Thursday, December 29, 2011

Porting his dreams to reality

 James Pinto (extreme right) winning the Microsoft Imagine Cup in 2008

James Pinto, 24, never expected that he would win the Microsoft Imagine Cup in 2008 or become Shell LiveWIRE’s “Most Promising Entrepreneur” this year. After all, he was just an average student at that time. But with encouragement from the School of Engineering, the NYP alumni managed to channel his energy and enthusiasm into making his dreams a reality. Now he owns his own business and works from an office in NYP.  

The idea of his business originated from his Microsoft Imagine Cup task, which he developed a low-cost, self-sustaining environmental monitoring robotic system, due to his fascination with robot systems. After completing his national service, he pondered upon the idea of a similar system and invented VortPort – an application that manages workplace safety and health – together with his business partner and Imagine Cup teammate Denver Lim.
 James and his Imagine Cup teammates with their environmental monitoring robot
The idea of VortPort was inspired by the implementation of the Workplace Safety and Health Act in September. The act requires all workplaces to have a safe working environment. Thus James thought it would be ideal if companies had a mobile system that can monitor and mitigate workplace risks easily.
He managed to set-up his company – Vortics Communication – at the NYP-Microsoft Entrepreneurship Centre with the support of NYP this year. He also managed to secure a $50,000 grant from SPRING Singapore’s Yes! Start-ups Fund, and was awarded Most Promising Entrepreneur at the Shell LiveWIRE Awards last month.
The head start helped James to concentrate his business without him worrying about business expenses. As a NYP-Microsoft Entrepreneurship Centre incubatee, James gets to work with the latest Microsoft software, and also with third-year Electronics, Computer & Communications students who are interested in gaining experience from a real life business venture.
It is also a bonus that James’ former mentor is also in the same campus and within easy reach.
Said James, “I thought my mentor would be busy with his new students. But he has offered me a lot of support and stops by my office occasionally to see how I am doing.”
Said School of Engineering (Electronics) lecturer Liaw Sze Wong, “Being able to mentor James in finding his true potential as a young entrepreneur is really rewarding.  James is especially driven and determined, he always strive his best to capitalise business opportunities and to grow new business ventures for his company.” 
Currently, James is still in talks with several companies to implement VortPort. He is optimistic about his future as an entrepreneur, and has plans to realise a profit of $500,000 by the end of 2012.
VortPort is targeted at industries such as construction, manufacturing and shipbuilding, and aims to help employees assess and reduce risks more conveniently on site with mobile devices like tablets. For more information, please visit

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

NYP Open House 2012 Spotlight: Grace Lai

Grace Lai’s parents were surprised at first when she told them that she wanted to enrol at NYP after her ‘A’ levels.

But her parents were quickly won-over by Grace’s passion for helping others and her determination for becoming a nursing professional. She may have taken the ‘scenic’ route, but she’s happy to finally be on the right path.

Her decision to pursue a Diploma in Nursing at NYP has paid off. She has garnered multiple awards including the Singapore Nurses Association Award for Clinical Education in Nursing and the CapitaLand Healthcare Frontliners Award.

She is currently pursuing a nursing degree with the University of Manchester. She will share her unique perspective with ‘O’ level graduates and their parents at the “Parents Seminar: Choices After ‘O’s”.

Discover NYP learns more about her unique journey and her NYP experience.

1. Why did you choose the polytechnic route?
The polytechnic route comes right to my mind as nursing in a polytechnic is known to be hands on, with the balance in both theory and practical. It was also strongly recommended by friends who were in the course when I sought their opinion in areas such as the curriculum and modules offered. The word-of-mouth from them affirmed my decision.

2. After you completed you Junior College studies, you decided to come to NYP. Was it a tough decision?
Initially, I struggled. I questioned if I’ll be able to adapt in the contrastingly different environment and to start all over again. There was a myriad of considerations which includes the fact that I’ll be more senior among my classmates in poly and ‘lagging’ compared to my peers of the same batch. Nevertheless, I decided to take that leap of faith- to pursue my calling - nursing. It was a decision I’ve never regretted making.  My parents gave me their full support.

3. Why did you want to take up nursing?
My passion in wanting to be a nurse started few years back when I did community work in Sree Narayana Mission Home in Yishun. It began during my first interaction with the elderly in the Home and I never knew that it could give me such overwhelming joy.  I felt that nursing is my calling, and it enables me to serve patients, which is a meaningful thing to do.

4. Why did you choose NYP?
Nursing in NYP has good reputation and is well established, which is a plus point for me. It is also convenient to travel there as it is strategically located beside Yio Chu Kang MRT station.

5. How did you benefit from coming to NYP?
I felt that I had gained tremendously during my 3 years in NYP. Apart from acquiring knowledge and skills in nursing, I had a very enriching student life and lots of personal development. There were plenty of opportunities to go overseas, and I was thankful to be able to experience life in America when I went for overseas attachment at University of Pennsylvania for a month.  I also went to Cambodia for Youth Expedition Project for 16 days. It enabled me to step out of my comfort zone and broaden my horizons.  

