Tag Archives: Living in Singapore

A festival of lights – Celebrating Diwali The NANYANG MBA Style

By Joseph M. Kainady, Indian, The NANYANG MBA Participant, Intake 2011

Being a part of an international cohort of MBA students, one will always have an opportunity to learn a new culture or share your own to your classmates and this is exactly what happened during the last quarter of last year – my  fellow Indian classmates and I had the opportunity to share a part of our culture – The Diwali or known as Festival of Lights.

As the festival fell on a very busy period for us (exams week and trimester 1 break), we celebrated Diwali in November. Diwali is one of the most important festival in India – it is important for Hindus, Sikhs and Jains but it is celebrated by everyone.

Gathering at the MBA lounge, my classmates were welcomed with Indian folk art pattern or Rangoli and diyas (oil lamps), which set the festive mood. The celebration started off with a Pooja ceremony, a religious ritual performed by the Hindus as an offering to various deities, distinguished persons or special guests. It lasted around 15 minutes and was conducted by an NTU PhD student. Our classmates were amazed by the ritual, as Cheng Zeng, from China, puts it, “I was amazed to see the versatility in the PhD student conducting the Pooja in such a professional manner.”

Rangoli or Indian folk art pattern welcoming my classmates upon entering the MBA lounge

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Spending my first Christmas in Singapore with fellow Nanyang MBAs but we still have the hangover

By Kabeer Chaudhary, Indian, Nanyang MBA Intake 2011, Student ExCo VP Cultural

Seeing some photos taken during Christmas season brings back fun memories of my first Christmas in Singapore, celebrated together with my Nanyang MBA peers. The fun and laughter we had that night still resound in my head.

Nanyang MBA peers and friends enjoying the Christmas Party

Continue reading Spending my first Christmas in Singapore with fellow Nanyang MBAs but we still have the hangover

Visiting nature – Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Club goes biking in Pulau Ubin

by Eric Oandasan, Filipino, CSR Club Co-Chair, Nanyang MBA participant, Intake 2011

A few months into the program, being stuck inside the air-conditioned, sometimes freezing confines of the classroom, can sure take its toll on our ‘sanity’. Offering a refreshing escape from the city, the CSR Club held its first event at Pulau Ubin, an island off Singapore’s main island, one of the few reserved spots in Singapore untouched by urban development. Already a popular tourist destination, the small island brought 15 of us, mostly city-dwellers, to a brief experience back to nature. Coming from various cultural backgrounds, from Europe to Asia, and having experienced nature treks in our own countries, we were looking forward to this common yet different experience from our rather predictable city life.

One of the many mangroves dotting Pulau Ubin

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Let's do exersice – Friendly Bowling Competition

by Ng Wei Fang, Singaporean, Nanyang MBA Participant, Intake 2011

Engaging in sports is one of the many venues to foster team spirit and camaraderie, and often times it brings out the best in people – to become leaders, team players and great supporters in a ‘more fun way’. That is why we recently had our first bowling event where we had all the ingredients we want in a sports activity – getting fit, having fun and fostering team spirit and camaraderie with not only with our MBA peers, but also with the MBA Office staff.

Our batch’s first ever organized ‘friendly bowling’ tournament was held last September at the Orchid Bowl at The Chevrons, a vibrant and relaxing bowling facility located in the west side of Singapore. There were over 50 MBA participants from our batch (new cohort) and outgoing batches, together with members of the MBA Office who participated and shared the fun with each other

As The NANYANG MBA prides itself with its student diversity (well, we have 18 nationalities in our current cohort!) and how we work together as a team, we were divided into 8 groups that consist of a mix of at least 2 nationalities. Our teamwork came into play in a different setting – bowling! As our Thai classmate Chaweewan puts it, “The bowling session creates unity within the cohort. We get to enjoy each other’s company and get to know each other better. It also creates a good opportunity for the full-time MBA students to meet with our part-time classmates.”

As the games progressed, we witnessed strikes, spares and splits. We screamed and cheered, even if the ball rolled into the gutter. Curved balls, dead balls and even gutter balls – you name it, we have done it. And the way these balls were thrown, add up to the excitement and anticipation whether we could make a strike or just hit the plain gutter. In fact, there were many tries that went down the drain. Nevertheless, we had fun, and our resilience to be the best in what we can do in bowling, just shows that we strive to beat the odds, in whatever we do. And I believe that this makes us Nanyang MBA students to be more successful later in life.

