DOS Update #8 -Noisy Fans and Fishy Water: Life on the Inside


Every hour, Student Service Centre (SSC) staff Haslina Bte Adam cleans the self-help printing and PC counters with antiseptic wipes.


Sofas and chairs are also wiped down on an hourly basis.
Photos: Sean Tan, Head, Student Organisations, OSA

4 February 2020


  • There are five students in the Government Quarantine Facility (GQF) at Prince Georges’ Park Residences (PGPR).
  • NUS Senior Management will conduct an “Ask Me Anything” telegram chat with LOA students on Thursday, 6 Feb. Details will be sent to them via email. In the chat:
  • Prof Ho Teck Hua, Senior Deputy President and Provost
  • Prof Bernard C Y Tan, Senior Vice Provost (Undergraduate Education)
  • Prof Florence Ling, Vice Provost (Student Life)
  • Assoc Prof Erle Lim, Associate Provost (Undergraduate Education)
  • Dr Peck Thian Guan, Director, Office of Safety, Health and Environment
  • Mr Koh Yan Leng, Associate Vice President, Campus Life (University Campus Infrastructure)
  • Students are tired of fried bee hoon and curry bento meals.

Student Service Centre: Hourly wipes 

The Student Service Centre (SSC) at Yusof Ishak House (YIH) remains open to students. This is the place you go to when you need to settle matters such as academic, administrative, tuition fees and financials.

My colleagues at SSC have been ramping up efforts to keep the virus at bay. 

Every hour, they will use antiseptic wipes to clean the counters, queue kiosk screens and door handles. They will also wash their hands every hour with alcohol-based sanitisers. A disinfectant spray will be used three times a day – morning, mid-day and end of day.

There is also the hourly wipe-down on other furniture such as the self-help PCs, coffee tables and chairs at the start and end of each day.  

Saba Eyah Bte Eni, who has been working in NUS for 20 years, has seen the 2003 SARS epidemic and her main duty back then was to conduct temperature checks at the main entrance.

“We are definitely more prepared this time as the information from the Emergency Team has been quick. I am already on standby for temperature checks at SSC if the situation calls for it.”

Ms Saba cleaning her counter surfaces after attending to a student.

On the average, SSC sees over 200 walk-in students daily. Their commitment to their high service standards remains during this period. “Before the virus, my goodbye message to students was “Have a nice day”, now, I say “Please take care.”

The smell of plum blossoms after winter

Some of the students I teach are on LOA. But I still keep in touch with them via text messages. I got their permission to release our chats.

  1. The warmth from kettles

    J: Hello Prof! Long time no see! How are you?

    Ching: Hey J. I’m good. Which block are you in? I’ve been scheduling myself to deliver food to PGPR but have not hit your unit. Are you sick of curry yet :)?

    J: Thanks a lot Prof! We really appreciate that! we are doing well ๐Ÿ˜Š

    J: Yes!!!! we miss fresh vegetables ๐Ÿ˜ญ and less oily and salty food. Thank you very much Prof!

    Ching: Yes, I already told the vendor but today they gave us beehoon. Never mind - I will order vegan ice cream for you guys! My treat! Will organise it for the weekend

    J: Do you plan to have a group chat with all the LKY students under quarantine and wanna hear from them as well? Re: Food, I know, sometimes they may take some time to change ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

    Ching: Am organising sth even better! With Provost and the rest of the Olympians. Will let you know if we can get it done

    J: Thank you so much Prof! ๐Ÿ˜ญ

    J: The rest of the Olympians?

    Ching: The university leadership in charge of education and infrastructure etc

    J: All of them? in a group chat? OMG we are privileged!

    Ching: It’s just for one hour ah. Need to make sure they don’t have too much fun

    Ching: How is the room? Are you hearing lots of news out from home?

    J: The room is nice! with everything inside! I now hear the kid living opposite to me playing piano ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ i miss my piano in my study room at home.

    Ching: Hahaha. We can’t get you a piano but I hear you wanted warm water so we got you kettles right? I saw the bill for 7 kettles for 7 of you :)

    J: hhhhh never mind! i can go to utown to practice playing piano when i am free from quarantine ๐Ÿ˜ yes we get the kettles quite early! like the 2nd day? Thank you so much! We feel the warmth and concern from our school, although we are now far from it. Thank you so much for all these arrangements and efforts!

    Ching: ๅŠ ๆฒน, ไธ็ปไธ€็•ชๅฏ’ๅฝป้ชจ๏ผŒๆ€Žๅพ—่…Šๆข…ๆ‰‘้ผป้ฆ™ - ๆ˜ฏ่ฟ™ไนˆ่ฏดๅ—๏ผŸ

    J: ๅ“ˆๅ“ˆๅ“ˆๅทฎไธๅคšๅ“ฆ, “ไธ็ปไธ€็•ชๅฏ’ๅฝป้ชจ๏ผŒๆ€Žๅพ—ๆข…่Šฑๆ‰‘้ผป้ฆ™”๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค— ๆ˜ฏ็š„ๅ‘ข๏ผ่€Œไธ”ๅ…ถๅฎžๆˆ‘ไปฌไนŸๆฒกๆœ‰ๅพˆ่‹ฆๅ–๐Ÿ˜ (after the winter cold, comes the smell of the plum blossoms)

    Ching: It’s great you are in good spirits. Take care!

