ALP Journey – Traditional Chinese Culture and Artefacts

9 Sep

By Xin Hua (Theme II: Traditional Chinese Culture and Artefacts)

Photo credits to Amanda and Jessie 

Time flies and ALP has come to an end. Words aren’t enough to share about the journey.. so let’s have the photos to do the “recap”


Week 2: Trip to LiangZhu Museum with the Architecture theme. (strange faces I see.. Even my own theme mates)


Week 5: Visited Ningbo Museum and bid farewell to the “Ningbo-ers”. Some peeps had to say goodbye to their roomies and their “tap-tap” food from ZJU canteen.


Week 8: Cheng Huang Ge. Yes, it was 大师’s theme very first outing with the Masters from the Hangzhou Institute of Arts. (A warm day as summer was approaching.)



Week 8: Wan Song Shu Yuan. We saw many little models in the museum depicting scenes of olden days China and the festivals.



Week 9: Nan Fou Jin She. Pieces of artwork influenced by religion and beliefs..

Bear with me a while more.. More group photos coming up!




Week 9:Pottery Museum at XiXi Wetland. We were very impressed by the work pieces, especially those done by the Master herself (the one in purple). We got to play with clay too, of course with her disciple beside us guiding.



Week 9: Wang Xing Ji Fan Museum. We watched a live demonstration of how fans were made and discovered why an object of such simple use could cost a bomb. Those patterns that you see on the fan’s spines are actually manually carved out one by one. And yes, we each made a fan too.


Week 9: Tian Shi Wei Diao. Our honour to meet this Master (the one in white) who “plays with his life”, his passion for miniature sculpturing is really impressive.

Week 9 onwards: We started working on our products for the final exhibition. There were rejections and changes were made time and again.

Yup, it’s us at work. It was lamp making week. With it came along Arduino and Processing lessons which we later used to input the effects which we could create into our lamps and made short videos.



I forgot to mention that there was a local student, Dan Yan, who joined us since week 9. However, she left us on week 12 to return to her hometown to spend the rest of her summer holiday. Although time spent with her was short but there were times of quality interaction with her.


Soon, 大师 theme starts to get busy with more work, Rhino, photoshop, brochure making and video-making.

We had a photoshoot too. Really thankful for having a group of experts (cameraman, director, translators, actors…) in our theme who puts in the effort to make the theme video a success.

And not forgetting our group photoshoot..


getting ready..


formal shot



getting a little crazier


brought in props


more poses..



So.. we managed to finish the video and brochure just in time for exhibition day!

The project booklet which we worked hard for - my baby #2.

What our theme showcased! A tea set, coasters and cuboid speakers...

plates and my baby #1 - lamps! The desired outcome wasn't achieved with the materials we had but I'm still very pleased to see my Rhino-ed work in reality :)

Asmi the smoker~ Hahahaha.

We had a closure ceremony held at ZiJinGang International hotel. Watched performances and various themes went up stage to present their work. We had YiFan representing our theme.

Presenting to you our theme members!

Zhong Ying, Amanda & Yi Qian

Then we took our mini-group shots! Here's mine - with Zhong Ying and Yi Qian!

╧º─╛╚τ╜≡╫Θ▓·╞╖3 ╧º─╛╚τ╜≡╫Θ▓·╞╖2 ╧º─╛╚τ╜≡╫Θ▓·╞╖1 ╧º─╛╚τ╜≡╫Θ▓·╞╖4

Jessie, Song Pei, Yifan & Liu Yu

Jessie, Song Pei, Yifan and Liu Yu~

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Elizabeth, Chin Yih & Asmidah

And finally, Seto, Chin Yih and Asmi! ╓┬╙├└√╚╦╫Θ▓·╞╖1 ╓┬╙├└√╚╦╫Θ▓·╞╖2 ╓┬╙├└√╚╦╫Θ▓·╞╖3

Eileen, Yanzhao & Xin Hua

Then there's Eileen, Yanzhao and Pang~ ╬─╓╩▒≥▒≥╫Θ▓·╞╖1 ╬─╓╩▒≥▒≥╫Θ▓·╞╖2 ╬─╓╩▒≥▒≥╫Θ▓·╞╖3

And here's the very last group shot we've got! Bye Tao Ye~ and Zhao Laoshi~

Let me sum up my ALP experience with “Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.” — Aldous Huxley.

