Interning at ColumbiaAsia, India hospital

Medicine is a career I am interested in, and would love the opportunity to explore the career further, therefore, to receive this opportunity has provided an abundance of information, and valuable experience  which has aided me in developing a further passion and determination for this profession.

Columbia Asia is a multinational, private hospital which contains numerous specialities, operates surgeries, provides consultations etc. I was shadowing Dr.Amita Shah, a gynacologist and an obstetrician who is also specialised in lapriscopic surgery (a minimally evasive surgery in which the surgeon creates a couple of incisions around the required area of surgery and attatches a camera to a screen which is then used to operate with) , and I received first-hand experience of the difficult, exhausting life of a surgeon.

I encountered several cases, each with varying issues and challenges. For example, one of the first cases was of a 37 year old pregnant woman with hypothyroidism, so I learnt about how to treat such a patient, and generally about the disorder. Dr.Shah explained that the thyroid is a gland in the throat which secretes hormones T3 and T4. Therefore, since this patient is HYPOthyratic, low levels of T3 and T4 are secreted which may mean the baby may be mentally retarded as these hormones control neurological function.

Another interesting case I encountered was regarding a woman who refused to take her medication for unknown reasons. Personally, I was surprised by this case as I belong to a developed, advanced background where I know the benefits of medicine and take them willingly. I noticed how Dr.Shah attempted to discover the reason behind this woman’s reluctance to ingest her medicine, however, since doctors can’t force a patient to reveal their reasoning, it was difficult. However, Dr.Shah informed me that in a conservative country like India, these issues are very common for reasons such as limited information regarding importance of medicine, social and cultural misconceptions, etc.

Whilst all the cases were intriguing and each had unique situations, the most interesting and startling case I saw was about a 36 year old woman who requested an abortion after the pregnancy test returned positive that morning itself. She had come in with her husband and 2-year-old son, and was adamant to receive an abortion. It was evident that the husband wanted to keep the child, but the woman was firm with her decision. When Dr.Shah attempted to discover the reason behind her decision, the woman provided incomplete, short answers. The reason I was intrigued by this case was because medicine is not only a theory based career, but it tests your morals and it is crucial to have ethics in medicine, and this is something I struggled to understand as I wasn’t sure how to provide your opinion onto a patient without coming across as forceful. How can we decide what’s right for someone? So, this case provided me insight regarding how to handle a situation where the doctor may have a difference of opinion to the patient. Dr.Shah was compelled to oblige to the patient’s request, however, she ensured to explain the cons of the situation to her, and the possible opportunity she could be losing. It was a tactical yet understanding way to give her opinion to the patient.

However, the highlight of my experience would definitely be observing a Dilation and Curretage (D&C) surgery as it was incredibly interesting and personally, the best way of communicating the exhilirating life of a doctor. In this surgery, the cervix is dilated and the uterus lining is scraped to remove any unwanted contents of the uterus. In this particular case, the 27 year old women had ingested abortion pills, and the remains needed to be removed from her uterus as it was causing some problems. Dr Shah allowed me to watch the surgery from a close distance and she showed me the cervix as well as the ingested abortion pills to allow an enhanced experience.

In conclusion, this experience served as a confirmation that this is a career I would love to pursue and I can’t thank Dr.Amita enough for providing me with this memorable experience.

Personal statement

At the beginning of grade 9, I was nervous and anxious as to what to anticipate for the upcoming future. I was afraid of initiating my high school journey as I knew that from here on, things would begin to matter. My grades, my choices, my decisions. All of these changes added pressure and stress, however, I realised that high school is a journey I have to embark on with positivity and perseverance. This year has resembled something similar to a  seesaw, with ups and downs, but the journey has been enjoyable.


