Strawfreeej: a Eunoian’s efforts in making a green impact


One small step for environment, a great leap for EJC. Have you been spotting metal straws around EJ lately? Have you been seeing people reject plastic straws? Well, Instagram account @strawfreeej has been working hand-in-hand with participative Eunoians to make a change and do their part to protect the environment. Here is my interview with EJ’s latest changemaker, Hong Jing (17-U4).

  1. How did this account start off?
    I’ve known about the straw free movement since about a year ago, as I’m friends with the person who initiated @strawfreecj, and she happens to be an SN Alumni. I’ve always had an interest in this sort of thing, I just didn’t have time to fully act on it. However, one day, as a result of impulse and free time after MYEs, I decided to create the @strawfreeej account, and it just went from there. On my first day, I only had 90 followers, and I initially thought it was going to be a bust. I always noticed that there are lots of people that like bring their own containers in EJ, as well as SN having a really environmentally friendly culture, so I started to get support by asking my friends to send in submissions when they reject plastic carriers or bring their own containers and straws. This whole strawfreeej thing is relatively recent, it only started 1-2 weeks ago, but it has taken off quite fast! 
  2. What motivates you to source for metal straws and cater them to Eunoians?
    My motivation in doing so goes both ways. Caring for the environment is fun, it does not take much effort to not use plastic straws or plastic bags. On the other hand, I’m also really lucky to have a such a helpful and supportive community. When I first started @strawfreeej, I followed the people I knew to firstly build up followers, and other environmental accounts slowly started to follow me as well. This was when another environmental account, @byobottlesg, discovered my account. I was kind of wary of the account at first, however, the account admin reached out and offered to help in any way that she could, so that’s actually where I get the metal straws from. She sells the straws at cost price, while other companies sell metal straws that are more expensive but more aesthetic.  A member of Hwa Chong’s green council also reached out to me with resources from Plastic-Lite (a community that raises awareness about the over-use of disposable plastics in Singapore) that we plan to use soon. Apart from that, @strawfreesingapore will provide some straw free stickers which we plan to introduce to the drinks stall and lounge to discourage Eunoians from unnecessary straw usage.
  3. How has the responses been so far?
    A lot of people post about this on Snapchat and Instagram now, but initially, I had to force my friends to do it. During the first week, I had to wait until Friday to accumulate 10 photos for the ‘shoutout Fridays’ segment. But submissions are picking up and I hope it continues. Some J1s also got interested and wanted to join in, which they did, so now the account has 2 more co-admins. 
  4. How many metal straws have you sold in total?
    I ordered 91 straws, they are all sold out now. Many are still interested in buying as they did not see the ordering form posted on Instagram, so I do plan to have another round of ordering. I’ve also received complaints that people are only allowed to order 1 metal straw per person, and often they’d like to get both the normal and bubble tea straw. My explanation for this was that it is not good for the environment if we bought things that are unnecessary. Bubble tea straw can be used as normal straw too, so there is no point in getting both and creating extra carbon footprint.
  5.  What is the main message that you want to bring across?
    I don’t want people to be using a metal straw now just because it is popular, since it is more of understanding the meaning behind it. Truth is, the carbon footprint of a metal straw is much greater than a plastic straw, so using a metal straw is only good for environment if it is used repeatedly, and over a long period of time. At the same time, there are many other things that use a lot of plastic, like bottle caps and plastic cups, hence maybe this will also encourage more people to bring their own reusable cups. Green conservation movements have always been associated with hippies who bring their own tupperware, and with that, comes a bad reputation. In general, I hope to make conservation movements more mainstream, and more convenient.
  6. Do you have any future plans for strawfreeej?
    The straws are sold at a very slight marked-up price (that is still very cheap so anyone who wants to live a green lifestyle can afford to do so) to raise funds to subsidise biodegradable utensils to be used in the lounge, which currently uses a lot of plastic utensils. However, this plan does not seem very sustainable, so we might just launch it for a short while as an experiment to show that Eunoians prefer biodegradable utensils, and hope that the cafe will introduce their own rewashable cutlery. As of now, I just want to focus on the school community as it is more effective. There are some plans to completely ban straws in EJ, since most drinks don’t even need straws. Other than that, I hope to be able to involve teachers as many of them do already bring their own containers to school.


That’s all we have for the interview with strawfreeej, meanwhile, follow @strawfreeej on Instagram, and look out for the next round of ordering of metal straws if you’re keen on getting one!

