Tuesday, 31 March 2015


Celeste Ang loves soccer, is an Arsenal fan and thinks it is time NUS gets a new soccer field with artificial turf. If you want to annoy Celeste, use your phone while you talk to her, and say “whatever”, “k” or “anything”. People may not know she’s a klutz - she has dropped her sister’s iPhone into some Bak Kut Teh soup, tripped over a tanning bed while chasing a Frisbee and broke her ceiling light while making her bed. She’s currently in her first year of the Business Analytics programme.

Where did you grow up?
Singapore. I grew up in the Upper Thomson area, back when it was an ulu place with nothing much to do, shop or eat. Right now it’s quite a hip place with lots of nice food like Meng’s Kitchen, Udders, Habitat Coffee, etc. but I have since moved away. I still go there regularly for meals though! Especially after crashing my juniors’ soccer training at RJ. :)
I studied at Nanyang Primary School, followed by RGS and then RI(JC). I’d say my most memorable years were in RGS, because I got so much out of my 4 years there. It was fun because we didn’t have to face the pressure-cooker called O levels (because of the IP programme). Orchard Road was nearby so we could just walk over for meals or to hang out! And I also got the opportunity to represent the school (and Singapore) on a fun-filled trip to the US where we participated in a Community Problem-Solving competition, and participated in a home stay programme!

Describe your SoC experience.
It's been fun and challenging!
It's been awesome getting to know the SoC community during FSC, FOW, RAG (where I was a makeup artist), IFGs and during lessons too. The experiences I've had playing orientation games, bonding with my OGs, battling it out with my IFG teammates, mugging in school, scrambling to finish missions in CS1010S before deadlines, having suppers, steamboat parties .. all these are priceless to me and I'm grateful to have gained some amazing friends along the way.
Studies wise, programming mods have been challenging because I'm new to programming. But I relish a challenge and it's cool and actually quite fun, especially in CS1010S! I’m looking forward to completing CS1020 though, because that means no more programming mods :P
So far, I'm still adapting to life in uni and SoC but I've been enjoying myself! I enjoy spending time with my friends, doing things such as playing foosball, having meals together, being involved in computing activities such as camps, IFGs, ice skating, etc.
A friend recently commented that I seem to enjoy joining a lot of ‘boliao’ stuff and I think she’s probably right!
I like to do things that interest me and make my campus life more interesting, even though that may seem like a waste of time to others. The NUS Soccer team, IFGs, FSC Orientation Committee and Open Day Computing Ambassador – these are just some things I have done/ will be doing because I want to and I’m passionate about them! I feel that whether or not you have time for such stuff is all about balance and effort. If these things are important enough to you, you will put in the effort to make time for it.
[Some of the people here who have made impressions on me are:] Prof Ben Leong, because CS1010S drove me crazy! Haven’t really interacted with him much because I was under the TA Khanh (who also left an impression on me because he was really patient and always willing to help!!) but how often is it that a mod can be so painful and fun at the same time?
As for the seniors, it’s impossible to name them all, but they’ve been really helpful in helping me and the other freshies settle into life in SoC! The OGLs, camp helpers, IFG seniors, BA seniors.. etc. you know who you all are :)
Two seniors I’d like to mention in particular:
Andrew Kzk, who always goes out of his way to help others.
Michelle Tee, who’s really helpful and nice too (do not be fooled by her resting b*tch face! :P) and has helped me out so much and given me so much useful advice

What is something most people would be surprised to learn about you?
When I was younger, my ambition was to be an actress! I watched a lot of TV then. My family bonds by watching Channel 8 dramas while eating fruits after dinner :)
Later on, I wanted to be a forensic scientist because I read a lot of crime novels (e.g. books by James Patterson, Katy Reiches, Stephen King) and watched crimes dramas like Bones, CSI, Sherlock etc.
But I never really pursued those dreams because they’re not realistic (at least in Singapore) and when I discovered my interest in Business, Analytics and Entrepreneurship, I decided that those were more realistic career options!