I took numerous opportunities this year, and attempted to excel in every aspect. For instance, I signed up for MUN for the first time. When I first signed up, I was anxious and doubtful because I was unsure about how well I would do, or whether I might embarrass myself. Furthermore, since my sister did MUN, and was exceptional, I felt a substantial amount of pressure to do well, and live up to her expectations. However, when I joined and began to experience the thrill, I genuinely enjoyed participating and engaging in the activity. In fact, during my first conference, although I was nervous, I attempted to do my best and remain active throughout the conference. Furthermore, when I went for my second conference, I won Most Diplomatic in the Environment committee. This was definitely a highlight in Grade 9 as it proved that I am capable of excelling in something I may have never experienced before, and it motivated me to try new things.


One of these new things included participation in TGELF 2018. TGELF is a platform for young leaders to provide solutions and efficient methods to attempt to solve prominent global issues such as the refugee crisis in Syria, providing healthcare to malnourished children, etc. My group (consisting of 5 people) focused on ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. Specifically, the Rohingya crisis. This was a stimulating experience as I learnt about the complexity of the situation, and we strived to create a product which could aid the Rohingya refugees. We produced a wheelbarrow which can be carried and generate electricity every rotation of the wheel. Whilst it seems like an interesting product serving a meaningful purpose, other groups also had products of the similar quality and depth of thinking. However, we managed to qualify in the top 3, and it was a satisfying feeling as it displayed our hard work paid off and may be used for meaningful purposes.


This year has allowed me to discover new aspects and explore my options that may affect my future. I am interested in pursuing medicine as a career because I believe the career holds an immense amount of possibilities, and generally, it’s an exhilarating career. Therefore, to understand whether I am truly interested in the profession, I joined activities such as medical society, science society, etc. This provided a platform for me to explore the ethical and moral background of the profession as well as the basic theory behind it. In fact, this summer, I intend to intern at a hospital in Mumbai, which will allow me to experience and learn about the career first hand.


In general, grade 9 has had it’s sufficient share of ups and downs, however, I am optimistic about the future, and excited about the journey I have embarked on. Looking forward, I hope to make certain decisions regarding my future and hopefully, achieve some of the goals I have currently.

More than just a “hobby.”

More than just a “hobby.”

By Tanya Jain

A doctor saves lives. A musician makes them liveable.  Doctors, teachers, musicians and artists, they all work equally hard in their individual fields of work. Does it mean one career is greater than another? No. However, some parents often consider that standardised professions lead to greater success in life enabling their children to have steady careers. Every individual has their particular strengths and weaknesses, however quite frequently, parents push their children toward an academic point of view, where grades and assessments are the number one priority in order to attain a successful job. They push their kids to pursue careers that seem stable and may bring higher salaries compared to artistic careers. Parents are our guides, our support and the only ones who will never leave our side. However, does that mean all their decisions and influences are correct? Should parents have the ability to decide our careers? Why do they prefer some careers over others?

Firstly, one of the common ideas a parent may inherit is the idea that grades and assessments determine a child’s future and represent a child’s ability. Whilst grades remain an essential part of academic ability, it mustn’t dictate what an individual can and cannot do. Parents often apply a tremendous amount of pressure on children regarding grades and marks. Some send their children to academically rigorous schools. For instance, in Singapore, local schools are required to provide a national examination (PSLE) that is administered by the Ministry of education at the end of fifth grade. In fifth grade, a child’s brain is still developing and growing, so is it right to enforce this amount of pressure on them? Furthermore, these examinations only cover academic abilities, they don’t include creativity or areas of strength in other artistic fields. This can be an unfair examination as those who may be more creativity inclined are unable to showcase their abilities. Danny Raven Tan, a modern, unique artist explained that “[he] was created to create,” however, the pressure exerted by academics often made him feel undervalued and simply not good enough.

