Transient Workers Count 2

For our last session of the first week of the  Writers Workshop, we were visited by TWC2,

“Transient Workers Count Too is a non-profit organization in Singapore dedicated to improving conditions for low-wage migrant workers, perhaps the largest group of disadvantaged persons here, numbering about one million out of a total population of five million in this city. Founded in 2003, we operate with a small number of regular staff and a larger number of unpaid volunteers.”[1]

I feel that this organization is doing something great for the majority of migrant workers who go and meet them because they haven’t been paid by their employers. I think that the people who are volunteering and donating money are kind enough to do that, but the organization itself should have some help from the government seeing as the donations may or may not be consistent. Even if the government is providing health protection, it still doesn’t feel like the government is doing enough. By seeing how much struggle the migrants are going through it would be better if the government had also provided the workers with specific rights.

Learning Differences through The Student Voice

After participating in the Student Voice for half the year, I have decided to stop attending the sessions. Before I had joined Student Voice, I was ecstatic about joining especially since I have had a passion for journalism and thought that Student Voice would be a good way to increase my self-esteem. Joining the Studen Voice had never really crossed my mind until someone had told me that taking chances is logical as you never know what you may come across.

Student Voice in general I feel is really genuine, it is run by students which allows them to have a bond and requires them to work together. But the longer I stayed there, the group had lost its glimmer and shine. I started to feel as though the Student Voice was forcing the rest of the grade to become one and work together. We had decided to bring the grade together through a Breakfast during mentor time. This included classes bringing food like bread and jams or biscuits which most of the grade didn’t eat. During the next week, the whole grade was complaining about how horrible the idea was, which was when it struck me that it seemed as if the Student Voice was trying force the grade together by making them do activities they didn’t want to do.

From everyone else’s perspective, you could say, that the Student Voice seemed like a government controlling absolutely everything the grade did. I didn’t want to be a part of something that I felt was not doing what it was meant to do. Student Voice if meant to help the grade and fix any social issues but it seemed like it was doing more harm to the grade than any benefit.

Chetan Bhagat

I was really surprised when I saw Chetan Bhagat’s name on the Writer’s Fortnight list. I was instantly excited after I realized that this man had written one of my favorite childhood stories, 3 Idiots. Chetan Bhagat’s talk had made everyone roar with laughter and at the same time, gave everyone the reason as to why English-language dramedy novels about young urban middle-class Indians are so important. I personally did not find Chetan’s talk that appealing as it seemed a little artificial to me.

Throughout this talk, I soon began to realize that fundamentally everything that is written or composed is only for entertainment. From my perspective, I see a middle-aged man who is trying to raise awareness among Indians in an incredibly cheap way by dumbing down the actual messages in the stories and increasing the level of entertainment.

Even though Chetan Bhagat’s main idea of the talk was for the Indians to adapt to the new cultures, I felt as though he brought it in, in a very superficial way but he had mentioned that if an Indian writes about an Indian developing, then other Indians would be willing to read the book as it gives them an option to see the difference in culture and education.

Aside from telling us how Urban Indian Novels help Indians to progress, Chetan had inspired us to do what makes us happy and to follow out dreams. He reminded us that our success can only come from us and not anyone else which I think was a strong way to end the talk. A reminder to keep working hard is always supportive. Even though I am not a big fan of Chetan Bhagat, I do think that the ideas he had presented to us today were worth sharing.

The Lost Heritage

Today we had a talk from Deborah Emmanuel. Deborah Emmanuel is a Singaporean poet, a performer as well as a four-time TEDx speaker.

Deborah started her talk with a bit of her past, of how she had trouble fitting into the Singaporean community. She introduced to us a common formation in the Singaporean community CMI, Chinese, Malay, and Indian. Deborah claimed that she couldn’t fit herself into any of these categories and had difficulty fitting in.

