Young Arts Reporter Project

By Tan Chin Tuan Foundation

The essence of our signature Young Arts Reporter Project (YARP) is to encourage youths to explore their inner journalist. Platforms such as plays and workshops are all opportunities for them to increase their language proficiency in reading and writing.

YARP also has a secondary purpose to expose youths to secondary career opportunities such as stage management, photography and journalism. Through the programme, the youths will glean insight and potentially gain interest in the numerous career options available that were previously unbeknownst to/not considered by them.

Letters to TCTF

In hindsight, I never regretted my decision a few months ago to take on the internship. Regrettably, it has not been the best times granted the global spread of coronavirus. Yet, this internship period has been a unique experience that I appreciate greatly.

Half of my internship term was spent working from home (approximately two months). Whilst one cannot deny the many distractions faced, I learned the most I could from my superiors and colleagues.

Through our interactions, observing their research structure and tidiness, work ethics and many more, I gained valuable insights to improve my conversational skills and research methodology. I also learnt to prioritise, time-sensitive and submit my work promptly. It was also inspiring to see how the team worked hard, giving their best to deliver the best possible results for TCTF’s beneficiaries.

My main takeaway from this internship was the opportunity to experience how it was like working with an established non-profit organisation like Tan Chin Tuan Foundation. It was a fresh and rewarding experience which made my life ‘richer’. Indeed, I gained many life skills which I can put into practice at home, school and work.

Thank you TCTF!

Clement Yew was an Intern at Tan Chin Tuan Foundation (TCTF) during the Covid-19 pandemic. He will be matriculating at the National University of Singapore (NUS) – Faculty of Law in August 2020.

More details about TCTF’s internship programme can be found here.

Jumping right in?

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage on, many aspects of our lives have seen multiple disruptions – some positive and some negative. Yet before we become too quick to allocate what is good and bad in the respective baskets, let us make good use of this temporary retreat at home. Although we eagerly crave for life to revert to our past daily routines – getting our morning roast, scooting straight to our workplace, grabbing a quick drink or two with friends and colleagues, I urge all of us to take stock of our goals and aspirations.

Take this extended period of rest to reflect upon some daily activities we hope to omit in our lives, things which gobble up our precious time and energy and have been mentally draining chores.

On the other hand, explore and discover some programmes you hope to schedule into your new post-Covid life, from adding a daily workout regime to visiting your parent’s place every Sunday. To kick start a positive momentum, we can develop these positive habits while at home. It could be connecting with your parents through video calls, jumping into home workout sessions with your favourite YouTube physical trainer or getting your hands dirty with baking good fun.

Once circuit breaker measures are gradually lifted, I believe you will be heading into a vibrant, happy life in full steam.

“In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.”

Albert Einstein
My lovely shiva family portrait.

Clement Yew is an Intern at Tan Chin Tuan Foundation (TCTF). He will be matriculating at the National University of Singapore (NUS) – Faculty of Law in August 2020.

More details about TCTF’s internship programme can be found here.

The Giving Tree (pt. 2)

Following the story of The Giving Tree, I concede that there were times I became that little boy during National Service – when time was not a privilege and volunteering became an afterthought. Especially during those cadet training days, where fatigue and muscle aches made it terribly challenging to get out of bed during the weekends. Throwback further into the past when I was still studying for GCE A-Level, homework and revision did not cease after school hours. In fact, they extended late into the night and even stretched into a new day. Granted, time is not aplenty and that makes contributing back to society an uphill task.

However, I sought out pockets of time available and carved out time blocks dedicated to community work. Gradually, since I began serving as a Grassroots leader in my constituency, volunteering felt more enjoyable and intimate as people living in the neighbourhood appreciates us. Most importantly, I treasure the precious family time I share with my parents and siblings, and I appreciate them for the love and support they have given me over the years.

Taken in an old folks’ home in Yunnan, China.

After fulfilling my civic duty in National Service, I applied for the internship programme with Tan Chin Tuan Foundation to give back to society. In addition, I am interested to learn more about the charity projects and signature programmes that TCTF is invested in. Furthermore, I wish to meet like-minded youth volunteers in Singapore and expand this network of friends for future volunteering opportunities.

TCTF team at The Art of Birding exhibition in Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Looking forward, I cannot wait to discover what lies ahead in my journey with the foundation. Let us strive to develop a healthy relationship with our Giving Trees and in any capacity, become Giving Trees to those around us.