6. Describe your academic life at NYP.
My academic life at NYP was an exciting journey of learning and discovery. For instance, without prior background knowledge in biology, learning about things like the complexity of the body structure and organs was something new and fascinating. With a strong interest in modules such as psychology and sociology, my learning was filled with a sense of meaning.

The simulation-based learning was the most exciting part in training. The computer-simulated setup resembles real life settings in hospitals and skills that were learned can be applied on the manikin . This is especially useful and relevant as it is a good practice on how to deliver care to the patient. It also trains and equips students with the essential skills of critical thinking skills and teamwork, which prepares them for the workforce.

7. How about the non-academic aspect of your life at NYP?
The non-academic part of my life in NYP added colour to my student life. I took up community service and School of Health Sciences Club as my Co-Curricul Activities, and was involved in organising and executing a whole range of fun-filled activities and events such as school orientation for the new intake, celebrations such as National Day, Racial Harmony Day, debates, etc.  Other events such as seminars and campus-runs also broadened my social circle.

8. How has your polytechnic education helped you in pursuing your degree?
My polytechnic education has given me a strong foundation to pursue my two-year full-time degree in University of Manchester under Singapore Institute of Technology.  It enabled me to build on my existing knowledge and progress further. 

9. Did reality meet your expectations of polytechnic life?
It did and it went beyond my expectations of polytechnic life. I did not expect myself to have such an enjoyable learning journey with holistic development in both academic and non-academic aspects and opportunities to go overseas. This allowed me to develop better self-awareness and challenge my limits.   

10. What will you talk about during the Parents’ Seminar?
I’ll be sharing, together with Sheena, on our experiences in the academic and non-academic highlights in NYP, in the form of a Talk Show.

11. Any advice for ‘O’ level graduates and their parents?
For the ‘O’ level graduates, pursue your interest and passion, and give it your best shot.
For parents, support is the best thing your children need in the pursuit of their dreams.

12. What is your favourite moment at NYP?
My favourite moment was during my 16 days in Cambodia, under NYP’s Youth Expedition Project. Together with the team of students of different schools, we organised and conducted health educations programmes for the orphans, planned games & activities, did mural painting and set up booth for gift donations. We had lots of fun and an enjoyable time interacting and reaching out to the less fortunate. I felt blessed to be able to give and the sense of satisfaction was rewarding.

13. What is your proudest moment at NYP?
My proudest moment was during my graduation day when I received the Diploma certificate on the stage.  Apart from my family’s presence, I was so honoured and touched that my JC mentor came to support me.  I was glad to share the joy of my graduation with my lecturers and friends who saw me through the wonderful journey in NYP.
Grace Lai with her family and her JC mentor.

Grace will be speaking at “Choices After ‘O’s Parents’ Seminar” 6 January 2012, Friday, 7pm.

Joining her will be fellow NYP Graduate, Sheena Ramazanu.

Need more reasons to attend NYP Open House 2012? Here are 10!

Friday, December 23, 2011

NYP Open House 2012 Spotlight: Sheena Ramazanu

Sheena Ramazanu has all the qualities of a great nursing professional. When asked about her greatest achievement, she rather talk about helping her classmates score ‘A’s rather than her own distinctions (35!) and ‘A’s (6!).

And like many NYP graduates, Sheena’s story started when she graduated from secondary school.

When Sheena completed her ‘O’ levels, she knew she wanted to study nursing. As a young girl, her father, who himself was a former nurse and a nursing lecturer for over 16 years, would tell her dramatic stories about caring for patients.

When she was tasked to work on a secondary school project on the disabled, her passion for nursing was cemented. She was deeply inspired when the blind diabetic patients she spoke to cited their nurses as their motivation to go on with life.

And thus began her journey into nursing.

She enrolled in NYP’s School of Health Sciences after her ‘O’ levels and graduated in 2011. Along the way, she picked up a venerable bevy of awards including the Ministry of Health Gold Medal, the Singapore Nurses Association Award for Clinical Education in Nursing, the CapitaLand Healthcare Frontliners Award and the Tay Eng Soon Award; which is presented to the top graduate from the School of Health Sciences.

This distinguished NYP graduate is currently pursuing her degree in nursing, and she will be sharing her story with ‘O’ level graduates and their parents at the “Parents Seminar: Choices After ‘O’s”.

Discover NYP learns more about her story.

1.Why did you choose NYP?
There are many reasons. Firstly, NYP is the pioneer in offering Diploma in Nursing. Secondly, I realise that NYP has world class Nursing Laboratories and Simulation Centres that will facilitate my knowledge and skill development. Thirdly, NYP has a group of experienced lecturers who are experts in various specialities. Fourthly, NYP strongly supports an ‘all round’ education, providing various local and overseas activities and experience.

2. How did you benefit from coming to NYP?
All my gurus, the lecturers, are my friends. They are so down to earth that I still keep in close contact with them. I have made hundreds of friends while working on various group projects and have widened my scope and experience. To me, the best part of a tertiary education is not so much getting good grades, but more importantly the social process. NYP has prepared me socially, with a good value system, to meet the challenges in society with confidence.

