Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Nutty Tay

Tay Yang Shun is a 土生土长 Singaporean. If he had to eat one thing from an NUS food stall for the rest of his life, it’d be the Mee Pok from the Flavours@UTown chicken rice stall. Last year, he and his friends built Nutty Ninjas for their class project, and to won first prize for that module at the 3rd SoC Term Project Showcase (STePS). When he isn’t working or studying, he’s reading random tech, design or start-up related stuff on the web to keep up with the latest trends in technology and entrepreneurship. If you want to freak him out, dump him in a deep body of water – he finds the thought of not knowing what’s beneath him absolutely thrilling. If you’re wronged him and would like to make amends, chocolate and coke are your best bets. If all else fails, show up to Yang Shun’s dinner party with Prof Ben Leong, Jay Chou and Mark Zuckerberg, and you’ll be sweet. 

What are you studying at SoC? 
I'm a final year Computer Science with specializations in Interactive Media and Visual Computing (maybe). I'm actually in my fifth year because I started school in NUS as a Mechanical Engineering student. However, in my second year, I found myself spending most of my time on a CS module I was teaching (CS1020E) rather than on my own core Mechanical engineering modules. It was then that I realized that I should probably be in a course that I'm truly interested in. With the help of Dr Ang Chuan Heng who was my CS1020E lecturer, who wrote a recommendation letter for me, I managed to change course, yet still retaining my NUS scholarship! I was extremely grateful and thankful to Dr Ang and the school. 

Describe your SoC experience. 
I enjoy creating applications and websites as I like to build things and solve problems. There are many aspects involved: Software design, interface design, user experience design, etc. Being able to work on all these different aspects simultaneously is a challenge and the experience is very interesting and dynamic. 
Solving problems through technology: This was the main reason I changed course to Computer Science: I get to build stuff and solve problems. Many SoC modules are very hands-on and require students to code and create programs. I'm prefer hands-on activities over studying theories, hence I enjoy the way many of the CS modules are taught. Programming is a really powerful skill. After learning programming, I feel that I am empowered to solve problems that I wasn't able to if I didn't know programming. Among the useful things that I have built, there's a cleanliness records app for teachers to keep track of the cleanliness of their students' rooms, and also, NUSMods, which is used by NUS students to plan their timetables and look up module information. 
Teaching: I have tutored/will tutor the modules CS1010S, CS1020E, CS3216, CS3217, CP3101B, and these are modules that I am passionate about. I hope to influence my students with my passion and encourage them to explore beyond what is taught in class. In my opinion, teaching has multiple benefits: (i) In the tutorials that I teach, I code the solution on the spot and explain the thought process behind my approach. I have found this skill to be extremely relevant in technical interviews where I have to explain my approach of tackling a technical question to the interviewer as I code the solution out. (ii) Tutoring is a good way to meet other like-minded peers among the teaching team and collaborate on projects, be it school or external ones. (iii) A stable source of income to survive the semester. The renumeration isn't a lot, but it's sufficient. 
Working on NUSMods: Ever since Beng (founder of NUSMods) graduated in 2014, I have since taken over the responsibility of improving and working on NUSMods. Over the summer, Beng, Ashray Jain and I, worked on revamping NUSMods and added many more features to it. The most significant new feature was having dedicated module pages which served as wiki pages for NUS modules. Module-related information such as pre-requisites tree, module reviews, CORS bidding history, and timetable data can also be found. I enjoy building useful things that solves peoples’ problems, and NUSMods has given me an opportunity to do that, because it is being used by virtually the whole NUS student population. This keeps me motivated to keep working on it and making it better for the students of NUS. As part of my module project for CS3240, I have extended NUSMods to include friends' timetable saving and NUS venue directory features. Over the December break, I will be working with Chen Minqi on finalizing the features and testing them so that they can be pushed out by Jan 2015. 
Creating content for SoC modules: I'm currently preparing for CP3101B and CS3217 next semester, I'll be serving as a tutor for CP3101B and CS3217 under Dr Steven Halim and Prof Sim Khe Chai respectively. Soon, I'm currently in the midst of preparing materials for these two modules. I enjoy creating new materials for modules because it challenges me to design questions that are helpful towards students' learning. I also try to make the nature of the assignment interesting and relevant so that students will be motivated to work on them. 
Last semester, the 2048 game was extremely hot, and Prof Ben Leong had the idea of creating a programming assignment out of it. Hence I worked with Emmanuel Goh (who will be next semester's CS1010S Head Tutor) and we produced a 2048 problem set for students of CS1010FC and CS1010S. With some guidelines, CS1010FC and CS1010S students had to program the logic behind a 2048 game for their homework. Students were also encouraged to write a solver for the 2048 game as part of a contest. I recall my CS1010E days where I wrote a simple reversi game in C using an ASCII and command line interface and had a lot of fun doing it. I'm glad that there are such programming assignments these days that break the monotony of standard programming homework. 

This year alone, I went on 3 overseas trips and they were all sponsored by the overseas organizations. Facebook sponsored my trip to their HQ in Menlo Park for the Facebook Open Academy program, University of Pennsylvania sponsored part of my trip to Philadelphia for PennApps and NYU Shanghai sponsored by trip to Shanghai for HackShanghai. My respective module lecturers were understanding in allowing me to skip classes for these overseas pursuits. This semester, I spent two weeks overseas and as a result I had to rush to catch up on the work during and after my trips. I had a report for CS3240 due during my return flight from Doha, hence I was rushing to complete the report on the plane from Philadelphia to Doha. My MacBook's battery was running low but thankfully I managed to connect to the WiFi at Doha's airport and submitted my report on time before the battery went flat. It kind of felt like I was defusing a bomb >_< 

[Here are some of the things that I think make SoC different than other faculties.] I find that many students in SoC are innately passionate about their work, and willingly spend their weekends and free time exploring new technology and learning new things. I look forward to my classes as I’m innately interested in the content I’m being taught. 
We also have undergraduate tutors! I think this is something uniquely SoC (most other faculties require their tutors to be of at least Masters level). There was this semester where my friend was taking a module that I was tutoring and I was taking a module he was tutoring. It can get complicated sometimes, but at the same time, it makes life in SoC more interesting and fun. As tutors, we get to work with professors very closely to run the course. We also have post-exam chillax sessions with some drinks! (: 