Image of Danny Raven Tan in his art gallery

Furthermore, in a study conducted by University of California-Los Angeles, it was shown that children that engage in any of the various categories of the arts tend to do a better job at reading, writing and math, rather than those who focus solely on academics. Therefore, this suggests that art is beneficial to children as it not only provides a platform for children to express themselves, it can also boost their skills in other areas, such as academics. In addition, art has shown to be beneficial for one’s well being. It was found that those who took part in artistic activities had a 71% decrease in anxiety, and a 73% fall in depression rates. This proves that art is beneficial for one’s mental health and well being. So, why should we discriminate against it?

Whilst academics is crucial, “art is the most intense mode of individualism,” and it is unfair to test only one side of an individual. Therefore, the fact that many parents believe that academics should be considered with more importance than other factors implies that they prefer their children to follow traditional, standardised routes rather than explore new and creative fields of work.



                                       .                                  Children expressing creativity with their parents   Sandra Davie showing her A+ to her parents

Everyone wants money. Everyone craves money. Everyone greeds for money. But, does everyone have money? Money is a very controversial subject and often, it can determine the career an individual may choose to pursue. Generally, parents opt to select a career for their child which would bring an abundance of money. In other words, a job which pays a higher salary is preferable to parents. Usually, a “white collar” job earns more money than an artistic profession purely because they are considered to work harder than other professions, which isn’t always the case. For instance, in Singapore, an artist is payed a substantial amount less than ‘standardised professions.’ Marc Nair, a poet and photographer originating from Singapore has also confirmed that society in Singapore have misconceptions regarding the abilities of an artist. He says that there is “poor infrastructure for [the] artistic population [and] more people should be supporting artists in Singapore.”

Statistics showing the average revenue between non-artists and artists


Moreover, he also elaborated on some of the concerns society has surrounding aspiring artists. For instance, one of the common worries is the idea that art is not a viable job in the long-term and it’s not seen as something to make money. Essentially, people think that art is unpredictable and relies completely on the reaction of its target audience. For instance, if an artist were to paint a piece of work, the salary would depend on the reaction of the public, which could either be positive or negative, so there is no guarantee for the work to be successful.This means that it is unreliable, thus resulting in a low salary because people don’t want to offer money to an uncertain career, however, if there was proper infrastructure in society for the artistic population, people would realise the importance of art and its appropriate value. Yes, it is unpredictable, but so are other careers. All jobs have an element of risk, does it mean we just eliminate the choice of pursuing those professions? Art is used on a daily basis and is essential to many. For example, an extraordinary woman like Christina Lau realised the significance art held after she suffered a spinal cord injury as it helped her through the dark and difficult times by providing support and guidance. It offered her an opportunity to pursue a new, challenging career. She is now a renowned mouth painting artist in Singapore. So, to summarise, both professions are approximately equivalent in terms of the hard work, workload and importance. Therefore, it isn’t fair to offer one higher salary than the other which can easily lead to a parent having a biased stance toward a certain career.

On a personal level, I consider all careers to have its particular challenges and advantages and no profession is greater than another. Although, I do believe that parents are always looking out for their children and choosing the most beneficial options for them and this could sometimes mean that standardised professions are preferable because our parents have grown up in a generation where the mindset was different to ours. For instance, in India, my parents were constantly surrounded by the perspective that if you’re a girl, you become a doctor and if you are a boy, you become an engineer. If these two options weren’t followed, people tended to go into other mainstream professions. In addition, my parents also abided by this logic as my mother works at a private bank at Standard Chartered and my father works as a salesman at Hitachi. This led to my parents having a slight biased opinion in terms of which type of career I should pursue, however, they never enforced a certain career onto me. I was given the option to choose whichever career I want but I believe that growing up in an environment where I was exposed to mainstream careers urged me to pursue a similar profession. Following the typical stereotypes, I am interested in becoming a doctor however I have complete respect for other careers and don’t consider one to be superior than another. So, whilst I understand parent’s point of view in choosing their kids to have a career that is considered successful, I do think that it shouldn’t matter which career is chosen.

