Jump-starting her career: How teen lands dream poly course even before her O-level exams (12 May 2022)

"While most people of her age are just starting to think about their future careers, this teenager is already paving the path towards her dream job of becoming a video game concept artist. When she was in Secondary 2, Siti Nur Khadijah set her sights on pursuing her passion in video games and art, and decided that she wanted apply for a diploma course at Republic Polytechnic (RP) via the Early Admissions Exercise (EAE) in her graduating year.

Her foresight and forward planning paid off when she was in Secondary 4. Through EAE, Khadijah was offered a conditional place at Republic Polytechnic’s Diploma in Design for Games & Gamification course, even before she took her O-level exams in 2020."

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Minor Issues: How to build up the confidence of children (15 May 2022)

"SINGAPORE - One of the key moments for parents is to witness their children stand and take their first steps.

I may not remember the dates of the first steps taken by each of my five children, but I recall the joy, pride and excitement as well as the uncertainty of letting go."

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Strong in a CCA or leadership skills? DSA could suit you (15 May 2022)

"SINGAPORE - In his last year of secondary school, Rashleigh Tho did not know where he wanted to go after his O levels or if there was a particular polytechnic course he was keen on pursuing.

But he knew that his passion was basketball."

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Fun With Kids: Overnight camp at the airport, JungleGirl Mia book (15 May 2022)

"SINGAPORE - Make family time all the more special with these ideas and activities.

Bond: A Night At The Airport family camp

Go camping in air-conditioned comfort at the Changi Experience Studio in Jewel Changi Airport during the June school holidays."

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This leadership coach teaches bosses to be more empathetic during the pandemic (17 May 2022)

"During the pandemic, leadership coach Ian Tan observed an uptick in requests for coaching and workshops on resilience training, trust building, mental well-being and organisational health.

“Over the past two years, workers have been facing more stress, loneliness and burnout. This has highlighted the importance of employee welfare and well-being, and given rise to a renewed focus on human-centred leadership’,” Mr Tan notes."

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17-year-old is Singapore’s fastest in mental multiplication (18 May 2022)

"SINGAPORE - When Hwa Chong Institution student Wee Sue Yin was four years old, instructors at her mental arithmetic enrichment class discovered she had an innate ability to understand numbers.

By the age of six, she had been crowned world champion in mental arithmetic in the Mental Arithmetic Online International Competition in Taiwan. Now, she has been recognised by the Singapore Book of Records (SBOR) as the nation’s fastest in mental multiplication."

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SMU and e-commerce firm Synagie to launch 60 new modules for adults to learn e-commerce skills (18 May 2022)

"SINGAPORE - Adult learners hoping to upgrade themselves can sign up for a clutch of new modules to learn e-commerce skills from the second half of this year.

The 60 new modules will be run by SMU Academy - the professional training arm of the Singapore Management University - and Synagie Commerce Academy, by e-commerce company Synagie."

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P1 registration for 2023 will open on June 29, non-priority places doubled (19 May 2022)

"SINGAPORE - Primary 1 registration for next year will open on June 29, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Thursday (May 19).

The registration exercise will be conducted online - as it has been for the past two years - and there will not be any in-person registration at schools, said MOE on its website."

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What happened when I stopped nagging my kids (1 April 2022)

"For two weeks, Tee Hun Ching forced herself to explore alternatives to sounding like a broken recorder… So, did chaos reign or did mummy realise that her reminders are not as indispensable as she believed? She shares the results of her experiment.

Communication with my two kids had taken on an unsettling pattern over the past year. Whenever I started stating something they should be doing or have done, they would cut me off with a sullen “I know”, drawing out the “ohhhh” bit to emphasise their annoyance. In fact, just calling their names sometimes was enough to provoke an irritated “Whaaat?”.

The ensuing exchanges usually ended in an unhappy impasse: I would tick them off about their “bad attitude” and they would accuse me of being “so annoying”. My standard retort – “I keep saying the same things because you keep not doing them, even though you keep saying you know” – would then be met with eye-rolling.

So as the new school year dawned, I told my kids – an increasingly assertive 14-year-old and his equally unyielding 11-year-old sister – that I would be trying a “no nag” approach for two weeks. Since they are old enough to know what needs to be done and when, I would tell them to do or not do something at most once. If my demands go unheeded, they would have to bear the consequences, which would vary according to the tasks or infractions.

“For instance, if I find you fiddling with your phone when you’re supposed to be doing your homework…” “You would buy me a new phone,” quipped my daughter before I could bore her with the familiar threat of confiscating their devices.