And, I really think we have the best faculty staff around! Perhaps because of the nature of the course, many of the faculty staff are on Facebook where our profs share interesting posts (tech articles, Nala photos), and interact with the students. The faculty staff make an effort to know their students on a personal level - [these are a few] profs who made an impact on me and taught me some classes that I enjoyed: 
  • Prof Ben Leong: I owe a lot of my achievements to Prof Ben; he gave me many opportunities to learn and I learnt a tremendous amount of skills (beyond CS) from him. Prof Ben is also extremely popular among the students – he even has a Fan Club!
  • Dr Colin Tan: Dr Colin is very cool and personable, and has many interesting stories to share. He's very active on Facebook and shares many cat photos (only Nala). 
  • Prof Ng Teck Khim: Extremely caring professor that takes the effort to know each and every of his students. He even goes the extra mile and specially gave make-up lessons to students who have missed his class. I have taken two modules (CS3218 and CS4243) under him. 
  • Prof Zhao Shendong: Prof Zhao is very kind and has given me extensions for his assignments as I was overseas >_< 
Also, there's so much welfare for the students: interesting hacking contests, Halloween profile picture contests, and also Prof Gary Tan and Adele giving away meal vouchers during examination week. This makes us feel very taken care of (: 

What is the one thing you would change about NUS? 
I think more students should try programming! I would encourage everyone to take an introductory class (one of the CS1010-variants) and see if they enjoy it. Programming isn't something every student gets to try because Singapore's educational system doesn't include CS as one of the compulsory foundation subjects in secondary school. Many of my Science students from CS1010S who are extremely talented programmers, gained interested in CS after taking CS1010S. I think that if they got to try programming earlier, they might have chosen CS instead. Although, CS is not for everyone, but you won't know until you try it! Trying programming is extremely simple, all you need is your laptop! 

What do you count as your most significant achievements to date? 
Prof Ben appointed me as Head Tutor for CS1010S in AY2013/14 Semester 1. In fact, it was my first time tutoring but he trusted me to take up such an important role. It was an eye-opening experience for me as I got to coordinate a course from start to the end. What made it "better" was that it was a new course, there were no materials to reuse and the teaching staff had to port the materials from Scheme to Python. There were also a lot of administrative issues to handle. 
People management has never been my forte but I got to hone those skills by being the Head Tutor. My approach was to get to know most of the people (staff and students) on a personal level outside the classroom. The motivation behind this was to better understand each individual's personality so that delegation of work could be more efficient and mismatch of interests could be prevented as much as possible. 
The process was painful and coupled with CS3216 (another painful module), I slept very little that semester. However, I was very glad with the outcome of the course and would deem it as a huge success. It left a deep impression in many students' hearts as the toughest, most painful, most time-consuming yet enjoyable freshmen module. In my teaching performance report, positive remarks from my students included: hardworking, responsible, approachable, caring, friendly, efficient, patient and nice. 

What is something most people would be surprised to learn about you? 

That I have been a student in 4 NUS faculties. In my first year of National Service, I was in Architecture, but I switched to Mech Engineering and Accountancy DDP in my second year of NS, and subsequently, CS. There is also an artistic side of me; I used to write Chinese Calligraphy and do some graphic designing. In 2012, my designs for the Welfare Diary and NUSSU Student Life Tee were selected to be used university-wide! 

Is there anything else you'd like to share? 
Recently I talked to a few people and found that they were in their course because their parents wanted them to study it because of the supposedly good prospects and not because they are interested in it. I think it's extremely pointless to study something that one has no interest in. In my opinion, extrinsic motivation such as money and prospects will fade off eventually. One has to be intrinsically motivated by what they are studying/doing. If you haven't found something that interests you, keep finding and trying new stuff! 

Quick-Fire! Pet peeves? 
So many! Where do I start…
  • Chewing very loudly when eating. 
  • Bad coding style. Students, please follow this Python style guide.
  • Literally using acronyms in face-to-face conversations: “TBH”, “IMO”, “ASAP”. 
  • Not pushing in chairs after leaving the seat. 
  • "k", "kk" and "okok". These are common replies used by many people in instant messaging and it gets to my nerves. “Ok”, “okay”, “okie” sound much better as acknowledgement replies. "k" sounds rude and is a convo-killer, while "kk" and "okok" gives people the impression that they are getting impatient. 

All I want for Christmas is…? 
Time. Time is the only resource that money can’t buy. How nice would it be if I had 48 hours a day, I can sleep for 24 hours and still have 24 hours to do work.

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Wednesday, 3 December 2014


Aaron Tan is one of quite a decent number of faculty members here who are also our alumni. At our recent anniversary gala, Aaron hosted a mini musical game where he sang a number foreign language songs, like Maori,Hindi and Indonesian, and the audience tried to guess the songs' origins. He is an avid Facebooker - follow his daily musings on his page

The man himself at a Christmas Fiesta rehearsal (circa 1993/1994)

Where did you grow up? 
This is an interesting question, as I guess my answer would be rather interesting for the readers. I grew up in Geylang, a notorious red-light district. So, as a little boy, I ran around prostitution dens and got to know the sex workers and, occasionally, I would bump into clients who were local celebrities and even my own teacher! 
Well, I guess anything more juicy might be inappropriate for this publication so I shall stop here. 

What’s your academic background? 
At one point of time, I studied at two kindergartens at the same time because I was bored at home. I enjoyed going to school so much that I kept pestering my parents. May I add that it was very rare for kids to even attend kindergarten in those days. 
Later, I studied in the GEP school. No, that’s not the Gifted Education Programme which was to be introduced only 13 years later. It’s the Geylang English Primary school, which you may not have heard of because it has long been defunct. 
Then, from being the top student in my primary school, I landed in Raffles Institution only to realise that everybody around me was smarter than I. I was intrigued, particularly by my smart school-mates who were writing BASIC programs on the Apple computers. 
I chose Computer Science as one of my subjects in my junior college years, and then came to NUS in 1985 to study Computer Science in the then Department of Information Systems and Computer Science (DISCS), which was under the Science Faculty. Four years later, I graduated with a first-class honours degree. 

Do you have any interesting stories to share about your time as a student here? 
Too many stories to share that they might fill a book. The undergraduate years were the most colourful and memorable years in my life. Like the song goes: “those were the days my friends, we thought they’d never end…” 
Our batch was small by comparison to today’s class size. There were fewer than 200 of us in our batch, and most fortunately, an equal number of male and female students! This is important because it gave rise to many interesting love stories, as well as triangular and multi-sided relationship, but I shall not digress. 
The department was small too, so we were close to our professors and tutors. It was quite common for a lecturer to take us out for lunch treats, or we would visit our tutors at their offices for a chat. 
But we were also hot-headed young adults then. I remember we were unhappy with the light workload given to us by one of the lecturers and so we wrote a letter to the head of department to complain about it. Talk about being impetuous! Well, today I would advise students to talk to your lecturer first before shooting a letter to the head of department. 
Those were the pre-modular system days where all of us took the same package of modules. We were in the same tutorial group throughout the 3 years – at that time, the general degree took 3 years, with an additional year for honours degree – so the bonding was very strong. Such strong bonding became history when the modular system was introduced, so we lament. At the end of our third year, we organised a campfire at car park 10 for remembrance sake and to thank our professors. I wrote a song called 年轻的歌 (Song of Youth) for my tutorial group, which we sang at the campfire. Lecturers and tutors were also invited and some of them put up their own performance. 
During my fourth year in the university, a certain junior college was looking for a relief teacher to cover one of their Computer Science teachers who was due for reservist training. A university classmate of mine recommended me for the job, so I ended up taking a short teaching stint while I was still an undergraduate. And guess who was in my class? Dr. Colin Tan, in his tender years!