Clement Yew is an Intern at Tan Chin Tuan Foundation (TCTF). He will be matriculating at the National University of Singapore (NUS) – Faculty of Law in August 2020.

More details about TCTF’s internship programme can be found here.

The Giving Tree (pt. 1)

Looking back fondly upon our favourite childhood stories, most if not all of them end with a happy ending. The three little pigs managed to narrowly escape the big bad wolf, the ugly duckling transformed into a graceful and beautiful swan and Cinderella lived happily ever after together with Prince Charming. Needless to say, the unorthodox tale of The Giving Tree has baffled me and is still vividly etched in my mind over the years.

In its most distilled essence, the story revolves around the intimate connection between a boy and a tree. Throughout the years as the boy matures into adulthood and subsequently into his golden years, the tree has provided so generously in as many possible ways for the boy. The boy plucked apples from the tree to sell them in the city, the boy cut off branches from the tree to build a house, the boy sawed the trunk of the tree to make a sail, leaving the tree nothing but an old stump.

Taken in UNESCO World Heritage Site –
Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Looking back in hindsight, we have been that boy on multiple occasions in our lives. Truth be told, we owe our life’s works mostly to the many giving trees, some even unbeknownst to us. However, please do not feel ashamed or embarrassed taking on that boy’s persona. What matters more importantly is what we do next as the boy. The seed of the boy’s failure lies within the fruit of gratitude, the heart.

Our stories may have different scripts, our trees may be vastly different, but the moral of our stories should be consistent. We need to devote time and effort nurturing the trees that shape us and be grateful for the tangibles and intangibles which we readily accept with open arms.

Clement Yew is an Intern at Tan Chin Tuan Foundation (TCTF). He will be matriculating at the National University of Singapore (NUS) – Faculty of Law in August 2020.

More details about TCTF’s internship programme can be found here.

A meaningful journey with TCTF

My six-month internship with the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation was fun-filled and meaningful. Not only did I get a chance to be part of the Foundation’s signature programmes, but I also had opportunities to understand and visit numerous social service organisations and their partners. Moreover, I was given the platform to hone my soft skills, such as writing and communication skills.

For instance, I was tasked to come up with lesson plans and conduct the creative writing workshops for More Than Words 2019. Initially, I was at a lost. It was not an easy feat to create and source for suitable materials to teach the children creative writing skills. Furthermore, to pique their interests, the lesson plans had to be something different from their school lessons. However, it was heartwarming to see the children thoroughly enjoying the lessons and writing down their stories excitedly.

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I also enjoyed the trips to observe Esplanade’s Angklung Workshop (supported by TCTF) at various elderly care centres. Interacting with the elderly during the workshops helped me to appreciate the importance of having music-related activities brought to the community. When I spoke with the elderly, I could see that they enjoyed learning something new and felt happier after the workshops.

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Angklung Workshop at Care Corner Senior Activity Centre

Through the variety of trips, public lectures and meetings which I participated or sat in, I learnt more about the social service sector in Singapore and the Southeast Asian region. Attending part of the Social Service Research Centre Seminar Series and listening to the sharing by the staff from Methodist Welfare Services allowed me to know more about poverty in Singapore’s context. Meetings with National Library Board and Wildlife Reserves Singapore were insightful, as I got to understand their efforts in improving community engagement and development. Sitting in during a meeting with WAH Foundation helps me to appreciate how non-governmental organisations deliver affordable healthcare to rural communities in the region. Listening to concerts such as the SCO Caring Series and SCO Young Children’s Concerts allowed me to appreciate how music can be brought to the community and be used as a healing tool.

Furthermore, I was encouraged by the Foundation to participate in activities related to my interests in international relations and politics. I was extremely happy for the opportunity to hear Professor Kenneth DeWoskin share about China’s historical legacy and its recent campaigns such as “Made in China 2025”. This was part of Yale-NUS College’s Tan Chin Tuan Chinese Culture and Civilization programme.

The experience I had would definitely be useful in my upcoming undergraduate studies as an Economics and Public Policy & Global Affairs student. Throughout the internship, I acquired transferable soft skills, such as critical thinking and writing skills through doing researches and translation work, which will definitely be beneficial in the future.

As my internship comes to an end, I would like to thank the team at the Foundation for making my internship journey a wonderful one. Their constant guidance, support and care during the journey touched me deeply. I am inspired to play an active role in the community whenever possible in the future.

