Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Life Altering Trip to Cambodia

By Banu Priya, Year 3, Diploma in Nursing

There are certain affluent countries with people who enjoy living in luxury, but on the other hand, Cambodians are content to live simply. NYP gave students like us an opportunity to experience Cambodia through the eyes of the locals with the YEP (Youth Expedition Project).

The YEP project was held in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. We went to Phnom Penh first and stayed there for 13 days. Each day just got better due to two reasons, firstly our team became more united and secondly we were contributing to making the Andong village school a nicer place. Here’s what we did.

Reconstructing Their Playground
Illustration 1: The first step was to scrap off the old layer of paint. We wore masks and hats to protect ourselves from the dust. Scraping required some hard work from our side. But we managed to pull through as a team.
Illustration 2: After scraping off the old layer of paint we laid a foundation layer called primer paint. This was to increase the durability of the paint.

This is the picture of the playground once it was completed. The children came rushing to it and thoroughly enjoyed playing in their newly refurbished playground. All the YEP team members were extremely happy and satisfied as our hard work had paid off and the results were the smiles on the children's faces.

Foundation for flagpole
Illustration 3: Using the shovel to dig up the ground was hard work!

Illustration 4: Both students and the school children worked hand in hand to shift the sand to the flagpole area. This teamwork bonded us to the kids and made our work much more enjoyable :)

Illustration 5: This is the completed foundation of the flagpole. As much as we wanted to complete the flagpole, there wasn’t enough time for us. We had to leave the rest of the construction to Cambodian workers who would be supervised by the school.

Illustration 6: There were many times where the children clung onto us out of affection and love. There were many touching moments like these which melted our hearts. It gave us the drive to work harder to provide a better environment for these children.

Illustration 7: This picture was taken after the playground was completed. We enjoyed our remaining time playing with the kids.

Illustration 8: Apart from refurbishing their playground and constructing the foundation for their flagpole we also taught them English for an hour during the weekdays. We taught them according to their class levels, which were classified as elementary, intermediate and expert level.

Of course during our 13 days we not only worked hard but we went shopping and sight seeing as well. Here are a few popular sights in Cambodia!

Illustration 9: This is a picture of the Central Market. It’s something like Bugis Street where everything is bargainable. It’s possible to purchase popular brands at really affordable prices and that’s why this place is a popular tourist attraction.

 Illustration 10: This is the royal palace. This is where the king resides. It is really big and beautiful and there are many Buddha statues inside. Thousands of Cambodians and tourists come to see this palace and worship the Buddha. There are also certain dress code restrictions, and we weren't allowed to wear anything above the knee or wear revealing clothes.

Illustration 11: On one of the days, we went on a boat ride along Mekong river. The journey took about an hour. Along the river, we saw some fishermen, their floating houses, and much more.

Illustration 12: This is one of the floating houses along the Mekong river. It can be bought or rented for holiday purposes as it has a spectacular view of the river!

Before we left Andong village school we hosted a farewell dinner for the children and staff. We cooked local delicacies like Chicken Curry, Roti Kirai, Konyaku jelly and Jembut Jembut (made of banana). This was to give them a feel of Singapore and share with them our culture. We also showed them a video made of photos that we took with them and the great times we shared.

Teaching these kids was indeed a pleasure as they really appreciated what we had done for them. On our last day at Andong village school, many of the children that we taught gave us farewell gifts with really sweet messages inside.


Illustration 13: Children savoured our local delicacies and ate to their heart's content. It was really satisfying to see that our food was well received and some even came for second rounds, which made us happier.

This is the Centre of Peace orphanage. Over here we had a project whereby we taught the kids about personal hygiene. One of the things we taught them was how to comb out their hair lice. We played games with these kids as well to keep them entertained.

After 13 days in Phnom Penh it was time to venture to the next state - Siem Reap. In Siem Reap we volunteered at Teabanh Komrou Primary School. We helped to paint the anterior of the school. Though we spent a shorter time in this school than Andong village school, we still managed to build rapport with the children through various games. These children were more reserved and were a little hesitant to talk to us initially but we eventually broke that communication barrier.



