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IAFOR Scholarship Recipient (2019) – Ms. Stephanie Hilary Ma

IAFOR Scholarship Recipient (2019) – Ms. Stephanie Hilary Ma

Our Master student, Ms. Stephanie Hilary Xinyi Ma, received the IAFOR Scholarship at the 9th Asian Conference on Psychology & the Behavioral Sciences (ACP2019) held in Tokyo from 21st to 23rd March 2019. She presented on ‘A Waitlist-Randomised Control Trial for a Novel intergenerational Art-based Intervention: Project ARTISAN’ and ‘The Arts for Ageing Well: An Ecological Process Model for Sustainable Arts Engagement’.

Here is Hilary’s reflection on the award:

“I am grateful to be a recipient of the IAFOR Scholarship, and this is possible because of the steadfast support and guidance from Prof Andy, the ARCH team and NTU. As this was my first time presenting at a conference, it was an eye opening and rewarding experience to be able to engage in interdisciplinary discussion and knowledge exchange at an international conference.”

SPS40: STUDENT RESEARCH AWARDS 2018 – Ms. Stephanie Hilary Ma

SPS40: STUDENT RESEARCH AWARDS 2018 – Ms. Stephanie Hilary Ma

Ms. Stephanie Hilary Xinyi Ma, our Master student, has been awarded Best Writing, Best Oral Presentation, Best Poster and Overall Best Project in the Masters Category for her research paper and oral presentation, “The Arts for Ageing Well: Arts Engagement and Holistic Wellbeing among Older Singaporeans”. The Student Research Awards, organized annually by the Singapore Psychological Society (SPS), seeks to support young researchers, facilitate dialogue and maintain professional interactions among researchers. Candidates are assessed based on the novelty of research, theoretical and practical significance, robustness of research methods and statistical analyses as well as quality of research writing.

Here is Hilary’s brief reflection on her awards:

“I am very honoured to receive these awards, and immensely grateful for the support and guidance from Prof Andy and my ARCH team mates. I also appreciate the encouraging and constructive feedback from SPS’s supportive panel of judges. It was truly amazing to be able to share the lab’s meaningful research with practitioners, researchers and fellow students, and also an uplifting experience to exchange brilliant ideas and spark future collaborations with other researchers. Moving forward, may we continue to work on the good research that we are doing for the society, and excel as a research community.”

I Died Today 2018

Due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback from last year, IDiedTodayxNTU is back for a second run. This year 38 participants experienced their living funeral at the foyer of the School of Social Sciences on 19th September. Details of our first run can be found here.

We would like to acknowledge and thank Zao Bao Sg for their reporting and coverage.

English Translation by Ms. Choo Ping Ying and Ms. Hilary Ma:

38 NTU students and professor experienced “Death”

To encourage dialogue about death, 38 NTU students, inclusive of third year and fourth year psychology students and a Master student, encountered an experiential activity of a living funeral together with their professor.

Prior to the event, the students prepared their self-eulogies. These eulogies were read to them by facilitators at their living funeral. As a symbol of their passing, the students were then fully covered with a white cloth, where they solemnly reflected on their experience.

A husband feeling heartbroken as his wife read his eulogy

Shaik, a 33-year-old Master’s student in gerontology invited his wife to read his eulogy as he participated in the experiential activity. As he listened to his wife read his eulogy in tears, he felt heartbroken and sorrowful as there was nothing he could do to comfort her in that moment. “I have known my wife for nine years and we are married for two years. She broke into tears as she read my eulogy, drenching my paper coffin with her tears”, he added.

“I’m usually comfortable with death-related conversations, but this activity has strengthened my relationship with my wife. Through this activity, my wife and I have learned that even though we are married, we need to be comfortable with living alone as well. We cannot foresee our death, so we need to cherish our family and the people around us,” expressed Shaik.

Dr. Andy Ho, an assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University, developed and organized this experiential activity for two consecutive years.

He highlighted the necessity to embrace the inevitability of death and understand death as a natural process of life. To address death taboos, he aspires to encourage dialogue and awareness through public education.

“People often perceive discussions about death as taboo and inauspicious. However, embracing death provides us with the opportunity to engage in self-reflection,” emphasized Dr. Andy Ho.

Experiencing peace in the face of death

Wong Su Ting, a 22-year-old psychology student in her fourth year, revealed that her father had passed away two years from an illness at the age of 67. Since then, she was fearful approaching the topic of death, but was able to find peace encountering her own mortality at the living funeral.

“I took a leave of absence to care for my father to spend quality time with him prior to his passing. Back then, I found death horrifying. I was terrified and I felt alone. However, as I face death again at the living funeral, I experienced peace instead and I am not longer afraid of death,” Su Ting recounted.

Su Ting continued, “What can I do to ensure that I find peace in the afterlife? Taking part in this living funeral reminds me that I have goals which I want to achieve and I will work towards those goals henceforth.”

The need to live life with no regrets

Tan Jun Hao, a 25 year-old psychology student in his fourth year, aspires to be a clinical psychologist working with terminally-ill seniors. He realized that he rarely spent time with his family due to school commitment, and had yet to fulfil his aspirations. He shared, “I have yet to realize many dreams and I will have regrets if I were to leave the world now.”

According to Jun Hao, the idea of his own mortality has never crossed his mind. During the immersive process of IDiedTodayxNTU when he was covered with a cloth and heard his eulogy, he began to deeply reflect on significant people and life events.

“The experience was immersive. I wish I can die with dignity and great joy. I included a quote in my artwork, ‘to lead a fulfilled life’. It serves as a reminder to myself that I should live with no regrets,” concluded Jun Hao.