NYP has also provided me with wider international opportunity, not only to gain knowledge and skills, but to better acquaint myself about various cultures and diverse approach to nursing in other countries. For my Overseas Industrial Placement Programme (OIPP), I was attached to The University of Pennsylvania and for study visits, NYP provided opportunity for me to visit The Surrey University in UK and The Australian Catholic University in Brisbane; all in all a very enriching experience 

3. Describe your academic life at NYP.
Basically I am a friendly and helpful person. My success is more due to my ability to make friends and make them good friends. During my 3 years in NYP my biggest challenge was how to better motivate my peers. My greatest success was that I successfully motivated my entire class in our final year nursing project. All students scored an “A” Grade. This academic experience in NYP was my greatest achievement.

4. How has your polytechnic education helped you in pursuing your degree?
NYP has given me a strong nursing foundation. To continue the house analogy, now, as I pursue my Nursing Degree course at UOM, I feel that I am only putting up the different floors storeys, walls and roof.  When the foundation is strong other things just fall into place. I feel my progress has been smooth.

5. How about the non-academic aspect of your life at NYP?
I took an active part in the WorldSkill Competition in which my partner and I had won a Silver Award locally. I had organized short tours for my classmates, mainly to Malaysia. I had represented NYP in various ministerial forums and discussions. I took active part in student orientation programmes and I had served as a friend and mentor for many of my junior colleagues at NYP.

As a mentor I helped clarify difficult concepts. I also went out of way to help my classmates and junior colleagues in their nursing skill acquisition. I had served as student representative during dialogue sessions with the Directors. I had served in various student committees to assist and support in Open House, graduation ceremony, programmes for local and foreign visitors, nurses’ day functions and national day activities.  

6. Did reality meet your expectations of polytechnic life?
I believe in setting my own expectation and creating my own opportunity to excel in my growth and development as a student at NYP. Of course NYP had provided the best methods, materials and techniques in order for me to achieve my goals during the 3 years of academic life.

7. What will you talk about during the Parents’ Seminar?
During the Parents’ Seminar I will share with parents and participants my learning journey at NYP. How NYP has shaped me; firstly, as a viable Singapore Citizen with good moral and social values and how SHS has shaped me to become a good nurse, setting me on the right track to “The World of Caring”

8. Any advice for ‘O’ level graduates and their parents?
Nursing is a good and internationally recognised profession. And in Singapore, NYP is number one in Nursing. NYP offers the best facilities, experienced lectures, best nursing curricula and best industry based training necessary to become the best nurse and a best professional.

Sheena will be speaking at “Choices After ‘O’s Parents’ Seminar” 6 January 2012, Friday, 7pm.

Joining her will be fellow NYP Graduate, Grace Lai.

Need more reasons to attend NYP Open House 2012? Here are 10!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Daryl Aiden Yow Speaks Now

A second year mechatronics student, Daryl Aiden Yow has already gathered a bit of a fan base for his refreshing song renditions. We interview him to find out a little more about his music influences and interests!
What songs are you going to be performing for Open House?
I’ll be performing Fearless and Speak Now by Taylor Swift, and Untouchable by Luna Halo. I haven’t decided on the last song yet. I’ll let you know soon.
Who taught you how to sing?

I’m self-taught. I also play a little guitar.

When did you start singing, and what got you interested in it?
I started singing when I was 2 years old. The first artist I listened to was Mariah Carey. I was mumbling along to the music without knowing the lyrics. That’s why I can actually sing Japanese and Korean songs.  I can remember each syllable without knowing how to speak the language.
At Primary 6, I started a hobby of recording my tracks with a computer mike. I ended up buying a $100 mic. Now I have a condenser mic which cost $3000. It’s a sE Electronics mic, which even comes with a soundproof filter. There is no distortion at all. This is because I want my tracks to be as close as possible to studio quality as I record my tracks in my room.
I also put soundproof stuff (egg cartons) on my wall. I can record up till 3am. I can scream and my parents bear with it. They are the first to listen to my songs and they are always proud of it.
What are your music influences?
I like more soul and country music. I listen a lot to Adele and The Shangri-las, a pop girl group from the 60s. They started a lot of trends in the pop industry; they started wearing leather when no one else was wearing it and they braved through the 60s with their unorthodox fashion sense.
Do you compose any originals?
 I’ve actually written a few originals, but I don’t have the time to find a band to record it cause I’ve been busy with other events.
Events such as?
This annual modelling event called Vaunt Music and Fashion Festival! It’s going to be held at Azzura Beach Club tonight! I’m the event runner for it. Do come! It’s going to be fun!
Name a cover you would like to do but haven’t gotten round to it yet?
I’ll like to do Untouchable. I know I’m doing it for Open House but I haven’t started on it yet.  Ohh and I have tragic news!  I was recording The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel but two weeks into recording it, my mum banged into my computer (by accident), my computer shut down and I lost all my work!
Didn’t you save your work the night before?
No, I can’t save my work or it will be very hard for me to edit my tracks. Therefore I don’t switch off my computer for at least a month when I’m working on songs. I’m very particular when it comes to effects. For Speak Now by Taylor Swift, I took 3 months to record it. I didn’t switch off my computer for 3 months.
What software do you use to edit your tracks?
I use a mixture, such as Sound Forge, Fruity Loops, and Pro Tools.
On a lighter note, what’s your favourite food at NYP?
The Muslim Stall at South Canteen. The food is much cheaper than Macs. Nuggets there cost 5 for $1!
Any Christmas plans?
I just celebrate it with my family. We usually have a gathering with all our relatives. There will be a big Christmas tree with all our presents underneath. There is also a big microphone which we have to use to thank everyone after receiving gifts! Yes it’s a tradition! We will also watch some old video recordings of ourselves, which are pretty fun.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received for Christmas?
A laptop from my parents, a Macbook Pro, because I didn’t see it coming at all. I just randomly mentioned it in November, and the next month, they got me one for Christmas. It was that good because it caught me off guard.
Catch Daryl Aiden Yow at our Night Open House at NYP JAM Finals on 6th Jan 2012

