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MICA (P) 123/08/2011

JUNE 2012

New Divisions Reach Out Voices of Hope Beacons of Success Narpani-SINDA Family Day

Inspiration to Youth Leaders








CEOs Note


What is SYC? Daddy Dilemma



Beacons of Success

COVER STORY Gaurav Keerthi: Inspiration to Youth Leaders




An A* for Fun in Learning Possible, Not Impossible!

Indian Inventions
EDITORIAL TEAM ADvISOR Mr T Raja Segar, CEO, SINDA wRITER & DESIGNER Green House Design + Communications Pte Ltd EDITORS Corporate & Marketing Communications Division, SINDA PRINTER Stamford Press Pte Ltd TO SUBSCRIBE SINDA CONNECTIONS To receive SINDA connections, send us your home or office address to connections@sinda.org.sg To inform us of a change in mailing address, send your new address to connections@sinda.org.sg SINDA E-NEWSLETTER Send your email address to e-news@sinda.org.sg TO CONTRIBUTE Towards the SINDA CPF Fund: (to start contributing or increase contributions) Tel: 1800 295 4554 www.sinda.org.sg


The Eagle Takes Flight Again Math Grades Have to Go Up! Learning to Fly High Thats the Spirit! Keeping Education Fun! Eye-opening Dialogue with K.Shanmugam Bonding for a Cause Futsal Champs Prepping Parents CEVM Gears Up Parents STEP In

Voices of Hope


New Divisions Reach Out Raising a Happy, Healthy Family



Narpani-SINDA Family Day

Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom: The Indian Community Network (ICN) Project Teach Visit


CEOs Note

Towards the Future

he 4-storey SINDA building might seem quiet and peaceful at first glance, but within hides a flurry of activities. At level 1, children are learning through dance and music at the multi-purpose hall and a group of pre-schoolers are having a reading activity at the Reading Room. Up on level 2, a group of children are learning about Lego Robotics while another group of youths are planning their next outreach programme. On the same floor, volunteers are conducting courses at the computer lab. At level 3, mothers from our Project Athena are going through a values-based parenting workshop next to a volunteer group conducting a Mathematics workshop for parents. At level 4, Primary 5 students are having a creative writing and science workshop. This is a typical Saturday at SINDA. In addition, beyond the SINDA building, there are several other key activities happening at Community Clubs, STEP Centres, public function halls and partner premises ranging from PSLE workshops, Father-Child bonding activities, Futsal competition, etc. 2012 is faster at SINDA because we are passionately implementing the programmes that we had planned for the year, many new ones in line with the strategic report, SINDA 2020: A New Momentum that was released in November 2011. It is definitely a very different year for SINDA and we all are feeling good about what is happening within SINDA and of course, as a direct result, in the community. Many who have heard of and/or attended our programmes have also given us positive feedback. Let me share with you some of our interesting engagements in the last few months. The one that stands out is our attempt to engage fathers to play a more active role in their childrens lives. Is it Asian or Indian culture that presumes that fathers are the breadwinners and the mothers should take care of everything else? Whatever the traditional thinking may be, the world has changed and children without shared parenting support tend to lose out. Fathers are the role models for both sons and daughters. I am inclined to agree that an absent father is worse than a dead father. So, the newly created parents division trooped off to the Centre for Fathering at MCYS and sealed a deal to conduct several workshops to get more Indian fathers to be actively involved in their childrens lives. As a result, various parenting workshops were organised. This was the easy part; the bigger challenge remains getting fathers to attend. Where they did come, 65% were either new citizens or PRs. Where were the local-born fathers? The few local fathers who did attend are now helping us spread the word and we are thankful to them. But we need more of our local dads to come on board.

You too can assist us in this cause. Help us reach the parents whose children are lagging behind and, if you can, reach out to them on our behalf. Another activity worth highlighting is the music camp for youths, organised to reach out to disengaged youths. The Vasantham Boys led by Mr Mohamed Raffee collaborated with us to organise a 3-day non-residential music camp for 45 youths. It wasnt all play as the camp infused motivational elements. The youths were engaged, energised and enthusiastic. New friendships were formed. They belted out their favourite songs while their friends supported them with musical instruments that they learnt to play over the three days. Capping the performances were stirring sharings from four local youth celebrities who had overcome difficulties to build successful lives and that proved most inspirational. The other outstanding thing happening at SINDA is that Mathematics is permeating many of our activities. Special Mathematics classes/workshops have been arranged across all levels, to reach out to various audiences, from parents to tutors to students. Almost 50% of our students are taking two days of Mathematics at our centres. Once and for all, let us break beyond the current 76% pass rate at PSLE and move towards 80%. That, I believe, we can do and we have started the journey strongly towards this in 2012. There are so many good things happening but as always I wish to stress that this transformation to perform better as an individual, as a family unit and as a community will not come about without concerted efforts from all. We are descendants of a glorious civilisation that the world has learnt from. We have contributed positively to nation building here in Singapore. We have what it takes to remain so. The future is not a given but requires our continued effort to be an educated community. It is time that we all act together towards realising that future for all.

