Thursday, January 26, 2012

Food Product Concept Competition 2011

By Wong Yoke Teng, Year 2, Diploma in Food Science & Nutrition

Recently, my team and I took part in the Food Product Concept Competition, a competition organised by the Singapore Food Manufacturers' Association’s (SFMA) and held on 4 Nov 2011 at the Restaurant Association of Singapore.

The results were announced at the Opening Ceremony of the Asia Pacific Food Expo 2011 on 17th Nov 2011 and the awards were presented by Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Minister of State for Trade & Industry and National Development.

“Otah Delight” looks delicious!
“Otah Delight”, an otah-based dim sum platter, created by the NYP team of Cheong Jie Lin, Yap Xin Yi, Tan Su Shan and Pang Shi Ning, won the “Grand Winner Award” and “Best Design Thinking Award”.

“Best Design Thinking Award” and the Overall “Grand Winner Award”. (From left to right) Tan Su Shan, Pang Shi Ning, Dr Cindy Soh (Project Mentor), Mr Rodney Ang (Defu Pte Ltd.), Cheong Jie Lin and Yap Xin Yi

My team won the “Best Marketing Potential Award” for our creation, “PUMato Kaya” - an eggless coconut spread made of pumpkin and sweet potato eggless.

Here’s our product, “PUMato Kaya”!

Our win would not have been possible without the help and guidance of our lecturers including our project mentors Ms Gan Heng Hui and Ms Lin Liang.

Working with our industry partner, Fong Yit Kaya Pte Ltd, really helped too. :)
“Best Marketing Potential Award” winner. (From left to right) Mr Richard Khaw (Manager of Food Science & Nutrition), Ms Gan Heng Hui (Project Mentor), Lwe Kai Wen, me (Wong Yoke Teng), Audrey Tan, Tan Chui Choo, Project Mentor Ms Lin Liang and Ms Goh May San Fong (Yit Kaya Pte Ltd)/

It took our teams four months to develop the new food product concepts for this year’s competition.
This year’s competition was stiff with a total of 20 teams taking part including schools like NUS, Singapore Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and the Institute of Technical Education. Each team was paired with an industry partner. This yearly competition was started in 2007 and this year’s judging panel consisted of regulatory agent representatives, food journalists, nutritionist/dieticians and chefs.

A total of 7 awards given out at this year’s competition including: Most Innovative Award, Most Nutritious Award, Best Packaging Award, Best Marketing Potential Award, Best Design Thinking Award, First Runner up, and Grand Winner. We are proud that NYP bagged 3 of them, including the top award!

We really want to thank all the lecturers that had helped us along the way. Without their guidance, we would not be able to overcome the challenges and problems we faced during product development and the preparation for final presentation. Their help was a huge contribution to our success. We are extremely glad that we have a great team to work with and more importantly we had a great experience!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Titanic: A stunning experience

By Ho Khin Wai, Year 1, Diploma in Banking and Financial Services
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition “docked” in Singapore for the first time on October 29, 2011. The exhibition boasts of real artifacts recovered from the bottom of the sea that once belonged to the majestic ship, RMS Titanic. It also takes you through the whole journey from the first day to the final tragic moment.
 If the only thing you know about Titanic was Jack and Rose’s classic moment on the ship, this exhibition will open your eyes, hearts and minds. You will be able to relive the past, and feel what the passengers felt on the ship when it hit the iceberg.
Being ever so fascinated by Titanic’s history, I HAD to visit the exhibition while it was still in Singapore. I did not have much expectations at first, thinking it would be a quick walkthrough the artifacts, but it ended up being more than that.
 The exhibits were arranged in chronological order. It starts with the construction of the RMS Titanic (RMS stands for Royal Mail Ship by the way), to exploring the interior, to the iceberg, and finally to the sinking of the ship and the memorials of those lost in the tragedy. Actual artifacts recovered from the Titanic made the experience very realistic and interesting.
I also love how they recreate the rooms used by the passengers, and of course, the Grand Staircase! Being the epitome of the ship where first-class passengers mingled, the opulence of the area is astounding; I felt just as if I was one of the first-class passengers myself! There is also a photographer ready to help take a shot for you on the staircase, if you wish.
The Grand Staircase
Furthermore, you can see how people slept in the first-class and third-class cabins. Personal belongings from actual passengers that once boarded this ill-fated ship were on display too. I was taken aback knowing these actual items were once on the ship and are still so well preserved. Wow!
What gave me the goosebumps was the Titanic balcony, which was specially recreated to give you the impression of being on the deck of the ship looking out into the cold, starry night.
There was even a wall of ice for you to experience what freezing temperatures were like when Titanic hit the iceberg. To me, it felt as though you were just touching an ice cube.
Overall, I felt that the whole Titanic experience was enthralling. Every part of the exhibition had so many artifacts on display that it was pretty overwhelming. They even lined up some of the plates the same way it was found at the bottom of the ocean. There were also videos on the sinking of the ship and the recovery process of the artifacts.
I also liked the novelty of getting a Boarding Pass with the name of a Titanic passenger (similar to a real boarding pass) when you enter the exhibition. At the end of the exhibition, you can check to see if your passenger survived. The person on my card died, but his wife and daughter survived.
The whole tour took about one and a half hours to complete, it was definitely worth the $20 ticket price. I would strongly advise everyone – Titanic fan or not – to relive the experience of one of the world’s most tragic maritime disasters in human history.
Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition is located at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. It runs till 29 April 2012. More details can be found at
Ho Khinwai is an NYP Year 1 Banking and Financial Services student from School of Business Management (SBM). He started writing for NYP Portal this year out of interest and was soon "addicted" to it. He has also written book reviews for Straits Times YA Classified. Besides writing, he loves singing and has performed for various events in NYP under NYP Soundcard. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bored? Try these social activities!

