Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fun Innovation

Leonard Lam Yong Heng
Alumnus, Diploma in Visual Communication
School of Design

Growing up in a dialect-speaking family, Leonard noticed a language barrier between youths and the dialect-speaking elderly. Hence, he was inspired to revive Chinese dialects in Singapore. However, he knew that traditional methods wouldn’t cut it. “I wanted to create something fun, so I decided to use trading card games, which people are more receptive to playing.” Thus, he invented Xin Xin Dialect, a card game that teaches players Hokkien idioms and phrases, which earned him the 2014 Singapore Good Design Mark (SG Mark).

Ironically, Leonard had faced a language problem – being Hakka, he was unfamiliar with Hokkien. To research on the language, he read books and visited a temple to understand the Hokkien culture. He also contacted a teacher from Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan (clan association) to teach him Hokkien. He said, “It’s amazing how this knowledge isn’t passed down to the younger generations.”

Though the whole process was long and tiring, the brainstorming, technical and illustration skills he learnt from his course in NYP helped a lot, and he had support. “Ms Ong Guat Teng [my lecturer] guided me when I needed direction for the project. She also inspired me to illustrate the cards in a more whimsical and quirky manner.”

“Thanks to NYP, my project was given a good head start!” Winning The Crowbar Awards 2014, Singapore Design Awards, and the SG Mark competitions, with his entries sponsored by NYP, Leonard now aims to commercialise Xin Xin Dialect by next year.

Leonard is one step closer to his inventor dream. You can too! Be innovative and enterprising, choose your own adventure at NYP Open House from 8 to 10 Jan 2015!

Published in the December 2014 Issue of Teenage Magazine. Reproduced with Permission.

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