At the age of three, Naufal was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a condition that causes him to experience a gradual decline in his vision over time. After struggling with bullying and identity issues in his childhood, Naufal finds strength and confidence in life through power-lifting, bowling, and tremendous support from his loved ones. He hopes to encourage people who are going through similar challenges that things will always get better no matter how difficult it seems, and that there is always something to be thankful for in life.
According to The Straits Times, 7 in 10 parents send their children for tuition. However, Singapore is recently moving towards a trend where parents themselves are attending tuition to help their children in their studies. We spoke to the founder of Genius Young Minds, one of the first tuition centres in Singapore which started offering this programme, to find out more.
It was a meaningful two days of building awareness and garnering pledges in support of the welfare rights of Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) in Singapore. The Respect Our Rights: Different Jobs, Same Respect campaign roadshow was held on 8 and 9 April 2017 at Tampines Mall and NEX Shopping Centre.
Initiated by forty-two final-year Communications and New Media students from the National University of Singapore, the roadshow was a result of 12 weeks of preparation over the semester.
The roadshow garnered 1,234 pledges from Singaporeans, who each received a free goodie bag filled with goodies such as a decal with the pledge, as well as a cup of coffee for them to bring home. Every coffee cup was stamped with the words I Respect My Foreign Domestic Worker while each goodie bag had a sticker that served as a reminder to the 3 things that pledge-takers committed to. The 3 things included:
- Giving their FDWs a weekly day off,
- Not confiscating their FDW’s phone, and
- Not keeping their passport if it is against their will
A Ministry of Manpower (MOM) representative attended the event as a Guest-of-Honour to show support for the cause. Head of National University of Singapore (NUS) Communications and New Media Department, and the founding director of NUS’s Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE), Professor Mohan J Dutta, began the opening ceremony with a welcoming address to participants.
Professor Mohan J Dutta said,
The 3.0 version of Respect Our Rights continues to push for creating spaces for listening to the voices of foreign domestic workers in Singapore. The campaign invites employers to consider the importance of treating foreign domestic workers with respect and encourages simple yet important behaviours.
A highlight of the event, the photo story exhibition featuring real stories shared by FDWs, attracted significant attention from the crowd, who responded by writing encouragement notes to share their love and support to FDWs in Singapore. Informational displays were also present to educate FDW employers on the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) guidelines on the rights of FDWs in Singapore.
Singapore is known to be a conservative Asian society which upholds values such as abstinence from sex only until after marriage. However, in a recent survey done by the Institute of Policy Studies, 1 in every 2 Singapore residents do not feel that pre-marital sex is bad. Are these figures reflective of how the Singaporean society actually views this topic? Taught and guided by Mr Kenneth Tan, students from the New Media Production and Public Engagement module take to the streets to find out!
Step into the NUS Central Library, and you’ll catch some arresting exhibits, put up by students and faculty from the NUS Communications and New Media’s (CNM) Cultural Communication and Creative Expression module. Emerging from a 13-week course that got students visiting cultural spaces, museums and media organisations to understand the variety of mediums through which culture is portrayed, the exhibition showcases several important themes:
- Singapore Identity and Representation
- Story Telling through Culture, Agency, Structure
- A Woman on Strings
- Vietnamese Woman: Painting Augmented Reality
1. Singapore Identity and Representation
A combination of field trips, library resources and classroom learning on concepts such as Representation, Agency, Power, Structure, Othering, Identity, Erasure, Voice and Perspective guide students to create a compelling vehicle for communication. The resulting exhibition, immediately available at the lobby of NUS Central Library, demonstrates the students’ creative interpretation of the different cultural facets of Singapore, all done through storytelling, visual art, film, photography and the interactive technologies of web 2.0.
2. Story Telling through Culture, Agency, Structure
The exhibition is fundamentally an exercise in storytelling in which students produce a customised experiential Digital Book from start to finish. Students weave together key milestones like story development, text design, editing, proofreading, page layouts, colour correction, cover design, photography, art direction, and creating the Digital Ready-to-Print File.
Because CNM has always focused on real-world impact and community development, students undertake intensive research into cultural identities and the impact that policies have on them. Eventually, such research are compiled into a storytelling format for the digital book medium, where innovative multimedia can be added to increase engagement.
3. A Woman On Strings
Amrita Deshpande’s photo exhibit, uniquely dangled from the ceiling, tackles the issue of women’s identity. Women are often labelled in terms of their looks and judged from the clothes and ornaments they put on. These symbols may go on to define the woman’s character and identity. Most of these symbols are culturally-rooted. Some are cultivated by -isms. A few are her own confused symbols while others are blindly inherited. Her identity is thus built on an other’s perspective. The exhibit questions if there is a space in the contemporary world for her to be her own self? Or will she always be on strings that will define her at the expense of her own voice?
4. Vietnamese Woman: Painting Augmented Reality
With the rapid advance in mobile technology, handheld devices are set to replace clunky computers. The wide and often free availability of apps makes it easy to create new media for new purposes.
