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By Eutonia CHEN (HSBC Prosperity Hall)

‘It is better to travel far than to read voluminously.’ Singapore is a cosmopolitan and diverse country. Together with two Residence Tutors (Farah from Lee Shau Kee Hall and Xiaoming from JC Harmony Hall), I had a very fruitful trip visiting the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Ngee Ann Polytechnic from 3 April to 8 April 2010.

At the National University of Singapore (NUS), there are two types of residential area: Residence and Hall. A residence is on a larger scale while the size of a hall is similar to that in CityU. Apparently, high-rise buildings are seldom found in Singapore and Halls in NUS are separated into different blocks (e.g. 50 residents per block).

Prince George’s Park Residence (PGPR) at NUS is the place where we were accommodated throughout our 6 days exchange visit. Upon our arrival, we were amazed at the self-contained nature of the PGPR. They have their own gymnasium, basketball court, badminton court, table-tennis court, tennis court, and even a PGPR lecture theatre. Mandy, a residence assistant, accompanied us from the PGPR entrance and assisted us in checking into our rooms. Unlike at CityU, a ‘transponder’ (see the photo below) was used rather than a residence access card. It is a mini-machine with which we opened and locked our door by pressing the middle blue button. For the lift, the transponder can be used to approach our own floor but not other floors! That means girls are not able to head for the male floors freely.

During the meeting with Miss Hong Si Min, Assistant Manager of Residential Life, we found various differences between the CityU halls and NUS residences. Regarding boys-and-girls relationships (BGR), NUS has recently implemented an interesting rule called Boys and Girls behind Closed Doors, meaning that when someone from the opposite sex goes to your room, the door has to be wide open.

‘We are all adults now and should have the right to choose our own way of running the hall’, said Andy Lim, Vice-chairman of JCRC (i.e. Junior Common Room Committee, a similar organisation to CityU Residents’ Association) of Sheares Hall at NUS. I am surprised by the autonomous nature of their student residents’ bodies, which gave them absolute power to decide on the list of returning students on the basis of a point system.

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