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a oard o keybage 2! p Nov - Dec 2008


Taking The


How a new generation of youths are making the most of their lives and doing some good

13 In Service To His Country Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry S Iswaran on his years of public service.

15 Overcoming The Odds South West resident Zhang Kaini may be a quadriplegic, but her positive outlook on life keeps her going.

19 Happening Holidays! Fun ideas to keep you busy during the school holidays!

8 BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008



Winning It Big Nov-Dec 08

3 A word from Amy


On The Ground

Minister of State for Trade and Industry S Iswaran is no stranger to serving his country

13 In Service To His Country: Senior

4 Green and Proud: The South West

CDC came out tops with triple awards for environmental awareness and conservation Join Us: Upcoming events for everyone

5 The Sweet Spirit of Community: Hong Kah

and Chua Chu Kang residents gathered to break fast with their Muslim friends Art for the Road!: With the CDC Wearable Art Public Contingent, South West residents can now be part of the Chingay Parade All for Health: Celebrate a healthy lifestyle with these fun events

6 Competition is Good For the Health: Find

out why athletics aren’t just for the young Matters of the Heart: With the launch of the CPR 3A kit, anyone can easily learn CPR Revolutionary Reading: The Chua Chu Kang Public Library returns, bigger and better


Giving More To The Neighbourhood: Six Boon Lay residents receive the inaugural Good Neighbour Award

Vox Pop

14 Credit Cards – Helpline or Debt Trap?: South West residents speak up on credit cards targeting youths

Everyday Heroes

15 South West Resident Overcomes The

Odds: Despite being paralysed, Zhang Kaini has made the best of her situation


16 Fresh From The Pan: The Café Cartel shares its recipe for Pan-Fried Linguine


17 Miel’s Corner & Colour Your World: Fun stuff for the kids!


18 做一个健康快乐、与时并进的


8 Generation-I: We throw the spotlight on


three outstanding youth entrepreneurs and volunteers


Helping Hand

and out of the mall – fun tips for things to do during the school holidays!

Service Professional programme is helping more people find jobs


10 Change of a Lifetime: The Certified

19 Happening Holidays!: Get off the couch

20 Telling Stories the Digi-tale Way: The Family Tales @ South West gives families an interactive and fun way to share stories

11 Clean from Coast to Coast:

Read how one company is helping keep our shores clean

21 Island Getaway: Edmund Mak

12 Fiscal Fitness: Tips

experiences unspoiled beauty on an intertidal walk at Semakau Landfill

for young adults on fiscal independence and avoiding pitfalls

Zoom in

22-23 What’s been happening in South

West District – and Meet-the-Adviser session information.

iz u Q

Take part in our simple quiz below and you could be the lucky winner of a Prolink PKM6803U keyboard. Two sets are up for grabs! Just read this issue of BRIDGE and mail the answers to the following questions to us at South West CDC, The JTC Summit, 8 Jurong Town Hall Road, #26-06, Singapore 609434. This contest is open to all residents of the South West CDC. Closing date is 31 December 2008.



Winners will be chosen from among contestants with correct entries on a first-come-first-served basis.


BRIDGE | Nov -Dec 2008

How did you feel when you found out you won? GIM HAN: We were very surprised that sharing our ideas would win us a prize.. And just in time for the holidays!

BRIDGE A publication of the South West CDC MICA(P) 136/12/2007 Publications and Publicity Functional Committee

VICE CHAIRPERSON Leong Ching MEMBERS Ang Keng Loo, Jasmine Ee, Dicky Goh, Nur Diana Jamaludin, Elsie Yu, Bryan Goh EDITORIAL TEAM Lim Sheau Huei, Ng Soo Rei, Charinne Char



Contact no.

Do you practise any of the ECo Goals at home? CHIEW YONG: Yes. Instead of using the air-con at night all the time, we don’t leave it switched on the whole night. By just using it for a few hours, we help etimes, we also use the fan. to save energy. Sometimes,


2 What kind of career does the Certified Service Professional prepare participants for? [ ] Tourism and service [ ] Odd-jobs [ ] Contract and part-time work


What do you think of the ECo Plan initiative and the South West CDC’s efforts in this area? GIM HAN: I think the South West CDC has made a very strong effort in keeping the area clean and green through this Plan and other initiatives. CHIEW YONG: I think these efforts will be strengthened through stronger education for older people, as they may not be so aware of environmental issues.


1 Which division in the South West District was the first to organise the Good Neighbour Awards? [ ] Hong Kah North [ ] Chua Chu Kang [ ] Boon Lay


What made you take part in the ECo Plan Survey? GIM HAN: It was my son’s idea. He happened to read BRIDGE and encouraged me to take part, and also helped to contribute to the answers.

CHAIRMAN Sia Cheong Yew

Celebrate Your District


We speak to Ng Gim Han and Ling Chiew Yong, joint winners of the top prize of the ECo Plan South West Survey contest, a 3D/2N stay at the Rasa Sentosa Resort, Singapore worth $1200!

ACCOUNT MANAGER Michele Kho CONTRIBUTORS Melanie Tu, Frances Sim, Hairulnizad bin Daut Shaw, Michelle Bong, Steve Zhu, Kelvin Chia, Md Basheer, Edmund Mak, Sheralyn Tay, Sylvia Wee, Daphne Ling, Sana Rahman, June Rasul,

Kim Ong, Annita Ho, Bryan Goh, Kelvin Goh PRINTER Times Printers South West District: Ayer Rajah – West Coast, Bukit Batok, Bukit Batok East, Bukit Gombak, Boon Lay, Chua Chu Kang, Clementi, Hong Kah North, Jurong Central, Keat Hong, Nanyang, Pioneer, Taman Jurong, Telok Blangah, Yew Tee and Yuhua. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the Publisher. Every effort has been made to ensure that information is correct and up-to-date at time of printing. Contributors’ comments and opinions are their own and do not represent those of the South West CDC. Bridge is published bi-monthly by the South West Community Development Council, The JTC Summit, 8 Jurong Town Hall Road, #26-06, S(609434). Mainline: 6316-1616 For advertising enquiries, please email

A word from Amy




has been a tumultuous year. The world was rocked by many catastrophic events – environmental, political and economic – including the Sichuan earthquake, regional political instability and most recently the financial tsunami sweeping across the world. Singapore, being a small and open economy, is not spared the impact of these upheavals. We are now in a technical recession and have to brace ourselves for worse to come. Many senior government leaders warned that this slowdown could last for a year or longer. Of course, let us not forget the positive and historic - we won the bid to host the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, the inaugural F1 night race took place with much positive vibes, and the first Afro-American, Mr Barack Obama, was elected as the next US President. But for most, our attention is more focused on the current economic slowdown. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that the government is exploring ways to help workers, businesses and households through the downturn. In the same vein, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has also recently assured Singaporeans that the government is looking at an expansionary budget for the next fiscal year. The CDC is also putting in place additional relief measures to complement National ComCare schemes and local schemes to help residents who may suffer wage cuts or retrenchments. These include ensuring that their children’s education will not be affected and assisting them with job matching, re-training as well as short-term financial assistance to tide over financial difficulties while they look for a job. We are publishing educational materials with simple tips such as “how to better manage your household expenses” to help them cope. If we all work together, we will certainly emerge from this recession more resilient. On a brighter note, for its sustained and comprehensive environmental efforts, the South West CDC has won three environment awards - the inaugural ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable Cities Award, the President’s Award for the Environment and the Clean and Green Singapore Best Community Award. I want to thank all residents for supporting our efforts to make the district a cleaner, greener, healthier and more vibrant community to live, work and play in. In this issue of BRIDGE, we also take a look at our youths who have excelled creatively in entrepreneurship and passionately in volunteerism. I am sure their stories will be an inspiration! As we end this year, I would like to thank all our councilors, committee members, GROs, corporate and community partners and residents for your contributions and participation in our programmes. Thank you for making South West District a part of your lives, and to all our Christian residents, Blessed Christmas!

2008 merupakan tahun penuh pancaroba dengan banyak malapetaka menimpa, sama ada berkaitan alam sekitar, politik atau ekonomi – termasuk gempa bumi di Sichuan, ketidakstabilan politik di rantau dan tsunami kewangan yang kini melanda seluruh dunia. Singapura yang mempunyai ekonomi terbuka turut terdedah kepada kesan-kesan pergolakan. Kini, kita sedang mengalami kegawatan ekonomi teknikal dan perlu bersedia menghadapi pelbagai rintangan akan datang. Kebanyakan pemimpin kanan kerajaan telah memberi amaran bahawa kemerosotan ekonomi ini mungkin berlanjutan melebihi setahun. Namun, janganlah kita lupakan detik bersejarah dan positif, baik di dalam negeri mahupun di luar negara. Kita telah dipilih sebagai tuan rumah Sukan Olimpik Belia 2010, perlumbaan malam F1 yang julung kali diadakan di Singapura dan Encik Barack Obama – warga Amerika-Afro pertama yang dipilih sebagai Presiden Amerika Syarikat. Namun, fokus kita kini ialah pada kemelesetan ekonomi. Perdana Menteri, Encik Lee Hsien Loong, telah berkata bahawa pemerintah sedang mencari langkah membantu para pekerja, syarikat-syarikat dan rumah tangga menempuh kemelesetan ekonomi ini. Dalam nadi yang sama, Menteri Kanan, Encik Goh Chok Tong, turut meyakinkan warga Singapura bahawa pemerintah kini sedang menimbangkan belanjawan pengembangan bagi tahun fiskal yang berikut. Pihak Majlis Pembangunan Masyarakat juga akan menyediakan langkah bantuan tambahan untuk melengkapi skim ComCare Nasional dan skim tempatan untuk membantu mereka yang hilang pekerjaan atau dipotong gaji. Ini termasuk memastikan anak-anak terus bersekolah, membantu mereka mendapatkan pekerjaan serta memberikan bantuan kewangan jangka pendek. Jika semua pemegang amanah bekerjasama, kita akan timbul daripada kemelesetan ini dengan lebih bingkas. Melalui usaha menyeluruh ke atas alam sekitar, CDC Barat Daya telah memenangi tiga anugerah termasuk Anugerah Bandar ASEAN Berdaya Tahan yang terulung. Saya ingin mengucapkan terima kasih kepada semua yang menyokong usaha kami menjadikan daerah ini lebih bersih dan hijau serta melahirkan masyarakat yang bersemangat. Di muka surat 8 hingga 9, kami akan memaparkan belia berinspirasi. Sebagai menutup tirai tahun ini, saya mengucapkan ribuan terima kasih kepada semua anggota Majlis Perbandaran, ahli-ahli jawatankuasa, GRO korporat dan rakan perkongsian komuniti dan para penduduk atas sumbangan dan penyertaan anda dalam program kami. Terima kasih kerana menjadikan Daerah Barat Daya ini sebahagian daripada hidup anda.

BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008


On the Ground

N I JO S! U For the latest events, visit

1,000,000 Native Plants @ South West

Harmony for Humanity Finale Concert

Come join us for a fun-filled morning with friends and family, and get to know the various types of flora found in the South West District. With fun and games, educational booths, and mass planting exercises, it’s a great way to help out the environment and have a good time.

Supported by the South West CDC, Mercy Relief launched a Cultivating A Grateful & Gracious Society Campaign in August to help people learn more ways to display compassion and consideration to those less fortunate than them. The campaign will end with a grand concert finale, with Guest-of-Honour SM Goh Chok Tong attending.

WHERE Taman Jurong Green Park DATE Sunday, 23 November 2008 TIME 8am – 12:30pm

WHERE VivoCity, Sky Park Amphitheatre (Level 3) DATE Saturday, 13 December 2008 TIME 7pm – 9pm


and Proud

Score again for the South West CDC – its reputation for making the South West an eco-friendly place received a boost with triple awards for environmental awareness and conservation. text MICHELLE BONG


proved to be a bumper month for environmental awards as the South West CDC was honoured not once, but three times, bagging an inaugural regional award, and two local awards to boot. On 8 October, His Excellency Pham Khoi Nguyen, Minister of Vietnam’s Ministry of National Resource and Environment presented the prestigious regional ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable Cities (ESC) Award to Dr Amy Khor, Mayor of South West District, at the awards ceremony in Hanoi. The South West CDC was one of 10 ASEAN cities, districts, townships and other suburban areas – including the Municipality of Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Palembang City, Indonesia – honoured. The award took into account their commendable efforts and policies to improve the quality of their living environment and to work towards sustainable development, even as they continue to grow as centres of economic and industrial activity and make significant improvements in terms of urban environmental management. Some of the South West CDC’s environmentally-friendly initiatives include the “My Environment Shines” Programme and 2007’s Cool South West! Campaign which comprises

initiatives like Change-A-Bulb @ South West, Switch-Off! @ South West, and 25ºC Campaign @ South West. For the above and more, the South West CDC was also honoured with the President’s Award for the Environment (PAE). This was presented by President S R Nathan at the Award Ceremony at The Istana on 21 October. The PAE is Singapore’s highest accolade for environment and waterrelated accomplishments. On top of that, the South West CDC was also awarded the Clean & Green Singapore Best Community Award for the second year in a row, for rolling out 45 district-wide environmental programmes and its efforts to engage residents. These awards are the latest in a string of environmentrelated honours, including Singapore’s OK (SOK) Best Community Awards 2003, 2004 and 2005 and the Singapore Green Plan 2012 Award (Organisation) 2005. Looking ahead, the South West CDC plans to deepen community involvement with the environment through the ECo Plan @ South West. Themed “Tomorrow Starts Today”, the initiative consists of three environment-focused goals – Cool, Green and Clean – which aim to deal with environmental challenges.

Recycle Your Old Clothes and Newspapers for Groceries! Have old clothes and newspapers that you don’t want any more? Exchange them for grocery coupons at your nearest participating Community Club (CC) and/or Resident Committee Centre (RC) on Sunday, 4 January 2009 from 8 am to 12 pm. Residents can redeem up to 1 kg of rice for every 3 kg of clothes collected and 1 packet of instant noodles for every 2 kg of paper collected!* Redeem the coupons for groceries at Eco Day Out 2009 @ South West on 18 January 2009 at Hong Kah North CC. Log on to www.southwestcdc. from 1 January 2009 onwards for more information on the event.

* Rates subject to change. Dr Amy Khor, Mayor of South West District, with President S R Nathan at the President’s Award for the Environment presentation ceremony. With her is Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.


BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008

On The Ground From left: Hong Kah GRC MPs Mr Zaqy Mohamad and Mr Ang Mong Seng, Acting Minister for Manpower Gan Kim Yong, Mayor of South West District Dr Amy Khor and Hong Kah GRC MP Mr Alvin Yeo helping to serve porridge at the Iftar event.


Sweet Spirit of Community

AT 5.45

pm on 7 September, residents from Hong Kah GRC and Choa Chu Kang SMC experienced community bonding in a particularly sweet and delicious way – with 800 fusion halal mooncakes made with dates, the traditional staple for breaking fast during Ramadan. The annual Hong Kah GRC and Chua Chu Kang SMC Ramadan Iftar Break Fast with Residents, now in its third consecutive year, saw some 700 representatives from religious groups, new Singapore citizens and Muslim residents and their families taking part. They gathered at the hardcourt of Blk 371 at Bukit Batok Street 31, and mingled with guests-of-honour Acting Minister for Manpower Mr Gan Kim Yong; Mayor of South West District Dr Amy Khor; and advisers to Hong Kah

art for the

ROAD! Thanks to the CDC Wearable Art Public Contingent, South West residents can now be part of next year’s Chingay Parade. text DAPHNE LING


colourful costumes, extravagant floats and elaborate performances, the annual Chingay Parade has rarely failed to entertain and mesmerise. The upcoming Parade in January looks set to be no different, except that members of the public can now take part in it through the CDC Wearable Art Public Contingent. Organised by the five Community Development Councils, the People’s Association and supported by, people interested in being part of the Public Contingent can attend two workshops, one to learn how to create unique costumes, masks and accessories to wear at the Parade, and another for costume fitting and learning the basics of rhythm and movement. Participants can choose to attend the costume workshops on 15 November or 16 November, and the Costume Fitting and Rhythm and Movement workshop on either 13 or 14 December. The workshops are held free of charge at The People’s Association Headquarters Auditorium, 9 Stadium Link. They are open to people of all ages, regardless of citizenship. For more information and registration, visit www.

In the spirit of communal cohesion, Hong Kah GRC and Chua Chu Kang SMC residents gathered to break fast with their Muslim friends during the recent Ramadan season. text MICHELLE BONG

GRC GROs Mr Ang Mong Seng, Mr Alvin Yeo and Mr Zaqy Mohamad. The event was jointly organised by the South West CDC and the Hong Kah GRC/Chua Chu Kang SMC Malay Activity Executive Committees to help the community interact and learn about the customs of the Muslim fasting month. Some of the mooncakes were made by Dr Khor and 31 non-Muslim students from Nan Hua High School. Prior to their time in the kitchen, the students also attended a briefing on Muslim culture and took in a guided tour of the Ar-Randhah Mosque to learn more about Muslim customs and their significance.

Baby Blisscards @ South West Celebrating your newborn baby? Apply for the South West CDC Baby Blisscard worth $38 and also enjoy discounts at more than 15 mothercare and babycare merchants!* Application forms are available at your nearest Community Centres/Clubs and also at *Terms & Conditions apply.

All For Health!

Celebrate this year’s National Healthy Lifestyle Campaign with these fun activities. YOUTH HEALTH ADVOCACY WORKSHOP 15 November 2008 Health Promotion Board A youth health advocacy workshop targeted at youths aged 15 – 21 to raise awareness among participants on pertinent youth health issues, and to equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to plan youth health projects. PRAVIN SAIVI 15-16 November 2008 Esplanade Recital Studio Accompanied by favourite local band Tribal Tide, homegrown talent Pravin Saivi takes to the stage with fusion pop songs while sharing about his quit smoking journey. YOUTH HEALTH MOVEMENT November 2008 Various locations The Youth Health Movement (YHM) 2008 is a series of health events and programmes targeted at youths aged 15 – 29. Organised by the various Youth Executive Committees (YECs) from the

People’s Association Youth Movement throughout the month of November 2008, it will culminate in a closing ceremony that will showcase the highlights and successes of the event. WORLD AIDS DAY CONCERT 29 November 2008 Fort Canning Park To commemorate World AIDS Day, come on down to Fort Canning Park and show your support for this concert, aimed at correcting misconceptions about HIV and AIDs, and promoting positive lifestyle practices, such as personal protective measures, early HIV screening and counselling. “IMPULSE: THE BEAT OF HEALTH” YOUTH HEALTH SYMPOSIUM 14 March 2009 Venue to be confirmed Targeting youths aged 17 – 25, the Youth Health Symposium aims to raise awareness of pertinent youth health concerns through talks by health experts and break-out sessions.

BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008


On The Ground

Matters of the

Heart Competition Dr Amy Khor, Mayor of South West District, taking part in the Fun Walkers Race @ South West.

Is Good For The Health

Athletic events aren’t just for the young, as nearly 150 senior citizens proved at the Fun Walkers Race @ South West, held as part of Healthy Community @ South West. text DAPHNE LING

With the launch of the CPR 3A home-training kit, anyone can easily learn how to give CPR to victims suffering from heart attacks or other emergencies.


morning, 67-year-old Madam Tan Ang Ngoo engages in a strict exercise regime. A firm believer in maintaining an active lifestyle, Madam Tan has never allowed her age to stop her from being physically active. She was one of 147 senior citizens aged 55 and above who took part in the Fun Walkers Race @ South West, a 2 km competitive walk. It was part of the Healthy Community @ South West event, held on 26 October at the hardcourt opposite Lot One Shopper’s Mall. The race saw the first records being set for the South West Records for Competitive Walk Race in two categories - 45 and above and, 55 and above. These will serve as a benchmark for future participants and be a source of motivation for them. “Exercising not only keeps me healthy, but happy as well. I’ve gotten to know many new friends after taking part in walks and morning exercises. I will continue to exercise for as long as I can,” said the energetic Madam Tan. Healthy Community @ South West sought to bring the active ageing movement into the heartlands by showcasing that senior citizens don’t have to limit themselves to traditional exercises like qigong or taichi, and that they have a broad variety of options to keep active and healthy. Apart from the Fun Walkers Race, the event also featured a performance by the Active Ageing Festival Dancers and a Healthy Community @ South West Exhibition. Participants also took part in setting a new record - the largest human formation of a letter of the alphabet at the event by working together to form the letter A (for Active). “Health is an important component of active ageing and there are a wide range of activities that senior citizens can participate in to keep themselves healthy, such as rock climbing, archery and lawn bowling. The Fun Walkers Race aims to show that age should not be a barrier to participation in physical activities,” said Dr Amy Khor, Mayor of South West District, who was there with Guest-of-Honour Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Finance.

