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NCCS ‘Row for Hope’ & The Oxford and Cambridge Singapore Boat Races, 27 August 2016

The inaugural National Cancer Centre Singapore’s (NCCS) Row for Hope Boat Race 2016, supported by the Oxford and Cambridge Society was a fun-filled success – and all for a good cause –we surpassed our target of $70,000!

The haze dissipated and the dark and light blues came together on a glorious Saturday afternoon at Gardens by the Bay East to compete in good spirit in the mixed, women’s and men’s races, as well as a joint effort against the ASBO team ( any school but Oxbridge) team. Cambridge emerged victorious in every race, and ASBO narrowly beat our Oxbridge team.

The Pink Spartans cancer survivors showed us their mettle with a magnificant dragon boat demonstration while medical students from NUS and Duke-NUS entertained the crowd.

International Olympic Committee Vice President Ng Ser Miang graced the occasion and handed out his first medals since Joseph Schooling’s Olympic Gold medal. Winners and runners-up alike celebrated with sprays of champagne and revelry on stage, concluding a day of hard work, fun, healthy competition and giving back to the community– and starting a wonderful precedent for a new tradition .

Thank you everyone for your hard work behind the scenes and for the immense support !

‘Crispy Fried Rice’ – Fireside Chat with Mr Lim Chuan Poh (26 August 2016)

It was the Society’s pleasure to have Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of A*Star, former Permanent Secretary (Education), and Chief of Defence Force as its guest Fireside speaker on 26 August 2016.

An alumnus of Cambridge, Mr Lim is also known as “Singapore’s Science Czar”. He wields uncommon influence in varied fields including science, education, defence, and the economy.

The title of the talk was “Crispy Fried Rice”, a whimsical play on the recent scientific breakthrough CRISPR. Like a good plate of “cze-char” fried rice, the talk combined carefully selected ingredients, expertly tossed over a passionate fire, the sum greater than its parts. Everyone was left wanting a second serving. 

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Cambridge University Inaugural Singapore Careers Fair – in partnership with the Society (25 August 2016)

[Adapted from an article co-written with Gordon Chesterman, Director of Cambridge University Careers Service, Senior Proctor, Fellow of St Edmund’s College]

2016 set up yet stronger ties with Cambridge University and, after productive meetings with Gordon Chesterman, Director of the University’s Careers Service, and Bruce Mortimer, Head of Cambridge University Development and Alumni Relations, our alumni representation got to work on a very exciting project: the inaugural Cambridge University Careers Service Event in Singapore, which we hosted in August 25th.

The Careers Service have a duty to serve all current Cambridge students, whatever their career intentions and wherever they hope to work, and work hard to find graduate-level opportunities around the world. This can involve hosting time-consuming and expensive Careers events, many thousands of miles from Cambridge, but for Singapore a new approach was adopted. By working in close collaboration with the Singapore Oxford and Cambridge Society, many current Cambridge Singaporean students were able to meet, network and get to know more about key employers and opportunities back home, giving them a head-start in a very competitive employment market. The Careers Service marketed the event heavily to all Singaporean students studying at Cambridge, encouraging them to attend the event whilst home for their long vacation. Cambridge University’s Malaysia and Singapore Association were also instrumental in spreading awareness to students about the event, and their president, Michelle Lim attended both to represent the society and to converse with alumni.

Tyler Hung (m. Cambridge 2006, Law, Christ’s) picks up the story and motives behind this event…

I remember being a young sapling, barely rooted and easily swayed. The 2008 financial crisis had wiped out many of the cards that I was holding at the time; gainful employment seemed a sorrily distant notion. I started seriously considering every option I could think of: gap year, Master’s, yet more internships, entrepreneurship…luckily, it worked out swiftly in the end (I did dabble in postgraduate study, but was fortunate to be recruited into the Fast Stream in government at the same time), and it was through informal guidance from those who were willing to impart advice and open doors for me that matters somehow ended up being so seamless. As an entrepreneur now, calling Singapore my home away from home, I manage different pressures and risks, across projects that could not exist without my past background – and I constantly see young adults with the same kind of look that I must have had in my eyes as graduation neared. This event was built around exactly those people, who needed honest insight and mentorship, and the same kind of welcoming arms that I had received.

We therefore are proud to be able to say that 45 turned up to meet over 20 alumni across a range of industries (banking/finance, law, government, teaching/education, sport, tech, media, academia and research), in a variety of roles (from CEOs and managing partners to entrepreneurs and professors), including a couple of very generous Oxons who came to help and network!

Four internships were discussed, several interviews were offered, and countless follow up appointments arranged. While food and drink no doubt helped lighten the mood, along with the deliberately low-key atmosphere (no booths, and no restrictions, with a careful initial pairing of students with alumni to get conversations started), the highlight for the Oxford and Cambridge Society and its Committee was the dynamism of its members so willing to help, and of the current students: the energy in the room was thrilling and to see us go well over our planned closing time (with apologies to the Guild House, Suntec Convention Centre) was a testament of the meaningful nature of this event. We as a Committee cannot thank Gordon, Bruce and the alumni who came to help enough.

On reflection after the event, Gordon commented that

‘…we have an excellent model of a very successful event and one I hope many other Cambridge Societies around the world will want to adopt: to benefit our current students, each Society and, above all, their own nation’s economy by helping ensure the best and brightest Cambridge talent returns home’.

Dato Paul Supramaniam , President, Oxbridge Society of Singapore:

“Singapore is a product of the vision, drive, belief and exceptionalism of our independence leaders, many of them Cambridge Alumnus. They turned Singapore in a mere 50 years from mudflats to metropolis, a bastion of multiracial tolerance with a can do National DNA. Our current Alumnus therefore is uncomfortable with status quo. We want to do more and do it better. Our Careers Fair is an example. I am pleased that we are the first Cambridge Alumni body globally to partner with the Cambridge Careers Service and to use a combination of targeted pairing, organised beforehand, through coordination with prospective employers, us, and the university for Cambridge undergraduates, young graduates and potential employers to meet. The feedback has been good. I am told our model is going to be rolled out elsewhere with other Cambridge societies around the world. If we can be a catalyst for enhancing links between Alumni and our alma mater, then so much the better. “

We look forward to doing this again next year. For further information, take a look at Cambridge University Careers Service here . Here’s to many more collaborative fairs in the future!






Boat Race

Getting into the mood before next week’s Boat Races!

The crews getting into the mood the Saturday before the Oxford and Cambridge Universities Singapore Boat Races next week!

Don’t forget to join us on 27 August for a fun-filled carnival and thrilling races on the water, all to raise funds for cancer care and survivorship in partnership with NCCS.

You can also make a donation at giving.sg/community-cancer-fund/rowforhope2016
(Oxbridge donors, please include (Oxbr) after your name on the donor page so that we can track the donations collected from our illustrious alumni.)