Initially, we all had expectations for this exchange trip but things weren’t so smooth. We anticipated weeks of being master’s disciples but that didn’t happen. However, we ended up picking up things which we could have learnt in Singapore. After some thoughts, we felt that it wasn’t that bad after all. At least the designs we made had Chinese influence and the people from Hangzhou Institute of Arts planned museum trips to get us exposed to the various Chinese culture and artefacts. I have learnt many valuable lessons from this exchange, one of which is to be more accepting, that way one can learn better.

Really thankful for the opportunity to be on this exchange trip. Our mentors, like friends, were very patient and helpful. They patiently providing guidance to help us achieve better results. Not forgetting the loads of help and care from the local and SUTD staff to help us adapt to the foreign place quickly and comfortably. And of course my friends who made this whole trip a memorable, exciting, and longgggg adventure. This chapter of adventure ends in China, and shall continue in the new term that is starting in a week’s time!

End of ALP – Back in Singapore

7 Sep

By Chun Yong


*Deleted 10GB worth of files from ALP folder*

Finally, back in non-40 degrees Singapore. So much to wrap up, so many people to thank, where should I start.

Hmm… I think I’ll start from the end then. We designed fans. Like, absolutely cool leaf-blowing arduino-controllable epic whothehellcouldhavethoughtofthis fans. I don’t have many photos of the actual prototypes that were made (even more awesome, by the way), but here are the equally amazing 3D renderings we did:

frame.107 frame.107 frame.7


Pretty cool huh? Okay, I’m exaggerating, but still! We all learned a lot about 3D modelling and rendering and the pain one’s computer will have to go through every time it has to render one of our works of 3D art.


Doing these 3D models really take up someone’s time! They can be very challenging since it’s like you’re drawing in 3D space. Here’s a 3D model of a sports car that I tried to do.

IMG-20130721-WA0016 DSC_0387 IMG-20130721-WA0017


Not all renderings turn out as nicely though. (Notice how I show you nice ones) If one does not have an idea of what he or she wants to create, it becomes quite the abomination. Thankfully, our skills in sketching for quick idea generation and communication has vastly improved (or at least the interest has been sparked).

IMG-20130704-WA0008 IMG-20130704-WA0009 IMG-20130704-WA0011


Tip: Draw with thick marker pens on big A3 paper. That way, whatever you draw looks nice. On a more serious note, it really did take a lot of drawings and sketching to get to some presentable level. It takes a lot of exposure and practice to get that line to curve the way you want it to. At the rate we were using paper however, we were starting to get pretty concerned about the environment. That’s why I decided to get….


… a drawing tablet!! It may not be a wacom, but it definitely does it’s job in letting you produce digital sketches.

IMG-20130710-WA0001 IMG-20130812-WA0002

Image029 Image030 Image031 Image032

All this was done using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. It was really cool to get to learn how to use all these software that allowed us to express our ideas and design products that could one day be made a reality.

It was in all a great experience, not just because of the projects we helped with or the facilities that were provided to us by our generous ZJU hosts, but because we had 4 really really (did I mention ‘really’?) long months to pick up any new skills and perspectives to be better designers for people.

As a show of our gratitude, we organised a pizza party a few days before we flew back to Singapore. Sadly, I lack the photos of the party (and the exhibition, and many other occasions.. was too busy experiencing everything to take a photo), I’ll just have to count on your imagination for now, so just picture sixty pizzas, twenty bottles of drinks, and music blasting from some speakers and people playing NBA 2013 in the middle of everything. I know, awesome party, you had to be there.

Every group also made a small memento for our ZJU mentors, most were decorated cards or photos to remember the 4 months of shared memories. As for our dear professor Ying…


… TA-DAAA!! You can imagine his face when we gave this to him. No? Well, me neither, he didn’t turn up at the party unfortunately :(. We passed it to the other ZJU people to pass it to him the next time he was there.