In Siem Reap one of the biggest tourist attractions is the Angkor Wat. Built in the 12th century it is a historical site that is preserved till today. The buildings are simply spectacular and the architecture was outstanding. Here are a few pictures of Angkor Wat.

Illustration 15: This is the exact spot where Tomb Raider the movie was shot. It was a really cool experience to take a picture where Angelina Jolie had once been :)

In conclusion this YEP project taught us to appreciate what we have here in Singapore. In Cambodia water is plentiful but their water system is frequently interrupted, whereas in Singapore we get uninterrupted water supply thanks to our efficient water system.

I have also learnt to be more patient when the train in Singapore takes a little longer to arrive. This is because in many parts of Cambodia, there isn’t even a public transportation system. I have thus realised how fortunate we are to be Singaporeans.
We also learnt more about the Cambodian culture, food, heritage and so much more. I thoroughly enjoyed this 18 days and I would strongly encourage every NYPian to take up a YEP project if they have the opportunity.

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Banu Priya enjoys artwork like drawing and painting. She also likes to read and write. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and participating in SHS Academic Club activities, which give her a sense of satisfaction. She also loves to shop and travel.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

“A Real Treat after Results”

Nur Wahidah, Year 2, Diploma in Mass Media Management


20th March 2012 – This was certainly a night to remember for all the Jessie J fans. We (at NYP) received our results early in the morning, but even if they were not up to our expectations, I’m sure this concert cheered NYP fans up real good!

Jessie J is the artist behind big hits like “Do it like a dude”, “Price Tag”, “Nobody’s Perfect” and “Domino”.  Before the beginning of the concert, Jessie J tweeted that she was going to make her show in Singapore “a magical one”. This 23-year-old artist did not only live up to her words, but also made an impact on her fans that night.    
Jessie J’s Opening Act – Blush

Not only teenagers turned up at the Singapore Indoor Stadium for her concert. There were also adults in their 30s to 40s, and families seated at the front row! This shows that Jessie J truly has a wide range of fans.

So, as you all know, when a concert is supposed to start at 8pm for example, it usually does not start on time. Usually the artist shows up around 1 ½ or even 2 hours later. However, out of all the concerts I’ve been to, I think that Jessie J is one artist who doesn’t keep her audience waiting for long. She showed up around 9pm and opened with her song “Who’s Laughing Now”.

Jessie J making her appearance with first performance “Who’s laughing now”

Throughout her concert, Jessie J never failed to inspire her fans with advice such as “it is important to always be who you are” and “there is nothing more beautiful than life, do not try to take it away anytime you feel pressured”.

After getting a little emotional in her song “Who you are”, she explained that she misses her family back home in London.

There are two words that I would use to describe Jessie J – humorous and humble. Why? Because Jessie J was constantly making the crowd laugh. There was a moment during the concert where she said, “some people, they wear sunglasses in dark places and immediately think they’re a superstar.”

Halfway through, Jessie J rocks out in her bodysuit

She started to walk differently with a swag, saying “all is dark but I is cool” and the whole crowd just started laughing.

The highlight of her concert, for me, was when she invited two of her fans to sing her hit single “Price Tag” with her. This happened because she saw the two girls, Kiara and Nora, holding up a poster saying, “Will you let us sing with you Jessie?”

Jessie J inviting her crew members and bandmates to the stage to end the concert together

She also asked each of her band members to sing a verse from her new single, “Laserlight”. Hannah, her keyboardist, was reluctant at first but Jessie J encouraged her by saying, “Come on, we all have to face our fears once in a while. You can do it. Just sing.”

And the crowd even cheered for her! The audience could see how much Jessie J loves her band members by the way she introduced them and made them showcase their talents.

Jessie J is indeed a versatile entertainer and I know for sure that major fans like myself definitely enjoyed the concert very much!

Wahidah is a second year student doing her Diploma in Mass Media Management. She is passionate about writing, travel, food and good music. Her idea of a good time is spending an afternoon with a few friends over a cup of hot chocolate, or watching classic films featuring stars like Audrey Hepburn, Dick Van Dyke, Julie Andrews and so on. Her dream is to travel and have a food adventure around the world.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Food Review: Salted Caramel Artisan Ice Cream

By Gladys Wee, Year 1, Diploma in Business Management 

Been studying the whole day at NYP? What to chill out off campus? Then head to Salted Caramel Artisan Ice Cream!

