ISSN NO. 0218-7310
Students try tricking SPORTS| 26
Fewer air-conditioned rooms in new North Hill halls NEWS| 03
Suspected peeping Tom barred from hall NEWS | 05
Uprooted trees upcycled Jasmine Koh
OVER 70 trees that once stood tall on University grounds for 50 years have been made into furniture that will soon feature across campus. The trees were uprooted two years ago to make way for the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMed). But NTU Museum Deputy Director Faith Teh and Head of Medical Library and Heritage Centre Caroline Pang decided to repurpose the wood to make furniture for the school, including carving out a variety of chairs and sculptures. With the help of two artists and 20 NTU students and staff, they created 60 pieces of wood furniture and art sculptures from the trees. Fifty-six of them are on display at LKCMed till 4 Nov. The pieces, made of wood from albizia, acacia, and khaya trees, received a warm response from the NTU community. Eight faculties and departments reserved pieces for their respective buildings. These include the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), the Student Services Centre, and the Department of Housing and Auxiliary Services (HAS). Ms Teh said that it was a group of colleagues, including Associate Provost for Student Life Kwok Kian Woon, who first saw value in the conservation of the trees. Ms Teh and Ms Pang then sent the wood for treatment and processing before it could be sculpted, but they almost had to stop work at one point due to a lack of funds. NTU Deputy President and Provost Professor Freddy Boey then provided funding for the project for over two years. The project is part of NTU’s ongoing sustainability efforts, and seeks to boost awareness of repurposing local wood among the University body. Renowned local sculptor Han Sai Por also accepted the invitation to sculpt a piece after she was informed that local wood would be the medium. Titled “Heap of Books”, Han’s piece is a 1m-tall pillar of wooden books with jagged edges, which will be displayed at the lobby of the Student Services Centre. Other designers also praised the grain quality of acacia trees, commonly known as rain trees, for being easy to mould. Ms Teh and Ms Pang said they are willing to share their knowledge
BECOMING WORLD’S GREENEST CAMPUS HOPING to become the greenest campus on Earth by 2020, the University has already begun to incorporate green initiatives into student life in three major ways:
Almost all buildings and residential halls in NTU are certified Greenmark Platinum by the Building and Construction Authority, an assessment of how energy efficient a building is. Energy efficiency is achieved through fixing solar panels on rooftops, energy-saving LED lights and heat-deflecting windows, among other examples. “NTU has done a lot to improve low-carbon local energy production by installing solar panels throughout campus,” said Assistant Professor Sonny Rosenthal, who teaches sustainability communication at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information.
TOP: On display at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMed) are 56 wood sculptures made from trees that grew on campus for over half a century before being cleared for construction of the school. BOTTOM: The scuplture ‘Heap of Books’ by renowned local artist Han Sai Por will be moved to the lobby of the Student Services Centre after the exhibtion at LKCMed is over. PHOTOS: ZHENG JUNCEN
about relevant contacts, equipment and skills to staff and students interested in wood conservation. Last August, they invited NTU alumnus Alan Chan, who uses local wood to make guitars, to conduct a talk on campus. HAS Chief Officer Jimmy Lee also requested for Ms Teh and Ms Pang to contribute a piece for display at the HAS office. “The pieces have a strong connection to NTU and depict what the University is about — a place of continuous learning,” he said.
Students whom the Nanyang Chronicle spoke to responded positively to the works. Gail Woo, 19, a first-year HSS student, said that it was good that the furniture also had a message about conservation, but added that a description should be placed beside each piece. She said: “I feel that the concept has to be described clearly so that students know what the structure is there for.” Associate Professor Neil Murphy, the Associate Dean of Under-
graduate Education at HSS, said that the art pieces were visually appealing as well. “It is beautiful to see the outcome of the exhibition. Therefore, I am definitely eager for the arrival of the pieces that will be in HSS,” he added. Grace Tan, a second-year LKCMed student, said: “The exhibition is really unique and cute.” “It is a good break for students like us, especially if there is an event and we can just hang out,” she added.
The campus has also become a hotbed for green projects in recent years, helping raise awareness on green efforts. Ongoing installations on campus include energy-generating floor tiles outside the Coffee Bean outlet at North Spine, and a solar-powered electric charging station next to the bus stop at the Innovation Centre that allows students to charge their phones. These are among 20 green features installed around campus since 2011 under the EcoCampus initiative to make NTU the world’s greenest campus. New sustainable technologies are also being tested on campus to first determine if they suit the local climate. “After the demonstration period, the technology will be implemented if proven viable,” said EcoCampus programme coordinator Ryan Jin.
Driverless shuttle buses in NTU may soon be a reality. The Land Transport Authority and NTU’s Energy Research Institute are developing two electric hybrid buses. By early 2018, students will be able to test out autonomous bus technologies when they commute from campus to Pioneer MRT station. Testing out the buses will come in stages, and will initially start with a 1.4km-long route between NTU and CleanTech Park.
Fewer air-conditioned rooms in new halls The new rooms are designed to be environmentally friendly, but some students say they can get too stuffy Cheryl Tee THEY are new. And probably hot. Some students have expressed concern that majority of the 1,850 rooms in the three new North Hill residential halls are without airconditioning units. While the availability of airconditioners is among the top priority for some students looking for accommodation on campus, only 30 per cent of Banyan Hall’s rooms have air-conditioners, followed by 37 per cent for Binjai Hall and 45 per cent for Tanjong Hall. In comparison, 75 per cent of rooms in Pioneer Hall and 45 per cent in Crescent Hall — the secondnewest Halls of Residence completed in 2014 — are air-conditioned. This was a deliberate decision by the University as part of its energy conservation efforts, said Chief Housing and Auxiliary Services Officer Jimmy Lee. “The new residences are designed to optimise the natural environment by having numerous sustainable design features in place, so as to manage energy consumption,” he added. These features include windows painted with a heat-deflecting glaze, landscaping and sky terraces. As a result, the North Hill buildings recently received the Green Mark Platinum certification — Singapore’s highest green building rating, Mr Lee said. Jennyfer Lee, vice president of Earthlink NTU – the University's environmental club – said that this is part of efforts to make NTU the world’s most environmentally friendly campus by 2020. But second-year Nanyang Business School student Renecia Ang said her new room at the Banyan Hall still gets stuffy even if she keeps her windows open. “I have to switch on the air-conditioner every night, or else I can’t fall asleep due to the heat,” said Ang, 21, who was among the first residents to move into the North Hill cluster in September. Ang said the University should have planned for more air-conditioned rooms from the start, rather than risk incurring higher costs if students complain and demand additional air-conditioning units. Students are charged between S$385 and S$425 for a single airconditioned room and between S$285 and S$320 for a double airconditioned room. The price for a non-air conditioned room ranges from S$340
The new halls are the most expensive on campus, but have the lowest percentage of rooms with air-conditioning. PHOTO: ZHENG JUNCEN
to S$390 for a single room, and S$245 to S$285 for a double room. “Instead of introducing the new green features, the University should have considered switching to energy efficient air-conditioning units,” said Phan Ngoc Tam, 19, a second-year student from the School of Biological Sciences. “There should be a balance struck between energy conservation and students’ comfort," she added. "As much as the idea of environmental conservation sounds good in theory, the lack of airconditioning will affect students on a daily basis due to Singapore’s humid weather.” Second-year School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) student Elizabeth Wun, 20, said that air-conditioning is a necessity for her during hazy periods, which can last for several months. Wun is currently on the Temporary Sharing scheme, which allows students to stay with their friends in a fully occupied room if they are unable to secure their own room. She said she would reject an offer of a non-air conditioned room in the North Hill hall cluster. “I usually keep my windows and door shut during the hazier months to prevent the room from smelling
of smoke — but because of that it becomes really warm and stuffy. You’ll need air-conditioning then,” Wun added. But some students said they find the proportion of air-conditioned rooms in the North Hill hall cluster to be adequate. “Since not everyone wants to stay in an air-conditioned room, there is no need to spend money to fit more air-conditioning units,” said Tanjong Hall resident Yan Biao Guo, 19, a first year School of Biological Sciences student. Others also hope to benefit from a potential fall in applications to the new halls, as less competition means better chances of them getting a room. “The high risk of getting a non-air conditioned room will be a turnoff for many students, who would rather apply for a spot in other halls that guarantee them an air-conditioned room,” said Kevin Yeo, 22, a third-year EEE student. He intends to apply for a place at Binjai Hall next year. “It takes me over one and a half hours to get to school by public transport," he said. "Even though it’s not ideal, I would take a nonair-conditioned hall room over having no room at all.”
