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Archive for May, 2009

Besides encouraging others to make soap and contribute UCO for recycling (as seen from our fundamental project approach), another of Project GREASE’s aims is to empower more to conduct soap-making workshops for others. This opportunity came last week, when Project GREASE conducted a mini 5-participant workshop for members of an RGS Service-Learning team, for them to in turn conduct soap-making workshops for others during the Singapore General Hospital’s arts festival this June. Talk about spreading this oil-to-soap movement far and wide by tapping on our very own peers – right within our reach – as agents of change!

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Sam Lee giving the participants an overview to our project

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The participants hurriedly donning on their gloves – “The Workshop you’ve all been waiting for will commence now!

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Participants stirring their sodium hydroxide solutions out in the open

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And down those mixtures go, plop into the oil!post_04Decisions are so hard to make when you’re spoilt for choice! Participants clamouring around a box of prospective fragrances and a box of sample soap (which they were told to aim to model theirs after)

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Time to add the fragrances!

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That last crucial step: pouring the completed mixtures into the moulds

Taking the above example to a much larger, communal scale,  it is not so difficult to imagine an eventual full-fledged oil-to-soap movement in the country, from looking at how this soap-making knowledge can be passed so easily from one party to another. We sincerely hope more will step up to learn soap-making from us and initiate the imparting of this knowledge to others, such that the lack of UCO recycling within households can ultimately be addressed in time to come.

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Citi Ideas in Action is a program that enables students and teachers to develop their creative and entrepreneurial ideas through seed funding from Citi Foundation. It awards grants based on the innovative and entrepreneurial thinking as well as the creative process displayed in the submitted project plans.

Yu-Jia and Talia represented Project GREASE at the Citi Ideas in Action judging event, held on 30th Apr 09, at Suntec City Convention Centre (which we had a hard time finding!)

Project GREASE requires funding for its numerous activities, and as our previous source of funding has closed, we decided to apply for this program.

(Apologies for the blurred photos; we had to resort to using a handphone camera as we’d forgotten to bring a proper one.)

Talia and Yujia before the judging event

Talia and Yujia waiting in anticipation before the judging event

We had submitted a proposal a few weeks back, and were short-listed for the judging round. We were to prepare a 5-minute presentation for a panel of judges, comprising professionals from the education, business and public sector.

Not entirely surprisingly, our presentation-cum-Q&A session lasted a grand total of 25 minutes, effectively holding up a couple of other presentations – oops!

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Yujia and Talia heaving a sigh of relief after the judging session - phew!

Special thanks goes out to Mr Kenneth Lui, who accompanied us for this competition as our mentor was unavailable.

We’ll find out the results of our application on 8th May.

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On the 25th of April,  Project GREASE was invited to the Parents@Raffles Girls’ School (PRGS) Association’s Annual High Tea session.  In sharing our project with the parents, we would hopefully give them an insight to the other dimensions of the RGS girls’ educational experience, such as how Community Problem-Solving has helped us practice critical thinking in serving community. We were instructed beforehand by our deputy principal to share with the parents how our experience had impacted all of us in terms of moral knowing, moral feeling and moral action.

Sam, Yujin and Yu-Jia happily ventured to the KS Chee Theatre at 2.30pm as planned – and were instantly overwhelmed by the sights (and smells) that greeted us. The entire theatre as we knew it was completely transformed – the lighting was dark and sultry, the ambiance was romantically tranquil, and intimately-candlelit tables (with beautifully-arranged REAL flowers adorning the tabletop) and buffet tables (complete with their respective vendors!) occupied the entire stretch of the room, which was virtually unrecognizable from how we remembered it. Our principal and seniors deputy principal Mrs. Julie Hoo and Mrs Shirley Tan, as well as almost the entire PRGS executive committee, was present – not to mention a whole crowd of dignified-looking parents, which made the three of us – initially the only 3 students present amidst the many parents! –  suddenly feel rather underdressed and out-of-place.

Understandably, we were nervous, but more so delighted and honoured to have been invited to present at such a formal and official setting.

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Sam, Yujin and Yu-Jia, admittedly feeling severely underdressed and displaced amidst the regal setting and the well-dressed parents as we waited for the event to commence.

At around 2.45 pm, the event opened with a vote of thanks by the chairperson of PRGS, Ms Lo Wei Min.

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Ms Lo gave a detailed presentation on all the past events where members of PRGS had been engaged in activities together, which including a slide on parents attending our soap-making workshop.

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Hey, that face looks familiar! Is it mine?

Subsequently, we had a short round of ice-breakers, facilitated by our jolly emcee of the day, Colonel Ishak (also the vice-chairman of PRGS). The icebreakers constituted puzzles, whereby tables competed against one another to find words such as “PRGS” and “committee” and “mother”! Funnily enough, the table with the most students – 6 of the Monkey Business girls, who came later to present their project – as well as our table, with 3 RGS girls, came in 1st and 2nd place respectively. Coming in 3rd place was a table of enthusiastic young parents who proudly proclaimed their victory – save for several unmistakeable errors, as our emcee didn’t fail to omit mention of.

(we aren’t implying anything with regard to differing cognitive abilities between the generations, by the way – we are merely reporting facts the way they are! :P)

It was a good thing the icebreakers had eased the (perceived) tension in the atmosphere slightly, bearing in mind what was coming up next. The big moment, as far as the 3 of us were concerned, had come – to present our project.

prgs_04We detect more familiarity up there.

The presentation mainly constituted the area of concern, project approach, an overview of all that we had done as well as our reflections on the project thus far.

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After the presentation (whew!), which we sincerely hope the parents enjoyed, a token of appreciation was presented to each of us by Ms Lo Wei Min, chairperson of the PRGS Association!

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In case you’re wondering, we each got a beautifully-wrapped box of belgium chocolates. All for a 20-minute presentation! :O How generous of the PRGS Association, we reflected in unison, and this was only reinforced later…

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… when the pigging-out officially began. We mustn’t forget the title of the session after all – though admittedly, none of us had taken “High Tea” seriously when we got the initial invitation. On hindsight, we regret to have gone with considerably full stomachs, given the wide array of food there was – which included ice-cream (cone/cup/wafer), fruit, deserts, beehoon, chicken wings, laksa, satay, and many other cuisines and delicacies that this author cannot bear to describe for fear of salivating on her keyboard.

Project GREASE is extremely heartened by the ongoing support and encouragement shown to us by our school, and promise to continue working hard to fulfil our project’s objectives. Competition or not (in view of the swine flu outbreak), we must always bear in mind our ultimate purpose to involve the community in advocating for an oil-to-soap movement.

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