By Julian Abraham Chua, Diploma in Business Management Graduate
Getting bored of doing the same activities over and over again? Get creative and try out a new one! A change in activity can be both beneficial and fun, especially when it is something you have never experienced. For many, when the term and semester breaks arrive, there is usually some free time.  Instead of lazing around or engaging in Facebook stalking and LAN games, get off your butt and plan something new and constructive with your friends! Here are some suggestions on fun activities to try out:
Cook up a storm at home with friends
If you love food, this is one activity you should be organising. Invite some friends over to your house to cook anything from pasta to cupcakes, and if you become “expert” enough, how about cooking some Asian or European cuisine? It is convenient enough to do this in the comfort of your own home and it also promotes bonding! This could come in handy for occasions like birthdays, farewell parties and Christmas.  Tips:
  1)      Decide on whose house to do the cooking. Try to cook at a friend’s house that has all the necessary equipment to facilitate cooking or baking.
2)      Brainstorm on what to cook as a group. Baking pastries like cupcakes, cakes, brownies, and making pasta and pizzas are highly recommended for starters. You could surf the Internet or borrow books for recipes and ideas.
3)      As finding and purchasing ingredients can be expensive and time-consuming, split the cost of the purchase by getting each person to bring an ingredient or two each.
Learning new instruments and forming a band
Music is everywhere. We all know how much music can impact our lives. Wouldn’t it be great if we could produce live music with our own collective efforts? It is truly satisfying and quite an achievement! Tips:
1)      Get together a group of 5 people. Decide on a choice of songs. Try to go for easy-to-play music like rock/pop if you are beginners. Then decide on who should play what instrument. Ideally there should be a drummer, a rhythm guitarist, a bassist, a lead guitarist and a vocalist.
2)       If you are new to the instrument you plan to play, try picking it up in these few ways:
-          Video-sharing websites like Youtube
-          Getting your friends to teach you
-          Getting a qualified instructor
-          Learning on your own through books and materials
3)      Once everyone is prepared, search for free music scores online or buy songbooks. Pick a jamming studio at a convenient location to practice and you are ready to rock n’roll!

Comedy Acts
Stress is normal and often unavoidable especially when exams are round the corner. One natural stress reliever is to tell or listen to jokes! Tips:
1)      Search or create and compile a list of good jokes to tell. Write them down or print them on paper.
2)      Do a quick study on how stand-up comedians present their jokes by observing them on Youtube.  Practise the ‘style’ you are most comfortable with to hone this new “talent”.
3)      Decide how and where to put on a show. You could do it in a tutorial room, library or canteen. Remember to get permission first! You could even perform at a comedy club/bar where performers get free drinks!
Night cycling

Organise a “joyride” and go for a thrilling adventure by exploring different places at night. Be sure that the roads and pathways are well lit and safe. With chilly wind blowing in your face, an absence of scorching sun and heavy traffic, it’s the perfect environment for a cycle. Tips:
1)      Get together friends game enough to rule the night on two wheels.
2)      Decide on the starting and ending routes. Some good night-cycling hotspots include: West Coast highway/Lim Chu Kang/Upper Thomson/Mandai road/Changi Coast road. So be sure to explore those routes. Duration of the rides depends on your endurance. The best time to cycle at night is around 10pm.
3)      Always wear safety gears and ensure there is a front and rear light on each bike. Check that they are in working condition before embarking on your journey.

