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

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rooted by Gravity

Westlife performing a pop-culture mash-up
Photo credit: Midas Promotions.
By Rachel Caitlyn Tan, Year 1, Diploma in Business Management  
Ever been to a concert where the band or singer just plays song after song, maybe occasionally asking a person or two from the audience to join them on stage for a song before they continue singing and promoting their latest albums? You are left there feeling extremely disconnected from the entire concert.  
I admit, I have. The experience, sadly, included Westlife’s Face to Face concert in Singapore in 2006. It did result in me having doubts about going for their Gravity concert but I am glad I did not let my fears get the better of me.
At around 8:30pm on 3 October 2011 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, Nicky Byrne, Kian Egan, Mark Feehily and Shane Filan, who were suited up in their beautifully fitted matching black-and-white suits, shuffled on-stage. They gave no introduction, just some adorable smiles, took their positions and got straight down to business.
The quartet started off the night with one of their earliest singles, ‘When You’re Looking Like That’, adding in well-practiced co-oordinated dances to their amazing voices.
They also performed tunes from their older albums (My Love, Flying Without Wings), covers (Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl, Michael Buble’s Home, Josh Groban’s You Raise Me Up), mash-ups (Rihanna’s Only Girl In The World, Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, Daughtry’s What About Now, Coldplay’s Viva La Vida) and brand new songs from their upcoming album, Greatest Hits (I’m Already There, Beautiful Tonight) before closing with the very popular Uptown Girl.
Despite having no explanation for being half-an-hour late, Irish boy band, Westlife, did not short change their fans. The concert lasted approximately two and a half hours. And the experience? Mind-blowing.
Everything from the concert lighting to their costumes, to their witty banters, and most importantly, their music, from beginning to the end, was simply perfect.
At the end of the night, I could not think of another reason to not keep Westlife as one of my favourite bands.
The band has truly grown and have proven that they can keep up with their fans and the growing generations since 1998. They have not only performed with seasoned talents like Diana Ross and BoA, but also covered popular songs by Rihanna and Coldplay.
However, all good things must come to an end.
On October 19 2011, Westlife officially announced that the band will be separated after the release of their final album, Greatest Hits, and their last tour.
I will miss them for sure.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It’s Not Easy Being an Exchange Student

24-year-old Eui Bong Yeo (Charlie) is a fourth year student from Chungnam National University, South Korea, is doing a one-year attachment at Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore, and has done a 6-month attachment in the US. The reason? He wants to broaden his horizons, improve his English, and hopefully gather enough worldly experience to become a global financial trader in Korea.

So what are the perks and gripes of studying at NYP as an exchange student? Charlie bares his heart out…

Education Culture

“I like the Singapore education culture because it is very balanced. It promotes CCAs but is also focused on studying,” said Charlie. “Korea tend to focus more on studying. Students here have a more balanced attitude so they are more relaxed.

According to Charlie, the teaching style is “less stressful” and lecturers try to inject humour into their lessons. The lecturers are also caring and concerned about students’ assignments.

“Korean lecturers are strict and if you don’t submit your assignments, you don’t get a grade,” he said.


Charlie loves basketball but he did not expect this CCA to have a heavy focus on training.

“I just want to play basketball with others, but the CCA focuses on training,” he said. “I thought it was just playing together, not like a basketball team.”

He is also taking guitar lessons from a Singaporean friend.

Local Students

“Local students sometimes speak in Mandarin. All exchange students have the same problem. Usually we just wait for the translation to come later, but it’s difficult to follow because we get partial translations and not the whole conversation,” said Charlie.

Guys, be nice here! Charlie also griped about group meetings being cancelled at the very last minute, often just five minutes before the meeting. Tsk tsk!

Other Exchange Students

Charlie stays in the same apartment with some 20 German and 20 French students, who are pretty outspoken and outgoing. He mentioned that communication can sometimes be frustrating due to cultural differences.