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Teo Pei Qin was an Intern at the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation (TCTF). She will be embarking on her studies in Economics and Public Policy & Global Affairs at the Nanyang Technology University (NTU) in August 2019. In 2017 & 2018, she received the Tan Sri (Dr) Tan Chin Tuan scholarship as a student in Hwa Chong Institution (Junior College).

 More details regarding TCTF’s internship programme can be found here.

Hopping on a New Adventure

My first occurrence with the foundation started in Junior College when I was introduced to the Tan Sri (Dr) Tan Chin Tuan Scholarship. During the mansion tours conducted at the Tête-à-Tête @ TCTF sessions, I was amazed and inspired by Tan Sri Tan’s philanthropic legacy. Also, I was intrigued by the foundation’s innovative programmes to engage children, youth and elderly concurrently through creative avenues such as writing and drawing. From there, I participated in More Than Words 2017 and 2018 as a volunteer and writer respectively. During my time as a scholar, I was exposed to a variety of volunteering opportunities, something which I am immensely thankful for. The scholarship has also motivated me to strive for the best academically and encouraged me to be engaged to the community.

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With TCTF CEO Ms Yap at Tête-à-Tête @ TCTF 2017.

Interested to learn more about the foundation’s work, I decided to apply for the internship programme after my A levels. I look forward to understanding more about how charity programmes are organised, how social service plays a part in uplifting the vulnerable in the community, and thus obtaining a more comprehensive perspective of the community. As the foundation works with many different partners over a variety of causes, I believe that I will be able to gain more insights on how do social service organisations realise their missions in the work they do.

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More Than Words Book Launch 2017 @ Enabling Village

With just two weeks into the internship, I got to participate in Project Cheer – through observing meetings between students from ACJC and charity representatives. After each visit, I always get to learn something new about the particular sector that the respective charities are working with. When listening to the students’ interaction with the charities’ personnel, I had to ensure they ask necessary questions in order to finalise details of their proposals. Through observing these meetings, I learnt the importance of planning early, coming up with original and meaningful ideas before asking for advice and asking targetted questions to make one’s proposal a better one.

My current job scope also includes preparing media summaries daily, taking down minutes in meetings and administrative tasks. Participating in department meetings and understanding the work of various charities allow me to know more about the work TCTF does. In addition, I am excited to know that I will be helping out in the foundation’s signature programmes, such as More Than Words and Project Cheer.

I believe it will be a fun-filled and engaging six months with the foundation!

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With Ms Yap and fellow TSDTCT scholars from Hwa Chong Institution in 2017.

Teo Pei Qin is an Intern at the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation (TCTF).  She received the Tan Sri (Dr) Tan Chin Tuan scholarship in 2017 and 2018 while studying in Hwa Chong Institution (Junior College).

 More details regarding TCTF’s internship programme can be found here.

100 Days with the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation: An Emboldening Journey

Looking back at what began as an exciting new introductory chapter into the Social Service Sector through an experiential internship with the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation (TCTF), I never expected that the past 3 months would, in addition to a greater awareness of and attention to societal issues, yield personal growth and a greater appreciation of how the work in the social service sector correlates to and is very much connected to seemingly unrelated sectors and professions.

The first lap of the journey with the foundation started with one of TCTF’s signature programme, Project Cheer. It was during the Project Cheer sessions that I witnessed and captured, on camera, heart-warming interactions between the elderly and children beneficiaries which reminded me of the short visits to my grandparents’ home in the Philippines. But beyond the nostalgia, the sessions brought to light how essential programmes that promote intergenerational bonding were in supporting efforts to care for the growing numbers of elderly in Singapore, by inculcating values of compassion and empathy in today’s youth.

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An ACJC student leading elderly and children beneficiaries to construct a marshmallow tower. 

That being said, it wasn’t until the next lap the Tête-à-Tête Series that I began to understand the foundation’s mission and appreciate how its work correlates to the wider community.  In helping the TCTF team with preparations for the annual Scholar’s Tea and guiding the scholars through a portion of the mansion tour, I found in TCTF’s founder, Tan Sri (Dr) Tan Chin Tuan, an inspiring role model in terms of his work ethic as well as the conscious and consistent philanthropic contributions made throughout his life, in addition to contributions related to his career.

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Sharing about upcoming volunteer opportunities with TCTF scholars from Hwa Chong Institution.