In conclusion, every career is equivalent in terms of the challenges and perks it faces, and ideally they should be considered with the same level of respect and honour. In our society today, sometimes, there is a slight higher appreciation for standardised professions rather than artistic professions due to multiple reasons such as salary, education, etc. This causes parents to have a biased opinion toward which career they’d prefer their children to pursue in order to provide them with a successful life. A career should be chosen according to the likes and dislikes of the child, and parents shouldn’t enforce or limit the options for a child because of their personal preference.



“Singapore’s Education Changes Won’t Stop Paper Chase – Because Employers Still Look at Grades First.” Young Parents, 29 Nov. -1,


USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network,


“Primary School Leaving Examination.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Feb. 2018,


“Danny Raven Tan : Cancer Survivor Turned Artist Adds Eclectic Flavour to Local Art Scene.”Magzter – World’s Largest Digital Newsstand with over 9,500 Magazines,


Slawson, Nicola. “’It’s Time to Recognise the Contribution Arts Can Make to Health and Wellbeing’.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 11 Oct. 2017,


Strokes of life

Christina Lau is a disabled, mouth-painting artist who gives motivational and inspiring speeches to different groups of people. She suffered a spinal cord injury when she met with an accident in 2005, leaving her paralysed from neck and down. However, instead of letting this disability ruining her life, she used it to discover new aspects of her identity and explore her limits.


One of the many memorable things Lau said was that after her accident, she felt as if she was a baby and had to re-learn how to deal with her new situation and body functions. She said that she couldn’t “do basic things like holding a cup, feeding [herself],” etc. Imagine having to feel as if you don’t know how to do basic things and having to be “a burder to all of [her] family and loved ones.” However, she did explain how she found some satisfaction and joy in going through this struggle, as she got to experience the entire journey all over again.


Something that was very important and dear to Christina was her family. She mentioned multiple times that her family supported her throughout the entire process and provided emotional comfort. Whilst her family didn’t have any idea how to deal with her disability, they all did all they could and encouraged her to stay optomistic. Furthermore, she also elaborated that the accident showed her that she didn’t spend enough time with her family, so this way, she got to learn the comfort, and happiness you get from your family.

When one is faced with trauma or are put in a horrible situation, they lose confidence and can go into depression. Lau talked about how the accident did cause her to go into depression, but not for long. She explained how there is an urge to cry and whine about your circumstance, however, there is no outcome from that. She showed how she tried to become optomistic and gave great advice about being stuck in a situation you never imagined was possible. For example, something she said which stuck with me was, “If you fail, never give up, because F.A.I.L means ‘First Attempt In Learning.’ ”


Recovering from the accident, Lau couldn’t go back to her previous job as a prison guard for obvious reasons. Though this did cause her great dismay, she decided that whining about something she can’t change doesn’t do anything. Instead, she took up new activities like mouth painting and table tennis. Though she never tried to experience other things like painting as she never explored that side of her, after the accident, all of these new hobbies and options became open to her and she decided to pursue a new career.


How to become a bestselling author

This workshop was presented by Mukul Deva, a famous author with 16 thriller and mystery books. I felt like this session really deepened my understanding in general creative writing, and helped develop my writing mindset. I felt as if Deva took us on an engaging journey, from sand to shore to ship.

Sand: How has this session clarified what it means to think like a writer – or  in your week to week learning?

This session definitely addressed the topic of thinking like a writer directly and Deva provided very helpful tips on the process of writing a novel. Definitely, something that clarified my definition of how to think like a writer was when Deva told us to activate ALL the senses when writing. He said that we should visualise the story playing out, and thereafter, we would be able to manipulate all the emotions and the thought process of the writer. Also, he guided us through the steps of writing:

First is the science of the book:

  • Plot (Thriller/romance/Mysery, etc)
  • Setting (Time/period, location)
  • Characters (Point of view- who’s eyes the story is being told through. Maximum 3)
  •  Incidents (create tension/risk/danger/desire for the characters)

Then you dive into the art of the book:

  • Research (Need to know everything in order to make the book realistic)
  • Validate (to ensure correct facts are used, logically makes sense)
  • Writing the story
  • Editing

This is the fundamental process of writing any book, and the thought process of a writer.