    J: Thank you Prof! I will take good care of myself ๐Ÿ˜ ไฝ ่พ›่‹ฆไบ†๏ผ

    Ching: ๅ…ถๅฎžไนŸๆฒกๆœ‰ๅพˆ่‹ฆๅ–๐Ÿ˜

    2. Noisy Fans and Fishy Water

Ching: Hi K! I went to your block but didn’t get assigned to your unit today.

K: Hello Prof Leong! Thank you for delivering food to us. Guess it’s the best we don’t meet for now lol

Ching: It's fine! :) I talk to all the students who open the door (and I shout through the door to apologise to those whose curry I spilt - Jia lat). How are you doing?

K: Oh really i thought y’all knock at the door and leave immediately to avoid contact lol

K: I’m doing fine

K: staying hungry to be honest ๐Ÿ˜‚

K: Do you think we can have healthier food?

K: Or otherwise we can order in?

Ching: Order in - yah, I think so. Let me ask the team - the thing is, the rooms are hard to find - I got lost a few times around the blocks. But yes will keep you updated for sure.

K: oh wow that would be nice ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Ching: What else do you need? How have you been doing in the room for exercise - yoga?

K: i miss ice creams lol

Ching: yup

K: Not really doing much exercise lol

K: too hot here ๐Ÿ˜‚

Ching: Is there air con in the room?

K: Oh do you know about the digital game competition?

K: oh yah, e gaming :) yes. Do you have a team yet?

K: Do you know what games are included?

K: no but there’s a very noisy fan

K: Can we have more bottled water? the tap water here tastes fishy

K: oh we need a team? ๐Ÿ˜‚

Ching: don't need - just sign up online, and the teams with people of the same skill level will be formed.

Ching: I think.

K: ok nice nice

Ching: I've never played an online game in my life. (Games: League of Legends, DOTA, Overwatch)

K: Do you know if we could use the laundry room downstairs? ๐Ÿ˜‚

Ching: YES!

K: oh you don’t know what you’ve missed

Ching: Ah, you guys don't know what it's like to read a newspaper with the smell of ink!

Ching: Tap water is safe to drink. You know I have an anti-bottled water campaign at LKYSPP, but it's ok lah, this time give you exception. What's your block and unit number, will make sure this gets to you :)

K: ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

K: hahaha you’re the BEST!! I’m at block XXX ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜

Ching: How have you been spending your time?

K: attending lectures via teleconferencing

K: applying for jobs

K: and playing online games

Ching: So serious.

Ching: only the last one is worth doing :)

K: kakaka

K: unfortunately cannot read newspapers with the smell of ink

3. A basic life

E: Hi, Prof! Thanks for all of the support! so far so good:) It would be better if we can be supplied at least 1.5L of water per day

Ching: You know you can come out and get water from the pantry right? Don't need to only rely on the bottle we provide - you'd be dehydrated for sure. And today's drink is sugary tea!

Ching: Can use the pantry too - just don't do you usual corden bleu or ๆปกๆฑ‰ๅ…จๅธญ :)

E: Ohh really? Coz we were told that we cannot leave our room---

Ching: Cannot leave your rooms and socialise, but can leave and do laundry etc.

E: i c.. i did laundry myself so no need to leave the room ha!

Ching: ah you have your own bathroom - just washed the clothes by hand?

Ching: so ๆŽๅญๆŸ’ :)

E: yeah i brought my own detergent

A/P Leong Ching  
NUS Dean of Students 

#QOTD Questions of the Day

Today’s QOTD’s answers takes reference from the advisory by the Ministry of Health sent on 2 Feb. 

Question: “My flatmate who just arrived from China is quarantined in our flat. Since we share the kitchen and bathroom, I’m worried. Why is she not quarantined in PGPR for two weeks?”

Answer: Only those who are served with Quarantine Orders (QO) are required to be quarantined at PGPR R2. Those on Leave Of Absence (LOA) will serve it within their own rooms.   

Question: “Hi, I am currently an NUS undergraduate student, and I am writing to you asking if it is possible for me to stay for 14 days in campus(hall or PGPR). Because my parents are coming back from China on 5th Feb (They are both permanent residents), and they are required to be on a mandatory LOA. Hence, it is not wise for me to stay at home together with them. And they want me to live in campus during their LOA. Therefore, I am wondering if I can stay in campus?”

Answer: There is no need for you to live separately from persons on LOA.

While you can live in the same room as a person on LOA, you are encouraged to reduce interaction and minimise contact with a person on LOA. For example, avoid sharing a bed, limit the time spent together at common areas within the apartment, have separate meal times, ensure that the room has proper ventilation etc.  

Question: “Can persons on LOA share the same toilet as other occupants in the same household?” 

Answer: You are advised to avoid sharing the same toilet where possible. If it is not practical to do so, avoid using the toilet at the same time and clean toilet surfaces more frequently. You may also wish to allow some time to pass between toilet usage, in order to allow any remaining water droplets after showers to settle to the ground.  

Sharing the same roll of toilet paper is safe as long as the toilet roll is not stained, soiled or wet. Sharing of towels is not advised.


Read More: 

DOS Update #9 -- With Love from the Canteen (5 February 2020)


DOS Update #1 (28 January 2020)
DOS Update #2 -- The Proximity of Noses (29 January 2020)
DOS Update #3 -- Black cats, white cats and the placebo effect (30 January 2020)
DOS Update #4 -- A Thousands Words (31 January 2020)
DOS Update #5 -- Food, Buses and the Virtual Company of Friends (1 February 2020)
DOS Update #6 -- What's in a name? (2 February 2020)
DOS Update #7 -- "Everyone is scared, but it’s part of our job.” (3 February 2020)