Special thanks to Hong Jing for agreeing to be interviewed, thanks a bunch 🙂

CCA in the Spotlight – Drama

Photo credit: Jayden Sim Hong Kai

Interviewee: Satini Sankeerthana

What is an average CCA session like?
Keerthana: For the first half an hour or so, we do warm-ups which are of a few types namely, vocal, physical and games which require concentration like splat for example. After which, if there are any productions or performances coming up, we split up into our committees and get the work done. If there aren’t any events coming up, then we do group or individual activities like acting or freeze frame and sharings (sometimes) about drama and theater in general so we are equipped with skills about backstage work as well. Lastly, we have a debrief.

What do you enjoy most about your CCA?
Keerthana: Definitely Interacting with people and the synergy among the members! It really hypes me up! And that’s why CCA is one thing I look forward to even on long days as I feel that’s when my energy level automatically shoots up! Also, everyone in Drama is really friendly and we have a lot of funny memories together. I also enjoy playing the games and dancing during warm ups sometimes and most of all acting!

As seniors, what is your CCA looking out for in prospective members?
Keerthana: We look out for people who are committed, responsible and hard working, as we believe that although acting skills or expertise with regards to backstage are important, they can still be learnt and improved over time once you join us, but the right attitude and mindset towards acting or CCA as a whole is really important for our dynamics and in order to get the work done.

What do you think was the highlight for your CCA last year?
Keerthana: OUR VERY FIRST PRODUCTION!! “PEOPLE” It really taught us a lot and there were ups and downs along the journey and I personally have learnt a lot of skills not only pertaining to the sets( I was head of sets) but also life skills such as teamwork and coordination. It was also very exciting as some of us did not have any prior background knowledge or experience, for example, it was some of the actors’ first time on stage and it was my first time doing sets!

CCA information (Timing, achievements, etc)
Wednesdays from 3.30-6.30 and Fridays 3.00-6.00pm.

Do you have a penchant for owning the stage? Think your up for the challenge to embody different characters? Or even manage stage lighting and design? Head over to the drama club and find out more!

CCA in the spotlight – Debate

Photo credits: Mr Marc Kenji Lim

Hi all!

Don’t fret if your still at a loss of what CCA to choose for your JC life! Next up, presenting to you…

CCA: Debate

Interviewee: Wei Ying

Interviewer: Claire Hsieh and Soh Wen Sheun

What is an average CCA session like?

We debate then move into motions. It’s pretty stressful before debating, but I feel very enriched afterwards.

.What do you enjoy most about your CCA?

I enjoy the most precious 15-30 minutes prep time with teammates before each impromptu motion. The process requires a lot of concentration and teamwork, and I get to listen to different ideas, before pulling them together into one single caseline. Debate is really a mental team sport lol!

As seniors, you will be holding auditions for your juniors, so what is your CCA looking out for in prospective members?

Intellectually driven (After all debates require a lot of mental skills and content knowledge)

Committed to the club (people who have an attitude to learn and serve)

What do you think is a highlight for your CCA last year?

There’s two actually:

Bubble tea training session. It was quite a normal training actually, but the difference was that the Excos bought bubble tea for each member and it really cheered everyone up after a long day of EOY-prep (in fact it was the last CCA we had before EOY, the sight of everyone chilling and drinking tea is especially heartwarming.

Debate camp + debate meet. The CCA got a lot more bonded in the camp, and when the JC1 juniors came in the second day (Debate meet), everyone put on their most responsible side and presented themselves as good role models.

Stay tuned for the next CCA’s interview!

CCA in the spotlight – Chinese Orchestra

Photo credit: Mr Marc Kenji Lim

Hi all!

Have you ever walked from the ISH towards the basketball court and heard the exotic sounds of Chinese music? Find out more about the CCA!

CCA: Chinese Orchestra

Interviewee: Calista Loh

Interviewers: Claire Hsieh and Soh Wen Sheun

What do you do during CCA?

I’m from Chinese Orchestra and I play the cello. We practice Chinese songs most of the time: for 2.5 hours on Tuesdays and 3 hours on Wednesdays. On Wednesdays, my CCA focuses more on the technical areas of music such as bowing techniques and articulation. Currently, we are also preparing for our performance in the upcoming Chinese New Year festival and some lunchtime concerts. We will also be having a joint concert with the other performing arts CCAs soon!

What do you enjoy most in your CCA?