Shoreline: How did this session change or deepen your thinking, whether about the speaker or the story you expected to find?

There is an assumption that behind every bestselling author, there is a valuable story to be told. However, Mukul Deva cleared all misconceptions by providing a simple answer to a simple question. Before going into the interactive workshop, I had researched about Deva and found that multiple of his books had been adapted into Bollywood movies. Being a keen viewer of Bollywood movies, I found this to be a very interesting concept to develop and expand my thinking on. So, when I asked him a simple question- How does it feel to have your books in the movie industry?- I expected him to be proud, and give a very thoughtful answer about how he feels honoured they chose his book, however, his answer changed my thinking about his story. He said, “Well, the movies pay me, so I don’t really care much about the end result.” He then elaborated that he doesn’t particularly like the movies adapted from his book as he spent a long time and effort writing the book, but in a movie, it’s everything under 1 hour 40 minutes. Another thing that changed my thinking about his story was the idea that when writing books, he doesn’t empathise with his readers. He writes what he enjoys and doesn’t care about the feelings about the readers. I found this shocking as I thought this was necessary in order to sell his book and maintain an audience, but I can see the appeal in writing something he believes in rather than what his readers would want.

Ship: What do you think might stay with you from the session? Why?

I always thought that it is required to have your life planned out- have certain goals and challenges planned for yourself. However, Deva showed through his journey that it isn’t necessary to stick to the plan. He’s changed his career and done what made him happy. For example, he went from serving in the army, to setting up multiple corporate companies around the world, and then writing bestselling novels. Therefore, something that is definitely going to stay with me is this one simple thing Deva said:

“Best way to learn how to do something is to just do it.” 


“We are created to create.”

Danny Raven Tan is an admirable and extremely courageous man who has faced difficult, dark times, however, has managed to rise with resilience and has remained optimistic throughout his difficult journey. 5 questions I had which I didn’t quite manage to get the response to were:

1. What motivated you to create art after suffering a traumatic experience? 

Whilst Danny mentioned how his friends motivated him to utilise his life in an effective manner, and how they helped him recover from depression. However, I wasn’t able to understand completely why he decided to pursue a completely new career, and whether the timing of his disease affected his decision.

2. Who was .your largest inspiration/supporter when he decided to pursue a new career? 

I’d like to find out more of his personal life details in order to write a successful feature article. I’m wondering who supported him when he made a colossal decision like this.

3. How does selling your work in a HDB differentiate you from selling your work in a large gallery?

Tan explained how he was facing financial difficulties, and wanted to be closer to his mother who was suffering from dementia, so he decided to showcase his gallery in his apartment. However, by doing this, how would he compete with other artists who have more experience and financial support? I was wondering why people would choose to come to an HDB when they could go to a large, beautiful gallery.

4. Do you live a comfortable life as an artist? 

Though Tan explained his financial problems, asking someone a question regarding their salary is extremely rude, and therefore, I wasn’t able to ask this question, however, I do want to know if he is able to live a comfortable life given the current circumstances and the large expenditure on his healthcare bills, his mother’s dementia, and creating the art gallery in the first place.

5. Do you find SG to be supportive of the artistic community? 

Although, artists are widely appreciated in many nations, I’m unsure whether in Singapore, locals support artistic careers. I think this topic is great for an op-ed article as it is controversial, and I’d love to find out more information on this topic.

“Speak up, out and into”

Marc Nair wrote about stories from all across the world. A large part of his identity arises from different location around the world because he comes from multiple places. He is quarter Chinese, Indian and has studied Malay. Furthermore, he collaborates with other artists from across the world, for example, Nicole Anthony.