And so, after all the goodbyes, and packing, and checking out of the hotel, and getting on the bus, and yadee yadaa, we are all safely back in Singapore. As far as product design experience goes, it was extremely enriching, not because they guided us every step of the way, but precisely the opposite: we were given freedom (almost) every step of the way. Freedom to explore, freedom to learn, and most of all, freedom to fail. Should anyone who is considering embarking on this journey stumble across this blog, the only advice I can offer is to always have an open mind and to be willing to try out new things that could possibly just continue to not only give you that drive to do something great, but also to figure out what great things you can and want to accomplish.

See you in the upcoming Term!

Summary of our ALP adventure

4 Sep

By Yoong Jia Jun (Industrial Design theme)

Hangzhou is a beautiful city. In the three and a half months in Zhejiang University, I have had a lot of fun while in the process of learning. It was spring when we arrived and autumn when we left. The first two months were rather relaxing; we had a lot of time to travel around Hangzhou and the neighbouring cities. The last month was really hectic for the students in my theme as well as in many other themes. We had to design something and model it on rhino, and eventually make the physical prototype. There was a report and video to submit too. This entry is a summary of our time there and the things I’ve learnt. I’ll first talk about Hangzhou, Zhejiang University and the things we do during our free time.

record-breaking temperature in Hangzhou

We were there to experience the record-breaking temperature in Hangzhou.

Beautiful sunset & 月牙楼

Amazingly, beautiful sunsets are not uncommon in Hangzhou. The sky was really pink that day. The building in this photo is International Design Institute of Zhejiang University (IDI / 月牙楼), the place we go to every day when we do not go to our internship companies.

Bikes - free to rent for the first one hour

These bikes were so useful while we were there. It is free to rent for the first one hour and costs 1RMB for the next hour.

Dishes from 外婆家 Dishes from 外婆家

These are two dishes from 外婆家, one of the more affordable and yummy restaurants in Hangzhou. The food in Hangzhou is really good, I must say. I am missing the steamboats we had ever so frequently already.

BBQ (烧烤) BBQ (烧烤) BBQ (烧烤)

Speaking of food, the BBQ (烧烤) there is super good. Although the food is really unhealthy, it is something not to be missed. My theme members have had countless shao kao sessions with our ZJU mentor Liu Yi. We’ve even had it once with Angelvin (from the SUTD Student Life department) when she came with the SSUE students. Usually, we would walk over to the nearby KTV to sing after we had shao kao. This is just about how we spent our nights.

Pond area in ZJU Pond area in ZJU Group photo with ZJU mentor Hanlei

Our other mentor Han Lei brought us around the pond area in ZJU and we chanced upon some geese and black swans. The school is really huge and beautiful.

Bei Jia Bei Jia Chia Wu Chia Wu Chia Wu

Just some photos of Bei Jia and Chia Wu, members of theme 10.


Hakim got sick during the first few weeks and he had to go to the hospital which is located inside the school compound.

The members of theme 10 – Industrial Design are mostly Engineering Systems and Design (ESD) students, 10 out of 13 of us to be exact. We all signed up for this theme thinking that we would be doing something more system related. However it ended up being more like product design. Although it was not what we expected, it was still a good experience. Our theme members interned in three companies, namely Feish (飞鱼工业设计公司), Bole (博乐工业设计公司) and TOOUT (凸凹工业设计公司). We worked on integrated kitchen appliances, lighting and culture, and lighting and emotions respectively. We went through the entire design process, from ideation to realisation. We picked up a lot of software skills including Rhino, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign and these skills are useful for us in the future especially during our pillar years.

Feish (飞鱼工业设计公司)

At Feish (飞鱼工业设计公司)

Feish (飞鱼工业设计公司)

Another photo at Feish (飞鱼工业设计公司)

Bole (博乐工业设计公司)

Bole (博乐工业设计公司)

Bole (博乐工业设计公司) office

Bole (博乐工业设计公司) office

At Bole (博乐工业设计公司)

At Bole (博乐工业设计公司)

TOOUT (凸凹工业设计公司)

TOOUT (凸凹工业设计公司) office

Group photo at TOOUT (凸凹工业设计公司)

Group photo at TOOUT (凸凹工业设计公司)

At TOOUT (凸凹工业设计公司)

At TOOUT (凸凹工业设计公司)

We also practised sketching (by starting with line-drawing) at the beginning. Sketching is an effective way to convey thoughts and ideas and it is very useful if we are able to sketch well.

