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FUSE

JANUARY 2014


ON-SITE

New year decorations on sale

CHINATOWN WALK Kicking

off the year of the horse, Chinatown is prepared for the hustle and bustle of one of the grandest festivals celebrated in Singapore. Spreading over Pagoda, Smith, Sago, Temple, and Trengganu Street, the historical place came alive with lights and decorations as many dropped by from all over to soak in the joyous occasion.

As a way to tie in the younger and the older generation, the bazaar has included many stores selling fashionable clothes, imported snacks, and even hand phone accessories. However, that may not be that good of an idea because the bazaar has lost its character.

Agreeing with Ms Yong are the stall tenders who pointed out that the festive mood and crowd has been dying. Ms Herni who has a stall selling traditional Nyonya kebayas says: “The crowd is really not good, our business are also affected.” She says the festive mood has been dying over the years and that it resulted in the drop of visitors to the bazaar.

“I think the bazaar isn’t as good as it Gua zi stall attendant, Ms Ong Hui Yi also says that business isn’t so good this year. “The crowd is just really dying. The price for gua zi is still around the same,” she says. “I’m 19 this year and there are many stalls selling items that people my age will enjoy, less so on the traditional goods.”

“We reached Singapore just yesterday and we just couldn’t wait to visit the bazaar we’ve heard so much about,” says Ms Dakota Williams who flew with her friend from Houston, USA to enjoy the festival. “We’re having a really good time, we can feel the mood, and it’s a different experience!” “I think it’s a great event, there’s a lot of food here that we haven’t tried before and we’re just having a great time,” says Mr Chris Johansson and his friend. The two flew to Singapore from Sweden and chanced upon the bazaar.

was two, three years back,” Ms Emily Yong says. Many of the stalls do not sell authentic traditional goodies anymore. “In the past, there used to be many stalls selling wax meat, gua zi, and dried persimmons. It was very hot last time and it was so crowded but we still had a very good time! Now it’s less crowded and there’s just those one or two stalls left,” Ms Yong says disappointedly. “I still feel that having a traditional Chinese New Year is best!”

Streets are decorated by multi-coloured lanterns

As Singapore advances into the new age, we must not leave behind the traditions we grew up with. A rich festival such as the Chinese New Year are one of the few occasions where we reunite with our family and create tighter bonds. Perhaps it’ll be a better idea to educate the younger generation on customs and traditions instead, by visiting Chinatown with the family before the New Year, today.

VIST TODAY! Date: 10 – 30 January 2014 Time: 6 AM – 10.30 PM (Every day) 6 PM – 1 AM (CNY Eve) Written by: Cheryl Soh


ON-SITE

Flee to Fleas! “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Selling items from clothes, accessories, books, to even antiques, flea markets are the best way to get rid of items you don’t want any more but are in a good condition. Sellers sell their items at a bargained price that we get to walk away with for a steal. With an increasing popularity among youth, forfleasake organizes Flea Party, one of their many series of flea markets, located at level 6 of Lucky Plaza.

The fully air-conditioned store fashions a grunge and incomplete look as little effort has been made to decorate it. However, the visual aesthetics of the space isn’t all that important as sellers just want to sell their stuff, and buyers just want to get them for a steal. “There are a lot of nice clothes here, many girls are letting go branded items off at a very cheap price,” says Ms Ann Tan who is at the flea with her younger sister. “I just got a Miu Miu iPhone cover at only ten-dollars, it’s really a steal and I’m very happy with it,” she beams.

Mr Donovan Tan is sharing his booth with his cousins, selling second-hand and pre-loved items. “Business is really good, we managed to sell four luggage full of clothes today,” he says. “Usually when we are left with a small pile of items, we just let them go at fiftycents apiece. We try to sell off everything so we don’t have to bring any of them back home,” says Mr Donovan.

“I bought this NBA Jersey at only twenty-dollars, the cheapest I can find online with this quality is fifty-dollars. They sell very interesting things here,” Mr Lloyd Tay says. “I’m here with my girlfriend, because she wanted to stop by. I don’t really like shopping that much but this flea really opened my eyes. I’ll definitely come back again!”

Ms Ruby Ang, a veteran booth owner of Flea Party says: “the customers arrives even before we actually open for business.” Ms Ruby owns a booth selling a collection of wholesale goods and pre-loved items. As most buyers are domestic helpers, Sunday’s the busier day as majority do not work on that day. “For starters, it is best if you share a booth, otherwise you cannot make a profit,” Ms Ruby advises.