The third lap of the journey came in the midst of the National Day celebrations in August. Instead of being at The Float at Marina Bay, the NDP Celebration sessions organised by ACE Seniors brought me to nursing homes and community hospitals. For seniors unable to attend the National Day Parade, ACE Seniors brought the festivities to them instead. From listening to an elderly beneficiary recount tales of his travels as a seaman in his younger days, to learning to communicate with an elderly beneficiary who could not speak very well, volunteering at these sessions taught me that regardless of how mobile or articulate they are, the pioneer generation have as much to give us as we can give them especially since they were the ones that witnessed Singapore’s independence and growth into the country it is today.

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Corporate and individual volunteers at the NDP Celebration session held at The Salvation Army Peacehaven Nursing Home. Photo Credit: ACE Seniors

The fourth lap of the journey, though the most challenging, was the most rewarding. Not only was I given the opportunity to draft some of the activity pages in the fifth edition of the More Than Words book – which is now published, the More Than Words Book Launch saw me designing collaterals and, for the first time in my life, co-emceeing in front of an large audience. From trying my best to hold the attention of the children beneficiaries to singing and dancing along with their performances, it was an experience to remember because, in addition to pushing me out of my comfort zone, it was a reminder that education is much more than grades, essays and tests. Learning is and can be a much more creative and fun process.

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The TCTF team with volunteers at the More Than Words Book Launch 2018.

And just like that, in a blink of an eye, I had reached the final lap of my journey with the TCTF team. I will definitely miss working with them, reading the newspapers almost every morning and being a part, albeit a small one, of the foundation’s philanthropic contributions to society.

My heartfelt gratitude to the TCTF team for their untiring guidance, love and care during these past 100 days and I wish all of you well in your continued efforts in ensuring that Tan Sri’s legacy and the philosophy of giving lives on. Once again, thank you for this opportunity and the empowering experiences that came with it.

Day 100

With experience came growth,

With enlightenment came motivation,

With exposure came insight,

And just as endeavours breed courage,

So will opportunities build people and, eventually,

Uplift communities.

 

Erika Macasieb was an Intern at the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation (TCTF). More details regarding TCTF’s internship programme can be found here.

A New Beginning

When I was younger, I read voraciously. Every weekend presented an opportunity to lug home armfuls of books from the Harry Potter series to Anne Frank, the Diary of a Young Girl. Then, there were the film or movie adaptations that brought these stories to life, at least until the credits were played. But what I didn’t realise then was that stories existed everywhere, especially in the form of people’s experiences.

In the first 2 weeks of my internship at the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation (TCTF), the most heart-warming stories came in the form of the experiences of the elderly and children beneficiaries during Project Cheer sessions. Project Cheer is a collaboration between TCTF and Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC) whereby each participating class of ACJC students organises a session for 2 of TCTF’s partner charities, 1 elderly charity and 1 children’s charity.

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An ACJC student works with beneficiaries to construct a marshmallow tower.

However, while watching the students, children and the elderly bond over a myriad of activities was heart-warming, I also witnessed the challenges that some of the students and beneficiaries faced especially in terms of the language barrier and sudden changes in plans. Many of my peers and I volunteer regularly and face similar challenges but it was in observing the ACJC students run their sessions that I learnt to appreciate and became more aware of the work that goes into such programmes and, in turn, social service and charity work.

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2 ACJC students guiding a child and elderly beneficiary to fold paper aeroplanes.

As I continue on this journey with the TCTF team, I look forward to not only witnessing but also helping to write the stories I will encounter in the coming weeks, especially at the upcoming More Than Words Book Launch on the 4th of September at the Central Public Library. Even though it will be challenging, I look forward to becoming a more proactive writer of my own stories compared to the more passive reader I am today – after all, aren’t we all the writers of our own stories?

Erika Macasieb is an Intern at the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation (TCTF). More details regarding TCTF’s internship programme can be found here.

Thank You TCTF!

As the poet Chaucer once wrote, “All good things must come to an end.”

And so, with a tinge of sadness, my 36 week stint at the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation has drawn to a close. In the weeks before, I had been busy with one of TCTF’s signature programmes, Project Cheer. It promotes multi-generational bonding between elderly and children charities through student-led programmes planned by ACJC students.