The Painting AR experiment showcases one such application. It allows media producers to tell a story using multimedia connected via mobile technology. The painting, which is a traditional medium, thus comes into the context of new medium via this experiment.
The thought-provoking exhibit seeks to combine diverse elements of storytelling, a painting and a mobile augmented reality app into a unified experience.
Engage With CNM Students During Lunch Breaks and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Open House
Hear directly from the students’ inspiring experience in developing their projects during Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Open House on 20 May.
Students will also be available at Lunch Breaks on the following days:
watch this space for more information
According to a recent survey by Match, 65% of men have been asked out by a woman before. In a country that often describes itself as conservative, this trend seems to challenge Singapore’s dating norms. Watch this short documentary made by students from NUS Communications and New Media to find out some surprising truths.
Land is scarce in Singapore. While modernisation has benefited a large swathe of the population, some parts of it are either forgotten or put aside. Take the Sungei Road Flea Market (see where) for example. With a history that’s just a decade shy of a century, the venerable market will finally be dismantled in July 2017. Its permanent closure threatens the livelihoods of vendors, many of them members of the pioneer generation who had helped build up the country from its swampy origins to its present first-world sprawl. When interviewed, some vendors were optimistic about future plans. Too many expressed resignation over the prospect of being forced to retire.
Options offered by the authorities may help, but a team of ambitious interaction design students from NUS Department of Communications and New Media (CNM) decided to take up the challenge of going further to ensure a sustainable future for the vendors.
Through exposure to theory and practice, CNM students learn to work with communuties to develop solutions that would not only be tremendously impactful, but also driven by social conscience.
When asked what inspired the team to even start the project, all agreed that it was a shared passion to reduce the amount of waste generated by Singaporeans. The team quickly realised, however, that they were not alone. Many like-minded Singaporeans were already doing their part in conserving the environment by reusing, recycling and repairing pre-loved goods. The team’s research eventually led them to the hub of used products that was the Sungei Road Flea Market. The market’s darker nickname- Thieves Market– is a misnomer, because vendors typically trade in goods that they obtain from different sources like unwanted/donated goods or the beloved karang guni (rag-and-bone) men who patrol residential estates.
The vendors contribute to the larger sustainability ecosystem by re-circulating goods back into the marketplace rather than into the junkyard and incinerators. The impending closure of the flea market inspired the team to create Sungei Treasures, a hybrid digital-physical solution that would help Sungei Road vendors to continue their business beyond the loss of the flea market.
Although toys are the solution’s main commodity, the team hopes to include other goods and products too. Initial tests have been positive, and aptly demonstrates CNM’s emphasis on drawing from the students’ different backgrounds and disciplines to co-create solutions.
Learn more about the team’s efforts to help stricken vendors overcome the challenges of losing their livelihoods.
The project’s potential did not go unnoticed by the international panel at The 3rd ACM In Coop International Conference in HCI and UX. After a grilling round of presentation and evaluation, the team secured a place in the top three global design projects. The achievement is all the greater because the CNM team represents the first Singaporean university to win accolades at the conference.
The team comprises Tin Wei Yang, Sharmaine Sie, Edward Chu and Joseph Cheng, and is part of the interactive design coursework overseen by Assistant Professor Jude Yew.
Millennial women in Singapore are financially independent, career-driven, highly educated. Yet, many of them play multiple roles of wives and mothers. In a report, 57% of working mothers listed work-life balance as a key challenge. Do millennial women struggle to balance their career and family? As part of their coursework, students from the Department of Communications and New Media hit the ground to find out more.
Ever wondered what the world will be like decades, or even centuries from now? One thing is for sure, the inexorable forces of climate change is going to have an impact on how we live, where we live, and most importantly, what we are going to live for. In a unique exhibition of prototypes that challenge our fondest ideas, CNM students from the Design Fiction module explore the Frontiers of Ecological Interaction, and take you on a journey rarely imagined.
Science fiction-type storyworlds are presented through the creation of interactive, futuristic objects that aim to provoke important discussions on our precarious future. Learn how CNM students begin to explore today’s technology, and the issues that arise between man’s actions and the natural world, through interactive objects, performances and believable storyworlds.
Come see the exhibition, and tell us what is your own vision of the future…
Date: Wednesday, 12 April 2017
Time: 9:30 AM – 12:00 NOON
Venue: University Town main courtyard
Since 2014, the media has reported on rising anti-foreigner sentiments in Singapore. Migrant construction workers bear the brunt of such xenophobia. Through a recent trip to HealthServe– a non-profit organisation that campaigns for migrant workers in Singapore- a group of CNM students discovered many migrant workers who were attempting to learn English and Mandarin, to better understand their Singaporean employers and the community.
The students started a campaign called Heart Speak (@HeartSpeakNUS), which aims to empower migrant workers by inviting them to teach and share their language with Singaporeans instead. In this way, Heart Speak strives to forge deeper integration between Singaporeans and migrant workers through…language.
Bengali language workshops- the Sekha Sessions– were developed. They provide Singaporeans with a free platform to learn conversational Bengali from the migrant workers themselves.