February 2015 | ISSUE 16
Meet our students: Joseph and Isabelle

By Andrea Loh
Higher Executive, Communications & External Relations


Joseph (behind) exploring his dormant passion for sailing (Custom) (Custom).JPGJOSEPH WONG (far right)
Class of 2018

Imagine chilling on a sailboat, soaking up the sun and hearing the gentle lapping of waves after a busy week at work. That is one of the many rewards that Year 2 student Joseph Wong is working towards.

Even though he has been sailing for less than two years, the sailing enthusiast always had a love for water and an affinity with the sea.

“My dad was a sailor before becoming the captain of a cruise ship. He was also into sailing. So I guess I have always felt a sense of familiarity and attachment to the sea,” said Joseph.

But it wasn’t until he started university in 2013 and spotted the NTU Yachting Club that he decided to explore this dormant passion.

Though sailing may seem easy and relaxing, it requires well-coordinated teamwork among the crew who each have specialised roles. To date, Joseph has tried his hand at three different roles on the sailboat including mastman (controlling the halyard to hoist the sail), trimmer (controlling the angle of the sail based on wind direction) and helmsman (steering the boat).

While all are critical roles, Joseph enjoys being helmsman the most. “The helmsman’s role is a very demanding one because it requires you to take note of everything that is taking place both inside and outside the sailboat. But I enjoy the challenge. It gives me the opportunity to test my ability and push myself further,” he said.

Like any other sport, it takes hard work and determination. When Joseph started out, his sailboat capsized every training session. But his coach said, “If you’re not capsizing during each training session, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough.” This spurred him on to persevere and his hard work has paid off.

Last year, he took part in four competitions, including the 17th SMU-RM Western Circuit Sailing Regatta 2014, in which his team came third. He hopes to participate in the Singapore Straits Regatta next year where sailing teams sail to Batam in a five-day race.

Sailing has taught Joseph how to communicate effectively under tense circumstances, a skill that is also essential in modern medicine.

“It is essential to find ways to communicate effectively because ultimately, everyone is working towards the same goal whether it is to win the race or to treat a patient.”


Isabelle heading out to archery practice (Custom).jpgISABELLE YOONG
Class of 2019

An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming. - Anonymous

That’s what archery means to Year 1 student Isabelle Yoong.

Though she only tried archery in Secondary 4, she found that it suited her very well. “It doesn’t require the agility of other sports and it fitted with my introverted personality. It was also movies like The Hunger Games that piqued my interest,” said Isabelle.

Soon she was vice-captain of her junior college (JC)’s archery club and competed in team and individual competitions. In 2012, her school lost the National Inter-school Archery Championship title. It was this loss that spurred Isabelle on to train even harder than before.

Her determination paid off. At the 2013 championship, she clinched the Division-A (Girls) Individual Recurve 50m title by a single arrow. Her win led her JC to reclaim the Overall Champion (Girls) title.

Today, her commitment to the sport continues. Besides training at least twice a week with her NTU archery teammates, she also does strength training in her room with just her bow.

“When I was in JC, the maximum distance I could shoot was 50m. Now, I’m aiming to shoot a distance of 70m, similar to the distance that national archers shoot,” said Isabelle.

“I’m also hoping to represent NTU in competitions like the NTU Institutional Archery Championship to compete against archers from various tertiary institutions,” she added. Besides learning archery techniques, Isabelle also picked up skills that come in useful to her studies. When there is only one coach to many archers, it is important that fellow teammates look out for each other and correct each other’s mistakes.

The ability to stay calm under pressure, especially when everyone is watching you – whether in a competition or when treating a patient – is also essential, says Isabelle.