect) I was passionate about the problem. In my third (Social MOOC Taker) I was passionate about the vision. I still believe there is a very high level of disparity — what I do now is connect with people who are open to connecting.” Another key ingredient to Ms Lal’s relentless pursuit of her passion is her immunity to the pain of failure. “Failures don’t hurt me much anymore, because I don’t doubt my capability to start up again.” She defines success, no longer as “being famous” which was how her 18 year-old self saw it. Now, Ms Lal defines it as doing what makes her happy. She eschews having long-term goals. “You change. Your environment changes. The world changes,” she points out. “Goals make sense if everything is static. People should just do what they are passionate about — they will make a dent one day.”
5 TIPS F O R START- UP SU C C E S S
NEVER START UP FOR THE SAKE OF IT. If you go into it thinking it is ‘just something to do’, you may not gain from the experience.
FOCUS. People get carried away on trends, but if you’re entering a trend now, you’re already too late. Stick to one thing. Stick to what you like.
IT’S IMPORTANT AS A FOUNDER TO LEARN ABOUT DIFFERENT SCHEMAS. It helps you solve problems. Being multidisciplinary helped me think not just like a psychologist but also like a coder.
PERSONAL GROWTH IS KEY. Prioritise development of self, so as to attract the right people.
REVENUE. It’s vital to think financially about your business. That means knowing what your product or service is, and how much people will pay for it. Having financial knowledge is a simple way to mitigate your risks.
A P R — J U N 2 0 1 8 . 33
frontiers TEXT BY JIMMY YAP
AU T O N O M O U S AND AI R B O R N E
An aerial view of the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands taken by a UAV
LO OK, NO HANDS! Today, UAVs are used for a variety of tasks: Some are routine functions like stocktaking, surveillance and the spraying of pesticide on crops, while others are literally lifesaving because the UAVs are used for firefighting and search and rescue. Prof Chen is one of the advisers of the Unmanned Systems Research Group at NUS. The group is on the cutting edge of UAV research and it has done well in various local and global competitions. Just last year, the team was named the indoor and outdoor champions at the International Micro Air Vehicles (IMAV) Competition held in Toulouse, France. IMAV is a yearly event aimed at fostering key technologies for the development of micro-air vehicles. Apart from continuously refining the different systems needed for autonomous mission completion, the group also develops innovative hardware to handle different environments. Two PhD students in the group spent four years developing a hybrid UAV that is both a helicopter and an aeroplane. The U-Lion, which was unveiled last year, can lift off the ground like a helicopter. In mid-air, the wings unfold and the
HIGHFLYING DREAMS Professor Ben Chen of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department is leading cutting-edge research into unmanned aerial vehicles and the possibilities they present. 34 . THE ALUM NUS
craft changes orientation so that the rotors of the helicopter become the propellers of the plane. All this is done autonomously. The hybrid UAV combines the advantages of both helicopters and aeroplanes. Because it can do vertical takeoff and landing, it eliminates the need for a runway. In addition, it is able to hover. At the same time, it can fly greater distances when configured as an aeroplane. The research being done by the group is being commercialised through a spin-off company called AeroLion Technologies where Prof Chen is also an adviser. AeroLion Technologies builds UAVs for both indoor as well as outdoor use. Its drones have been employed in projects such as sewage tunnel inspections as well as warehouse management. The project with the national water agency PUB to use a UAV to inspect sewage tunnels was a particularly challenging one because they could neither use a Global Positioning System (GPS), as
FLYING ECONOMY UAV research has come a long way since Prof Chen started looking into it in 2003. Back then, an IMU weighed 1kg and cost US$20,000. Today, the IMU is the size of a 50-cent coin and costs about US$2.
them one that could carry a 50kg payload. The first catch was that it would cost US$150,000. The second catch was they would have to buy two of these helicopters. “Instead, we bought remote-controlled helicopters from a hobby shop for S$2,000 each.” Dr Chen and his team then set out to build all the systems needed from scratch. They also wrote their own software to integrate all the systems and sensors. Because they were forced to do everything, both hardware and software, they learned how to handle the whole spectrum of systems needed to operate a UAV. And while the lack of an aeronautical background meant that it took time to get things off the ground in the beginning, there were also upsides to being unschooled. “The good thing is that if you don’t have preconceived notions, you have broader ideas,” says Prof Chen. “The way we do the automatic control systems is quite different from others.” The team also spent six years building a mathematical model of a helicopter. “If you
The good thing is that if you don’t have preconceived notions, you have broader ideas. – P R O F B E N C H E N it was underground, nor LIDAR, due to weight issues. The UAV had to rely entirely on computer vision systems to autonomously get around within the tunnel. AeroLion has also worked with YCH Singapore to use UAVs for inventory management in warehouses. Using an autonomous drone to do inventory management in a large warehouse is faster, safer and more accurate that sending a human up on a cherry-picker to do the laborious job of stocktaking.