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A day out with visiting Waseda peers during Singapore’s National Day

By Sharon NG, Singaporean, Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA Current Participant

My Nanyang-Waseda peers and I had a most intensive week when our counterparts from Waseda Business School Japan (mostly Japanese nationals) visited Singapore for their Summer Intensive Program. The short program speaks for itself – it was, indeed, intensive but also fun.  It was fascinating for me, too, as I was able to somehow play ‘guide’ to the group, including my Nanyang-Waseda classmates, which is  an international bunch of individuals coming from Japan, Korea, India, Philippines and Thailand. But how do you spend the national day with a large group of visitors?

9th of August is the day that Singapore became an independent republic, Singapore’s National Day.  That day, being a holiday, I dragged my lazy feet to school. Traffic was very smooth, less cars on the street, so that really made me feel slightly better. We had a ‘longer than usual’ half-day of lectures, and after which the group tucked into local food stall for lunch, with a serving of Singapore’s famous chicken rice – a dish of Chinese origin comprised of special chicken-flavored rice topped with roast chicken*,  slushed down with cooling lime juice (chicken rice is considered to be one of Singapore’ best dishes and Singapore is known for it, worldwide). With that, the group took off for a half-day sightseeing trip of Singapore.

Continue reading A day out with visiting Waseda peers during Singapore’s National Day

A Hot, Steamy Affair

A pork soup base and tom yum soup base steamboat combination.

Author:  Jennifer Cheong, MBA Office

Along Liang Seah Street & Beach Road (opposite Bugis Junction), one can find rows and rows of steamboat or hotpot restaurants.  Hot pot or steamboat is a style of cooking  common in various place in Asia, where various types of meat, vegetables,seafood  and other Ingredients are boiled in a single pot or sometimes with dividers such as the picture below- the soup stock comes in a variety of flavors as well. The restaurants will be bustling with people of all ages and are especially popular with youth group outings because they are extremely affordable and eat-all-you-can style.

Steamboat is a traditional fare that the Singaporean Chinese especially enjoy during Chinese New Year season.  However, one can always enjoy steamboat all year round with the attractive selection of soup bases and food selections from these restaurants.  The added good feeling about steamboat is  you are cooking it yourselves-!  Here are some basic information for those of you who is a first-timer in a Singapore steamboat affair:

  1. Steamboat is usually a group affair.  It is not unusual to find big groups chatting happily over the hot pot while waiting for their meat & vegetables in the soup to be cooked.  The pot is shared among your group and everyone cooks their food in the same pot.
  2. Do not be shocked when the waiter piles plates of raw meat and vegetables on your table right beside your boiling hot pot.  You are supposed to cook these in the hot pot yourself.  Definitely not a nice experience for those who are especially particular about hygiene or cleanliness.
  3. Typically, you are allowed to choose two types of soup bases.  Depending on the restaurant, you may choose from the normal chicken, pork or duck broth or the spicy Tom Yum, Szechuan or Ma-la soup.
  4. Then pick your meat and vegetable items which can range from pork, chicken, beef, lamb, seafood (prawns, crabs, shellfish) to tofu, mushrooms and fresh local vegetables.
  5. Once the food arrives and your soup is boiling, start adding the raw items into your soup to be cooked.  Typically, it is done in rounds where you add all the items, scoop them out once cooked and add in the next round of items to cook.

So head down to Liang Seah Street for an experience of the Singaporean steamboat for your next group outing.  It might just be an oddly hot, steamy experience for you!  A good starting point will be Xian De Lai, located at 18 Liang Seah Street (Tel: +65 6336 7505 for reservations).  And yes, the more people you see queeing up, the better is the restaurant- so better call them to reserve a place.  And enjoy this wonderfully nice experience.

A rainbow connection – Celebrating Holi and Songkran the colorful and fun way!

Author: Sujata Sawai and Tai Yossiree, Class of 2011

On a bright Saturday afternoon, some thirty of us gathered together at Graduate Hall grounds to celebrate the advent of spring and celebrate two of Asia’s widely celebrated festivities – Songkran from Thailand and Holi, from India, last 16th of April.   In fact Holi has been celebrated at Nanyang by the MBA students for the last 3 years, while this is the first Songkran event celebration at Nanyang. And celebrating this together is a first too, we believe!

Songkran day is the celebration of Thai New Year, which falls in the middle of April of each year, and it is celebrated all over Thailand. With a long history people gather on the streets with water containers, water guns and white powder and splash or throw them on friends or passerby. However, on a serious note, the main purpose of Songkran day is to pay a visit to family or elders, and also to go to temple for Buddhist activities as Thais look forward to a better year.

Coming from Thailand (yes, that’s me – Tai), I feel that my classmates should not only experience Songkran the way how it is celebrated, but also to create a sense of unity as a family – doing activities outside of academic life like having fun together. Like what Songkran festival is all about – together, we will ‘wash away’ the sadness, tiredness and stress from our studies, and be ready for the new year to come!

