This short Q&A series with ST's beat reporters lets readers meet the person behind the byline. These are the experts who will be answering readers' questions in our askST section.
1. If you could open a school in Singapore, what would you name it and why?
I am passionate about early childhood development and about helping children from disadvantaged homes. Much of the research now shows that kindergarten is too late, and that the early years from 0 to 3 are crucial. So, I would love to start a school/programme that besides providing quality care and education, provides a range of services to help the child and his or her family. To help the child, you need to help the family.
The philanthropic organisation, Lien Foundation and welfare organisation Care Corner have started such a scheme called the Circle of Care and the programme has seen encouraging results. Now, I am looking forward to KidSTART, which was recently announced by the government.
2. If you could go to any school and take any course in the world, where would you go and why?
I had always wanted to go to art school (I dabble in art on the weekends), but of course I had to be practical and take up a degree course that would get me a job. So, if given the opportunity now, I would head to an art school in London or in Italy.
3. Do your friends seek your advice on their children's education?
All the time and I charge them the "friend prices". Just kidding.
Yes, my friends seek my advice on their children's education, and I am glad to say that most of it has turned out to be sound advice.
One young person I am most proud of is Timothy Jung Ming, who based on my advice, turned down the opportunity to study business administration at the polytechnic and instead, went on to study culinary skills at the ITE (he is passionate about food and cooking).
He did well at the ITE and went on to win several awards in international competitions. Then, he applied and gained entry into a degree course at the renown Culinary Institute of America in New York. He is now studying hotel management at Cornell.
4. Do you get any perks for your own children's education?
No kids, just "fur kids" over the years. One of them, my beagle Harry, "graduated" with a PhD in social and behavioural sciences and appeared in the front page of the Straits Times. Curious? You can look it up here.
5. What made you become an Education Correspondent?
I was a teacher in my past life at Catholic Junior College, so really I am an educator at heart. Besides, I really do believe that education transforms lives.