The experiment would reveal if they are really as sensible, disciplined and organised as they believe, or if my reminders are as indispensable as I think. After two weeks of exercising heroic restraint, this was what I learnt."

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Is it a ‘waste’ not to enrol my child in my alma mater? (4 April 2022)

"Some parents jump through hoops to secure a spot for their child in their preferred primary school. Writer and mother-of-two Eveline Gan had alumni priority as an old girl of a school her mother went to as well. She shares why she decided to forgo the privilege for convenience when selecting a primary school for her daughters.

With around 180 primary schools in Singapore to choose from, there is no lack of choices for children starting formal education.

However, with choice comes decisions, so depending on a parent’s expectations and preferences, the Primary One Registration Exercise can either be a nail-biting experience or just another ordinary day.

I would know, having gone through this rite of passage as a parent to two girls aged 15 and nine years old.

When my firstborn started primary school, I was new to the Primary One Registration Exercise. I recall experiencing vacillating emotions of nervousness (“oh dear, what forms do I need to fill in? What happens if I miss the registration?”) and relative calm (“ohm, come what may”).

There was also self-doubt (“what if we made the wrong school choice?”). This was because my husband and I made the decision not to enrol our daughter in my alma mater – an all-girl’s school with secondary school affiliation. This came as a surprise to some people around us, as enrolling to an alma mater puts one in at Phase 2A – the second-earliest registration phase of the Registration Exercise – which would have given us a distinct advantage of securing a place in a school of our choice.

As all the girls in the family, including Grandma, studied in all-girls’ schools, there was also pressure to continue the family tradition. But I had other considerations in mind."

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Questioning everyday things: Parenting principles for developing your child’s curiosity (6 April 2022)

"Young children are naturally curious. The challenge is tuning into their curiosity and letting it guide every experience and interaction you have with them as a parent. Eddy Teo, a father of two and senior engineering manager at Dyson, shares some parenting principles.

How did you react to the last question your child asked? Did you ignore it, or answer the question? And how did you frame your answer? Did you perhaps encourage them to search for the answers themselves?

If, like me, you believe in raising curious children, you might have realised that children learn best from asking questions and seeking out answers themselves.

As a father of two primary school-going children, my wife and I have adopted a few parenting principles. This means sticking by them, including embracing our children’s barrage of questions, or having to frequently disassemble (and reassemble) household items, such as gaming controllers (old ones preferably) and computer mice – all to inculcate a sense of curiosity.

1. There are no silly questions

As adults, we tend to forget what it is like to experience the world as a child – where everything seems so peculiar, and where everything just seems to work like ”magic”. Asking questions is therefore a natural way through which children express their curiosity – their desire to learn how things work, and why things work a certain way.

It may be tempting to give responses to the tune of ‘it’s just the way it is’, or to give them a cursory answer – but don’t miss these perfect opportunities to encourage the natural, hard-wired curiosity in our children. Don’t be afraid to take the time to explain simple, everyday concepts to them and perhaps gather the family to research whether perpetual energy machines actually work! These are opportunities to discover concepts such as the law of conservation of energy – how energy can neither be created nor destroyed – only converted from one form to another."

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No silly questions in this Science research programme (12 April 2022)

"Sembawang Secondary School runs a Science Research Programme for students to find answers to practically any question they can imagine. We check out four research projects, ranging from “How long should I cook my vegetables?” to “Does pouring hot water sound different from cold water?” No kidding!

By Lee Qing Ping

Which toothpaste has the best whitening effects? Should you use baking soda or baking powder to bake your cake? Does the temperature of water affect how it sounds when it’s poured? These are curious science questions that students dive into at Sembawang Secondary School’s Science Research Programme.

Accessible by all Secondary 1 to 3 students, the open inquiry model – where no question is too silly – allows students to satisfy their curiosity. With the scientific approach, guidance from teachers, and lots of perseverance, the students test and find answers to their chosen research questions.

If you’d like to learn the answers to the above questions for yourself, read on.

1. Which raising agent makes the softest cake?

“Our team enjoys baking and we observed that different recipes called for different raising agents, but weren’t sure why,” says Kaushikashree Tamilko, Secondary 4 this year. Together with her teammates, Onyekaba Regina, Gonzago Pamela Malar, and Syed Leerun Raizal Al-Edrus, they had set out to gain a deeper understanding of raising agents such as baking powder.

With some research, they learnt that the type of raising agents used in baking can affect the density, springiness and firmness of cakes. Their experiments studied these three variables and four different types of raising agents: single-acting baking powder, double-acting baking powder, a mixture of both, and baking soda.

Their results: The cakes they baked with double-acting baking powder were significantly springier, softer, and less dense than other cakes."