GRAPHIC: BRENDA LEE
Seeing snakes on campus a good thing Prisca Lim THE giant snake that slithered its way into Hall of Residence 15 has already been caught, but the spate of animal sightings in NTU is far from over. Students said they often encounter wild animals on campus, including boars, monkeys and even the rare pangolin. But these wild animal sightings could actually be an indicator of NTU’s success in its efforts of being a green campus, said Professor William Chen, academic advisor of EarthlinkNTU, an environmental club based in the University. “Despite the rapid growth of human activity on campus, the fact that we still see wild animals reflects well on NTU’s efforts in environment protection and nature preservation,” said Prof Chen. Wild animals are a common sight because of the abundance
of forested areas around campus where these animals live, resulting in them wandering onto campus grounds from time to time, a statement from the University said. On 12 Oct, a 2-metre-long python was caught by pest control officers in Hall of Residence 15. In August last year, a cobra and a python were spotted attacking each other near a bus stop outside the Research Techno Plaza. Videos of pangolins spotted at various locations in NTU, such as near Canteen 2, have also been making rounds on social media. Last year, Earthlink NTU even organised a Pangolins Rise Symposium, which included the discussion of the numerous pangolin sightings on campus. Students the Nanyang Chronicle spoke to said that they like seeing wild animals, such as monkeys or wild boars on campus, as the unusual occurrence is exciting. Second-year Nanyang Business
School student Tan Yi Lin, 20, who has seen wild boars near Hall 9, said that seeing the animals makes her feel “close to nature”. “I don’t really get the chance to see these wild animals outside of school,” she added. First-year Common Engineering student Abdul Hakim, 21, also said he is not surprised when he sees wild animals around as there are many forested areas in NTU. He even shared to his friends Snapchat videos of a monkey he spotted near Canteen 2. However, second-year School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences student Eugene Pang, 23, felt that it is important to keep a distance from wild animals, as they can be unpredictable and dangerous when aggressive. Pang said that in October alone, he encountered monkeys twice near the National Institute of Education building. The NTU Animal Lovers’ Society
put up posters last semester teaching residents how to react when they encounter wild animals like macaques, boars and snakes. These posters were placed in halls nearest to forested areas, such as Hall 8, 9, 10 and 11, advising students to stay calm when facing wild animals. The club plans to put up more of such posters around other halls this semester, said vice-president Rai Aditeya Shamsher, 19. NTU advises students who encounter wild animals to keep a safe distance and move away slowly. Students are warned not to feed the animals, provoke them, or go closer to take photographs or videos, as this may put them in danger of being attacked. For assistance, NTU’s 24-hour campus security can be contacted at 6790-4777. (Additional reporting by GRACIA LEE)
Last month, a 2-metre-long reticulated python was spotted in a Hall of Residence 15 toilet. PHOTO: LUCAS LEONG
The Quad Cafe loses halal certification Muslim students now left with fewer eating options Sophia Tan SINCE early September, Muslim students have had one less option for meals on campus. Popular eating spot The Quad Cafe put up notifications two months ago informing diners that the establishment “is seeking halal certification and is currently not halal-certified”. The eatery, located at the School of Biological Sciences, used to be the only canteen in the University to be fully halal-certified. But on 7 Sep, members of the
NTU and National Institute of Education (NIE) Muslim Society were notified of The Quad Cafe’s temporary closure “due to the suspension of halal certification of the food court”, a post on the society's Facebook group said. The Nanyang Chronicle checked with the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) and was told that The Quad Cafe lost its halal certification on 5 Sep. A check by the Chronicle also verified that The Quad Cafe is no longer listed in the registry of halal-certified establishments. The Quad Cafe closed for a few days in September. When it reopened, students noticed the signs saying the canteen was now seek-
ing halal certification. A stallholder from the claypot dishes stall, who declined to be named, said that the loss of halal certification could be due to possible cross contamination. Under the Muis food preparation area scheme, halal food and raw materials should be segregated from non-halal items when food is being prepared. An establishment loses certification if any raw material used is not halal or unsubstantiated with supporting documents. It can also lose its licence over failing to meet the minimum employment of two or three Muslim staff, or failing to comply with the 10 principles in the Singapore Muis
Quality Management System. Muslim students the Chronicle spoke to said they were disappointed by the suspension of the establishment's halal certification, as they liked the establishment's dining options. “I feel that I have lost a gem in school," Adam Mudrik, 22, a second-year School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student said. “The Quad is a one-stop place for its variety of halal food choices and is conveniently located between North and South Spine." Mudrik, who used to eat lunch at The Quad at least once a week, now goes to the North Spine Food Court and NIE canteen for meals. For others, finding alternative
eating spots in school has been difficult and inconvenient. Other locations on campus for halal dining establishments include stalls in the North Spine Food Court, McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut and Koufu at the South Spine. “I eat all of my meals at Canteen 16’s Indian food stall, which is not halal-certified but at least the stallholders are Muslim,” said Widad Darke, 20, a second-year School of Art, Design and Media student. First-year School of Humanities and Social Sciences student Nadhira Putri, 19, said: “It is a pity as my hall is near The Quad. It would be more convenient if there are more halal food options in the other canteens on campus."
STUDENTS VITAL IN EARLY DETECTION OF TERROR THREATS University students must remain vigilant against terrorist attacks, as the open and welcoming nature of a university environment makes it a potential target, said Second Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Loh Ngai Seng. He was speaking at the “Keeping Singapore Safe: Role of Youth in Today’s Security Climate” panel on 14 Oct, held at NTU’s Nanyang Executive Centre Auditorium. The panel, which discussed the importance of youths in Sin-
gapore’s fight against terrorism, included speakers such as Senior Minister of State for Defence and Acting Minister of Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung, and Dr Rohan Gunaratna from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. They called upon university students to alert the appropriate authorities to any activity that could pose as a terror threat, so that responding forces could “deal with terrorist incidents as they unfold”. “As someone who works and
plays in this environment, you will be the first to notice any suspicious behaviour,” he added. Acting Minister Ong added that a terror attack will be Singapore’s “best test”, where citizens must band together despite their differences to protect the country. He concluded that the current generation of youth are “more race-blind than any previous generation”, and are also the best role models for racial and religious tolerance in Singapore. — CHERYL TEE
PHOTO: SARAH THONG
HSS splits into two schools next year Sophia Tan STARTING next August, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) will be split into two new schools: the School of Humanities (SoH) and the School of Social Sciences (SSS). SoH will house the Chinese, English, History, Linguistics and Multilingual Studies, and Philosophy programmes, while SSS will comprise Economics, Psychology, Public Policy and Global Affairs, and Sociology courses, the University announced on 31 Oct. “We have now reached a point where HSS has outgrown its administrative structure which was put in place more than a decade ago," Professor Alan Chan, Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, said in a press statement about the school's split. “The reorganisation of HSS into two schools increases flexibility for future growth, enhances opportunities for collaboration and interdisciplinary research, as well as continuing to fulfil the educational needs and aspirations of our students," Prof Chan added. Following the split, each school will have its own Undergraduate Office that will serve as one-stop
Starting next academic year, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences will be split into two new schools: the School of Humanities PHOTO: VALERIE LAY and the School of Social Sciences.
administrative centres for undergraduate students. The two new schools will also become “division-less" to enhance interdisciplinary study. With an undergraduate and postgraduate enrolment of over
3,500 students, HSS is currently the largest faculty in the University. In an email to HSS students and staff on 6 Oct, a school official reassured students that the restructuring will not affect their curriculum or academic programme.
The statement issued by the school also maintained that “all academic programmes will continue without change." The new SoH and SSS websites will be launched in January next year, containing programme infor-
mation specific to each school. All information about the programmes on the current HSS website remains valid for prospective students, the statement added. HSS students whom the Nanyang Chronicle spoke to said that they were surprised by the sudden announcement from the school. Second-year English student Zahrah Aljufri said that the split might be to differentiate the current HSS courses. “By drawing the line between what courses constitute as a humanities or social sciences subject, students will be more certain of what academic talks to register for or attend with regards to their new school,” said the 21-year-old. Second-year Linguistics and Multilingual Studies student Marian Lim, 21, said she was surprised by the classification between humanities and social sciences, as some courses could potentially span both disciplines. But for first-year Psychology student Jonathan Seow, the restructuring is simply a name change. He said: “The bigger picture is that this reclassification does not affect my student experience, except that HSS school shirts will probably be a thing of the past."
Alleged peeping Tom evicted from hall Khairul Anwar NTU has evicted the suspected peeping Tom who was arrested by police about two weeks ago for allegedly taking videos of other male residents showering in Hall of Residence 16 toilets. The 24-year-old is “no longer a resident at the hall and has been barred from hall accommodation for the rest of his period of study", the university said in a statement. He may also face disciplinary action, depending on the outcome of the police investigation. The suspect, a fourth-year student, was arrested after he was caught taking a video of another resident on 13 Oct. The resident, who only wanted to be referred to as George, was taking a shower at about 1am when he noticed a phone raised above his cubicle door. The second-year School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student covered himself and rushed out to confront the phone's owner, but the suspect quickly hid in another cubicle. George then called his roommate and two of his neighbours to
This is the second time this year that an alleged peeping Tom in Hall of Residence 16 was reported to police. In both cases, the suspect was caught taking photos or videos of other male students while they were showering. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: ZHENG JUNCEN
help him catch the suspect. When the alleged peeping Tom emerged from the cubicle, they confronted him and alerted campus security, who then called the police. While waiting for police to arrive, the four residents found 66 videos of male students showering in a folder of recently deleted items in the suspect’s phone. Police said the case would be
handed over to an Investigating Officer for further action. The University is also assisting with the investigation. This is the second time a peeping Tom was caught allegedly targeting men showering in Hall of Residence 16. Last semester, another student was also found to have taken photographs of fellow residents while they were in the shower.
A security guard patrols each block in the hall at least once every two hours. There is also a scanning system in place to ensure each patrol is completed on time. But while these security measures are already in place, Hall 16 President Paul Lee still reminded residents to be careful. “We strongly advise all residents in every hall, no matter their gen-
der, to be careful when they shower or use the washroom," Lee said. “No one is safe, so bathe quickly and be observant of the openings in the toilet cubicles,” he added. News reports about the incident triggered discussions online. In a statement released on 14 Oct, NTU Kaleidoscope, an independent student group concerned about issues in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ+) community, condemned the incident, calling it a case of “sexual harassment". But the group also expressed concern about public discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community. “We have noticed some pejorative online comments based on the perceived sexuality of the accused party," the group said. “We are deeply concerned with the lack of understanding about and discriminatory attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community." The group cautioned students against linking sexual orientation to behavior, adding that research has shown no causal link “between one’s sexual orientation and the propensity towards committing sexual assault or harassment."
