Ngee Ann Polytechnic: My First Teaching Gig

The year after I graduated from college (2001-02), I spent two semesters teaching computer studies at Ngee Ann Polytechnic through the Princeton-in-Asia program. It was a wonderful year full of lots of adventures both in Singapore and around Southeast Asia.

While on sabbatical at the National University of Singapore, my wife Megan and I decided to go for a run to Ngee Ann Polytechnic to see what had changed and how the campus had stayed the same.

The new main entrance sign was large and in charge.
I was a “visiting lecturer” in the School of InfoComm Technology (gotta love the name) and taught classes in web programming. Back in 2001 when I decided to go to Singapore, there was a lot of demand for computer science graduates to go to Silicon Valley and Wall Street for the high flying dot-com bubble. Instead of following the money, I wanted to explore the world and teach English in a developing country. However, PiA rarely (if ever) had computer scientists apply and was psyched to finally fill an InfoComm position. It took a little convincing at first but it ended up being a great gig and gave me my first taste of what it might be like to be on the professor at a liberal arts college.
Just outside my old office. Nobody was home so I couldn’t go inside. Unfortunately, neither of my old office mates were still working at Ngee Ann.
One of the things that I liked best about Ngee Ann was being on the staff soccer team. Nobody there thought that Americans could play but me and my friends Vinnie and Graeme from the PiA program knew how to ball. (We are also major Team USA Hooligans for the 2002 World Cup in Japan/Korea but that is another story…) None of our teammates from Singapore, Malaysia, Europe, South Africa, or Australia knew what to make of us when we first arrived. But by the end, we were a core part of the championship winning team of the intercollege staff league (with the 4 other polytechnics and 2 universities at the time.)
The old apartment. Doug had one roommate from England and one from Germany. They didn’t often get along with each other but Doug became friends with both of them. It all seemed like some sort of metaphor for 20th-century world affairs.
The Bukit Timah Hawker Center was the best. I ate there almost every night. Carrot cake, Prata, sugarcane juice, etc. Nothing beat the culinary experience.