Toys For Children with Special Needs

I received a press release on February 4th 2015 about Christmas gifts from Duracell and Hasbro which were given to students in the early intervention programme at Rainbow Centre Singapore.* This press release came later than a #latergram but I thought what could be salvaged from it is useful information about toys which are suitable for children with special needs.

(*Rainbow Centre is a voluntary welfare organisation catering to students below 18 years old with special needs associated with Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, developmental delay and multiple disabilities)

(**All pictures in this blogpost were provided by the PR firm working for Duracell and Hasbro)

Rainbow Centre Singapore

Some Toys Suitable For Children With Special Needs:

1) Cupcake Tower (pictured above) or Cake Mountain

“Hasbro toys like Play-Doh’s Sweet Shoppe series are a hit with children as they are colorful, large and have functions such as cranking to roll out the dough into little balls, squeezing the Play-Doh out of the syringe to create noodles, and the molds that enable children to create different shapes. Some children will engage in pretend play with others using Play-Doh to create food items.”

2) Baby Alive

Hasbro Baby Alive

“Hasbro toys like Baby Alive’s Snack and Spill Baby are great for eliciting social interactions for familiar activities like feeding. It can be used to facilitate learning of routine, day-to-day activities like using cutlery and simple feeding actions.”

3) Color Me Hungry Hippo

Hasbro Color Me Hungry Hippo

“A great Hasbro toy that caters to either younger children or children with high supports needs is the Color Me Hungry Hippo that gives children some sensory feedback when they play and interact with the toy. The chips required to place into the Hippo’s mouth are easy to hold and slot, and the sounds and lights enhance the play experience and motivate the children to engage. The overall quality of the various toys also ensure safe and fun playing opportunities for the children.”


*Disclaimer: I have received neither monetary nor non-monetary incentives for uploading this post, and I cannot vouch for the effectiveness of these toys, having never played with any of them before. Please exercise your own discretion, or seek professional advice, before purchasing any of these items for your children.

Ngee Ann Poly Mass Comms / School of Film & Media Studies: Student – Blogger “Radio Interview”

Yesterday, I made my way to Ngee Ann Poly’s school of film & media studies to “help” a 2nd year Mass Comms student. I usually say no to student interviews because (1) the interview requests are less-than-polite, (2) my home is just really far from all campuses and (3) there is absolutely no benefit to me to do these interviews. #AtLeastIAmHonest

ngee ann poly school of film and media studies

With regard to the first point, I think people who have not worked for a couple of years tend not to be able to relate well to people. This student actually sent me a Whatsapp message past 10pm (while I was on holiday) because I was late (for a day or two) in replying to her email. I had responded favorably to her initial email because she is a former student of a good friend of mine. That was the only reason I agreed to help her out with her schoolwork.

And yes, NP is really far from my home. Besides the total of about 2 hours spent on commuting and on the actual interview, I spent S$40 on taxifare to and fro (during off-peak hours). *I value my time more than money, so any reimbursement would also make no sense! And there was none, just to be clear on this point.

At the end of the interview, I could safely say there was no benefit to me at all. Her teacher basically sat in during the session while we pretended we were “on air”. And there was even another student arranged to do a fake “call in” segment.

ngee ann poly mass comms [From left: Pet Food Distributor, another student interviewer, and the teacher]

Having been featured on actual radio at least three times, I could tell my student interviewer was nervous. Before we entered the room, I asked her to rate her nervousness on a scale of 1 to 10, and she said she’s a ‘7’. I then told her to “take deep breaths” and tried to make her laugh. I told her to imagine me as our mutual friend, which made her chuckle. And then I said I have to grow that beard too, to look like him, and she really laughed out loud.

I also made sure I asked her some important questions, including what the teacher was grading her on. [She actually didn’t even tell me without my prompting!] Apparently, she would be graded on how well she interacted with the guest (and didn’t look at her notes, etc) AND whether she could get her guest to share something more personal. I couldn’t help her with the first part, so I did my best with the second. Her teacher eventually told me I was an “awesome” (in her own words) interviewee.