With a variety of popular flavours, there’s something for everyone. ‘Must Try’ flavours include: Cookies and Cream, Horlicks Tim Tam,  Earl Grey  and the signature Salted Caramel.
My half-melted scoop of strawberry ice cream! <3
Fruit lovers can enjoy Mango, Avocado, Strawberry and Lychee flavours, all made from real fruits! If you like a little buzz in your ice cream, try the alcoholic flavours like Rum and Raisin, Kahlua, Stout & Chocolate and Baileys (but only if you are 18 and above please!).


If you’ve got a sweet tooth, popular flavours like Nutella, Chocolate Sorbet, Peanut Butter and Vanilla will make a lasting impression on your tasebuds.

The ice-cream is affordably priced at $3 for a single scoop, $5 for a double scoop and $7 for a triple scoop.

Bernice Ong, the 26-year-old owner said, “At Salted Caramel, the ice creams are made daily in small batches so as to ensure that the ice cream is of the freshest quality, with no artificial flavourings.”
A brownie with a single scoop of salted caramel
For the ultimate indulgence, add some waffles and brownies at $3.50 each. The waffles are served with icing sugar and either maple or chocolate syrup, while the brownies are presented with icing sugar topped off with chocolate syrup.
A waffle with a single scoop of Lychee ice cream topped off with maple syrup
If you want the classic pairing of ice-cream and cake, check out their Hazelnut Cake or a wide variety of chocolate and cheese-based cakes at $4 a slice. Pecan and apple pies are also available at $4.50 a slice.

Rounding off the experience is the delightful service that will smile its way into your hearts.  Part-time Supervisor Willius Koh said, “Ice Cream is happy food. Happy food with happy customers equate to happy staffs.” (How much nicer can they get?)

Going in a group of 4? Consider ordering a waffle with 4 scoops of ice cream. At $12.60, each person pays an ultra-affordable $3.15! That is almost as cheap as a single scoop of ice cream ($3)!

To get to Salted Caramel Artisan Ice Cream take a 15-minute ride on bus 162 towards 246F Upper Thomson Road from the Yio Chu Kang Bus Terminal near NYP.


Gladys is a first year Business Management student who loves participating in sports or watching it with an excited crowd. She enjoys hanging out with close friends and taking long naps when she is free.

Her dream is to visit every homemade ice cream shop there is in Singapore and try their waffles/brownies with ice cream! :D



Thursday, April 19, 2012

Coming Full Circle: Kelly's Long Journey to NYP

By Kelly Liew, Year 1, Advanced Diploma in Nursing (Midwifery)

Have you ever been asked to give up what you want because of 'what's best for you'? Have you ever felt so strongly about something that you always come back to it, regardless of everything pulling you away from it? When that happens I call it  passion, and that's how I feel about nursing. I have always been passionately attracted to it.

Since I was a child, I always knew that service was my thing. I always smiled at strangers and when I started a part-time job as a departmental store brand promoter during my teens, I knew I loved to serve.

My big dream was to work in an internationally-recognised hotel. But that changed during the year of my 'O' Levels. During an unplanned trip to the hospital, I got a glimpse of nurses in action. I saw nurses carrying out their duties with the same level of service as the guest service officers in hotels. it was at that moment that I realised I wanted to serve with a purpose.

As a child, I wasn't a genius, but I was able to perform well in comparison to my peers. So with nursing in mind, I did my 'O' Levels.

When the results came back, I was determined to come to NYP to start my Diploma in Nursing. However, my parents had some reservations. Out of respect to them, I decided to pursue my 'A' levels instead.

After my 'A' Levels, I was prepared to go into NYP again to study nursing. But my parents wanted me to enrol in a university. Coincidentally, in 2006 NUS started its first cohort of nursing students. I finally felt like I would be able to fulfill my wish of becoming a nurse without having to disobey my parents.