REACHING FOR THE SKIES Interestingly enough, although he is a well-known name in the field of autonomous flying technology today, Prof Chen is not an aeronautical engineer by training. His undergraduate degree was in mathematics and computer science, which he obtained from Xiamen University in China. He did his masters in electrical engineering in Gonzoga University in Spokane, Washington and completed his PhD in electrical and computer engineering at Washington State University. (His time in Washington State has left its mark on him and till today, he is a fan of the Washington State Cougars, the American football team of his alma mater.) After a year teaching at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, he came to Singapore to teach at NUS. This year marks the 25th anniversary of his time here. When he first started doing research on UAVs 15 years ago, the field was in its infancy. Armed with a grant, Prof Chen and his team began by looking for a remote-controlled helicopter to buy. Yamaha offered
P H OTO : H O N G C H E E YA N
RONES TODAY ARE COMMONPLACE. Wedding photographers use them to take aerial videos, some 300 of them took to the skies to dance in unison during last year’s National Day Parade and they were mentioned by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his recent May Day speech to illustrate how technology is disrupting industries. Given how you can walk into a computer store and find camera-equipped drones starting from $50, it may then seem strange to think NUS has a research group looking into this.
Professor Ben Chen of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering takes pains to point out, though, that he is not doing research into toys. Part of the problem is that the term “drone” is used loosely. Prof Chen, who is also a Provost Chair, is leading research into unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), with an emphasis on “unmanned”. While a remotecontrolled plane or quad-copter relies on a human pilot to operate, UAVs fly autonomously, relying on onboard computers to complete a mission.
P H OTO O F P R O F B E N C H E N & T E AM : H O N G C H E E YA N
To operate without human intervention, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has an automatic control system that manages the various avionics and sensors on board. Among other things, a UAV has a measurement system so it can detect its position and velocity, a way to identify objects around it using computer vision or LIDAR (which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, which uses light pulses to measure distance), and an inertia measurement unit (IMU) to measure heading angle, rotating angle and acceleration.
Prof Ben Chen (second from left) and some of his team members prepare to launch a UAV in his lab.
have a very accurate mathematical model of a UAV, you know its behaviour, its limitations and its capacities. You don’t have to go for actual flight test. Normally we do a simulation first on the computer, then we go out and test it out.” There are now over 10 people working in the research group, consisting largely of post-graduate students. In addition to doing research on UAVs, they are now branching out into unmanned surface vehicles and unmanned underwater vehicles. Looking further ahead, Prof Chen believes that artificial intelligence (AI) will have a big impact on UAVs in future. He is now looking at how to incorporate AI to improve the autonomy of UAVs. “We want to make unmanned systems as smart as possible.” Big data is another field that is important. UAVs can gather large amounts of information so the challenge is to find a way to extract usable information from large data sets. Research into UAVs continue apace. Driven by passion, Prof Chen and the Unmanned Systems Research Group will undoubtedly continue to keep the NUS flag flying. Autonomously, of course. J U L — S E P 2 0 1 8 . 35
NUS ALUMNI LEADERS FORUM
TAKING NUS TO THE NEXT LAP
“A great university is about a future-oriented vital brain trust of talented academics, staff, alumni and students working together to pursue academic excellence, innovation and positive social impact.”
Themed “Charting Our Shared Future”, the NUS Alumni Leaders Forum (ALF) on 7 April was a gathering of passionate and committed volunteers who discussed key steps ahead for NUS alumni leaders. SINCE 2008, MANY CHANGES have been made as a result of the University’s dogged determination in cultivating its alumni, which grew from 177,000 alumni a decade ago to the 288,000 alumni it is now, thereby forming the most prominent pillar of the NUS community. The alumni makeup has also grown to become fairly rosy: young alumni (of age 40 and below) make up half the population; prime alumni (between 40-60 years old) 38% and senior alumni the remaining 12%. Today, on top of growing the alumni pool, alumni leaders must look towards collaborations across segments. This means seeding talents and culture from the student pool and readying the NUS community for the challenges of a rapidly-changing world.
NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye (Science ’85)
Forging the Future: Since the inaugural ALF in 2011, Mr Tay’s (right) vision and enthusiasm have been instrumental to the success of the Forum. He officially passed the baton to Mr Sonny Yuen (Business ’85) at the end of the event.
The Forum also served as an opportunity for alumni leaders to catch up with one another.