You might think I’m stupid to go all the way to NP for this fake radio interview, to help someone I don’t know, and pay a ridiculous amount in taxifare just for a mock 15-minutes interview. Yes, I actually do think it is silly. But when a friend asks me for help (the first time), I usually say yes. ;)

But no more student interviews for the rest of this year, please! I don’t have that much youth to waste anymore! :D Anyhow, here are some tips for future Mass Comm poly students who find that they need to interview people for their school assignments:

Tips on handling ‘radio interviews':

1) Always let your guest know what is the grading criteria. If you don’t tell your guest how to help you, how will the person know?

2) Definitely let your guest have a look at the list of questions first. My student interviewee felt I should not see the questions beforehand so that I’ll appear “natural” during the interview. I told her that’s a mistake because (1) I’ve been on multiple interviews. I can fake sounding natural. Thank you. (2) Your interview is a very short 15 minutes. If I spend time hemming and hawing, and thinking of the right words to use, you are going to fail the module!

3) Never let your guest wait. I was there ahead of the appointed time by over half an hour. She arrived at approximately 7 minutes before our agreed-upon 2pm. And then said we had to rush and get into the studio by 2pm, though she had told me the interview starts at 2.30pm. Thankfully, I’m not so old that I couldn’t catch up as she sped off towards the studio. #firstimpressionscount

4) Stay calm and collected. If you are nervous, you transfer that nervous energy to your guest. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. If you need your guest to come by early for a rehearsal, ASK. Don’t just ask the person whether he/she will be there early. The person’s natural response will be “Early for what? I’ll just be on time”

5) Avoid the use of pause fillers like “Um ok… so…”. The student who conducted the interview right before ours must have set a record for the most number of “okays” used in a fake radio interview.

Tips on handling bloggers you want to interview:

1) Get a recommendation. That’s what my student interviewee did right. If she had sent me a request, without any mention of our mutual friend, my answer would have been “sorry, I’m not free then”.

2) Tell them what’s in it for them. Bloggers are nice people, but they are not your parents. You can phone your mother and say “Mom, school’s over! Come and pick me up in 5 minutes ah!” but you cannot say to a blogger “I need you to come by my school on (insert date) at (insert time) to help me with a school assignment”. The world owes you nothing. And neither do your parents, by the way. If you’d be able to show the blogger around your school, or introduce the blogger to lecturers who might be keen on finding out more about blogging, or see how you can help promote the blogger’s book to your friends, then yes, TELL the blogger what you’ll do.

3) Don’t piss the person off by repeated contact when the guest has already agreed to turn up on appointed date and time. A gentle reminder email is good enough. No smses past office hours PLEASE. You are not a friend!

4) Give the person a handwritten note as thanks. I received some chocolate (and quite promptly gave it away as I’m on a diet) but I would definitely have appreciated and kept a handwritten note of thanks.


I have only 24 hours in a day. I usually have a huge backlog of blogposts to do, advertorials to craft and things to do, such as running errands. Hence, my time is very precious to me. This is why I often say ‘no’ to interview requests from students, most of whom don’t even ‘like’ my facebook page or read a page from my book.

If I’m retired, then yes, you can certainly have me for your interviews up to 12 hours a day. No problemo. Otherwise, you can go interview some other blogger. :)


**Just to be clear. I think my student interviewer did ok, except for that late night Whatsapp message while I was on holiday. She seemed sincere and was polite.

Tutorbox: Engage a Qualified Tutor with 0% Commission. Finally.

[Giveaway worth over S$496 at the end of this blogpost! :D]

As a tutor, you keep all your fees, and you won’t have to hand over half your fee as commission ever again.

As a parent, you get to view the résumés of the qualified tutors who apply for your job post. Pick a tutor for 1 free assessment (60 minutes) before you decide whether to hire.

1. 100% Certificates Verified.

2. Zero commissions, without compromises.

These two reasons are why I have decided to blog about Tutorbox.

I was a part-time English tutor for about 7 years since my undergraduate years in NUS and I have never liked paying 50% of the first month’s fees to the agencies just for linking me up with students. Most agencies didn’t bother checking my certificates, were ineffective in ‘selling’ me to parents, and got to keep half of my pay just for making a few phone calls. They were totally overpaid.

Enter: Tutorbox.