Here I am (first from left) with my pals from NUS.
Studying in the university was fun. But being a nursing student was even more fun. Like the nursing students in NYP, we also had to complete clinical placements in the hospitals. We empathised, smiled and sometimes even cried with our patients. But in general, we were just a bunch of crazy girls passionate about serving our patients.


I graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science (Nursing) with Merit. It was a good year, I spoke proudly at the commencement ceremony as Valedictorian and shortly after, I joined the National University Hospital as a registered nurse.

Speaking at my graduation.
Many would agree that nursing is a difficult career. We face the sick everyday but we have to stay strong because we are our patients' pillar of hope. We need to be skilled enough to help patients while always wearing a smile - no matter how tough the job gets. Everyday can be a struggle. With patients' needs being paramount, we sometimes forget that we too, need to go to the toilet, have our lunch or simply take a break.

A small note, but it means so much.
Don't be mistaken, I don't think it is bad bad to be a nurse. It has many wonderful moments. With all the countless 'thank-you' and hugs I have received , I  have nothing to complain about. Silly as it may sound, but I always find it hard to hold back my tears of joy when I receive words of thanks from my patients. To some, I am just doing my job, to others, I make a world of difference to their lives.

"You think nurses light up patients' lives? No, I would say they light up ours."
I have my fun moments too. I get to take amazing pictures with my patients. You think nurses light up patients' lives? No, I would say they light up ours.

Once I got a chance to act like a pregnant lady to experience how it felt like. I remember my colleagues laughing non-stop at how I looked.
Just as I became comfortable in my new career as a nurse, the idea of coming to NYP popped up again. Maybe it is fate that brought me back to NYP. After all these years, I thought there was no chance for me to come here, but when the hospital offered  me a chance to do my Advanced Diploma in Nursing (Midwifery) in NYP. I readily accepted the offer.

I am now proud to be a 'freshman'. Coming back to a school environment after working for 2.5 years can be challenging but I am certain I will be well taken care here. I've wanted to come here since I was 16 and  9 years later, I still want to be here.

This is my poly, my choice.

After 9 years, here I am, finally in my NYP Nursing uniform :)

Kelly is a first year student, pursing an Advanced Diploma in Nursing (Midwifery), who loves reading and cooking. She also likes to spend time with her friends, engaging in relaxing activities. Her friends describe her as unpredictable, spontaneous and inquisitive.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I LOVE YOU SEOUL MUCH

By Yvonne To Yi Man, Year 3, Diploma in Accountancy & Finance

Greetings readers! I know it has been quite a while since I’ve last wrote and many of you (hopefully) must be wondering where I went. Well, this article will be your answer. I am definitely excited about sharing my experience with you guys.

The School of Business Management (SBM) offers students a chance to travel abroad and spend a whole semester in a university of your choice in an exchange programme, and I chose Kyung Hee University (KHU) situated in South Korea, Seoul.

I’ve decided to write this article just like how I would write in my diary because I wouldn’t want to bore you to death with my text-book writing style and drown you in information. Besides, I am pretty sure you are well-equipped with Google, if you ever do need any additional information.

 

Kyung Hee University (KHU)

(From left) Me, Syuhada, and Abraham


















Let’s start with a picture of the lucky three of us(who are deeply grateful and thankful to be given a chance to study in KHU)  in front of the magnificent KHU administration building. I’m on the left followed by Syuhada from Business Management, and Abraham Banking and Finance. Here are more pictures of the campus!


Central Library shot at an artistic angle


Grand Peace Palace

A glimpse of how the school looks like during the fall season. Aren’t those yellow amber leaves gorgeous? Trust me, with a sight to start your day, you wouldn’t mind walking a mile to school.

Kyung Hee University offers a wide variety of modules taught by both highly qualified Korean and International professors from all around the world. My favourite professor named Louise Patterson from Canada taught me both Business Ethics and Human Resource Management. I enjoyed every lesson because each lecture encourages me to think beyond the four walls of the classroom. She touches on moral topics and how we should make the right decision when faced with a tough call during work. What I really love about her is her honesty, sincerity, cuteness and her great sense of humour. She's eccentric, but I admire her uniqueness.

