Ngee Ann Polytechnic Alumni in England Speak of Hope

By Anika Nale

FMS Alumni caught up with their former lectures and met with current students in a traditional London pub | Photo by Lai Si Min

FMS students had the chance to talk to their seniors including award-winning Singaporean director Anthony Chen during a study trip to London in September

The newfound independence as they step into adulthood also instills fear and uncertainty among many Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) undergraduates.

However, as four successful London-based Film & Media Studies (FMS) graduates shared bits of their past and present, they reassured the 19 FMS-London study trip team members that there is hope in the future.

Only one out of the four alumni are doing the jobs they wanted back in year one. However, all four of them are definitely satisfied with how things unexpectedly turned out.

“Don’t play safe and stay inside your comfort zone. Sometimes, you have to gamble and give everything your 100 per cent to see the best that you can be,” says Pearlyn Cai, who graduated with a Diploma in Mass Communication (MCM) in 2000. Pearlyn runs her own company.

Another alumnus who attended the mini reunion in a traditional London pub was international award-winning director Anthony Chen, who achieved success for his film, Ilo-Ilo.

Anthony, who graduated in 2005 went on from FMS to study at UK’s prestigious National Film and Television School, says: “When I was in Film, Sound and Video, I depended on my team a lot. Even after graduating, the same core of people helped me with my films. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Today, Anthony and his wife reside in London where he is working on several film projects. Yet even when he is miles away from Singapore, he will always cherish and remember the people he worked with in NP 15 years ago.

Edardy Sukayman, Associate Creative Director of Spindrift Agency, also shared how grateful he is for the people that he met in school, especially his former lecturers. Edardy graduated with a Diploma in MCM in 2000.

He says: “They helped me create a good foundation and explore my passion for Advertising. They taught me the value of adaptability and flexibility especially with the media industry ever evolving so rapidly.”

While Edardy followed through with his advertising career, FMS alumnus, Mary-Ann Russon, who graduated with an MCM diploma in 2005, freelanced and part-timed for years – including being a receptionist at a fancy restaurant in Covent Garden, U.K. – before she became the senior technology journalist at the widely acclaimed online news platform, International Business Times U.K.

She says: “When I joined MCM, I didn’t know what I really wanted, I just know I wanted to be a journalist.” She, however, never foresaw herself as a technology journalist, especially when she, like many Mass-commers, disliked Maths and Science in secondary school.

“It’s hard to explain but it was as if everything fell into place. I had a mix of ABC and even Ds for my grades but in the end it didn’t stop me from fulfilling my dream of becoming a journalist,” she adds.

Mary-Ann says: “You don’t have to aim to excel at every subject. In poly, you’re meant to figure out what you’re good at and then push that. Take the time to figure it out. Stay tenacious. Stay passionate.”
All four alumni reassured the 19 anxious yet awestruck trip members that as long as you have passion for what you do, there will always be a job out there waiting for you to take on. The only question is, are you up for the challenge?

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