I grilled the founders of Tutorbox to find out why they are providing this service free-of-charge.

Their answer: “Why shouldn’t it be free?”

I am one of the most skeptical careful people around. So I wanted to know why they decided to make every tutor’s dream come true.

Sure, I have thought of the idea before: a tuition portal for parents and tutors to get in touch, with no third party fees or commissions. But there is the issue of website maintenance and all. How can all of this possibly be free?!

Not everything will be free.

In future, there will be premium services rolled out for a small fee.

As a newbie tutor once, I had wished I was given a toolkit for my first tuition job. What assessment material should I bring with me? How should I keep track of each session and where do I get the parent or student to sign after each session?

It remains to be seen what sort of premium services will be introduced but I was given the assurance that “(tuition) jobs will always be free”.

Sounds good?

See the proof for yourself right here:

For Parents, just three quick steps to get started:

Step 1 – Submit Your Details


Step 2 – Enter the verification code sent to your mobile phone


Step 3 – Post your job details. Then just sit back as Tutors apply for your job :)


Even more exciting news right below:

As Tutorbox has only been launched recently, they would like YOU to help spread the word about them! As thanks, one winner will receive TWO Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) invites memberships! The memberships come with welcome packages (worth up to $248++) which you can use to redeem items such as:

a) 4x Adult tickets with Express pass to Universal Studios
b) 4x Adult tickets to S.E.A Aquarium & Adventure Cove Waterpark, plus $40 worth of dining vouchers
Adventure Cove
Just head over to my facebook page to take part in this giveaway. :)

Nanyang Polytechnic’s UNIT14: AMPLIFIED

Earlier this month, I went to check out UNIT14: AMPLIFIED at the National Library. AMPLIFIED is a showcase of the design work by over 160 graduates from Nanyang Polytechnic’s School of Design.

Nanyang Poly unit 14 amplified

There was a mind-boggling number of projects on display. Got a little dizzy after navigating that whole showcase! Some of the projects were pretty impressive, some exceedingly creative, a few of them bizarre, and at least one seemed to be a copy of an actual business.

Leonard Lam Xin Xin Dialect

(above) Leonard Lam’s ‘Xin Xin Dialect’ project is a Hokkien card game which includes common Hokkien phrases and “illustrations that depict its usage”. The card game also comes with a free iOS app that provides audio pronunciation to aid user understanding. Let’s just say I had a similar idea for promoting Chinese dialects among youths but Leonard’s idea is way more cool. :)

Bernice Ong Second Chance

Bernice Ong’s ‘Second Chance’ idea is pretty interesting. “Second Chance is a mediating space for separated couples to reflect upon their marriage before taking further action, serving as a final opportunity for couples to salvage their marriage. Marriage counselling is also offered to them here. However, if they do decide on a divorce, a section of the space is designed to lead them through the process, helping them to end the marriage both physically and mentally”.

I like how she even thought of things like ring disposal! In this age of “conscious uncoupling”, I guess couples do need such a space to reflect on their marriage and whether it is worth salvaging.


I like Hayden Goh’s idea of a hiking aid that can also be of help during an emergency. You can even activate a blinking light for SOS signaling!

Tan Pei Jing Connex

Tan Pei Jing’s Connex “allows outdoor camping tents to be connected together seamlessly”. There goes your privacy. But it’s great for families with young kids!

Tan Chien Hui SNooze

I have fallen sound asleep on one of Changi Airport’s chairs before so I know how important it is to have one’s luggage kept secure! Having your luggage attached to your seat is brilliant! One can snooze peacefully now!


Crystal Ong’s Uber keeps an umbrella inside a walking aid, so the user can have both an umbrella and a walking aid when it is raining. How awesome!

Other great ideas include: Muhammad Aminuddin’s Rollix (an extendable paint roller equipped with a pressure pump), Teo Hun Ing’s PortalDrip which “removes the need for drip stands by allowing users to wear the drip on themselves”, making it easier to tackle stairs, access toilets and frees up more space in hospital rooms, and Tan Wei Ming’s Re-Cap which will “help drivers locate their cars [in carparks] with… visual reminders and mental mappings”. I’m not sure how Re-Cap actually works, but less time required in figuring out where the boyfriend parked his car is always welcome!

