CHIuXiD 2017: Students’ Work On Sungei Road Flea Market Secure Second Place in Global Design Challenge

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.

Join Assistant Prof Jude Yew and the team in their Indonesian adventure by visiting the gallery!


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.

Student Videographer: Do millennial women in Singapore struggle with work-life balance?

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.

Student Showcase: An Uncertain Future Visualised and Explained Through Fiction

One of the many possible futures imagined by CNM students

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

Student Showcase: Speaking from the Heart


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.

The next Sekha Session will be held on 5th April 2017 (Wednesday), at HealthServe Tai Seng Centre. Engage our cause by following these social media pages at Facebook and Instagram.


This is part of the SocialMedia+SocialGood+SocialChange series, where students from the Social Media module (NM4881A) facilitated by NUS’ Department of Communications and New Media (CNM) were tasked with developing creative, compelling and socially-conscious campaigns. We charts the extraordinary journeys of six groups who share a common dream for social good and social change.

Student Showcase: Project Willing Hearts- What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?


We are often caught up in pursuits that we believe are significant- whether they are earning more money to secure a better life, or striving for success in our schools and offices. We’re told that success is everything. That what we leave behind defines who we are. At Project #IAmWilling, CNM students Yu Ru, Valerie Goh, Cindy Teo, Jeong Soo, Yanru, Nicole Lim and Lee Yin pose this question: What Is Your Legacy?

What if our legacy was built on the impact that we make on other people’s lives? Perhaps what is most important is not how many mentions we receive in the newspaper, or the amount of money in our bank accounts. Perhaps, what will last for a lifetime is the difference we make in our society. Perhaps it is giving someone a reason to smile, or providing food for people who struggle with putting the next meal on the table.

Willing Hearts is a soup kitchen in Singapore that prepares, cooks, and deliver meals to over 5,000 Singaporeans who fall through the cracks. These are the people we might meet on the train, or on the streets but pass by without a thought. These are the people we don’t see, the people we choose not to see.

The project believes that by plugging into the work that Willing Hearts is involved in, Singapore’s youths can begin to see the needs that are so prevalent yet invisible in the Singapore community. It aims to inspire a spirit of care in youths, through social media (@ProjectIAmWilling). By demonstrating that volunteer work is relevant- even in today’s age- the project wants youths to know that no matter how small they think their actions are, they can, and will be able to make an impact – on their family, the people around them, and the people who need it most.


This is part of the SocialMedia+SocialGood+SocialChange series, where students from the Social Media module (NM4881A) facilitated by NUS’ Department of Communications and New Media (CNM) were tasked with developing creative, compelling and socially-conscious campaigns. We charts the extraordinary journeys of six groups who share a common dream for social good and social change.

Student Showcase: Vanishing Trades of Singapore- If Not Now, Then When

Mdm Tan Kah Mui, owner of Gan Cheng Chuan Kim Kee Tea Merchant.

There are many things in our lives that seemingly do not matter. Often, they really don’t; we neither remember these things fondly nor are they part of our daily routine. Yet, when they disappear, we are still confronted with the fact that they are gone. Though we might not feel a great sense of loss, we are frequently left with a nagging feeling that they are gone.

Mdm Lee, owner of Pow Li Blade Sharpening

Working with the themes of memory and loss, Vanishing Trades of Singapore is a campaign celebrating the many trades that may soon disappear from the streets of Singapore. Through photos and videos that evoke in viewers a sober thoughtfulness, the campaign seeks to promote appreciation of these trades as important aspects of our cultural heritage to the public.

Wife of Mr Tan Boon Heong, owner of Lam Yeo Coffee Powder.

Mr Lee, owner of Xin Xiang Barber Salon

Look out for our exhibition, which will be held at:

Date: 30th March 2017
Time: 10am – 5pm
Venue: NUS AS 6 Walkway benches


This is part of the SocialMedia+SocialGood+SocialChange series, where students from the Social Media module (NM4881A) facilitated by NUS’ Department of Communications and New Media (CNM) were tasked with developing creative, compelling and socially-conscious campaigns. We charts the extraordinary journeys of six groups who share a common dream for social good and social change.

Student Showcase: Making Every Grain of Rice Count

Project R.I.C.E.+ (@ProjectRICEplus) is a nation-wide annual food aid project organised by the Singapore Red Cross’ Youth Chapter. It aims to provide beneficiaries with food and other daily necessities.

 

As part of the fundraising and volunteer recruitment campaign for Project R.I.C.E.+ 2017, @CNMnus students from NM4881A: Social Media applied their skills and bold imagination to design creative materials to increase awareness of Project R.I.C.E.+, and to enhance the knowledge of young adults towards the plight of the underprivileged in Singapore.