I've also taken other modules like Cost Accounting taught by Professor Bonita Daly from America - she reminds me of a sweet loving grandma who bakes cookies whenever she smiles at the class. She's adorable especially when she tries to make the subject interesting with sarcastic jokes where I'll be the only one laughing.

There was once when she had a hard time figuring how to work the light switches, which are labelled in Korean. A Korean student FINALLY stood up after 10 minutes to offer her some help and she figured it out! And so.... she said this which really got me cracking, "Wow, that looks easy. I wonder is it because I'm stupid, or because (content censored)”.

I also learnt Consumer Behaviour taught by Professor Kim, and Financial Management taught by Professor Choi who studied in America when he was a lot younger. He's definitely a professor worth praising because he is patient and willing to hear students’ point of view on concepts taught, and is willing to learn from us as well.

A cosy cafĂ© that I frequent often because it’s a nice brown colour and their banana muffins are so good! I promise anyone who tries it will have a serious addiction and strong craving for it every day.


That’s us dining in a restaurant with the other exchange students.

I managed to make quite a number of Korean friends in class because of group work which was pretty exciting since it's broad based and it allows us to express our ideas freely.

It’s nice to actually sit down at the end of the day and ponder about what you have seen and experienced at your desk – nicely decorated with pictures of your loved ones.

To be honest, I didn’t miss any of my friends or family during the first month because I was engulfed by all the attractions around me – the buildings that dazzled my eyes, the foreign language that enthralled my ears, and the local food that tantalizes even the most determined dieter.

 

Public Transport



You might probably be thinking why I’ve chose public transport as a sharing topic. Well, the thing is I’m fond of the simplest things in life. I tend to notice little details in everyday life that can be explained by the pictures. Did I mention that the public transport in Seoul – especially the train – has taken up as many as 10 entries in my diary? That’s how interesting it is my friends (Nods head in agreement).



Sleeping in the train is a common sight after working hours. You’ll see working adults in their neatly pressed suits and polished shoes, young teenagers in their thick hoodies and baseball caps tilting their heads slightly to sleep or lowering their head completely on their laps with their arms folded.

The overall atmosphere in the train is mellow and seemingly quiet as it is considered rude to converse loudly, and for those who know me, I’m pretty loud so I got scolded once by an “ahjumma” (a Korean term for middle-aged woman).


However, not all ahjummas are fierce and scary because there was a romantic sight that touched my heart – the sight of an old couple going out on a date! Awwww how sweet isn’t it?!

Taking the public bus may not be as peaceful because bus rides in Seoul are SUPER bumpy and jerky.

Youngsters’ Streets


I risked my life having this shot taken in the middle of the road but it’s worth the while because I’m really satisfied with how it turned out to be.



One thing that I definitely miss is the weather in Seoul, which leads me to the next topic – Fashion. You can get really great fashion deals in places like Dongdaemun.  Even if you’re not getting any clothes, teenagers along the streets dress really well, so feel free to snap a few shots because they’re just way too appealing – especially the guys *wink*

Also, one thing that you can never miss out in Korea is their street food which I adore by the way. They are really simple dishes but what makes it different is the whole atmosphere and environment. I love how everybody crowds around a stall along the street to warm themselves up with food and spices – it really does make the food taste a lot better.



The next thing that I would like to share with you guys is the MUSIC in Korea – I am not referring to mainstream music but music by independent artistes. See that guy in the picture? Oh yes, I’ll travel all the way to Hongdae (a place known for busking), which takes me more than an hour, just to hear him sing because his voice and charisma sends me chills! He really got me mesmerized even though I don’t understand half of what he’s singing. That’s the beauty of music – having the ability to pour your emotions out.


I brought my guitar there to perform along the streets just for the fun of it, and I really enjoyed myself even though I was competing with the music blasting from speakers from the stores. Then I wondered, why can’t busking be a common thing in Singapore as well?

What I love about buskers is that they perform not for money but because they love it – it’s that simple really.

Streets in Seoul never fail to amaze me because it’s always filled with activities. One would call it a city that never sleeps. Here are a few sights that caught my attention when I was walking around.

