Science Centre cancels talk discussing differences between sex and gender following public outcry (3 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – The Science Centre has cancelled an event organised to discuss the differences between sex and gender following a backlash from the public.

In a Facebook post on June 2, the centre said the June 14 event, which cost $20 and was to have included a buffet dinner, would no longer proceed and apologised for the inconvenience."

LINK



Primary school dropout overcomes adversity to graduate from polytechnic with 3.6 GPA (3 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – At 13, Presslee Chng found he could not answer questions from a Primary 3 mathematics assessment book.

Ten years later, in May 2024, the 23-year-old graduated from Republic Polytechnic with a 3.61 grade point average (GPA), which puts him in the top 10 per cent of his cohort for his diploma."

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Food for thought: How he learnt to excel and found his calling through hands-on learning (3 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – He took his A-level examinations three times but failed to qualify for admission to any of the local universities.

But Mr Nicholas Sim Jing Xiang, 23, now has a place in Nanyang Technological University (NTU) after graduating valedictorian from Singapore Polytechnic’s (SP) Diploma in Food Science and Technology (DFST) course on May 7."

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He got into RP healthcare course by the skin of his teeth, but graduated top of his cohort (3 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – When Mr Louis Eu Kaijie scored an E8 in English and a D7 in mathematics in his O-level examinations in 2019, the then 17-year-old was devastated to find out he could not qualify for admission to pursue a polytechnic education in healthcare.

In May 2024, he was valedictorian at Republic Polytechnic’s diploma in health services management (DHSM) graduation ceremony."

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A*Star to study impact of urban environment on mental health over three years (3 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) will study over three years the impact of the urban environment on mental health, announced Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on June 3.

The study will examine factors such as urban design features, density and human behaviours, Mr Heng said at the opening plenary of the World Cities Summit 2024, held at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre."

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From dri-fit tees to cool paint, S’pore schools beat the heat with unique cooling solutions (3 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – As heatwaves around the world last longer and ultraviolet (UV) indices hit extreme levels, some schools in Asia have been forced to close for the well-being and safety of students and staff.

According to the Meteorological Service Singapore, the highest UV Index reading in Singapore in 2024 was recorded at 1.30pm on Feb 15. It measured 14, just one point away from the maximum level of 15 on the UV index."

LINK



One in six boys develops breasts during puberty (3 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – If you are in your early teens and start developing breasts or suffer from breast pain, do not worry. It is a normal part of puberty – yes, even for boys.

Around 17 per cent of boys around the age of 13 develop “male boobs”, or gynaecomastia, according to Dr Chin Xinyi, a senior endocrinologist at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH)."

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Browse and borrow library books at new self-service kiosk at Bukit Batok’s West Mall (3 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – Residents in Bukit Batok who miss their public library, which is closed for upgrading, can now browse up to 750 books at a new self-service kiosk at West Mall before deciding what to borrow.

A pilot initiative launched on June 3, Browse-n-Borrow lets users leaf through physical copies of books, in addition to browsing them on an electronic catalogue."

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NUS prof awarded prestigious fellowship in UK for his biomedical innovations and research (3 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – Collecting samples from a tumour to diagnose cancer can be an extremely painful and invasive process for patients, often requiring a needle or surgery to collect tumour cells.

Now, just a simple blood test can help doctors detect cancer, using a device that can sieve out tumour cells from blood drawn from patients."

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$2.9m study on future housing types for seniors undertaken by NUS (4 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – A project that aims to shape how homes for senior citizens will look in the future has been awarded to the National University of Singapore (NUS).

The $2.9 million project, granted by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in March, seeks to understand how different housing types influence seniors’ quality of life. Findings from this three-year study, led by NUS researchers, will guide the planning and design of future senior housing types."

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Some Singapore students decide against going to elite US colleges over campus protests (5 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – Singaporean student Sunaina M. was offered a place to read economics at Dartmouth College, an Ivy League university in the American state of New Hampshire.

But the 19-year-old is turning down the offer because of pro-Palestinian protests that have broken out across US campuses in recent months. Instead of heading to the US this fall, she will attend the University of Cambridge in Britain in October."

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NUS retains 8th spot in global university rankings, NTU rejoins top 20 (5 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – The National University of Singapore (NUS) has retained its spot in the top 10 in a global ranking of institutions, while Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has re-entered the top 20.

NUS remained eighth in the latest Britain-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2025 released on June 5, while NTU emerged 15th, up from its 2024 ranking of 26."

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Pre-school teacher suspended after kicking 5-year-old girl in the shin (5 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE - A pre-school teacher was suspended after an investigation found that she had kicked a five-year-old girl in her right shin to make her sit properly on April 2.

A spokesperson for the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) told The Straits Times on June 5 it was alerted to the incident on April 3."

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ST launches pilot initiative to introduce youth to journalism (6 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – Your job involves reporting on crimes and murders – do you ever get nightmares?

This was one of the questions posed to Straits Times crime correspondent David Sun by 14-year-old Dharmini Ramesh from Cedar Girls’ Secondary School during a question-and-answer session with Mr Sun earlier this week."

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Best bites: Your guide to must-try foods around campus at polytechnics in Singapore (6 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – We hit eateries at all five polytechnics here to ask regulars for their favourite bites on and around campus. Recommendations from students and alumni we met range from mouth-watering chicken rice to Japanese-influenced rice meals by a Singaporean MasterChef – all at pocket-friendly prices. Check out what’s available at your poly, or keep this list for cross-campus visits!"

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Slowing down your child’s myopia progression: What parents need to know (7 June 2024)

"Squinting to read, sitting too close to the TV or complaining of headaches and blurry vision – these are telltale signs that your child may have myopia.