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.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Overseas Placement Programme @ Boston

By Muhamad Hilmi Bin Harris, Year 3, Diploma in Business Enterprise IT

Photo by Slack12
Not everyone likes to set out on a road less traveled but an adventure would never be one without obstacles. My overseas attachment to Wunderman global network with Fortelligent, a business intelligence company, started out like this since the day I arrived in Boston, Massachusetts on the 12th of October 2011.

Due to a flight delay at my Dubai stopover, I missed my connecting flight to Logan International Airport (Boston), and arrived two hours later than expected. I was feeling really tired by then. Furthermore, there was no car to pick me up from the airport as planned due to a miscommunication. All I wanted to do is to lie down on my bed, but I braved myself and tried to find my way by taking a cab to my inn in Saugus, Massachusetts.

Along the trip, I discovered something unsettling from the driver. My inn was really far from Fortelligent’s office. I would have to spend a lot of money to commute back and forth to work. Thankfully, I was only there for 3 days before moving a little nearer to Allston, Massachusetts. During the first (rainy) week, I fit in some travelling and sightseeing between scouring hundreds of ads in Craigslist website to look for suitable lodging.
Left: Red Roof Inn, Saugus (MA.) Right: Farrington Inn, Allston (MA)

It was tough getting a place to stay as many brokers needed me to sign a minimum of 6 months of lease. I was only going to be in Boston for 4 months. After 2 weeks of grueling search, I finally settled down at Brookline, Massachusetts (at the border of Boston). This taught me that finding a place to stay was not easy as there were a lot of factors to consider such as rental lease period, utilities, laundry, security deposit, proximity to public transport, and rental fees.

My apprenticeship started five days from my arrival in Boston. During my first day, I was given some reading materials, paperwork, and set up my computer and corporate email. I met my supervisor, Tiffany, on my second day. She sat down with me to find out what were my expectations during this internship and discussed her objectives and plans for me.
Left: The building where Fortelligent is located. Right: My desk with a nice view
I was also informed that my position was Junior Business Analyst and I will be working primarily on a AT&T Prepaid project, focusing on QA Analytical processes and dashboard development under her supervision.
Welcome lunch with Fortelligent (Advanced Analytics Team). From left(Clockwise): Randy, Marc (Manager), Jorge, Nancy, Tiffany (My Supervisor), Me, Yelena and Jirong.
Food in Boston was just fantastic. The portions were very generous and the service was great. I had a chance to eat an all you can eat buffet at a Pakistani restaurant for only $9.50!

Left: Pakistani Buffet Restaurant. Middle: Cheesecake Factory Chain Restaurant. Right: Legal Seafood Chain Restaurant
I also had the opportunity to experience Halloween in Boston. Wunderman decided to hold a Jack-O-Lantern carving competition amongst teams from different states. My colleague invited me over to join her family and friends to carve the pumpkin. It was a very interesting experience and I enjoyed it very much. It’s much easier than you think as the pumpkin is mostly hollow and smooth. I won an award for “Best Effort!”
In picture: My Jack-o-Lantern and I. Award winner of “Best Effort Pumpkin.” HA!

Our various pumpkins
Right: Neil Townsend and I. The 99% and 1% of America
I had the chance to meet some interesting individuals, and one of them was Neil Townsend, my flatmate from Cincinnati, Ohio. I learnt about Baseball, Ice Hockey, American Football and College Football from Neil. We also dressed up as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement during Halloween.

Overall, Boston is a very charming city. It has a lot of nice architecture and scenic views. One Sunday morning, I went out to catch the Head Of The Charles Regatta@ at Charles River. There were different booths set up along the river and thousands of people came down to watch the races. It was a rewarding experience.
Charles River
Boston Common, the park police on a horse
Besides the many major US holidays, there were also International ones. American-Muslims gathered at mosques around Boston to celebrate Hari Raya Aidiladha on 6th November 2011.

A friend of mine introduced me to a fellow Singaporean Muslim family living in Boston. I paid them a visit during Hari Raya and we had a little feast with other Singaporeans & Malaysians. I was fortunate to be able to celebrate an occassion close to my heart in a different environment.
Left: Yusuf Mosque at Chestnut Hill. Middle: Malay-Muslim Singaporeans in Boston Right: Congregational prayers for Hari Raya Aidiladha in Boston
Overall, the first month has been an eye opener for me. I experienced different weather, places, people, working environment, culture, customs and traditions. I believe that I will continue to learn new things as I spend the next few months here in Boston.