As a Singaporean Indian myself, I feel that Deborah had proposed a point that hasn’t been discussed enough in our school (UWCSEA). A reason as to why we never discuss this issue is because we don’t need to worry about it. The idea of “not fitting in” is an insignificant issue which isn’t precisely a part of our school. As a UWCSEA student, I think that we never acknowledge people who are unaccepted. We never notice the people around us who are rejected in the sense that no one understands them and no one wants to. The idea of fitting in forces the majority of us to change our personalities and the way we look. We only change to be noticed. Relating back to the CMI, I feel that this “system” or categorizing people is absolutely unnecessary as it traps people into being something they may not aspire to be.  Even just the idea of being unaccepted due to the difference in sexual preference (LGBTQ++)  is not necessary. And what is most troubling is that these categories have labeled us from the second of our birth, which basically narrows our choice of everything (religion, race.. etc).

I think that a major question that is asked during existential crisis or depression or just pure frustration with life is “What is the point of doing something if no one else is even listening?” This phrase shows the sign of giving up and it is used too often in our generation. We give up too often when we think something is becoming too rough or too complex and is slowly becoming deformed and monstrous to take care of. I myself say this many times, but I feel that it is important to carry on working because there will be a time when people start to notice you. Take Van Gogh for example, not until his death did people notice his artwork which changed how people saw things. I am not saying that death is required to be noticed, but to engrave something immeasurable and valuable should be encouraged.

There was a poem that Deborah had performed named “I love you”. It was written for her mother. What I feel that Deborah was promoting that “Love isn’t permanent” and “Love doesn’t last forever” these are both mediocre and obvious points but it does strike a question of why is there only one way for love to be? Even though the sense of love between people is different, however, it still the same. I don’t think that love is permanent either because, at some point, there will be a time when one person or the other will run out of emotions just like how one day, the sun will burn out or the world will come to an end.

I think that this was the most interesting talk I have been too, it has given me a wider perspective as to how oblivious we can be to our surroundings as well as how we underestimate our powers. We don’t care about issues like recycling or global warming or racism or the refugee crisis because we don’t want to. We feel that these problems will go away at some point and we don’t want to accept that they will only increase until something drastic happens. But, we can always turn things around by changing ourselves and individually reflect on how we can improve and how we can develop in a way that doesn’t harm our environment.


The Interview with Steve Dawson

Today we had a talk with Steve Dawson who is a sports anchor from Fox Sports ESPN.

 Dawson was a Chartered Tax Accountant, who after 10 years had begun doing to what he loved the most – journalism. He joined The Straits Times as a correspondent in 1999, scuttled across the Channel I News in 2003. Soon he was approached by ESPN Star Sports as a writer and presenter for the ESPN.

But today, Steve Dawson wasn’t exactly  giving us tips on how to interview people but, he was showing how being a good interviewer influences your personality (and the way people see you):

“Challenge your interviewer, make them think harder,” I think that this is actually really important because when challenging the person you are interviewing, it prevents them from replying in a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, answer. This gives the interview a chance to build the questions on. When building on questions, it gives the interviewee a more winder range to answer. He also said that it is best to ask about how they feel so that they can build on their first point. Another key point was not to interrupt and not to ask double-barreled questions. I never realized that I used to ask double-barreled questions until he actually brought this up. This has made me more conscious.

I feel that the most important advice he gave was to actually listen to the answer. During most interviews, people don’t tend to actually pay attention to what the interviewee is saying, sometimes, when we think we know something we miss out of important parts that we should have noticed.

I felt that the most important lesson that Steve Dawson taught today was to get to the person’s level. I feel this is mostly related to his life as he is a part of FOX NEWS ESPN and was also a part of Straights Times, these experiences have allowed him to understand what it means to be a good journalist/reporter.

“Approach as a professional” stands out to me as a way of saying, be confident, be yourself and show that you should be acknowledged as it shows your personality as bold, fierce and is passionate of what you are doing.