First-year architecture major, Kelly Koh, was injured on June 30 during architecture’s Freshmen Orientation Camp 2008 organised by the School of Design and Environment student committee.
Koh crashed through a glass door located on the first floor of the building SDE3 while participating in the camp’s Fright Night.
Fright Night has long been a traditional highlight in most orientation camps where freshmen are put through a series of scares. Camp participants are generally not informed of it beforehand.
During Fright Night, camp participants are told to hunt for clues in pairs on campus at night.
Disguised as ghoulish creatures, camp organisers and group leaders would hide at various locations and attempt to thwart the campers’ quest for clues by scaring them.
Albert Liang, a second-year architecture major who was also an orientation group leader at the camp, witnessed the accident.
According to Liang who was masquerading as a ghost, Koh was startled when she exited the toilet with a friend and saw him. Koh then ran straight ahead and crashed into the glass door, shattering it.
“It all happened so fast, in like two seconds. It was impossible for anyone to react and do anything,” he said.
Koh suffered several deep cuts to the body from the glass shards.
“Her left arm and leg were cut pretty badly. Surprisingly, she was quite calm and remained conscious the whole time. I was the more panicky one,” Liang said.
Following Koh’s accident, the camp organisers immediately halted the Fright Night activity.
In an email interview, Associate Professor Tan Ern Ser, vice dean of students, stressed the importance of exercising “due diligence” when organising student activities.
“We should educate and promote safe practices, and empower students to be discerning and to do what is responsible,” Tan said in response to a query about whether student activities should be regulated. “At the end of the day, the intent is to create a reasonably safe environment in which students can have fun and still be safe and sound.”
Tan said he is unaware of any such previous incidents happening in NUS.
Koh said she did not regret attending the camp, but she remained undecided when asked if she would go through another Fright Night.
She declined to be interviewed further.
“I wish to put the past behind,” Koh said.
Precautionary measures have since been taken to prevent such accidents from happening.
The damaged door has been replaced by a new one, which is made of tempered glass reinforced with a metal bar across it.
Goh Lay Fong, manager at the department of architecture, said tempered glass makes for a safer material as it is more resistant to breaking.
A correction on Kelly Koh's name has been made to this article on Sept. 14. The Observer has learnt that the student’s real name is Kelly Koh, not Kelly Ngiam as she claimed to be. The Observer regrets the error.