ROCHOR’S FINAL FAREWELL With the iconic Rochor Centre soon to be demolished for redevelopment, a group of Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information photojournalism students visited the colourful estate over the past two months to document the memories of its residents.
TWO GENERATIONS OF MEMORIES
PHOTOS AND TEXT BY ASHLEY CHEW, CHRISTY YIP AND ESNA ONG
Mdm Yeow Hong Keow, 68, and Mr Teo Chung Tai, 79, have been married for 50 years. Of these 50 years, 39 have been spent at Rochor, raising their four children — and later, nine grandchildren — in their three-room flat. A sentimental duo, Mr Teo and Mdm Yeow’s home still houses much of the furniture they bought for their nuptials, including this dressing table, which was a wedding dowry gift from Mr Teo. “These are all his treasures, he can’t bear to part with them,” said Mdm Yeow in Mandarin.
FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Their new home at Kallang Trivista is designed by their second son, who is an interior designer and owns his own business. Moving in was a family event, as the whole extended family popped by to lend a hand.
Growing up, Ms Sharon Teo, who is Mr Teo and Mdm Yeow’s third child, stayed in this room with her youngest brother. Both siblings eventually moved out after marriage, but Ms Teo returned during her confinement period to be taken care of by Mdm Yeow. Both Ms Teo, 42, and her daughter have stayed in this same room at Rochor Centre, as nine-year-old Jiayi is looked after by her grandparents when her parents are at work. “It was very different last time — even different genders still have to live together, not like kids nowadays, can have their own room,” said Ms Teo.
With their impending move, a lot of old furniture will be replaced with new pieces. New sofas, a curved TV and even an all-new, king-sized bed await them at their new apartment in Kallang. Here, son-in-law Mr Seah Kam Chuan, 50, takes a photo for memory’s sake and to seek inspiration for his own art pieces. Mr Teo and Mdm Yeow’s place at Rochor Centre acts as a daycare centre for their grandchildren. Jiayi is the second granddaughter to be brought up in her mother’s old bedroom, as her elder sister has since graduated from this “daycare centre”.
PHOTOS AND TEXT BY ANG HWEE MIN AND CARA WONG A former chef at Cantonese restaurant Lai Wah, Mr Leong Fatt Poh, 79, cooks at least thrice a week for his children who come back for dinner with their families. Despite his age, Mr Leong does everything on his own — even insisting on going to the market alone to pick out fresh ingredients for the day’s dishes. “They (her siblings) come back for his cooking,” said his daughter Ms Adeline Leong, 46, with a laugh.
4 : When everyone is back home, the family’s pastime is to watch TV, usually long-running TV serials from Hong Kong. Sometimes, they even eat their dinners together in front of the TV screens.
“It’s a three-room flat, but there used to be four TVs — the one in the kitchen is now decommissioned already,” said Mr Ken Leong.
1 : The home of Mr Leong and Mdm Tham Yoke Seow, 71, is plastered with family pictures. The couple have four children and five grandchildren. Every year, they take at least 2 family photos — one during Chinese New Year, and another during the birthday celebration for both Mr Leong and Mdm Tham, whose birthdays are only a day apart. 2 : “He doesn’t like to be disturbed when he’s cooking. Even when we had a maid, the maid had to learn only by looking at him cook,” said Ms Leong, 46. 3 : Lucas, 10, also grew up in his grandparents’ apartment, staying with Mr Leong and Mdm Tham until he was six. Like his father Mr Ken Leong, 44, Lucas graduated from the PAP kindergarten downstairs. Although Lucas had the luxury of playing at the fourth floor playground, his father recalled with fondness other forms of entertainment. “We used to play hide and seek from the fourth floor to the 16th floor. We even went all the way to the rubbish storage area downstairs. In the end, everyone would just come home because we couldn’t find each other,” said the younger Mr Leong.
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Beat the exam stress
The month leading up to the final examinations can be a tiring and sleepless one. To help you battle the stress, Lifestyle writer Megan Koh hunts down several spots in school with activities that can help you cope with the pressure.
t is November — the dreaded period of the school semester when students are jammed with assignment deadlines and many examinations. While we try to cram as many academic theories and models into our heads as we can, let’s not forget to take a short breather to catch some fresh air and rejuvenate before jumping back into the draining routine. Here are some recommended spots around school for you to destress and recharge (and save you from your darkening eye circles). Relax your muscles Before you allow the stress to take its toll, indulge in a traditional wellness massage at the NTU Chinese Medicine Clinic over at the School of Biological Sciences. Introduced in 2009, the wellness massage targets the major muscle groups and helps to relax tense areas using a form of holistic massage — a treatment that is specifically tailored to each customer. The masseuse was previously a wellness therapist in China, and her nimble moves will make you feel peaceful and relaxed. While the massage can be customised to your preference, a typical 30-minute session ($36.40) usually focuses on the upper back and neck areas. Essential oils like lavender and grapefruit oil are distributed evenly around the body and hot stones can be placed on acupressure points to promote further relaxation. If you’re looking for a good time of relaxation, you can call the clinic to book an appoitnment at 6592-1732. Work Hard, Play Harder Located within the Student Activities Centre, U-Relax One Corner (U-ROC) is the best place to play hard during your study breaks. Its recreational games area, just adjacent to the study lounge and computer terminals, makes for the ideal relaxing study break. Challenge your friends to popular console games like Kinect Adventures or FIFA 2016 on the Xbox 360 Kinect, or Mario Kart on Wii. Alternatively, retire from the glare of digital screens and relive some old school nostalgia with U-ROC’s collection of board games, from childhood favourites like Uno Stacko to recent game entrants like Coup. A billiard table and foosball table are also available for use. Movies at The Hive Save a trip to the cinema and catch a movie at the Library Outpost instead. Located at The Hive, the library’s extensive collection of movies features familiar titles like Slumdog Millionaire and Grease. Additionally, seasons of popular American television series, such as The Office and The
TOP: At the Hive, (from right to left) NTU students Tee Yang, Ko Ming Jun and Sim Jing Rong enjoy a movie in between their lesson breaks. BOTTOM LEFT: NTU students Xavier Chua (left) and Melvin Tan (right) play console games at the Student Activities Centre. BOTTOM RIGHT: After their meals at Canteen 2, NTU students Jabrian Toh, Lin Shiyi and Hong Yun Ting (from left to right) play darts at the Black and White Room. PHOTOS: ZHENG JUNCEN
Big Bang Theory, are also available to satisfy anyone with binge-watching habits. One of the highlights of the library’s audio-visual collection is the specially curated “100 Films to Watch Before you Graduate” – displaying reputable films from a mix of genres and countries. Movies can be screened in both the common area and individual viewing carrels, which can accommodate three to four people with movable room dividers for privacy.
If you intend to watch the movies at the comfort of your home, you could also opt to borrow the movie from the library instead. Hit the bullseye The Black and White Room is a great choice if you are looking for a hideout for your group of friends. Nestled at the back of Canteen 2, the recreation room houses dart machines — perfect
for some post-dinner fun before you hit the books again. In addition to the two dart machines that can accommodate up to four players each, there is also a video arcade game machine by the side. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that the games cost just $1 a pop. Outside food and beverages are not permitted but you are allowed to consume refreshments bought from the canteen itself.
& nice everything
Cupcakes, cookies, brownies and macarons — we all deserve to indulge in life’s guilty pleasures once in a while. Lifestyle writer Linette Leong hunts down five home-grown bakers from NTU who have mastered the art of baking.
s we usher in the season of assignment submissions and final examinations, we may need that extra sugar rush to power us through our late-night study sessions. The Nanyang Chronicle introduces five of our very own school bakers, so that you will know where to go to satiate your sweet cravings. After all, stressed is desserts spelled backwards.