Also known as nearsightedness, myopia occurs when the eyeball becomes elongated or the cornea is too curved. This causes objects in the distance to appear blurry, impacting daily interactions and activities."

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Former Angsana Primary School site in Tampines could see up to 350 new HDB flats built (7 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – About 300 Housing Board flats could be built on the former site of Angsana Primary School in Tampines Street 22, based on proposed plans for a new residential development on the plot.

Proposed amendments to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) master plan, released on June 7, show that the 1.8ha site – about the size of three football fields – will be rezoned from an educational institution to a residential development."

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Somerset Road to have spaces youth can call their own with revamp (8 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – The Somerset Road area is set for a revamp that will integrate ideas from youth on the features and activities they feel will shape the precinct into a more vibrant hangout spot.

A stage for buskers and movie nights, shower and changing facilities, and spaces with furniture that can be reconfigured for different events are just some of the concepts in the pipeline for the stretch between the Youth Park and Somerset Skate Park."

LINK



Teacher-parent partnership important in motivating secondary school students: NIE study (9 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – When parents and teachers communicate and work together, students feel more supported and motivated in their studies.

This is according to the findings of two studies by the National Institute of Education (NIE) released in May about how parents and teachers impact students’ academic motivation."

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Adolescent boys feel more supported by parents, compared with adolescent girls: NIE study (9 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE - When Tunitha Reku, 44, talks to her 15-year-old son, he is happy to give his mother just the gist of what happened in his school. However, it is different with her daughters, who are 13 and 14.

“Whatever Leshawn discusses with me is usually on the surface, he doesn’t go into details. But my daughters like to have detailed discussions. So there’s definitely more in-depth discussions with them,” said Ms Tunitha."

LINK



Rising number of cases: What is it like to care for a child with an eating disorder? (9 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – During a weight-taking exercise in school in 2019, Ms Angela Tan’s 11-year-old daughter was mistakenly handed a slip with the weight of a boy who had used the machine before her.

Even though the number did not make much sense for her small frame, the girl called her mother and burst into tears."

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Minor Issues: It can be tough for parents to get their kids to share the truth about how they feel (9 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – Two recent children’s books by persons with disabilities gave me food for thought about the parent-child relationship. The ideas are not novel, but they can get lost in the rush that passes for day-to-day parenting for many of us.

The first insight came after I was asked by Art:Dis, which advocates for opportunities for persons with disabilities in the arts, to be a writing mentor to Shalom Lim. He and another writer, Sherry Toh, had been shortlisted by the non-profit in 2023 to write a children’s book each, after an open call for story proposals."

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Fun With Kids: Despicable Me 4-themed play zones, fishing workshop (9 June 2024)

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

Despicable Me 4 Mega Mission

Animated comedy sequel Despicable Me 4 returns to cinemas on July 4."

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Reaping rewards: More kids from low-income families in reading programmes (9 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – All four of Ms Febri Wulandari’s children, who are aged four, seven, eight and nine, are enrolled in a reading programme in English that they attend on Saturdays at MacPherson Community Club.

Targeted at kids aged between four and nine, the programme run by Reading Roots, a social service group focusing on literacy, has seen a surge in interest in recent years from the low-income families that it serves."

LINK



Male teacher charged over child abuse materials allegedly in his possession (10 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – A male teacher was charged in a district court on June 10 with possession of child abuse materials, as well as with having thousands of pieces of obscene material in 2023.

Besides the two charges, Eugene Quake, 40, was also charged with making obscene films and failing to provide the police with log-in credentials to an iPhone and a MacBook."

LINK



A chance to connect with Gen Zs: Singapore employers turning to TikTok as recruitment tool (11 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE – TikTok’s algorithm steers Ms Eva Daneesyah to food recommendations, travel vlogs and the occasional stand-up comedy clip. So a May 2023 job advertisement by an ice-cream shop stood out to the 23-year-old Singaporean.

In a 42-second-long clip, a worker wearing a mask and a pair of pink-framed sunglasses cleans tables, scoops ice cream and takes out the trash. After each task, he turns to look at the camera comically. “Who said working couldn’t be fun? Join the laughter at Three’s A Crowd Cafe!” the post’s caption reads."

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What does a student’s AI-enhanced day look like? Here’s a peek (3 May 2024)

"Parents who grew up around blackboards and overhead projectors may not recognise the classroom of today. How is tech transforming the way students learn? Let MOE’s former EdTech chief Aaron Loh bring you up to speed on how lesson time is being supercharged by AI.

The students tap away at their personal laptops intently, tackling the Maths questions on their screens. On a projector at the front of the classroom, a dashboard with their names listed starts to light up in colours of red, green and yellow.

This is a heat map, and the colours change in real time as students work on the Maths quiz. Red represents a wrong answer and green, a right one. Yellow indicates that the answer is incomplete, and might indicate that the student is uncertain about how to approach the question.

When the sheet fills up, the teacher scans the data to get a quick snapshot of where the class stands in understanding the new concepts he had just taught. It also tells him at a glance which students need more help, and he pays more attention to those in the red zone.

Welcome to the modern classroom, one powered by smart technology and data, where instant feedback spurs more effective learning.

Mr Aaron Loh, who was up until last year the Divisional Director of Educational Technology at the Ministry of Education (MOE), says more of these tech-powered advances are to be expected with the launch of the “Transforming Education Through Technology” Masterplan 2030 in September 2023.

Called the EdTech Masterplan 2030 in short in September 2023. the blueprint sketches out MOE’s vision for teachers to harness the learning data to provide more targeted guidance to students."