I really enjoy playing the cello due to its unique sound. Moreover, what draws me to the instrument is the huge level of coordination required between all the cellists in an orchestra as it is important that when we play together, we only sound like one person playing. Therefore, it is easy for the audience to hear any mistakes when one cellist messes up. I also love and enjoy the teamwork and close relationships between me and my CCA members.

What are some troubles you encountered during CCA and how did you overcome them?

Sometimes my hands hurt a lot as playing the cello requires you to press the strings extremely hard in order to achieve the right sound. This is especially so when I just began practicing the cello. Not only that, I can get tired halfway through CCA sessions. I think the support between the players in my CCA and my CCA teacher is instrumental in pushing all of us to continue and improve ourselves. Also, I feel that your motivation has to come from within as well so that you can make the most out of your CCA!

As seniors, you will be holding auditions for your juniors, so what is your CCA looking for in prospective members?

It is one thing to be skilled in playing an instrument. However, to have the passion and willingness to try your best and love what you are doing is, I feel, much more important and crucial. We are looking for members you are passionate and willing to put in the effort to not only improve yourself, but also come together with other members as an orchestra!

What do you think is a highlight for your CCA last year?

‘A Beautiful Muse’ performance

Stay tuned for the next CCA’s interview!

CCA in the spotlight – Volleyball

Photo credit: Nicole Therese Lim

Hi all!

Featuring our first sports CCA!

CCA: Volleyball

Interviewee: Yong Duan Kang

Interviewers: Claire Hsieh and Soh Wen Sheun

What do you do during CCA?

In an average CCA session, we do warm ups, followed by skills training and some games stimulation. We are also currently preparing for A Division coming up in a few months.

What do you enjoy most in your CCA?

The girls (joking) and the people in my CCA as they are great teammates.

What are some troubles you encountered in your CCA and how did you overcome them?

Some people don’t come for training such as turning up only once every 6 sessions. Besides informing the teacher about this issue, there is nothing we can do about it.

As seniors, you will be holding auditions for your juniors, so what is your CCA looking for in prospective members?

You have to have the skills. However, you can also get in if you have the passion and commitment by turning up for every training session despite not acquiring the relevant skill set yet! I remember the level of competition for auditions last year was pretty high: 50 people went to audition but only 12 managed to get in. Also, the coach is pretty chill.

What do you think is a highlight for your CCA last year?

I think the CCA camp last year was pretty fun as we went to Sentosa Beach at night to play volleyball- it was great time.

The Road Ahead- Beginning with a Dream (Part 1)

Hey there Eunoians,

This is Origin*’s first month and as you all probably know by now, the topic of the month is, “Beginnings”. As I was pondering over my choice of topic, I suddenly remembered the first line of the school song:

Beginning with a dream

The situation that many of us faced with flashed through my mind:

  1. We are all studying in EJC
  2. We are taking our A-levels next year
  3. Most of us are probably going to university after that
  4. Even if we choose not to go to university after our A-levels, the college is inevitably going to kick us out which would mean that we have to find stuff to do

This then led me to come up with the idea to write about our ‘dreams’- what we plan to do after our A-levels.

Hopefully in the future, we will be able to continue this series with more posts about the (possibly) wonderful life after JC.

Well, before we can even do anything to achieve our dreams, we must first determine exactly what our dream is (which is the purpose of this post).

Some of us might already have dreams that we are actively trying to pursue. Perhaps we want to win that coveted PSC scholarship and study in a prestigious overseas university. Maybe it’s not so much about the university but rather it’s about the course of study we intend to take.

Some of us are still undecided at this point of time. Maybe we don’t know what path we want to take in the future. Maybe we are in the process of deciding between a few options.

I interviewed 2 of the Origin* team members and this is what they had to say:

Interviewee 1: Grace Yeh (aka The Boss)

R will refer to myself (Rin) and G will refer to Grace

R: So what do you wanna do after A levels?

G: Okay so after ‘A’ Levels, I will probably start to look for universities that I can possibly apply to. If I still don’t know what I want to do, I might take a gap year or something, then maybe go and explore the different kinds of jobs I can take. I might go to Australia, maybe even the US and go and tour around the universities and see which one, you know, fits.

R: Is there any specific (career) field that you wish to enter at this current point of time?

G: Right now I’m leaning more towards the medical field but I’m still keeping my options open!

R: Have you considered any other fields that you might possibly enter?

G: I’ve also considered research, pharmaceuticals. (These fields are) still very related to medicine. Actually I also wanted to be a ballerina at one point in life hahaha…

R: How did you make the decision to pursue medicine in the future?

