Flying The Singapore Flag High

Two PS21 Star Service Award winners share how they deliver outstanding service across borders.

Mr Wu Jianping (above, left)
Manager, National Arts Council

Coordinating schedules, settling documentation and funds, hauling equipment… travelling as a music band is certainly no mean feat. Fortunately, Singapore’s contemporary musicians have Mr Wu Jianping to help them. The arts administrator with the National Arts Council (NAC) facilitated two tours to Australia in 2016 for seven local acts under Noise Singapore, a youth arts platform. Such overseas exposure broadens the bands’ experiences, explains the 34-year-old.

For Brisbane’s BIGSOUND music festival in 2016, Mr Wu took such good care of the travelling musicians that “he was considered the fifth member of every band”, says Mr Leonard Soosay, a music producer and the sound engineer for the trip.

Beyond accompanying local musicians overseas, Mr Wu is also their trusted adviser. Adds Mr Soosay: “Ask any local musician if they know anyone from the NAC, and Wu Jianping’s name rings out … [His] name has become synonymous with the three letters NAC... I have on many occasions sought Jianping’s help and advice… and he is always ready to help.”

Musician Andy Chia, who participated in the Noise Music Mentorship programme that Mr Wu oversees, praises him for often taking time to advise budding groups on grants. The stellar service comes from Mr Wu’s personal experience in a band. He plays the drums in the indie band, King Kong Jane, which he started with several friends in university. After their debut album in 2011, they represented Singapore at the ASEAN Youth-Cultural Exchange Festival in Jakarta.

Mr Wu’s conviction in supporting young musicians stemmed from his own experience. “Being in a band helps because I understand the challenges and how to prepare the younger musicians for them,” says Mr Wu. “I’ve seen really good talents who just didn’t get enough support to develop themselves.”

Dr Goh Sao-Ee (above, right)
Senior Specialist, Academy of Singapore Teachers, Ministry of Education

As part of his job, Dr Goh Sao-Ee coordinates research seminars and visits by foreign visitors on behalf of the Academy of Singapore Teachers (AST). But on some weekends, the 40-year-old goes beyond his job scope to play tour guide too.

In June 2016, Dr Goh found out that Professor Maarten de Laat, who was visiting from the Netherlands, would have no plans over a weekend. Dr Goh took the initiative to show him around Chinatown and the Civic District on a Saturday.

To balance his family commitments, Dr Goh took his six-year-old daughter along for the trip. “She asked the usual questions a child her age would… I could see that Professor Maarten enjoyed the interaction. He opened up more,” says Dr Goh.

After the trip, the professor wrote a thank-you email and sent a box of professional development materials. He also invited the AST to visit his research team in the Netherlands. Dr Goh made a firm friend and gained an overseas partner for the AST in the process.

On some weekends, the 40-year-old goes beyond his job scope to play tour guide too.

Mr Nick White, a British educator, was another recipient of Dr Goh’s generous hospitality. “In just a few days I have learnt an extraordinary amount… I will be mentioning and crediting your work for many years to come!” Mr White wrote in a thank-you note.

“A critical aspect of facilitating a positive and impactful learning experience is making sure our participants are happy and in the right frame of mind for learning,” says Dr Goh on his work to promote educators’ professional development.

He is quick to credit his AST colleagues for their support: “This experience cannot be delivered by a single person alone – it requires everyone in the organisation to support and facilitate that.”

    May 12, 2017
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