Holi, on the other hand, is the spring religious festival celebrated by Hindus and dates back many centuries ago. It is primarily observed in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka and countries with large Indic diaspora populations, such as Suriname, Malaysia, and Guyana, among others. Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (February/March), which, for this year, fell on 20th of March. Like Songkran, Holi is celebrated by throwing colored powder (dye powder) and colored water at each other. Traditionally, playful throwing of colored powder and water has medicinal significance, especially during the onset of spring which normally brings viral fever and cold due to change of weather (reference: Wikipedia.com). 

Finding clothes to discard was easy. We had to since we wanted to have fun throwing colored water and colored powder at our classmates- we knew that our clothes will be soiled and will be thrown away after the celebrations. We had a fantastic time splashing one another with colored water!

Celebrating Holi & Songkran - The NANYANG MBA

Three stooges all soiled up – me (Tai) in the middle with Snigdha (left) and Reynold (right)

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We ran across the huge vacant field beside our graduate residence hall, and no one escaped the flurry of powder and water.

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Esmond’s makeshift shower but making a mess out of Alejandra (left) and Flora (right), while lonesome Scott pretends to be a Red Indian.

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Zos is trying to be serious out here, while Claudia playfully poses to the camera (Thank you both for the awesome photos!)

Everyone was ecstatic with joy as we messed our clothes – some went stumbling down on the ground laughing, diving into a mixture of mud and colored water, while others  chased madly those who have not been messed up with buckets of it (yes, buckets!) and ensured that they are messed up as well. Here at Nanyang, we ‘hit a lot ’ with this joint celebration – we gathered as  family, we cooled ourselves from the hot and humid weather of Singapore during this time and  cooled down  from the stress from studies, as well! Just like how I experienced it in India (Sujata), the day was filled with the spirit of joy, naughtiness, passion and enthusiasm. Even one of our classmates, Claudia, wished that there were celebrations like this in her home country – Germany! As Claudia puts it, “I really enjoyed celebrating Holi & Songkran with my fellow students. It was the first time for me to get to know these celebrations and helped me in understanding and experiencing Thai and Hindu culture. While we were throwing colours and water at each other, everybody was cheering, laughing.  In the end, I was completely covered in all kinds of colours… it was just a lot of fun! I wish we had a Holi and Songkran celebration in Germany, too! The cross-cultural festivals at NBS, like Mid-Autumn festival, Diwali and Holi & Songkran celebration, make my MBA in Singapore a memorable and unique experience for me. I’m looking forward to more of these!”

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Our classmates are having a fantastic time (topmost photo); We still look good despite being so ‘colorful’ – (from left to right) Mandar, Me (Sujata), Sameer and Vidushi.

And to end this day of fun, we had good food to nourish our near-aching bodies [from all those running and stumbling, and getting hit by throwing water]. We feasted on an awesome assortment of Thai and Indian food like Veg Pakoda, pineapple fried rice, Thai fish cake, and Thai banana in coconut milk (Prof Siri, you are fantastic in preparing this for us!). Nothing beats a hungry stomach, so we emptied everything on the table!

A shout out of thanks to our Student ExCo and the rest of our classmates for making this double celebration more fun and exciting! Who says that MBA students are no fun at all?

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Starting the year at high altitude

Author, Greg Edwards

Starting the year at high altitude

Last week we had a social event for The NANYANG MBA students sponsored by the MBA Student Executive Committee, and organized by EXCO VP – Social and Sports, Andrew Humphreys (USA). The timing couldn’t have been better as we were also able to welcome EMBA students visiting Singapore from the Norwegian School of Management, as well as a group of MBA students from SungKyunKwan University (SKKU) of Korea. One of the SKKU students was recently at NTU as an exchange students, and the EMBA from Norway were introduced by a visiting NTU professor who also teaches at their university. Also on hand were students such as myself in the joint Nanyang-Waseda Double MBA, and from the Nanyang-ESSEC (France) Double Masters program.

The event was held at Singapore’s 1-Altitude which features an open air patio 62 stories above the city. The view is the best in Singapore. Although it was rainy all day prior to the event, as people started to arrive the clouds cleared up and the weather couldn’t have been better. This is definitely the best venue when you want to provide guests with a memorable experience. As many of the Nanyang MBA students had not yet visited this patio, it was a great opportunity for them as well!

We are planning additional events (coming up soon) and hope to continue to provide unique and interesting experiences for all of the Nanyang MBA students and , yes for our guests too..