flavour combinations, but go ahead and keep trying anyway,” she said. “Something great will definitely come out of it.” Practice, Patience, Love Lee Su Fang (@fang_cakes)
Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew Adeline Tan (@dee_bakes) Baking was Adeline Tan’s way of relieving her pent-up stress when she was a junior college student. Drawing her inspiration from other Instagram bakers’ pretty desserts, she decided to follow suit, kick-starting an account solely for her cakes. Within just two years, her account has garnered over 3,000 followers, made up of her family, friends, and even strangers who urge her to sell her bakes. But all was not smooth-sailing for the second-year Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI) student. Recently, Tan accepted several requests within a day that required her to bake 50 brownies, 40 cupcakes and a two-tiered birthday cake, but the plans almost fell through when she battled the stress of baking. “At four in the morning, nothing was going right — the consistency of the frosting was too runny, the cakes looked really horrendous, and I kept running out of ingredients,” she said. “It was a huge mess and I was afraid to disappoint my customers.” Eventually, the 20-year-old put everything aside and went to bed. She took a three-hour
rest before baking everything from scratch again. After nearly 10 hours, she finally finished her orders. “With the encouragement from my family and friends, I eventually completed what I set out to do. But after this incident, it really taught me not to bite off more than I could chew,” she added. Ultimately, what pushes Tan to continue baking is how her bakes put a smile on people’s faces. “It’s always nice to make someone else’s day and I feel like a cupcake or cookie is a great way to do that. Seeing other people happy makes my day a little better too,” she said. Be Bold and Adventurous Sophie Ng (@sophiensyy) From red velvet to salted egg, and black sesame to matcha, Sophie Ng’s bakes have always been at the forefront of food trends. Despite so, her best-selling items are her classic bakes — the fragrant earl grey laven-
der cupcakes. The final-year School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) student first started baking to satisfy her insatiable appetite for desserts, with her personal favourite being the good old New York cheesecake. She would then post pictures of her bakes on her Instagram account. When friends and strangers left comments and dropped her direct messages on Instagram to ask for price quotations about her cakes, she then decided to turn her passion into a business to earn some pocket money. With an initial social media following that consisted of only her friends, her Instagram account following grew to a whopping 16,000 followers in just two years. Her pro tip in baking? Be bold. Guided by her adventurous spirit, Ng has created desserts of almost every flavour imaginable — from the pistachio rose cake to chendol cheesecake and even an ondeh ondeh flavoured cake. “Your cakes may not be delicious all the time, and you may be afraid to try quirky
Second-year WKWSCI student Lee Su Fang (pictured above) is the embodiment of her signature earl grey lemon curd cupcake — elegant and creative. After completing her ‘A’ levels two years ago, Lee started experimenting with new recipes by watching YouTube videos. However, Lee knew that her family’s appetite for sweet treats could not keep up with the rate that she was baking. She then started an Instagram account, in hopes that she could get some orders from her friends and family members. This not only helped her to clear the bakes in her home, but it also allowed her to experiment with new flavours. But as the workload of university life kicked in, the stress of handling a baking business slowly took its toll on Lee. “A big challenge is juggling both school commitments and baking at the same time,” she said. While others take their weekend to catch up on sleep and recuperate from a hectic week in school, Lee would often spend her weekend baking. From liaising with customers and listening to their requests weeks or even months before, to the logistical planning involved, it can often get both physically and mentally draining for the 20-year-old. But no amount of fatigue can stop Lee from pursuing her passion. Her secret recipe
CHRONICLE 03 “You may be afraid to try quirky flavour combinations, but go ahead and keep trying anyway. Something great will definitely come out of it.” Sophie Ng, 22 School of Humanities and Social Sciences
to baking the perfect cake is practice, patience and love. “It is the very moment right after the cake is done and I see that the different components have come together nicely. All the hard work was worth it,” she said. When asked about some tips and tricks on baking, Lee stressed the importance of using good quality ingredients and materials so that the product will look impressive. “Use social media to your advantage and capitalise on the marketing via various platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. It acts as free advertising,” she added. A Pinch of Salt Fina Jahan (@fifibakes) Last year, Fina Jahan received a customised order for a royal-themed birthday cake. After a few days of planning and preparation, Jahan completed the two-tiered cake, which was topped off with a princess tiara. It might have been a fairytale ending for both sides, but unfortunately, the customer mishandled the cake and shifted the blame to Jahan. Instead of reasoning it out with the customer, the 21-year-old knew that the cake was important for the celebration, and decided to bake another one so as to not ruin the special day. “It did break my heart that something I put so much effort into ended up smashed, but I also decided to be professional about it,” said the third-year School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering student. As baking has always been an activity Jahan enjoyed since young, such unfortunate incidents do not dampen her spirit for it. Instead, they taught her how to handle a business professionally. From biker-themed cakes to elegant wedding cakes, Jahan bakes customised cakes of various themes. When asked about her top baking tip, Jahan stressed to always add a pinch of salt in all our recipes, as it would bring out the flavour of the cakes. “Trust me, it makes all the difference.” Learning from Experience Sim En Ching (@batterlogy) Sim En Ching’s unrelenting attitude propelled her into the highly competitive field of Instagram business just four months ago. Her specialty? Marbled macarons. Since she started baking, she has tried to bake macarons of different themes. She even baked a macaron twice the size of her palm. On top of that, the second-year HSS stu-
dent also showcases her creativity by exploring different flavours — such as her Halloween specials, which include cookies and cream macarons with a mini oreo stuffed in its filling, and fruity pebbles macarons bursting with organic fruit filling and made with zero sugar. Sim’s main bakes are her macarons. As a novice baker, she feels that the steps behind making a good macaron are a lot less complicated than baking a cake. But what many do not know is that these dainty little French treats may be easy to make but are difficult to perfect. In fact, the 20-year-old spent over two months trying to master the skill of baking flawless shells with “happy feet” (ruffles on the edge of the shells). On top of that, she spends nearly 10 hours on each baking session every weekend, baking an average of 250 macarons — that’s 500 individual shells. “Before I perfected the macaron shells, they were dome-shaped. I called them volcanoes,” she joked. Despite multiple failures, Sim persisted as she relished the feeling of success whenever her macarons came out perfect. “Sometimes, you visualise the end product to be a certain look, but after it comes out of the oven, it can look very different. This is very common because there are way too many variables to control. So keep the determination going and learn each time you fail,” she added.
TAKING THE CAKE: (clockwise from left) Earl grey lemon curd cupcakes by Lee Su Fang, Black sesame and lemon curd with buttercream cake by Adeline Tan, Lime coconut cupcakes by Adeline Tan, Dark chocolate and vanilla sponge cake with cream cheese frosting by Fina Jahan, Two-tiered naked berries cake by Sophie Ng, Oreo macarons by Sim En Ching .
PHOTOS: ZHENG JUNCEN, VALERIE LAY, LEE SU FANG, SOPHIE NG, ONG YONG JIA
GRAPHIC: BRENDA LEE
03 CHRONICLE movie review
TAX TALK: Accountant Christian Wolff and his colleague, Dana, find an error in the company's accounts. PHOTO: INTERNET
Action/Drama NC16: Violence & Some Coarse Language Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons 128 min
Action/Crime PG13 Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Irrfan Khan 121 min
obert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is back in the third instalment of the surprisingly robust Robert Langdon franchise, which is based on the famous series of books by Dan Brown. Director Ron Howard also returns with the gripping plot of a world famous symbology professor attempting to stop a plague. Created by a billionaire radical, the plague will affect half the world’s population in 48 hours. Joining the ride is Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), the doe-eyed doctor who tells Langdon that he has a head injury and amnesia after he wakes up in a hospital in Florence. Not only will he have to solve the upcoming puzzle to save billions of lives, he would also have to piece together his own scattered memory. Inevitably, as with all adaptations of Dan Brown novels, there is an incorporation of religious philosophy, art, and most importantly, museums from around the world. This time, the focus is on the image of Dante’s version of hell, the Inferno. The film takes us all over Europe as the two attempt to decode the clues within the image of Dante’s Inferno to stop the coming catastrophe. The film is unapologetically fast-paced from the get-go, and only pauses for viewers to marvel at the sights of the majestic artwork from the many palazzos in Italy. But it does take a few silly turns as moments of the film intended to be dramatic and revelational — notably the execution of the plans by the radicalists — elicited laughter from the audience.
his summer’s blockbuster hit Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice brought us Ben Affleck punching and shooting mercenaries as the heroic masked vigilante Batman. If you haven’t already had your fill of his large brooding frame, get ready for more
action as Affleck takes down some hired thugs in The Accountant. Affleck plays Christian Wolff, an autistic accountant who balances the books for gangsters and terrorists. He has difficulty expressing himself but manages to stay alive in this deadly line of work, all thanks to his intensive military training and his almost superhuman martial arts skills, which help him transform objects around him into lethal weapons. This time round, Wolff gets hired by a large public technology company to clean up its books. But things quickly go awry when he discovers an error of roughly US$61 million dollars, and company employees start getting assassinated. Along with Dana (Anna Kendrick), a quirky company accountant who also spots the error, the duo take it upon themselves to find the truth about what is really going on in the company. The story has its riveting moments with Affleck’s stunning action scenes, but suffers from poor pacing. The bulk of the movie is dedicated to long montages of number crunching and technical terms that may satisfy the inner nerd in you, but that the average moviegoer would not fully understand.
The plot also seemed derivative of Matt Damon’s Bourne series, which does handto-hand combat and espionage better. The Accountant's storyline also ends up being predictable. But the film has its saving graces. J.K. Simmons and Cynthia Addai-Robinson (of Arrow fame), who play two government treasury agents trying to catch the elusive “Accountant”, keep tensions running high throughout the show with their excellent chemistry. Seeing Simmons and Affleck on screen together is an exciting tease to what audiences can expect when they play Commissioner Gordon and Bruce Wayne/Batman respectively in the upcoming Justice League movie. Another strength is the film’s lasting message about how we should celebrate differences and not underestimate people with neurological disorders. The autistic Wolff shows us that he can still be the best version of himself despite the disorder. Affleck’s compelling yet subtle performance of autism makes this at least a matinee viewing.
-Syed Ebrahim Al-idrus
The supporting cast was refreshingly diverse, adding to the international appeal of the film. This ranges from Bollywood superstar Irrfan Khan, heading the nefarious Provost organization trying to get their hands on the plague, to rising French star Omar Sy playing an agent from the World Health Organisation tasked to reach Langdon before the Provost assassins do. Inferno has a high bar to live up to as a sequel to Angels & Demons — the strongest movie of the franchise. But while it does not match up to its predecessor in terms of intrigue and suspense, it more than makes up with its high-octane action and breathtaking cinematography.