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At home with STEM: Thrills, spills, and skills (19 April 2022)

"For Samuel Eio, DIY science kits not only taught his daughter scientific concepts, but also video-making, communication, confidence, and the glittering virtue of patience. In this article, the Science Centre educator dives into his recent father-daughter crystal-growing adventure.

By Samuel Eio

Living with an 8-year-old can be challenging, especially during weekends. It is the constant wishing for something fun to do that seems to be daunting.

Some parents may work around this “challenge” by scheduling a rigorous weekend programme that includes enrichment and recreation. But for parents, like myself, who prefer to leave things unscheduled and more ad hoc, fret not, there are plenty of do-it-yourself learning kits and informal education programmes in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to keep your young learner engaged and wanting more.

Despite being a STEM 'professional' and having the opportunity to check out many interesting STEM educational products, I am basically like any parent who wishes to engage his child meaningfully and keep them away from excessive screen time.

Daddy, can you please get me that…?

After a visit to a local museum, we saw a crystal-growing set at the gift shop. I fumbled for some excuse and managed to avoid the impulse buy. But somehow, the idea of forming those glittering gem-like structures at home seemed too hard to shake off.

One morning (some six months later) on the way to school, my child asked, “Daddy, if I do well for my next test, can you please buy me that crystal growing set we saw at the gift shop?”

A quick search for the product on my usual online shopping platform, and it was in my shopping cart. I patted myself on the back for getting it during the “sale” period."

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Opening more roads to success for every student in Singapore (21 April 2022)

"It is time to look beyond paper qualifications and cater to the diverse needs and talents of our students.

It has often been said that running a business takes more than just book knowledge. To get ahead, the businessman should be able to understand the lay of the land, adjust deftly to the market, read people well, and communicate effectively, among other less tangible skills conveniently called "street smarts".

After starting several businesses and closing a few in the past 10 years, I can say that those smarts are essential not only in the people running the business, but also in the employees.

As an employer, I look beyond my staff's paper qualifications for qualities such as an openness to learn, resilience in the face of setbacks, a genuine interest in the industry and good values.

My digital marketer, for example, was hired to design graphics but learnt to build websites and produce videos within a year. He was tuned in to the changing demands of digital communications and saw how the business relied on it, and picked up the skills without once saying it was outside his job scope.

Last year, I took part in the review of opportunities and pathways in applied education engagement exercises, to improve the resilience, diversity and flexibility of polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) pathways.

One year on, the chair of the review, Second Minister for Education Maliki Osman, announced six recommendations to be implemented progressively at the five polytechnics and three ITE colleges."

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What if my best, is average? (21 April 2022)

"Struggling to find his place in school, writer Lim Jun Kang was not certain where his education journey would take him. But permission from his parents to take the time he needs to walk before he runs led to a breakthrough moment of clarity. He shares what success now looks like to him, someone who was once ‘an average student’.

I had always been an average student.

It wasn’t that I performed terribly at school. My results slips were peppered with Cs, Ds and the occasional B – making me never the worst student in class yet nowhere near the top.

Some of my peers seemed to attain exceptional grades without breaking a sweat. Others, at the very least, figured out their goals early on. They had a clear direction and knew what they wanted to pursue in life – and what subjects they should take to get them there.

But not me. I had plenty of questions about my goals and purpose but few answers. All I knew was to follow the well-trodden paths laid out by society and the people around me, including my cousins and friends. Ask any student in my circle then on what success is, and their answers will surely not deviate far from “achieving good grades in school and entering university”.

It is a pragmatic route, where good grades open doors to qualifications that lead to good jobs. But I remember asking for a large part of my student life, “What if it is not for me? If we are all different, then isn’t there a different path I could carve out for myself?”

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Take to the skies! (11 May 2022)

"Students, do you dream of flying a plane and learning for free? Yes you can, with the Singapore Youth Flying Club (SYFC)! From building aeromodel airplanes, to experiencing rides on RSAF aircraft, and learning to manoeuvre a plane by yourself, find out what it takes to earn your wings!

Fun fact 1: The excitement starts at 13...

Learn more about aviation through SYFC’s CCA programme for secondary school students. You will get to build and fly aeromodel airplanes, experience flying PC-based flight simulators and even experience rides on the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) transport aircraft and helicopters. Plenty of hands-on experiences await!"

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Learning Economics is like learning about life (11 May 2022)

"What have guards to a vault and empty hotel rooms to do with Economics? How can economic principles help with decision-making? Schoolbag chats with Mr Kevin Tan and Mr Simon Quek, winners of the Outstanding Economics Teacher Award 2021, to find out how they help their students ‘see the Economics’ in their daily lives, and their advice for budding economists.

