Meet the person who is looking to bring you your mixed macchiatos from Koi every Tuesday. Cheryl Tan is a Year 2 Political Science student and the new Welfare Secretary of Tembusu College. I sat down for dinner with her to find out more about what makes her tick.
The first thing you’ll notice about Cheryl are her pretty eyes, or perhaps the fact the she smiles quite a lot. Either way, they make her approachable and easy to talk to.
‘Lazy’ and ‘glutton’ are two words that Cheryl uses to describe herself. In fact, her love for food is evident in her food regimen: Mondays are steak days, Wednesdays are for McDonald’s, Fridays are for “nice foods” and Sunday is KFC day. While she may not be an adventurous foodie, she proudly proclaims her escapades with fried crickets and tarantulas.
She cites Steve Irwin as an influence as a kid and once held aspirations to be an animal conservationist. The Irwin connection probably also explains her unhealthy obsession with crocodiles.
A convent girl of 10 years, Cheryl spent her schooling years in CHIJ Toa Payoh and then unto another mission school in Saint Andrew’s Junior College. She was a Girl Guide in secondary school, learning survival skills and kicking ass in the jungle and in field lessons, but she admits she wouldn’t put herself through it again if she had the choice. She is adamant that she didn’t just sell cookies, though, and challenges anyone who says so to a knot tying competition.
Cheryl is a self-proclaimed social creature. She enjoys the community and the friends that Tembusu College has provided her with and actively feeds off the energy in focusing her efforts back into making her community a better place.
“When I was in the house committee, what drove me were the people. It’s always all about the friends and the community that makes me feel like the investment of time and opportunity is worthwhile.”
In my interactions with her, her youthful vigour stood out particularly. She dreams of Tembusu College as a place where social barriers in the dining hall are broken down and Tembusians freely mingle with one another to make new friends without being confined to arbitrary groups like houses.
I asked her what is it about Tembusu that she particularly enjoyed:
“It’s the opportunities that I really enjoy. Having things like Master’s Teas conveniently located downstairs, having a place like the dining hall where so much social interaction takes place… ”
She recalls Tancho’s effort to repaint and redecorate their lounges last year and how Dr Connor came down personally to help out with the efforts. Such lively community engagements that go beyond an ordinary university education keep Cheryl excited and passionate about college life.
So whether it is mixing your macchiatos, refilling your tissue boxes, or working with the dining hall committee to bring you better meals, this new welfare secretary is on the job with her pleasant disposition and sincere smile.
The images used in this article are from the personal collection of Cheryl Tan.
Editor: Alison Chew, Jensen Goh