(Left) Dr Suriani Suratman (Arts and Social Sciences ’81), FASS Malay Studies Department Senior Lecturer shared with participants the inspiration behind the AS8 Mural Wall: Flows and Contours in Tropical Asia; (Middle and Right) The Forum ended with a visit to the NUS Technology in Learning Exhibition at the Central Library and a tour of AS8. Close to 100 alumni leaders, as well as NUS faculty and alumni relations staff gathered at AS8 for an opportunity to consolidate opinions and map out key actions going forward. Highlights: Besides addresses from Mr Peter Y B Tay (Business ’74) (ALF Organising Committee Chairman) NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye and Mr Bernard Toh (Architecture ’84) (Director of NUS Alumni Relations), attendees also had the chance to deep-dive in smaller breakout groups.
32 46 . A TH LU EM AN LU UM S NUS
Mr Bernard Toh (left) emphasised that with the introduction of the NUS L3 (Lifelong Learners) programme, “it is likely everyone’s relationship with the University will evolve towards one that is not just longer, but more meaningful and fulfilling.”
J U L — S E P 2 0 1 8 . 37
SHANGRI-LA HOTEL SINGAPORE ALUMNI HAPPENINGS
Newly renovated Tower Wing Deluxe Room. • Weekdays (Monday - Thursday) | $370.00++ per room per night. • Weekends (Friday - Sunday) | $290.00++ per room per night. • Daily breakfast for two. • Complimentary unlimited high-speed internet. • Quote CASSOC-2.
Waiver of registration fee (worth $100) and monthly membership fee (worth $10.70).
carclub.com.sg/nus-regular (Regular Plan) carclub.com.sg/nus-vp50 (Value Plan)
MEM ALUMNI’S VISIT TO BANTAYAN
Passing the Torch
Two Nights Weekend Stay in Tropical Sanctuary - Garden Wing Deluxe Room. • $390.00++ per room per night ($780.00++/ $918.06 nett for 2 nights). • Daily breakfast for two. • One Semi-Buffet Lunch at Lobby Lounge On Earth Day (22 April), five Master of Science for two. • Upgrade from Garden Wing Deluxe Management) City (Environmental (MEM) alumni and View to Deluxe PoolAssociate View Room. Professor Lye Lin-Heng (Chair, Progamme • Complimentary unlimited high-speed Management Committee, MEM Programme) internet. • Quote CASSOC-1. gathered on Bantayan, a little island near Cebu,
HEALTHCARE HEALTHWAY MEDICAL GROUP • GP Consultation at $17, additional surcharge of $10.70 applies for consultation after 9.30pm and $16.05 applies for consultation on a Public Holiday. • Seasonal Flu Vaccination at $25 per dose (3-in-1) and $38 per dose (4-in-1). • Basic Health Screening Services at $98 (Pink Package) and $168 (Silver Package). • Dental Services, consultation fee at $21.40 (waived if treatment is done). Privileged rates for various dental treatments. • Executive Health Screening Packages at $243 (Lite), $540 (Classic Plus), $810 (Deluxe Plus).
sewage is channelled into the soil as fertiliser; while nonbiodegradable items are ground into tiny fragments, and Philippines. They were there with many other green shangri-la.com/singapore/shangrila mixed with cement and water to be used as construction enthusiasts, to celebrate the reopening of the School material. Rainwater is collected and vegetables are grown. of the SEA (Sea and Earth Advocates) after it was The School of the SEA is simple, basic and well-connected destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. SINGAPORE CABLE CAR with nature — a place that walks the talk. The group was invited by30% its founder, the famous off tickets to Cable Car Sky Pass Round a great opportunity for the group to interact environmental attorney Mr Antonio Oposa Jr., Trip (Usual Price: $35 – Adult, $25It–was Child). and exchange ideas, experiences and opinions with other whose milestone case fought1fabergroup.com/NUS in the name of future guests from all over the world of diverse backgrounds. It generations against the Filipino government is a was heart-warming to see SEA rebuilt after a catastrophe, compulsory study for all MEM students. ROYCE DENTAL bringing together people with a common cause, showing At SEA, “waste” is sought to be deleted from • $88 Dental Wellness Package support for the quest for sustainability. their lexicon. Organic matter is turned into compost, - Includes Consultation, X-Ray, Scaling and
SPORTS AND OUTDOORS
15% off car rental rates.
acedrive.sg Mr Yuen (5th from left) together with Minister of Education (Higher Education and Skills) Mr Ong Ye Kung (centre) and Dean Professor Bernard Yeung (7th from left) at the flag off of the 2018 NUS Bizad Charity Run.
SINCE 2011, SOME
have raised more than
$965,000 for financiallyneedy Business School students and 15 charities.
32 48 . A TH LU EM AN LU UM S NUS
Mr Sonny Yuen (Business ’85) has stepped down as President of the NUS Business School Alumni Association (NUSBSA), after serving two terms since 2014. He was a founding member of NUSBSA since 2000, serving in various key positions. One of the key activities Mr Yuen organised was the NUS Bizad Charity Run — a flagship event that is synonymous with NUS Business School. Since the inaugural event in 2011, some 8,600 runners have raised more than $965,000 for financially-needy Business School students and 15 charities. Under his leadership, the event’s participation grew six times and donations have also increased at least four-fold.