From a tour bus commentary to empty hotel rooms, the sights and sounds around us can spark learning for the Economics students of Mr Kevin Tan, School Staff Developer at Eunoia Junior College. Over at Mr Simon Quek’s class, common items such as pocket money and coin banks come up in lessons. The Head of Department of Economics at Raffles Institution uses them when explaining concepts such as balance of payments and official foreign reserves.

Mr Tan and Mr Quek, who are recipients of the Outstanding Economics Teacher Award 2021, make economic principles relevant – even essential – to their students in their everyday lives. Let’s find out more about how they empower their students and what inspires their craft."

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Review of Opportunities and Pathways in Applied Education (11 May 2022)

"Second Minister for Education, Dr Maliki Osman, led a Review on Opportunities and Pathways in Applied Education to study how to better support the diverse needs and aspirations of students and graduates from the polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) while ensuring they are equipped with relevant skills to remain resilient and thrive in the future economy. The Review’s recommendations cover three areas:

i. Enhancing students’ career readiness and resilience for the future economy;

ii. Recognising diversity and providing more flexibility and opportunities for all; and

iii. Building stronger and more integrated support systems for all students."

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About 540,000 Young Singaporeans to Benefit from $200 Top-Up to Edusave Account or Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) in May 2022 (29 April 2022)

"About 540,000 Singaporeans aged 7 to 20 this year will each receive a one-off top-up of $200 to their Edusave account or Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) in May this year."

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Bilingual Fund Sets Aside $800,000 for Picture Books to Promote Language Learning (29 April 2022)

"The Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism (the "Fund") has set aside $800,000 to encourage local writers and content creators to produce picture books for young children up to 6 years of age. This initiative is part of the Fund's efforts to develop interest and promote bilingual learning from a young age. The books developed will add to the rich repository of language learning resources that are set in the Singapore context."

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Student Dancers' Showcase of "Courage" at the 3rd Chinese Street Dance Competition 2022 (30 April 2022)

"100 students from 18 schools participated in the third edition of the Chinese Street Dance Competition this year. Jointly organised by the Committee to Promote Chinese Language and Learning (CPCLL) and MaxKids, a Mandarin edutainment community under MCC International, the competition aims to promote the learning of Chinese language and culture through music and dance. The competition finals and awards ceremony were held on 30 April at Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre."

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Start of 2022 Direct School Admission Exercises & ITE and Polytechnic Early Admissions Exercise (4 May 2022)

"The Direct School Admission (DSA) exercise for admission to secondary schools and junior colleges (JCs) in 2023 will open for applications from 5 May 2022. Separately, applications for early admission to the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and polytechnics based on course-specific aptitude and interests will start from 26 May and 6 June 2022 respectively."

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Paediatric Vaccination at Selected Polyclinics and Public Health Preparedness Clinics (11 May 2022)

"With the majority of the 5 to 11-year-olds having completed their primary series vaccinations, the last two paediatric Vaccination Centres (VCs), Hougang Community Club and Senja-Cashew Community Club, will cease operations on 30 June 2022. The two VCs will administer the last paediatric Dose 1 and last paediatric Dose 2 on 9 June 2022 and 30 June 2022 respectively. To ensure COVID-19 vaccination remains accessible to this age group, three polyclinics and selected Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) will come onboard to continue providing paediatric vaccine doses."

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New Engineering and Tech Programme Scholarship to Prepare Pre-University Students for Careers in STEM (11 May 2022)

"As part of efforts to strengthen STEM education and encourage greater participation in STEM-related higher education and careers, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will introduce a new Engineering and Tech Programme Scholarship for pre-university students from 2023. The scholarship seeks to ensure a robust STEM talent pipeline and is targeted at students with strong foundations in mathematics and science and those who exhibit inclination towards applied and interdisciplinary learning. 200 students will be selected for the scholarship each year."

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2022 Primary One Registration Exercise to Start from 29 June 2022 (19 May 2022)

"The registration of children for admission to Primary One (P1) classes in 2023 will open from Wednesday, 29 June 2022 to Friday, 31 October 2022."

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NTU scientists say their eco-friendly reusable pollen-based paper could be alternative to conventional paper (5 April 2022)

"SINGAPORE — Scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have developed a type of paper made from the plant material pollen that can be printed on, then erased, then printed on again up to eight times.

They said that the pollen-based paper could become an eco-friendly alternative to conventional paper, causing less damage to the environment.