What did you want to be when you were younger?
Realising that I wasn’t as smart as my secondary school classmates, coupled with my immense craving for chicken rice – I ate it almost every day, and it was only 80 cents or $1 at that time – I actually thought that I might end up selling chicken rice. Serious! However, I am now into healthy eating, so no more chicken rice for me. 

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 
Since young, I have been very interested in writing songs and lyrics – mainly in Cantonese and Mandarin – though I had no formal musical training. I wrote quite a number of them, even took part in some competitions and I was lucky enough to grab a few prizes. 
I wrote a song last year to honour our nation's 50th National Day, and I have been wishing to make a video out of it. Unfortunately, so far I have little luck in getting people to help out with this personal project. So readers out there, if you are keen, whether in singing, acting, playing the musical instruments, script-writing, directing, video-shooting, choreographing, please contact me! 
Recently I posted the lyric “This is C” sung to the tune of “Home” by Kit Chan on Facebook and somebody suggested to make it into a video as well. What a cool idea, but again, I need volunteers! 
As a pastime, I enjoy singing and playing the guitar. I learned classical guitars for many years after I graduated. At the end of every semester, I would invite students to join me for some karaoke sessions. 
I run regularly too. During the recent summer vacation, I invited students to join me run around the campus. A couple of them and some alumni came and it soon became a weekly running event on every Wednesday evening. We have completed our 24th run at the writing of this article (23 November 2014)! 

What are some of the craziest things you have done recently? 
Five and a half months ago, as I approached my 50th birthday, I thought of doing something totally wacky and so I enrolled myself into Wing Chun class and I’ve never neglected it. These days, you will find me practising Wing Chun in the gym. 
Recently I took part in the Swim-for-Hope event and swam 20 laps. Never a serious swimmer, I swam occasionally and have not attempted more than 4 laps at a go for many years. I wouldn’t call this crazy but just another little thing I wanted to try outside my comfort zone. 

The photo above was taken last year. I was pestered by my son Cowen to take him to the ice-skating rink, and that was my first ice-skating experience! A painful experience, but fun nonetheless, and it makes me realise that it is never too late to learn something new. 

Do you have any interesting stories to share about your experience as a teacher here? 
When I was a tutor, the students were quite active in organising activities such as charity events. I joined them in some of the activities, such as going around the housing estates collecting old newspapers. There were charity concerts as well, where our students showed their varied talents. Karaoke was very popular then, so the students organised a number of karaoke singing competitions, which I was invited as a judge for some of them. It is a pity these days our students don’t organise such events. I also miss the student-staff games (sports games, not computer games) which we used to have. 

Do you have any advice for our students? 
Don’t just spend all your time on the computer! Get out of the house and sweat under the sun. Healthy body, healthy mind. That’s why in the past, when I trained the IOI students, besides training in the classroom, I also took them out to jog and swim. 
Recently I came across this powerful article and would like to share it here, along with a message for all our students: 
 “Your job — as students who are receiving an education — is to be aware of your privilege. And use this particular privilege called “education” to do your best to achieve great things, all the while advocating for those in the rows behind you.”

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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Fireman Ash

Md. Ashmawi Md. Jailani has an insatiable appetite for chocolate and has admitted to being ‘one of the driving forces’ contributing to the impending global chocolate shortage. The word he finds most annoying is ‘exams’ and gaming is his guilty pleasure. Unsurprisingly, academically, Ash is interested in digital animation and gaming and is aiming to specialise in Interactive Media. He is in the second year of his Computer Science programme.

Describe your SoC experience.
[I enjoy] the SOC community and its people have always been warm and friendly, making SOC like a home for all of us. [The thing I find most challenging is] coding. It’s really difficult to think of the algorithms and implement them, but incredibly satisfying once you get the desired result. [The craziest thing that has happened to me here is] getting sabotaged to participate in a blindfold dance competition onstage during Computing Bash, and my blindfold was a ski mask. It was like a robber was dancing onstage hahaha XD. [If there was one thing I could change about NUS, it would be to] add Foosball as an IFG Sport :D 
Right now, [I have been] playing soccer more, and also studying hard to pull my grades up hahaha. I’ve really liked playing soccer for quite some time and would really like to improve myself in the game. Other than academics and soccer, I’ve joined some of the cells in Computing Club.

What do you count as your most significant achievement to date?
Participating in SOC Rag 2014! I was tasked as an Engineer for the float, and with the help of seniors and friends we came up with a truly impressive float. The dance was enjoyable and fun as well, and we learnt a lot of new dance styles! Also, special mention goes to the recent Funball competition during IFG where SoC managed to win first place XD! 
I applied for vacation stay during summer break, so as to be able to go to rag site (most of the float building took place at the Central Forum) every day and also participate in other events such as camps and Orbital during the summer break (late May – August 2014). It was worth it. A lot of friends were involved – seniors, freshmen and even graduate students! SOC is awesome in that sense; we’re like a big family who look out for one another and always help each other out.
I hear that you were a former fire fighter in SCDF. Tell me more about that.
SCDF training was long and arduous, as all trainings for NSFs are, but it was a truly great experience as I learnt a lot of new and useful skills. We had one day attachments at fire stations, and during the attachment I was able to go for 2 cases, but both cases were not too serious or had already been dealt with by the time we reached the incident site. It was still fun however, to have been able to ride in the fire engine and have the initial adrenaline rush of going to an actual emergency situation.
Firefighting is not easy, and really takes up a lot of effort and energy. Fire stations are not as ‘lepak’ as people would think, especially with the 24 hour work, 48 hour off shifts. During the 24 hour work, firefighters would have to be alert and awake throughout the whole period of time, as they must set off and reach the emergency site within a specific period of time. Also they could be activated at any time, regardless of activities they were doing, such as drills. The firefighting suit, while it protects the wearer from the fires and heat to a certain extent, it also traps heat inside itself. Heat exhaustion is a very real and serious problem and the firefighters train hard to endure this heat and also the weight of the equipment they’re carrying and wearing, to ensure that during an emergency they’re well prepared to face long hours of work.
Firefighters, especially the ones I’ve met and known, are dedicated to their work and take pride in it. Salute to all the firefighters and members of Home Team out there, for enduring tough training and situations to keep Singapore and all of us safe J

What is something most people would be surprised to learn about you?
I can’t really take spicy food – just not too fond of it. And I’m a shy guy, hahaha.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not studying?
[Playing] video games, be it on laptop or console, as long as it’s a fun game that I can play solo or multiplayer. Multiplayer would be more fun with friends of course, like L4D2 or Battlefield.