Raja Segar CEO


Father and son sharing a light moment at SINDAs Preschool Carnival. Held at woodlands Ring Secondary School, the carnival highlighted the importance of preschool education through games and workshops, besides publicising SINDAs preschool services. The carnival will travel to other parts of Singapore in the coming months.

We want to hear from you!

Tell us what you think of our stories and the best letters would be featured in our next issue. Featured letters stand to win vouchers worth $50. Write to dhana@sinda.org.sg with your name, address and contact details.

Bonding can be as easy as enjoying lifes simple pleasures together. Father and daughter learning to play the keyboard at the FatherChild Bonding Experiential Camp held at SINDA in May.


How was the Eagles Eye programme useful to you? Our mentors taught us answering techniques as well as vital skills such as speed-reading and stress-management. I made new friends, too. How did the programme inspire you? I learnt how much SINDA tries to help students to excel in their studies. My mentors shared with us how they succeeded through sheer determination and hard work, and it is possible for us to do so as well. what motivates you to do well in school? My teachers, my parents, and the thirst to acquire new knowledge. what do you want to be when you grow up and why? I would like to better understand the world and my interests before I decide. It should be something I enjoy, useful to society and from which I can earn a living! what do you like to do in your free time? I like to read, play word games and soccer. who are your role models? My parents and my teachers. They show me how to live my life with good values. If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be? I would like everyone to live up to their potential and not waste talent. If everyone can live up to their potential, the world would be a much better place for all.

Beacons of Success
How was the Eagles Eye programme useful to you? The Eagles Eye programme taught me to cope with my studies and improve my grades. I was inspired to excel in both studies and sports, too. It was very enjoyable. what motivates you to do well in school? My main motivation is the thought of my parents working so hard for me. The joy on their face when I do well in exams really pleases me. I also appreciate the support of my friends and SINDA, too. what do you want to be when you grow up and why? Id like to be a commercial pilot. It is a very challenging job to safe-guard the lives on board, but Id like to soar high up into the sky. what do you like to do in your free time? I like to play soccer. Kicking the ball around keeps me stress-free. who are your role models? My role model is my dad. He has countless good qualities, works hard and manages time well. He also does not complain about his work although it is very demanding, unlike me! If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be? I would want an education system without exams! Although I have been constantly achieving good grades, I panic a lot during exam season.


How was the STEP (SINDA tuition) programme useful to you? I have improved on my English, and understand Mathematics and Science concepts better. Lessons were very enjoyable, often with activities which we could learn from easily. How did the programme inspire you? STEP was such a thought-provoking and fascinating experience; a real turning point in my life. I felt a strong sense of confidence in myself after that. what motivates you to do well in school? My motivation is a strong belief that I can do it. I have very considerate and empowering friends who do not hesitate to help me. My teachers also are understanding and do not stress me. Most of all, I love learning. what do you want to be when you grow up and why? I truly want to be an astronaut! Some think that it is impossible, but I am certainly working hard towards my goal. I love space so much, I even dream about it. who are your role models? My father and the late Kalpana Chawla, a famous Indian NASA astronaut. My father is a real gift from god and I want to be the best daughter to him. Kalpana was an intelligent and ambitious woman who achieved so much. If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be? It would be poverty. I am confident that poor children would study much better if given a chance.

How was the SYLP programme useful to you? Through the programme, I was able to meet and interact with many youth from different walks of life and discuss our concerns regarding the Indian community as a whole. I was able to learn more about the Indian community in Singapore and serve it as well. what motivates you to do well in school? In my opinion, education is the key to success in life. Schools serves as an avenue for me to learn more and develop myself. what do you want to be and why? I would like to be a teacher as I strongly believe that education is of fundamental importance in anyones life and I would like to be able to pass on this knowledge to others as well. what do you like to do in your free time? I spend most of my free time reading. I am especially fond of American literature. I have also been learning Bharatanatyam for the past 14 years. who are your role models? My role models would have to be my parents. Both of them have achieved success through hard work, numerous sacrifices and perseverance. If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be? I would change the presence of poverty in the world. I believe that the poverty cycle can be eradicated through education and as such I wish to be able to make this change in society.


Pictorial Essay

Voices of Hope
@ the Music for Life camp at SINDA

Remember that your life is what you make of it. Nothing will hinder your academic pursuits as long as you set your heart and your mind to it. Challenge yourselves, try new things and make new discoveries; you may yet discover hidden talents which you would never have dreamed of.

any negative stereotypes are cast upon youths in our society today. The media often portrays young Indians as gangsters, dropouts and drug or alcohol addicts. Studies suggest that many of them do not strive for success or work towards it. Some youths however, are exceptions to these perceptions. They face challenges and shoulder burdens beyond their age and experience. They grapple with issues such as absent parents, financial instability and adverse family situations on a daily basis. We spoke to three such youths who attended the 3-day Music for Life camp, a non-academic programme where aspiring youths were encouraged to explore their musical gifts with talented mentors. These youths have overcome the odds through their own resolve and will power. For these young people, youth would mean strength and resilience.