Nyssa Tien Recharge Box

Nyssa Tien’s ‘Recharge Box’ idea seems a little bizarre. It is “a series of hanging boxes for napping” and allows tour bus drivers to stretch out and sleep. It is great that she thought of napping as a “strategy for maintaining alertness”. But I’m not sure we need to go to that expense! How much will it cost to construct this whole thing? Plus, it seems rather scary to sleep in a box – I’ll leave that for when I’m dead. Tour bus drivers can simply stretch out in the seats on board the buses. ;)

Nurul Ain Petite Burger

Does Nurul Ain know that her Petite Burger idea is extremely similar to the vegan burger joint, Veganburg? Hmm…

All in all, it was an eye-opening exhibition. I hope Nanyang Polytechnic continues to nurture more of these creative individuals and let their innovative designs be taken to market. :)

The NTU Masters’ Prog Ladies FINALLY Get It? Or… Maybe Not

Interesting how my blogpost about the interview request email I received got me an assortment of comments – mostly offering their own similar experiences.

Anyway… the NTU Masters’ Prog ladies DID send me a reply (I wasn’t quite expecting it so kudos to them)…

Their Email:

Dear Grace

Thank you for your reply.
We appreciate your comments, and would like to apologise for rushing you on an interview request.
On hindsight, we should have explained our project more to our interviewees.
This has certainly been a valuable learning experience for the team.
Thank you once again.
Priyanka, Elizabeth, Rachael and Truda
  1. Theirs is indeed a polite email, offering not just an apology but also thanks. (Though they did not reply to my follow-up email)
  2. I do think they didn’t quite get my point – it’s not the “rushing” me for an interview bit that I wanted to communicate to them. It’s the lack of sincerity bit (the ‘not caring whether an hour of my time is precious to me or not’ bit).
  3. And no, I certainly do not think they should have “explained [their] project more to [their] interviewees”. What’s that saying again? People don’t care how much you know, they want to know how much you care. I don’t want to know every single detail about your project. I want to know whether you care about me as a blogger, whether you care about how precious an hour of MY TIME is. If you care about me and what I do, I’d certainly WANT TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR PROJECT!
  4. If I come across as being overly harsh in my response, it is because I am appalled at receiving such an email from MASTERS’ PROGRAMME Candidates at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication & Information! I had expected better-crafted emails. And it is also because I am brutally honest, sometimes.

To the people who posted comments expressing their indignation at my response:

  1. KAM: “Grace means doing something and expecting nothing in return”. Er… ok! Why don’t you give these ladies one hour of your time for nothing in return? And how does my name have anything to do with this? LOL! So a lady named “Rose” has to smell floral/good all the time? Please post something sensible, or don’t post anything at all. Thank you. :) 
  2. Nicky: You say that you are my “1st and never again reader”. Ok, goodbye!
  3. Anne: Again, the name argument, like KAM’s. Alright, how about I change my name to ‘Fierce’ then? Would it make better sense to you?

I DO admit that I can be BRUTALLY honest at times, I dislike receiving template emails, and I certainly cannot stand the way some people behave as if I OWE THEM SOMETHING WHEN I MOST CERTAINLY DO NOT!

What might have happened if I had been “graceful” enough to reply to their email with my answers to their interview questions:

Here’s what a fellow blogger shared with me. He received the SAME email from the PERT ladies, and he actually spent half an hour crafting a reply to them. He is also one of Singapore’s top food bloggers:

 “Just to let u know. I replied them, by email. Only becos they are from my same school. I got a reply… These are not the answers we want because we have more questions but thanks. Somewhere along that line. Regretted wasting 30 min of my life typing a reply.”

I do not regret what I did, simply because the ladies DO NOT APPRECIATE our time.

And I will try to blog about them gracefully, if possible.