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas on a Foreign Island, part 3

By Julian Abraham Chua, Diploma in Business Management Graduate

Ho Ho Ho! It’s Christmas time in Singapore. We may celebrate it by partying or spending time with family. But ever wondered how our exchange students spend their holidays and Christmas in Singapore? Let’s find out! In this last instalment, we interview Saara from Finland and Elena from Switzerland.

Full name: Saara Susanna Huhtiranta

Country/state/hometown: Imatra, Finland

Age: 20 years

University: Saimaa UAS

Course major: Tourism and Hospitality Management

How do you find Singapore and the people?

Singapore is an interesting place with its diverse races and cosmopolitan culture. It offers sights that I have not seen anywhere else. I love the people here, because they are so nice and helpful. Sometimes the excitement and energy that Singaporeans have is too much for me to handle, because in my country people are calmer and quieter. But this is just something I have to get used to and learn to enjoy.

List your top 3 most memorable experiences in Singapore so far.

Other exchange students and I have been to a few parties at Sentosa and other places. These have been memorable and great parties, which I may not experience in Finland. The first time I saw Marina Bay, I was impressed. I have never seen such high buildings anywhere so it was really amazing. I also really enjoyed performing on SBM Day for other SBM students and lecturers. It was fun and unforgettable because it was my first time doing a duet.

What do you like and find interesting about Singapore?

Well the nature here always surprises me. Singapore has animals I have not seen before, like geckos and different insects. The sunny mornings are one of the nicest things here, because it’s sunny all around the year! It was hard to get used to when my inner clock says it should be cold and snowy, because in Finland we have summer only 4 months in a year!

How do you celebrate Christmas back in your country?

On the Christmas eve morning, the family starts by having Christmas porridge, made with milk, sugar, and a certain type of rice (one scalded almond is hidden in the porridge and whoever finds it will have good luck!). It can be served with sugar, cinnamon, and butter.

Then our family listens to the declaration of Christmas peace on TV. The declaration takes place in one of the biggest towns of Finland. It is broadcasted live to everyone. We also have a tradition of watching the famous cartoon, the Snowman.

(I don’t know if this is famous in Singapore).

Then it gets dark at about 2 pm, and we’ll head to the cemetery to put candles on the grave stones of our beloved relatives who have passed away, to remember them at Christmas time.

After that we’ll head back home to have a good relaxation in the sauna. Every Finnish house has a sauna actually.

Then we have Christmas dinner at my home (this is my favourite part !), followed by the exchanging of gifts (or maybe this is my favourite, I can’t choose :D ), and then we would just enjoy the Christmas atmosphere together in the living room, singing Christmas songs or listening to a CD.

Who do you celebrate Christmas with?

I celebrate it with my immediate and extended family. Normally in the morning, we would have porridge with my extended family from my mum’s side, and in the evening we exchange gifts with relatives from my dad’s side.

What kind of food do you have during Christmas?

The main thing is the Christmas Ham which has been baking in the oven since the night before. It can be eaten plain, with mustard, or with dark bread. The rest of the dinner consists of boiled potatoes and pot roast as the main course. This is usually served with boiled carrots and peas, and salt and pepper.

There are also different casseroles; the must-haves are liver, carrot and cabbage casseroles. As a side dish, we have basic green salad, a salad of local ingredients, and the third one is red cabbage and orange. Our family’s special treat is a cheese tray that we like to put together with grapes and mandarin orange slices. We also have dark bread, made with rye, and salted salmon.

We also have tiny pies, savory ones, which are eaten with the egg-butter (made of boiled eggs and butter and salt). As a dessert we have plum kissel (a jellied juice) with whipped cream and we also have plum tarts. We also drink homemade berry juice, non-alcoholic beer, and hot wine after dinner.

What are the 5 most important things to do before Christmas?

To buy the ham (they run out from stores quickly), get presents for my dearest family, do Christmas cleaning, get a Christmas tree from the forest, and decorate the tree before Christmas eve.

What is your ideal Christmas experience?

The whole experience as I have described :) and preferably that my family wouldn’t be stressed. Sometimes my family have small quarrels because they are stressed about preparations, and getting everything ready before our relatives come over.

What was the best Christmas present you ever received? Why?

My best Christmas present was probably a towel with a picture of Darth Vader. I am a huge fan of Star Wars and it’s not easy to find Star Wars merchandise. I got this present from my sister who’s 18.