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Advisor, SINDA

Cooler doesnt mean better

Anyone seeing Kathir drumming away expertly, with his ear stud, might assume he is an anjadi (loafer). However, this charming and friendly 16-year-old is far from being one. Like regular teenagers, he enjoys music and lepak-ing (slacking) with friends. Kathir has loving parents and an older brother, who encourage his passion for music. However, Kathir recalls a time when things werent so rosy at home. When he was 11, his brother (who was then 15) was suddenly stricken with a serious illness. Kathirs parents became preoccupied in caring for his brother and were both physically and emotionally burdened. It was a testing period, during which he felt anxious and helpless all the time. His studies were affected but his parents continued to be supportive. That episode helped Kathir to appreciate the unconditional love and support of his parents. He also realised how blessed he was compared to many teenagers he had talent, and a very understanding family that has backed him all the way. Despite his hip appearance and nonchalant attitude, Kathir has managed to resist bad company and negative peer pressure. He says his respect for his parents, especially his dad, always keeps him in check. Kathir is also very involved with his bhajan (devotional) group which provides him with a positive platform. A pious teen, he spends his time with friends from his prayer group, doing what he loves best playing music. While he does have makkals (cool friends) who dance on the wild side of life, he draws the line at just enjoying their company and does not get involved in their activities. There is no glory in being an anjadi or earning titles such as mandeh (gang leader), says Kathir, whose dream is to become a lawyer. Aim high and never give up, he says to all youths out there.


I Did It
Vilvum is not your average 27-year-old. As a boy, he struggled in a home environment rife with alcohol abuse and health issues. His father died when he was eight, and his mother, a few years later. Orphaned and without much support from relatives, Vilvum floundered through school and remembers feeling suddenly very lost. He did badly in his N levels, and barely scraped through ITE with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 1.8. He worked for a short time in a factory, and it was there that bitter reality hit him. I was nothing without paper qualifications, he says. I decided to succeed in life and for that, a good education is crucial. Vilvum resolved to go back to school and enrolled in Bishan ITE, studying Product Design. Inspired by his teachers and mentors, and heartened by the love and support of his god-sister who was like a mother to him, Vilvum started to turn his life around. He studied conscientiously and scored straight As. Motivated by this success, he was filled with vigour and the determination to achieve even more. He wrote his dreams on a piece of paper, and looked at it every day, to remind himself of his goals in life. The high point in Vilvums life, and chief among his achievements, was receiving the Lee Kuan Yew CCA Award. He recalls how he was overwhelmed by pride and a sense of achievement as he went up on stage to receive the award, and thought to himself, I did it! Vilvum has since graduated from Nanyang Polytechnic and will be pursuing a degree at the National University of Singapore. He also works with youths from different walks of life. His advice to students is simple. Write down your short-term and long-term goals and look at them every day. Every achievement requires a sacrifice, so be prepared to make the sacrifices and work towards fulfilling your dreams.

Dare to be Different

Saranya had a difficult childhood, with a scattered family. She grew up with her grandmother, hardly seeing her parents or two younger sisters, and is currently living in a home. Yet this bubbly, positive teenager is a picture of hope and optimism, offering no clue as to her trials. As she speaks about her family, Saranya expresses sadness that she does not get to see her parents much. She sometimes envies her friends who are blessed with loving families. They are very lucky to have parents in their lives, unlike me, she says. Not one to indulge in self-pity or brooding, however, Saranya is determined to do well in the O levels, and make it to JC and subsequently university. Most of her friends plan to go to polytechnics, but she doesnt mind being the odd one out. In fact, she feels her friends support her ambitions and respect her for being different. What motivates this remarkable teen? I want to be in a good school, and be better than my parents, Saranya says. She dreams of becoming successful and earning enough money to buy her own house and take care of her sisters.


The Music for Life camp was organised and led by Music Director Mohd Rafee in collaboration with SINDA. He still remembers fondly his younger days, when his teachers were inspirational role models who taught and motivated students by example.




ust months after the SINDA 2020 review report launch, SINDAs newest divisions the Children Division and the Parents Division have been rolling out a slew of programmes. Indeed, this is the New Momentum in action! SINDAs new divisions aim to address academic under-performance upstream, by reaching out and engaging parents to be actively involved in their childrens education as early as at preschool level. SINDA is working closely with organisations such as PCF preschools and NTUCs My First Skool childcare centres to give kids a headstart in education, according to Ms Sivakami Chinniah, Assistant Director of the Children Division.

