Students count on Singdollar's 'rescuing power'

Students count on Singdollar's 'rescuing power'
Through their project The Big Dollar Rescue, NTU students (from left) Li Zhengliang, Samantha Branson, Rachel Gong and Michael Chin aim to raise awareness of the Singdollar's value in global aid, and encourage youth to give.

SINGAPORE - The cost of enough water purification tablets to give 350 litres of clean water to Super Typhoon Hai-yan survivors in the Philippines: S$1.20.

That is the "rescuing power" of the Singapore dollar, according to a final-year project by four Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students.

Called The Big Dollar Rescue, the project aims to raise awareness of the Singapore dollar's value in international aid, and encourage local youth aged 17 to 25 to give by putting into context what their donations can do overseas even if they seem paltry by standards here.

The campaign is the brainchild of Miss Rachel Gong and Miss Samantha Branson, both 22, and Mr Li Zhengliang and Mr Michael Chin, both 24. All four study in NTU's Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information.

The Singdollar has been growing in strength, hitting recent highs against the Malaysian ringgit and the Australian dollar, for instance.

When Mr Chin and Miss Gong travelled to Myanmar last June, they found themselves surprisingly well-off, even though they were on a tight budget. Miss Gong recalled how a mere S$18 bought them a five-course meal.

"Our strong dollar has empowered us very much on a global scale. When you travel around the region, you realise how rich you become, even if you're just middle- class in Singapore," said Mr Chin.

Added Miss Gong: "Instead of spending power, you turn it on its head and think of it as the rescuing power of our dollar."

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