Quick-Fire: Worst fear?
Being alone and forgotten.

Worst experience with public transportation?
I missed 3 shuttle buses and realised that walking is far more reliable than waiting for the buses.

Singapore’s best kept secret?
LeSteak at Jalan Kayu, one of the best halal restaurants specialising in steak :P

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Wednesday, 29 October 2014


When she isn’t working, Dr. Bimlesh Wadhwa enjoys spending time with her kids and watching movies. Her favourite movies are the classic Gone with the Wind, Disney’s Finding Nemo and Bollywood’s 3 Idiots and Bhag Milkha Bhag. The best places she’s been to are in her dreams and she cannot live without her morning tea.

Eight year old Bimlesh :)

Where did you grow up?
I was born in New Delhi, capital of the country of Taj Mahal, Biryani and Prata. Though I have lived half of my life in Singapore, I still call myself a proud Delhiite. Delhi has great people. It is a very fun-loving city and enjoyable too. I did my schooling and college studies in Delhi. My parents and most of my extended family are still in Delhi. Every year, I travel at least once to Delhi, the heart (‘Dil’) of India.

What are you currently working on?
Recently, I have been working on gender issues in interaction design with an anthropologist Samantha Berslin.
This work is about exploring possible ways of understanding and incorporating nuanced approaches to gender in its relationship with interaction design and computer science education. Too often research on gender is taken as equivalent to research on women, or relies on stereotypical or reified ideas of gender identity and difference. Much research on gender in the field of computer science has focused on addressing the ongoing under representation of women in the discipline in many “Western” countries or explored how and to what extent technology designed, produced, and used by “men” or “women”. Singapore presents an interesting alternative case to the “woman problem,” having approximate gender parity in computing.  It is interesting to explore how particular gender boundaries and stereotypes are made, reinforced, and complicated in teaching, learning, and doing design. 

At UTown

What do you like about SoC?
The School of Computing has been like home for the last 14 years. Surrounded by like-minded people, I have come to know them as family. I enjoy interacting with students on a day to day basis in this lovable and conducive environment.

What is the one thing you would change about SoC?
Wish all of us could laugh more & appreciate humor – e.g. have a digital board where we can post cartoons and funny things.

With students at STePS

What is something most people would be surprised to learn about you?
I love getting drenched in rain.
I like taking part in radio quizzes & often win them too. :)
I did MSc in High Energy Physics before venturing into computer science.
I love balloons.

Quick-Fire! Worst design?
Shutdown in Windows 8

Guilty pleasures?
Singing in the car driving alone. Getting excited over small things such as new iPhone cover.

Four ultimate dinner party guests?
Dory - but she might need her own fish bowl
Wall-E - He might come with a plant but is cute either way!
Remy - He would cook the best Ratatouille for dinner :)
Barbara Liskov - there is no Substitute (LSP)

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Thursday, 16 October 2014

Chirpy Clovis

Clovis Tan studied Electronic Commerce graduated in June this year. He thinks that maybe he should have practiced his programming a bit more, but otherwise he had a blast here. If you’d like to peeve this oft-good-humoured dude, just unleash a torrent of broken English on him. It isn’t widely known, but the man can also play the piano and sing. 

What do you do now? 
Well, I am now a Senior Officer at the Immigrations and Checkpoint Authorities. I know it is totally irrelevant to my course at NUS, but I am actually pursuing what I love to do. I personally do not like doing mundane 9-5 desk jobs and my position as a Senior Officer & Team Leader at ICA allows me the adrenaline and constant hype that I actually quite crave for! Basically, border security is the crux of my job scope and being part of the Home Team allows me to cultivate and nurture my passion to serve and for leadership!
I actually do still read quite a bit on data mining and am still interested in big data. Information harvesting and essentially making sense of these infinite data that is practically floating around is prevalent in almost every working environment. Organisations want to be better and more often than not, they rely heavily on these data to either be ahead or to be both efficient and effective. ICA isn't any different and yes, data harvesting is certainly both a science and an art here!

Describe your SoC experience.
Wow, where do I begin... I can touch my heart and say that it was and is (up till now), the best 4 years of my life. I came in thinking that, you know, I would just try to get by university but what I acquired at SoC, and the opportunities made available to me at SoC, allowed me to not just grow, but excel. I was the Director of Sports in my freshman year and in that year my committee and I started the annual SoC Sports Camp in 2011! What a breakthrough that was! We saw that students from other faculties at that time had the idea that SoC-ians were boring and geeks and that drove us to prove them wrong. What delights me most is really seeing this camp grow from strength to strength and I hope this will stay on as a tradition for SoC! Truth is, some faculties are still amazed at how we are actually doing this and making a sports camp happen. 
In my second year, we decided to rebrand SoC's O'Week. I had the most amazing committee that believed in the same vision I did and we made history by not only just having a proper computing bash at Sentosa's Wavehouse, [but also having] the biggest camp turnout ever (at that time in 2012). PARODY 2012 was to me, the best experience at SoC. I would stay in school for 2 straight weeks at SoC during the days when I was organising camps and not have a proper bed or sleep. That adrenaline is really one to die for. Being the project director and eventually seeing the camp to its fruition showed me how amazing this faculty can be and I am just thankful and privileged to be part of it all. Especially after I stepped down from my committee positions and people actually thank me for the effort I had placed in doing a certain something, that drives me to want to be a better person. Knowing that people appreciate you really keeps you going and the acknowledgement not only from the students, but also the faculty is something that really humbles me.
I was also a student representative at the Students' Union level for SoC, the Director of Internal Relations and Alumni Relations (in 2012) and the elected Student Welfare Secretary (in 2013) of the NUS Students' Union. My heart was always wanting to make a difference in the lives of NUS students but truth be told, it was at SoC where I felt most at home. Some of my closest friends are friends I made at SoC. Though I struggled a little in the beginning, my more learned friends never fail to guide me. 
Programming was a big challenge for me, honestly. But at E-Commerce, we are required to not only program and understand the IT aspect of the broader scheme of things, we are also required to articulate and incorporate the business side of things into our projects. That, on its own, is something I find both challenging and yet, at the time, really interesting! Dr Anand Ramchand is one faculty staff member who not only encouraged me since I was in my freshman year, he guided me and believed in me enough during my time at SoC. Not only was he my coach for 2 case competitions, I was his teaching assistant for 2 semesters and I would say that I am deeply touched by his sincerity all these years!
In my final year, I also represented SoC and NUS at an International Business IT Case Competition in Vancouver and that really left a strong, lasting impression on me. I grew so much as a person during that whole training process and I would say that it was one of the few things that I will always hold dear to my heart. Like they always say, it’s these sorts of memories that make a person whole. 
SoC is such a small faculty and, yes, we may not have the manpower to do big things or what not but we certainly are a close-knitted family. I would have never traded that for anything else. [The thing I enjoyed the most was] seeing familiar faces around SoC each and every day. Literally :)