Till the next update!

Hilmi is part of the Zed Academy programme, an international apprenticeship programme that gives senior year students the opportunity to spend 3 to 6 months working at Wunderman offices around the world.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Meet the winners of NYP Jam! 2012

As the winners of NYP Jam! sat in the 987FM studios, a surreal feeling began to settle in. Less than a week after winning their respective categories,  NYP champions Jereld Ang and Brendon Chua from The Fa├žade and secondary school champion Tan Hui Min were about to be interviewed by Mediacorp Personality, Divian Nair.  They also had the opportunity to share their talents with 987FM’s listeners.

Tan Hui Min
Divian Nair with Hui Min at the 987FM studio.

“Divian is hot!” the 14-year old Hui Min gushed, “he’s very handsome!”

For this this petite vocal powerhouse from Teck Whye Secondary School, NYP Jam! was her first singing competition and public performance.

She stunned the audience and the judges with her rendition of Adele's "Someone like you".
Hui Min performing at NYP Jam! She blew the crowd away with her amazing vocals.

Taking part in NYP Jam! was an unforgettable experience for Hui Min.  “I felt good but I was very surprised. It was my first time performing in front of strangers and I thought the other competitors were better,” she said, “when they called my name, I didn’t know what to do!”

Hui Min felt that the NYP campus made their experience more memorable. “The campus is very big and nice,” said Hui Min who visited NYP for the first time for the competition. “I definitely want to apply to NYP when I finish my ‘O’ levels.”

Winning this competition was particularly satisfying as she wanted her parents to support her singing.  She had been too shy to invite her friends or family to see her performance at NYP Jam!

“I hope my friends and family like my singing,” said Hui Min, refering to the vocal sample she recorded  for 987FM.

Check out Hui Min's interview below!

The Facade (Jereld Ang and Brendon Chua)
Shan and Rozz introduce The Facade at NYP Jam!.

When asked about meeting 987FM’s DJs, the 19-year old Brendon, a 2nd year student from the School of Business Management, could not contain his admiration for Rosalyn Lee. “Rozz is hot,” he said enthusiastically.
The Facade with Divian Nair

But meeting the DJs was only one highlight in their journey.  For this duo, winning NYP Jam! was certainly exciting, as it had been the duo’s third public performance and their biggest.

“We didn’t expect to win,” said 18-year old Jereld, a 2nd year student from the School of Design , “our impression was that the other contestants were all very good.”

The duo performed "The Man Who Can't be Moved" by The Scipt and they recorded a sample  of the song during their interview with Divian.

Winning this competition has given this duo a deep sense of affirmation.  Jereld said that NYP Jam! was a “test to see if we have anything worth sharing”.

These two SoundCard members (NYP's version of a Glee Club) credited their performance to NYP’s vibrant arts scene. “NYP is well-known for having one of the most exciting dance and music scenes amongst all the polytechnics,” Brendon said. “We wouldn’t be able to pursue music this way if we were anywhere else,” he said.

Check out The Facade's interview below!

For more photos of NYP Jam! click here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Meet the students behind NYP Open House 2012

(From left to right: Aaron, Winsome and Richmond)

You can’t see an experience. That’s why at NYP Open House, we’ve got plenty of our students on hand to share their experiences with you.  These students will be on hand during the next three days of Open House (5-7 January) to make our visitors feel right at home and show them what the NYP Experience is about.

One of the toughest things about going to a new school is trying to make new friends. But if student volunteers, Richmond, Aaron and Winsome are anything to go by, NYP freshmen will have an easy time making friends.

Aaron Donovan and Winsome Foo are first year students pursuing their Diploma in Social Sciences (Social Work) from the School of Health Sciences. The cool and stylishly dressed Aaron says that he found it easy to make friends when he came to NYP.

This former Assumption English School student said that his classmates are close to one another and tightly knit.

Winsome agreed. “The class is very well-bonded,” she said, “the whole class even goes jogging together on Tuesdays.” They credited NYP’s easily accessible facilities for the class’s gung-ho spirit.

“NYP is conveniently located near to the Yio Chu Kang MRT station and there’s a bus terminal nearby. It’s got all kinds of facilities like gyms and a swimming pools. You name it, they have it!” Aaron said.

Winsome added that, because the facilities are nearby and well-placed, it encourages socialising with her classmates. In fact, their class of 25 makes it a habit to have lunch together at least once a month.

