Tertiary students tell stories of companies that built Singapore

SINGAPORE - Videos, a sculpture and a game are some of the ways tertiary students told the stories of local industry champions here as part of an SG50 competition that ended on Tuesday.

Organised by Spring Singapore, the competition showcased both local companies and multinational companies that have contributed to Singapore's economic growth, ranging from bakery Gardenia Singapore to petrochemical company ExxonMobil Asia Pacific.

Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, who co-chairs the SG50 Economic and International Committee, said at the event that he hoped the competition highlighted the values the companies encapsulate, such as hard work and diligence.

"(We hope students) can get a glimpse of how these companies grew, the challenges they went through, and how in many ways that also parallels the growth of our nation," he said in a speech at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Teams from the National University of Singapore and the Singapore Institute of Technology were the top winners in the university category.

Nanyang Polytechnic swept the top prizes in the polytechnic category, featuring Ayam Brand, Global Airfreight International and Singtel.

There were more than 70 submissions from local universities and polytechnics. Winning teams won a prize of $10,000 and they will see their work tour the country in a roving exhibition in the middle of the year.

These are three of the winning projects:

Ayam Brand

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By Nanyang Polytechnic final year students (clockwise from bottom left) Marina Ann Joseph, 20, Tan Wei Yang, 20 and Remus Koh, 21. With them is Ayam Brand marketing manager Priscilla Tan.

The team created a globe sculpture to show how the 123-year-old company has expanded across Asia. They also showcased products exclusively sold in other countries. Chickn rice paste, for example, is only sold in Japan, while chili crab sauce is only sold in Australia.

"It's like a little bit of Singapore in other parts of the world," said Ms Joseph.

Ms Tan said working with the students allowed the company to see Ayam Brand through the eyes of young people.

Global Airfreight International

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By Nanyang Polytechnic students final year students (from left) Chong Yun Hui, 21, Jessnike Tan, 21, Ou Baoxia, 20, and Kingsley Koh, 20.

Pallets which play an integral part of the logistics and transportation company's work were turned into a display, manually sawn apart by the team. Pallets surround the goods being transported, which have changed over the years from tropical fish, shoes and garments in the 1970s and 1980s to electronics in the 2000s, said Ms Tan.

"We learnt that the company focused on different products in different decades...they kept adapting to areas with large demand," she said.

The 45-year-old company has grown from a two-man show an employer of around 600 workers.

Chief operating officer Poh Choon Lay said: "We benefited from Singapore's economic development and we have contributed as well."

Bok Seng Logistics

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By Nanyang Technological University final year undergraduate Chua Kah Hsing (second from left), 22, and National University of Singapore final year undergraduates (from left) Cheryl Lim, 22, Cheong Ying Hui, 22 and Lee Yann Rong, 23.

The team had not heard of Bok Seng before the project, but found out that the 40-year-old logistics company moves MRT trains from port to depot when they are commissioned, and has installed the majority of Singapore's pedestrian bridges, said Ms Chua.

"When you hear about logistics you don't really think about how it relates to daily life," she said.

The team created a photo booth, video and crane game to highlight facts about the company.

Mr Richard Tan, Bok Seng's director for corporate affairs and development, said the project also allowed the company to reflect on its growth "and not take things for granted".

"We must continually have that pioneering spirit and move on to stay relevant," he said.

joseow@sph.com.sg