Clearly the message is that parental involvement is crucial for continued progress. Long-term benefits can be expected, not just in our childrens academic performance, but also in building family resilience. Fathers, especially, have lots to look forward to with workshops and father-child bonding events lined up, in collaboration with Dads for Life, MCYS and the Centre for Fathering. We are also exploring a collaboration with KK Womens and Childrens Hospital to reach out to parents-to-be and new parents, adds Ms Lathika Devi, Director of the Parents Division. Keep an eye out for their upcoming activities.


he well-being of both parents and children is important in setting the foundation for a happy and healthy family. Be a good role model for your children by practising healthy lifestyle habits. When you are healthy and happy, you are more effective in raising a healthier and happier child:




Assure your child of your love and support and let him know that he is important to you. Give your child your full attention when you are playing with or listening to him. Connecting with your child will build his trust in you, decrease his feelings of loneliness and enhance his resilience.

Praise your child for tasks done well to reinforce positive behaviour. Let your child explore different activities and find his strengths. Encourage him to explore his strengths. Give your child opportunities to socialise. Building positive relationships will help boost your childs self esteem.

Model positive behaviour to cope with stress by going for a jog or playing sports with your child. Relax with your child through leisure activities such as watching a movie. Emphasise to your child that it is okay to ask for help.

This article is brought to you by



Narpani-SINDA Family Day

What better way to bond with family, neighbours and new friends than over a day of fun and games at one of the biggest Indian community gatherings of the year?
he annual Narpani-SINDA Family Day, held on Sunday 22 April, provided just that opportunity for all Singaporeans, new citizens and permanent residents alike, to forge closer ties within the Indian community. Besides the myriad game stalls, highlights included a family telematch, entertainment items, and quizzes hosted by Vasantham artistes. The occasion also showcased SINDAs programmes and services. Parents and students learnt more about SINDAs STEP and Project Teach tuition as well as the effective pedagogies used to help students excel. SINDAs new divisions the Children Division and the Parents Division were also out in full force to engage parents to play an active role in their childrens education as early as preschool level.

Mr Raja Segar, SINDAs CEO, reiterated the importance of education and the role of parents. He added, This is an excellent platform for the Indian community to mingle, network and come together. Many parents also took this opportunity to sign up for SINDAs talks, workshops and seminars. Organised by the Peoples Association Indian Activity Executive Committees Council (PA Narpani Pearavai) and SINDA, this years event saw over 6,000 gathered at Pasir Ris Downtown East. Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Advisor, SINDA was Guest-of-Honour, along with Mr Hri Kumar Nair, MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, and other VIPs.


Feature Interview

Gaurav Keerthi
Inspiration to youth leaders
what were your growing-up years like? I grew up in a string of fairly tumultuous countries Nigeria just prior to the 84 military coup, India during the assassination of Indira Gandhi, and West Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall before moving to Singapore in 1989. I struggled to fit in initially; but eventually I made many close friends in school and felt like I belonged here, so I decided to make this my home. My friends thought I was crazy for doing National Service (especially since I could have remained a foreigner and gone straight to Stanford University), but I know that decision shaped who I am today. My family had a big influence on me. My father was an eternal optimist and my mother helped me cope with some of the tougher days. My brother was an endless source of stress-relief!

what interests and inspires you? I have a multi-disciplinary approach to the world. My home library is stocked with books ranging from military technology and economic policy to poetry and particle physics! I enjoy sports (especially frisbee), music (I used to sing and play guitar in an indie rock band), and movies. Above all, I love debating. I started as a student debater, and have been lecturing, coaching and judging ever since. I was given the rare opportunity to co-create a debate TV show (The Arena) with Mediacorp that became Singapores first international Emmy-nominated TV show, and I published a best-selling book on debating (Think Speak Win: Discover the Art of Debate) with Dr Vivian Balakrishnan. Far more importantly, I met my wife through debating.

why did you sign on with the RSAF? I am quite an adventure seeker and a desk job could never satisfy me I am now a CH-47 (Chinook) pilot. I look forward to going to work every day.


Feature Interview
what are the biggest rewards and challenges in your work? The biggest reward in being an air force pilot is the chance to see the world from above, in ways no civilian pilot or passenger could. Its breath-taking how beautiful the world can be when you are looking down from a few thousand feet. When the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami struck, I was part of the first helicopter crew to carry out Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief in Phuket and then Aceh. The scale of the disaster was mind-bending. The hours were long, the missions were complex, F DE IN and we were far away from our loved M of ones for many months, but I have discovered that the most challenging times in your life become your most defining moments. That experience helped me understand how fragile life is, and to be grateful for what we have.
Co ur te sy

Secondly, hard work should not be avoided. To be good at something, you must be prepared to work hard. Sometimes success will find you at an early age, and sometimes it will take years. Finally, we must build up resilience. Many of our parents and grandparents went through true hardship and became stronger for it. We still hear stories of disadvantaged youths who succeed against the odds. If ever we have to face hardship, I hope that we have the mental fortitude and courage to keep our spirits high and hopes alive.

Proceeds of your book go to under-privileged kids. Can debating help such children overcome hurdles in life? I think disadvantaged youths can benefit greatly from debating. The core skills thinking quickly, speaking with confidence, persuading others are extremely useful. Debate gives them self-confidence and provides a constructive outlet for their views and thoughts.

