Mabel Tan

Not Enough Time?

Do you feel like there just aren’t enough hours in a day to accomplish the tasks you set out to do?

You are not alone. As a part-time degree student holding a 9 to 5 job, I have to admit that my daily life can get pressurising, even stressful, especially when deadlines simultaneously mount up at work and school.

Because I don’t get the luxury of having less to do - only less time to do - I have adopted the following time-wealth optimisation techniques to tame this ever-present frenemy of ours: (Read More Here!)

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Realising Urban Dreams

Our growing population in land-scarce Singapore means that the need for creative urban planning is now, more than ever, taking centre stage. Meet two recipients of the URA Undergraduate Scholarship who are part of the agency that is actively shaping our environment.

Left: Nicholas Li | Right: Teo Tsu-Lyn

By Mabel Tan

“I believe that people make the city, and the city shapes the people living in it. Hence, urban planning is the fundamental aspect of this constant interaction,” Teo Tsu-Lyn says.

The 24-year-old Urban Planner with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) believes that good urban planning is about balancing people’s needs with the city’s spatial constraints. Crucially, it is also about putting people at the heart of this planning process.

Complementing urban planning is urban design; this is where 27-year-old Nicholas Li, an
architect with URA, comes in. Urban design guides the design of buildings and how it relates to its surroundings, and enhances the quality of the urban landscape.
Both Tsu-Lyn and Nicholas share the common objective of enhancing the quality of the urban scene with their planning and design skills.

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The Voyage to Personal Victory

Left: Patricia Chua | Right: Biondie Phua

Passion is not always spontaneously stoked, but forged out of an open mind, as two scholars from MPA can attest to. We speak to them and discover a world behind containers and ships in which they place their hope for the future.

By Mabel Tan

Like many young students, Patricia Chua and Biondi Phua did not have a clear idea on which career path to explore. However, fate had other plans. A combination of fate and rigorous research resulted in both of them realising the maritime industry ticked all their checkboxes. It was only natural that they gravitated towards the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) Overseas Scholarship.

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Changing Lives Through Innovation

Top: Huang Liang | Bottom: Ng Choon Guang

Singapore is one of the most connected countries in the world, with more than 80% of the population possessing an Internet broadband connection. And the industry is taking even more rapid strides towards becoming a global infocomm hub, with companies such as HP Labs, IBM and Oracle setting up critical IT functions in Singapore to serve the region. Two National Infocomm Scholarship recipients share their ventures into the burgeoning frontier of technology.

By Mabel Tan

Unlike other revolutions that happen once, the world of technology is constantly experiencing revolution, rapidly evolving from one stage to the next. In the 1990s, the Internet was just a budding technological discovery. Today, the Internet has become an essential and central component of our lives.

25-year-old Ng Choon Guang, a Systems Engineer from Avaya, admitted that he never thought the world would be as connected as it is today.

Choon Guang: “In the past, IT was solely used by enterprises. But with the rise of Wi-Fi and instant messaging systems, the Internet has become a global village, connecting people from around the world. The infocomm industry is fast-moving and rapidly growing as technology becomes more ‘consumerised’. To me, this is really exciting!”

An example of a consumer technology set to be launched in Singapore by mid-2012 is the Near Field Communications (NFC) mobile payment project, adds 29-year-old NFC Project Manager Huang Liang, who is an Assistant Manager at the Finance, Tourism, and Business Services Department with the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA).

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Green Pursuit

Left: Ang Chye Peng | Right: Aqil Esmail

Environmental advocates all over the world are clamouring for people to control the rapid depletion of environmental resources in efforts to secure the future of mankind. We speak to two public officers from NEA and PUB to find out what Singapore is doing.

By Mabel Tan

Over the past decades, humankind has faced the threat of possible self-destruction. While the indisputable idea of development may seem oxymoronic to sustainability, there is an impending need to mitigate the eco-toxic effects of environmental pollutants that have accumulated in our ecosystem.

“Climate change is happening as a result of uncontrolled human activity, such as rapid deforestation and widespread use of fossil fuels in power stations,” 30-year-old Ang Chye Peng says.

The Acting Senior Manager of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Department at the National Environment Agency (NEA) adds, “If we don’t act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change, we may experience more extreme temperatures, heat waves and more frequent heavy rainfall in all cities, including Singapore.”

24-year-old Aqil Esmail, a Master’s degree holder in Economics and Senior Officer at the3P Network Department of national water agency PUB, agrees fully with Chye Peng.

“We have to work towards self-sustainability. But at the same time, we have to minimise the impact that it has on the environment,” says the London School of Economics alumnus.