What is the one thing you would change about SoC?
I would prevent other students from using our common, air-conditioned study areas at the basement and outside SR1! We need some exclusivity yo, it’s our zone!

What do you count as your most significant achievement to date?
Winning a medal (NUSS Medal for Outstanding Achievement) during commencement and seeing my parents glow with pride :) That medal summarises everything I had ever lived for in SoC and NUS and being presented with that award during my commencement really had me thanking God, my friends and my family for their belief and support throughout my 4 years.
My passion is to make a difference and to, as a leader, leave something behind for my juniors to make better (like Bash, Sports Camp and Orientation Week). My desire is to lead by example and to prove critics wrong because there will always be these people around, no matter where you are! It all began when I started taking the leadership opportunities that SoC and NUS provided me with!
[To make it work, I had] to be able to compartmentalise my life properly; balance studies, extracurricular activities and friends well; sacrifice certain things (which I would say I wish I did not - like going on a semester long exchange). My girlfriend, Dionne, (though she is not from SoC, she was like an honorary SoC-ian) supported me and stood by me through it all. My Bro, Sean Pea (my batchmate), who helped me so much for my programming and being a listening ear. My BFF, Li Ru (my batchmate), for always making sure I was okay and most importantly, God, for everything and every blessing that He has showered me with! The medal that I had won would not have been possible without them!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Don't ever let anyone dictate who you should be. University is a time when you really find out who you are and who your real friends are! Oh and, don't just study!! University life is probably the last time in your life that you can really go all out to explore and enjoy! :)
Don't ever give up, ever. Even when the going gets tough. Cliché as it may sound but at the end of the day, be a person whom you want people to remember you for :) Stay true to your values and remember that the sky is the limit!

Quick-fire: Best song on air now?
BANG BANG by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nikki Minaj

Worst fear?
Having no friends.

If you could eat only three food items for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Sashimi, Rojak and the Barley Ginko Beancurd dessert haha!

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Friday, 3 October 2014

16 Things About SoC

This feature was written by fourth year Communications & Media student Sarah Tan as a 'build-up' to the NUS Computing Gala later this month and originally published on her blog. I have re-published it here with her permission.

The NUS School of Computing (SoC) is 16 this year, and we're commemorating it this month YAY! Haha if you're wondering what so great about 16 years that's worth celebrating, then you should stop thinking in decimal and start thinking in binary :P Which is also why our Gala Dinner is to be held on 24th Oct :D

In celebration of special event, I've decided to write a post to showcase some of the rich history of our 39 years. And so in binary numbering, here are 16 things you didn't know about Computing. Number 5 really blew my mind!

Disclaimer: all photos in this post were either taken by me or from the school. If you see a picture of yourself here and would like it removed, just let me know.

1. Our roots can be traced back to 1975

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Progressive Nishanth

Nishanth Sudharsanam studied Computer Engineering and graduated in 2012. Before moving to Singapore and leaving the country for the first time at age 16, he lived in Chennai, India. He reads a lot of non-fiction, biographies and biopics to get more perspective on life, is a fan of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, enjoys south Indian classical music, cooking, and staring at the wall and day dreaming (but he calls it "assimilation" to make himself feel better). The man also deserves a ginormous award for his response to the quick-fire question, ‘Worst fashion trend?’ – he said ‘Heels’. *mic drop*

What do you do now? 
I founded Klinify, a healthcare start-up. Our vision is to unlock medical data and use it to save lives. The most popular and sadly, the most usable tool for managing patient records right now is paper. Data locked away in paper folders isn’t very useful. So, the first step is to ease the workflow of doctors by giving them better tools to manage patient data. The next step would be to help them use the data to drive healthcare forward.
As a computer engineer, I was shocked by the inefficiency in the healthcare system, and I wanted to fix it. At first sight it seems like doctors are tech-averse, but that's not so. They use and operate some pretty hi-tech machinery. They are however busy people operating in a high stress environment, so they have a strong preference for systems that get out of their way and allow them to focus on their practice. The tools available to manage patient records are too clunky, so they keep reverting to paper.
I felt this was very fixable with modern tablets and text-recognition technology, and the lack of usable data is greatly holding back data-backed innovation in healthcare. [I think in the next decade, this field will result in] better, smarter and more accessible healthcare, and computer aided diagnoses.
Klinify definitely [is my most significant achievement to date]. The whole process of starting from scratch, identifying a problem, a potential solution, selling it, and the convincing others to join you for the ride (be it investors or colleagues) has been quite a journey and I feel good when I look back at how far we have come and how much I have learnt. It is a very incomplete achievement though. There is a long way to go before I [will] feel a sense of pride at what we have accomplished.

Describe your SoC experience.
I like math and computer science, so the modules were obviously fun. The environment at SoC is casual, and had a feel of self-initiated learning as opposed to strictly imposed curriculum. There was lot of room to explore and play around, so it was a great atmosphere to be in.
[What I found most interesting and useful was] the focus on learning reusable concepts, like algorithms, architecture instead of programming languages, specific implementations. It helped me start thinking in terms of systems, processes and algorithm as opposed to one-off fixes. It is a very practical skill that extends far beyond computing, and I believe I honed that skill at SoC.
[The one thing I would have done differently during my time here would be to have] picked specific modules, perhaps one per semester and gone all out to gain really in-depth knowledge about it. 

What is the one thing you would change about SoC?
CS1101C seems to have the effect of making most non-programming (typically non-SoC) students develop a strong aversion to programming, which makes me sad, because many of these are smart people scarred by that one intense experience. Given that programming is such an important skill these days, part of me wonders if the initiation could have been gentler. Perhaps focussed less on C and more on the concepts behind it?