How can the community work together to achieve the targets set in the 2020 Review Report? The community must believe that the goals are achievable and adopt a positive attitude. If we each reach out and help just a few struggling students within our network, I believe the community will see the positive ripple effects very quickly.

whats the secret to your success? I believe in hard work. As a student, I dreamed of attending Stanford University, and I knew that the academic requirements were very high so I studied hard to ensure that I would qualify for admission. My greatest personal achievement is finding a balance in my life between work, love, friends, hobbies, sports, music, and all my other pursuits. That sense of balance keeps me grounded.

Gaurav Keerthi
Are youths the catalyst for change? I believe we can be. We are more widely exposed to the world than previous generations and have the advantage of technology. We must, however, be mindful of some things. Firstly, success is not about fame or fortune. A student once asked which career he should choose in order to own a Ferrari by age 30! I would be more impressed by a young person who aspires to follow his passion and if that allows him to own a nice car, so be it.

Lieutenant Colonel and helicopter pilot with the RSAF who has flown rescue missions for the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami Former President of Debate Association (Singapore), the author of Think Speak Win with Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, and the resident judge on the TV debate show The Arena Member of the SINDA 2020 Review Committee, which helped chart SINDAs direction for the next decade


whats Been Happening?

An A* for Fun in Learning

In their second collaboration with SINDAs Project GuidE, students from Raffles Institution Junior Colleges Indian Cultural Society (RIJC ICS) led 114 primary students from four schools in a merry A* Race, around the Singapore Zoological Gardens. On 3 March, students went wild all over the zoo finding quiz answers in the race, modelled after the amazing race format. They also enjoyed the game stations that combined fun with Mathematics, Science, language and motivational aspects. The kids also enjoyed a scenic picnic lunch before resuming the mad dash-around. An invigorating workout for the mind and body indeed!

Possible, Not Impossible!

Students from the National Junior College (NJC) Indian Dance Troupe in collaboration with SINDA reached out to 27 students in Primary 4 & 5 to inspire them to pursue greater aspirations. Over five Saturdays from 31 March, the kids were brought to NJC to gain an insight into JC life, and engage in various activities and dance. The students displayed their newly learnt skills in dance, self and social management, presentation and confidence. The programme would culminate in a performance in July, to which their parents would be invited. This event, titled (Im) Possible, is held as part of the new Children Divisions STAR Leadership programme.



whats Been Happening?

The Eagle Takes Flight Again

welcoming 2012s batch of students into the SINDA-Raffles Institution (RI) Eagles Eye Programme were not just their mentors but also the 2010 programme alumni.
hese previous participants have since made their way to prestigious secondary schools from neighbourhood schools. At the launch of this years programme on 30 March, they shared their success stories with the seven deserving Primary 5 students, six boys and a girl, who make up the 2012 batch. Although coming from humble backgrounds, these Singaporean Indians have all shown exceptional promise, and will be nurtured for a year under the eagle eyes of highly able Year 5 RI mentors. These students also stand a chance of winning a coveted RI scholarship should they do well. We wish them all the best in their efforts!



Maths Grades Have to Go Up!

It has always been a primary objective of SINDA, and now even more so with the recommendations of the SINDA 2020 report!


March saw the launch of a 20-week Maths in Focus intensive coaching programme for Primary 5 and 6 students under the SINDA Bursary and SPMF schemes. Held from April through to September this year, the sessions will include a Learning Journey. Inspiring the students is well-known motivator and educator Mr Vijayan Nambiar, whose success with Primary 6 students shows in their often immediate improvement. Mr Nambiar is also behind the SINDA-subsidised Winning Strategies in PSLE Maths series, now underway for 2012.

Two sessions out of the five Winning Strategies have been held, on 5 February and 11 March, and already, participants are won over. Said K. Thanya, I liked the games conducted in between the seminars, as it motivates me to do much better in my Maths! Adds R. Kishore, I liked the methods and strategies for solving questions. Besides Mathematics skills, students are also taught exam skills and how to cultivate a winning mind-set. Success was also on the minds of students who signed up for the three Maths Excellence seminars, the first of which was on 31 March. Participants picked up problem-solving strategies, especially for non-routine questions. The next two seminars will be held on 21 July and 8 September, where the kids will see their confidence in their skills and understanding built up further. Earlier, on 17 March, Mathemagic cast its spell on 90 Primary 3 students with a heady mix of handson activities, fun and formulas. The seminar by VIP Learning proved to the kids that just as with magic tricks, Mathematics can be easy once the secrets are known. Besides lots of tips for both students and parents, there was also an inspirational video for the kids to reflect on. It was a very good seminar, enthused a participants parent. My daughter enjoyed herself and looks forward to more. Thank you, SINDA, for a great job done!







whats Been Happening?

Learning to Fly High

208 Project GuidE students and 20 Tamil teachers from 11 schools took off on an adventure at Changi Airport on 28 January.
he exciting programme by Nascans brought them round the three main terminals. Key team-building skills and social etiquette skills as well as Mathematics and Science concepts were imparted through fun experiential activities. It was a stimulating session for the students, who learnt to let their ambitions take flight the sky is the limit!