What do you count as your most significant achievement to date?
Winning RJ Soccer Girls’ first ever Championship title back when I was in J1.
I loved playing in the RJ team because my teammates and coaches were all so passionate and driven. We had two major goals when I first joined, to win the championship and to beat VJC! Reason being, our team had very humble roots. We started just a few years back with hardly any training space and equipment (these resources were largely taken up by the bigger CCAs like rugby and soccer boys), but with the efforts of some amazing alumni and coaches, we got more attention from the school and got more funding and resources. However for years we kept missing out on the title because the favourites VJC kept winning. We wanted the title so badly because we wanted to repay the alumni and coaches for all their efforts.
On 8th May 2012 (my entire team remembers the date by heart because it meant so much to us, haha!), we beat MJC in the finals at Jalan Besar Stadium to win the title!
We didn’t have to beat VJC (the overwhelming favourites) to get the title because MJC beat them in the semis. This meant that we were the underdogs in the finals. Undaunted, we played a tactical and defensive game, and won by a goal scored during a counterattack in injury time. It was like a dream come true!
[Besides] my teammates and coaches, [we also had] the alumni who came down for trainings to help out sometimes, and came to support us for our matches! RJ Soccer Girls is really a tight-knitted community. Even though I’ve ‘retired’ from the team, and uni life is hectic, I try to make it a point to go back for the occasional training to help out the juniors, keep in contact with the coaches and play football with my batchmates!

According to Ash, you’re a very skilled soccer player and you played soccer and basketball in the IFG 2014/2015. Tell us a bit about your passion for sports.
I wasn’t really an athlete from the start; when I was younger, I was quite fat, and was more ‘artsy’, taking art classes and representing the school in Chinese Calligraphy. But my dad forced me to join Track & Field, because he was disappointed at how his athletic genes didn't really get passed down to his first 2 daughters, haha! I represented the school in hurdles, and that’s when I grew to love sports. I fell in love with soccer after watching it on TV and playing soccer after trainings and during PE lessons, but RGS didn’t have a soccer team, so I picked the next best option – basketball. And when I came to RI(JC), the natural choice for me was, of course, soccer! I love how the game is unpredictable, fun, beautiful and requires both individual skills and teamwork.
I used to run a lot too. I got started when my sister’s friend, who was supposed to run a half marathon with her, pangsehed her. She offered her bib to me for free 2 days before the event, and I thought, why not? That was such a #YOLO moment; it was crazy trying to run a half marathon with NO training at all! But since then, I was hooked! Ran 3 more half marathons, and a participated in a few other running events. However, since my JC running buddy enlisted, I’ve been finding it tough motivating myself to run regularly again :P
IFGs were really fun last sem! It was a hectic first-half of the semester because I was training every day because of IFGs and SuniG (soccer) training, but the experiences I gained and the friends I made, made it worth it :) Wanted to get gold with the soccer girls (both IFG and SuniG), but ended up with silver for both. Well, that’s life. You win some and lose some.
I think the best thing about sports is that you forge amazing friendships with your teammates. You know you can trust and rely on someone when you get through tough training sessions together, and fight alongside one another in competitions. Sports has also built up my character, and made me a better person (I think/hope)!

Celeste and her sister at their older sister's wedding

Quick-Fire! Worst item design?
Don’t know. Sorry I don’t take note of such stuff haha. Oh, do fashion choices count? I don’t like it when people dress in clashing prints, show off way too much skin, or wear ill-fitting clothes. Too loose isn’t that bad but way too tight is just.. ugh. I still remember those days in JC where some guys altered the pants till they were WAY too tight and made their underwear very visible (because the pants were white) – such an eyesore!

Guilty pleasures?
Lying in bed and watching Ellen.
Eating all kinds of desserts and chocolates.
Indulging in good hawker food! It’s strange and funny how many of my friends ask me for food recommendations because they think I know where all the good food is! Among my favourite hawker food are hokkien mee, sambal stingray and fried oysters.

Three ultimate dinner party guests?
Thierry Henry (favourite soccer player), Steve Jobs (genius entrepreneur) and Ryan Gosling (eye candy)!