Professor Subra Suresh, NTU's president and co-lead of the research, said: “This is a new approach to paper recycling — not just by making paper in a more sustainable way, but also by extending the lifespan of the paper so that we get the maximum value out of each piece of paper we produce.”

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S'porean geography whiz Max Zeng and Imperial College team win British TV quiz show (5 April 2022)

"SINGAPORE — Mr Maximilian Zeng, the 22-year-old Singaporean student who shot to social media stardom for his prodigious geography knowledge on British television quiz show University Challenge, has helped his team emerge victorious after a thrilling final in the competition.

His team from Imperial College London staged a late comeback to defeat the University of Reading by 10 points in the final aired by broadcaster BBC on Monday (April 4) night in Britain.

Aside from Mr Zeng, who is a biochemistry undergraduate, the Imperial College team comprised Mr Michael Mays, a doctor of philosophy student in computational fluid dynamics and team captain; Ms Fatima Sheriff, a master’s student in science communication; and Mr Gilbert Jackson, a master’s student in chemistry."

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NTU to offer own medical degree from 2029, ending school of medicine partnership with Imperial (11 April 2022)

"SINGAPORE — The partnership between Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Imperial College London to set up the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) will end in 2028 as planned, ending an 18-year collaboration.

This means 2028 will be the last year a joint degree is awarded to students completing their Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree (MBBS), said NTU on Monday (April 11). Students enrolling in 2024 or later will receive an NTU degree.

“This partnership between NTU and Imperial designed a unique curriculum for medical education that made use of the latest technology, and shaped the standards of teaching, learning and governance,” said NTU president, Professor Subra Suresh."

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Some undergrads admit to cheating in online exams during pandemic, despite safeguards and stiff penalties (27 April 2022)

"SINGAPORE — University students who cheat at examinations during the Covid-19 pandemic may be happening more often than not, going by interviews conducted by TODAY with more than a dozen current and graduated students in the past week.

As Covid-19 forced many exams to be conducted remotely online for significant parts of the pandemic, some students said that they found ways around the universities' efforts to deter such dishonesty.

There were those, for example, who said that they cheated because they did not want to be put at a disadvantage to others who did."

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Bar exam cheats named: Legal fraternity say culprits must take responsibility for actions but deserve second chance (28 April 2022)

"SINGAPORE — Senior lawyers generally agreed that the trainee lawyers found to have cheated during their Bar examination must take responsibility for their actions.

They were speaking to TODAY after a High Court’s decision to name six trainee lawyers who did so.

Most of the senior lawyers agreed with each other that the judge’s decision to name the trainees was in line with having a transparent judicial system, although one felt that it was disproportionate to the offence they committed."

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NTUC to form task force to look into work-life needs of youth entering workforce (30 April 2022)

"SINGAPORE — The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) will be forming a task force that focuses on young people who are entering the workforce in order to gain a deeper insight into their work-life needs.

Ms Mary Liew, president of NTUC, and Mr Ng Chee Meng, its secretary-general, said that the task force will engage with these new entrants. The task force is expected to be launched in the third quarter this year, NTUC told TODAY.

In a May Day message, they explained that beyond representing workers at the workplace, NTUC must also “look at the needs of the workforce of our future — our youth”."

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Assistant finance professor leaves SMU after allegedly making false claims about academic writing (6 May 2022)

"SINGAPORE — Singapore Management University (SMU) is reviewing its vetting procedures on academic writing after an assistant professor of finance was found to have falsified academic claims.

According to an SMU spokesperson on Friday (May 6), Ms Margaret Zhu's employment with the university ceased with effect from May 1.

"The university had sought to validate some concerns we had in this particular case and we concluded that some of the individual’s academic claims were not accurate," said the spokesperson."

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Social media a double-edged sword for young persons who self-harm, as counsellors see more cases during Covid-19 pandemic (7 May 2022)

"SINGAPORE — Undergraduate Lauren Koh was 13 years old when she started cutting her forearm and thigh with a penknife intentionally.

As she looked at the blood and felt pain, she would feel the anxiety from all that was going wrong in school and at home dissolving.

She began doing this regularly, sometimes every day, whenever she was in a depressed mood."

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NLB to pilot grab-and-go automated check-out gantries for borrowing books (17 May 2022)

"SINGAPORE — Those visiting the National Library Building from Wednesday (May 18) will be able to borrow books more easily with the introduction of a new, four-step self-checkout system.

As part of the “Grab-n-Go” pilot, a gantry at the Study Lounge on the fifth floor will automatically detect and check out books as patrons exit the area.

Visitors must first scan their identification card or National Library Board (NLB) eCard at the gantry to enter the lounge, which is open from 9am to 9pm. "

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