Thats the Spirit!

he 2012 edition of the LEGO League took place on 11 February at the Singapore Science Centre. Our SINDA teams, Brilliante Challengers and Commando Machiners had been training since November 2011 to get their LEGO Mindstorms robots in top shape. Only 12 trophies were available to the 35 participating teams. It was stiff competition and both SINDA teams, came away with medals and key chains. However, there was no dampening of their spirits that day. Its not about winning the prizes, our teams enthusiastically spoke up. What matters is that we had lots of fun, and got to know each other better! Another reason to celebrate was that their mentor received the Most Outstanding Mentor Award 2012. Mr Firdaus Johari was also the mentor to the winning team this year, from St. Josephs Institution Junior. The experience has left the kids very keen to take part in future competitions.

Keeping Education Fun!

P1 Mathematics: Learning the fun way
A specially customised curriculum for about 350 Primary 1 newbies in STEP and Project Teach incorporates hands-on activities to build interest in Mathematics at foundation level.

Tutors adopt e-learning

Selected Primary 4 and 5 Project Teach tutors attended an e-training workshop in April, to better engage students through interactive pedagogy that enhances teaching and learning.

Enhanced target setting

For some 3,000 students in Primary 1 to 6, their My Targets & Achievements book from SINDA now boasts a new look with a more vibrant design and ample study tips and motivational quotes. It is useful to parents and tutors as well, to monitor students progress. The book records student progress from day school examinations as well as SINDA semestral examinations.

More on our tutors

In the first half of the year, more than a 100 dedicated tutors picked up new training methods relevant to the changing education landscape. Through courses such as Teaching Challenging Problem-Solving, Learner-Centred Science Strategies and Classroom Management conducted by expert trainers, tutors were equipped to provide the best possible education to our students. Kids enrolled in SINDAs classes are in very capable hands!


whats Been Happening?

Eye-opening Dialogue with K.Shanmugam

SINDA Youth Club members displayed strong social awareness when they recently engaged in a dialogue with Mr K.Shanmugam, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law.
t the exclusive event held on 19 March at the Singapore Management University, participants discussed how todays youths could contribute to SINDAs efforts to improve the standing of local Indian youths. Motivation, leadership and confidence building were vital themes explored. One of the participants felt it was an eye-opener to many issues. Mr Shanmugam, who sits on the SINDA Board of Trustees, reiterated SINDAs objectives, and said that SINDA has continued to provide constructive yet fun programmes within a dynamic environment. The 65 participants included junior college students, tertiary students and working professionals. It was a good experience, said product designer Jhunjhun Jain.

Bonding for a Cause

he SINDA Young Leaders Programme 2012 (SYLP12) brought 17 youths out of their comfort zones, to an outdoor camp at Pulau Ubin over 18-19 February. This team-building exercise pulled them together as they embark on the six-month long Act to Change annual project. There was more to the camp than discovering sharks and wild boars around the island! Ms Mahashne, 20, from St Andrews Junior College said, I learnt something useful from every activity, from the kayaking to the halogen workshop. The SYLP empowers aspiring Indian youths to excel in community building, service and leadership, by building on their strengths and passion for the community. Programme graduates continue contributing to the local community as SYLP ambassadors.

Futsal Champs
20 teams converged at the Ceylon Sports Club on Saturday 7 April to do battle on the futsal pitch, with Guest-of-Honour MG Ravinder Singh kicking off the tournament.
he 140 youths aged 13 to 17 put in their all to vie for the Championship title, with BDM Team A eventually earning the top prize of $500 Sportslink vouchers and medals. Summerville F.C. placed runner-up with $300 Sportslink vouchers and medals, and Team AMK Brothers and Mission Impossible took 3rd and 4th placing respectively, also winning Sportslink vouchers and medals. The Futsal Tournament is an annual affair organised by SINDA with the Tamils Representative Council (TRC) to promote excellence in sports and fitness among Indian youths. It also allows participants to exercise leadership skills and team bonding.


whats Been Happening?

Prepping Parents

ts a huge step when our little ones move from kindergarten to primary school. A parenting seminar, Preparation for Primary School, held by SINDA in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MOE) on 7 April, guided parents on making that transition easier for their kids. 286 participants came away knowing better how to help their children along in their primary education journey. One father, Mohammed Iliyas, appreciated having subject matter experts clarifying queries and calming anxieties of us parents. SINDA has been actively involving parents in the education of their children through such seminars and learning workshops. With the practical tips and creative learning techniques shared through such programmes, parents are now better equipped to guide their children to excel!