-Syed Ebrahim Al-idrus
HUNTED: Robert Langdon and Sienna Brooks hunt for clues within the Palazzo Vecchio while attempting to evade assassins. PHOTO: SONY PICTURES
PERSPECTIVES FILM FESTIVAL 2016
CELEBRATING THE WEIRD: Maya Banno plays Sachiko Haruno in The Taste of Tea, a little girl who has a giant version of herself following her. PHOTO: PERSPECTIVES FILM FESTIVAL
Lovers of film and cinema had much to rejoice when the Perspectives Film Festival (PFF) returned for its ninth consecutive year from 27 to 29 Oct. Organised entirely by students from Nanyang Technological University, the annual festival featured a tightly curated selection of films which were considered a breakthrough in their respective time periods. Rational thinking was thrown out of the window with this year’s theme of Surrealism. The festival featured four Singapore premieres, among which were The Dance of Reality (2013) and Endless Poetry (2016) — two of the newer films by director Alejandro Jodorowsky. This is a comeback for the Chilean surrealist master after The Rainbow Thief in 1990.
Meanwhile, audience members who caught The Taste of Tea by Japanese director Katsuhito Ishii were surprised when they were treated to a post-screening dialogue with Ishii, where he shared with them his inspirations behind the surrealist film. The festival also showcased 70s cult classics like David Lynch’s Eraserhead (yes, the same visionary that brought us Twin Peaks), UK director Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, and French animated film, Fantastic Planet, a technical marvel in the time period with its cut-out animation. Also screened at the four-day festival was Daisies by Czechoslovakian director Vera Chytilová, which offers a riveting commentary on the issue of gender identity within the conservative social structure of 1966.
Chief Editor Nicholas Tan shares his experience during a 10-day traverse through the Persian landscape, as part of a team of 16 student journalists from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information’s annual Going Overseas for Advanced Reporting programme.
’ll be the first to admit that I knew next to nothing about Iran. Prior to doing research for this trip, my knowledge of the pariah state only extended to Nicholas Brody’s public execution in its capital, Tehran, in the hit American TV series Homeland. The two imposing portraits of Iran’s past and present Supreme Leaders seemed to glare at me as I dragged my luggage through Imam Khomeini International Airport’s arrival gate. Filled with equal parts excitement and trepidation, I was certain these two faces were the ones I was going to remember this trip by. As it turned out, what stuck with me were not the grim faces of two men clad in turbans, but the genuine smiles and warm handshakes of everyday Iranians. My Iranian experience kicked off at a live football match — albeit a second division one, between Baadraan Tehran and Naft Masjed Soleyman Football Club at the Rah Ahan Stadium. Raucous home fans invited me to join in their chants of “hamleh”,
which means “attack” in their official language, Farsi. Such was the ferocity of their support that I feared being beaten up as I waddled my way to a more central seat. By a stroke of luck, I met Farshid, 26, who manages Baadraan Tehran. He gestured me first to pitchside to watch the players up close, then up to the VIP box, where an attendant served me fresh fruits and Iranian snacks. Needless to say, I was taken aback by their kindness. Meeting foreigners I was never quite the talkative person, but conversations with Iranians might have changed that. An incessantly coughing, water-swigging taxi driver, probably in his 60s, got all excited when I introduced myself as Singaporean. “I enjoyed Singapore. Are you all still vegetarian?” he asked, swiftly recalling a trip to our city-state 37 years ago. Last I checked, my parents have devoured meat their entire lives — but that sparked an intriguing chat about the difference between our countries. Perhaps the 37 years of isola-
tion from the outside world, as a result of the economic sanctions that have inhibited the country, has brought about a sense of wonder and excitement when the Iranians meet foreigners. And his driving skill was superb, I thought. Then again, the same could be said of his fellow drivers, who have to manoeuvre through Tehran’s notorious peak hour traffic jams on a daily basis. The Tehran Metro was also a sight to behold. Eager salesmen (and sometimes young sales girls) squeeze through the congested carriages peddling Snakes and Ladders boards, luminous wristbands, and long socks — almost like a roving pasar malam. One afternoon, I was checking the metro map, confirming the number of stops to my next destination when a smartly dressed businessman tapped on my shoulder and asked if I needed help. Before I could decline the offer, the affable stranger dragged me to the ticket office, where he bought me a two-trip ticket, refusing to accept the mini stack of Iranian cur-
rency in my hand as payment. It didn’t stop there. He then graciously tore out a piece of paper from his planner and wrote down my stop in Farsi, in case I got lost. I failed to mention that I knew the way all along. Getting stranded Iran, of course, is not all Tehran. After spending the first four days in the capital, we were en route to Isfahan, Iran’s third largest city, when our coach tyre punctured. But this did not dampen our spirits, for it afforded us a glimpse of the vast Persian landscape. Imposing mountains in the backdrop, and not a trace of green anywhere – it was a strangely beautiful feeling to be stranded in the middle of barren land. Back at the bus, the driver, not speaking a word of English, worked tirelessly to replace the tyre, even sustaining a deep gash on his forehead in the process. Yet he persevered without a hint of pain on his face; just steely-eyed determination to get our journey back on track. That resolute front melted into
a grateful smile and thumbs-up when one of us offered to stem the bleeding with a wet tissue under the unrelenting sun. My encounters with locals continued as we traversed through the different cities. Groups of Iranian young men asked to take pictures with me at the sprawling Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan. I must have looked the most archetypally Chinese out of our group. The attention was surprising, even a little unnerving. Eyes were also on us when we explored a makeshift bookshop later that night. With banners of “Down with USA” draped above us, I felt uneasy, but that wore off quickly when a bespectacled attendant chuckled at our fascination over old military equipment, which were also on sale. It was a pity that we spent less than a full day in Isfahan. Home to hand-woven rugs and an unattractive but delicious goat’s lung briyani, it is viewed as “half the world” by Iranians, a testament to how this 1,500-year-old former capital is a revered gem.
After stuffing ourselves silly with succulent kababs (skewered meats) and acidic fesenjan (a stew flavoured with pomegranate and walnuts) over the past few days, our leisurely trek up the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence outside the desert city of Yazd was the perfect tonic.
Street celebrations A quick stop by Persepolis, the palace complex of the long-gone Achaemenid Empire, was like a slow walk back in time. Formidable pillars and walls decorate the Unesco World Heritage Site, which dates back 2,500 years when Iran was formerly known as Persia. Our shy yet unwaveringly
patient guide Suzan, 33, told us that Shiraz, our final destination, is a lively city. When we arrived in the evening, Tehran-esque heavy traffic made its reappearance on the Chamran Boulevard. Except this time, instead of polluted air filling our lungs, a football bonanza awaited. Fans of Shiraz-based Qashqai FC, who had just stunned national powerhouse Persepolis FC in Iran’s Hazfi Cup, were out in full celebratory mode. Donning jester hats with the team’s colours, men sat on their car window frames, blaring horns and taking selfies. Some even attached team scarves to windshield wipers for hilarious effect. Women, barred from men’s games in Iran because of religious rules, waved tissue paper, while children banged on drums — this cacophony
1. COLOURFUL KALEIDOSCOPE: The Nasir ol Molk in Shiraz is predominantly pink - like the roses that thrive in the region.
2. TOURIST CHARM: Several Iranian men requested to take pictures with me while I was taking a break in Isfahan’s Chehel Sotoun pavilion. 3. GRAND SQUARE: The Naqsh-e Jahan Square, also known as Imam Square, in Isfahan is larger than Moscow’s Red Square, and is a Unesco-listed World Heritage Site. 4. FINAL CLIMB: The Zoroastrians used the Towers of Silence outside Yazd as open burial pits, placing the bodies of deceased relatives to be feasted upon by carrion birds. 5. FLAWLESS FABRICS: A shopkeeper selling woven textiles poses for a photo at Shiraz’s Vakil Bazaar. 6. YOUTHFUL SPIRIT: Two boys indulge in some fun outside the Jame Mosque in Yazd. Iran’s youth makes up the majority of its people, with two-thirds of the population under 35. 7. FOOTBALL FRENZY: Fans of Qashqai FC hang out of car windows waving tissue paper as they celebrate a shock win over Persepolis FC out on Shiraz’s Chamran Boulevard.
PHOTOS: AQIL HAZIQ MAHMUD, LOUISA TANG, MATTHEW MOHAN, NICHOLAS TAN AND SAMUEL HE
Imposing mountains in the backdrop, and not a trace of green anywhere – it was a strangely beautiful feeling to be stranded in the middle of barren land. echoed along the highway tunnels. An Iranian journalist told me that Iranians live and breathe football; if only we showed the same passion back home, I thought. While exuberant fans, hookah puffers and parkour enthusiasts enliven the cooling night, the warm day was a different kind of beautiful in Iran’s city of poets, wine and flowers. Vibrant green trees and bushes blanketed the streets — a stark contrast to the dusty brown of Tehran. As with other cities, the architecture in Shiraz also has its distinct personality. Departing from the reflective blue that adorned Isfahan’s mosques, Shiraz’s Nasir ol Molk, known as the Pink Mosque, was a kaleidoscope of colourful splendor with its stained-glass windows. The same could be said of the Vakil Bazaar: a vibrant cornucopia of spices, handicrafts and clothing. A saunter through its maze-like compound yielded purchases of Gaz, a Persian nougat and the souvenir of choice for most of us, as well as a sachet of golden-orange saffron strands, my trophy for the day. Having watched many culinary videos that featured saffron, I eagerly paid 250,000 rials (S$11) for 4 grams of this dainty spice – an ab-
solute steal compared to the S$11 per gram you would have to fork out at Mustafa Centre. Internet censorship Lost on the outskirts of Shiraz on my final night, I met Parisa, 19, who offered to help bring me to my destination. With her hijab barely concealing her cropped bangs and deep red lips, we bonded over a common passion for squash, and she bemoaned the stagnation of the sport in Iran. We then networked through Instagram. Social media, as I have learnt during this trip, is a powerful medium in Iran, where people utilise virtual private networks to bypass heavy Internet censorship by the government. A few days after I returned to Singapore, Salman, a translator who assisted me in Tehran, asked me on Telegram what I liked most about Iran. My answer to his question was immediate: the people. “I am so happy that you enjoyed your travel and this experience changed the misconception about Iran for you and your classmates,” the rice-loving, cigarette-smoking Salman, 26, replied. I get this overwhelming sense that Salman, along with all the others I have had the fortune to meet, really cares about what foreigners think of Iran. And who can blame them, given the largely negative portrayal of their beloved country in Western media. Yet with the inhibiting sanctions lifted in January, perhaps the shackles are now off for the world to see the Iranians for who they truly are — brimming with spontaneous hospitality, altruistic charm and so much more.