Revolutionary Reading The National Library Board’s Chua Chu Kang Public Library looks set to return bigger and better than ever at its new premises in Lot One Shoppers’ Mall.


patrons of the Chua Chu Kang Public Library (CCKPL) are in for a treat when the library re-opens its doors to the public at its new location on 21 November. The CCKPL closed on 1 November for three weeks to allow for the shift from the third floor of Lot One Shoppers’ Mall to bigger premises on Level Four. The re-location of CCKPL is part of the National Library Board’s (NLB) continuous efforts to provide better services to the community. The new CCKPL will open daily from 11.00am to 9.00pm, and will include new highlights like a magazine reading 6

BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008

corner and a youth corner. Since 1997, CCKPL has been providing a conducive learning environment to residents in the South West, particularly Chua Chu Kang, Hong Kah North, Keat Hong and Yew Tee. Students and teachers from the neighbouring primary and secondary schools, as well as tertiary institutions, are also regular visitors to the library. Following the re-opening, CCKPL will be organising programmes and talks on specific themes such as nature, gardening and environmental issues for all age groups. For more details, please visit

Students learning the fundamentals of CPR using the CPR 3A kit at the World Heart Day celebrations.


person standing next to you in the MRT suddenly collapses from a heart attack, would you know what to do? That’s the question the South West CDC was hoping to help people answer, with the launch of the CPR 3A (Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere) home-training kit at the 37th National Heart Week/World Heart Day celebrations on 12 October at Jurong East Interchange. Launched in partnership with the Singapore Heart Foundation (SHF) and Yuhua Grassroots Organisations, the kit comprises an inflatable mannequin and training DVD that people can use to teach themselves CPR at home in about 30 minutes. It is part of the South West CDC’s Heart Safe initiative to help improve the 2.7% survival rate of people who suffer out-of-hospital heart attacks. One in three Singaporeans die from heart disease or stroke. “The whole family can learn, and invite their neighbours. By doing this, the chance of survival out of hospital increases over time,” said Dr Amy Khor, Mayor of South West District, who attended the event together with Guestof-Honour Senior Minister of State for National Development and Education Grace Fu. Winners of the SHF Heart Patient of the Year Award and Serenade Your Heart Song Competition were announced at the event, which also featured a Mass Walk, the 10,000 Steps Challenge and a Supermarket Tour.

For more information on the CPR 3A Kit, visit

On The Ground Giving More To The

Neighbourhood South West residents like Sandy Lim and Chong Yu Tai have done the district proud, winning the People’s Association’s inaugural Good Neighbour Award. text SHERALYN TAY

Mdm Ho Geok Choo, MP for West Coast GRC and Adviser to Boon Lay GROs, presenting the award to Mdm Chong Yu Tai.


a kampung girl always a kampung girl – that best describes Mdm Sandy Lim, 42, a cheerful and spirited mother of two who takes it upon herself to bring the kampung spirit to her community by helping her neighbours. Though she good-naturedly calls herself a “kaypoh”, Mdm Lim is far from a busybody. She’s given time and moral support to her neighbours, including two orphaned teenagers. She visited them daily to check on their studies and deliver groceries, as well as bring them to their MP to seek financial help. “As a mother, I felt for them, so I did what I could,” she said.

For her efforts, Mdm Lim received a Good Neighbour Award from the People’s Association Grassroots Organisation (GRO). She was one of six Boon Lay residents recognised for their exemplary neighbourliness at a ceremony held in August, with Guestof-Honour Mdm Ho Geok Choo, MP for West Coast GRC and Adviser to Boon Lay GROs. Boon Lay is the first division in the South West District to have organised the awards and announced the winners. The inaugural award comes as Singapore moves towards making itself a more gracious society, a vision raised by Prime Minister Lee Hsien

Loong. In this year’s National Day Rally speech, Mr Lee noted, “The well-being of Singaporeans depends not just on bread and butter issues, but also on our human and social environment – how we behave and relate to one another”. Already GRO programmes help residents socialise and build better community bonds, and the awards supplement these efforts to promote good relations, graciousness and kindness. Another award winner is Mdm Chong Yu Tai, 66. The long-time resident is an active member of the Residents’ Committee, and has made the effort to get to know most of the residents in her block. “I know most people, but not if they have just moved in, but I will greet the new neighbours and introduce them to activities in the

area,” she said. One reason she keeps in close contact with her neighbours is to be aware if any of them needs help. “If I know what to do, I will help, if not, I will help refer them to RC members.” Mdm Chong once helped an elderly Malay neighbour whose son had gone to prison, visiting her and bringing her groceries. “As neighbours we should help one another,” she said, “After all we should be like family.”

Mdm Sandy Lim, one of the six Boon Lay award recipients

BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008





From entrepreneurship to volunteerism, the new generation of youths seems to be going big on the I-word – initiative. This issue, we throw the spotlight on three outstanding youths who have either volunteered a portion of their time to helping the less fortunate or pioneered successful business ventures. text DAPHNE CHUAH photos KELVIN CHIA


Taking the initiative: (from left) Youth volunteer Muhd Saiful, blogstore entrepreneur Jolene Neo and youth volunteer Lim Jin Ru.


BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008

are all the rage these days, it seems. Whether they’re selling hard-tofind imported items, hand-crafted accessories and trinkets, or simply competing with the brick-and-mortar stores by offering cheaper prices and discounts, these convenient online stores are making inroads, and youths are at the forefront of the trend. Enter youth entrepreneur Jolene Neo and her year-old blog shop, Alluring Embellishment, which sells hand-crafted charm accessories. Started up in July last year, the store at was originally an idea conceived by the Singapore Institute of Management marketing student and a couple of her close girlfriends. However, the plan fell through after a while due to differing ideas. Nevertheless, seeing it as an extremely viable venture, Jolene worked with her boyfriend of almost seven years to pick up on the idea and set it in motion. “At the time, accessory sales were booming, so we decided to go ahead with the plan on our own,” she recalls. Setting up the store together wasn’t without its trials, especially since her boyfriend – who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2005 – was undergoing chemotherapy at the time. “It was definitely a tough time because everything became uncertain for us, and all I could do was stay by his side and support him through that ordeal,” Jolene says. “But, I knew that if we could ride through this together, our relationship will certainly be a lot stronger than before.” That strong relationship translated into a good working arrangement for the two as well – Jolene designs the various accessories, while her boyfriend skilfully makes them by hand. “People are always surprised to find out that he is the one making the accessories, because they feel girls are naturally supposed to be better at such things,” she says. “But I’m really bad at assembling such stuff, so thankfully I have a boyfriend who happens to be really good at it. He’s a real perfectionist, so he always makes sure that he gets the shape just right before putting our creations up for sale.” Asked what other youths interested in starting up their own web business should watch out for, Jolene says that there are three important factors to consider – capital, time and passion – because “without these,

your interest will die down very quickly, together with the business.” “On top of these, I feel that flea markets such as those at the Singapore Management University are also great for blog shops, because you really get to meet your customers, and reach out to more,” she advises.

THE ACCIDENTAL VOLUNTEER It’s no secret that youths are often very influenced by peer pressure, doing things they might never otherwise have considered or might not even particularly enjoy doing. Yet, there are always exceptions. Take for example the case of first-year Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College West student Muhd Saiful, who was dragged into his school’s volunteering programme by his friends. Termed Safe Home Plus (SHP), this CoCurricular Activity (CCA), initiated in conjunction with the South West CDC, ensures that the homes of elderly residents living alone are made safer to live in. SHP members help emphasise the importance of having safety features in the house, and offering to install them for free. “For example, we will talk to them about why it’s important to install handle bars in toilets, especially because most of them still use squattoilets,” explains the 17-year-old. He adds that they would also encourage the elderly to install shower heads and stop using pails and buckets for bathing, as those may pose certain hazards in the bathroom. Saiful recalls that his first visit on the SHP didn’t get off to a good start. “I felt very lost, because I didn’t know what to do at first,” he says. “But after a few visits, I started to interact


with the elderly, and found out that it’s actually very nice to talk to them because they really tell you a lot about their life stories,” he said. As all installations are done solely by students, those who join the CCA group have to attend short training camps before heading out on visits so as to learn how to install the safety features. Nonetheless, despite the fact that these installation services are offered absolutely free-of-charge, Saiful admits that challenges and difficulties are still inevitable. “The elderly are always more careful towards strangers because they think that many of such door-to-door services are meant to cheat them of their savings,” he says. “So it really takes a lot of patience to convince and persuade them to even let us in to talk. But once you’ve successfully convinced them, there’s always this great sense of satisfaction.”

KILLING MANY BIRDS WITH ONE STONE Like Saiful, Singapore Polytechnic student Lim Jin Ru once helped out with the SHP programme at ITE College West while she was studying there. The experience was so positive that the second-year Engineering student decided to act on it again, and joined the polytechnic’s Community Service and Cultural Club. “This is a very meaningful thing to do. I enjoy helping people, and it feels good when I make them happy,” says Jin Ru. “Plus, we also get to know more friends through these activities, and improve both our leadership and communication skills.” Nonetheless, she admits that her passion for helping the less fortunate – in particular the elderly – mainly stems from her relationship with her late grandmother. “When I was very young, my grandma treated me very well and really doted on me. But sadly she passed away before I grew up and as such I didn’t really have the chance to repay her,” explains Jin Ru. “So by treating these needy elderly well, I feel that I am actually, in a way, showing my gratitude to her. However, despite the similarity in purposes, Jin Ru stresses that her ITE SHP days were different. “In ITE, we just had to pick up some installation skills, visit the various houses, install the safety devices, and our job is done!” she says. “But in poly, it’s more about planning skills as we need to search for our own associations to organise activities and events for, as well as gather our own group of volunteers.” So far, some of the activities they have organised include having Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Celebrations at elderly nursing homes, and bringing children from the Down Syndrome Association to the Night Safari. “Everything from start to finish is handled by students alone, with little help from lecturers. We actually do get to pick up a lot of different skills that will last us for life.”