CEVM Gears Up
SINDAs Community Engagement and volunteer Management (CEvM) division has been actively networking with organisations to share initiatives that will be pursued over the next decade.
series of dialogues have been held with real estate professionals, lawyers, doctors, and various Indian and religious organisations to share the findings of SINDAs strategic review report and collectively brainstorm on creative ideas to reach out to the ground. SINDA also used the dialogue sessions to share the Indian Community Network (ICN) which encourages organisations to become potential partners to help SINDA extend its outreach and conduct programmes and services. Successful collaborations include organisations such as the Mar Thoma Church Singapore awarding bursaries to less privileged students and alumni associations like the Jamal Mohammad College Alumni Association and the B.S. Abdul Rahman University collaborating with SINDA to offer Mathematics workshops to parents and familiarise them with Singapores educational landscape. More dialogues are planned as SINDA continues to engage, excite and enthuse its dialogue partners to step up a gear and help achieve the Singaporean Indian communitys desired vision.

Parents STEP In
STEP Centres all over Singapore hosted 1,100 parents at Parent Orientation sessions held from 30 January to 9 March.

esides learning about STEPs programmes and successes, as well as SINDAs strategies, parents enjoyed creative, hands-on Mathematics, English and Science activities with their kids. Woodlands Ring Secondary Schools STEP Centre Principal T. Ravi said, It turned out to be an excellent session. It has enabled students and parents to know that learning is fun. They left feeling excited about coming to STEP.


we know there are many organisations both within and outside the Indian community that share the same or similar objectives as SINDA: to help make a difference in the lives of those who are less privileged. It is our hope to work with these organisations to turn ideas into reality.
Come join us in the Indian Community Network (ICN):


Value Proposition Help extend outreach Access to volunteers Help deliver programmes and services Source of ideas for new programmes and services

SINDA welcomes all proposals which are aligned to our vision and mission. Share your creative ideas on how to nurture enlightened families or maximise educational opportunities for all! SINDA will support proposals that are feasible and achievable, with clearly articulated outcomes, within our mandate and resources. We accept that SINDA alone cannot make it happen, but with your involvement as an active member in the ICN, the community can advance towards a brighter future. For more information on the ICN, please contact the CEVM Division of SINDA.

Value Proposition Branding Funding Access to Specialised Resources Targeted Audience

Project Teach Broadens its Reach

with the success of Project Teach in primary schools, SINDA launched an all-new Project Teach (Secondary) pilot programme in May. This is an intensive, short-term, small group Mathematics tuition scheme for Indian secondary school students.
of how Project Teach can be customised to meet the specific needs of students, as identified by the school. Like Huamin Primary School, several schools have taken on an additional session of Mathematics. This is in line with Project Teachs 2012 aim to increase focus on the subject, and other schools are being encouraged to follow suit. Along with these extra hours, additional Mathematics enrichment activities will be held during the June holidays, dubbed Maths Month. From July onwards, Project Teach could also be customised as a Mathematics preparatory programme upon request. If youd like to help the Indian students in your school through Project Teach, do give us a call! Primary level: Ms Kiran at 6393 7232 / Secondary level: Ms Hema at 6393 6301.

eanwhile, the primary school programme now has 50 schools on board. Recently, SINDAs President Ms Indranee Rajah dropped by Huamin Primary School to observe the programme in action. The visit on 21 April provided an exchange of views between parents, tutors, school personnel, SINDAs Board of Trustees and Executive Committee. Huamin Primary School is a good example



What is SYC?
he SINDA Youth Club (SYC) was officially launched on 28 August 2010, by DPM Teo Chee Hean. SYC is independently managed by a team of young members who excel in various professions, together with the SYC Secretariat. A primary focus of the SYC is to engage Indian youths and provide them with developmental and enrichment activities with a strong educational agenda. It also aims to inspire Indian youths to positive aspirations. SYCs programmes and events instil and enhance a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence in youths between the ages of 13 and 35.

Shivali Nayak SYLP Leader & Journalist with CNBC Asia I joined the SINDA Young Leaders Programme (SYLP) to give back to the community, because through SINDAs tireless efforts, my family has become financially stable. I am passionate to make a difference in the lives of youths like me. 3 things SYLP has taught me: The vision to make a difference

R Karthik National Serviceman Through the SYC, I have met many like-minded youths who want to help our Indian community. Programmes like the SYLP and SINDA Young Leaders Seminar (SYLS) have been not only enjoyable but enriching as well, honing my leadership skills and expanding my social network. Ive also had the chance to meet prominent Indians who inspire youths like me. The SYLP provided me with the perfect opportunity to serve the Indian community, during the six months I had free upon finishing my International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations. I intend to keep volunteering in the long term. I am confident that my journey with SYC will indeed prove to be an immensely enriching one.

To dream big, but stay real

Patience and Humility

Through the SYLP, I have discovered my strengths and weaknesses. It has contributed much to my overall personal development. Every day I get up and I see something can be done something more, something better, something different. Steve Jobs once said, Stay hungry, stay foolish. Be hungry for change to happen, and stay foolish, or humble. I live by this mantra and I hope other youths will as well.