This campaign aims to encourage a larger number of young adults to step forward and contribute to Project R.I.C.E.+’s causes. A fundraising and volunteer recruitment event will be held at:

Date: 29th and 30th March 2017
Time: 10am – 6pm
Venue: NUS Central Library walkway and NUS Faculty of Science, Lecture Theatre 25

Engage us through our Facebook and Instagram spaces.


This is part of the SocialMedia+SocialGood+SocialChange series, where students from the Social Media module (NM4881A) facilitated by NUS’ Department of Communications and New Media (CNM) were tasked with developing creative, compelling and socially-conscious campaigns. We charts the extraordinary journeys of six groups who share a common dream for social good and social change.

Raising Funds to Restore Respect for Foreign Domestic Workers, One Bucket at a Time

NUS CNM students raise $1000 for “Respect our Rights” CARE campaign

Students from the NM4217 Advanced Communications Campaign class rallied together for a self-initiated car wash event on 2 March 2017, raising $1000 to execute the third phase of the “Respect our Rights” campaign for NUS’ Centre for Culture-Centred Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE).

With the campaign tagline “Different Jobs, Same Respect”, this phase of the campaign aims to convey the message that employers should respect the rights of Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) the same way they themselves deserve.

For eight hours, with buckets of water, soap, and sponges in hand, students worked in teams and sought support for the campaign cause from car owners at the NUS Science carpark.

Each car owner received a clean car, a thank you note, an information leaflet on MOM guidelines, and an invitation to the campaign’s upcoming roadshow. Despite the intermittent rain, the students remained in high spirits and achieved their fundraising goal.

Information leaflet on MOM guidelines to hiring foreign domestic workers

 

Thank you note to car owners

 

Tay Lin, who headed the car wash initiative, expressed, “Everyone’s hard work under the sun really paid off. The camaraderie was amazing because everyone was really working together towards one single goal, to restore respect for the foreign domestic workers”.

The car owners who represented NUS staff and students responded positively to our request.  They expressed their support through words of encouragement; some donated over and above the $10 cleaning charge; and, one went the extra mile to buy juice and chocolates for the car washing students.

Module coordinator, Sameer Deshpande, shared the appreciation and commitment of his students. In his words, “we the members of NM4217 are delighted to partner with NUS CARE to address the important cause of restoring rights of FDWs in Singapore. Students of this module are striving hard to design and deliver a high quality campaign. When we realized that we were short of funds, students proposed and delivered on the idea of car washing fundraising event. I am confident that we will maintain our enthusiasm in the coming weeks and similarly deliver effective outcomes”.

The “Respect our Rights: Different Jobs, Same Respect” campaign roadshow will be held on the 8th and 9th of April from 9.30am-9pm at NEX and Tampines Mall. To follow the campaign, visit the official campaign Facebook page at facebook.com/FDWRespectOurRights.

 

Student Showcase: Bridge, Share, Care

Students from the Social Media module (NM4881A) facilitated by NUS’ Department of Communications and New Media (CNM) were tasked with developing creative, compelling and socially-conscious campaigns. In this weekly SocialMedia+SocialGood+SocialChange series, the CNM blog charts the extraordinary journeys of six groups who share a common dream for social good and social change.

PART 1: Bridge, Share, Care

We are a group of 7 NUS Communications and New Media (CNM) Undergraduates: Rachael, Wan Rong, Charis, Catherine, Veldas, Yvonne and Yao Yao. As part of our project for NM4881A (Topics in Media Studies: Social Media), we are collaborating with a non-profit organisation, the Netherlands Charity Association (NCA), to raise awareness about the underprivileged in Singapore.

Established in 1968, NCA is run by a group of expats who wish to give back to the Singapore community by helping the underprivileged. They work directly with several non-profit organizations such as The Breadline Group, H.O.M.E., Singapore Leprosy Relief Association, The Good Shepherd Centre, Project Pari; and consistently source for volunteers to help charities such as Willing Hearts, MINDS, and Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home.

For our online campaign, we have been creating content (videos and articles) based on interviews held with the various beneficiaries of NCA (@nca.singapore).

For our offline campaign, we will be holding a fundraising event on the 25th of March, Saturday, from 10am – 6pm at the Tampines Mall Promenade Linkway (Linkway between Tampines Mall and Century square). The aims of the event are:

  • Raise awareness about NCA and its beneficiaries
  • Fundraising for NCA
  • Volunteer recruitment drive for NCA and/or its beneficiaries

During the event, media stories-  which will include video interviews and slideshows– will be played. There will also be awareness booths run by NCA and its 5 beneficiaries. There, volunteers will share more about the causes that the charity supports. Finally, there will be message boards present for the public to write notes of encouragement for each of the charities involved in the event.

We hope to see you there! RSVP at https://www.facebook.com/events/391317111245347/