Tell us who we should we talk to next. Email tien@nus.edu.sg

Wednesday, 11 March 2015


When Andrew Koh isn’t busy with uni work, he’s usually gaming and ‘building stuff’. If he had to eat one thing from an NUS canteen stall for the rest of his life it would be the wanton noodles from the Science canteen’s ‘popular noodle stall’. He also hates awkward silences and people finding out his worst fears. Andrew is currently in his third year of his Computer Science programme, focussing on software engineering.

at the IFG Reversi semi-finals

Describe your SoC experience. 
I like helping others (those who need help), although it is quite tiring and taxing. To always reflect and improve yourself with each happening is most challenging, for it’s always easier to stay within my comfort zone. The most interesting thing is to meet new people, for you will always learn and hear new experiences, and wonder why they know the other people you know!
[I am currently working on the] Razer Nabu Challenge! It is an interesting addition to the current market of smart ware, with capabilities to gamify our environment! Life may never be the same again!
Previously I was the Alumni Relations Director, as part of the 16th Management Committee of the Students' Computing Club. It may not be very known as it is still a relatively new position in the committee. What I attempted to do besides continue the tradition of an SoC Graduation Night, was to spark off mentorship possibilities with our very own alumni (besides having our academic mentor), as our alumni are part of the reason why SoC is Number 1 in Asia. [I got to do everything], from meeting and knowing the pioneers who paved the way for future generations, and chances to learn and develop industry skills alongside with the academic theories.
So many [faculty and students have made impressions on me]! From the start the 3 professors were Prof Khoo Siau Cheng, Prof Tan Sun Teck, and Prof Aaron Tan. And a friend Ervin Kwan Fu Sheng. They kick-started my learning journey in NUS by inspiring programming I haven’t actually learnt (you know, from polytechnic, thinking that programming is chicken feet).
Thereafter, I had some “internal crisis”, or rather the “what the hell am I here for... etc.” – I was seeking to transfer to Information Systems instead, and thankfully I had so much help from the community in SoC. From informal and casual chats with some professors (the above mentioned) and some of the seniors, Prof Anand Ramchand, to consulting my academic mentor Prof Tan Chew Lim, I made my decision to stay in CS. Mr Desmond Teo (our SoC career guide) helped a lot with my decision by sharing insights to future careers that we might have.
[If there was one thing I would change about NUS, it would be] the paper chase! As much as I cannot deny that the degree can really help with opening many doors of opportunities, I believe that what makes us computing would be our craft, or the ability to handle code (like instead of just taking modules to graduate, hack, code, and try).

What is the funniest or craziest thing that you did or that has happened during your time here? 
Craziest: I attempted to take a 5xxx module when I was year 2, and I'm pretty sure the prerequisites changed for it. Don't recommend for people not prepared for the change of pace in learning.
Funniest: Having to explain Halloween and Christmas, their interchangeability ever year. (25 Dec = 31 Oct)

What do you count as your most significant achievement to date? 
I happened to be part of a research paper (IJSER 2011 if I remember correctly) of a type of Android Application, when it android was still new. It was my final year project in Ngee Ann Polytechnic and I thought it sounded interesting! I think it still does. It was not easy, and took a few months of trial and error to create a prototype, but I had a lot of help from an Ngee Ann alumnus who acted as an industry mentor and my partner, who built the hardware for the entire system while I built the android side.

What did you want to be when you were younger and is it still an interest of yours?
In the past I kept saying I want to sail the seven seas, and be a sailor. But that was because I needed an answer to answer all the pesky what-do-you-want-to-be-when-you-grow-up type of questions... and no, it is no longer an interest of mine.

What is something most people would be surprised to learn about you?
I started (with friend and strangers) a tech start-up after a hackathon! 

What are your future plans?
To change the world. There's much to change, and I think I happen to be in the right place to do so (information & knowledge control).

Quick-Fire! Guilty pleasure?
Saying "chill" and "relax" to calm myself down.

Three ultimate dinner party guests?
 Jesus Christ, Judas Iscariot, and any Atheist.

Tell us who we should we talk to next. Email tien@nus.edu.sg