WHAT DOES OPPORTUNITY LOOK LIKE?
A student. An employee. A solutions seeker. Kok Hon is one and all. With the Industrial Postgraduate Programme (IPP), he is empowered to pursue fulltime PhD studies while conducting research at DNV GL, Singapore. Find out how you can make the most of the opportunities. ABOUT IPP & OPPORTUNITIES
Singaporeans & Singapore permanent residents are eligible to apply
22/9/16 9:38 AM
THIS ONE’S FOR THE GUYS:
Wear your moustache, put on some stylish clothes, and get your game face on.
When it comes to dressing with a beard, you can go full on dapper with a sharp suit or dress it down with added ruggedness. For the latter, opt for T-shirts with a bad boy twist – look out for slogans along the collar and sleeves, and ironon embroidered patches. When going for printed wear, choose something of a good fit for a smarter look, unless you’re all for Kanye’s slouchy-tee aesthetic.
CHRONICLE 03 VOL. NO.
(opposite image, from left) On Sat: Top, from Zara, $59.90; Pants, from Pull & Bear, $39.90; Cap, from Pull & Bear, $29.90; Shoes and watch, Model’s own. On Ibrahim: Top, from Pull & Bear, $19.90; Pants, from Zara, $49.90; Shoes and watch, Model’s own. On Patrick: Top, from Bershka, $29.90; Pants, shoes and ring, Model’s own. On Raymond: Top, from Bershka, $29.90; Shirt (worn as jacket), from Pull & Bear, $45.90; Pants, shoes and watch, Model’s own.
Photo: Chris Seow
Growing out a moustache or a beard? Dapper writer Desiree Ng speaks to Chris Seow from Autocutt Barbershop for some hair-raising advice. What is it like to grow out your facial hair? Chris: Patience is key. At about three to four weeks of growing it out, you should shave it no matter how much hair you managed to keep, as shaving stimulates your pores, resulting in thicker hair growth. Take more vitamins A, B, C and E to strengthen hair follicles, and keep your face clean and hydrated. To groom, a safety razor works to clean up stubble and to shape facial hair. For those with longer facial hair, use a pair of small scissors to trim the moustache just above the upper lip and to maintain even hair length. Once you’ve nailed the shape you want, you can use an electric clipper to maintain it. What are three essential tips for caring for your moustaches/beards? Chris: Firstly, keep it clean. Regularly cleanse your face, and check for food residues and grease after eating. Secondly, keep your facial hair tidy by trimming the shape and length regularly. Use moustache wax to style if required. Thirdly, apply beard oil on your beard and moustache three to four times a day for nourishment, but avoid using it while you sleep at night. What do we need to take note of when buying products for moustaches/beards? Chris: Opt for organic products if you can. Know your body well, including possible allergies, and do your research on product effectiveness. It’s recommended that you use products made specially for moustaches, as they are formulated differently from regular hair products. Why should one grow a moustache/beard? Chris: The gentleman grooming has become popular again today, and growing a moustache or beard complements that. It gives the individual a distinct physical characteristic, showcasing your personality and your taste. Autocutt Barbershop 68 Yio Chu Kang Road, S545569
Photography: Gary Khoo Text and Styling: Desiree Ng Make-up: Teh Xia Yin Models: (from left to right) Satyajeet Akhilesh, Ibrahim Bin Zubir, Patrick Nagel, Raymond Limantara Sutisna
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Grades never the be-all and end-all
Two weeks ago, local media broke the tragic news of an 11-year-old boy’s suicide, a Primary Five pupil who jumped 17 storeys to his death in May after receiving less than satisfactory grades for his mid-year examinations. The boy knew his results a few days before he died, but told his mother he had gotten average grades. He was supposed to bring his papers home on the day he jumped from his bedroom window, reports said. According to the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS), a total of 27 young people between the ages of 10-19 killed themselves in 2015, twice the number from this age-group as compared to the previous year. The most common stressors cited by troubled youth who have contacted SOS services include mental health issues, relationship problems at home and in school, as well as academic pressure. In the pressure-cooker environment of Singapore, grades usually reign supreme — regardless of whether one is in primary school or university. The equation is simple for many. Good grades ensure spots in prestigious schools, and these schools promise the allure of better education opportunities and a better shot at that dream job. In the rat-race to the top,
some fall into the trap of being overly competitive, comparing ourselves with others. This creates more stress, and disappointments take a toll mentally. Rather than stowing these feelings away, confiding in friends can sometimes help. We can also all do our bit in recognising the signs of friends struggling to cope with academic pressures. The University has also acknowledged the importance of reaching out to students struggling with these disappointments. The Student Wellbeing Centre organises talks, counselling sessions and workshops for students and staff. During the examination periods, emails are also sent to students, reminding them to take care of themselves while studying. Other educational institutions have also realised the importance of reducing academic stress on students by allowing them to explore new subjects. For instance, the National University of Singapore (NUS) implemented a gradefree first year, allowing freshmen to decide whether to include grades for up to eight modules. But, ultimately, the onus lies on us. While grades are certainly important and we should certainly be trying our best, let us make an effort to look out for one another. Finally, we should also remind ourselves that good grades, though important, ought not to come at the price of sacrificing our mental health.
CHRONICLE CHIEF EDITOR
DAPPER EDITOR Gary Khoo
Matthew Mohan Rachel Chia Serena Yeh
OPINION EDITOR Matthew Mohan
BUSINESS MANAGERS Sheena Wong Vanessa Tan
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Unsigned editorials represent the majority view of the editorial board of The Chronicle and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of Nanyang Technological University, its employees, the students or the Council of the University. Signed opinion columns, letters and editorial cartoons represent the opinion of the writer or artist and are not necessarily those of The Chronicle. Printed by KHL Printing Co. Pte Ltd, 57 Loyang Drive, Singapore 508968
frankly, my dear
A column by Chronicle editors on issues close to their hearts
GRAPHIC: TAN ZHUO HUI
Learning to deal with death Dewey Sim Lifestyle Editor
eath isn’t something I’m particularly familiar with. And despite having fought the feeling of loss over the years, I still haven’t quite learnt how to deal with it. At first, it was a taboo subject never to be raised during family conversations. At one point, I was told that death was punishment for the evil; at another, it seemed as though death was just about the biological disintegration of our thoughts, organs and skin. Then, four years ago, my classmate passed away from a rare medical condition. I rushed back from vacationing in Thailand for the last day of his wake, where I saw his still body in the coffin, his sunken cheeks devoid of the smile he always carried. He looked pale; sick, so sick that I could barely recognise him. As his parents fought back tears beside me, I looked at him for one last time, through the thin sheet of glass separating life from death. It was then that I realised I did not know how to deal with death. I’d woken up to floating fishes in my tank and experienced my pet hamsters plunging off dining tables when I was a young kid. But this was different. I was not particularly close to him, but it felt like he was just removed from the world. As I dug deeper, I remembered him as an outgoing and inquisitive classmate who tried to solve all the Math sums the rest of us could not. I remembered how he often
topped our class and cohort, then went on to secure a prestigious scholarship offered by NTU. At that instant, death wasn’t a distant idea anymore. It was something that could happen to anyone at any time. We all find our own ways to grapple with the idea of death and loss — some of us are guided by faith and religion, while others try to numb ourselves through the rigours of work and school. One of my favourite poems by Sylvia Plath, titled Daddy, is about her coming to terms with her father’s death. She recalls her father as a daunting figure, and how she feared him as a child. While dealing with death was a struggle, like Plath, I found a semblance of closure through writing. On the plane back from Thailand, I wrote a short note for my friend, celebrating his death and how much joy he brought to our class. My hope was that he read it somewhere, somehow. Sometimes, I also wonder how it’s like for parents to watch their child pass on. When I was reporting for The New Paper last year, I wrote a story about a father who had never stopped texting his late son after he died in a car accident a year ago, hoping for a reply. The pain hadn’t really gone away for the 60-odd-year-old. When I spoke to him about the accident that robbed him of his only child, he wept profusely. During the hour-long interview, he had to take a break every five
minutes, pacing around the kitchen to calm himself down. He also took me to his son’s bedroom and explained how he left it untouched since the accident. It was painful to watch a stranger hold on to a precious memory he could not bear to leave behind. It has occurred to me that death often becomes a review of our lives, where only at wakes do we give eulogies of how great a father or son one is. We don’t hear much about Mr Tan from down the corridor or Uncle John who serves coffee at the opposite block till their deaths. And while we’re alive, we take the little things like affirmation and smiles for granted. Death really isn’t a topic I am familiar with; one that I will never want to be familiar with. But what I have learned over the years is that we should not wait till death before we start to love. In retrospect, I should have spent more time with my friend who passed on. I should have thanked him for the things he did, even the simplest ones like helping me with homework, or keeping our classroom neat and tidy. The words of American author Kurt Vonnegut sums it up — “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, ‘It might have been.’” Before we feel that aching sense of regret the next time we see a familiar face while flipping through the obituaries, let’s start by learning to love and appreciate everything we have.