Which faculty members made impressions on you?
Wow, that's a long list, because I enjoyed most of my modules. The most prominent were probably -
Profs Juzar Motiwalla, Martin Henz, and Pete Kellock for their guidance and genuine support, even when they knew we had no clue what we were doing initially.
Prof Ben Leong, for introducing me into SoC with that awesome scheme module that remains among my best at SoC.
Profs Wong Weng Fai and Lee Wee Sun, for the ATAP that led to my FYP and the SPC programme respectively. They helped me explore my interest in Comp. Sci. research. Something I hope to get back to someday.
Prof Damith for an extremely useful software engineering course, the importance of which I failed to appreciate until 1 year after graduation when I had to maintain and collaborate on a project that was becoming a little too large for me to hack my way through.

What is something most people would be surprised to learn about you?
I was extremely interested in becoming a quantitative analyst in an investment bank in the first couple of years of university. I did a minor in financial maths, an internship in Credit Suisse, finished my CFA level 1 and also signed up for level 2. And then the start-up bug bit me, and investment banking began to seem a little boring. I'd still like to finish my CFA sometime, more for fun though than to become a banker.

Quick-Fire: Most interesting use of or development in technology this year?
HP's The Machine sounds very interesting. Practical experiments in Quantum teleportation have started to validate theory, which is huuge!

Pet peeve?
So often I see the loudest - not the soundest argument wins.

Three ultimate dinner party guests 
Richard Feynman, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates (I’d just serve food and listen to them talk to each other)

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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Mama Jeannel

Jeannel Mah is a fourth year Information Systems student and a proud Singaporean. She thinks Crocs are the best and worst fashion trend and hates it when people don’t reply to text messages. She loves snacking and reads all the [English] words on the packaging of everything she buys. Incidentally, thus far, Jeannel received more nominations to do SoC Bytes than any other student.

Describe your SoC experience. What do you enjoy the most?
[My favourite thing about SoC is] the friendly atmosphere! SoC is like one big family! Students, Staff, Lecturers, we all know each other well enough to joke and confide in one another. [I think the thing that makes the SoC experience different is] the wonderful close‐knit feel of the faculty members! I'm not sure there is any other faculty where students and staff have such a close personal friendship, the active Facebook community, and alumni who are so willing to come back for events and help their juniors!
I have been blessed to be in the best faculty in the world, [with] so many people [who] have made good impressions on me. My fantastic seniors, who were so welcoming during my Freshmen Orientation Camps, who made me feel like I belong here, have given me, and are still giving me, support and advice up till now. It is because of them that I participate every year in the Freshmen Orientation Projects because I want to pass on a similar experience to my juniors.
[There are also] great lecturers who have given me great life advice, and have been so patient with me and any questions that I may have, no matter how stupid and simple they may be (shout out to Yang Zhenbin), [as well as] other SoC staff who have been so helpful and kind to me and have been really good friends. It is because of all these people that I love this school – it is the first school I've ever felt that I fit in. SoC is the only school I've been to that I love and would recommend others to go to.
I've just done so many silly things during my time here; I think I bring the insanity onto myself. I have once eaten 5 bowls of Jelly Tau Huey in one sitting because of a dare (it was a challenge started by Wai Tsun, we were helping to raise money for SoC's Freshmen Orientation Projects by selling Tau Huey), and I one-up-ed that dare by eating 6 at a later date (honestly those tiny bowls of jelly are more filling than they seem, and they also leave a chill in your bones). I also regularly dress oddly to go to school - Pikachu hats Cat Ears, Lolita Dresses, Wing hair clips - I have a whole assortment of strange clothes and accessories. Last Halloween I went to school in Lolita Dress and gave people sweets. For Valentines' Day last year, I folded about a hundred paper lotuses and gave them to everyone I knew. When running for a Vice President position for the Computing Club Management Committee, other than my posters, I put paper-craft Companion Cubes around the school filled with candy and refilled them throughout the day each day of the voting period.
[If I could change one thing,] I would place shower facilities in COM1, because year-round, so many of us stay over in school and I think it would be nice to not have to walk all the way to BIZ or ICube to shower! 

Besides academic work, what else do you do at SoC now?
I was a member of the Computing Club Management Committee (Comp Club MC) for two years in my first and second year, being the Vice Director of Communications and Media in the first, and then the Vice President (Human Resource & Development in my second). During these terms I've helped organise and oversee the organisation of many Comp Club events, namely, the Welfare, Sports and Academic events as well as provided support and manpower for events that aren't under my wing. I also went on the ground to ask various students about how they felt the Comp Club MC could do a better job at representing them and how we could better carry out our activities. During my Vice-Presidency, I was also one of the faculty representatives for the NUS Student Union, where we discussed and planned many aspects of NUS related to Student Life. I was also part of the committee for the Love NUS Campaign in that year, organising the photo booth, and creating the huge standee which stands today in the COM1 Lobby. In addition, I have been on the planning committee for a Freshmen Orientation Camp, as well as an Orientation Group Leader (OGL) in many others. Lastly, I am a member of the Student Network Associates (informal name: Sig Labs), where we help maintain certain servers in the school's network, as well as continue on with our own projects (the digital clocks in all the SRs and LTs, as well as the printer queue display were made by my seniors and mounted by us!).

Several of your fellow students nominated you (separately) to be interviewed and suggested we discuss your uniqueness, ‘motherliness’ and interests. Tell us about these.
I daresay I am a very caring person, maybe too much so, which is probably the cause of my "motherly" personality. I'm always worrying about other people and their welfare (which is a large reason for me running for my Vice President post). As an OGL I call my freshmen my "kids" and am constantly worrying about them, that they won't get sun‐burnt, won't be hungry, which leads me to buy a tonne of biscuits, snacks, instant noodles and sunblock before the camp to provide my "kids" with what they need. Although sometimes I go a little too far and go around to different groups asking if they need sunblock, and threatening to smack those who refuse sunblock if they get sun‐burnt (I have found that threat to be quite effective at making the males put on sunblock). I'm also always open and happy to give advice and help to those who ask me, at any time of the day.
Well [re: uniqueness], the most obvious one right now would be my hair colour. Last year I decided to bleach and dye my entire head of hair purple. And since then my hair has gone through various stages of purple, blue and pink.
Recently when most people look at me they immediately assume that I participate in Cosplay. Actually, I've barely done any Cosplay although I am quite interested in it. I have only Cosplayed three times, one as a character from my favourite anime "Elfen Lied", the second as a "Pikachu Maniac" and the third was a standard Lolita. While I am trying to get more into the Cosplay scene, I am not actually particularly active in it (mostly due to my laziness in making costumes).
I am however, a Video Game Child. I love video games, and have loved them ever since I can remember. I have an older brother who heavily influenced my likes and dislikes as a kid and my parents and relatives bought us plenty of video games and consoles on which we spent hours of every day of our life playing together. I practically grew up in a country club arcade and own at least one console from every (video game console) generation since 1990. My favourite game as a child was ‘Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun’, this is the reason why real‐time strategy games will always have a special place in my heart.

