daily report: I talk about what I've done for the past two weeks

daily report for 2016-05-05

Am writing this in camp now. I suppose I should write about what I've been up to these past two weeks and what I've learned.

I have been learning a little more vim and a little more about bash. I did one or two Project Euler problems but they didn't interest me.

My last post was 24th April and today is the 5th of May, so there's two weeks to catch up on. Here we go...

The main project that has captured my attention these past two weeks is the proposal for Teck Ghee Primary School. I wrote a proposal (at the cost of $100, to Shan Wei, and more than twenty hours of my time) and I submitted it yesterday. I have to say that the MOE security requirements are extremely onerous, and Mark was definitely not happy with them. Still, we have to make our money somehow.

On Labour Day night, I performed with the Chinese orchestra and I made a lot of mistakes. Fortunately the mics were very poor and they couldn't pick up my sound... hehe. I also got 300 dollars from a good study award.

TOUCH SG rejected my proposal, claiming that they didn't have computers and in any case they had other things planned for their children.

I was a little lost until I met up with Ming Shi, Khai Shing, Ann, Jolene and Nicholas for dinner on Labour Day Observed. I casually mentioned my proposal and Ming Shi immediately said he could introduce me to a woman from Ulu Pandan CC called Mrs Hauw (what a surname, huh).

He did indeed hook me up. It turns out that Ulu Pandan CC has already set up a Coding for Kids programme (C4C), which teaches Scratch to 8–12 year olds. There's also a junior version of the programme that's targeted at 6–7 year olds.

Mrs Hauw said that "your target is for older children, secondary level. This is more difficult to organise due to the mentality of the students. However, I am open to the idea. It's better we find a time to talk. Let me know when you are available."

Turns out there was this organisation called Enactus NUS that set up this program a year ago, but their collaboration ended 30 April. "The volunteers who worked with our C4C students since March 2015 are still with us. We also have a couple of tutors from NJC, NS."

Furthermore, Mrs Hauw told me that there's "a heavy presence of Hwa Chong Volunteers, mainly from the HC IT club".

Beaten to it once again! I'm not complaining, though--this is better than nothing. I hope to be able to set up my own program, but I'm not sure if Mrs Hauw is keen. She said "I am a bit short handed because the J2s are taking a break in June to preapre for their exams. So if you are interested, you can play a role here, in the interim whilst we see what we can do with your proposal." So her intention is clear. I'll have to manage this situation with great care.

I'm open to helping in the existing programme, but I don't just want to be a pair of hands. So I'm wondering if I can negotiate with Mrs Hauw to helm the 13–15 class and help teach the 8–12 group at the same time.

We'll have to see. I will be visiting Ulu Pandan CC this Saturday to take a look at both the sessions and discuss more with Mrs Hauw. I'm cautiously optimistic...

In other news, I messaged Dr Vivian Balakrishnan:

Dear Dr Balakrishnan,

I'm Zheng Hong, a resident under your charge (I stay at Block 144, Petir Road). Back in January, I messaged you on Facebook to thank you for speaking to my mother. You wrote that I could email you if I had any issues to discuss.

I want to start an initiative teaching programming to underprivileged youths. The goal is to equip underprivileged youths with the most in-demand skill of the future—and to use that skill as a means of social mobility.

I know that you have written and spoken extensively on the importance of a Smart Nation ("a Smart Nation is essential for us to confront some of the biggest existential challenges of our time"), and are a programmer yourself. I feel that my initiative is well-placed and well-timed to capitalise on Singapore's push to become a Smart Nation, and I hope that you will look favourably upon it.

I have attached my proposal and syllabus—it is rather lengthy, you don't have to read it all—and if it's at all possible, I'd like to meet you during next Monday's Meet-the-People session. (I will print out a hard copy).

I would greatly appreciate your input and support, and I'd love to work under your guidance. And once again, thank you very much for the contributions you've made to our estate—my mother cannot stop singing your praises.

Yours sincerely,

Lieu Zheng Hong

Dear Zheng Hong

Thank you for contacting me. Let me check with my colleagues on the best options for you to get involved in. We'll get back to you soon. No need to queue up to see me on Monday night!

Please send my best wishes to your mother.

Warm regards

Dear Zheng Hong,

I would like to introduce Mark Lim from IDA to you. Hope this project takes off. Please keep me informed. Many thanks.

Am now frantically thinking of what to reply and how to start off this email...