Daddy Dilemma
Fathers you play a significant role in your childrens lives! Yet findings and anecdotal evidence suggest that many dads do not realise the impact that they have on their children, or have the skills to be effective fathers.

hen SINDAs new Parents Division rolled out talks and workshops on fathering recently, quite a few of the fathers we approached told us bluntly that the role of parenting belonged to their wives. They did not see any reason to attend such workshops. Its a daunting task ahead of us to bring a mind-set change! This absent father syndrome seems to be quite common among Indian fathers. An absent father is one who is emotionally and psychologically not present for his kids. When was the last time you held a meaningful conversation with your child, gave him a listening ear, attended any

parent-teacher meetings, or got involved in your kids school activities? Chances are, its been a while. This is unfortunate, because a fathers love and supervision has a significant impact on a childs academic ability as well as his psychological well-being. The reasons for this vary. Some studies show that adolescents may perform better in order to gain a fathers acceptance, which is more conditional than a mothers. So come on down to attend our workshops dont be an absent father!



Using the given shapes, creatively draw a picture and colour it. Clever and unique ideas stand to win!
This art contest is only open to children in primary schools in Singapore. The top entry will win a $100 Popular Voucher and the next two best entries will each win a $50 Popular Voucher. Schools which submit the largest number of entries will win a $200 Popular Voucher. Judges decision is final. Winners would be contacted by SINDA to collect their prizes and winning entries would be published in the next SINDA connections. This form can be photostated for multiple entries.

Please submit your entries together with your particulars to Shape-O-Mania c/o Children Division, No 1 Beatty Road. Singapore 209943 by 19 July 2012.

Name: __________________________________ IC: No: ________________ School: __________________________________ School Level: ________ Contact No: ________________ Address: ________________________________________________

vISION To build a strong and vibrant Singaporean Indian community together MISSION To build a well-educated, resilient and confident community of Indians that stands together with the other communities in contributing to the progress of multi-racial Singapore vALUES Respect, our culture Integrity, our foundation Service, our promise Excellence, our pursuit

BOARD OF TRUSTEES Patron Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Chairman, Board of Trustees Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam Life Trustees Prof S Jayakumar Mr S Dhanabalan Mr S Chandra Das Mr J Y Pillay Mr Sat Pal Khattar Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam Mr K Shanmugam Dr N Varaprasad Term Trustees Mr Inderjit Singh Ms Indranee Rajah Mr Haider M Sithawalla Mr Bobby Chin Yoke Choong Mr M Rajaram

Mr V Shankar Mr Ravi Menon Mr R Jayachandran Mr Hsieh Fu Hua Mr Girija Pande Mr Gautam Banerjee MG Ravinder Singh Advisors Dr Vivian Balakrishnan Mr S Iswaran Mr Hri Kumar Nair ExECUTIvE COMMITTEE President Ms Indranee Rajah vice Presidents Mr Viswa Sadasivan Mr Shabbir Hassanbhai, PBM Secretary Mr Sarjit Singh, BBM

Treasurer Mr Subramaniam Iyer Members Mr V P Jothi Mr R Rajaram Mr Aaron Maniam Mr Naseer Ghani Mr Puvan Ariaratnam Mr P Thirunal Karasu, BBM Dr Joshua V M Kuma Resource Panel Members Mr K V Rao Ms M Nirmala Mr P B Desai Dr Sivasankaran Subramaniam Mr Mohamed Abdul Jaleel, PBM Ms Sabanitha Shanmugasundram Mr Sajen G Aswani


(blank) Indians were the first to use the zero as a symbol and in arithmetic operations.


800BC First practised in India.


600BC Sushruta, the Father of Surgery, made

important contributions to the field of plastic and cataract surgery.

How zero was written over centuries

Computer language is made up purely of zeros and ones!

1400 1700 Plastic surgeries in the early

Renaissance were performed in barber shops.

1794 British surgeons witnessed an

Originated in eastern regions of the Mughal Empire

Original shampoos consisted of alkali, natural oils and fragrances

Indian brick layer repair the nose of a British prisoner who had his nose and hand cut off. British surgeons imported the procedure back to northern Europe where interest rapidly grew.

litres of shampoo is taken from British hotels by guests every year

US has the most number with

Shampoo companies add lathering agents to their products only because people expect it. Lather does not help clean hair.

3.3 million

Lipoplasty accounts for 23% of all procedures worldwide.


Shampoo is derived from the Hindi word, capo, which means to press.


First developed in the 6th century in India, where chess was known as chaturanga.

Diamonds take about 1 billion to 3.3 billion years to form.


The number of possible, unique chess games is far greater than the number of electrons in the universe.

India remained the worlds only source of diamonds until the 18th century.

Chess is called the game of kings, because for many centuries it was played primarily by nobility and the upper classes.

605, 000, 000

(605 million) people around the world know how to play chess.

In 2004, astronomers discovered a diamond star that is 10 billion trillion trillion carats in the constellation Centaurus.


The word checkmate comes from the Persian phrase shah mat, which means the king is defeated.

The current World Chess Champion is Viswanathan Anand who has defended his title since 2007.
Diamonds were first recognized and mined in central India.


While every care has been taken in the compilation of this information and every attempt made to present up-to-date and accurate information, we cannot guarantee that inaccuracies will not occur. SINDA will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within these pages.