What is something most people would be surprised to learn about you?
I was once on the National Youth Training Team of Singapore for Air Rifle Shooting. But I quit when I entered University because I wanted to focus on my studies.

What advice would you give a prospective SoC student?
Choose this course because you're interested in it, and not because you don't have any other choice. Also, go for the Freshmen Orientation Projects activities – you'll meet many people who will be an important part of your school life and working life in the future.

Quick‐Fire! If you had to eat only one item from one of the NUS canteen stalls for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Cheesecake from the Western Stall. I've got a weakness for desserts.

Best movie you’ve seen this year?
I don't watch many movies, but probably Guardians of the Galaxy. That movie got me wondering which characters were created with make‐up and which were computer generated.

Three ultimate dinner party guests (dead or alive)?
A musician/comic book writer: Gerard Way
An author: Neil Gaiman (or Patrick Rothfuss)
A Video Gaming YouTube Channel Celebrity: Hannah (or Kim) from the Yogscast

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Tuesday, 2 September 2014


Associate Professor Atreyi Kankanhalli thinks ‘Oblivion’ is probably the worst film she’s seen recently (she couldn’t make out what it intended to convey!). Her pet peeve is messiness and she doesn’t like crowded or confined spaces (Ed: I sure hope she doesn’t have to use the MRT during rush hour!). And, for her, the best hawker food in Singapore is the roti prata at the Jalan Kayu Prata Stall.

Atreyi (centre, in all black) with her IS colleagues

Where did you grow up?
Not a lot of people may know that I spent a large part of my childhood in Turkey. Although I was born in India, I spent close to 11 years of my childhood in Ankara (capital of Turkey). My father was working at the State Planning Division and later as an academic at Hacettepe University (I guess pursuing an academic career runs in the family!). It was an interesting place to grow up. Turkey is quite a modern country and the people are very friendly – in fact they would invite you into their house for a meal at any time of day. Also, Turkey has a unique geographical position serving as a bridge between Asia and Europe. There is a rich history drawing from the early Greek civilization (there are interesting ruins to visit) to the more recent Ottoman empire (Istanbul has some of this rich heritage). So it was an interesting country to live in and to travel around. 
For my schooling though, it was quite challenging! I first studied at the British Embassy School for my primary school as there were very few options for education in English. For my middle school, I went to the Ankara Kolej and studied only English, Maths, and Science. This is because these were the only subjects taught in English and all the other subjects were in Turkish! Subsequently, I had another set of challenges when my family moved back to India when I was in Grade 9. I had to learn an Indian language (Hindi) at that level and adjust to a new education system – I suppose all these changes help to make one adaptable!

Describe your work and its significance.
My research work examines issues around knowledge work, collaboration, and innovation supported by information and communication technology. My early work during my PhD examined the core motivations and barriers behind employee’s knowledge sharing behaviours using knowledge management systems (KMS). This was at the time when organizations were starting to introduce KMS in order to facilitate knowledge sharing, storage, and reuse. My thesis work helped to shed light on the key drivers for KMS use, and was one of the pioneering works in this area. As a result, it produced a significant impact in the field and garnered a large number of citations – and continues to be well-cited currently as well.
Subsequently, I have studied knowledge contribution and participation behaviours in various forms of online communities and ICT mediated contexts such as virtual teams. Here, too, the underlying objective is to gain a better understanding of the antecedents and consequences of these behaviours. I typically use objective, survey, and interview data to test the theoretical models that I have developed with my collaborators and students. 
I believe that if one can do work that is theoretically novel i.e., brings a new perspective, to understanding a phenomenon that is of practical interest, then such work is meaningful and will have a lasting impact. That is what I strive to do in my research.

Describe your SoC experience.
I came to SoC after working for 9 years in R&D in I2R (then known as ISS). Fresh with a Masters in Electrical Eng. from the US, I had joined ISS and worked on image processing, computer vision, and multimedia projects (including some pioneering work in video processing). After that I had a change of heart to move to academics and also change my field to a more socio-technical one rather than a purely technical subject. That is why I ended up signing up for a PhD in Information Systems. 
Following my PhD, I was recruited in the Dept., which made it easy for me as the work environment was familiar. Though it was a bit strange that my previous professors now became colleagues! 
But even during my PhD I had found the Dept., SoC, and NUS in general to be a very conducive environment for doing research. So I was happy to be able to continue my academic career here. In terms of challenges, there is always the issue of being away from the US which is the perceived centre of cutting-edge research. But in the years I have been here, this has become less and less of a limitation with the increasing internationalization of research in my area and other areas as well.
My teaching experience has been quite smooth and pleasant so far. Students in Asia and NUS in general are quite motivated and respectful of their professors. If you prepare your materials well and are helpful in promptly answering their queries, then they are very appreciative of your efforts. I am particularly impressed by those conscientious students (we have quite a few) who take the initiative to find out more and ask questions to master the subject.
Probably, if at all there is something I would like to change about SoC/NUS is to streamline some of the processes around teaching e.g., moderation. While there is plenty of flexibility in doing research, possibly we can do a bit more in terms of teaching.

What is something most people would be surprised to learn about you?
A couple of things probably:
  • I studied Biomedical Engineering for a while and even had to cut up animals for my experiments
  • I have recently started to learn Mandarin! I am not very proficient right now, but hopefully I will get there!

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
Travelling and watching movies are my hobbies. Other than travelling for work, I do enjoy visiting new places and finding out about the culture and history of those places.
With respect to movies, I enjoy both Hollywood and Bollywood films – particularly biopics. One of my favorite movies is ‘A Beautiful Mind’ about the American economist John Nash. I also enjoyed the ‘The Iron Lady’ that came out a few years ago.

Quick-Fire! Most interesting use of or development in technology this year?
Self-Driving vehicle technology that many companies including Google are researching. I am particularly interested as I’m not the biggest fan of city-driving.

Most annoying word?
“Whatever” – I get annoyed when my kids use this!

Three ultimate dinner party guests
  • Agatha Christie.
  • Any one of the Beatles
  • Isaac Newton 
I grew up on Agatha Christie’s mystery novels and Beatles’ songs. Also, I’m amazed by the breadth and depth of Newton’s contributions – there’s hardly any branch of classical Physics that he hasn’t made significant contributions to.