IxDC At a museum

In order to gain more understanding and knowledge about design, we have been on some outings. Some of us went for the IxDC talks which were held in Hangzhou this year. The Bole group visited many museums so as to get inspiration.

At a prototyping company

In order to produce the prototype, we had to work with an external company. We went down to the prototyping company to confirm our design before we started production. It was truly a good experience as we were working directly with a Chinese firm. Luckily for us, we have Han Xiao in our group so communication was not much of a barrier.

SUTD Provost at our exhibit

SUTD Provost at our exhibit

To conclude, the entire ALP experience was a very rewarding one. Being in a different environment forced us to break boundaries (such as using Chinese as the main language) and exposed us to a culture that is unlike our own. What I liked about the Chinese as I could see in the ZJU mentors and teachers is that they were ready to help even if it meant having less sleep. They were very passionate in what they do and I really appreciate the help they gave us.

GLP – The Sun Sets

14 Aug

by Terence Chew

The sun sets beautifully as the day comes to an end, a scenic view for appreciating the fruitful day that went by. Similarly, as GLP drew to a close, here’s to consolidating some of our experiences and growth that were wrapped up in our last week.


Growth as friends: bonded through experiences, collaborations and challenges.

Despite many, many competitions posted to us, we never failed to help each other out and to seek opportunities for collaboration. It is indeed rare to be part of such a diverse group that truly looks out for one another; better united than divided.


Growth as game designers: game design, user experience, understanding and applying game mechanics and dynamics. Also not to mention, Starcraft.

We thought fun games were easy to make. Yet, what we thought was fun may not have ended up being fun when others play it. Through trial testing each other’s games, we certainly learned much from them and from our insightful instructor, Philip Tan.


Growth as sketchers: learning to draw without holding back

Thanks to plenty of encouragement from our instructor Sam Magee, many of us learned to draw more boldly and to use our hands to convey what we see – 3D to 2D. From pencil to charcoal to ink, from the dome exterior to the dome interior to the panoramic sketch of Charles River, we grew comfortable and confident in drawing.


Growth as independent individuals: living abroad for 10 weeks

Cravings for Asian cuisine, handling household chores, long distance Skype calls and sending postcards are just some of the things that remind us of home. We are learning so much and having so much fun but our hearts still yearns for home. Great living and learning experience.


Growth in ceramics: learning the delicate skills behind ceramics and some life skills

Ceramics taught us more than its techniques. We learned patience from failures. We learned to take control gracefully when things go out of hand. We learned to feel.  We learned so much from the master potter Jay, he’s really the best – his ever-so-graceful demos and sincere attention gave us dramatic improvement in ceramics. It was all ~ good good ~

I will certainly miss…


… waking up to the wonderful view of the Charles River right in front of me.


… the feeling that you can create anything, here at MIT

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… the extensive libraries

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… the seafood

… the endless possibilities

The list goes on…

Also, we must thank…


… our meticulously caring and helpful MIT hosts! Also, our heartfelt gratitude to everyone both at SUTD and MIT, for making this experience possible for the 28 of us. We have truly learned so much, some inspiring experiences, some life-changing even. The experience has definitely enriched us.

But alas, it’s time to return home!


Top 10 Things to do on a Weekend in Boston

12 Aug

by Edward Tiong


Greyhound down to New York City Don’t worry if you get there late, Times Square doesnt close till past 2am.


Make your way to Wrentham Premier Outlets You’re going to save a whole lot of money with all the crazy sales! That’s right, but you’ll probably spend more than what you’ll save.


Skydive with MIT Skydiving Club Some got a taste of heaven, some got a taste of their vomit. Every experience is different.


Hike the White Mountains with MITOC Do the challenging route, It’ll be a hell of an experience, but hey, no pain no gain.