Richmond Ong, a third year student pursuing a Diploma in Chemical & Pharmaceutical Technology from the School of Chemical and Life Sciences agrees that it is easy to make friends at NYP. But this St Andrew’s Secondary School alum warns that some students will need some time to adjust to a co-ed environment.

“They’ll get used to after some time,” he assures adding that his lecturers also helped him adjust to polytechnic life. “The lecturers here are friendly and willing to advise you on any academic or social questions you may have,” he said.

This is the second time that Richmond is volunteering for NYP Open House. He will be coordinating tours for students and guests for all 3 days.

Aaron and Winsome will be part of the hospitality team that will be greeting and assisting visitors during NYP Open House 2012. Their class is tending the sheltered walkway to NYP (from Yio Chu Kang MRT Station) this Saturday from 2-6pm.

Monday, January 2, 2012

NYP-in Action: Caring for Senior Citizens

By Cheang Hoi Yee, First Year, Diploma in Digital & Precision Engineering
As the saying goes, the older the fiddler, the sweeter the tune. On 19 November 2011, SEG Care and I Share Club put together “NYP in Action for the Community” - an annual community service project and party for senior citizens - together with Lions Befrienders. This event allows students contribute to the community, bring happiness to our senior citizens in Singapore, and show appreciation for their contributions. Around 200 senior citizens from Senior Activity Centres (SAC) such as AMK and Bendemeer SACs, and Lions Mei Ling Street Neighbourhood Link gathered at the South Canteen on that special day. 
Senior citizens are our treasures. Since there are 200 ‘treasures’, I couldn’t wait to see and cherish them. I reached the venue early in the morning at 7.30am for a briefing of our role as assistants to the senior citizens. Two of my friends and I were assigned to a group of ten seniors from Bendemeer SAC. We got busy serving them tea and coffee while they were having light snacks. We were like worker bees, dashing around the canteen. NYP staff also chatted and entertained them in the meanwhile.
When I first started to chat with them, I was shocked when all of them clapped their hands. I felt like a politician about to give a speech. I realized how cute the old folks are. During the chat, I also found out that some of them spoke Cantonese and one of them was from the same hometown as me: Ipoh, Malaysia. That made me feel a little closer to home.
The games began. For the first game, the senior citizens were required to guess what kind of food we were drawing on paper, and the first group to get six correct wins. The food we drew included familiar food such as ‘roti prata’, ‘kaya’ toast, ‘teh tarik’ and strawberry cheese cake. The senior citizens racked their brains to decipher our drawings.
After this, we started our second game - song guessing. The senior citizens had to guess the name of ten songs as fast as possible. These included Chinese, Hokkien, English and Malay songs, which were played over speakers. To our surprise, the organizer played Michael Jackson’s Thriller. An auntie in our group was very enthusiastic in this game. In addition, she was a song guessing genius. She could guess the name of almost every song in less than 10 seconds. She even knew the name of an Indonesian song called ‘Bengawan Solo’. All of us were floored in admiration. Thanks to her, our group won this game session and everyone got a 10-dollar NTUC voucher.

Our last game required us to collect as many similar coloured balloons by exchanging balloons with other groups. Soon, the canteen was flooded with a sea of colourful balloons. Our group chose to collect purple balloons; at the end of the game, all of my group members were holding their purple balloons with contented smiles.

Lunch time was also a karaoke time for our guests. The auntie who was very enthusiastic during song guessing sang a lovely song with a volunteer. After that, we started to create graffiti on the balloons. We drew smiley faces on the balloons and distributed them to our guests. Suddenly, my friend had a brilliant idea. She wrote down her blessings on a balloon in Chinese for an uncle who was chatting with us. However, the uncle stopped her. He explained that the order of her strokes were wrong, and then he showed us the correct order. In addition, he also showed us the correct way to hold a calligraphy brush. We looked at him in awe and called him our ‘master of calligraphy’.
Later, I came across something surprising when I guided my guest to the wash room. It was a notice board in Block R with photos of NYP-In-Action in year 2005. There was even a photo of two senior citizens from my group. We were very excited and brought them to see those photos without hesitation. Both of them were surprised and started to tell us what they did in 2005 with much happiness.

Finally, the ‘goodbye moment’ came. Before leaving, one of the senior citizens invited us to Kallang Town Council to listen to their drum performance. Their group has even performed in the Esplanade before. They are really a group of active people. All of us volunteers hoped to see them again for NYP In Action For the Community next year!