Social Media: to post or not to post?
canteen talk Given the recent success of Singaporean Nathan Hartono in Sing! China and Singapore-born Natalie Ong in The X Factor Australia, it is clear that our artistes are slowly making their mark on the global music scene. In what way do you support local artistes as they kick-start promising careers?
As an aspiring musician and songwriter, I make it a point to attend at least one night of the annual Baybeats music festival to remind myself of the amazing and diverse talent we have in Singapore. I once organised a hall cluster event based on the theme “Home is where the heart is”, which served to encourage the singing of local songs.
Oh Jarrad Gjern, 22 HSS, Year 2
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Supporting the local scene goes beyond listening to local artistes or going to their gigs. Since I have friends in local bands, I help them out at gigs, connect them with the right contacts, and occasionally back them up as a vocalist.
Sarah Almodiel, 23 HSS, Year 3
I honestly prefer international pop stars over local stars, because we have greater exposure to international music. I have never been to any local concerts before, and would rather save up and pay for international concerts rather than local ones. Wee Shi Ting, 20 MSE, Year 2
he last post on my personal Instagram account dates back to Dec 2013. This may sound strange, especially in a day and age where most of my peers have an active presence on their social media accounts. My friends used to get slightly frustrated when they realised I stopped posting photos online. They did not understand why I chose not to, and nudged me from time to time to post something. But they have since gotten used to my absence on social media. At times, however, I do feel guilty as I do not share as much information on what is going on in my life as compared to them, but the hassle of documenting every “momentous” occasion turns me away. Part of me dislikes having to account for my life on social media, while another part is simply too lazy to maintain my accounts on a regular basis. Yet, while my social media accounts are largely inactive, I do spend some time on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram every day. Some people would describe this as being a “social lurker”. I prefer to share details of my life only with close friends, rather than acquaintances whom I’ve had the affinity of crossing paths with. It is common to meet new people in life regularly, and while I agree with the importance of building a social network for future career purposes, I prefer to keep a distance with acquaintances. This is even though I recognise that having a limited social media presence can come at the cost of maintaining social networks and certain friendships. In today’s day and age, the widespread prevalence of social media sites has even transformed
them into an important personal branding tool. First impressions are made digitally, often without our knowledge, and like it or not, social media posts are now an important way employers judge and evaluate potential employees. A survey by JobsCentral in 2012 found that three in four employers screen their job candidates online before making hiring decisions. At the same time, posting on social media now is in itself a kind of art, where posts are often carefully crafted and brandished like a badge of honour. But while posting on social media is often an orchestrated move, posting an appropriate amount of content can be a fine line to tread. For instance, selfies, photographs of meals, and documenting of fitness regimens can be off-putting when shared indiscriminately, and sometimes even considered by some to be “spam". Hence, selective self-presentation and curation of content seems to be key to navigating the social media world successfully. Recognising this, a number of people around me have more than one account on each of their social media sites. For example, they would have one official Instagram account with a public setting, and another private one to post trivial content deemed inappropriate for those outside a selected group of followers to view. This allows for the projection of a consistent online persona, and at the same time is an attempt to prevent potential oversharing. An obsession with posting excessively on social media can be debilitating to one’s mental health, as the pressure of keeping up with social norms and the fear of missing
out can cause social anxiety. A 2014 study in the Journal of Behavioural Addictions found that higher social media usage correlated with anxiety and sometimes even depression. This is amplified when people get too caught up with the idealised reality shown by others on social media and compare their lives to it. Based on research done by bimonthly psychology literature magazine Psychology Today, the fear of missing out can result in self-identity problems, loneliness, poor self-image, feelings of personal inadequacy, discontentment with life, disconnection from others and even jealousy. Yet at the same time, research on neurophysiological reactions found that positive affirmation derived from social media posts can be beneficial for self-esteem. People who already had high self-esteem are the ones who benefit most, as they usually post more positive updates and receive more positive responses, according to research published by peer-reviewed journal Psychological Science. In contrast, those with low selfesteem tend to post updates that are negative and will ultimately serve to work against them. What this means is that making decisions on what and when to post on social media is a complex process, with consequences that are not straightforward as some may think. Also, what we need is an ability to consume information from social media sites with a critical eye. I’d like to believe that not revealing too much on social media is imperative to a healthy social media presence. After all, what is more interesting than getting to know a person better the old-fashioned way — through a normal face-to-face conversation?
Trump Clinton further apart
r e h t e g o t r e clos
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he outcome of the United States presidential election will determine if Asia and, in turn, Singapore grows closer to the US — or further apart, experts say. Come 8 Nov, Americans will take to the polls and decide between Mr Donald Trump or Mrs Hillary Clinton, therefore determining the future state of relations between the US and Singapore. Singapore and the US are longstanding allies and commemorated their 50th anniversary earlier this year. America is also Singapore’s largest foreign direct investor. Under the current Obama administration, both countries extended strong trade and military ties, securing solid bilateral relations. But experts say that a change in administration could affect the region and ties with Singapore. This stems from the candidates having attitudes towards Asia that are starkly different from President Barack Obama’s. They also have opposing understanding and interpretation of foreign relations. “Mr Trump will be more transactional and calculating, and he does
not necessarily understand the nuance of geo-politics when it comes to foreign relations,” said Assistant Professor Daniel Chua from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, whose interest lies in military studies. In contrast, Mrs Clinton’s track record of having been in the Senate, as well as being Secretary of State and the First Lady, makes her proposals regarding foreign relations appear more credible. Experts also say a Clinton administration is likely to continue to maintain strong ties in the region. “I think it makes the world safer and, frankly, it makes the US safer," said Mrs Clinton during the third and final presidential debate on 19 Oct. “I would work with our allies in Asia, in Europe, in the Middle East, and elsewhere. That’s the only way we’re going to be able to keep the peace.” Countering Chinese might Assistant Professor Kei Koga, under the Public Policy and Global Affairs Programme from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, said the former Secretary of State also has a vested interest in the re-
gion because strong relationships with Asian nations can offset the growing might of China. “Should Mrs Clinton win, she may be able to counter China's assertiveness in the region by strengthening ties with Japan and the Philippines," he added. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier announced his country’s separation from the US in a forum during his visit to China. However, he later claimed that he was not severing ties, but adopting a more independent foreign policy by strengthening the Philippines’ ties with China. As such, either a Trump or Clinton administration will have to implement drastic measures to achieve an ideal state of relations in the region. However, a Trump administration raises questions on future USAsia relations. Mr Trump claimed that the US is being ripped off when it comes to defending countries such as Japan. “We are spending a fortune doing it. They have the bargain of the century,” he said during the final presidential debate in Las Vegas. Asst Prof Koga said: “I think Mr
Trump understands the importance of the alliance. So, I believe that it is not going to be the dissolution of alliance but more of a change in dynamics.” Mr. Trump could also seek to undo President Obama’s legacy of “Pivot to Asia”. This strategy has strengthened US relations with almost every country in Southeast Asia. America’s presence in the Asia Pacific region has indeed helped the countries deal with the rise of China, Asst Prof Koga added. The removal of America’s presence could create a vacuum, which will present China with an opportunity to rise as the predominant power in the region. “If the next President somehow neglects to strengthen US relations with the East Asian countries, China might see an opportunity to strengthen its relation with the region,” said Asst Prof Chua. United they stand While both candidates are on opposite sides of the court when it comes to foreign relations and leadership styles, one thing they stand together on is the Trans-Pa-
cific Partnership (TPP), which they both oppose. The TPP is a major trade agreement with 12 countries, including the US, Singapore, Japan, Australia and other countries in the region. It aims to bring down trade barriers, facilitate flow of goods and promote trade among the countries. Currently, Singapore has freetrade agreements with all the countries involved in the TPP except for Canada and Mexico. With the TPP, Singapore’s economy can see a boost of 1.4 per cent by 2025. It will also lift curbs on the foreign ownership of companies, in sectors such as private healthcare. While this may provide opportunities for Singaporean companies to invest abroad, they will still have to compete with local companies. All in all, with the TPP and other foreign policy changes that can be expected with a new Commander-in-Chief in the White House, change is inevitable for our tiny city-state. At the end of the day, Singapore needs to be ready to deal with this change in dynamics in Asia as well as in trade ties — regardless of the election results.
Sports NTU falls short in SUniG once again With eight gold medals, the University came in second-best in the annual competition Ignatius Koh Sports Editor NTU finished as runners-up in the Singapore University Games (SUniG) for the sixth consecutive year, ending its campaign behind National University of Singapore (NUS). Champions NUS won 17 gold medals while NTU, with eight gold medals, failed to match its 10-gold medal haul last year. The Games took place from 31 Aug to 14 Oct. The women’s basketball team brought home the title for the eighth year running, while both the men’s and women’s volleyball teams successfully defended their titles. The women’s volleyball team beat NUS 3-0 in the finals, representing an improved team performance, said captain Lau Ee Shan.