LINK



Choosing subjects for Secondary 3: ‘Put interest before popularity’ (3 May 2024)

"It’s the end of Secondary 2 and time to choose a subject combination. Do you play favourites towards the Sciences? Is Triple Science still the ‘best’ combination? We hear from Mdm Lee Lin Yee, the former head of MOE’s Sciences Branch, on how her own daughter’s subject choices surprised her, and what advice she has for fellow parents.

The process of choosing schools generates much research and discussion among parents and students, but what about choosing subjects?

For many Secondary 2 students, choosing their subject combinations at the end of the school year is still a significant exercise. This is when schools encourage parent and child to review the student’s interests, strengths and areas for improvement in various subjects, and explore career goals too, before putting in their requests for subjects to be taken at upper-secondary level.

It is also through such conversations that biases towards popular subjects and combinations may emerge.

When she was the head of MOE’s Sciences Branch, Mdm Lee Lin Yee was all too aware of the perception that certain subject combinations are “better” than others.

The Sciences Branch oversees the teaching of Computing, Design and Technology, Electronics, Mathematics, Mobile Robotics, Nutrition and Food Science, Smart Electrical Technology, and the various Science subjects.

When Mdm Lee’s daughter was picking her Secondary 3 and 4 subject combination back in 2022, the teenager surprised her by showing interest in the Triple Science combination of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. She liked Science but not to that extent, so why go for the full slate of Pure Science subjects?

Her daughter revealed that she was swayed by talk among her friends that this combination is the toughest to qualify for and hence the most desirable. The teenager also heard that the Humanities subjects may be tougher to hit high scores in, hence she wanted to take up more Science subjects. And so, Mdm Lee saw wisdom in quelling any stress that students – and parents – may have towards subject selection."

LINK



From weak start to top scientist: Genomics researcher pushes vaccine frontiers (13 May 2024)

"Literature might have fuelled her imagination but biology ultimately won her heart. Dr Yue Wan has won awards for her work on RNA, the molecule that helped scientists create COVID-19 vaccines. She recounts how she went from Bukit Batok girl who knew little English to A*STAR researcher, with a little help from her teachers.

As a young girl, Dr Yue Wan remembers being fascinated by books. They formed a tower that stretched from the floor right up to the ceiling in her grandparents’ flat.

In her free time, she would pick a title from the stack. Many of the books were by American novelist Jack London, translated in Chinese. Her grandfather was the appointed Chinese translator for the author known for works such as The Call Of The Wild and White Fang. She would read the books from cover to cover before moving on to the next one.

The books satiated her intense curiosity about the world. And the more she read, the more she wanted to know.

This thirst for knowledge, whether it was in literature or science, eventually took her from Singapore to the United States and back.

Today, Dr Wan, 40, is Deputy Executive Director at the Laboratory of RNA Genomics and Structure under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS). She leads cutting-edge research into ribonucleic acid (RNA), the molecule that helped scientists create COVID-19 vaccines."

LINK



Game-changer: This professional gamer turned a virtual passion into real-world success (16 May 2024)

"Pursuing his studies and hobby at the same time wasn’t always easy for competitive esports player Sha Mohtar. Find out how a teacher kept him keen on school and what he shared with students from his alma mater about an esports career.

Mr Sha Mohtar was just seven when he found his favourite sitting position: hunched, shoulders forward and eyes up, laser-focused on his online character on the computer screen.

His three older brothers introduced him to the world of video games. Since there was only one desktop computer in the house, they sometimes hung out after school at local area network (LAN) shops, navigating virtual worlds from Dota to Counter-Strike to Gunbound.

“My parents thought I was addicted,” recalls Mr Sha with a laugh. Now 24, he agrees they weren’t far from wrong. “I just wanted to play.”

They grew increasingly concerned about his studies and tried to stop him from playing, even turning off the Wi-Fi now and then to cut down on the boy’s screen time. But Mr Sha was stubborn; he would soon study enough just to get from one academic milestone to the next.

He knew he had the chops for competitive gaming. His reflexes were quick, his game strategies sound. When he won his first gaming tournament at age nine, he was even more determined to keep practising his moves."

LINK



Career guidance at 7 — too soon or too late? (16 May 2024)

"We should fire up our children’s imagination for what the future can hold early in their lives, says Dr Jeffrey Chan from the Ministry of Education’s Education and Career Guidance Branch. He talks to Schoolbag about the importance of helping children discover who they are, how he navigated several careers in his own lifetime, and how he advised his son when he stood at a fork in his education journey.

Dr Jeffrey Chan received his earliest piece of career advice at a young age.

His father had told him this: Girls should be teachers and boys should join the army. Dr Chan did join the Republic of Singapore Air Force for his first job, but as he says, with a hearty laugh, “That was old-school ECG advice!”

Those were sound career choices back then, he adds, careers that people would take up and stick to for life, but much has since changed in the field of Education and Career Guidance (ECG).

After navigating through several career transitions, Dr Chan found meaning and purpose in his current role as a Master Specialist at MOE’s ECG Branch.

Today, girls should join the army if they so aspire, and boys may be teachers if they wish, he says.

Essentially, ECG introduces students to the wide range of education pathways and careers available to them. Along the way, students are encouraged to discover their interests, nurture their passions and choose career pathways that are meaningful to them and contribute to the community.

To be effective, ECG Branch’s efforts start from primary school all the way to pre-university (at junior colleges, Millenia Institute and schools offering the Integrated Programme), polytechnics and ITEs."

LINK



The art of unconditional hugging (24 May 2024)

"How is love demonstrated in your family? For Imran Johri, it’s through big, floppy bear hugs. To his dismay, not all his children are big fans of them. In this funny recount of a mission gone wrong, find out how Imran and his wife uncover what works and what doesn’t when it comes to rewarding good behaviour.

