May 11, 2011
Cramming for healthy grades at KTPH
Yishun hospital's foodcourt is new study hot spot
The NTUC Foodfare foodcourt in Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (above) is set to be a new hot spot for students, with views of greenery and a large pond. It seats more than 300 people. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
WITH her attention focused on a book and her lecture notes strewn all over the table, Mangalan Bal looks just like any other student preparing for her mid-year examinations - except that her choice of location for studying is a foodcourt at the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.
While it is not unusual to see students cramming with their books at public places during exam crunch time, the Yishun hospital is set to be a new hot spot, with its lush greenery and large pond.
Mangalan, 18, who was with friends, said: 'There is greenery, and it is rather peaceful. Compared with the public libraries that can get very noisy during peak periods, studying here is a better choice.'
The O-level private candidate, who lives in the area, said she was not bothered by the fact that hospitals treat sick people. 'I don't see patients around at all,' she said, adding that the NTUC Foodfare foodcourt is sited away from the clinics, and its patrons are usually visitors.
A Foodfare spokesman said staff have noticed more students since the foodcourt, which can seat more than 300 people, opened last year: 'The lounge chairs facing the pond seem to be a favourite.'
Other reasons cited by students - there were at least five when The Straits Times visited the foodcourt yesterday - were the close proximity of the hospital to their homes and schools, as well as overcrowding at public libraries.
'You have to be there before the library opens if you want to choose your seats, especially during the weekend. It's like the Great Singapore Sale - crowded even before the shutters are up,' said Singapore Institute of Management student Lai Pei Yin, 21, who was studying at the Subway outlet in the hospital.
She lives just a five-minute walk away, and has gone there five times since the start of this month, spending around 10 hours each time.
A supervisor at the outlet, Mr Chandra Mogan, 34, notices about five students dropping by to study daily. He usually leaves them alone, as they spend on food.
'However, during peak hours, we would give priority to customers who are there to eat,' he said, adding staff would politely ask the students to make way.
But an old favourite remains a hit.
At Changi Airport Terminal 3, Secondary 2 student Haziq Sani was with schoolmates in Basement 1 when The Straits Times visited yesterday afternoon.
According to a recent post on citizen journalism website Stomp, the open area next to the carpark is where students tend to congregate. It is away from the retail outlets, and there were few passers-by when The Straits Times visited.
Most students cited similar reasons for 'landing' at the airport - it was quiet, peaceful and air-conditioned.
A Changi Airport Group spokesman said the public was welcome to use the public areas, but the airport was not intended or designed to be a studying place.
'Our duty managers monitor the situation in the terminals closely, and auxiliary police officers will request students who inconvenience passengers or disrupt operations to leave,' he added.
Teachers said students can make use of school premises in the exam run-up.
Pasir Ris Secondary School principal Cheng Hwee Yeang encourages students to stay in school to do their revision 'because of the conducive environment and the fact that there are teachers around'.
Ngee Ann Secondary School principal Adrian Lim said a month before exams, the school would extend opening hours till 9pm to cater to those staying back.
He added that the initiative 'is quite popular, with over 50 students staying back on average during this period'.
Additional reporting by Heather Marie Lee and Ng Huiwen