Full name: Elena Pilla

Country/state/hometown: Switzerland, Zurich

Age: 24

University: HTW Chur

Course major: Tourism

How do you find Singapore and her people?

Singapore is very awesome and exciting. It’s a very green country with a nice contrast between modernity and heritage. People here are very helpful and friendly, especially at school.

List your top 3 most memorable experiences in Singapore so far.

Meeting nice people and other exchange students at school, my city tour with other exchange students, and a beach party at Sentosa.

What do you like and find interesting about Singapore?

I like the cultural mix of people in different areas (China Town, Little India, etc.), the modern and high buildings (at Marina Bay or Raffles place for example), shopping, and the food.

How do you celebrate Christmas back in your country?

We usually have a nice dinner on the 24th of December with family members and our Italian neighbors (they are good old friends). After dinner at midnight, we’ll go to church together. Then we’ll go back home and exchange Christmas presents. Sometimes, we’ll play cards after that. On the 25th December we meet again to have a good lunch together.

Who do you celebrate Christmas with?

Family members and our old friends.

What do you eat during Christmas?

Usually we eat “Fondue Chinoise” (where meat and vegetables are cooked in a shared pot of broth), and for supper, we have Christmas cookies and cakes.

What are the 5 most important things to do before Christmas?

In Switzerland, it is very important for me to

1) Bake lots of different Christmas cookies

2) Buy presents for family and boyfriend

3) Meet close friends to have coffee together before celebrating with the family.

4) Appreciate and be thankful for all good things in life, such as family and friends, and health

5) Enjoy Christmas time without stress.

What is your ideal Christmas experience?

Have a nice Christmas celebration with friends and family, where everybody is in a good mood and has fun.

What was the best Christmas present you ever received? Why?

My boyfriend bought me a photography course. I always wanted to do such a course but thought I wouldn’t have time during my studies. I really enjoyed it and learnt a lot about how to use my single lens reflex camera during the course.

Julian Abraham Chua is an NYP graduate from School of Business Management (SBM). His passion for writing was ignited when he completed an overseas UK writing course and started contributing to the portal while he was still a student on the campus. He has since written for various magazines and publications including Straits Times, SG Entrepreneurs, Spin Asia, TimeOut Singapore, NTUC lifestyle, Campus magazine and SPCA newsletter. Besides writing, he adores soccer, has his own online business Stationaire and performs with his metal band Grottesca around town.  

Dancing for NYP Open House!

He was so engrossed in teaching that he didn’t even notice we had stepped into the studio. The 23-year-old dance instructor, Wei Fong, is back to teach his juniors choreographed moves that will impress even the nimble footed.

Wei Fong, who is formally from acclaimed dance group Foreign Bodies himself, has so much interest in street style dancing that he even set up a dance studio, Studio Dance Meets, with some of his former Foreign Bodies team members, where eight different styles of street dancing are taught.

For the uninitiated, Foreign Bodies are a popular CCA group, in which auditions are conducted like in American reality show ‘So You Think You Can Dance’. Just kidding! But bottom line is, it is hard to get in.

Visitors to NYP’s Open House 2012 are in for a treat. Secondary school students will be treated to a visual display of synchronised popping, gliding, locking and b-boying to some heady street beats. If you are thinking of joining them, visit NYP’s Club Crawl, where various CCAs recruit in galore.

The current members practice an average of 3 to 4 hours each day for their Open House performance. The more zealous ones practice up to 7 hours per day. However, it was clear that they enjoyed dancing from the way they paid attention to Wei Fong, and tried so eagerly to mimic his moves.

That is not to say the students didn’t have fun. They laughed whenever they made mistakes, and apparently didn’t seem to mind coming back day after day for practice.

For those of you who are interested to see what Foreign Bodies are all about, come to NYP’s Open House on the 5th, 6th, and 7th January, and check them out. Various units from Foreign Bodies will be putting up solid 15 minute performances between programmes.

Be there or be square!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas on a Foreign Island – Singapore, part 2

By Julian Abraham Chua, Diploma in Business Management Graduate
Ho Ho Ho! It’s Christmas time in Singapore. We may celebrate it by partying or spending time with family. But ever wondered how our exchange students spend their holidays and Christmas in Singapore? Let’s find out! This week, we interview Ann-Christin Hallfahrt from Germany.
Ann-Christin at Raffles Place, Singapore

Julian Abraham Chua is an NYP graduate from School of Business Management (SBM). His passion for writing was ignited when he completed an overseas UK writing course and started contributing to the portal while he was still a student on the campus. He has since written for various magazines and publications including Straits Times, SG Entrepreneurs, Spin Asia, TimeOut Singapore, NTUC lifestyle, Campus magazine and SPCA newsletter. Besides writing, he adores soccer, has his own online business Stationaire and performs with his metal band Grottesca around town.  