Bukan lagi rahsia bahawa remaja mudah dipengaruhi oleh rakan sebaya yang membuatkan mereka melakukan sesuatu di luar pertimbangan mereka atau yang tidak ingin mereka lakukan. Namun, ada di antara mereka yang bukan begitu, seperti pelajar tahun pertama Institut Pendidikan Teknikal (ITE) College West, Muhd Saiful, yang diseret ke dalam program sukarelawan oleh rakan-rakannya. Dinamakan ‘Safe Home Plus’ (SHP), aktiviti ko-kurikulum (CCA) ini dianjurkan bersama Majlis Pembangunan Masyarakat (CDC) South West bagi memastikan rumah-rumah warga tua yang tinggal berseorangan dijadikan lebih selamat untuk didiami. Ahli-ahli SHP membantu menegaskan pentingnya mempunyai ciri-ciri keselamatan di dalam rumah dan juga menawarkan untuk memasangnya secara percuma. “Sebagai contoh, kami akan berbual dengan mereka mengenai kepentingan memasang hendal di dalam bilik air, khususnya, kerana kebanyakan mereka masih menggunakan tandas cangkung,” jelas remaja berusia 17 tahun itu. Saiful masih ingat lawatan pertamanya bersama SHP yang tidak bermula dengan baik. “Saya rasa sungguh bingung kerana saya tidak tahu apa yang perlu dilakukan,” katanya.“Tetapi, selepas beberapa lawatan, saya mula berinteraksi dengan warga tua dan mendapati bahawa adalah seronok berbual dengan mereka kerana mereka menceritakan cerita hidup mereka,” tambahnya. Namun, walaupun khidmat pemasangan ditawarkan secara percuma, Saiful mengakui masih ada cabaran dan halangannya.“Warga tua selalunya lebih berhati-hati apabila berhubungan dengan orang yang tidak dikenali kerana mereka berpendapat bahawa khidmat dari pintu ke pintu selalunya ingin menipu wang simpanan mereka,” katanya. “Jadi, kami perlu banyak bersabar untuk meyakinkan mereka supaya membenarkan kami masuk ke rumah mereka. Tetapi, apabila berjaya, ia adalah amat memuaskan.” BLOGSTORES(部落格商店)似乎现在十分受欢迎,在上面出售很难 找到的进口货、手工饰品,或推出更低的价格与网上商店竞争,青少年 正站在这个潮流的前端。 让我们走进青年企业家Jolene Neo一岁的部落格商店- 专门销售 手工魅力饰物的“迷人饰品”。 这个网上商店www.alluring -,是由 Jolene和她交往了近七年的男友在去年7月设立了。 “当时,饰品销售 十分红火。所以我们决定靠自己推出我们的计划。”她回忆道。 商店的起步阶段碰上很多困难,特别是她的男朋友早在2005年被 确诊为恶性淋巴瘤,当时正在接受化疗。 “这的确是一个艰难的时期,因为对我们来说一切都是没有把握 的,” Jolene讲道。 “但是,我知道,如果我们能够一起渡过这一关, 我们之间的关系一定会比以往更加牢固。” 这种牢固的关系也转化为两人之间协调的分工合作,Jolene设计各 种饰品,而她的男友则用巧手制作饰品。 “当人们知道他是饰品的制作人,他们总是感到惊讶,”她说。 “但 我真的很不善于装配这些玩意,幸亏我有一个对此非常拿手的男朋友。 他是一个货真价实的完美主义者。” 当被问及其他有兴趣在网上创业的年轻人应该留意些什么时,Jolene 说,需要考虑三个重要因素-资本、时间和激情。因为“没有这些,你的兴 趣很快会消失,你的生意也就完了。” “像那些新加坡管理大学的旧货市场,也是非常好的机会,因为你 能够结识顾客,并且向更多的顾客提供服务,”她如此建议。

¨ºùרÄô §À¡ø, º ¢í¸ôâ÷ ¦¾¡Æ¢øÑðÀ ¸øæà ¢ Á¡½Å ¢ Ä¢õ ƒ¢ý Õ ´Õ ¾¼¨Å ³.Ê.¢ §ÁüÌ ¸øæà ¢Â¢ø ÀÊìÌõ §À¡Ð SHP ¾¢ð¼ò¾¢üÌ ¯¾Å¢ ¦ºöÐûÇ¡÷. «ó¾ «ÛÀÅõ Á¢ì¸ ÀÂÛûǾ¡¸ ‡Õ󾾡ø ‡ó¾ ‡Ãñ¼¡ÅÐ ÅÕ¼ò¾¢ÖûÇ ¦À¡È¢Â ¢Âø Á¡½Å ¢ ÁÚÀÊÔõ «¨¾î ¦ºöÂ, ¦¾¡Æ¢øÑðÀ ¸øæà ¢Â ¢ý ºã¸ §º¨Å ÁüÚõ ÀñÀ¡ðÎ ºí¸ò¾ ¢ø §º÷ó¾¡÷. ‘ ‡Ð Á¢¸×õ ´Õ «÷ò¾Á¡¸ ¦ºÂø. ±ÉìÌ Áì¸ÙìÌ ¯¾Å ¢ ¦ºö À¢ÊìÌõ, ÁüÚõ «Å÷¸¨Ç ºó§¾¡„õ ÀÎòÐõ §À¡Ð ¿ýÈ¡¸ ‡Õ츢ÈÐ’ ¦º¡ø¸¢È¡÷ ƒ¢ý Õ. ‘«Ð ÁðÎÁ¡øÄÁø ‡ôÀÊôÀð¼ ¿ ¢¸úîº ¢¸û ãÄõ ¿ ¢¨È ¿ñÀ÷¸¨Ç ¦¾Ã ¢óÐ즸¡û¸ ¢§È¡õ ÁüÚõ ¾¨Ä¨Á ¸ÕòÐôÀà ¢Á¡üÈõ §À¡ýÈ ¾¢Èý¸¨Ç §ÁõÀÎò¾ ¯¾×¸ ¢ÈÐ.’ «Åû «¾ ¢¸Á¡¸ Å ¢ÕõÒõ ´Õ §º¨Å ̨ÈÅ¡É Åº¾ ¢ÔûÇ - Óì¸ ¢ÂÁ¡¸ Ó¾ ¢ÂÅ÷¸ÙìÌ - ¯¾Å ¢ ¦ºöÅÐ. ‡Ð ¯ÚÅÉ ¸¡Ã½õ ¾ý ‡ÃóÐô§À¡É À¡ðÊ Ü¼ ‡Õó¾ ¯È×. ‘ ¿¡ý º ¢Ú ž¡¸ ‡Õó¾ô§À¡Ð, ±ý À¡ðÊ ±ý¨É ¿ýÈ¡¸ À¡÷òÐ즸¡ñÎ ±ý §Áø ¿¢¨È À¡ºõ ¨Åò¾ ¢ÕôÀ¡÷. ¬É¡ø, ¿¡ý ÅÇ÷ÅÐìÌû «Å÷ ‡ÃóÐÅ ¢ð¼¾¡ø «Å÷ìÌò ¾ ¢ÕôÀ ¢î §º¨Å ¦ºö šöôÒì ¸ ¢¨¼ì¸Å ¢ø¨Ä.’ Å ¢Çì¸ ¢É¡÷ ƒ ¢ý Õ. ‘ ¬¾É¡ø Ó¾ ¢ÂÅ÷¸¨Ç ¿ýÈ¡¸ À¡÷òÐ즸¡ûž¡ø ±ý À¡ðÊìÌ ¿ýÈ ¢ ¸¼ý ¦ºÖòÐÅÐô §À¡ø §¾¡ýÚ¸ ¢ÈÐ. ¬É¡ø, ¸¡Ã½í¸û ´ýÈ¡¸ ‡Õó¾¡Öõ, ƒ ¢ý Õ ¾ý ³.Ê. ¢ SHP ¸¡Äõ §ÅÈ¡¸ ‡Õ󾨾 ¯½÷òÐì¸ ¢È¡÷. ‘¦¾¡Æ ¢øÑðÀ ¸øæà ¢Â ¢ø, «Ð ¾ ¢ð¼õ ¦ºöÅÐ ¾ ¢È¨Éô ÀüÈ ¢ ÂÐ ²ý¦ ÉýÈ¡ø ¿¡í¸û ±í¸û ¦º¡ó¾ ºí¸¨Çò §¾Ê ¿ ¢¸úîº ¢¸¨Ç ²üÀ¡Î ¦ºöÂÛõ ÁüÚõ ±í¸û ¦º¡ó¾ ¦¾¡ñÎÇ ¢Â÷ ÌبÅî §º÷ì¸Ûõ.’ ‡Ð ŨÃ, ¿¡í¸û ²üÀ¡Î ¦ºö¾ ¿ ¢¸úîº ¢¸Ç ¢ø Ó¾ ¢§Â¡÷ ‡øÄí¸Ç ¢ø º £É Òò¾¡ñÎ ÁüÚõ Mid-Autumn ¦¸¡ñ¼¡ð¼í¸Ùõ ÌÆ󨾸¨Ç Down Syndrome ÁýÈò¾ ¢Ä ¢ÕóÐ ‡Ã× Å ¢Äí¸ ¢Âø ¦¾¡ð¼ò¾ ¢üÌì ¦¸¡ñÎ ¦ºýÈÐõ. ‘ ±øÄ¡õ ¬ÃõÀò¾ ¢Ä ¢ÕóÐ ‡Ú¾ ¢Å¨Ã Á¡½Å÷¸Ç¡ø ¨¸Â¡ÇÀð¼Ð. Å¡ú쨸 ÓØ×Ðõ ‡Õì¸ ÀÄ Å ¢¾Á¡É ¾ ¢Èý¸¨Ç ¸üÚ즸¡ûÇ ±í¸ÙìÌ ¿ ¢¨È šöôÒ ¯ñÎ.

BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008


Helping Hand

Change Of A


The South West CDC is helping more people obtain jobs through the Workforce Development Agency’s Certified Service Professional programme. text SANA RAHMAN


shirt a size bigger? Or those pants two sizes smaller? If you’re shopping at an Esprit outlet, you may just run into Haleemah Bee, a happy, confident and helpful 21-year-old sales consultant with the global clothing giant. Cheerful and full of boundless energy, Haleemah never expected she would one day find herself in a job that would have her interacting with people on a daily basis, let alone one she enjoyed so much. “I’ve always been very shy, and found it difficult to look people in the eye when I talk to them. I wasn’t sure if I could cope with a service job,” confides Haleemah. As a result, the effervescent young woman found a job that didn’t involve customer service, instead hiding herself away and working at a factory production line. After slogging it out there for many years, she finally felt enough was enough and decided to look for new challenges. But with only PSLE certification to her name, she knew it’d be hard to find the kind of job she really wanted – a job that broke away from routine and kept her challenged. As luck would have it, a colleague then told her about the Certified Service Professional (CSP) programme started by the Workforce Development Agency (WDA), which prepares participants for careers in the tourism and service sectors. Despite that, Haleemah still wasn’t sure. Luckily for her, her family and friends, especially her younger sister and boyfriend, all rallied together to give her the courage to take the plunge and make the switch. She then headed down to the South West CDC to speak with a Career Counselor, and by May 2008, she enrolled as a member of one of the pioneer classes of the CSP programme. Designed by WDA in close consultation with key industry players like the Integrated Resorts, the five-day service ‘boot camp’ introduced her to the fundamentals of the service trade. With practical activities like ‘Service-in-Action’ exercises, Haleemah quickly learnt the ropes. She not only overcame her shyness, but also gained valuable experience by setting up mini cafés for her trainers and course-mates. The exercise not only required her to serve food and drinks, but also required her to pick the music, set up the tables and ensure everything ran smoothly – all with a smile. “I learnt that the trick to always delivering good service, as well as staying calm and patient even when we are facing a stressful day, is to always maintain a positive mindset,” she reveals. “Our trainers taught us to ‘throw away’ our negative energy into the trash bin.” And this positive attitude has carried into her personal life too as Haleemah makes a point of trashing her negative energy at home too. Haleemah has certainly come a long way, and she isn’t about to stop anytime soon either. The intrepid Certified Service Professional is now juggling both work and a part-time education, having gone back to pursue her Secondary 3 English certification through WISE courses. After that, she plans on tackling her GCE ‘N’ and ‘O’ level examinations, and to take up a few computer courses, in the hope of getting a front desk job at a hotel or in F&B as her career advances. Want more information on the CSP programme? Visit CSP at or call WDA at 6883 5885 for more information. Alternatively, you can also email WDA at wda_


BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008


kemeja anda dalam saiz yang lebih besar? Atau seluar panjang dua saiz lebih kecil? Jika anda sedang membeli-belah di salah sebuah kedai Esprit, anda mungkin terserempak dengan Cik Haleemah Bee, seorang perunding jualan gedung pakaian sejagat itu yang girang, yakin dan suka menolong. Ceria dan penuh bertenaga, Cik Haleemah tidak pernah menjangka bahawa beliau akan mendapat pekerjaan yang memerlukannya berinteraksi dengan orang ramai setiap hari, lebih-lebih lagi yang disukai beliau. “Saya memang seorang pemalu dan susah bagi saya untuk bertentang mata dengan orang apabila bercakap dengan mereka. Saya tidak pasti sama ada saya dapat melakukan pekerjaan dalam bidang perkhidmatan,” cerita Cik Haleemah. Tetapi dengan mempunyai hanya sijil PSLE, beliau tahu bahawa sukar baginya mencari jenis pekerjaan yang beliau inginkan – pekerjaan yang jauh daripada rutin dan sentiasa mencabar. Masa inilah seorang rakan sekerjanya memberitahu beliau tentang program Karyawan Perkhidmatan Bertauliah (CSP) yang dimulakan oleh Agensi Pembangunan Tenaga Kerja (WDA), yang melengkapkan para peserta bagi kerjaya dalam sektor pelancongan dan perkhidmatan. Keluarga dan sahabat handai, terutama adik perempuan dan teman lelakinya, memberi beliau sokongan padu agar beliau berani menyahut cabaran itu. Seterusnya, beliau ke CDC Barat Daya untuk bertemu dengan seorang Kaunselor Kerjaya dan pada Mei 2008, beliau mendaftarkan diri dalam salah satu kelas perintis. Direka oleh WDA berpandukan nasihat daripada pemain industri seperti Resort Bersepadu, kem ala latihan askar selama lima hari itu memperkenalkan asas bidang perkhidmatan. Melalui aktiviti amali seperti latihan ‘Aksi Perkhidmatan’, Cik Haleemah dengan cepat dapat belajar selok-beloknya. Beliau bukan sahaja berjaya mengatasi sifat pemalunya, malah dapat menimba pengalaman dengan menubuhkan kafe mini untuk para pelatih dan rakan kursusnya. “Saya pelajari bahawa rahsianya ialah sentiasa memberi khidmat yang baik serta kekal tenang dan sabar walaupun kami menghadapi hari yang penuh dengan tekanan. Kita perlu sentiasa berminda positif,” katanya. “Pelatih kami mengajar kami supaya ‘membuang’ tenaga negatif kami ke dalam tong sampah.” Karyawan Perkhidmatan Bertauliah yang berani itu kini mengimbangi pekerjaan dan pengajian separuh masa setelah kembali ke bangku sekolah untuk meneruskan pengajian sijil Bahasa Inggeris Menengah 3 melalui kursus WISE. Selepas itu, beliau merancang mengambil Sijil Am Pelajaran (GCE) Peringkat ‘N’ dan ‘O’ serta mengikuti beberapa kursus komputer, dengan harapan mendapat pekerjaan sebagai penyambut tetamu di hotel ataupun dalam sektor F&B sebagai jalan kerjayanya. Layari laman web CSP di atau hubungi WDA di talian 6883 5885 untuk maklumat lanjut. Selain itu, anda juga boleh menghantar e-mel kepada WDA melalui

Clean from Coast to Coast Corporate social responsibility comes in many forms, and for many years, CocaCola employees have been taking a handson approach, helping to keep Singapore’s coastline free from trash. Coca Cola Singapore employees helping to clean up Lim Chu Kang Beach


Ms Jamie Chen made her way across the muddy coastline, the one thing on her mind was being careful about not stepping on the tips of the mangrove roots, even as she tugged away at stubborn plastic bags and other rubbish caught in the thick mud. “I don’t want to kill the mangroves, because we’re here to save them today,” said Ms Chen. The 23year-old public affairs and communications executive was part of a 33-strong team from Coca-Cola Singapore taking part in the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), a massive global effort which last year involved a total of 378,192 volunteers from 76 countries. The ICC collected nearly three million tons of trash and debris last year, 359 kg in Singapore alone. This year, staff members, together with their bottling partners and agencies, worked for two hours

at Lim Chu Kang Beach, home to one of Singapore’s few remaining mangrove swamps. The company has supported the event since 1995. Mr Antonio Del Rosario, General Manager CocaCola Singapore/Malaysia/Brunei, said: “This is one way (we) contribute, give back to and improve the communities in which we all work, live in, and serve.” The ICC is also a data-collecting exercise where data will be consolidated and sent to Ocean Conservancy, a non-governmental organisation, for analysis. The data collected might be used to influence legislation on marine laws. This year, participants in Lim Chu Kang collected 205kg of trash, and data analysis showed that styrofoam and plastic bags were the top pollutants, contributing 29.5% and 24.3% respectively to the total amount of trash. “I will be more careful about the way I dispose of food containers made from

styrofoam, after seeing first hand how they linger in the environment. It is one small part I can do, to keep this planet beautiful for the future generation to enjoy,” said country technical operations manager Ms Eunice Choa, who has been taking part in the coastal clean-up for three years.

I will be more careful about the way I dispose of food containers made from styrofoam, after seeing first hand how they linger in the environment. — Ms Eunice Choa, country technical operations manager

BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008


MoneyBridge ...because the excitement of newly attained spending power brings about the ‘spend now, save later’ mentality.

start an investment portfolio, leave 30% in bank to provide liquidity and use the remaining 20% for living expenses and small luxuries.

• SAVE NOW, INVEST LATER Investments and risk appetites increase with higher disposable income. It is ideal that you should start saving more for a future investment ‘nest egg’.

• MONITOR SPENDING An ideal way to ensure this is to create a spreadsheet that keeps track of spending. Do your sums and budget so that you save 20% of your income for the proverbial rainy day.


Fiscal Fitness How can young working adults trying to exercise financial independence navigate their way past credit card debt, overspending and other financial pitfalls? We ask the experts.

It’s the best way to keep track of spending. Find one with features that match your needs. For one, be conservative when it comes to the credit limit. Also, compare credit card benefits and costs (such as perks and finance charges). It’s important to identify which credit card’s benefits can offset your purchases, or gain you points which can be eventually used to your advantage.

• PAY YOUR CREDIT CARD BILLS IN FULL This saves you the 18% to 24% in interest rates and finance charges. Make it a point to only use your credit card towards the end of the month when cash is running low. If unable to pay in full, do not simply pay the bare minimum. Always strategise and have a realistic fixed monthly payment towards paying off the debt.



official: with the United States economy in the doldrums, the filter down effect has hit countries around the world – including Singapore. Belt-tightening is common; more people are making small changes to their lifestyles to shave unnecessary costs off day-to-day living expenses, and trying out tips on cutting costs and remaining resilient. These tips include those offered by the South West CDC in its budgeting workshops, such as prioritising essential expenses like food and transport and cutting back on dayto-day expenses by bringing lunch from home or taking public transport more often. It’s a particularly difficult problem for young adults who have just received 12

BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008

the keys to financial independence via new jobs and shiny, new credit cards. It is important to know how to draw the line between enjoying little luxuries in life (such as fancy dinners and branded purchases) and spending within reason. A recent Straits Times article dated 3 November revealed that credit card debt is a very real problem in Singapore, especially among adults in their 20’s. Why is this so? Marion Chin, a senior relationship manager at ABN AMRO, says yuppies tend to be susceptible to credit card debt and overspending “because the excitement of newly attained spending power brings about the ‘spend now, save later’

mentality”. And so, they need to manage their expectations when it comes to the good things in life, and be financially savvy. According to Chin, here are some possible ways:

• LEARN TO BUDGET Entitle yourself to overspend in the first two months of your new job, before knuckling down and being disciplined; do this by determining a fixed monthly savings amount (ideally 30% of your income) and challenge yourself to save beyond that as a ‘bonus’. Save as much as you can in first six months, after which adopt the 50-30-20 formula; use 50% of your savings to kick

As far as possible, pay for all purchases in cash or via NETS – this creates discipline and reduces the chances of overspending.

• LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS If you have a gym membership but hardly visit the gym, or pay too much for your a mobile plan, perhaps a downgrade may be in order. Match your spending to your current lifestyle.

• SPOT THE WARNING SIGNS OF CREDIT CARD DEBT When your rollover amount is equivalent to 40% of your monthly salary, it’s time to lock away that credit card!.


In service to his


With much of his career spent in public service, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry S Iswaran is no stranger to serving his country. interview AARON LYE photo STEVE ZHU


some of his colleagues who built up their careers exclusively in private corporations, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Mr S Iswaran has spent much of his working life finding a balance between both private and public sectors. He’s played many different roles, from planning policy at the Ministry of Education to managing the day-to-day activities at a private investment company. But when it comes down to the crunch, this 46-year-old father of three knows where his true calling lies – helping to create policies that will help people, and doing what he can for those in need.

DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE A PARTICULAR CALLING TO THE PUBLIC SECTOR, CONSIDERING THAT MUCH OF YOUR EARLY CAREER WAS SPENT IN PUBLIC SERVICE? Yes, I would say so. I think the public sector is a very important element of Singapore. People often talk about companies and careers in the private sector, but the reality of it is that you need a strong private sector and a strong public sector if a country is to progress. The capacity of both is equally important. The public sector sets the tone, the long-term policy and environment for Singapore’s growth and progress, and at the same time, it also addresses lots of shorter-term issues. It’s a very important area that needs qualified people. BUT YOU’RE NO STRANGER TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR EITHER. HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED ANY DIFFICULTIES WHEN MAKING THE SWITCH? Adjustments are always difficult, because you’re used to something and you need to adapt to a new environment and style of work. So, when I first left for the private sector, it was a major adjustment. And more recently adjusting back to the public sector was also challenging, but you find your groove and you get on with the job. HOW DID YOU COME TO BE INTERESTED IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS? I’ve always been interested in how policies are made. So being involved in politics is a natural extension of that, as an MP and now as an office holder. It is about identifying what’s in our long-term interest, communicating it to different parties and getting their support, and implementing it. Apart from the policy work, the other element that’s interesting is what we do on the ground. It’s about meeting the needs of people. You must have a heart for it, and genuinely be interested in working with people. I value that engagement and see it as an essential part of what I do. WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME? I can completely relate to people who talk about the difficulty of maintaining work-life balance. The reality is there’s never enough time in the day to do everything you want, so you have to decide what your priorities are and allocate appropriately. I like spending time with my wife and three kids. That’s very important. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing as long as we’re doing it together. I do enjoy music, and I enjoy watching and playing some sports. WHAT’S THE MOST REWARDING ASPECT OF YOUR WORK? I wouldn’t say there’s one particular aspect, but there are a few things that I find particularly rewarding that motivates me to keep on trying. One is the

esprit de corps amongst my grassroots leaders. It’s a very valuable thing as they’re all volunteers. My team works very hard and they keep the environment friendly and open. People know that we come together to serve, and also to enjoy what we’re doing. The other part that I value is engaging residents. Residents always give you a perspective on policy or something on the ground that you may never have thought of. So it’s good to listen to them carefully. At the end of the day, the need is at the ground level, so I find talking to residents and hearing them out essential in handling the issues of the day. I find this communication very rewarding. HOW HAVE YOU ADDRESSED THE ISSUE OF GETTING YOUTHS MORE INVOLVED IN GRASSROOTS ACTIVITIES? It’s an ongoing challenge and something we have to keep working at. It’s not just youths, but also young couples and young families. For those who are time-constrained, the way we try to do it is to tell them that, if they’re interested but don’t have enough time, they can take on something that’s project-based and not a full time commitment. THE GLOBAL CREDIT CRISIS NATURALLY HAS A LOT OF PEOPLE WORRIED. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE? I think it’s quite understandable that people are concerned because what’s happening

in the US has an impact around the world. What we can do as individuals is to be resilient, so that even in tough times, we can cope. At a very basic level, we have to make sure we’re skilled enough and have the capability to remain employable. Whatever you’re doing, make sure you’re the best you can be at it, and always take the opportunity to upgrade yourself. People must also be careful with their finances. Financial planning is critical. Don’t be overly exposed to debt. YOU WERE PRESENT AT THE F1 SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX. ANY THOUGHTS TO SHARE? Everybody was quite impressed with what Singapore has been able to achieve in a relatively short timeframe. The visual impact was spectacular. You see the pictures on the internet and newspapers around the world, and it shows our city off at its best. It also made a lot of Singaporeans very proud. I’ve gotten emails from people in London and other parts of Europe and US saying they felt very proud to be Singaporean. The outcome exceeded our expectations. I think the important thing now is to make sure we keep it up, because we set a pretty high standard and we have to maintain if not improve on it and get more Singaporeans involved and excited.

BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008


Vox Pop

Credit Cards – Helpline or Debt-Trap? These days, you don’t need a minimum income to apply for some credit cards. As a result, more youths are jumping onto the credit bandwagon. But just how wise is that? We ask South West residents for their opinions. text and photos SYLVIA WEE

I don’t think it’s a good idea. Credit cards inherently encourage people to spend money that they don’t yet have. This slippery slope is made even steeper if there is no minimum income requirement. Yeo Kian Wah, 33, West Coast, healthcare administrator

It’s useful as an emergency source of funds, especially on overseas trips. However, the application should be subjected to parental approval or perhaps tied to the family’s income. This ensures some form of accountability, so that parents take up the responsibility of teaching their kids proper spending habits.

I think if they are already working and repaying their own bills, why not? But if they are not working and allowed to own a credit card, then I don’t think it’s a good idea. What if they overspend? Their parents would have to pay for their debts then. Johnny Wong, 67, Bukit Batok St 51, retiree

Cindy Han, 33, Bukit Batok St 25, homemaker

I feel that there are always two sides to everything. On the upside, it will give youths the opportunity to learn how to manage their finances earlier in life. However, on the contrary, it might encourage youths to squander their cash away with their new-found financial freedom. Ultimately, the issue boils down to self-discipline, education and proper guidance. Ray Toh, 23, Jurong West, undergraduate

It’s fine as long as they pay for what they sign. But often times, such credit cards employ marketing gimmicks to entice unsuspecting youth. When they get out of control and end up with more than they bargained for, who ends up paying for their mistakes? Their parents. Jessy Chua, 24, Clementi, corporate communications officer

Giving credit cards to youths without a minimum income requirement will only promote poor financial discipline and wrong spending behaviour. Quentin Hong, 28, Jurong West, industrial engineer

Personally, I wouldn’t condone it for my own children. I think youths should be allowed such cards only if parental approval is sought first. The onus is on credit card companies to act responsibly, and not issue cards so easily. Mabel Ni, 33, Bukit Batok St 52, project manager

As a parent, I will not allow my children to have a credit card because I do not see the need for one. Youths do not have much earning power and may be lured into financial debt early in their lives. Helen Tan, in her 50s, Bukit Batok, beautician

Unless youths have been taught the importance of financial management, credit cards with no minimum income will only promote the habit of ‘spend now, pay later’. This could translate to large debts when the youth cannot service their bills. Bernard Yeo, 42, Dover Road, pharmacy store staff

This is a classic example of banks trying to increase their business and profits without a conscience - by giving these youths the ability to go into debt without considering their ability to pay back. Dennis Chan, 33, Taman Jurong, auditor Want to know more about managing credit card debt? Contact Credit Counselling Singapore at 1800-2255277.


BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008

Everyday Heroes

South West Resident Overcomes Paralysed from the neck down, most people in South West The Odds resident Zhang Kaini’s position would be forgiven for just giving up. But the cheerful mother of two did exactly the opposite, making the best of her situation and coming out on top. text and photos KIM ONG


forever being in physical discomfort and threatened with a host of health problems - back sores, rashes, body spasms, giddy spells, blurred vision, bladder and bowel issues, virus attacks in the urinary tract or lung. Imagine living like that – would you still be able to keep your chin up in the face of those odds? Ms Zhang Kaini certainly has. Despite being a quadriplegic with no control over her body from the neck down, the feisty 34-year-old mouth-painter maintains a positive perspective on life, and her artwork reflects how she sees the world. “My paintings are not dull or grey; they are colorful and cheerful,” she explains of her work, which bears much of Renoir’s Impressionist influence, especially in the emphasis on pastoral romanticism. For Kaini, her artwork is a labour of love. With the left side of her jaw reserved for eating, Kaini uses

the right side to hold her paintbrush. Propped upright in bed, the demure and fair artist dips the extended chopstick paintbrush into the acrylic palette prepared by her domestic helper. To steady the brush, she holds her breath to enable her to draw firm strokes before lifting the brush off the canvas to get some air. She does this again and again, despite the strain it puts on her cheek. So it stands to reason that her paintings have inspired many to be courageous. “I feel my children won’t quit easily (on things),” she muses, “because I think I’ve set a good example.” Life wasn’t always like this for Kaini. It started five years ago, when a collision with an out-of-control car took the then-Chinese Language teacher’s life in a whole new direction. To make matters worse, this China-born Singaporean, who already had a threeyear old daughter, had also just given birth to her second daughter five months prior. Despite her limitations, she never

stopped caring for her children, and even now, Kaini tries to give her two daughters normal lives - giving them tuition and, with help, bringing them outdoors. Describing her darkest hours, she talks about the fear and anxiety she initially felt. “Every time I closed my eyes, I had nightmares, and felt so lonely and scared,” she said. But her pillar of support – her family - gave her the determination to make the best of her situation. “Since I decided I wanted to be strong and live for my family, I wanted to do something for them to be proud of me. [Also] I didn’t want to disappoint my friends.” So, she taught herself to paint with her mouth. “At the time, my condition was worse than it is now. With low blood pressure from a weak heart and a tendency to faint, I was unable to commit to any scheduled lessons.” Nevertheless, Kaini was so successful that she won a scholarship from the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting

Artists worldwide, becoming the first female mouth-artist from Singapore. Her outlook on life now is simple. “Just try your best in anything you do. Even though in the end you [may] get nothing, you’ll always have the experience with you. You didn’t waste your life,” she said. Besides group art exhibitions where her works sometimes go on display, Kaini also hopes to have a solo art exhibition someday. Through her active participation in life and art, she wants society at large to take notice and care more for physically-challenged citizens like her. “Ultimately, being physically disabled shouldn’t be a big hindrance in your life. That only happens when you let yourself be mentally and spiritually disabled because of your physical disability,” she concludes.

BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008



fresh from the pan The food’s hearty, easy on the wallet, and tastes great too. So it’s no wonder that youths, students in particular, keep flocking to The Café Cartel for its many student deals and offers. This issue, the restaurant chain shares the recipe for one of its most popular dishes, adapted just for the home.

The Café Cartel Pan-Fried Linguine Serves 1



80g roasted chicken

1. Bring a pot of water to boil, and cook linguine pasta until al dente (follow packaging instructions).

40g shiitake mushrooms 20g green capsicum 180g linguine pasta

2. Slice the roasted chicken and shiitake mushrooms into thin strips, set aside. 3. Julienne the green capsicum, set aside.

5g extra virgin olive oil (about one teaspoon) 5g garlic, minced Provencale herbs, to taste (substitute with store-bought Italian herbs if necessary) Chopped parsley, to taste Chilli flakes, to taste

4. In a frying pan, heat up the olive oil and minced garlic. 5. Add in the roasted chicken, shiitake mushrooms and green capsicum and stir-fry. 6. Add in the cooked linguine, herbs, chopped parsley and chilli flakes and continue to stir-fry. 7. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Health Check What you need to know about what’s in this dish. O Linguine: Linguine is a type of flat and narrow pasta that’s slightly thicker than spaghetti. Commonly made from semolina flour or durum wheat, pasta is a good source of carbohydrates and energy. O Extra-virgin olive oil: High in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, olive oil also doubles up as an effective skin moisturiser. O Chicken: Chicken is commonly seen as a healthier meat option. Skinless chicken is generally high


BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008

in protein and low in fat, making it a good health choice. O Green capsicum: Also known as ‘green peppers’ or ‘bell peppers’, these slightly bitter peppers are a source of fibre and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C. O Garlic: Used widely to add flavour to dishes, garlic is known for its antibacterial properties. Research into its benefits for high cholesterol and high blood pressure has also been conducted.