Imran Johri is a part-time humour writer, full-time father of three who finds the lighter side to parenting every chance he gets.

I’ll put myself out there to say, most Singaporean parents aren’t big on hugging their kids.

Sure, I see it a lot on Day 1 of Primary 1, or exam results day, when our Singaporean survival instincts are on overdrive. But apart from that, for whatever reason, I hardly witness spontaneous acts of unconditional hugging between parent and child in public.

So yes, it seems we need a seriously good reason to just hug. What’s worse, I think, is that when we do hug, it’s an expression of an expectation. My wife and I have recently discovered that we, too, were guilty of conditional intimacy – we doled out hugs as rewards. And that’s crazy coming from me, who is a highly expressive person to say the least, so what happened?

Different strokes for different folks

This is highly likely a legacy behaviour that’s been passed down the generations.

I was raised in an environment where displays of affection between parent and child were not uncommon. Some were contextual to our culture, such as the kids greeting their elders by kissing the hands as a show of respect. My mother was the spontaneous one – she was big on forehead kisses with us, which I appreciated, and I grew up thinking that was normal.

My wife grew up in a less demonstrative household: physical displays of affection in most forms were rare; resilience, sacrifice and tough love was the de facto lingua franca for affection.

Clearly these differences were never really broached during our courtship or before we became parents. And I think we messed up on establishing our love language with our firstborn."

LINK



Art teachers are artists too at this exhibition (29 May 2024)

"At the annual MOE Art Teachers’ Exhibition, we catch up with three teacher-artists who reveal the meaning behind their artwork and how creating art inspires them to seed more creativity in their classrooms.

In an annual showcase by teacher-artists, 66 teachers took part in the MOE Art Teachers’ Exhibition this year.

The event gives them a chance to put on their hats as practising artists to pursue their first love of art. The result is 47 individual and collective artworks across mediums and themes that are close to their hearts.

Here, three teacher-artists talk to Schoolbag about their exhibits and what they wish to tell their students through them."

LINK



Going beyond the textbook: Encouraging my kids to enjoy learning for learning’s sake (31 May 2024)

"Father of two Ian Tan walks the talk as he constantly retrains and picks up new skills. It helped him to overcome retrenchment too. He has impressed on his children the importance of lifelong learning by example.

Did you roll your eyes when you last heard someone say “lifelong learning”?

This mantra is heard more frequently now as we can see and even experience increasing disruption in many aspects of our lives. Lifelong learning is the continual process of renewing what we know and expanding our skillsets in a world that never stops changing.

Unfortunately, many people adopt the “one ear in, one ear out” response. As one friend said to me, “I don’t even have enough time for myself to relax after work, what do you want me to learn?”

I often encounter this type of response when I encourage others to keep on learning new things. I hear it even in my own home.

For example, when my daughter was studying for her A-levels in 2023, I showed her excitedly how Generative AI apps could reduce her workload. She said, “Maybe later, Pa”, because her schoolwork didn’t require or incorporate the use of Gen AI.

When I suggested an old friend in his early 50s to try out Canva (an easy-to-use online alternative to PowerPoint) he gave many excuses and I rolled my eyes at him.

Singapore is a very stable society and we don’t experience earthquakes or typhoons. Our economy has been resilient for decades and unemployment rates hover around 2%. This can lull people into thinking that our lives and careers are predictably smooth.

That predictability was shattered for me in Dec 2022 when I got retrenched from my tech sector job."

LINK



Growing pains: How this ‘farmerpreneur’ flew from aerospace to high-rise farming (31 May 2024)

"At his Art and Design & Technology classes, Mr Christopher Leow found joy working with his hands. But what will he apply them to? Engineering? Running a café? All these lessons would lead to his current career – to feed the community as an urban farmer, coach and consultant.

On the rooftop of a multistorey carpark in Serangoon North, a patch of green regularly draws nearby residents who need something in a hurry for their dining table. The community garden, called NUTOPIA, boasts crops such as grapes, leafy vegetables and rice.

Set up at the cost of $3,000 from community donations, the 70sqm garden is not only productive but also appealing to all ages. Young children enjoy its whimsical concepts and can learn through the illustrative signages. The seniors take walks there to enjoy the burst of colour from the flowers.

Mr Christopher Leow, who started this passion project in 2021, explains, “With Covid-19 causing food shortages, I wanted to grow food to supply the community for free.”

The garden is run by a core team of four, including Mr Leow.

His urban farming consultancy helps transform spaces in land-scarce Singapore into viable agricultural plots. Many would also recognise him as the affable host of Growing Wild, a Channel NewsAsia documentary series which showcases his farming adventures.

It’s a blooming career filled with colourful stories, but behind it lies a bumpy journey of self-discovery."

LINK



From haha! to a-ha!: How a moment on a school stage led to a career in comedy (31 May 2024)

"Mr Rishi Budhrani discovered his love for the limelight when thrust upon the school stage for a CCA performance. He has been performing to bigger and bigger audiences since, from co-hosting Singapore’s National Day Parade to delivering the laughs on the international comedy circuit.

Loud cheers rang out at the Tampines Junior College hall as a tall and lanky teenager danced on stage.

Dressed in a bright orange robe with a microphone in hand, Mr Rishi Budhrani was taking a big step out of his comfort zone. The 17-year-old, who had been playing football and tennis all his life, found himself performing indoors for a change.

He had joined the Indian Cultural Society, his third choice of CCA, after failing to get a spot in the two sports CCAs.

Still, he never imagined he would be cracking jokes on stage as a host of the society’s annual cultural showcase.

But the teen, who was a big fan of Canadian-Indian comedian Russell Peters, rose to the challenge.

