Every year a panel of judges comprising Fellows awards prizes for the best student work conducted through the University Town Education Programme (UTCP) in the Calendar Year at Tembusu.

These prizes are for the Best Essay, the Best Creative Work and the Best Miscellaneous Work.

The Best Essay Prize is for an individual work that involves a substantial amount of written text, with a clearly recognisable ‘voice’ that presents an argument - an idea or conclusion arrived at by working through certain materials. Essays will be considered in terms of how well they are written and the risks they take, as well as their originality and intellectual engagement.

The Best Creative Work Prize is for an individual or collective work that ventures into the space of art and engages its audience in that manner. This could be installations, interventions in public space, creative writing, performances with or without proposal, visual design, painting, object, video, photograph, poster, website, magazine, etc.. The work should be original, aimed at provoking thought and questions, and technically well executed.

The Best Student Work Prize is for all kinds of student work that do not fit into the Essay and Creative Work categories. Given the potentially very varied nature of submission, the onus is on the lecturer to highlight how the student work they nominate meets the standard of excellence that operates in their particular module and the assignments associated with it.

Calendar Year 2019

Best Essay: AY 2018/19 Semester 2


Marcus Jeremiah Choo Wai Loong for “The Competitive Edge: Intricacies-Intimacies behind Knowledge and Power in the Maoist Era” (UTC2108 Technology and the Fate of Knowledge)
Nadya ‘Umairah Bte Mohammad F for “Superhero Comics: The Technology That Keeps On Giving” (UTC2108 Technology and the Fate of Knowledge)

Honourable Mention

Ow Yong Liu Qi for “Writing in Imperial China” (UTC2108 - Technology and the Fate of Knowledge)

This is an elegantly written and well-researched paper, which considers the role of writing as technology in a very specific period. What is striking is the writer’s comfortable application of theory to build a case with very concrete examples. Furthermore, although the scope is manageable and contained in the paper’s analysis of the Han dynasty specifically, the writer considers a far wider context, by referencing Ancient Greece and contemporary sites of writing in China. As such, this paper is about far more than writing and power in one particular era, but a philosophical contemplation of an ancient, and still contemporary, dynamic – beautifully written.


Nguyen Xuan Bach for “Spatial and Temporal Differentiation in Public Reception of Art: A Reflection on Anti-Semitic Art” (UTC1102P Junior Seminar - Murals: Expressions from/on the Walls)

This paper is a thoughtful and sophisticated contemplation around the concept of stereotyping. What struck us was how Bach considered the subtle dynamic around imposed stereotyping (by the majority on the outsider), and the embracing of difference in order to survive as a minority in foreign countries (which results in the deliberate pursuit of a self-imposed “stereotyped” identity). Bach manages to juggle many ideas, namely anti-semitism, cultural context and multiple identities, while retaining focus and bringing them all together in his conclusion.

Best Essay: AY 2019/20 Semester 1


Lee Yun Ze for “Does Singapore Have a National Cuisine that Transcends Ethnicity?” (UTC1114 From the Fire to the Frying Pan: Cooking and Eating in Human Culture(s))
Abhijit Ravichandran for “Environmental and Social Sustainability of Singapore’s Land Reclamation Efforts” (UTS2109 Senior Seminar - Asia Now! The Archaeology of the Future City)
Justin Tan for “Coffee as a Social Tool” (UTC1114 From the Fire to the Frying Pan: Cooking and Eating in Human Culture(s))

Honourable Mention

Tan Kian Long for “Nursing Home Infrastructure & Life Before Death in Singapore” (UTS2109 Senior Seminar - Asia Now! The Archaeology of the Future City)

This essay lingers long after reading. It combines both a rational and lyrical contemplation of ageing, appealing to the reader both rationally in its argument for changes to care centres, and also emotionally through an evocation of the transience of life. The essay achieves its end not only through evidence, but also through drawing on relevant images and poetic quotes dotted throughout the coherent argument. The student voice is particularly clear and strong, and the representation of information is highly original.


Kingsley Kuan Jun Hao for “What is Truth? Divorcing Truth From Reality” (UTC1102G: Proof: What's Truth Got to Do With It?)

Kingsley's essay engages with difficult-to-understand abstract philosophical theories on the nature of reality and knowledge and weaves them into a convincing argument that we should keep truth and reality separate. It is a rare student work that keeps you thinking from start to finish and is all the more impressive as the work of a first year student.

This is undoubtedly a very intellectual and sophisticated attempt to illustrate how the abstract concepts of truth and reality can be made accessible through an unpacking of the everyday phrase “ he loves her”. Dialogic in approach, the writer draws on and reconciles very different philosophers (including Aristotle to build up a case.