Full name: Ann-Christin Hallfahrt
Country/state/hometown: Germany / Niedersachen / Gifhorn
Age: 23  
University: Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences
Course major: Business Administration
How do you find Singapore and the people?      
I really like Singapore so far. The best things I experienced are the weather, the food and getting to know new people. I think a lot of people here are very open-minded and curious about my country. I like how us exchange students are integrated in tutorial classes, as well as outside school.
List your top 3 most memorable experiences in Singapore
1)      Travelling around the city to try different varieties of food and see new things
2)      Visiting Sentosa
3)      Going to Zoukout festival               
What do you like about Singapore?
I like it that you are really in the heart of Asia, and you have the opportunity to visit neighbouring countries and experience new cultures. In Singapore I appreciate the harmonious mix of cultures. It is really nice to travel by MRT and visit new places such as Little India, Chinatown, Marina Bay, Arab street…etc, which are very different from each other!
Ann-Christin at Orchard Road, Singapore
 How do you celebrate Christmas back in your country?
In Germany Christmas is a really big festival. We even start celebrating 4 weeks before Christmas with each of the 4 Sundays before Christmas being "advent-Sunday". We have an advent wreath at home. On the first Sunday, we light one candle and add another one each following Sunday, so that on Christmas eve we have all 4 candles burning. Nearly every city has a Christmas market, where you can eat a lot and drink the famous "Glühwein", which is a warm wine with spice like cinnamon and cloves.
Christmas is celebrated on the 24th December. The 25th & 26th are also considered Christmas public holidays. It is common to have a Christmas tree in every house, which you decorate with candles and Christmas balls.
Another important thing we have is the "Advent calendar" which is a box-like structure with mini drawers. Every child usually gets 1 or 2 advent calendars. You can open one door of the calendar every day from the 1st to the 24th of December, and get a little present each day (mostly sweets). This prepares you for Christmas and makes the days leading up to Christmas more exciting.
An Advent Calendar. Photo Credit: Paperladyinvites
Who do you celebrate Christmas with?
Usually I celebrate Christmas with my parents, siblings and grandparents. When we finished our festivities, I will meet my boyfriend and other friends to go out. The next two days, we will meet the rest of the family to have lunch or dinner together.
 Also what activities do you do and what food do you eat during Christmas?
The famous Christmas dish in Germany is the Christmas goose. My family eats this on Christmas day itself, which is accompanied by red cabbage, potatoes, potato dumplings and sauce. For my family on Christmas eve, we usually cook a 4-course menu with food and dishes we like to eat. Sometimes we have fondue or Raclette.
Christmas Goose. Photo Credit: Mexicanwave
Also, during Christmas eve, some of us go to church in the afternoon or early evening and have dinner and open presents afterwards. When I was younger the presents were the most important things to me, but now the highlight of Christmas is to have a great time together with my family.
I love to watch children's films in the afternoon on Christmas eve, which I have been doing since I was a child. Traditionally they show the same films every year. At about 2pm my grandparents normally arrive at our house, we will have some coffee together and then watch the movies. We start dinner at around 6pm and exchange presents later. Everybody puts their presents under the Christmas tree. In our family we always start the present exchange with a game of dice. Everyone gets to roll a dice, and if you get the number six, you pick your present first. Afterwards, we’ll have some drinks together and go to bed.
Do you plan to celebrate Xmas here? If yes, how do you plan to celebrate?
This is my first tropical Christmas. I will celebrate it with my family and my boyfriend in Singapore. My parents will arrive on 16th Dec, and my brother and boyfriend on 22nd. I think we will go to a restaurant and spend a nice evening together. We don't plan on exchanging presents this year, for me, the best present is to have my family here.
Also, we plan to have Christmas in our apartment with the exchange students. We are planning a potluck meal where everyone will cook a dish native to his /her home country.
What are the 5 most important things to do before Xmas in your personal opinion?
1. Buy presents
2. Go to Christmas markets
3. Decorate the house with Christmas things
4. Bake cookies (I really would like to have an oven in my apartment)
5. Get an Advent calendar
 What is your ideal Xmas experience that you wish to have?
I love Christmas in Germany. But the most important thing is to be together with people I love. So I am really looking forward to experiencing Christmas in Singapore for the first time.
What was the best Xmas present you ever received? Why?
Every year I get really nice things and I like them all. Nowadays, I am not so much into presents, I just want to have a really nice time, enjoy the atmosphere and of course have really nice food!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Are We Really Spoilt or…?

Nur Mirrah Amit, a Year 1 Diploma in Mass Media Management student thinks that youngsters are not as spoilt as they seem. This is the first opinion piece by one of our student writers, and not the last! Look out for more thought-provoking pieces to come.

I was surfing through the Internet just the other day and I stumbled upon an eye-catching article online. I just had to click on it and read it. Besides, it was beneficial for me as I was required to read the news in my course.

The title was one thing, but the content of the article was better. It was about a research done by researchers from a well-known university who studied a few thousand boys and girls in their adolescence and quizzed them on their ‘essentials of life’.

The result? It was all things materialistic.

Whatever you can think of off your head, it’s on their list – iPod, branded goods, overseas trips, designer clothes and money.

But don’t judge too soon. While the reader comments posted on the article were quite negative, shining bad light on the kids of this generation like you and me, I had a different perspective.

Researchers concluded that kids nowadays feel as though they are deprived of a normal life if the list is not fulfilled. There could be a reason for it though. Based on studies done, one possible reason why they are so dependent on materialistic goods is the lack of quality time spent with their parents. These goods basically fill a void, and suppress the feeling of loneliness. But why are overseas trips on the list? Well, it could be in the hope of finding a reason to have a good bonding session with their family, without feeling miserable.