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Tuesday, 19 August 2014


Desmond Ng, the 16th President of the Computing Club, is usually found at every school event with his team, promoting Computing Club activities and welcoming the uninitiated into the fold. His initial gruffness belies his helpful, genuine, and friendly nature, so don’t be afraid to approach him – he’s just a bit shy! 

What are you studying at SoC?
I am a Year 4 undergraduate, studying Electronic Commerce. 

Besides academic work, what else do you do at SoC? 
I am currently the President of the NUS Students’ Computing Club and my role is to manage to ensure the smooth operations of the activities initiated and executed by directors from the 16th Management Committee. Beyond that, I represent the voice of SoC undergraduates at the Union Level and engage discussions with Deanery on matters that affect the general NUS population, such as the ‘grade-less first semester for NUS’.
Within Computing Club, I am alike all other committee members who participate in activities and offer help whenever the call arises. I believe that a versatile hierarchy allows me to understand the concerns and challenges that are encountered by my members and ensure proper governance is in-place to abide to the rules and regulations. Just like the saying that there must be someone in the family, either the dad or mum, to be the “black-face”, and therefore, some of my members might feel that I am like a “black-face” that limits the actions of my members. As I embark on this journey as a President, I truly empathize how my predecessor, Yong Jie, felt back then when he was President of the 15th Management Committee. At times, I felt the sense of “loneliness” because the decision call is on me but I am very grateful that my committee members are supportive of my decisions. 
As a NUSSU representative, I would need to be the voice of my fellow computing undergraduates. In addition, I would also need to be the voice of my fellow NUS undergraduates and, at times, where the two positions have opposing viewpoints, I would need to “split” myself, to ensure the opinion and vote casted is aligned my personal cost-benefit trade-off. During focus group discussions with the school administration, I would bring up existing concerns that an undergraduate would have encountered so that such concerns would be taken into consideration by the school.

Describe your SoC experience.
Although I am currently doing my sixth semester in NUS, it feels as though my fourth semester. Not because of time flies, but because I “started” my university life in SoC only in my third Semester when I started joining the student life activities. In my first and second semesters, I was indifferent like many SoC undergraduates, studying at some corner of the school and the only activity that I attended then was welfare pack giveaway. Towards the end of the second semester, I saw a post on the list of student events and they were looking for a treasurer for the Game Development Competition (GDC) 2012. With my interest in accounting and finance, I applied for this position without much hesitation and I feel that this has been a turning point in my university experience and this marks the “start” of my university life.
After my initial role as treasurer for GDC, I was encouraged to run for the Director of Finance position in the 15th Management Committee. The process of interview is not unusual but campaigning and elections were relatively new to me. I still recall the days I went around pasting publicity materials around to garner votes. Giving my first election speech was a nervy moment where I had to pitch myself. After campaigning, it was the wait for the moment of truth to see if I will be elected the Director of Finance. Although I could foresee myself losing the election, I was thankful to everyone who stood by and supported me to continue as Deputy Director of Finance. The moment of truth was also the moment of realization of what elections really boil down to. It does not matter how capable you are, what matters is how popular you are. Back then, it was a tough call when I had to decide whether to accept the offer by my President, Yong Jie, as Deputy Director of Finance. So I questioned myself on the purpose of electing, which is to volunteer my services for my fellow SoC members, and that guided me to accept the offer. During the course of my term as Deputy Director of Finance, my passion for Computing Club grew to the point that I felt so devoted to Computing Club, and that was the moment I decided to continue to work hard and run for President of Computing Club, to allow me to serve at the next level. 
The turning point was a defining moment for me and it changed my university life. Thus, as a word of advice to my juniors, I urge them to spare some time for these leisure activities. Who knows if it might also be a turning point for them to realize more about what university life is all about too besides studies? SoC has been the great place that offered me countless leadership opportunities and they placed strong faith in their students in being the Voice of Computing and personally, the soft skills that the school had offered me are the greatest takeaway of my journey in SoC.

What is something most people would be surprised to learn about you?
I am a homegrown Singaporean and neither of my parents are Malaysian despite the fact that I sound pretty much like a Malaysian when I speak in Chinese.

What advice would you give a prospective SoC student?
If [you think] university life encompass of solely academics, I personally feel that it might have alter the definition of “life” adversely. For most, this might be the last part of their student journey before embarking onto the next phase of life into work environment and if [you are] ever asked what your university experience is, take a deep thought into what constitutes to it….
If the first and last [thing] that strikes your mind is the academics, it is never too late to change it and be different. Each year, SoC has over 400 students graduating from the various majors and I believe that most seek differentiation and would like to have a different university story to share. If our story revolves solely around academics, how different can [it] be compared to others? In university, there are tons of opportunities available throughout the journey and I believe that the first step that one takes to participate in student life activities would result [in a] recurring occurrence of it and this will eventually forge a greater overall experience to one’s university experience. 
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. No matter how hard we work academically, we need to give ourselves some time to enjoy the activities that enhances our university experience. 
Speaking to some prospective students during Open Day and Computing Insights, they shared their concerns about job prospects in the IT Industry as many organizations have outsourced IT services. My experience so far is that SoC does not prepare you to compete on solely on that level, which will be prone to outsourcing - SoC prepares our undergraduates to be in a managerial role and the focus on soft skills would be the key to enabling our undergraduates to assume managerial positions.

What did you want to be when you were younger? 
Since young, I had the ambition to be policeman but sadly, the ambition was shown the door as I have a medical condition that does not allow me to overexert myself. 

What are your future plans?
Few years back when I was in polytechnic, one of my lecturers told me that there are three things that one would do:
  • Things that you are good at;
  • Things that you have a passion for; and
  • Things that offers you the financial sustainability
I did a Diploma in Accountancy in Singapore Polytechnic because I feel comfortable with Accounting during my secondary school days and I feel that it is something I am good at it. However, during the course of study, my passion for IT grew and I went on to take a Certificate in Software Programming and Applications as an add-on to my core diploma. Failing to secure a position for Accountancy, I turned to my passion, which brings me to where I am today. I believe that everything in life happens for a reason and I never regretted the decision to [enter] SoC because it offers me tons of opportunity for me to learn and take up leadership appointments. Many asked if I would continue in this line after I graduate. It is definitely an interesting field that I would want myself to be in; however, the lack of technical expertise (i.e. programming) has led to the lack of confidence to pursue a career in the IT industry. The journey in SoC made me realized how much accounting had meant to me and that, I would continue to further my studies in the accounting line and hopefully be able to find a job that allows me to leverage on both my accounting and IT knowledge.

Quick-Fire. Favourite sport and team?
My favourite sport is soccer and my favourite team is Manchester United and that has never changed since the day I supported a football club.  

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