Best Creative Work: AY 2018/19 Semester 2


Clarence Tan, Isabel Ang, Ivena Chew, Nicholas Toh, Song Xingzhi for “Autonopoly: The Dilemma of Autonomy” (UTS2114 Technologies and Ageing In Singapore)
Chong Kay Heen, Kwok Zi Jun, Tay Wei Yi, Timothy Lim Shyen En, Zechariah Lee Ting En for “Aunty, Do You Know About?” (UTS2114 Technologies and Ageing In Singapore)
Lee Yik Heng for “Untitled” (UTC1102P Murals: Expressions from/on the Walls)


Angie Chong En Qi for “Grief: A Flipbook” (UTC2101 Time and Life)

This project uses a familiar, seemingly frivolous, object - a flipbook - to speak about the temporality of grief. The student exploits the form of the flipbook - stoppable, rewindable, hastened and slowed - to invite the viewer to experience an alternative to everyday linear time. Through this medium, the project reflects on the repetitive, cyclical experience of grief. The book is symmetrical, mirroring the way in which grief can be inescapable no matter the direction in which we look at it. The project is executed with care and empathy and is accompanied by thoughtful reflections that discuss the personal experience of grief in relation to themes and readings from the module.

Best Creative Work: AY 2019/20 Semester 1


Hann Goh Tze Hsuan, Shane Sabatino Arriola, Mikhail Wei-Ren Bin Ismet Faiz) for “Heritage Conservation is Not Representative of Singapore’s Full History and Identity” (UTC2109 Asia Now! The Archaeology of the Future City)
Caroline Djati Utomo, Chan Dalis, Ng Chia Wee, Yeoh Su Shane for “Countdown To Nothing (UTC2102 Climate Change);


Gurveer Singh Bhandal, Lo Ern Hui, Hannah, Ong Yun Qi, Vicki, Tan Bo Rong Jordan for “30 Years of the Great Union: A Celebration of the Real Global Power” (UTC2102 Climate Change)

Grounded on impressive research and a healthy dose of  imagination, this project – which takes the form of an exhibition – is an invitation to imagine a potential future caused by climate change. The attempt is to highlight the main causes at stake (such as GHG emission), multilevel consequences (on energy, food chain, migrations, ecosystems), and possible solutions (an active role played by Sino-Indian Union). The project is thus at the same time informative, thought provoking and inspiring. Through the display of future news articles, artefacts, graphics and maps, the exhibition enabled the viewer to not only imagine but viscerally experience and problematize this possible future.


Best Miscellaneous Work: AY 2018/19 Semester 1

*Nominated & Winner

Isabel Chin for her Time Diary (UTC2101 Time and Life - Diary)

Isabel’s work is an academic essay deftly disguised as diary entries. The first thing to note is that Isabel is clearly a gifted writer. The composition is easy to follow and commands the reader’s attention. She writes with a certain personalised flair; and to borrow the words of her instructor, Isabel’s writing style is ‘aesthetically refined’. Two samples of her journal entries were submitted. In these entries, Isabel reflected on her own personal relationship with time while relating them the themes discussed in class. She showcased clear comprehension of the readings assigned in class by masterfully weaving the academic articles into the diary while documenting her personal life.

What made this particularly special – in addition to fulfilling the scholarly aspects of the assignment – was Isabel’s detailed and honest observations as she contemplated and imagined the various events and phases of her life (past and future) in these diary entries. 

Best Miscellaneous Work: AY 2019/20 Semester 2


Koh Hong Kai for “Review of Mary Robinson’s “Climate Justice: A Man-Made Problem with a Feminist Solution”” (UTC2102 Climate Change - Book Review)
Le Jen En for “Review of Mary Robinson’s “Climate Justice: A Man-Made Problem with a Feminist Solution”” (UTC2102 Climate Change - Book Review)
Khairul Azman, Song Tae Yoon and Byun Dongmin for "How Prone are We? An Assessment of Singapore’s Vulnerability to Never Before Seen Viral Outbreaks” (UTS2101 Biomedicine and Singapore Society - Poster)
Ricky Theodore for “Battle to Bottle: Nestle’s Fight for Michigan’s Spring Water” (UTC2107 Negotiating in a Complex World - Case Study)


Tan Wee Ning for :”I’m Not a Monkey”: West Papua’s Forgotten War Remembered (UTC2107 Negotiating in a Complex World)

Wee Ning aced this assignment in every way – the research, the writing, the execution. The case study she wrote on West Papua’s struggle for independence was rigorously researched based on the best available source materials. All relevant facts, such as the background positions of key parties, are seamlessly woven into a streamlined and engaging narrative which brilliantly prepares the reader for participation in the teaching demonstration. In the Teaching Guide, Wee Ning identifies several interesting learning outcomes, meticulously planning each phase of the demonstration so that it contributes to one of these outcomes. In addition, Wee Ning offers an exceptionally thoughtful range of teaching aids, again demonstrating a flair for bringing a complex set of facts to life.


The Tembusu (Fagraea fragrans) is a large evergreen tree in the family Gentianaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia. Its trunk is dark brown, with deeply fissured bark, looking somewhat like a bittergourd. It grows in an irregular shape from 10 to 25m high. Its leaves are light green and oval in shape. Its yellowish flowers have a distinct fragrance and the fruits of the tree are bitter tasting red berries, which are eaten by birds and fruit bats.