For Mr Yuen, the NUS Business School is an important part of his life. “The opportunity to interact with current students and reconnect with different alumni far exceeds any monetary benefits. “For me, joining the Alumni Association was an avenue to serve and give back” shares Mr Yuen. Looking back at his time as NUSBSA President, he counts identifying great people and building on their strengths to implement ideas as his greatest achievements. He built a team that established the NUSBSA Women’s Wing in 2015, and the NUSBSA Accountancy Wing, which resulted in a 30 per cent increase in female representation
30% off tickets to Sentosa Merlion (Usual Price: $18 – Adult, $15 – Child).
WINGS OF TIME
Mr Yuen (right) during his Raffles Hall JCRC (Junior Common Room Committee) days.
and Accounting alumni on the Association’s Board. He will now continue his NUS giving journey by chairing the NUS Alumni Leaders Forum under the care of the NUS Office of Alumni Relations (OAR).
30% off tickets to Wings of Time (Standard Seat) (Usual Price: $18).
Polishing & Fluoride Treatment. • $358 Teeth Whitening Package - Includes Consultation & Take-Home Whitening Kit. • $3,388 Dental Implant Package - Includes X-Ray, 1 Tooth Implant & 1 Crown. • $3,388 Braces Package - Includes X-rays, Photos & Study Model, Braces + Monthly Brace Adjustment Sessions and 1 Retainer set (in-house). • $5,588 Invisalign Package - Includes X-rays, Photos & Study Model, Custom Invisalign Aligner Sets, Regular Follow-Up Sessions & 1 Retainer Set (in-house).
UPCOMING ALUMNI EVENTS 2nd Edmund Tay Mai Hiong Distinguished Speaker Programme 8 July, Sunday, 8.50am to 5pm
LAUNCH OF ZHEJIANG ALUMNI CHAPTER
Alumni Forum and Networking Event The NUS Business School Global Alumni Network Office (GANO) and Taiwan Alumni Chapter organised an Alumni Forum and Networking event in Taipei on 28 April. The event brought together over 110 alumni, corporate partners, as well as current Executive MBA (Chinese) students who were in Taiwan for their learning segment. As part of the Forum’s aim to spur conversations on corporate strategies and opportunities in Taiwan and Singapore, the event invited speakers with business experience in both countries, including alumni Mr Fong Chi Chung (’12), Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Putien Holdings Singapore, and Mr Wu Pao-Chun (’16), Founder of Wu Pao-Chun Bakery. The sharing sessions were moderated by Professor Hsiao Rueylin from National Chengchi University and Associate Professor Wu Yaozhong from NUS Business School, respectively. At the event, Ms Huang Kuo-Fen ’11, the newly-minted President of the Taiwan Alumni Chapter, and her new EXCO team unveiled a brand new chapter logo that will facilitate and improve the branding and awareness of alumni events and activities.
Sleep Medicine for Physician and Dentist: Interdisciplinary Clinical Sciences 9 July, Monday, 6.30pm to 8pm
Sleep Bruxism and Apnea: An Association? For more information, visit dentistry.nus.edu.sg/Events/ ETMH_2018.html CATALYST Networking Dinner NUS Chemical Engineering Alumni 1 August, Wednesday, 7.30pm
NUSS Kent Ridge Guild House To register, visit goo.gl/BuzSJj 20th Anniversary Celebrations: Homecoming Dinner, Charity Run and Gala Dinner NUS Computing For details, visit 20years.comp.nus.edu.sg SDE Reunion Dinner for all SDE alumni 3 October, Wednesday, 7pm to 9.30pm
NUSS Kent Ridge Guild House For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org Alumni Gala Dinner NUS Engineering 19 October, Friday, 6.30pm
NUSS Kent Ridge Guild House $600 per table To register, contact Ms Suzanne Koh at email@example.com
42 40 . A TH LU EM AN LUM S NUS
Front row; left to right: Mr Zhang Run Bin (’02) (President of the Eastern China Alumni Network), Assoc Prof Chong, Ms Sim Ann, Mr Png, and Mr Low; together with (back row) NUS Business School’s staff, faculty and Executive MBA (Chinese) alumni.