VIST TODAY! Date: Everyday Time: 1 PM - 7 PM

As a rising trend in the Singaporean community, many spend their weekends at fleas such as the Flea Party at Lucky Plaza. Many items for sale are wholesale, new products that are in good condition. Fleas are a great way to spend your weekend and you never know what you can get. Plan your next shopping trip to a flea and you would be surprise at what you can find! Written By: Cheryl Soh


ON-SITE Botany of the Garden City Being an over 150 years old famous attraction in Singapore, Singapore Botanic Garden is still a must-visit place for tourist now, especially to tourist from Europe countries and United States of America.

Another three garden is Evolution Garden, Healing Garden and Ginger Garden. The Ginger Garden also includes a restaurant that is suitable for holding gathering and wedding.

According to yoursingapore.com, the garden is ranked the first out of the 291 must-visit Singapore attraction in 2011. The orchid garden in the botanic garden is the largest orchid display in the world, which is also the main attraction in the whole garden.

Botanic garden is a good place for people to relief from their work and the things that they have been worrying about, providing great respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.

“This is my first time being here, and I’m here for the orchid garden!” Mr Mike from The United States of America said. There is also a garden for children called Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden, which is in the list of Parents’ Choice 2013, with eight fun spots specially designed for children.

The visitors showed that they are attracted by the beautiful greenery in the garden. The garden is a perfect place to have a picnic with family or friends, and also to read your favorite book alone on the bench while enjoying the fresh air.

Most of the visitors interviewed stated that they are not going there for only once, but regularly. Visitors like Miss Heather Miso Lee, who is from Korea and currently living near to Farrer Road, said that she enjoys the fresh air every much and she goes to the garden at least twice a week to exercise. However, some visitors stated that the garden could have a better design. “The garden is amazing, but I think the entrance part is not as good as the rest, I think the entrance is a bit boring,” a Germany student said, after his one hour garden trip. Some visitors also mentioned that the garden can be improved by building more shades and maybe even mist shower, because sometimes the weather is just too hot for the tourist to walk around.

For the people who cannot take the hot weather, they can choose to come by early in the mornings, or in the evenings. The garden will always be the best choice when you want to rest your eyes and mind after a whole day hard work. Written By: Kan Jia Xin


PEOPLE Giving comfort to canines “Dogs are just like us. They need attention and care. They have feelings too.” 19-year-old Kenny Sim of NYP has been a regular volunteer at the local animal shelter Causes for Animals Singapore (CAS) for about a year now. He makes an effort to help out at the shelter at least once a week. Kenny has always adored dogs from a young age. Being in a family against the idea of keeping their own dog, Kenny decided to spend most of his free time visiting animal shelters such as SPCA and CAS. He would visit them at least once a week to play and cuddle with the stray dogs there. Being at the shelter so often, Kenny became a regular at CAS. He decided to sign up as a volunteer, and do more to help the stray animals there than just play with them. “As a volunteer at CAS, my job is to create a clean and comfortable home for our friends (the stray dogs). The shelter is their temporary home, and it has to be a better environment than their previous homes.” “This would mean scrubbing kennels, scooping up poo and even giving the dogs a hot shower! There is a lot of hard work involved, but it has to be done.”

Positions such as ‘graphics expert’ and ‘writer’ exist for those who prefer to perform less laborious jobs but want to help out equally. A graphics experts’ job consists of designing posters and banners to promote CAS. Artistic individuals are more suited for this role. A writer’s job is to promote too, but in the form of words and stories. Bloggers like to volunteer for this role. Kenny is currently studying Chemical and Pharmaceutical Technology. Despite being in a demanding course, he is still able to juggle his studies and work well. “My course can be quite overwhelming at times due to all the projects and workload given. Since I volunteer at CAS on Saturday, I try to squeeze in as must revision as I can on weekdays and Sundays. It is a little hectic, but so far I’m managing fine!” When asked if he would recommend volunteering at CAS to other students like him, Kenny gave an insightful answer. “Volunteering might seem like a chore. But if you are sincere in helping others, you would find that volunteering can be very rewarding too. As for helping out at CAS, you are allowed to cuddle and play with the dogs once you are done with the chores. I find this to be extremely therapeutic! In a way, this is one way I unwind after a stressful week in school.” And in all, if you have the time and energy, volunteering at shelters (not only CAS) would be a noble deed. They could all use a helping hand. Written by: Fahim Fazil

BROKEN Living in two different worlds at the same time… How many people can imagine the difficulty of it? Well, this is the life of Lionel. Lionel Lim is a Banking and Financial Service student who comes from a broken family. At the first major road of almost all students’ lives, the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) was when everything started to fall apart for him. “At that young age, it’s not an easy thing to handle.” Lionel was having preparations for PSLE that year when he heard the news from his parents. He was in a happy and loving family. Growing up, there were never obvious signs of this ever going to happen. “It was a huge shock to me, especially at that time.” Lionel’s parents broke the news of their divorce to him in August, barely months before the start of the first PSLE paper. He was devastated. As the younger of 2 siblings, he didn’t know how to react. There was the worry of custody for him and his brother, as well as his paper to study for. The surmount of emotions he had felt at that point of time resulted in him nearly giving up on his examination and building up four walls around himself. Lionel, luckily, had the support of his older brother. He said his brother helped him with his studies, and consoled him on the divorce of their parents. “Had he not been there for me, I can’t imagine where I’d be. A NEET? Probably ITE.” The bond between the two brothers are close because of the troubles they’ve been in, and they rely on each other.

