Staying at Prinsep Street Residences (PSR)
Esther Chong (Class of 2021)
Prinsep Street Residences (PSR) was launched with a new focus on co-living, co-learning and co-working. It has undergone a major facelift and living spaces were revamped. Besides the apartments, PSR boasts a range of facilities which include The Hub, where group meetings are conducted, The Café, where we chill and have conversations over meals, and The Lounge, a space where we can screen movies, hold events and even play table soccer.
With twelve girls in my apartment, there is never a dull day that goes by. Each apartment has a large common area where we cook, study and hang out. We have a sign hanging in the common area which says “Some call it chaos, we call it family” which couldn’t describe us more accurately. We do our chores together (yes, we clean our own toilets), plan out who takes which shower cubicle and in what order and laugh at each other’s quirky habits. Living here sometimes feels like a social experiment of how girls from 5 different nationalities come and live together. So far, it has been beyond amazing. We are all so different but in the best way possible. I guess that’s what makes family, family.
One thing the girls in my apartment bond over is FOOD. I have had the opportunity to try Spandana’s home-made Indian parathas with curried scrambled egg, Tamilla’s traditional meatballs hailing from Kazakhstan and Pim’s sweet yet savoury pork floss from Thailand. (Tamilla has been convincing me to try horse meat, a Kazakh delicacy, which I have politely declined.) They in turn have tried Elena’s amazing tamago (Elena’s local) and my oyster sauce vegetables. A wave of excitement also washes over us every time we get notice of buffets in need of being cleared. Yes, we are the professional SMU Buffet Clearers here at your service.
In addition, I thoroughly enjoy the conversations the girls and I have over our meals. I have learnt so much about the traditions and customs, what living and learning is like back in the home countries of my apartment mates. It is through such discussions that my horizons have widened, my perspective has shifted, and I now have a greater appreciation for my life and education in Singapore.
As part of the PSR residential experience, we are highly encouraged to participate in activities which allow us to engage with and benefit the community around us. These include neighbourhood trails and community service projects which help various groups of people. I am involved in Project Women Empowerment with a few other PSR residents, where we aim to empower women to manage their home-based businesses as a viable source of income. This involves meeting with the women to understand their business model, challenges and aspirations. We are focusing our solutions around social media marketing, product enhancement and customer experience, depending on the specific needs of the women. Through this project, I have been given the platform to apply what I have learnt in SMU to solve problems that people are facing in their everyday lives, and have grown in my empathy towards others.
Talks and events are frequently organised for the PSR community as well. The sharing by Mayor Denise Phua, in particular, left a profound impact on me. Her candid discussion about her journey in the social sector and what more needs to be done for our community inspired me to take concrete actions to be a part of making our society a better place. Her passion and dedication to our community was infectious; it awakened me to the role that we all have to play in alleviating our community’s social ills.
Although this may seem quite trivial, the convenience that PSR offers is like no other. PSR is nestled between Rochor and Bencoolen (which means you can get to destinations on both sides of the Downtown line in no time) and is a 10-minute stroll to the School of Social Sciences. I used to spend 2 hours every day travelling to and from school, and we know how frustrating commuting by public transportation can be. I can now use my time more meaningfully, by taking part in projects I truly care about and spending more quality time with the people around me.
Over the past semester in PSR, I have learnt to be more independent, more considerate of others and what it means to be part of a community. I am genuinely so grateful for this experience – to live, work and learn in PSR, and I hope you will consider making PSR your home too.
Last updated on 16 Jan 2019 .