Another friend who saw the comment by the blogger who wasted 30 minutes of his life typing a reply to PERT, has this to say:

Especially of late, I’m receiving a couple of requests for meet-ups or phone interviews from the universities students. Hardly any one of the emails shared how the interview can benefit me in a tangible manner. It’s not that I’m stingy with time but I value my time than to give it off in a frivolous manner. I mean even if you 1) can’t offer anything tangible or 2) don’t know what’s tangible to me, at least 1) make intelligent guesses or 2) make an offer to find out how they can help me in my work. Cheesy as it sounds, it’s the small things that matter. None of the students did that and they just expect a standard copy-paste email template will get them the responses they need, when they need and how they need.

I think they have to learn it younger la. If not, when they go to the workplace, then they see our Western or other counterparts who are more adept at social intelligence and this kinda basic stuff. Then they get jealous and say, “hey, why i work so hard but i don’t get recognized but the (put in the nationality) knows how to (put in acts of social intelligence) get all the credit and opportunities”.

If you get it now, great. If not, too bad.

My Eye-Opening Visit To The Siglap Homestay For Foreign Students

About a week ago, I set out to discover what it is like for foreign students to live in Singapore. And I concluded that some of them have it pretty good here.

I visited the Siglap Homestay at 653 Changi Road and met the students’ guardian, Sharene:

653 Changi Road

Guess how many people stay in here?

Sharene and students

Besides Sharene and her family, plus two maids, there are 11 students currently staying in this 4-storey house! That explains the amount of laundry out in the front. :D

The students are currently paying S$1300 per month for their stay at Siglap Homestay, and this flat fee covers guardianship, 3 meals a day, housekeeping, laundry, etc.

I took a photo of what the students got for lunch:


Seems like wholesome fare! I’d like some chili sauce for the nuggets, please! :D

What I appreciated most were the little corners in the house that were so tastefully decorated and exactly what I’d enjoy as a student:

melting clock

lots of greenery


But most interesting of all were the notices pasted on every bedroom door, regarding the Rules and Regulations:


I found at least one rule pretty mind-boggling: meals are not allowed in rooms (to prevent any spillage/mess) but snacks are allowed. Hmm…

In any case, I think the students will definitely develop some measure of discipline from staying here and their parents should feel very confident that their kids are in good hands.

I wish I’d gotten a chance to intimately experience what it is like to live in this homestay… Maybe next time. ;)

To view more pictures and retrieve the necessary contact details, click HERE.

Till next time! And Happy Lunar New Year, everybody! :)


Spell some words and win $5000? Count me in!

If you haven’t already read from the Straits Times yesterday, it’s great being a student these days! If you take part in the National Spelling Championship 2013, organized by RHB bank and The Straits Times, you stand a chance to win $5,000 and a trophy for your school! The first runner-up gets $3,000 and the second runner-up gets $1,000! The spelling championship is only in its second year, so this explains how I totally missed out when I was in primary school. XD

National Spelling Championship Singapore

Thanks to, some bloggers (including myself) got to attend the media launch on Friday afternoon.

And there were some oh-so-cute mascots to greet us:

*The luckiest lion in the whole of SG that day*

RHB mascot

*Want to score an A+ for your exams? Hug this mascot!*

Cute mascot

Oh heck! Hug all three of them! :D

3 mascots

Friends from the media were also treated to a ‘live’ spelling competition between students from Yu Neng Primary and Tampines North Primary. And my goodness, the student supporters went wild with the clappers they were given as they cheered for their schoolmates.


Yu Neng and Tampines North Primary

Online Spelling Game

The students had to spell the words ‘arithmetic’, ‘monstrous’, ‘diction’, ‘meditate’, ‘zoology’, and ‘hygiene’. Each letter was represented by a football which had to be shot into the net – not an easy task as there were some monkey defenders and a goalkeeper to get past!

These days, a spelling app cannot simply be a spelling app. It has to be an interactive game which not only has a countdown timer (that gets your heart racing) but also music, colors, and a lot of fun. I think all kids will love this app!

In the end, the team from Yu Neng Primary won and went home with a huge hamper of goodies plus a digital camera each. Tampines North Primary also took home an equally large hamper.


After the excitement of the contest, we were also treated to a screening of the movie ‘The Lorax’ – it was fantastic! Who knew that people could be taught to save the trees without getting bored? Ahhh… now, if only all trees looked all fluffy and cotton candy-ish. :D


ACS Junior was a big winner last year, winning both the champion and first runner-up titles – can they retain the titles this year? Jordan Foo, then aged 12, won by correctly spelling the word ‘jodhpurs’ (horse-riding pants that fit tightly from knee to ankle). <- Who knew there was such a word?!