He said there was another student in his class that was going through the same thing he was. However, she was an only child and as a result, had to true support pole and ended up suffering greatly from her parents’ divorce. “From what I’ve heard, she’s working in a low-pay job now. Many say I’m lucky compared to her.” With the support of his brother sheltering him from their parent’s constant fighting over their son’s custody, Lionel was able to concentrate on trying to score well for his PSLE. He started wishing that if he scores well enough, his parents marriage might be saved. He scored 240/300 for his PSLE, and he felt that he did well. He could see the proud faces of both his parents. However, he soon realised that the wish of his, was not going to come true. The documents for the divorce were still going through. Soon after, his father packed up his bags and left. But due to the support he had received from his older brother, he felt that he would be fine as long as his brother is with him. Lionel wished that he could return to the time when he was in a complete family. However, as the years went by, he realised that this was a learning experience. “Being in a marriage and with kids… divorce shouldn’t be an option. You should work things out properly with your spouse.” Written By: Briana Yeap Tze Mei


WE SAY Goodnight Doggie I would say there is a growing trend of pet abandonment. However, I think the media has been focusing mainly on the negative side. The stories that are seen are usually the bad news, like the “Puppy euthanasia” case. But you rarely see any good news, and this is because of what people choose to read.

From the Today online news in 2012, the SPCA takes in up to 600 unwanted or abandoned pets each month. Just on Christmas Eve, a Maltese dog was found abandoned in the SPCA’s garden, one of many pets abandoned over the festive season.

That being said, I do feel that it is true, that pet abandonment is a growing trend. People see a young puppy or cat and their immediate reaction would be “Oh my gosh! It’s so cute! I want it!” But when they get their wish of a young animal, they don’t fully understand the responsibilities that come along with the young animal.

Adults that get animals and soon rid of it should know better. As adults, they should be old enough to tell what would be the better option for that life, euthanizing or the Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)?

There are between 5,000 to 8,000 stray dogs around Singapore as of 2012, and that number is growing every year. Of that number, 90% are mongrels (strays), and the other 10% are sickly or pedigree dogs that have been abandoned by their irresponsible owners. Kids want animals because it’s cute, and it looks fun to have one. But as kids, they easily wear out of that excitement when they realize the responsibilities. Those responsibilities get pushed to the parents, and soon enough, the animal will become unwanted. It seems that the immediate reaction would be to euthanize it.

I think that these people haven’t been able to clearly realize that the animal, no matter how old or how young, is still a life. It is unlike a stuffed animal that can just be thrown to a side and ignored. They can be compared to the likes of children. They desire attention and affection, they want to be loved, they want to be a part of your family. It’s illogical that, just because you lose interest in the animal, that you end it’s life. It’s perfectly healthy, living and breathing. It should have its life end just because of a whim of a human being.

According to Asiaone in 2010, the number of strays impounded by the AVA has declined steadily since 2004, when it picked up 4,050 dogs and 6,131 cats. In 2012, it impounded 1,772 dogs and 2,681 cats. On the brighter side of everything, there are many pet owners that do realize that a pet is a life, and is a companion for life. Every pet has a different lifespan and different appeals. Those that know what they want from their companion, and can think through before adopting or purchasing an animal would do the world good. When people make the right choice to adopt an animal and take care of it for it’s full lifespan, these people deserve the recognition for their dedication. Many give up on caring for a pet because of the responsibilities, and that is very irresponsible. My friend had once told me a phrase that completely changed my view of taking care of pets, and I’ll share that phrase with you as food for thought. “Pets and children crave the same thing. Would you kill your child just to rid of the responsibility? If you won’t do that to your own child, don’t do it to your pet.” Written By: Briana Yeap Tze Mei


WE SAY Does creativity require chaos? Singapore is no doubt a fine country. And what I mean is that there is a fine for everything. From smoking under shelters, littering, to even chewing gum. The country has its fair share of laws, and we admit that we do live in a strict country. Although we are moving out of a conservative mind-set, rules still hold great weight and are usually enforced. Narrowing down to the education system alone, I personally feel that it stunted the growth of my creativity. Having little to no opportunities to express myself artistically, I was uninspired and discouraged. The higher powers were moulding us all into becoming rigid, studious robots. I call their medium of manipulating our minds “the system”. Sadly I became a product of “the system”. But my personal pitiful lack of innovation to stand out from the mass is not important.

