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People

Peh attention, Joanne is back at NTU

The actress and NTU alumna was spotted at NTU’s learning hub, The Hive, where she spilled on the latest in her life
by Peter Yeo

PHOTOS: AMIN SHAH

How do you feel about coming back to NTU, Joanne?

NTU has changed quite a lot. I’ve heard of The Hive and now I’m here filming in this beautiful place! I wish I had this when I was an undergraduate. But it’s good the next generation gets to enjoy it.

Actress, a mum of two and CEO of a new children’s enrichment programme, how do you pack it all in?

There’s never a perfect balance. I choose how I want to spend my time. Filming schedules tend to be fixed, however, so sometimes some of my other important roles have to take a backseat.

Your hubby, Qi Yiwu, is based overseas. Any tips for courting couples on keeping the romance alive?

Whenever he’s back, we’ll plan date nights. With him away so often, we cherish each other more. We don’t have the luxury of roaming aimlessly in a mall. We set aside time to talk every day for 15 minutes. Unlike other couples, we can’t afford to be distracted by TV or texting. It’s all effort and communication. You can never take relationships for granted.

That’s right. You’re a communication graduate from NTU.

Reading journalism does hone your news sense. It’s shaped how I think and talk to people. It’s also helped me develop my storytelling skills, which I’ve applied to acting and my business.

How does it help with your business?

We encourage storytelling through the filming arts. Kids are empowered and encouraged to ask questions to find solutions to challenges. They do their own research so a lot of it comes from the child.

That’s similar to NTU’s flipped classroom pedagogy.

I think it’s a wonderful concept because you’re able to draw from your own interests and what you’re curious about. I wish I had that when I was studying here.

Is there a skill you’d have liked to pick up at NTU?

I’m keen on pursuing a master’s degree in education, which would help me with my business. But without a diploma in early childhood education, I’m not sure this option is possible. In the past, I’d have loved to have read design media at the art school. I’m into anything arts-related. Come to think of it, I have a very curious mind and would have liked to learn engineering and architecture too!

If you could be 19 again, what else would you wish for?

If I were 19 again, I‘d make better use of NTU’s resources. Schools have a lot of resources that we can tap on. If I weren’t busy filming then, I’d tell my 19-year-old self to pack the day with all kinds of courses and learn as much as possible. Because once you leave school, you have to pay for everything you want or need.