Visit Slocum’s Farm Slocum is actually an MIT professor, not a place or company or tourist spot. An eye-opening experience living with a family that is self-sustainable. Well almost.


Kayak the Charles River This actually only takes a morning, you can spend the rest of the weekend at CambridgeSide Galleria, Neptune Oyster, Muddy Charles, Museum of Science…


Shop Online You’ll be surprised how addictive this can be with Free Shipping, promo codes, free gifts, summer sale.. The satisfying part is when you receive your package at the front desk – feels like Christmas all-year-round.


Ride 6 Flags The fastest legal way to get HIGH and low.. The thrill is 6 Escape Theme Parks and 2 USS packed in one day. Not for the faint-hearted.


Self-Hackathon Coop yourself up in your dorm and hack away the weekend. You might just create your own startup in 54 hours.


Sleep Its been a rough week.

Last Week of GLP

11 Aug

by Olivia Seow

Everything’s drawing to a close. Go-Karts have been raced (gold kart got first place — by the margins of human error (0.01s)!) and ceramics glazed.






More than anything. I’m really thankful to have been given this opportunity. The folk at SUTD (upper management & GLP in-charges, etc), Jon, Kate, and Varsha have put in so much effort into making this a worthwhile experience. Even though we’re the guinea pigs of this exchange program, I’d say it was a good run 🙂

Juniors, if you ever have the chance to meet the following people, give them lots of love ‘cause they are AWESOME!

Charles G – he was in charge of the go-kart challenge. He knows all the nuts and bolts about making absolutely anything and is really generous with his skills and knowledge. I am super inspired by him.

Dara – she’s really passionate about education, and she’s the to-go person if you’re interested in engaging others to dream big and change the world through technology & design.

Jay – MASTER POTTER >> changes lumps of clay into beautiful works of art. He’s a super cool dude with a spark of energy about him! He was also really supportive of my project (the Easy Ring), and helped me model the rings — hoorah!

Jennifer – our writing instructor; this lady knows her stuff. She was genuinely interested in guiding us, helping us mould our writing to become pieces we can be proud of 🙂 Do look for her if you want any extra help with your own writing too, you’ll be amazed at how she can open your eyes to your own writing.

Certainly, the list does not end here. At Global Leadership Programme (GLP), we were lucky to meet so many great people who were generous, insightful, mind-blowingly intelligent yet humble and down-to-earth, whether they be art maestros or start-up wizards. My heart is so full from the brilliance of these folk, and I’m personally compelled to learn, see, and do more!

IDC Robocon – A photo recap

11 Aug

By Zuda Ng

A quick photo recap of my days in Brazil!

Day 0

Our Hotel Room

Day 1

Amazing Park in USP
With my teammate

Day 2

The Cafeteria’s Food! Standard meal (Rice + Beans + Salad/Vegetables + Meat + Fruit/ Dessert + Drinks)

Day 5

First night we ventured into the vibrancy of Sao Paulo!
Friendly Subway attendant that brought us to the main avenue.
First hand experience at the very nice and expensive Rubaiyat! But the experience was really awesome! Worth every single centavos!
The snack hut with interesting local delights!

Day 6

Street Market of Sao Paulo
Meat and Cheese filling! What more to ask for!
Road Side stall that sells “Chicken Rice” and “Sashimi”
Paulista Avenue
Paulista Avenue Pedestrian walkway!
Ibirapuera Park Monument
The Lake near the entrance!
Duckling Swan Geese spotted!
Space Observatory Museum in the park
Incredible performance by the carnival performers!
Jaw-Dropping Stunt! Head-stand!
Obelisk like structure near the park
Auditorium in the park
Entrance to the Auditorium
Skaters Haven in the park
Best Soda Ever! Guarana!
Lip Smacking Burger!

Day 11

Chilling out and experience how local enjoy their football games! (Sao Paulo vs Corinthians)

Day 12

Final Group photo
Competition Ground
Ramen at the Japan Festival
Churrasco (Grilled Meat) @ Fago Da Chao
My own interpretation of the word! (Japan Festival)
Touching down!!!
Souvenirs from friends in Brazil!