Organised Running – a popular past-time in Singapore

Author: Associate Professor Chung Lai Hong (Associate Dean of The NANYANG MBA)

Hardly a weekend passes by in Singapore without an organized Run of some sort or another, for one cause or another – there’s the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run, The Adidas Sundown Marathon, The Anlene Orchard Mile, Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, The Bull Charge, Urban run, Cold Storage Kids run…the list goes on.

And then there’s NTU’s Run Round Singapore (27 March 2010), to celebrate our 55th anniversary and raise funds for educational advancement. Some of us from the MBA community took the opportunity to get together for some fresh air and exercise on a Saturday morning (although way too early in my books). Well, before you get too impressed, we did not actually run round Singapore (though 9 runners did – all 218 km over 2 days!). Participants could decide which sector of the route around Singapore they wish to participate in. We chose the first segment starting at NTU. So I dragged myself out of bed on Saturday morning at 615 am, as the opening activities for the Run started at 730 am. When I got to NTU, there was already a large crowd gathered outside the Chinese Heritage Centre (which has historical significance– but that’s another story).

The President of NTU, Professor Su Guaning, was there to open the event. The 9 core runners who were going to run all the way round Singapore were introduced. Then there was a mass warm-up exercise led by NTU alumna Sophia Pang, who was the only woman in the The Kaspersky Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition 2009. We exhausted ourselves sufficiently with the kicking and punching. Promptly at 8.30am, the horn sounded and off we went running from Station 1 to Station 2, a manageable 3 km away. I must admit that though I ran all the way, I struggled when going up the slopes ( NTU has many slopes).

We ended up at Station 2, which incidentally is where our Graduate Hall is. Yes, as the name would suggest, this is for graduate students, and is where many of our international MBA participants live. This is separate from the dormitories housing thousands of our undergraduates.

Graduate Hall Apartments

Overall, it was a good experience and also heartening to see involvement of different segments of the MBA community – staff, faculty, alumni, students – getting together to celebrate for NTU.

But, the highlight for me was the breakfast we enjoyed afterwards at a “kopitiam” (local coffee shop literally translated). We ordered “kopi c”, “kopi o” (various concoctions of our local coffee – similar to having cappuccino, latte, etc) and dug into wanton noodles. I think we replaced more calories than we burned up in the run, but hey who’s counting? More than the food (really!), it was the chance to just catch up in a relaxed atmosphere with colleagues and alumni after participating in a meaningful event. All in all a great way to spend a Saturday morning!

Modernised Kopitiams like this one has numerous food and drink stalls and large seating areas

A Kopitiam drink stall seller making kopi (coffee)

p.s. I’m gearing up for the Adidas Sundown Run in May – no prize for guessing the differentiating feature of this run. Join me?

p.p.s. I constructed this entry in my head while running one night along one of the park connectors in Singapore, while listening to cantopop songs on my mp3 player, and gazing at the bright full moon in the horizon, which probably explains why I almost stepped on a frog/toad (too dark to see) 3 times that night…and which also set me thinking : “Why did the toad cross the path?”…

New Kid On The Block in Sentosa!

We are all very excited…that Singapore has just become even more exciting, with its very first integrated resort, featuring a CASINO, the UNIVERSAL STUDIOS theme park and GRAND hotels and the largest OCEANARIUM in the world, within a mammoth area of 49 hectares of land!

Opened on Valentine’s Day this year, which is coincidentally the first day of the Lunar New Year, Resorts World is situated off the southern part of Singapore, in a conjoined island called SENTOSA.

We Singaporeans grew up with only Sentosa to escape to during the school holidays. (Remember, Singapore is land-scarce before the land reclaiming projects started!) Back then, the island was not well-developed with hotels or other forms of entertainment. So, apart from a fast food outlet and some historic sites to visit on a monorail that runs through the island, and ok, a musical fountain, there really weren’t much sights to devour like a tourist should.

So, Singapore has truly come a long way, to become a top tourist destination today. *beams with pride*

With the exams behind us now (they just ended last week), I am planning to visit Sentosa again! (Note to Victoria Secret’s fans: VS has opened its first Asian store here in Resorts World!!! *Ballistic with anticipation*)

Looking forward to the rides, the shopping, the dining, the blackjack table, the spas. I think I should just check myself in to Hard Rock Hotel for a 3 day staycation! WOOOHOOOO!!

Updates soon!

P/S: Meanwhile, I leave you with some pictures of Resorts World I’ve seen from other friends’ blogs. I can’t wait!

Hard Rock Hotel facade: I’ve always wanted to stay in one of these but never had the chance to

Entrance to the Casino, our very first!

The Crockfords Tower Hotel entrance. WOW.

I am never going on this thing. But it looks scary enough to excite some of my roller coaster fanatic friends.

Jesters on stilts on its opening day. Charming.

Now this is charming but where’s the floor vent?!?