Something stirred in him that eventful night.

“It was the first time I remember trying to write jokes and perform them for the public,” he says. He liked the idea of making people laugh. Today, the 40-year-old enjoys a successful career as a stand-up comedian who performs internationally."

LINK



Finding his voice: Nothing clicked till he became a voiceover artist (31 May 2024)

"Clutching a six-dollar mic and a dream, Mr Hagen Valerio took a chance on a major career change. . He knew he had gone off course till one day, he picked up a book that tipped him off to a career that was off his radar – voicing for commercials. He has tips for those still finding their career path.

You may not know him, but you most probably have heard him. From radio spots to YouTube ads to pre-movie commercials at the cinema, it is hard to miss Mr Hagen Valerio’s warm, rich timbre.

He is the voice behind a string of commercials that tempted you to buy a McDonalds Chicken McCrispy or drive away with a BMW 5 Series.

The road to his unusual career has not been as smooth as his vocals, however.

Trained in chemical engineering, he spent a decade bouncing from job to unsatisfactory job before coming across the role of a voiceover artist at age 29. Suddenly, he felt like he knew what he was born to do.

Now 42, he says: “It’s not always easy, but as long as we have the courage to stay true to ourselves, we’ll find some way to enjoy the journey even through all the ups and downs.”

LINK



‘There are no lazy children, only parents making them do what they dislike’ (31 May 2024)

"Imran Johri couldn’t believe it when his golden girl of a firstborn started to slow down in school. The father of three goes on a quest to find the best way to motivate his child, and suss out what was holding her back.

Imran Johri is a part-time humour writer, full-time father of three who finds the lighter side to parenting every chance he gets.

Here’s one of the most difficult transitions my wife and I have had to make as parents – we went from the homework-free, no-exam days of Primary 2 to the introduction of weighted assessments in Primary 3.

This cautionary tale of expectation mismanagement, and the discovery of what intrinsic motivation means, began when our eldest child was born 11 years ago.

My wife and I were absolutely thrilled at the thought of the sheer innate potential that this gangly baby contained within her.

Being highly enthusiastic first-time parents, we quickly went down the path of pricey educational toys and toddler swim lessons — heated pool, no less. The massive reference library I had been building was now ready to be unleashed upon this child.

During this hyper-enthused period of noob parenting, any display of child-potential was met with a resounding sign-up for anything and everything. She doodles? Art class! She moved to a beat? Ballet!

We thought we were cool like that."

LINK



Future tense: Keeping kids grounded while tech turns the world upside down (31 May 2024)

"Tech will change so fast, we will forever be newbies in an unfamiliar world, says parent Ian Tan, a fan of futurist writing. Find out how he preps his kids for change by warming them up to innovations like ChatGPT.

We are living in a world that science fiction writers have long dreamt about — for better or worse.

All of humanity’s written knowledge is now literally at our fingertips, accessible via our phones. Medical science has increased our life spans to nearly a century. We have artificial intelligence (AI) assistants that can correct our grammar and teach us a million new things instantly.

On the other hand, one wonders if technology has enslaved people instead of liberating them. Many of us walk around with our eyes glued to our phones. Misinformation spreads daily and Singaporeans lose millions of dollars monthly to online scams. And of course, many jobs are threatened by AI. I covered the tech industry for six years as a journalist and then worked in the consumer IT sector for 15 years. I have seen that technology keeps advancing at an accelerated rate with no indication of ever slowing down.

It took six years for Apple to evolve the iPod music player to the iPhone. But it just took a few months for ChatGPT (which was launched in November 2022) to garner 100 million users. Many of these users now use AI in different parts of their work to become more efficient and discover new ways of solving problems.

American computer scientist Ray Kurzweil wrote that technological change is exponential, so we will experience 20,000 years of progress in the 21st Century, instead of 100 years of linear progress.

He believes in 2045, we will hit the singularity — that point in time when all advances in technology, particularly in artificial intelligence, will lead to machines being smarter than human beings."

LINK







Students put Language Skills to the Test at the 3rd National Chinese Riddle Competition (4 May 2024)

"More than 180 students from 26 secondary schools participated in the third National Chinese Riddle Competition (全国中学生灯谜比赛) on Saturday, 4 May 2024 at Dunman High School (DHS). Jointly organised by the Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning (CPCLL), Tung Ann District Guild, Riddle Association (Singapore) and DHS, the competition aims to instil a love for Chinese language and culture in students through traditional Lantern Riddles."

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Start of 2024 Direct School Admission Exercises & ITE and Polytechnic Early Admissions Exercise (6 May 2024)

"The Direct School Admission (DSA) Exercise for admission to secondary schools and junior colleges (JCs) in 2025 will open for applications from 7 May 2024. Separately, applications for early admission to the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and polytechnics based on course-specific aptitude and interests will start from 21 May and 3 June 2024 respectively."

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Student Dancers Showcase Interpretations of "Gratitude" at the 5th Chinese Street Dance Competition 2024 (11 May 2024)

"Around 140 students from 16 schools participated in the fifth edition of the Chinese Street Dance Competition this year. Jointly organised by the Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning (CPCLL) and local media content company MCC, the competition aims to promote the learning of Chinese language and culture through the universal language of music and dance. The competition finals and awards ceremony were held at Toa Payoh HDB Hub Atrium on 11 May 2024."

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2024 Primary One Registration Exercise to Start from 2 July 2024 (16 May 2024)

"The registration of children for admission to Primary One (P1) in 2025 will open from Tuesday, 2 July 2024 to Wednesday, 30 October 2024."