“When they invite me out, and I say no, I get sweared at,“ he said. “Then I realise they are just joking. They are actually friendly if you get to know them better”


Charlie is one of the few lucky students who has an apartment to himself. Pity it has no hotplate, so he bought himself a very small one. However, he and the hotplate can get a bit lonely sometimes..

“The problem is that many of my friends are back in Korea so communication is done through Facebook,” he declared. “Sometimes while studying, I’ll feel tired and just want to go out and do something. However most locals have a curfew, and so I chat to my Korean friends on Facebook instead. They are waiting for me to be back.”

He has since learnt to cope with the loneliness.

“Now it’s fine, when I feel lonely or stressed, I go swimming or to the gym, and it’s a good way to relieve stress,” he smiled.

Free Time

During weekends, Charlie used to go on short trips to Indonesia or Malaysia with other exchange students as he enjoy discovering new things. We really envy his allowance! 

Now, he has sheepishly admitted running out of money and he no longer has the budget to go on such trips. Shame!


“Singapore food is a little bit sweet, especially the drinks,” Charlie claimed. “Korean food here tastes different as well. But I like chicken rice and laksa here.”

“Whenever I miss my home, I’ll just have Korean food,” he said. “But that makes me miss home even more.”


So being an exchange student has its ups and downs! What about you guys? Do share some of your overseas studying experiences with us!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Thoughtful Gift

If you are thinking of doing something special for a friend or significant other, well you can wine and dine or even splurge on a present, but nothing beats a personal touch when it comes to gifts.
This includes efforts like a hand-made card or personally baked cake, which oozes sincerity. However the process of creating something from scratch can be quite daunting. So when MSC Studio launched this new T-shirt printing service, it seems like a great idea.


- Nice, neat and tidy fonts (no more bad handwriting)

- Really nice and cool colours

- Various suggested positions to place your design (saves on the thinking)

- It can be a really sweet gift with the right message

- Relatively fuss free and idiot-proof

- Option to change your positions for only $1

The offer is rather attractive, for as low as $13, you can choose from 28 different font colours, including Glow in the Dark and Glitter/ different sizes of the fonts, and from a selection of designs. You can even use your own pictures.

MSC has compiled an easy booklet that takes you through the customisation process step by step:

First, choose your preferred shirt colour and size. Sizes range from XXXS-XXXL.

A plain shirt starts from $8.

Then you can select either a basic design,

or an icon design.

Choose from a variety of 6 font types. Do note that additional colours would cost $3 per colour.
As mentioned earlier, you can also submit your own pictures for a polyflex print on the shirt (see above). The only inconvenience is that your image has to be submitted in either PDF or Illustrator format. An A5 sized image costs $10, all colours included.

Indicate where you would like to place your design. There are a couple of positions for you to choose from.
The end result! This is just a sample shirt, but the font colours look quite good don’t they? The fonts are actually specially cut out and adhered onto the shirt. They have a velvet like quality that is very nice to touch.

The shirt is 100% cotton, but you may be able to opt for a dri-fit shirt in the future.

It takes two weeks to deliver upon submission.

I can’t wait to get started!

Interested? Drop by MSC Studio to check out their “Design You Own T-shirt” service!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Real Steel - Real robots, Real action

By Nur Wahidah, Year 1, Diploma in Mass Media Management

Are you a fan of robots or boxing? Or even the hit blockbuster movie “Transformers”? Well if you answered yes to either of these questions, “Real Steel” is a must watch for you!

This movie is set into the future, year 2020, where the sport of boxing is modernized and robots replace humans. As a result, a new sport called “Robot Boxing” was formed.  Hugh Jackman stars as Charlie Kenton, a long-time professional boxer who in the future becomes the controller of the robots instead. However, even though Charlie was one of the champion boxers in his young era, he is not doing so well with his robot. Charlie finds himself losing ‘robot boxing’ battles and in turn, loses bets he makes with other battlers that leaves him in debts of US$50,000 or more.

