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the simple life

"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Saturday, April 23, 2005

ITE Rules

Underdogs who came up tops

22 April 2005
By Veena Bharwani

IT was sweet revenge.

The foursome had felt snubbed by other teams, simply because their English wasn't polished.

And because they were mere ITE students, the only ones in the contest.

In the end, however, they beat 39 other teams - including those from JCs, polytechnics, the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University - to win the annual IBM Women's Leadership Competition.

This year, teams had to present their views on how women today can lead fulfilling lives at work, play and in the community.

Unlike the other teams, the ITE team did not put up fancy presentations on famous women leaders, or organise sophisticated surveys.

Boldly, they just presented their own lives.

And while no heroines on the academic front, these young women are trailblazers in other spheres.

Hemalatha Arudas, 17, is a hockey player who has played for Singapore in New Delhi and Korea.

She hopes to take part in the Olympics one day.

Budding entrepreneur Michelle Santiago, 19, runs a hamper business at school.

Nurhidayah Zainal, 17, gives up her Saturdays to teach basic computer skills to students at the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (Minds).

Tiffany Tan, 19, organises ITE events and plans birthday parties at childcare centres like My Little Cottage.

The team members, from different ITE campuses, summarised their lives in a video that they presented to the judges, who included Ms Patricia Yim, managing director of IBM Singapore.

Yet they never expected to win - and had received the cold shoulder from other teams.

Said Michelle: 'On the day of the finals, we told a tertiary team's mentor that we were from an ITE. Her face changed immediately.

'It was as though the other teams thought we were not good enough for the competition, as it is a prestigious competition and ITEs are not prestigious.'

The team sensed similar vibes from other teams.

But though 'really insulted', they chose to focus on the competition.

On the day of the finals, in February, they triumphed.

Said Michelle: 'When we went to receive our prize, other teams couldn't believe we had won. They didn't smile or anything.

'In fact, the same mentor just said, 'It's a very normal presentation'.'

But organiser IBM said that it was the team's sincerity that clinched the win: 'Their aspirations and ambitions were very real and achievable, and they demonstrated the small steps and efforts in realising these achievable goals.'

Other teams also acknowledged the impact of their inspirational presentation.

Said Sri Ranjini Mei Hua, of second-placed NTU: 'It was very different as they were presenting their lives instead of someone else's life.'

And all four ITE students are truly passionate about their lives.

Just take fiery Hemalatha, who is truly hockey-crazy - yet faces strong pressure from family members to quit. They feel playing hockey is unladylike.

But she won't be knocked off the pitch so easily. She spends more than 10 hours a week training, citing the example of other successful sportswomen, like former national hockey player Geraldine Ho.


At 4/23/2005 06:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inspirational. Creativity rules. Conformity does not equate sucess. How true. :) cat

At 4/25/2005 09:59:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Touching bro

Mr S Tan

At 6/14/2005 02:52:00 AM, Blogger Ah_Hock said...

Sweet. :)


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