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Singapore Student Athletes Gear Up for ASEAN Schools Games 2024 in Vietnam (21 May 2024)

"More than 100 student athletes from 24 schools will be representing Singapore at the 13th ASEAN School Games (ASG) in Da Nang, Vietnam from 31 May to 9 June 2024. The Singapore School Sports Team (SSST) contingent will compete in four sports, namely Athletics, Badminton, Basketball and Swimming."

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Budding Student Reporters Showcase Creativity at the 3rd Young Reporter News Challenge 2024 (24 May 2024)

"This year, about 500 students from 53 secondary schools participated in the third edition of the Young Reporter News Challenge (《我来报新闻》挑战赛) and competed in one of the three categories: "Fresh news", "Re-tell news" and "News Bites 60". "Fresh News" required students to present an original news piece of 1 to 2 minutes. "Re-tell" news required students to work with existing content and spin a new tale on the news piece. "News Bites 60" stretched students' creativity in producing news content of up to 60 seconds in a fun but factual manner."

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Pre-University Seminar 2024 – Forging Our Way Forward (27 May 2024)

"556 student participants from 30 pre-university institutions have come together to kick off Pre-University Seminar 2024 at the National University of Singapore. Co-organised by the Ministry of Education and Dunman High School, the theme for this year's seminar is 'Forging Our Way Forward'. Students will have the opportunity to engage in rich dialogue on Singapore's development, national identity and values, as well as its place in the world amidst global complexities. Through rich discussions and interactions with people of diverse backgrounds, students will glean insights into a range of issues, policies, and perspectives, to enable them to envision and co-create our shared future together."

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Strong Showing by Singapore's Young Research Talents at Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2024 (30 May 2024)

"Eight Singapore students competed against more than 1,700 students from 67 countries, regions, and territories at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2024. The Singapore delegation clinched nine awards, the most since Singapore's first participation in ISEF in 2001."

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Closing of 13th ASEAN Schools Games: Singapore Student Athletes Displayed Tenacity and Sportsmanship (9 June 2024)

"The 13th ASEAN Schools Games (ASG) concluded on 7 June 2024 in Da Nang, Vietnam. Over the six-day competition from 1 to 6 June, the Singapore Schools Sports Team (SSST) displayed resilience, tenacity and sportsmanship, and bagged a total of 32 medals, comprising 4 Golds, 8 Silvers, and 20 Bronzes across Athletics, Badminton, Basketball and Swimming."

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#trending: NUS students turn avocado plushie keychain into 'Bell Curve God' shrine, make 'offerings' for good grade (26 April 2024)

"SINGAPORE — In a quirky display of devotion to academic success, some students at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have turned to an unconventional "deity" in the hopes of securing favourable grades.

Posts have emerged on various social media platforms showcasing a makeshift shrine dedicated to the latest incarnation of the supposed Bell Curve God, embodied by an avocado keychain.

Nestled under a street lamp near the NUS College of Design and Engineering, the shrine has become a focal point for students seeking a bit of luck in their studies, with many placing “offerings” in order to garner "divine" favour."

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Domestic violence in childhood: What drove 2 Singaporeans, a businesswoman and a pastoral counsellor, to repair mental health (27 April 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Growing up, home was not a safe place for Singaporeans Sharon Khoo and Nanny Eliana. The women separately recalled a time when they lived in a state of tension, anxiety, stress and uncertainty, where personal security was almost non-existent in the midst of domestic upheavals.

What does a child do when the very adults meant to protect and nurture them become the source of their nightmares?

For Ms Eliana, 45, and Mrs Khoo, 39, they carried the weight of their difficult growing-up years into adulthood."

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Boy, 5, conquers Mount Everest base camp in 8 days, becomes youngest S'porean to do so (30 April 2024)

"SINGAPORE — At just five years old, Abyan Imtiaz Irkiz has become the youngest Singaporean to reach the Mount Everest base camp.

Abyan achieved the feat with his father, Mr Zikri Ali, 41, on Monday (April 29) – two days earlier than they had planned.

It took the pair eight days to reach the base camp, which sits at an altitude of 5.36km above sea level. It serves as a home base for mountaineers attempting to climb Mount Everest in Nepal."

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Beyond the game: How this football programme empowers underprivileged youth with values and character growth (1 May 2024)

"SINGAPORE — She used to have a phobia of football, after being hit by one when she was younger.

Now, however, 10-year-old Tan Xin Yi harbours big dreams of one day becoming a famous footballer and representing Singapore on the international stage.

The turnaround for her came after she joined a football initiative for underprivileged children in 2022."

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Singapore tops world ranking for youth development, scores high in all areas except political, civic participation (3 May 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Singapore tops the world in a recent report that measured six areas of youth development, which included domains such as education, equality and inclusion as well as political and civic participation.

The island-nation shone particularly brightly in two domains where it ranked number one globally — health and well-being as well as peace and security.

Singapore’s worst score was in political and civic participation, where it ranked 100th worldwide."

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Commentary: A stranger told me she never takes parenting advice from an Asian. Here's why negative stereotypes persist (9 May 2024)

"In a bid to scale my parent coaching business, Juicy Parenting, I recently waded into the murky waters of Facebook ads.

I had been warned by more experienced marketers that greater exposure via online advertising would necessarily mean greater exposure to online trolls.

True enough, barely a week into my Facebook ads foray, I received the following comment from a stranger: “Would never take parenting advice from an Asian.”

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'I envy young men and women': PM Lee believes youths today start from a better position than past generations (10 May 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Young people in Singapore have it better today as they enjoy advantages and opportunities which “never existed in my generation”, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

"My starting point is, as an old man, I envy the young men and women," said Mr Lee in an interview with Singapore media around three weeks before his May 15 handover of the premiership to Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.