A carousel in the middle of a bustling city, now that’s cool

 A news reporter at work.

I LOVE THIS PICTURE SO MUCH – it reminds me of how innocent we all used to be, faces filled with bright smiles from the simplest pleasures in life. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we are not happy now but we are just more “complex”.


The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants to Gyeongju

(From left) It's Heidi, me, Cindy and Candy. They are from Hong Kong :D

I SERIOUSLY MISS THEM. Anyway, let’s not dwell on that. We went to Gyeongju National Park. We were really lucky the weather and the colour of the leaves were astonishingly perfect. It’s my first time back-packing with my friends. We had no plans in mind and were walking aimlessly. We just called each other to ensure that we are all free over the weekend, and packed our bags and we are all ready to go. Somehow everything just collided together naturally.


It was as if we were fated to be together because all four of us love nature! We also decided to hike without proper shoes or maps! Hold that gasp because the fact that I’m writing this article simply means we made it through safe and sound.

Don’t you love nature?

Classic shot (:

I love this shot too, well actually I love all the shots.
I find this majestic looking.


You’re probably wondering where we spent the night. Well I’m telling you, the best place that gives you both comfort and exposure to the Korean culture at the best possible price (APPROXIMATELY NINE DOLLARS FOR UNLIMITED HOURS) is at a “Jiljimbang” (large, gender-segregated public bathhouse with sleeping quarters).

Our jiljimbang has sleeping rooms, several saunas made from various precious stones, a public shower with Jacuzzis and comfy clothes to change into!

A word of advice however, is to go with an open mind because everybody showers naked in the public toilet. Also, don’t expect queen size beds because we do need to snatch “unattended” pillows and share the sleeping room with other users.

There are of course other places we went but it’ll take me forever to tell you. All in all, you should really give it a try yourself. I shall end our Gyeongju trip with one of my favourite pictures (I’m repeating this line way too many times but the use of repetition only stresses how much I love these pictures that I am sharing with you guys) taken along the road while waiting for a bus home to our dormitory in Seoul.

 

Everland Theme Park & Kids

 


To be honest, I’ve actually been to Everland theme park three years ago with my family, so it wasn’t the rides that fascinated me because I think I’m pretty immune to the exhilaration of thrills (especially in GENTING).

It was however, the people around me that caught my attention – well, it’s the kids actually so I hope you’ll like the pictures that I am about to share.

A younger sister pleading for her older sister’s attention

A mother who embraces her son with unconditional love


A young boy caressing a sheep so ever gently – isn’t he just endearing?

Kids running around the green pastures freely

Those eyes, filled with innocence and curiousity.


Adoring mother nature. The colour and alignment of the feathers screams perfection

A couple getting a portrait done by a few street artists

Home, Family & Friends

 

Me (left) and Yixi. She's from Shanghai in China (:

That’s my room-mate on the right and I would like to thank her for all the advice and good times that we’ve been through – stretching exercises, rummaging our wardrobes for our fashion displays in the room, ordering loads of food, and studying together as well.

One of the many things that I’ve acquired from this trip is that it’s never hard to make friends or to say hi but it’s the separation that brings about tears. If you were to ask me what was the toughest of it all – It is saying goodbye to my friends who are scattered all around the world.

As much as I hate sad endings, I will probably be meeting my room-mate again when I graduate from NYP.


These jumping shots probably explain how happy and grateful we are to be able to participate in this exchange programme. The memories will be engraved deeply in our hearts because this isn’t an experience that comes knocking on your door – so if you do have an opportunity to travel or to embark on an exchange programme, GO FOR IT because I sure didn’t regret it at all.


I started with this quote for my application essay and I’ll end this article with that same quote as well to conclude it.
“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page” - Saint Augustine.

I would love to finish this book that I am currently reading. Wouldn’t you want to finish it as well?

Yvonne is a student studying Accountancy and Finance who enjoys travelling and making music. She is currently trying really hard to save a huge sum of money as she aims to travel as much as she can when she graduate. She loves to read JOHN GREEN books and making random music covers with her friends or brothers at home during her free time.