I look forward to this year’s championship and more mind-boggling words that primary school students can spell. Are YOU better at spelling than a primary six student? ;)

The iSpell app will be available for download by Jan 31, so watch out for it.

Head over to for more details about the National Spelling Championship 2013.

Interview with Jared Fogle, The Subway Guy

Jared Fogle

Spokesman for Subway Restaurants

1) What was it like physically and emotionally to be “an obese child, an obese teenager and an obese adult”? How did obesity begin in your childhood? And what did your parents do?

For me, each stage of development being obese was harder and harder.  There is never a good time in one’s life to be heavy but as a child, it was especially tough.  I dealt with it by withdrawing more and more from my family and friends.  I could always seem to find solace in food.

It became harder for me to do everyday things like fit into my school desks, go to a movie theatre, sit in the back seat of a car, and took much more effort to walk even a block down the street.

My unhealthy lifestyle started when I was 8 years old when my dream of getting my own video game system became a reality.  I quickly stopped exercising and became very sedentary.

My parents were very concerned but the more they approached me about changing myself, I would push away from them and continue eating and not being active.

This continued getting worse each year until I was 20 years old and weighed over 425 pounds*.

*425 pounds = 193kg

2) What exactly prompted you to embark on your weight loss plan that allowed you to shed 245 pounds (111kg)? How did you suddenly find the motivation to shed so much weight? 

I finally had enough when I was 20 years old and over 425 pounds.  I had developed a severe case of sleep apnea and was always exhausted because of it.  I would wake up throughout the night gasping for air, which was a very scary situation.  At that point, I had had enough I think.

3) Many people have difficulty keeping to a weight-loss plan. What do you think is the reason they are unable to lose weight like you have? 

I tried many different ways to lose weight but struggled to find a way for me to do it.  I finally happened upon the idea to eat Subway sandwiches from their low-fat menu.  I ate Subway twice a day everyday and also started walking everyday.  It started to click and I continued with it under the supervision of a physician to make sure I was doing everything in a healthy way.

As long as I stuck to that plan, I continued to drop weight and it took me just under a year to lose 245 pounds!

I looked at losing the weight as phase one and keeping it off is a continual struggle that I will fight my entire life!

Now I practice eating in moderation and staying active.  I still eat Subway several times a week but learned to eat most things, just not as much as I used to.
4) How has life changed since you became Subway’s spokesman?

It changed in every way.  I’m recognized a lot these days and it’s great to be a positive role model for others who fight with obesity.  It makes me feel great to give hope to others who are in a similar situation I was in.

 5) What’s a day in your life like? 

I travel almost 200 days a year for Subway and also doing work for my foundation to fight childhood obesity, called The Jared Foundation.

When I’m on the road, I’m usually up early doing interviews for radio and TV then on to some school visits to encourage children not to go down the same road I went down and ever wind up weighing 425 pounds.  I try to empower kids with education to take the healthy road to life!

Grace says: You may have set a New Year’s Resolution to lose some weight so take heart, it IS possible to shed those extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. For the sake of your own health and happiness, and for your loved ones, make those lifestyle changes and choose to eat in moderation and stay active, like Jared advises.

You can read the story behind ‘The Subway Guy’ here.

Also, visit The Jared Foundation’s website and make a donation so the Foundation can reach out to more kids and help them lead healthier, happier lives.

Stay healthy, stay happy! :)

Come back again soon for the next exciting interview!~

Interview with Yao Shih Lien from Genius Mind Academy

Yao Shih Lien (pictured with Grace)

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director

Genius Mind Academy

Visit GMA’s Website HERE

I got to know about Genius Mind Academy (GMA) this year. It was one of the companies which received the SME1 awards and I had the privilege of interviewing the CEO and Managing Director, Mr Yao Shih Lien. Check out the interview video below:

I was very impressed when I met the children who had undergone the activation. They were blindfolded and could do things like color a picture:

The end-result looks better than what other kids can do with their eyes open:

Even the little red tongue got colored! How awesome is that?!