He added: “We have built Singapore, we have built the education system, we have educated you, we have given you perspectives on the world and opportunities to travel.”

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Gen Z Speaks: A letter from me, aged 25, to my mum when she was 25 (11 May 2024)

"Dear Ma,

In the year 1998, Bill Clinton is impeached, George Clooney charms his way through the hit show ER and into your affections, and you become a mother.

The year I am born, you are 25 — the age I am now. You are comfortably married, with a stable job to boot.

But while you’ve been trying for a baby for five years now, 25 years into the future, I will succumb to the very modern notion of “finding myself”."

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Gen Zen: How I learnt that 'mental decluttering' can help me focus and filter out negative thoughts (13 May 2024)

"SINGAPORE — "You seem distracted" is something I would often hear my friends telling me whenever we met for a meal or to hang out.

I had always brushed them off as mere passing comments until one of my friends spelt out more bluntly how I would be present physically with them, but not mentally.

"Every time we meet, it is like as if you have a million thoughts running through your mind and you don't look like you are concentrating on our conversation," my friend said."

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‘No choice but to allow it’: Parents cite challenges in keeping devices away from kids amid concerns over excessive screen time (13 May 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Before having children, Ms Lily Khairunnisa and her husband had a vision of raising their future children in a completely "screen-free" environment, knowing well the potential harmful effects it could one day bring.

But just two years after their first son was born, they came to realise that it was impossible to keep screens away from him, eventually turning to television as a tool to help keep him occupied.

They now have three kids aged four, 10 and 11, with the latter two just receiving their own mobile phones a month ago."

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Primary 1 registration exercise to start on July 2 (16 May 2024)

"SINGAPORE — The Primary 1 registration exercise for admission to schools in 2025 will start on July 2, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced on Thursday (May 16).

Singaporean children born between Jan 2, 2018, and Jan 1, 2019, must participate in the upcoming registration exercise or enrol in the Junior 1 or Primary 1 programme of a special education school.

Information on the number of vacancies in each primary school will be available on MOE's website by June 25."

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Gen Z Speaks: Going to polytechnic after a life of homeschooling was terrifying. But the journey transformed me (17 May 2024)

"Unlike the typical Singaporean kid, I was homeschooled for almost all my educational journey since kindergarten

My parents initially chose this path to provide me with a less stressful and more personalised educational experience compared to traditional schooling.

Even though I had the option to transition to a conventional school after completing my PSLE exams, I remained committed to homeschooling."

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Self-taught coder launches app to help commuters navigate MRT stations, enjoys early success (19 May 2024)

"SINGAPORE — As workers put finishing touches to the seven new Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations on the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), app developer Joshua Chua is also racing to get his recently-launched MRT mobile application ready for the June 23 start of the service.

Called Next Station, the app started as a little more than a thought bubble for Mr Chua 10 years ago when he was still studying game design at Singapore Polytechnic.

But it wasn't until last year that he finally started work on the app, eventually making it available for the public in April this year, after eight months of development."

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Teenager admits to beating up male schoolmate who stripped naked to kneel and apologise to him (20 May 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Thinking that a schoolmate had caused him to get in trouble with his peers, a teenager decided to confront the boy and attacked him after the boy apologised by kneeling naked.

The teenager, now 16, cannot be named by law because he was under 18 years old when the offences were committed.

He pleaded guilty on Monday (May 20) to a charge of voluntarily causing hurt, a charge for unlawful assembly and two charges relating to voyeurism."

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2 Singaporean NTU students beat thousands of applicants to get F1 internship at Red Bull's HQ in UK (23 May 2024)

"SINGAPORE — A pair of Singaporean students will be heading to the United Kingdom to work as interns at the Oracle Red Bull Racing Formula One (F1) team's headquarters, after beating thousands of applicants here in a competition to get the stint.

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) undergraduates Charis Chua and Heng Yi-Hsin were selected after a multi-stage application process that included a personality assessment, short-video submissions and a case study, the Red Bull team said in a statement on Thursday (May 23).

It added that the two "bested thousands of other Singaporean residents" to win the Red Bull Intern Championship but did not mention how many applicants entered the competition."

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The Stories Behind: The parents who took their 4-year-old son out of preschool to go on a 2-year world tour (25 May 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Instead of attending preschool like other children his age, four-year-old Atlas Wong, who was named after his parents' passion for travel, is doing his learning while flying across the globe.

Over the last four months, he has travelled to 22 countries including Greece, France, Belgium and Turkiye. His jet-setting life will continue until he is six, with destinations such as Canada, Japan and the United States still to come.

His parents, civil servants Rakcent Wong, 35, and Carol Tan, 36, came up with the 50-country list after they promised each other that they would take their child on "worldly adventures" before he started formal school."

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Community Heroes: How I teach children to become resilient learners by showing them, and myself, empathy (26 May 2024)

"I was not always drawn to children. There was a time I disliked them and saw them as immature, entitled and unmanageable.

This might sound strange coming from a co-founder of 32 Pages — a ground-up initiative started in 2021 that helps children build motivation and resilience in learning.

My change of heart was a surprise to me, too. It all began with serving children in the community."

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'We don't buy it': Student activists protest ExxonMobil's role in S$60m low-carbon research lab at NTU (27 May 2024)

"SINGAPORE — A Nanyang Technological University (NTU) student group is protesting against a S$60 million corporate laboratory for low-carbon solutions that NTU has launched with oil and gas giant ExxonMobil.

The group, called NTUDivest, is a student-led movement that advocates for the university to cut its investments in fossil fuel companies.

It is part of the Singapore-wide Students for a Fossil Free Future (S4F), a group that campaigns against the oil and gas industry's alleged influence over the country's education system."