G: I’ve been to this medicine internship overseas in Nepal which allowed us to go and visit a Third-World country’s hospital to like walk around, look at the files, shadow the doctors… Even though it was a third world country and it was probably like the rawest of the raw, I still enjoyed it and it allowed me to know that even though I’m seeing probably the least developed form of medicine, this is still what I want to do.

R: So it was more of an experience that led you to think about (choosing medicine)? Or was it something that you’ve always been thinking about?

G: It was definitely something that I’ve always been pondering about, but my decision was, you could say “catalysed” by this trip.

Experiences are one way that we can figure out what we want to do. So if you’re unsure about what you want to do in the future at this point of time, one way to figure things out would be to go out there and try out different things.

Going out there and experiencing different things can help you decide whether something that you’ve been thinking about is something that you really want to do. After all, we’re just a bunch of students and we really don’t know what the “real world” is like.

Speaking from personal experience, going through internships and other industry related activities has made me change my goals several times in the past few years. I think that we all tend to think that we know how a specific job/career path is like. However, it is important to realise that every job/field is very complex and that there is bound to be some misconception that we have about that job/field. Hence, going for an internship can really give you a lot more insight into the job/field that you are interested in.

You may want to consider looking for internship/externship opportunities for you to participate in during the end of year holidays. Do remember to contact the organisations in advance to ensure that your work attachment goes smoothly. You may also consider applying through the school through our Internship and Externship Programme.

Let’s move on to the next interview!

Interviewee 2: Cindy Yu

Once again, R will refer to myself, C will refer to Cindy

R:What are your career aspirations at this point in time?

C: I want to go into product development. I want to go into something along the lines of engineering because that’s what my dad did and it kind of influenced me and my choice of career. I guess part of the reason is also because I want to make people’s lives more convenient through the innovation and creation of more useful products using new technology. I haven’t thought about what company I wish to work for in the future, I just know that I want to do engineering in uni and hopefully with whatever degree I have, I can pursue product development as a career. There’s a wide range of degrees which will allow you to go into product development , you can have a degree in design, architecture or even mechanical engineering.

R: In what ways did your father influence your decision to go with engineering?

C: I kind of grew up fixing stuff, when my toys broke I’ll ask my dad to help me fix it and he’ll teach me how to use all the tools. I remember at some point in time I had my own toolbox which I didn’t use much. He also taught me how to make stuff, he made some furniture around the house, he made a foldable table for me, he made the shelves, he was always trying to improve our surroundings by making it more convenient.

R: Apart from your dad, what else pushed you towards engineering?

C: I see all the products in the markets, like the interesting and cool Japanese products and when I scroll through Facebook there are also posts about new products that are coming up. For example, the wallet created by NUS students that will sort out the notes and coins automatically when you put them in. There’s also the shoes with replaceable soles where you can just change the soles which wear out easily without having to buy a new pair. It’s an environmentally friendly product which encourages waste minimisation. Waste reduction is something that I value a lot and want to work on so going into product development  and engineering is a channel for me to realise my ideas.

R: What are your backup plans?

C: I thought about other careers I wish to go into but they’re not exactly backup plans, just an alternative if I suddenly realise that product development is not the thing for me.

Another way that we can try to figure out what we want to do in the future is to look to other people for inspiration. Talk to the people around you and find out more about what they like. Perhaps you might find something that resonates with you.

You may also want to think examine your values and decide what is important to you. Different jobs are important for different reasons. If there is a cause that matters to you a lot (e.g. Education, Health, National Defence) you may want to think about what jobs will help you make a difference in that area of society. It is important to find a path that you find fulfilling for you may potentially end up being in that specific career for a large portion of your life.

I also think that it’s important for us to consider alternatives. Life doesn’t always go as we want it to go and we always want to be prepared for such a situation. Even if you think that you can easily enter your preferred industry, you may still want to consider alternatives. We make decisions based on our knowledge at the time we make the decision. However, our knowledge is only limited to our experiences. Hence, it is possible (I daresay even likely) that there are things that we would actually love doing that we haven’t discovered. Therefore, we need to think about alternatives to even have any chance of discovering other things that we love.

I hope that this post helps you in figuring out what you want to do with your life after the A-levels. If you only gain 1 thing from this entire 1623 word post, I hope that you start seriously thinking about your future and most importantly, start having meaningful conversations about the subject. You still have quite a fair bit of time before you have to make a real decision about what you want to do after the A-levels but what you do now may impact your options in the future. So work hard, play hard and dream hard.


Photo by Jaime Handley on Unsplash