NUS Business School’s global network of students and alumni continues to expand with the Eastern China Alumni Network with the launch of the Zhejiang Chapter on 25 April in Hangzhou, China. At the helm is Chapter President Mr Wang Yubo (’01), supported by Secretary General Ms Jin Wenli (’13). The Chapter aims to expand outreach through more networking events and educational programmes to current Business School students and alumni who are based in Zhejiang. The Chapter will collaborate closely with other overseas chapters, including the Northern and Southern China Alumni Networks. Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications
and Information & Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (then-Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry); Mr Low Tuck Wai, Consul–General, Singapore Consulate-General in Shanghai; and Mr Png Cheong Boon, Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Singapore, unveiled the Chapter; with Associate Professor Chong Juin Kuan, Vice Dean of PhD Studies, NUS Business School and Associate Professor Fu Qiang (’01), Director of the China Business Centre of NUS Business School. Attendees of the event also participated in the West Lake Dialogue, discussing business opportunities and potential project ideas between Singapore and Zhejiang.
ALUMNI & FRIENDS
4 October (Thursday) 1.00pm Shotgun Warren Golf and Country Club Alumni/Friends: $150 Warren Members: $100 Students: $80
GOLF TOURNAMENT Register at: alumnet.nus.edu.sg/event/ANF18
First Wedding at UTown
Dentistry Class of 1971 Alumni Reunion
The lush green lawns and the smooth flowing architectural lines of University Town (UTown) have served countless wedding photoshoots as a scenic backdrop, but never has it been the site of an actual wedding. On 19 May — the same day as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s union — Mr James Hii (Engineering + USP ’16) and Ms Vanessa Loh (Arts and Social Sciences ’12) held their wedding lunch in the vibrant yet serene setting of UTown, at the dining hall of Cinnamon College (USP). Mr Hii spent a large part of his university life in Cinnamon College (USP) and UTown, and hence, Ms Loh too became a regular visitor. When deciding on their wedding venue, USP dining hall was a natural, if not unusual, choice as Mr Hii has many fond memories of the place during his undergraduate days. Guests at the wedding included USP friends, professors and admin staff.
Alumni from the Dentistry Class of 1971 gathered in Perth, Australia for a reunion from 4 to 6 May. A group of 12 comprising alumni and their spouses travelled some distances from London, Malaysia and Singapore; and had an enjoyable time touring and catching up with one another.
Mr Hii, a full-time photographer, had recently concluded a major project for USP as part of their rebranding – the large photo collage pillar outside USP lobby was adorned with pictures he had recently shot. “It’s so nice to hold our special day here. As I walked in, I saw the lobby, the walls and all the posters on it, and it’s so nice to see James’s work everywhere. Thanks to everyone who made this possible,” Ms Loh said during her speech.
42 42 . A TH LU EM AN LU UM S NUS
JEAN YIP BEAUTY JEAN (A) 1st YIP TrialBEAUTY R6 Customised Facial
CHERYL W CHERYL W of Fat Freeze Treatment 2 Sessions
(A) 1st Trial@R6 Treatment $8.Customised Facial Treatment @ $8. (B) 20% + 5% discount on any Beauty discount on any Beauty (B) 20% + 5% Programme purchased. Programme purchased. jeanyipgroup.com
2 Freeze Treatment + Sessions 1 SessionofofFat Signature Body Flush + 1 Session Signature Body Flush Treatment @ of $88. Treatment @ $88. cherylw.com.sg
I.DENTAL I.DENTAL • Free consultation and examination*
The NUS Entrepreneurial Village was established to nurture an active and engaged entrepreneurial NUS community. The Village creates a platform for both entrepreneurs and mentors. Alumni and student entrepreneurs get access to illustrious mentors for funding, advice and business partnerships; and mentors get to learn about frontier businesses from young entrepreneurs and start-ups, as well as to nurture NUS “juniors” and invest in those with potential. A highly successful pitching-cumnetworking event was held on 7 April, where 11 start-ups from diverse industries ranging from F&B, Events, Healthcare and Human Resource were invited to pitch. One of them even dialled in from California while on the NUS Overseas Colleges programme. Mr Tong Hsien Hui (Engineering ’98), Deputy Head of Investments at SGInnovate; Mr Wong Sang Wuoh, Associate Director at NUS Enterprise; Mr Yeo Keng Joon (MBA ’85), Managing Partner of Global Biotech Singapore; Mr Edward Ta (Business ’87), Director of Cargill Asia
Start-ups networking with mentors after the pitching session.
42 4 . A TH LU EM AN LUM S NUS
FINNS BALI FINNS BALI
Pitching by Mr Goh See Ting (Engineering ’17), Co-founder of PitchSpot.