And this other girl could differentiate cards and categorise them into living and non-living things, just using her sense of smell! *The cards aren’t scented!*

Honestly, I was quite skeptical initially when I came to know about this company which uses their proprietary sound to activate childrens’ mid-brain, helping them take “The First Step Towards Genius”. Then I met the kids and got blown away. What really sealed the deal for me was meeting the PARENTS of these kids and hearing what they had to say.

You won’t see this in the video but the parents were moved to tears as they related to me their experiences of raising their kids before and after sending them to Genius Mind Academy:

If you want to activate your child’s mid-brain and potential, I would recommend Genius Mind Academy. These parents have sent their children to other enrichment courses but nothing worked. It seems the missing first step can be found at GMA.

Check out their website HERE and you can register for the upcoming free previews. You’ve got to see the kids in action to believe!

Genius Mind Academy can also be contacted at or 65925638.

Interview with Lorenzo Ang

Lorenzo Ang

Educator, Universal Tuition Link

1) When and why was Universal Tuition Link set up?

Universal Tuition Link was set up in 2005. 

Prior to 2005, I had been a private home tutor since 1998 and I’d worked for tuition agencies as both coordinator and manager.

After I realized how these agencies operated and their model of “hit-and-run” business, I felt that the market needs more good and responsible agencies.

Therefore, after analyzing the market, and equipped with parents’ & educators’ feedback, I decided to set up Universal Tuition Link.

My mission is to help parents source for reliable and qualified educators and to ensure the parents get the best service possible.

As for educators, we will safeguard their interest in all aspects and ensure they are fairly treated.

2) What are the challenges you faced in starting and now managing this business?

At the start, we encountered an overcrowded market full of competitors, including a lot of ‘black sheep’ in this industry.

To gain our customers’ trust and business, we only recruited reliable and experienced educators.

We started off with a small database but along the way, we have recruited a pool of reliable educators, and served very supportive customers.

In order to improve our efficiency and understand the needs of educators and students even better, we conduct market research and surveys regularly.

3) This is a very competitive industry. So how do you stay ahead of your competition?

We continuously improve our matching service by upgrading our operations through our customized matching software program. We also send our staff for computer courses regarding our new operation software.

Through our regular research and analyses, we ensure our tuition rates are the most affordable & competitive in the market.

We strive to give our best support to parents, students and educators. For example, for the past five years, we have been providing free downloads of past year exam papers for our students, educators and the public.

4)  What are the benefits of choosing your agency instead of other agencies? And what can parents do on their part to ensure a good experience with hiring a tutor?

First and foremost, I am a private educator with 10 years of experience and I know intimately the needs and wants of parents, students and educators.

For parents/students, they can be assured that we screen though the educator’s qualification thoroughly to ensure they are qualified for the tuition assignments. We always brief all the educators beforehand about the needs and requirements of our students.

With regard to the educators, communication is very important. We follow up with every educator regularly to understand their schedule, rate of progress with our students and also ask if they need our help in any aspect. Therefore, we have come to understand our educators very well.

Parents should ensure these 3 things are present:

1) Trustworthiness
Check whether the tuition agency is a registered one. Check the educator’s certification.

2) Monitoring
Monitor the progress of the student. Communicate with both the student and the educator and follow-up with them after each lesson.

3) Feedback
Give feedback to the agency on the performance of both the student and the educator.

5) I’ve noticed from your Facebook pictures that you are someone who believes in doing charity work. Does that extend to your company as well?

Yes, it is our firm belief that it is everyone’s duty to contribute to our society. Currently, Universal Tuition Link is contributing a dollar to charity associations with every successful tuition assignment.

We hope we can inspire more people to help those who are less fortunate!

Grace says: I spotted some of Lorenzo’s Facebook photos showing the donations to Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home, Grace Lodge and Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital. He has been the organiser for a number of such activities and his friends and business associates contribute most of the donations. I hope they go on to inspire even more people to contribute to society! :)

*All pictures courtesy of Lorenzo Ang

Check out Universal Tuition Link’s Facebook Page here to find out more about them and learn how you can contribute to a charitable cause too. :)