Why did you want to intern at The Red Pencil?
As mental health in Singapore is poorly understood, neglected, and not to mention, inaccessible to certain groups of society, I found the work that The Red Pencil does to be extremely valuable and necessary. Hence, I wanted to learn from and contribute to the organisation. In addition, I was also very interested in gaining insight into the backline work of a charity as I believe that the work that goes behind the scenes is as important as that which goes in the front.
What does your role at The Red Pencil entail?
My role at The Red Pencil was that of a programme administrative intern. Some of my responsibilities included liaising with a wide variety of organisations (such as social service agencies, schools, university student bodies, etc.) and providing support to all the different types of programmes that The Red Pencil was running, such as the art therapy workshops and the online and physical exhibitions which showcased the artworks of our past service users. However, the experiences that I had gained from my internship at The Red Pencil were not simply limited to my immediate responsibilities as the programmes team was extremely welcoming and happy to include me in meetings that did not directly concern my role. For instance, I had the opportunity to attend and contribute to meetings concerning the topic of fundraising and as a result learned a fair bit about things extending beyond my role.
What is the most valuable piece of insight you’ve gained from your time with The Red Pencil?
To me, the most valuable insight that I have gained from my internship with The Red Pencil would be about the importance of adaptability. As a social service agency that works with a huge range of partner organisations that in turn serve a wide variety of service users, we have to be able to adapt our programmes and liaison approaches in a number of ways in order to best support the needs of our beneficiaries. Furthermore, the uncertainty surrounding the social regulations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic had also highlighted the need for the organisation to be able to adapt to new forms of service delivery that are able to abide to the present rules without taking away the efficacy of its programmes.
Have you used creative arts in your personal life as a form of self-expression, grounding or coping?
Yes, absolutely! This is actually one of the reasons why I value the work by The Red Pencil so much, because I strongly believe in the use of creative media to achieve these goals. While I have dabbled in hand lettering, graphic design and illustration in the past, film photography is currently the main way in which I express myself creatively.
“The most valuable insight that I have gained from my internship with The Red Pencil would be about the importance of adaptability."
“Reflecting gives me perspective by reminding me not to get too caught up in the moment…"
What’s a quote you live by?
Although derived from popular meme culture and not a famous philosopher, the quote “it is what it is” is a quote that I try to live by. It reminds me not to become too carried away with trying to change the circumstances that are out of my control, but to accept these circumstances for what they are and to focus on changing my behaviour and reactions to them instead.
What’s an activity instantly calms you?
An activity that instantly calms me is definitely reflecting on the things and moments that I am grateful for in life. Reflecting gives me perspective by reminding me not to get too caught up in the moment and that there are other things in life besides what I am currently stressing about.
What are some of your plans and goals after your internship at The Red Pencil?
At the moment, my main focus is to complete my undergraduate studies in university, but I do not yet have a concrete plan of what comes after. I am keeping myself open to opportunities, but I definitely do see myself working towards a future in the mental health sector.
What is a piece of advice you would have for a prospective intern applying to The Red Pencil?
I would say to keep an open mind when applying and interning for The Red Pencil! As the team is rather small, there aren’t always roles already dedicated for specific responsibilities and meetings involving different teams within The Red Pencil aren’t uncommon as well. Hence, keeping an open mind will really allow one to experience and learn many useful things that go beyond one’s role and direct responsibilities!
“Keeping an open mind will really allow one to experience and learn many useful things that go beyond one’s role and direct responsibilities!"