THE CAFÉ CARTEL – IMM BRANCH 2 Jurong East Street 21, #01-19 IMM Building For more info, visit


in a quiet corner off Bukit Merah with “Miel is a cartoonist with The Straits Times, lives his wife and kids and 2 pet cats.”

your world

Have you ever felt there’s something more you could do to help out your community? That’s what volunteering is all about, just like the kids in this picture. Help us to colour it and send it to: BRIDGE4KIDS, South West CDC, 8 Jurong Town Hall Road, #26-06, Singapore 609434. You can also scan and email it to us at bridge@

your world Sep-Oct 08

C t l ti Congratulations, Yamunna d/o Ramakrishna Rao of West Coast Drive! We’ve picked your submission as our best entry of the month! For the rest of you, keep on colouring and don’t give up, and maybe we’ll be featuring your work next issue! BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008



做一个健康快乐、 与时并进的乐龄人士 在去




(Fit Age),并且提供一位“私







- 网球、棒球、保龄球、高尔夫球

Multimedia,发现任天堂Wii 游戏














电源供应器,还附送Wii Sports 游





Wii Sports 软件含5种运动游戏



为证实Wii 的特质,我们邀





堂Wii。 Wii 的发音与英语中的我


额外的遥控器等,因为Wii 可容纳 高达四人一起游戏。 可惜的是,新加坡进口的Wii主 机和软件大多数为美国版,也就是




玩过Wii Sports 游戏后表示,虽然




发现Wii Sports 软体在台湾有繁体












人市场的Wii,在美国却受到许多 老年人的欢迎。根据在美国的报


如果对运动类游戏特别感兴 趣,还可以添购年中刚推出的


Wii Fit 。价格约百多两百元新币



的Wii Fit 软件配套,附有一部平

迷上Wii,特别是Wii Sports运动游







BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008


happening holidays! Forget about hanging around the mall or locking yourself in your room in front of the PC during the school holidays. Here are some alternative ideas for you to try out. text JUNE RASUL photos SPI, MD BASHEER, HAY DAIRIES, THE NECESSARY STAGE HISTORICAL HOLIDAYING





So, you’re done with your entire Russell Lee collection and you’re aching for something more? The Singapore Paranormal Investigators, who’ve been investigating otherworldly events and disturbances for over seven years now, offer you some of that action with Ghoulish Trails that bring you into the heart of our local cemeteries at Lim Chu Kang. As you learn more about some of the “famous” inhabitants of such places, you could also even have your picture taken with them – the SPI team says that pictures taken in cemeteries sometimes show mysterious ‘orbs’… For more information, contact or visit www.spi.

If animals are more your thing, then Hay Dairies at Lim Chu Kang is where you can delight in learning how goats are milked, while at the same time learning just how nutritious (and safe!) goat milk is for you. The farm is open daily from 9am to 4pm, with milking demonstrations from 9am to 11am. Individuals and groups of less than 10 people are allowed in free. For more information, contact 6792 0931 or visit

ECO HOLIDAY If going green is your thing, you might want to take a look at Bollywood Veggies, an eco-friendly farm near Lim Chu Kang where you can take a fun farm tour to learn about how a farm can be 100% environmentally viable. And to make sure that eco message hits home, the lovely folks at Bollywood Veggies feed you delicious, fresh-from-the-farm treats just to show you how good their produce is! For more information, contact 6898 5001 or visit www.bollywoodveggies. com

HISTORICAL HOLIDAYING History doesn’t just have to remain in your textbooks – make those stories come to life! The South West Virtual Heritage Map gives you little bits of trivia of countless places in the area. Do you know where the name Bukit Batok comes from? Or that some of the churches and mosques in the South West CDC are over 50 to 100 years old? Create your own trails from the maps and trivia provided, or follow some of the trails already created by students from Hua Yi and Yusof Ishak secondary schools. For a more in-depth look at the sacrifices of our young soldiers during World War II, visit Reflections at Bukit Chandu, a gallery with wall to wall maps, pictures, and even short films on the short, intense battle fought by the 1st and 2nd Battalion Malay Regiment in 1942.

To plan your own historical tours, visit Reflections at Bukit Chandu is at 31K Pepys Road and is open Tues-Sun, 9am to 5pm. For more information, visit s1942/bukit_chandu/homepage.htm

SELFLESS HOLIDAYS Think you don’t have any skills worthy of being a volunteer? Wrong! With the eMatch system provided by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), you can tailor your own skills to those required by certain organisations. Tech geeks can choose to offer web design or online tutoring skills, whilst creative types can find out how to impart their drama, painting or singing skills to others. Visit for more information. Speaking of which… non-profit arts groups are always looking for an extra hand! Take the opportunity to find out more about the world of theatre as The Necessary Stage puts on their annual Fringe Festival. Mingle with actors as liaison officers, or put on your best smile as front-of-house crew. For more information on volunteering with TNS, email outreach@necessary. org or visit

SHAPE UP! Exam stress made you chow down on too many muffins? Lose it all with fun,

exciting programmes at sports centres right outside your door. The South West District has five sports and recreation centres at Bukit Gombak, Clementi, Delta, Jurong East and Jurong West, all of which offer multiple programmes to help you keep fit. Not into running? Try kickboxing instead! Or if aerobics is too passé for you, take your exercise to the water with Aqua Aerobics classes! Work on your rhythm while you’re at it with the hip hop, salsa and recreational dances on offer. Or go for broke with intense workouts in your inline skating and tennis classes. Don’t forget, you can always start at your own pace at the various ClubFITT gyms across the island. F nd Fi nd out out ut more mo orre att www.sports.ssc. ww ww w..s w.s spo orrtts. s.s ss s sc. c. Find gov. go v. sgg

SHAPE UP! BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008



Telling stories the digi-TALE way Ever wondered how you can use the computer to teach and tell stories to your child in a cost-free yet interesting manner? With The Family Tales @ South West, now you can! text BRYAN GOH


at the recent FAMRead Carnival 2008 held at the Jurong Regional Library, The Family Tales @ South West is an online storybook featuring light-hearted, entertaining stories which families can read and share together. The stories featured are contributions from the South West CDC ‘Stories from Home’ competition, as well as authors from the National Library Board Reading Initiatives. The portal is a vibrant, entertaining website with its bright colours and cheerful music playing in the background. Upon loading, the four main characters of this portal (aptly named as Papa Bliss, Mama Bliss, Son Bliss and Daughter Bliss) appear on screen. Stories are then viewed by clicking on each of the four characters, where stories in three different languages can be found. “Reading to children is a great way to encourage them to grow up and be a reader themselves as well as a way for families to spend quality time together,” said Dr. Amy Khor, Mayor of South West District. “Everything starts with reading, which is why it is important to pass the love of reading on.” However, Dr. Khor believes that much work needs to be done to encourage families to read together, and that the portal is a good step in that direction. Believed to be the first digital storybook launched at the district level, residents who have tried out the online storybook feel it is a refreshing way to tell stories to their young children or younger siblings. Arthur Sim, a 20year-old Full-time National Serviceman and West Coast resident noted, “I’m seldom at home on weekdays, and on weekends it’s sometimes difficult to get my brother to sit down and read. Now with the computer as a medium, it is easier to grab his attention. And the best part is, he listens!” The digital nature of the initiative has a double mandate – by going online, the South West CDC can reach out to more families, and also keep in line with the CDC’s drive to be more environmentally friendly. The electronic nature of the portal also allows 20

BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008

interactivity. Arthur also found it a good way to allow families to bond. “It lets parents teach their child that the computer is not only about games or work, but can also be used for learning purposes too.” He added that his brother, Edward, 8, used to only touch the computer for games. Now, he still plays games on the computer, but will also open up the portal from time to time to read the stories inside. “The portal is a good initiative, where young children like my brother can learn while having fun.” said Arthur. “Perhaps in the near future, more features like games, puzzles, or even learning modules relevant to their school syllabus could be added, and that would garner the portal an even bigger audience.” As the portal is still in its infancy, functionality is still in basic mode. On that, Dr. Khor added that more things are to come in future, after assessing the community response to the effort. One possibility is a ‘Your-Story’ column, where residents can share their own family stories or experiences. At the same time, one other feature they are looking at is games and activities which the whole family can do together while reading the online stories. With its interesting stories and more interactive features to be added, the portal looks set to attract more families and their young children to visit the site. Sharing on how he’ll continue to use the portal, Arthur said, “Now that my brother checks the site regularly, I will definitely do so too, and maybe in future the whole family can even sit down and solve the online puzzles together.”

For more info, visit and start reading today!

Celebrate Your District



Step aside, Sentosa and Pulau Ubin. For nature lovers out in search of unspoiled beauty, few places in Singapore beat Pulau Semakau, also known as Semakau Landfill. EDMUND MAK explores. photos MD BASHEER


gentle breeze flows through the cabin of the ferry as it makes its way through Singapore’s southern waters. Overhead, the soft light of the full moon gently lights our path as we make our way through the darkness. My destination: the island of Pulau Semakau, otherwise known Semakau Landfill. My mission? An intertidal walk, exploring what it has to offer. Semakau Landfill is Singapore’s only landfill for waste disposal. Covering 35 hectares, it can hold up to 63 million cubic metres of nonincinerable refuse and ash. However, the seas around Pulau Semakau are also home to a surprisingly diverse marine habitat. A quick survey of the island reveals four species of endangered plants living in the coastal and intertidal area. For those unfamiliar with the term, the intertidal area refers to

the area of the sea bed covered by seawater during high tide, and which becomes exposed when the tide goes out. As Ron Yeo, one of the guides from the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity, which organises the walk explains, “Singapore’s shores contain a huge variety of marine life, and the Semakau intertidal walk allows visitors to see this environment for themselves.”

THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM… The tour starts off in the wee hours of the morning, with a 45-minute journey to Pulau Semakau. Once we reach the island, it’s a quick walk towards the eastern part of the island, followed by a brief trek through the jungle. As we walk on the road, I notice stars glittering in the night sky in numbers you normally don’t see in mainland

Clockwise from left: Pulau Semakau/Semakau Landfill visitors exploring the intertidal area of the sea bed, visitors posing with a native starfish species, and examples of the diverse forms of life found in the waters around the artificially-created landfill.