Now, I could easily relate it to Chuck Bass of Gossip Girl to make you understand but not everyone watches that show. Chuck Bass is a character everyone finds pitiable on the outside but yet, we sympathise with him on the inside. I believe there’s a tiny bit of Chuck Bass in every single one of us.

I love my parents. But it is so hard for me to get them to spend some time with me sometimes, considering they’re both working full-time. There would be times when I don’t even get a glimpse of their faces or hear their voices in days. When I get lonely, I resort to technology to keep me company when they’re not around. Maybe that’s why I keep on asking for materialistic goods sometimes – to keep me company when they’re not around.

So before we judge a person, we could stop and consider the reasons behind the person’s behavior. For example, is this person really spoilt or could he have underlying reasons for his behaviour?

Let’s leave it at that, and give yourself a moment to ponder.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas on a Foreign Island - Singapore

By Julian Abraham Chua, Diploma in Business Management Graduate
Ho Ho Ho! It’s Christmas time in Singapore. We may celebrate it by partying or spending time with family. But ever wondered how our exchange students spend their holidays and Christmas in Singapore? Let’s find out! This week, we interview Verena Stierschneider from Austria, who is an exchange student from the School of Business Management.
Name: Verena Stierschneider
Country/state/hometown: Austria, Salzuburg but studying in Austria, Krems
Age: 22
University: IMC FH Krems
Course major: Export-oriented Management
How do you find Singapore and the people?
Singapore is very different from Austria but I enjoy it very much! The people, food and culture here are so diverse. I really like my classmates too, they make me feel very welcomed. I think the city is very clean and there is so much to do and to see!
List your top 3 most memorable experiences in Singapore so far.
1) Visiting the Wet Market in Chinatown on our “City Tour” arranged by NYP (they sell lots of interesting things there, frogs, eels, turtles etc. :-) I really want to try some frog meat soon!)

Wet market. Photo credit: Jonas Lamis
2) Altitude Bar at Raffles Place. The view from the bar in the 65th floor is amazing, you can see Marina Bay Sands and the city skyline makes you feel like you are in a movie!  

The view from 1-Altitude. Photo credit: Soeperbaby

3) Indian firewalking festival, which we witnessed while visiting an Indian temple!
What do you like and find interesting about Singapore?
The vast range of different food, and the mix of cultures! NYP itself is pretty impressive too! The library is so big, there are so many places to get different food. And I love the pool!
How do you celebrate Xmas back in your country?
We start preparing for Christmas in mid-November when all the Christmas markets open. We drink Punsch and Glühwein (alcoholic hot drinks) at the Christmas markets (because it would have been pretty cold at home by then). We look forward to snow because we always hope for a white Christmas every year.
Warm Glühwein. Photo credit: Crafty Fox
My entire family - parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins - also come together to make different types of Christmas cookies. There are hundreds of recipes but my mum usually makes gingerbread.
Gingerbread cookies. Photo credit: danesparza
From 1st to 24th December is what we call "Advent", it is the preparation period leading to Christmas. Many people try to get a little calmer and quieter during this period. We also do some Christmas shopping of course! As soon as there is snow, we go skiing over the weekend! And we celebrate Christmas itself on the 24th December at night. We get together with our whole family and eat. The traditional food would be soup with sausages in it, but in my family we usually eat either fondue or Raclette cheese. Then we sing Christmas songs and give presents to each other.
How do you plan to celebrate Christmas in Singapore?
I think some of us exchange students will get together in one of our apartments and have a meal. Most of us will travel around Asia afterwards.
What are the 5 most important things to do before Christmas in your opinion?
1)      Meet family and friends
2)      Visit a Christmas market
3)      Eat Christmas cookies
4)      Engage in some snow activity e.g. skiing
5)      Getting Christmas presents
What is your ideal Christmas experience?
I love Christmas the way we celebrate it every year my family, so I would like to be back at home!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

10 Reasons to come to NYP Open House 2012

UPDATE: 22 Dec 2012
The NYP Open House 2012 website is up! Remember to check it out!

1. Course & Career Exhibition
NYP has a wide and exciting variety of courses. No matter your strengths or talents, we have something that’s right for you.

Come learn more about our 50 diploma courses during our Course & Career Exhibition and discover how we produce world-class professionals that are highly sought-after in the job market.

You can also speak to our lecturers and students to learn more about life and learning at NYP.

2. Learn more about the various schools

Fly a multi-rotor aircraft! Try your hand at crime scene investigation! See how visual effects are created!

Try these activities and more at our 7 Schools.

3. Go with Our Guides 

We’ve got plenty of awesome things to do at NYP. You’ll find all your favourite hang-outs like McDonald’s, Gloria Jeans and Mini Challenger on our campus.

Our student guides will also show you our shopping mall, tennis courts, rock climbing wall, student gym and Olympic-sized swimming pool. Come experience the cool life at NYP!

4. Check Out CCAs  Galore 

Get a taste of NYP's vibrant campus life through the wide range of performances by our CCA groups. Expect hip hop dancing, martial arts, vocal performances and everything in between.

