banner image

Dean of Students (DOS) Update on COVID-19

Image: Student translators - Row 1, L-R: Abhas Tripathi, Myat Thu Kyaw (TK), Noopur Patel (coordinator); Row 2, L-R: Archa Rajeevi, and MD Kamruzzaman (Aman)

  PUBLISHED: 21 April 2020, 7:00 p.m.

DOS UPDATE #29 - 40 more days

Dear Students:

We are facing an extension of our time of isolation.  Our numbers of infections are astoundingly high at 9,125 cases now, for a population of 5 million. South Korea has more than 10,683 for a population of 50 million.

In my last DOS Update at the start of the Circuit Breaker, I had stolen a line from Henley's “Invictus” in this, my last paragraph. 

“But the best of us will show grace under pressure, and together, out of the night which covers us black as the pit from pole to pole, we will all emerge, circuit unbroken, all unconquerable souls.”

Invictus – unconquered in Latin - was a poem which Nelson Mandela, who has spent 27 years in prison, had recited to sustain himself and fellow prisoners. 

A few days later, I read that Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development and NUS Law alumnus, had set up The Invictus Fund to support social service agencies to care for the vulnerable during COVID-19. I wrote to ask him to send us a recording of himself reciting the poem, and he very kindly obliged. 

Here is the poem in full.

William Ernest Henley - 1849-1903

Out of the night that covers me,
  Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
  For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
  I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
  My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
  Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
  Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
  How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
  I am the captain of my soul.

At this time, when we may miss the sound of the human voice, I thought to share another set of recordings with you. 

Over the weekend, students from NUS translated some messages which doctors on the ground needed to communicate to workers in five languages – Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Myanmar, and Chinese. Their voices reached 25,000 workers in dormitories. 

The requests came in from doctors on the ground, and the students responded within minutes – in text and voice recordings. They have also signed up to be "live translators" when specific conversations are needed. Of course, machines and software can translate – but there is nothing like the sound of a human voice.

The students did all this, with the stress from impending exams and uncertainties about the pandemic, and asked: “What else do you need?”

We have 40 more days in the wilderness.

At a time of fear and anxiety, there are many among us who cast our eyes down, and ask, why? Then there are the few, like these students, who speak to all who need to hear, who look beyond themselves and ask, why not?




Background of COVID

· Can catch if you get too close to others especially if they cough

· Can catch if you touch something contaminated


COVID-19 என்பது கொரோனா வைரஸால் ஏற்படும் ஒரு தொற்று நோய். நீங்கள் மற்றவர்களுடன் மிக நெருக்கமாக இருந்தால், குறிப்பாக இருமல் அல்லது தும்முவோர் அல்லது அசுத்தமான ஒன்றை நீங்கள் தொட்டால் நீங்கள் அதைப் பெறலாம்.



Archa Rajeevi, LLM (Law)

Some floors have no cases and most rooms have no cases but many do

कुछ मंजिलों में Covid का कोई मामला नहीं है और बहुत कमरों में भी कोई मामला नहीं है लेकिन कई कमरों में हैं


Abhas Tripathi, MPP (Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy)

If anyone in your room is sick then send them down to the clinic. If not then at least stay away for others

৩) আপনার রুমের কেউ যদি অসুস্থ থাকে তবে তাদের ক্লিনিকে পাঁঠাতে সাহায্য করুন। তা না হলে অন্তত অন্যদের জন্য দূরে থাকুন।


MD Kamruzzaman (Aman), MPP (Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy)

You must protect yourself

· You naturally are exposed to the men in your room but make sure that is all. Don’t mix with men from other rooms

· stay at least a metre away from other people

· wear a mask except when sleeping or eating

· keep everything clean by using the cleaning equipment provided

· especially wipe everything that is touched a lot, rails, taps, door handles etc

· wash your hands frequently


ကိုယ်ကိုကိုယ် သေသေချာချာ ကာကွယ်ပြီးနေထိုင်ရပါမယ်။ အခန်းဖော်တွေနဲ့ထိတွေ့နေပေမဲ့လဲ တခြားအခန်းကလူတွေနဲ့ ထိတွေ့မှူ လုံးဝ (လုံးဝ) မရှိအောင်နေပါ။ လူတွေနဲ့ အနည်းဆုံး ၁ မီတာ ခွာခွာနေပါ။ စားချိန်နဲ့ အိမ်ချိန်ကလွဲလို့ မျက်နှာဖုန်း (mask) ကိုအမြဲဝတ်ထားပါ။ သန့်ရှင်းရေးလုပ်ဖို့ပေးထားတဲ့ပစ်စည်းတွေကိုအသုံးပြုပြီး သန့်သန့်ရှင်းရှင်းနေပါ။အထူးသဖြင့်လူအများအသုံးပြုတဲ့ပစ်စည်းတွေကိုသုတ်ပြီးမှကိုင်ပါ ဥပမာ တံခါးလက်ကိုင် ၊ ရေပိုက်ခေါင်း ၊ တန်း ။ အရေးကြီးဆုံးကတော့ လက်ကို မကြာခဏ မှန်မှန်ဆေးပါ ။

Translator: Myat Thu Kyaw, aka (TK), Pharmacy

Do not change rooms. Wherever you are now; stay there. Try to stay in your room, if you leave try not to touch anything and don’t walk within a metre of anyone





Amy Liu, MPP (Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy)

A/P Leong Ching
NUS Dean of Students


DOS Update #1 (28 January 2020)
DOS Update #2 - The Proximity of Noses (29 January 2020)
DOS Update #3 - Black cats, white cats and the placebo effect (30 January 2020)
DOS Update #4 - A Thousand Words (31 January 2020)
DOS Update #5 - Food, Buses and the Virtual Company of Friends (1 February 2020)
DOS Update #6 - What's in a name? (2 February 2020)
DOS Update #7 - "Everyone is scared, but it’s part of our job.” (3 February 2020)
DOS Update #8 - Noisy Fans and Fishy Water: Life on the Inside (4 February 2020)
DOS Update #9 - With Love from the Canteen (5 February 2020)
DOS Update #10 - Live on Telegram (6 February 2020)
DOS Update #11 - Ambulance in the Night (7 February 2020)
DOS Update #12 - The Sword and the Shield (8 February 2020)
DOS Update #13 - Once more, with teeth (9 February 2020)
DOS Update #14 - What is the essence of a room? (10 February 2020)
DOS Update#15 - We will not run (11 February 2020)
DOS Update #16 - To wear or not to wear (12 February 2020)
DOS Update #17 - NUS COVID-19 case had no recent contact with students (13 February 2020)
DOS Update #18 - Love and Analogies of War (14 February 2020)
DOS Update #19 -  No good reason to persist in inaction (21 February 2020)
DOS Update #20 - As Mad-eye Moody would say (25 February 2020)
DOS Update #21 (26 February 2020)
DOS Update #22 - Guarding Grades Integrity: "Those who copy will confirm die" (28 February 2020)
DOS Update #23 - Student terminated from Student Exchange Programme with NUS for breaching LOA
DOS Update #24 - A warm welcome home (19 March 2020)
DOS Update #25 - Do or do not, there is no try. (24 March 2020)
DOS Update #26 - The Comforts of Home (26 March 2020)
DOS Update #27 - So Dawn Goes Down to Day - Part 1 (28 March 2020)
DOS Update #27 - So Dawn Goes Down to Day - Part 2 (29 March 2020)
DOS Update #28 - This Circuit Breaker is not Automatic (4 April 2020)