Singapore. But a note of warning: if you go, bring insect repellent. The mosquitoes there are starving for attention. As we clear the jungle, I see for the first time the shoreline, and the tide ebbing away. The gentle rustle of leaves contrast with the slow, even breaths that seem to come with each wave. As we slowly follow our guide down to the exposed sea bed, we see glimpses of movement, the first signs of life so far. And what magic we see; from little hermit crabs that house themselves in abandoned shells, to the vast tracts of sea grass only found along the shoreline of Pulau Semakau. A brightly coloured sea worm crawls by, its colours a warning sign to wouldbe predators of the lethal poisons coursing through its body. Our guide points out the mating ritual of the common starfish, the male jostling for position on top of his mate. As the sun begins to rise, we see more and more signs of life. Sea sponges and anemones in all shapes and colours are revealed. A sea cucumber, the kind you see in a restaurant, lies seemingly dormant, until an errant hand brushes past and it squirts a jet of water in irritation. Sea slugs, prized by divers for their exquisite colours cling onto corals,

their colours in stark contrast to the monotonous brown of the sea bed. A soft clicking sound reveals the presence of the snapping shrimp, its enlarged claw both a deterrent to would-be predators and a means to stun prey of their own. Ron gently lifts up a red knobbly sea star, one of the largest species found in Singapore’s waters. It is a large specimen, almost 20 to 25 cm across. All too soon, the tide begins to come in, connecting isolated rock pools. Soon, all signs of the area we were standing in are covered by the sea. As I turn to make my way back to the ferry terminal, a father asks his son what he has learnt. The boy replies, “To help protect the environment.” It’s a lesson we all take back in our hearts. HOW TO GET THERE: Take bus no. 400 from Shenton Way Terminal to the ferry terminal at Marina South Pier. Pulau Semakau/Semakau Landfill is open to the public, but only through organised tours by groups like the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity. For more info, visit semakau_workshop.php

BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008


Zoom in

Mr S Iswaran, Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry, MP for West Coast GRC and Adviser to Ayer Rajah - West Coast GROs, tours West Coast Promenade with residents during the Ayer RajahWest Coast Mid-Autumn Celebrations 2008 on 6 September. Over 2000 people took part in the event.

Acting Minister for Manpower Mr Gan Kim Yong, MP for Chua Chu Kang SMC and Adviser to Chua Chu Kang GROs, poses with residents at the Residents’ Saturday Get-Together – Lunch cum Movie, held on 23 August at Qu Lin Restaurant and Westmall Cineplex. 320 residents attended the screening of Money No Enough II.

Mr Arthur Fong, MP for West Coast GRC and Adviser to Clementi GROs, celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival with 2500 residents at Clementi Lantern Night 2008, held at Clementi CC on 13 September. Activities included a lantern procession and a mooncake making demonstration.

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Finance, MP for Jurong GRC and Adviser to Jurong GRC GROs, looking at an exhibition after the launch of the Jurong Park Connector on 31 August 2008. 500 residents participated in the Walk-aJog in conjunction with the Launch.

Mr Lim Boon Heng, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, MP for Jurong GRC and Adviser to Jurong GRC GROs helps to distribute donations of rice and electric irons to needy residents on 22 August as part of a welfare programme. 600 recipients took part in the event, held at the PCF Education Centre at Bukit Batok Blk 148.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad, MP for Hong Kah GRC and Adviser to Hong Kah GRC GROs, interacts with residents at Moonlight Fever 2008, a celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival held at the hardcourt in front of Lam Soon CC on 13 September. Over 1000 residents attended.

Mr Lim Boon Heng, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, MP for Jurong GRC and Adviser to Jurong GRC GROs, tries his hand at making mooncakes at the Jurong Central Multi-Racial Lantern Nite, held on 7 September at Jurong Green CC to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Mr Ang Mong Seng, MP for Hong Kah GRC and Adviser to Hong Kah GRC GROs, watches as residents sample mooncakes and Chinese tea at the Bukit Gombak Lantern Festival Celebration 2008, held on 14 September at Pavilion Estate. 200 residents took part in the event, which also included a lucky draw and performances.

200 residents came together with Mdm Halimah Yacob, MP for Jurong GRC and Adviser to Jurong GRC GROs, to promote bonding and community spirit at the Hoover Park MidAutumn Festival celebrations, held at Hoover Park Garden on 13 September.

Mr Cedric Foo, MP for West Coast GRC and Adviser to Pioneer GROs, celebrates Clean & Healthy Community Day with 250 residents on 20 July. The event helped to promote social cohesion and was held at Link Building. at Bukit Batok Blk 148.


BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008

1200 residents joined with Minister for Trade and Industry Mr Lim Hng Kiang, MP for West Coast GRC and Adviser to Telok Blangah GROs, for the Sat @ Telok Blangah Mid-Autumn Celebrations for Telok Blangah and Dover residents. The event took place on 13 September at HortPark.

meet-the-adviser sessions HONG KAH GRC BUKIT GOMBAK MR ANG MONG SENG, BBM MP for Hong Kah GRC and Adviser to Hong Kah GRC GROs Blk 535 Bukit Batok St 52 #01-631 S(650535) Tel: 6561-3552 Fax: 6561-4323 Every Monday, 8pm

Dr Amy Khor, Mayor of South West District, MP for Hong Kah GRC and Adviser to Hong Kah GRC GROs, spreads some holiday cheer at Deepavali Festive Cheers @ Hong Kah North on 26 October at Gek Poh Ville CC. 43 low-income families received free appliances like rice cookers and cordless phones.

HONG KAH NORTH DR AMY KHOR LEAN SUAN Mayor of South West District, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, MP for Hong Kah GRC and Adviser to Hong Kah GRC GROs Blk 315 Bukit Batok St 32 #01-111 S(650315) Every 1st, 3rd & 5th Monday, 8pm Tel: 6565-7617 Fax: 6567-6792 Blk 749 Jurong West St 73 #01-135 S(640749) Every 2nd & 4th Monday, 8pm Tel: 6565-7617 Fax: 6567-6792 KEAT HONG MR ZAQY MOHAMMAD MP for Hong Kah GRC and Adviser to Hong Kah GRC GROs Blk 353 Choa Chu Kang Central #01-313 S(680353) Every Monday, 8pm Tel: 6314-4130 Fax: 6314-4127

Mr Alvin Yeo, MP for Hong Kah GRC and Adviser to Hong Kah GRC GROs, poses with some of the 3000 residents taking part in Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations, held on 13 September at Jurong West Park to promote social cohesiveness and community bonding.

NANYANG MR ALVIN YEO MP for Hong Kah GRC and Adviser to Hong Kah GRC GROs Blk 953 Jurong West St 91 #01-603 S(640953) Every Monday, 8pm Tel: 6791-0518 Fax: 6792-3908 YEW TEE MR YEO CHEOW TONG MP for Hong Kah GRC and Adviser to Hong Kah GRC GROs Blk 608 Choa Chu Kang St 62 #01-103 S(680608) Every Monday, 8pm Tel: 6760-6233 Fax: 6760-2133 Email:


Senior Minister of State for National Development and Education Grace Fu, MP for Jurong GRC and Adviser to Jurong GRC GROs, gamely takes part in a magic and snake show as part of the Zone 2 RC Block Party, held on 21 September.

BUKIT BATOK Blk 148 Bukit Batok West Ave 6 #01-319 S(650148) Every Friday, 7.30pm (with free legal clinic) Tel: 6561-4656 Fax: 6562-3797 BUKIT BATOK EAST MADAM HALIMAH YACOB MP for Jurong GRC and Adviser to Jurong GRC GROs Blk 241 Bukit Batok East Ave 5 #01-261 S(650241) Every Monday, 7.30pm Tel: 6563-2917/ 6566-8940 Fax: 6564-0504 JURONG CENTRAL MR LIM BOON HENG Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, MP for Jurong GRC and Adviser to Jurong GRC GROs Blk 490 Jurong West Ave 1 #01-01 S(640490) Every Monday, 7.30pm Tel: 6563-5516 Fax: 6560-2440

Mdm Ho Geok Choo, MP for West Coast GRC and Adviser to Boon Lay GROs, helps distribute porridge to around 800 participants at Jurong West St 52 Hardcourt on 13 September as part of the Majlis Iftar 2008 (Togetherness during Ramadan) event. The event helped to increase awareness among non-Muslims about Ramadan and to promote racial harmony.

TAMAN JURONG MR THARMAN SHANMUGARATNAM Minister for Finance, MP for Jurong GRC and Adviser to Jurong GRC GROs Blk 184 Yung Sheng Rd #01-79 S(610184) Every Monday, 7.30pm Tel: 6262 6588 Fax: 6262 6589

YUHUA MS GRACE FU Senior Minister of State, Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Education, MP for Jurong GRC and Adviser to Jurong GRC GROs Blk 247 Jurong East St 24 #01-02 S(600247) Every Monday, 8pm (with free legal clinic) Tel: 6561-2617 Fax: 6564-6940

WEST COAST GRC AYER RAJAH – WEST COAST MR S ISWARAN Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry, MP for West Coast GRC and Adviser to Ayer Rajah-West Coast GROs Blk 32 Teban Gardens Road #01-353 S(600032) Every 1st, 3rd and 5th Mondays, 7.30pm Tel: 6560-5317 Blk 729 Clementi West St 2 #01-346 S(120729) Every 2nd and 4th Monday, 7.30pm Tel: 6777-0696 BOON LAY MADAM HO GEOK CHOO MP for West Coast GRC and Adviser to Boon Lay GROs Blk 207 Boon Lay Place #01-217 S(640207) Every Monday, 8pm Tel: 6261 6085 Fax: 6268 7550 CLEMENTI MR ARTHUR FONG MP for West Coast GRC and Adviser to Clementi GROs Blk 334 Clementi Ave 2 #01-66 S(120334) Every Monday, 8pm Tel: 6874-5992 Fax: 6775-0692 PIONEER MR CEDRIC FOO MP for West Coast GRC and Adviser to Pioneer GROs Blk 665A Jurong West St 64 #01-160 S(641665) Every Monday, 8pm Tel: 6791-8003 Fax: 6790-8509 TELOK BLANGAH MR LIM HNG KIANG Minister for Trade and Industry, MP for West Coast GRC and Adviser to Telok Blangah GROs Blk 78A Telok Blangah St 32 #03-01 S(101078) Every Wednesday, 8pm Tel: 6270-1511 Fax: 6274-2325 Blk 2 Dover Rd #01-346 S(130002) Every 1st and 3rd Wednesday, 8pm Tel: 6773-1760 Fax: 6779-6958

CHUA CHU KANG SMC CHUA CHU KANG MR GAN KIM YONG Acting Minister for Manpower, MP for Chua Chu Kang Single Member Constituency and Adviser to Chua Chu Kang GROs Blk 10 Teck Whye Ave #01-77 S(680010) Every Monday, 8pm Tel: 6760 5783 Fax: 67607430 SOUTH WEST WEST CDC CDC SERVICE SERVICE CENTRE CENTRE SOUTH Residents can approach the South West Residents can approach the South West CDC Service Service Centre Centre for for social social assistance assistance CDC and job job matching matching services. services. and The JTC JTC Summit Summit The 8 Jurong Jurong Town Town Hall Hall Road, Road, #03-11 #03-11 S(609434) S(609434) 8 Tel: 6316 6316 1616 1616 Fax: Fax: 6316 6316 7251 7251 Tel: Opening hours: hours: Opening Monday –– Friday: Friday: 8.30am 8.30am to to 5.30pm 5.30pm Monday Saturday: 8.30am 8.30am to to 1pm 1pm Saturday:

BRIDGE | Nov - Dec 2008




BRIDGE | Jul - Aug 2008

BRIDGE (November - December 2008)  
BRIDGE (November - December 2008)  

A publication from the South West CDC