Save the Environment, Save the Earth

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War of the Words

Many students enter a degree programme with no clue of what to expect. Some flounder and some survive but what matters most, according to one Law student, is finding your path by the time you graduate from the programme.

By Mabel Tan

If you are an aspiring lawyer, like 20-year-old Zeslene Mao, she has the one piece of advice for you: You really can’t tell how much you’ll like law school until you’re in it.

The NUS Undergraduate (Merit) Scholar initially wanted to major in English Literature but was convinced otherwise by her parents, who thought having a Law degree would be a better option.

Despite her initial apprehensions, the second-year Bachelor of Law student is now having the time of her life in university.

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Realising Urban Dreams


Our growing population in land-scarce Singapore means that the need for creative urban planning is now, more than ever, taking centre stage. Meet two recipients of the URA Undergraduate Scholarship who are part of the agency that is actively shaping our environment.

By Mabel Tan

“I believe that people make the city, and the city shapes the people living in it. Hence, urban planning is the fundamental aspect of this constant interaction,” Teo Tsu-Lyn says.

The 24-year-old Urban Planner with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) believes that good urban planning is about balancing people’s needs with the city’s spatial constraints. Crucially, it is also about putting people at the heart of this planning process.

Complementing urban planning is urban design; this is where 27-year-old Nicholas Li, an architect with URA, comes in. Urban design guides the design of buildings and how it relates to its surroundings, and enhances the quality of the urban landscape.

Both Tsu-Lyn and Nicholas share the common objective of enhancing the quality of the urban scene with their planning and design skills.

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X-ray visions


Radiographers play an essential role to modern healthcare. Being involved in the early phases of diagnosis, they make it possible for patients start their track to recovery. We speak to 3+1 Health Science Scholar Azhar Samsudin about his work experience as a radiographer.

By Mabel Tan

“Did you know that it’s completely safe to stand two metres away from the X-ray machine?” Azhar Samsudin, a Radiographer at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital shares. “Many people don’t know that. When people think about X-ray, they think about harmful rays.”
In fact, according to the cheerful Azhar, we are exposed to a much higher dose of radiation while going about our daily activities than by standing in front of an X-ray machine.

“A walk under the sun is equivalent to taking ten chest X-rays. And a 4-hour plane ride is equivalent to taking a few hundred X-rays! At such a high altitude, you’ll be exposed to radiation from satellites, hand phone signals, and the environment,” the 25-year-old reveals.

If you have a passion for helping patients and possess an interest in the human anatomy, a career in radiography may be your calling. Azhar, who recently graduated with a Bachelor in Medical Radiation Imaging from the University of Newcastle, shares his experience.

Why did you pursue radiography in school?
Azhar: Actually, I didn’t choose radiography; radiography chose me. (Laughs) Post-junior college, I wanted to pursue a field of study related to my two best ‘A’ level subjects – physics and biology. In radiology, we learn about the technical aspects of the machines, such as how an X-rayed image is formed, which is related to physics. We also study the human anatomy, which is related to biology.

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Against All Odds


Left: Lexis Teo | Right: Timothy Tan

Life insurance offers dual benefits of savings and security. Yet the industry is often misconceived by the public. We speak to two representatives from Great Eastern to find out how they overcome this challenge posed by society.

By Mabel Tan

Insurance agents hold a tough but rewarding career. They face countless rejections from people who don’t know any better and might face scepticism from their peers who have preconceived notions about their job.

Yet, insurance continues to thrive in Singapore and is now a billion-dollar industry. This pie will only become bigger in the future as the country grows.

Meet two Great Eastern representatives who have managed to thrive in their career and are now reaping the rewards of their hard work and labour.

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Engineering The Rise Of A Dream


How far will you go in your pursuit for academic growth and self-actualisation? For Gan Theng Huat, the perseverance has certainly been worthwhile as he and his team witnessed the recent launch of Singapore’s first ever indigenous microsatellite, the X-SAT, into space.

By Mabel Tan

Established in 1972, DSO National Laboratories is one of Singapore’s premier national defence research and development (R&D) organisations for national defence.
With more than 1,000 research scientists and engineers, its mission is to sharpen the cutting edge of Singapore’s national security via new technologies and out-of-the-box solutions.

Through positive core values that emphasise the spirit of ‘learning by doing’, DSO aims to become a wellspring of technological knowledge, a fountain of innovation, and an inspiration to the R&D community in Singapore.

One of DSO’s innovative initiatives was the X-SAT, Singapore’s first ever indigenous microsatellite. Built in collaboration with Nanyang Technological University (NTU), the satellite was successfully launched on 20 April 2011. Research Engineer Gan Theng Huat reveals how he helped in this momentous project.

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