At the start of this movie, he is seen as a loser and an impulsive person as he makes bets that he knows he can’t win. In the middle of a battle, he is then given the news that his ex-wife has passed away, leaving him with the custody of his 11-year-old son, Max Kenton (Dakota Goyo). 

However, Charlie has not been interested in his son for the past 11 years. He is only interested in winning bets.

Unfortunately, Charlie found himself entrusted to the care of Max. Max, being interested in robot battles too, starts to follow his father around when he goes for a robot battle or search for scrap metal parts. This is where Max finds Atom – his robot companion. Max and Charlie then create a boxer out of Atom and go to battles, and find themselves winning bets.
The climax of this movie is when Max challenges the champion of the robots, Zeus, to a fight. This is a huge event for the crowd and the odds are against Atom, who was from the junk yard while Zeus was a legend for crushing robots in its battles. Not forgetting, by the end of this amazing journey, will Charlie still want custody of his son? The viewers are left in suspense till the end.
The “father and son” chemistry between Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo is amazing. The action – need I say more? It’s like watching real supersized robots battling with one another. By the end of this movie - where the ultimate match between Zeus and Atom happens -, you will leave the theatre in satisfaction.

Sounds interesting? Are you intrigued? What are you waiting for? Don’t forget to make your way down to the cineplexes in Singapore to catch this movie! It’s worth your money and time!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

...But I have Bad Credit (or No Credit)

Ok, so you have been working YOUR plan and planning YOUR work and are ready to tackle this pesky bad credit issue. Now what?

You have made a list of all your debts (from your credit report and the ones you know about); you have made your short, medium, and long term goals; you have started your Emergency Fund; you have made a budget that fits your needs; and you have paid off a huge chunk of your debts...

Most people are in debt because of credit cards because they don't know how to use them. Now you want to find and/or learn to use a credit your advantage. There are some rules (some standard and some of my own) to follow to get the most out of your credit card experience.

Before I talk about finding the right card for you, let's talk about how to make your credit cards work for you....

Rule #1 - Credit cards are NOT for wants! Remember back when I wrote about Wants, Needs, and Needs to Wants? Well, CREDIT CARDS ARE NOT FOR WANTS OR NEEDS TO WANTS.

Rule #2 - Credit Cards should only be used as an Emergency Fund IF one doesn't exist. See Rule #1!

Rule #3 - Pay off the balance IN FULL every month. For brand new cards with no balance the BEST way to make the card work for you is to only use it once a month for a SMALL purchase, then pay off the balance immediately. This helps to build your history of making payments on revolving debt and builds your credit history. If you have a balance, STOP using the card! Pay the card according to the plan you developed. If you are using the snowball method and this card is at the top of your pay down list - throw as much money at it as possible, while paying the minimums on everything else.

Rule #4 - See Rule #1!

Now that you know the rules of credit card use, what types of cards are avaliable to you and what do you want them to do?

There are many different credit cards, that do many different things. Here is a quick run-down from

Let's focus on the Credit Cards for Bad Credit and the Prepaid & Debit Cards because we are trying to establish a good history of credit use and to do that we need the right card.

Credit Cards for Bad Credit (or No Credit):

The following Credit Cards and Prepaid Debit Cards, some of which are fee based, are for People with Bad Credit or less than perfect credit. Simply getting a credit card will not help you build, re-build or re-establish your credit history. Making on-time minimum payments with all of your creditors and maintaining your account balances below the credit limits is the key to changing your financial future. Choose from both secured and unsecured credit card.

What is the difference between Secured and Unsecured credit cards?


A secured credit card is a guaranteed VISA or MasterCard that has been secured by a deposit to the issuer's bank. Generally, you must deposit an amount, ranging from $300 to $5000, in a low-interest saving account or CD to secure the credit card. You then receive a credit line for up to 100 percent of your account balance. Each creditor has its own requirements for how much you can deposit for your credit line. The creditor issues you a credit card by using your deposit as security.