Humour often engages audience members to participate in the conversation, and Marc Nair definitely used humour to communicate important ideas in his poetry. He had a sense of dark humour where he manipulated sarcasm and used an almost mocking voice to make people aware of the issue. For example, in a commercial type of poem called Pan-Asian, he made comments like, “fully organic and ethical.” Essentially, instead of being outright and typical about such topics, he wrote about unfortunate topics in a positive manner, which brought people’s attention and empathy.


One of the perspectives I thought was hinted was the idea of what parents would like their children to be. Often, stereotypical parents wish for their child to study, and get a stable and boring job, whereas, I thought Nair tried to communicate how the artistic community wasn’t appreciated enough. In fact, he said that “identity is a construct, and we have a notion of how people are supposed to look.” Being unique shouldn’t be undervalued and should be given the same amount of respect as someone who follows the stereotypical idea of a Singaporean.


Nair started writing in 2000, and began taking photos in 2007 as he realised that often a photo helps people visualise the situation better. People always look at a bigger picture, however, stories are all around us, and we can forget to focus on those. Nair said, he “looks for a small observed image, from where [he] brings out a story.” A picture can represent multiple things, and has the potential to communicate much more than words can.



Breaking news: 5 groundbreaking tips for a reporter recently found!

Steve Dawson: 

Have you ever wondered how it would feel like to meet your idol? What would you say to them? Rule number one of reporting is to find an angle which hasn’t been discovered before, and how to build a successful story on that story angle. Steve Dawson, former reporter at ESPN star sports, straights-times general news reporter, and currently a reporter at Fox News Sports offered 5 groundbreaking tips for a reporter. Some of us have been in a situation where we have got the chance to interview people with interesting stories to be told, however, a common question is what questions do we ask! Asking common knowledge questions will never provide the full, interesting answer you are looking for, always try to look to ask questions that make the speaker think and provide a story no one else may have heard. Here are the 5 tips he offered in order to be a successful reporter!

  1. Ask open-ended questions: When you ask questions that only have a yes/no answer, often, you won’t get the information you are hoping to receive. For example, instead of asking, “Do you like racing?” Ask something like, “What inspired you to begin racing?”
  2. Set the answer free: To me, this seemed to be the most useful, as I tend to ask specific, directed questions where there is only one answer which I want, however, this tip was very helpful in understanding the importance of letting the speaker offer a longer, more personal answer as we get more information. So, instead of setting regulations and parameters, let the answer free. Instead of “Are you concerned you haven’t made any profit?” Ask questions like “How do you feel that you haven’t made any profit?” Some of the most cliche answers are the best ones.
  3. Don’t interrupt: This is given, but extremely important in terms of making sure you don’t stop their chain of thoughts.
  4. Be a single shooter: Don’t ask too many questions in one question, instead ask one specific, directed question, which could answer both questions or offer a lot of information on one of them. If you ask two questions, it is likely the speaker will forget one of them.
  5. Listen to the answer: Even if you are recording the conversation, make sure you are listening as you never know when you can expand on certain ideas and perhaps, find a deeper, more interesting story.

Overall this workshop was helpful in assisting to learn about reporting and it elaborated my ideas on journalism. These tips can be applied to various subjects, and are especially useful.


My idea of high school

The night before high school started, I was nervous for what was to come and all the challenges that were around the corner. I think I was anxious about the fact that my career journey was going to begin now. Now, the first 2 weeks have passed, and the idea of high school isn’t all that frightening any more. I’ve realised that the only change is the extra amount of homework, stress and of course, exams. Here are a couple of my goals for grade 9 and high school:

  • By the end of grade 10, I want to know what I want to major in and what I’m interested in.
  • I want to become more organised with my work
  • I want to achieve good grades and have successful exams, which will only happen if I focus, and work hard.
  • I want to be able to take time out for my mental health and enjoy the high school rollercoaster.

I look forward to the year and let’s see what high school has in store for me (other than exams, excessive homework, and stress!)

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