The Project Cheer sessions helped me in gaining an insight into the symbiotic relationship between TCTF and ACJC. In particular was the element of multi-generation bonding evident when charities serving children volunteer at charities serving the elderly, and all this curated by teenage students.

Although it was tiring to be out of the office for the entire day, it was also an opportunity for me to get to know more about the charity and see first-hand how partnerships between TCTF, ACJC and the charities were conducted. I was heartened to witness the ACJC students’ passion when planning programmes with the focus being the enjoyment of the beneficiaries. They constantly kept in mind how feasible the programme was when considering the profile of the participants.

I had also contributed towards TCTF’s More Than Words – a literacy initiative championing learning through creativity. Reading through the works of the children, it only affirmed my belief that children truly were creative, as they were energetic. With the MTW workshops, I found that it was important to have an outlet to allow children to express themselves through various mediums, be it writing, drawing or even sculpting.

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Looking back, I am grateful to the TCTF for having exposed me to the myriad of programmes, event and unique opportunities. The colleagues that I have met and worked with, including those at my secondment to the YMCA of Singapore, have helped me to better myself which contributed towards shaping my view of the sector. As I end my internship with the foundation with a heavy heart, I am also excited to begin my Social Work studies at SUSS, and continue my journey to becoming a professional social worker who contributes to the social service sector.

Ignatius Pereira was an Intern at the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation (TCTF). More details regarding TCTF’s internship programme can be found here.

My attachment to the Y

From 5 February to 3 March 2018, I had the opportunity to be attached to YMCA of Singapore, as part of the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation’s external attachment opportunity for their interns to charities. During this secondment, I shadowed my new colleagues from the Programmes Department, as they went about their duties running various programmes at YMCA, or the Y as they call it. Visiting Chua Chu Kang Secondary School and St Anthony Canossian Secondary School as part of Citi-YMCA’s Youth for Causes outreach was interesting to observe as I witnessed how my colleague engaged the students in the different schools with varied student profiles in the different classes through various public speaking methods.

Reporting to the fun-loving Youth Development Programme team and being briefed on the types of programmes that they oversaw was informative. Reading through the responses and feedback from youth beneficiaries who participated in the E.L.E.V.A.T.E programme was something that I read with much interest as youth work is a personal interest of mine.

Participating with the dedicated Community Service Programmes (CSP) team was wonderful as I had the opportunity to join in the Y-Outing with elderly beneficiaries from SARAH SAC, Y-Food of Love with beneficiaries from Lions Befrienders SAC and the Y-Movies with special needs beneficiaries from Bishan Home for the Intellectually Disabled.

As part of the Y-Outing, together with volunteers from Y’s Men Singapore (Alpha Chapter), we brought wheelchair-bound elderly beneficiaries for a shopping trip at NEX’s NTUC Fairprice with lunch afterwards. Through this, I learnt how to be sensitive to his needs and tried to ensure he was happy and attended to, throughout the outing. The well-organised Y Food of Love by students from Uni-Y SMU, who baked goods and filled up goody bags to be distributed to the less privileged living in rental flats, was meaningful for me to observe. Interacting with the beneficiaries as we went from door to door and seeing how happy they were to receive us reaffirmed my belief that for those living in social isolation, human interaction was something that they yearned for.

My most memorable experience at CSP was incidentally my first extended interaction with special needs beneficiaries from Bishan Home for the Intellectually Disabled. Staff from the Y, with corporate volunteers from Credit Suisse, brought residents from Bishan Home out for a movie screening of Peter Rabbit. Having never interacted with members from our special needs community, I did not know what to expect and was pretty apprehensive when I went to receive the beneficiary whom was paired with me. The initial fears and misgiving I had were overcome with smiles when she addressed me as “Kor Kor” or big brother even though it was clear that she was older than me. It was a poignant sight when she held my hand as we walked to the movie theatre as it hit me that people with an intellectual disability are inherently innocent and would place their wholehearted trust in people who spent time with them.

YARP Entry 2- Attachment to the Y

Although it was a short secondment to the Y, the experiences and wonderful people I met formed an emotional attachment to the Y, a bond which I felt was lasting. I am ever so grateful to the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation and YMCA of Singapore for providing me with this opportunity which had indeed helped me to understand more about the programmes, services and profiles of beneficiaries in the Social Service Sector – a sector I wish to see myself serving in.

Ignatius Pereira is currently an Intern at the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation (TCTF). More details regarding TCTF’s internship programme can be found here.