An unsecured credit cards offer just that -credit. When you make a purchase or withdraw cash (usually called a cash advance), funds are drawn from your "line of credit." You pay back the amount you borrowed or "charged" each month, or carry over to the next month (revolve) a certain amount that was borrowed and you are assessed an interest charge. You are then responsible to pay the interest charge as well. Credit cards carry a brand logo (e.g., Visa, MasterCard, American Express, etc.) and are accepted by participating merchants. When you use your credit card, the transaction requires a signature.

Debit Cards, Prepaid Debit Cards, & PrePaid Credit Cards

Prepaid debit cards and prepaid credit cards can help you control your spending. A reloadable debit card allows you to only spend up to the amount you have pre-deposited into the account. If you tend to overspend or would like to control your spending then a pre-paid debit card or prepaid credit card could be a good card for you.

When thinking about what type of card you need, think about your goals, priorities, and WILL POWER. Building or establishing credit is all about doing the right things and using the card in the right ways.

Remember to follow the rules and you will be fine....if you need help choosing the right card or learning how to use your card correctly, Personal Finance 4 The People is just an email away!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Improving Your Credit Score

Your Credit Score is probably the most important number associated with you. More important than your Social Security number, even. How can this be?

Your Credit Score tells things about you like if you are responsible, if you are a good person to loan money to, what your interest rate will be, if you will be hired for that big job. Your Credit Score is suppose to be gauge for risk factor for anyone who is going to be loaning you money, or even hiring you. Of course, there are circumstances when your score may be out of your control, but those moments are what we call life.

There are many reasons your score may not reflect you in a positive way. Medical bills and unpaid bills are 2 of the biggest reasons I have found to be an issue for most people. That, along with a lack of credit. Yup, not having "enough credit" is a bad thing too. To find that "perfect" balance, here are some tips:

- Pay your bills on time. Paying bills on time, for my clients, is often an issue because if they had the money to pay their bills on time they wouldn't need me. Paying your bills on time is important because it builds a history of being financially responsible. Even if you are only paying the minimum amount due, make sure it's on time. If you can't pay a bill on time, call and let the company know. They will probably work with you.

- Having a credit card is important in your Credit Score. Having a credit card does a couple things for you. Part of your credit score is HOW LONG you have had that card, your HISTORY of paying revolving debt, and your CREDIT-TO-DEBT RATIO. Your credit-to-debt ratio is how much avaliable credit you have compared to how much debt you have. Use your credit card for small purchases and try to pay the balance off every month. Most people carry a balance, so make sure you are paying, at least, the minimum payment due each month.


- Have an Emergency Fund. An emergency fund gives you room to live when life happens. An emergency fund stops the use of credit cards for emergencies. The emergency fund gives you room to breathe when something unexpected happens. A good rule is to start with a goal of $1,000 and work your way up to 6 months of BASIC expenses.

- Educate yourself. Learning the methods and tips of good financial habits is something most of us weren't taught growing up. There are too many personal finance blogs out there to use the excuse of not knowing better. There are too many people willing to help you learn the right things to do financially. You can only use the "I was never taught" excuse for so long before you have to teach yourself.

- Plan YOUR work! Work YOUR Plan! Sit down and develop a plan. Plan for things you want, for things you need, and for things you need to want. Have a plan A, B, C, even a plan Z if you need it.


- Check you credit report. You get one free report from each of the 3 companies once a year from the government at . There are also other ways to keep an eye on your credit. Your bank might offer a service to monitor your credit, things like this usually come with a fee so keep that in mind.


These are small but important things you can do to make sure your credit is where you need it to be. You have a life to live, don't let your lack of financial knowledge keep you from living the life you want.

If you need assistance, contact us by email, Facebook, Twitter, Phone.