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Gen Zen: Tired of being unproductive, I tried several methods to beat procrastination. Here's what works (27 May 2024)

"SINGAPORE — As someone who struggles to stay focused, anytime I set out to finish a task, it often looks like this: I put down my cup of coffee, turn on my computer, and then end up scrolling on my phone for the next 20 minutes.

Then in an effort to make my day more productive, I start rearranging my room or doing other things, except what I had set out to do.

Then surprise! The panic over the deadline sets in and I get a boost of productivity at night."

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Commentary: Homeschooling isn’t for every family and comes with challenges, but we would do it again if we had to (30 May 2024)

"While I was growing up, my father spent most of his time either working or unwinding at the void deck with his friends.

Of all my childhood memories, the ones I hold closest to my heart are the times spent with my dad and elder brother after our Sunday swimming lessons where we would share snacks and laugh together.

These moments were good, but they never lasted long. I always yearned to be able to spend more time with him."

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The Big Read: Not for the faint-hearted — inside the world of homeschooling and how to tell if it works for your family (31 May 2024)

"SINGAPORE — For a young Sukesy Mattar, studying at an international school in Kuwait, where she lived with her family till she was 11, provided her with a vibrant, holistic experience.

“We studied lots of different things, like handwriting and poetry. PE (physical education) wasn’t just PE, it was gymnastics. Music and drama were also all part of the curriculum. And I didn't have to take any major exams, so the focus was never exams,” recalled the now 45-year-old mother of five.

Her father had relocated the family to the country for work purposes."

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Gen Z Speaks: As a graduate of the ‘Class of Covid’, trying to start my career mid-pandemic was rough. But I never lost hope (31 May 2024)

"I graduated with a degree in life science in June 2020.

Upon completing our final semester two months earlier, my batchmates and I felt that that we had “graduated at the worst possible time” amid a raging Covid-19 pandemic.

When we looked for encouragement from others around us — our parents and our seniors, for example — they too painted a pretty bleak picture."

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Student group appeals to SUTD to review 'sharp' 36% fee increase for hostel rooms (31 May 2024)

"SINGAPORE — A student-led survey looking into accommodation charges at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) has been circulating on Instagram over the past week, after the university announced earlier in the year that it would be raising its hostel fees by up to 36 per cent.

The Google Forms survey was created on Wednesday (May 29) by a student group that calls itself the "Somapah Hostelites Movement".

The group said that it aims to “work towards fairer housing policies in SUTD, from housing fees to better housing allocation schemes that take into account extenuating circumstances”."

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Science Centre cancels sex and gender talk after 'public concern about content and composition of speakers' (3 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE — The Science Centre has cancelled a talk on sex and gender following public feedback and social media pressure about the content and the line-up of speakers, which comprised lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) activists.

In response to queries from TODAY on Monday (June 3), Science Centre said: “Following online publicity of the session, we had received public feedback expressing concern about the content to be discussed in the session, as well as the composition of the speakers.

“We have reviewed the session and decided to not proceed with it.”

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Police investigating after 5-year-old girl allegedly kicked by preschool teacher (6 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE — The police are investigating after a five-year-old girl was allegedly kicked in the shin by a preschool teacher.

A spokesperson for the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) told CNA on Thursday (June 6) that the incident occurred on April 2.

CNA understands that the girl was kicked in the shin as the teacher wanted to make her sit properly."

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Gen Y Speaks: I was a ‘ne’er-do-well’, but my mentors helped me turn my life around. Here’s how I’m paying it forward (7 June 2024)

"In the weeks leading up to GCE O-Level results day, I already had a gnawing feeling that I would not do well.

The year was 2006. At 19, I was already lagging behind my peers because I had to repeat Secondary 5 after failing my N-Levels.

In the midst of my despondency, I knew I had it coming."

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Adulting 101: When the jump from school to work feels like 'free falling', how do I find solid ground? (8 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE — As I inch closer to my 25th birthday, I find myself becoming increasingly nostalgic for when I was 15.

Back then, I was thick in the struggles of secondary school mathematics, but with the perks of seeing my friends every day and being able to enjoy extended breaks in the form of school holidays.

Financial decisions? Nothing more onerous than choosing what to buy for lunch at recess."

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Punggol's Toy Library brings joy and learning opportunities to kids (9 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Every week, Ms Summer Chen takes her one-and-a-half-year-old son to a special spot in Punggol Regional Library, where there is a children's wonderland for him to spend hours tinkering around with various toys and playing with other kids.

Located in a corner of the library's ground floor, the Toy Library features some 70 educational toys that are meant for kids aged six and under to play with free-of-charge.

He usually gravitates to puzzles or sensory toys, such as an orange-coloured toy board with locks and latches."

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'Community Heroes: How I nurture volunteerism among youths, despite naysayers telling me to 'give up' (9 June 2024)

"I have volunteered since I was in Secondary 1, as I was drawn to the potential of volunteering to change lives. I would find various ways to help the community, for example by delivering food to elderly residents.

My journey with Project WIN, or “What I Need”, started in 2020 — right before my N-Levels — with a forgotten pencil case.

I needed to borrow a pen or pencil to survive the day in school. It was then that I noticed some of my friends had only either one pencil or pen, and they could not lend me any."

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#trending: Student's TikTok video ranking best places to snooze at Ngee Ann Poly goes viral (11 June 2024)

"SINGAPORE — A Ngee Ann Polytechnic student has generated some online buzz with a TikTok video ranking various spots to catch some shut-eye at school.

In a video posted on Saturday (June 8) user "keerigiri" shared a light-hearted guide to his favourite places to cat-nap on campus.

The video had garnered more than 148,000 views and 13,500 likes as of Tuesday."

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