• 10% off tickets for Splash Water Park – • 10% off tickets for Splash Water Park – splashbali.com splashbali.com • 10% off Super Fun Pass – finnsrecclub. • 10% off Super Fun Pass – finnsrecclub. com/whatson/finns-bali-super-fun-pass com/whatson/finns-bali-super-fun-pass • Buy 2 Get 1 Free at Cubby House Kids • Buy 2 Get 1 Free at Cubby House Kids Club – cubbyhousekidsclub.com Club – cubbyhousekidsclub.com • Rp 100,000 voucher at Body Temple Spa • Rp 100,000 voucher at Body Temple Spa – bodytemplebali.com – bodytemplebali.com • 10% off F&B daily after 5pm at Bistro C • 10% off F&B daily after 5pm at Bistro C Smoke House – bistrocbali.com Smoke House – bistrocbali.com • 10% off Finns Bali Day Pass – • 10% off Finns Bali Day Pass – finnsrecclub.com/day-pass finnsrecclub.com/day-pass ••10% off joining fee for Finns Bali 10% off joining fee for Finns Bali Membership Membership –– finnsbali.com finnsbali.com
Mentors giving hearty advise to start-ups and would be following up with them.
Pacific; and Mr Zhao Dexin (Engineering ’14), Chairman of the SAFRA Entrepreneur’s Club were among those who attended the event as mentors. The event gave start-ups the opportunity to connect with mentors, who were generous in providing feedback, and were willing to followup with the start-ups. Ms Kat Neo (Science ’07), CoFounder of Timeliss, shared, “This
•• Free and examination* Free consultation x-ray •• Free 10% x-ray off scaling and polishing • 10% off scaling and polishing • 10% off dental filling • 10% off dental filling • 10% off normal tooth extraction • 10% off normal tooth extraction • 10% off tray system teeth whitening • 10% off tray system teeth whitening • 10% off chairside teeth whitening • 10% off chairside teeth whitening • $220 waiver for consultation for • $220 waiver for consultation for Invisalign treatment** Invisalign treatment** • $220 Waiver for consultation for braces • $220 Waiver for consultation for braces treatment** treatment** *Consultation will be waived when there *Consultation will be waived when there is another dental treatment performed on is another dental treatment performed on the same visit. the same visit. ** For AlumNUS Card member’s children ** For AlumNUS Card member’s children with valid valid student student pass. pass. Waiver Waiver given given with upon commencement commencement of of treatment treatmentonly. only. upon
Pitching by Mr Galven Lee (Arts and Social Sciences ’14), Co-founder of Standcraft.
is a great initiative by NUS Entrepreneurial Village. It is a good start because in the US, having start-ups pitch to alumni really help to jump-start funding rounds. Not just to hone our pitching skills, but also build up on our relationships with alumni whom we could learn from. I would certainly look forward to going through this journey again.”
Mentors and start-ups who wish to be part of this community can reach out to Mr Kelly Choo (Computing ’08) at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mr Alexander Kho (Business ’16) at email@example.com or Mr Lim Chun Hon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HEALTHCARE HEALTHCARE EAGLE EYE CENTRE
EAGLE EYE CENTRE Consultation: 1st consultation at $100
Consultation: consultation $100 $70. and follow-up1st consultation at at and follow-up consultation at $70. 10% off Category A procedure: 10% off Category A procedure: • LASIK (Epi-LASIK and FerntoLASIK) ••LASIK (Epi-LASIK andLens FerntoLASIK) Implantable Contact (ICL) ••Implantable ContactControl Lens (ICL) Eagle Eye Myopia • Eagle Eye Myopia Control Programme (EMCP Lite and EMCP) Programme (EMCP LiteFiller, and EMCP) • Oculoplastics (Botox, Double • Oculoplastics (Botox, Filler, Double Eyelid Surgery, Eye Bag Surgery) Eyelid Surgery, Eye Bag Surgery) 5% off Category B procedure: 5% off Category B procedure: • Corneal Diseases Management and • Corneal Diseases Management and Transplantation •Transplantation Glaucoma Management Lasers and • Glaucoma Surgery Management Lasers and •Surgery Ocular Inflammation and Uveitis • Ocular Inflammation and Uveitis Treatment •Treatment Age-related Macular Degeneration • Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Treatment (AMD) Treatment • Retinal and Macular Surgery and • Retinal and Macular Surgery and Treatment Treatment • Adult and Paediatric Strabismus • Adult and Paediatric Strabismus Management and Surgery Management and Surgery • Paediatric Ophthalmology • Paediatric Ophthalmology • Dry Eyes • Dry Eyes
FASHION AND AND RETAIL RETAIL FASHION PIIPIINOO PIIPIINOO
10%off offretail retailprice. price. 10%
piipiinoosg.wixsite.com/ppn-site piipiinoosg.wixsite.com/ppn-site YUAN YUAN ZHONG ZHONG SIU SIU
$100 $100 off off Feng Feng Shui Shui service. service.
THE ECONOMIST ECONOMIST THE
10% off off standard standard subscription subscription rate rate–– 10% economist.com/NUS/std economist.com/NUS/std Additional 5% 5% off off on on student student subscription subscription Additional rate –– economist.com/NUS/stu economist.com/NUS/stu rate
PRIVILEGES ON CAMPUS
BEAUTY AND WELLNESS
THE UNIVERSITY CLUB AT PRIVÉ GRILL
15% off all hairdressing services and selected haircare products.
