Published on 14 Sep 2023

A lifelong learner advocating social good

Cheryl Ng is an NTU alumna who wears multiple hats – as a wife, mother, grandmother, educator and volunteer – yet finds time to pursue further studies. We find out her motivation to do it all.

By Nur Isyana Isaman

Alumna Cheryl Ng (SSS/2020), married with four children aged between 25 and 32 years old and two grandchildren, is the epitome of a lifelong learner.

Cheryl works as a design thinking lecturer at a polytechnic and is the director of her own communications agency. Besides her professional jobs and personal responsibilities, Cheryl is also an active volunteer in Singapore’s public and social service sector. Most prominently, she currently chairs the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s (IMDA) Films Consultative Panel.  

Cheryl has been honoured with the Public Service Star at this year’s National Day Awards in recognition of her service towards the Films Consultative Panel. 

Cheryl Ng (second from left) with her husband and two daughters on the day she was awarded her Master’s degree from NTU in 2020. (Photo credits: Cheryl Ng) 

Cheryl pursued a Master of Science in Applied Gerontology as a full-time student at NTU during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her daughter, Darienne Sim (SOH/2022), was also doing her undergraduate studies at NTU.

After graduating from the one-year course, Cheryl went on to take up an 18-month user interface and user experience (UI UX) programme to become a certified usability analyst.

She also holds a postgraduate diploma in education, alongside her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Cheryl said it was “a natural next step” to equip herself considering her line of work.

“Understanding psychosocial development and global ageing perspectives through the Master’s course has made my work more informed and effective. This is important as I guide my tertiary students in problem-solving, and, at the same time, develop programmes to support Singapore’s active ageing society,” she added.

Cheryl on her first day at NTU in 2019, going for a class on Ageing Perspectives. (Photo credits: Cheryl Ng)

Serving with honour

According to Cheryl, the Films Consultative Panel is an advisory committee that ensures that IMDA can expeditiously get a sense of community views on films. The panel comprises members with diverse backgrounds and from different segments of society, with a composition that mirrors the population.

“My role as Chairperson is to encourage discussion so the committee members can recommend the appropriate rating based on the Film Classification Guidelines. In sharing our views, the committee is a proxy of community sentiments. We also provide feedback on the guidelines to ensure that they remain current and that the classification system reflects societal norms,” she said.

Cheryl (seated, third chair from right) with the IMDA’s Films Consultative Panel at an appreciation dinner. (Photo credits: IMDA Singapore)

An interesting encounter that Cheryl had with the panel was reviewing a fictional film titled “Plan 75”.

She shared, “Set in Japan, the film revolves around a voluntary government-funded programme encouraging senior citizens aged 75 and above to be euthanised as a solution to address the issue of limited resources in an ageing society. It was particularly memorable as it was related to my Master’s course. It also struck a disquieting chord in me as Singapore is also an ageing society. It was chilling to see the elderly in the film making the decision to enrol in the programme as they want to relieve society of the burden of caring for them.”

Cheryl also volunteers as a family-life and personal-life programmes speaker and trainer at social service organisations in Singapore. She was also a volunteer of the Parents Advisory Group for the Internet (PAGi), which aimed to promote Internet safety in Singapore, especially for younger children. PAGi evolved into the Media Literacy Council and Cheryl served there until 2005, before joining IMDA’s panel.

She said, “I am honoured by the award as my ‘heart-work’ with the Films Consultative Panel is recognised for our contribution to the people of Singapore. It enables individuals to have a choice of movies in local cinemas and provides parents with information to guide and protect their young children.”

Congratulations to Cheryl and all the other NTU alumni who have been named as 2023 National Day Awards recipients, including the president of the Association of Nanyang University Graduates, Tan Yew Beng (Class of 1980), who received the Public Service Star (Bar) for his chairmanship of Joo Chiat Citizens' Consultative Committee. 

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