The opposite of “the system” would be chaos. What it chaos? It literally means complete disorder or confusion. For example, the bubbles in your everyday fizzy drink. Those bubbles don’t march in a straight line or float in pairs. They move in random directions, or whichever way they feel like moving. You don’t tell the bubbles where to go. That is chaos, put very simply. We’ve heard of the famous (or some say infamous) Samantha Lo, the 25-year-old female artist who was arrested for vandalism. For the first time, somebody dared to step out of “the system” and freely express herself in the form of art. Her actions brought a lot of things, not to mention a ton of chaos.

With social media and web-forums buzzing with activity, one could easily find differing opinions on this case. Many netizens expressed support for Samantha, arguing that her act wasn’t a crime, but an artistic expression. Personally I find the only crime she committed was a grammatical error in one of her pieces titled “My Grandfather Road”.

That said, couldn’t Samantha have expressed her creativity in other ways? One can definitely leave a strong message without breaking rules; you don’t have to be a victim of “the system”. Some chaos definitely makes things more exciting and brings more attention, but it is definitely not a prerequisite for creativity.

According to the law, what she did was vandalism. But how is the law to distinguish between vandalism and art? Did she deface public property or enhance it visually? Things are not always black and white. And I think the voice of the netizens played a part in tilting the odds in her favour, however little. The law can say one thing, but if the people generally disagree, their voice needs to be heard to either change the law, or support those who have been incriminated.

Written by: Fahim Fazil

I think my grandfather would agree to that.


HITS Sandcastle is Singapore filmmaker Boo Junfeng’s second attempt in feature films industry. He has been nominated and awarded many film related awards with his short films and also, the movie we are talking about, Sandcastle. The movie Sandcastle was in several international film festivals that include Hong Kong, Vietnam, Canada and England, and received Best Film and Best Director awards for this. It is really a nice one from local film industry, especially it is a new filmmaker second attempt.

“The sandcastle will be destroyed by the sea, the past ideal and memory will be forgotten by the innovation.” However, the truths and the stories are found again in his father’s memory pieces. The movie uses En’s experience to bring out the histories and past politics of Singapore, which is part of the main theme of the movie.

En, the male lead in the movie, goes to stay temporarily in his grandparents’ house with his mother when his family’s house undergoes a renovation. He then discovers that his late father was a student activist in the anticolonial, leftist movement of the 1950s that took root in the island’s Chinese-speaking universities, and all those history that his mother refuses to mention about. After the death of his grandfather, and his grandmother’s worsening Alzheimer’s, En has been getting farther and farther from his mother, and he has to do his own research on his father’s story.

From the apartment that En lives in to his grandparents’ bungalow, the reality of life shows thoroughly in front of the audiences’ eyes. Without extra sumptuous movie background music, without the arrangement that makes the atmosphere solemn and stirring, the movie seems to be a dull biographical movie with a calm tone, but it records the story that happens in normal family – could be any of them, and the history and changes. It looks harmless but it is stimulating the audience’s every deepest feeling.

There is Chinese, English and Hokkien in the movie to show the multi-language culture in Singapore. Language is also the main reason to cause the barrier in a family, just like how the movie shows. A family is not merged together, because everyone is hiding something from each other, and En can only find out the past by himself from the remains of sand castles.

Singapore Chinese’s political history and student activism is fading as the time; will the historical remains also fade? If this movie can recall parts of the audiences’ memories that makes the country has its own history, and then have the root that buried deep down the earth. And sand castle, is the beginning of new life. What it represents is those fading pieces and another newborn life. Written By: Kan Jia Xin


CHINATOWN WALK CONTACT DETAILS: (In order of sequence) dwilliams@yahoo. FLEE TO FLEA com, CONTACT DETAILS: c@crippa.se, emilyong23@gmail. (In order of sequence) BOTANY OF THE 8133 1589, GARDEN CITY com, herni160@ 9237 6232, CONTACT DETAILS: gmail.com, pthy_inot9188 1212, (In order of sequence) GIVING COMFORT stupid@gmail.com 9631 9397 cute_0813@naver. TO CANINES com CONTACT DETAILS: mpradozz@yahoo.comKenny Sim 9092 themaul@web.destu0764pid@gmail.com pid@gmail.com

BROKEN CONTACT DETAILS: Name: Lionel Lim Yu Chuen Number: 83913737

A PROJECT BY: BRIANA YEAP 132706F, FAHIM FAZIL 130271Q, KAN JIA XIN 134176G, CHERYL SOH 133382P

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