5. Secure a Scholarship 

If you are an outstanding ‘O’ level student, we have a prestigious scholarship for you!

We also have course-specific scholarships for diplomas like Digital & Precision Engineering, Information Security and Financial Informatics. Come and check it out, we just may have a scholarship for your course.

6.   Watch Young Talents Shine! Stage without Borders: NYP Open House Edition

Catch secondary school participants as they compete in Stage without Borders: NYP Open House Edition. This competition is open to secondary school students. If you've got a talent to share, register here. (Finals: 7 Jan 2012, 3-5pm)

7. See NYP in a Different Light

Experience NYP in a different light with Night Open House, Singapore's first night open house, happening 6 Jan (6pm-11pm). In addition to the courses and tours, we also have a host of exciting activities happening only at night! Including…

8. Mingle with Shan and Rozz

Catch your favourite DJs from 987FM, Shan and Rozz as they host NYP Night Open House. Remember to stick around so that you can meet them and take photos with them.

9. Watch NYP Jam! Finals 

Come and see the best secondary school and NYP singers as they compete in the finals of NYP's annual singing competition, NYP Jam! (7pm-9pm)

10. Catch Parents' Seminar: Choices After 'O's

NYP Open House is great for parents who cannot attend Open House during the day.

Parents and 'O' leavers can learn more about a polytechnic education during "Parents' Seminar: Choices After 'O's".  (7pm-8.30pm)

Our past seminars have been popular indeed, so register early! To register for this year’s seminar, click here

NYP Open House 2012 - My Poly, My Choice!
5 to 7 January 2012
11am to 6pm daily

NYP Night Open House
6 January 2012

180 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8
(Near Yio Chu Kang MRT station)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dare to Care!

Hello everybody, I’m Sherry Suhaimi and I’m currently a Year 2 student of Social Sciences (Social Work). This semester, our class of 26 has been tasked to run a social campaign for one of our modules - Communication & Public Education.
After a few days of discussion, the class has come to a mutual agreement to run a social kindness campaign in NYP. So how did we derive at this point, you may ask? Well, the class had a sharing session and we discussed about any recent social events which have affected us in one way or another. Now, I’m very sure that most, if not all of you are particularly aware of the infamous ‘YueYue’ incident by which a little girl was run over multiple times by various vehicles before someone actually stepped out to help her. This particular piece of news affected us all and we decided that we need to do something about it.
We came to the conclusion that there are already various campaigns out there that targets to promoting acts of kindness, however, none of which are actually daring individuals to ‘prove’ their kindness. We believe that kindness is a part of everyone but it takes more than just awareness to get the people to actually step out of their comfort zone and extend their help.
At the end of the day, through this campaign, we hope to not only raise the awareness about the fact that social kindness is not just a thing of the past but to also dare individuals to pledge to kindness and actually do something about it. We can promote social kindness and provide a list of the kind things that we can do but at the end of the day, it has to start with Me and You! So come down and support us in this very special social event and we’ll see you on 16th December 2011, at NYP’s very own Atrium! See you there! J

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dentists Vs Dental Hygienists, The Sprinter Vs the Marathon Runner

Dentists have a small customer base of big spenders, while Dental Hygienists have a large base of smaller spenders. This was one of the main messages that Dr Irfan Ali, a lecturer in the School of Health Sciences, had for a group of secondary 3 Catholic High School students during a 3-hour workshop organized by the School of Health Sciences. 

Dr  Irfan Ali speaking to the students about the Diploma in Dental Hygiene and Therapy.

This workshop was part of a programme for secondary school students to learn moreabout the Diploma in Dental Hygiene and Therapy course, which is taught by Dr Irfan Ali.

 "You will be in demand," Dr Irfan Ali said.

Dr Ali said that the course allows students to develop more hands-on experience and contact time with their lecturers. Students pursuing this diploma will receive approximately 3,000 hours of contact time per semester.

"If the diploma was available to me when I was studying, I would have taken it," Dr Irfan Ali said, referring to the diploma's prospects.

Mdm Eudora Soh, a Dental Therapist Support Officer who co-ran the workshop, agrees. She said that graduates who can do their job well while developing a rapport with customers are in high demand.

In addition to the introductory lecture, the 4 Catholic High School students also worked on over-sized training teeth.
Mdm Soh shows the students the training teeth they will be working on.

Joshua Lim and Alvin Loh, two students who attended the workshop, found it helpful.

Alvin said that, "it answered a lot of industry questions I had and highlighted the different career paths I can take."
Mdm Soh shows Catholic High School student, Joshua Lim (center), how to work on the training teeth.

Joshua said that the workshop helped him understand the differences between a Dental Hygienist and a Dentist. "Before I came here, I didn't know the difference. I thought a dentist is a dentist!"
Mdm Soh (foreground) with (from left to right) Joshua Lim, Elvin Tan, Alvin Loh and Chen Peng Hao.
Joshua added, "This course is the only one available in Singapore, so there's little competition and it's easier to find a job."

To learn more about the Diploma in Dental Hygiene and Therapy, click here.
To learn more about the School of Health Sciences, click here