20% off regular-priced items on Ocean Health e-shop.
SHANGRI-LA HOTEL SINGAPORE
Newly renovated Tower Wing Deluxe Room. • Weekdays (Monday - Thursday) | $370.00++ per room per night. • Weekends (Friday - Sunday) | $290.00++ per room per night. • Daily breakfast for two. • Complimentary unlimited high-speed internet. • Quote CASSOC-2.
Two Nights Weekend Stay in Tropical Sanctuary - Garden Wing Deluxe Room. • $390.00++ per room per night ($780.00++/ $918.06 nett for 2 nights). • Daily breakfast for two. • One Semi-Buffet Lunch at Lobby Lounge for two. • Upgrade from Garden Wing Deluxe City View to Deluxe Pool View Room. • Complimentary unlimited high-speed internet. • Quote CASSOC-1.
25% off all à la carte items on weekdays (lunch and dinner). ‘Happy Hour’ daily from 5pm to 9pm. 50% off “Drink of the Moment” & Housepours (1/2 Pint Draught Beers, Red/White Wines, Spirits).
KOHEPETS 10% off first order, 5% off subsequent orders.
Your complimentary AlumNUS Card entitles you to a host of benefits and privileges! Get your complimentary AlumNUS Card at alumnet.nus.edu.sg/alumnuscard GAIGAI
$500 off GaiGai and Fleek packages.
Terms & Conditions apply. The NUS Office of Alumni Relations and the AlumNUS Card merchants reserve the right to amend the terms and conditions governing the offers without prior notice. All information is correct at press time. Visit alumnet.nus.edu.sg/ alumnuscard for the latest privileges and promotions.
ATOS WELLNESS A. Refresh, Recharge and Rejuvenate with one of the following Wellness Treats at $38: • Aromatic Facial (60 minutes facial therapy worth $160).
Waiver of registration fee (worth $100) and monthly membership fee (worth $10.70).
carclub.com.sg/nus-regular (Regular Plan) carclub.com.sg/nus-vp50 (Value Plan)
SINGAPORE CABLE CAR
30% off tickets to Cable Car Sky Pass Round Trip (Usual Price: $35 – Adult, $25 – Child).
Top up $18 to enjoy a Millennial Facial (60 minutes wellness treat worth $180).
B. Birthday Privilege - Enjoy the following Lifestyle Treat at $28:
• NCF Nutrition Consultation (60 minutes session worth $120).
15% off car rental rates.
We welcome alumni business owners to come on board as our AlumNUS Card merchant partners. Drop us a note at email@example.com and make an exceptional offer to fellow alumni.
FOOD AND BEVERAGE
AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION OF SINGAPORE (AA)
SHANGRI-LA HOTEL SINGAPORE
15% discount for The Line (buffet only), The Lobby Lounge (à la carte only), Shang Palace, Waterfall Ristorante Italiano and Nami.
FLOWER GARAGE SINGAPORE
$100 off motor insurance premium. Complimentary Caltex petrol card worth $20. Complimentary 1 year AA Ordinary Membership worth $112.35.
10% off all products except for hampers and stands.
HOME & LIVING floralgaragesg.com
• GP Consultation at $17, additional surcharge of $10.70 applies for consultation after 9.30pm and $16.05 applies for consultation on a Public Holiday. • Seasonal Flu Vaccination at $25 per dose (3-in-1) and $38 per dose (4-in-1). • Basic Health Screening Services at $98 (Pink Package) and $168 (Silver Package). • Dental Services, consultation fee at $21.40 (waived if treatment is done). Privileged rates for various dental treatments. • Executive Health Screening Packages at $243 (Lite), $540 (Classic Plus), $810 (Deluxe Plus).
SPORTS AND OUTDOORS
• BM Pamper (80 minutes wellness treat worth $180).
TRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATION
HEALTHWAY MEDICAL GROUP
• Chocolate Spa MLD (60 minutes spa therapy worth $180).
30% off tickets to Sentosa Merlion (Usual Price: $18 – Adult, $15 – Child).
WINGS OF TIME
30% off tickets to Wings of Time (Standard Seat) (Usual Price: $18).
• $88 Dental Wellness Package - Includes Consultation, X-Ray, Scaling and Polishing & Fluoride Treatment. • $358 Teeth Whitening Package - Includes Consultation & Take-Home Whitening Kit. • $3,388 Dental Implant Package - Includes X-Ray, 1 Tooth Implant & 1 Crown. • $3,388 Braces Package - Includes X-rays, Photos & Study Model, Braces + Monthly Brace Adjustment Sessions and 1 Retainer set (in-house). • $5,588 Invisalign Package - Includes X-rays, Photos & Study Model, Custom Invisalign Aligner Sets, Regular Follow-Up Sessions & 1 Retainer Set (in-house).
the path less travelled
MASTERING THE ART OF BEING U N C E R TA I N
BY FAIROZA MANSOR
The intricate and whimsical artworks of illustrator and architect Mr Lee Xin Li (Design and Environment ‘15) have presented him with unexpected opportunities.
Mr Lee’s advice to aspiring artists hoping to follow his footsteps.
MR LEE XIN LI’S distinctive illustrations arguably first came into the spotlight after his Kueh Series — a collection of colourful, detailed artworks of 60 nyonya delights was released when he was still in his final year at NUS. “I was pleasantly surprised when Mr Brown, the ‘blogfather’ of Singapore, gave the series a shoutout on his podcast,” recalls the architecture major, who now works for DP Architects. “From then on, people knew me as ‘the kueh guy’.” Singaporeans have seen a lot more of Mr Lee’s artwork since. These include his depiction of People’s Park Complex and the drawing of the ‘Missing Man Formation’ commissioned by the Republic of Singapore Air Force Black Knights for the State Funeral of Mr Lee Kuan Yew in 2015. There’s nary been a dull moment. In fact, The AlumNUS managed to chat with the
A collection of illustrations featuring nyonya delights
30 year-old at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) at 8Q, where his vivid illustrations of Singapore’s landscape are being displayed as part of Imaginarium: Into the Space of Time — the museum’s annual family-friendly exhibition. This makes his second exhibition — his first being Sayang Singapura in 2016, which featured illustrations of places that have been transformed such as Haw Par Villa, that was held at the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Singapore City Gallery. Where else will he go from here? The answer is anyone’s guess. “I never quite know where I’m going with my illustrations,” says Mr Lee, who started doodling since he was in kindergarten. “But that uncertainty has been good, as along the way, opportunities have been presented to me, and I have been open to them, thus enabling more opportunities.” Imaginarium: Into the Space of Time
runs until 26 August at SAM at 8Q (8 Queen Street).
48 . THE ALUM NUS
Mr Darren Tan Kim Poh (Business ’97) has gifted his estate comprising his CPF, insurance and cash to all his alma maters, including NUS.
Check out more of his artworks at leexinli.com
Darren made this decision because going to school and university was not just about receiving an academic education. Attending school and NUS was a heart-warming journey of extraordinary learning, character-building and soul-nurturing. He believes very much in the importance of education and its holistic influence on one’s values and character. His gift to his alma maters is in appreciation of the valuable education he received. “Making a legacy gift to NUS was not complicated. For my CPF, I filled out a form nominating NUS as a beneficiary. Similarly, for the insurance policy, I notified my insurance provider of the list of beneficiaries of my existing policy. “What I have done for NUS is a small gesture of gratitude. I have fond memories of my years spent at school. My alma maters have all been instrumental in moulding my heart and soul beyond the academic aspects. I am pleased to make a legacy gift to NUS,” says Mr Tan, who grew up in a humble family.
M A I N P H OTO : AI K C H E N
“It’s tough for many artists to step away from their work, because we are always trying to do better. As a result, we tend to pull many sleepless nights. Don’t do that. You’ll work better when you’re not tired anyway.”
“MAKING A LEGACY GIFT TO NUS WAS NOT COMPLICATED.” If you would like to know more about making NUS a beneficiary of your CPF or insurance policy, or if you would like enquire about making a legacy gift to the University, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call +65 6516-6529 or visit www.giving.nus.edu.sg
Organised by: Organised by: Office of Alumni Relations Office of Alumni Relations NUS Partners: NUS Partners: Centre For the Arts Centre For the Arts Office of Campus Amenities Office of Campus Amenities Office of Environmental Office of Environmental Sustainability Sustainability School of Continuing School of Continuing and Lifelong Education and Lifelong Education
ASEAN EXTRAVAGANZA EXTRAVAGANZA 18 18 August August 2018 2018 (Saturday) (Saturday) 5.00pm 5.00pm – – 9.30pm 9.30pm NUS NUS University University Town Town Register with with your your family family and and friends friends Register at alumnet.nus.edu.sg/event/KR18 at alumnet.nus.edu.sg/event/KR18
SOUTHEAST SOUTHEAST ASIAN ASIAN
MOVIE MOVIE SCREENING: SCREENING:
Food Food Fair Fair
© 2017 2017 Twentieth Twentieth Century Century Fox Fox Film Film Corporation. Corporation. All All rights rights reserved. reserved. ©
Student Life Studen t Life Fair 2018 Fair 2018
PERFORMANCE PERFORMANCE BY BY
UGLY UGLY IN IN THE THE MORNING MORNING
PERFORMANCE PERFORMANCE BY BY CELEBRITY CELEBRITY ALUMNUS ALUMNUS