“Basically, the losses (in the finals) for the past two SUniG seasons were our driving factors for this year’s tournament.” Muhammad Azhari, 23 Men’s floorball team captain “I thought we really deserved the title because I felt that throughout the whole SUniG, we really saw ourselves improving as a team and we played quite well for our last match,” said the second-year Sports Science and Management student. While Lau, 20, was happy with last year’s win, she added that this year’s win was “more satisfying” as most players had started training late due to vacations and internships. The men’s floorball, football, and tchoukball teams also clinched gold medals, after suffering losses in their respective finals last year. A 2-1 win over Singapore Management University handed the men’s floorball team their first SUniG title in three years. “Basically, the losses (in the finals)
Rachel Lau (in black) helped the NTU women’s volleyball team retain its title with a 3-0 win over rivals NUS on 2 Oct.
in the past two SUniG seasons were our driving factors for this year’s tournament,” said 23-year-old captain Muhammad Azhari. Azhari, whose team lost to NUS last year, felt that his team “learnt to enjoy the game more”, which helped the players play to their strengths better, proving vital in the win. “We were just unlucky for the past two years and we should have won both years, but this win is definitely a good send off for us (the final-year students),” said the final-year student from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. For the NTU bowlers, it was the first time since 2013 that the men’s and women’s teams both won titles in the same year. The keglers had just two weeks to get used to the SUniG bowling lanes after returning from a competition in Malaysia, but the teams managed to seal the titles on 17 and 18 Oct at Temasek Club. “I think that it shows how practice
PHOTO: ZHENG JUNCEN
SUNIG 2016 RESULTS Champions Basketball (Men) Basketball (Women) Bowling (Men) Bowling (Women) Floorball (Men) Football (Men)
Tchoukball (Men) Volleyball (Men) Volleyball (Women)
and hard work can really do wonders,” said 22-year-old men’s team captain Isaac Lim. The third-year School of Humanities and Social Sciences student added: “Bowling’s not really a team sport as much as other contact sports, so the coaches made sure that every player participating in SUniG had enough attention during practices.” In a surprise turn of events, NTU’s cricket team was left disappointed as
Runner-up 9-Ball Pool (Mixed) Aquathlon (Overall) Badminton (Men) Badminton (Women) Cricket (Men) Cross country (Overall) Football (Women) Handball (Men)
its three-year dominance came to an end, after Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) pipped the reigning champions to the title. The cricketers were playing in a three-team, home-away format, with NUS also part of the group. “We were very unlucky in the last game (against SIM) that we lost — it was very, very close. We could have won, but we were unlucky (to lose 120-119),” said 22-year-old captain
Handball (Women) Squash (Men) Squash (Women) Swimming (Men) Table Tennis (Women) Tchoukball (Women) Tennis (Men) Touch football (Women)
Singaram Venkatachalam. “It could have been better, but we’re on our way to improving.” The final-year student at the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering added: “I’ve played three SUniGs and our opponents this year were the strongest. We have a lot to learn from this year.” (Additional reporting by Fiona Mei Robinson and Natalie Choy)
Behind the whistle
SPORTS 25 Who tweeted what?
Angelene Singh, an umpire of seven years, has officiated games in Thailand, Brunei, and Malaysia.
NTU netballer Angelene Singh shares her experience as a professional umpire Natalie Choy FROM amateurs to royalty, netball umpire Angelene Singh has seen them all. Singh, 23, who has been an umpire for seven years, counts the Princess of Brunei as among the players whom she has officiated. “The Princess plays netball too and I managed to umpire her game (at a local carnival in Brunei),” said the final-year student at the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. “She seemed like an average person, and we wouldn't have known if no one told us (the umpires)." As a member of the National Umpire Squad, Singh has also officiated at competitions in countries like Thailand, Brunei and Malaysia. The NTU netballer currently umpires at local competitions in her spare time to earn extra pocket money. The overseas opportunities exposes her to different netball scenes abroad, said Singh. Despite netball being a predominantly women’s sport, an umpiring stint in Brunei saw Singh officiate in a men’s competition. “The interest in netball in Brunei is very high, even among men,” observed Singh. “Men react very differently (compared to women),” she added. “They tend to question a lot — it was a bit more intimidating to umpire their game.” Singh first started umpiring when
she was 16, after undergoing a compulsory umpiring course when she was studying in the Singapore Sports School. Initially, she admitted, she was easily affected by comments from spectators, which made her secondguess her calls. Fending off such comments is now second nature to her. “You need to be thick-skinned,” she said. “When you don’t hold your own ground and let them get to your head, it becomes a problem.” If the umpire is fickle-minded, it may also disrupt the momentum of the game, which can frustrate players at times. “The more frustrated the players are, the more difficult it is to control the game and it snowballs from there,” added Singh. Umpiring has also helped Singh understand the rules better and discover loopholes in the game, which benefit her as a player. For example, when doing a throwin from the goal line, a player can throw the ball against the goal post before stepping on court to catch it — a move that is not explicitly banned. This saves a pass to a teammate, which runs the risk of interception from the opponent. “I’ve never tried it before, but I’ve seen a midfielder throw the ball against the pole then run to catch it to get closer (to the goal circle),” said Singh. “It’s risky because you don’t know where the ball will bounce towards, but if you can do it then it’s quite helpful sometimes.” But the occasional benefits present their fair share of obstacles. When Singh blows her whistle to start a match, she is already mentally prepared to shut out an onslaught of criticism directed at her. “It’s common to have players chal-
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lenging your calls or spectators yelling at you,” said Singh. “We are always the bad guys because umpires are like the ‘police’ in netball.” But Singh has accepted that it is part of the job and stressed that umpires must learn to “zone out and focus on the game only” — a skill that comes with experience. A good level of fitness is also needed to officiate a netball match, which consists of four 15-minute quarters. Umpires have to go through several fitness tests annually. One example is the beep test, a multi-stage examination that involves continuous running between two lines 20 metres apart to assess a person’s fitness. Like players, umpires also have certain indicators to gauge their performances. One such indicator is positioning. Umpires need to read the game and anticipate the next move to determine where to stand or run, said Singh. “If the ball reaches the destination before you, chances are you’ve made the wrong decision,” she added. Another indicator is the players’ attitude towards the umpire. Umpires are expected to hold an authoritative tone throughout the match. “Players and coaches can tell when you’re not confident and they will try to influence your decisions,” Singh also said. “You know you didn’t set the right tone when they don't listen to you.” To Singh, receiving a simple “thank you” after the match is the most rewarding part of the job. “As umpires, you get scrutinised and criticised so much during the game,” she said. “The best feeling is when people come up to you and tell you they appreciate your effort.”
“Words of wisdom in Finland: ‘What you call soccer, we call football. What you call football, we call Hand Egg' #NBForum2016" Professional skateboarder Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) on what the rest of the world thinks of American football.
“After 40 years I’m finally making strides in my physical appearance, there’s absolutely no way my grandma still thinks I’m ugly." Retired American footballer Chad Johnson (@ ochocinco) is hoping for the best the next time Grandma visits him.
“For Fuchs' sake. What a goal from @FuchsOfficial his first for Leicester!"
Former Leicester City star Gary Lineker (@ GaryLineker) on Christian Fuchs’ strike for his old team.
“Jose still knows how to get the best out of @ChelseaFC #CHEMUN" Ex-Chelsea striker Eidur Gudjohnsen (@Eidur22Official) with a subtle dig at Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho his team’s 4-0 loss to the Blues.
Tricks up their sleeve
Fiona Mei Robinson
IT WAS like an action movie come to life — 20 youths gathered at a field taking turns to perform aerial tricks, with a finesse that indicated years of practice. Organised by final-year Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information student Terence Szeto, the sixth edition of the Annual Tricking Gathering took place on 8 Oct at Bishan Street 22. Tricking became an internet phenomenon in the early 2000s. The sport is an aesthetic blend of kicks, flips and twists, derived from a number of disciplines that include martial arts, gymnastics, and breakdancing. According to Szeto, 24, there are only about 50 active members out of the 414-strong Tricking Singapore Facebook group. He said: “There are a lot of people interested to do what we do, but it’s a very steep learning curve for beginners as our novice moves are not novice at all. I think people view it as dangerous and are afraid to hurt their neck or ankles. “Our tricking community is quite segregated. These annual gatherings help everyone with this shared interest get together, and learn
more about each other.” He added that most people would rather watch than participate. While trickers train separately at different gyms like GymKraft at Guillemard Road and The Yard at Jurong East throughout the year, they readily share tips with their peers at the annual gatherings. Tang Ying Wai, 22, who has been tricking since 2014, said that trickers shared information such as how to flip and land better. “There is a lot of peer-to-peer learning, which I think is a rare thing to see nowadays,” the second-year Sports Science and Management student added. Apart from bringing seasoned trickers together, the event aimed to expose budding ones to the sport. For 15-year-old parkour practitioner Calvin Boon, the event offered him the chance to learn more about tricking. “Parkour is about efficient movement, and overcoming obstacles as fast as possible. It’s about moving from one point to another. In tricking, you’re on the same platform, but you do a lot more on that platform,” he said. The Orchid Park Secondary School student added: “I’m more interested in pursuing tricking now,
NTU student Terence Szeto has organised the Annual Tricking Gathering for the past two years.
but at the same time, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get to the advanced stage they’re at." “I’m still more into parkour, but I would definitely want to try and pursue tricking when I have more time to train.” Former martial artist Dylan Lim felt that tricking offered him a
break from the rigidity of martial arts. The 17-year-old had been practicing wushu since he was in primary school. But the Singapore Polytechnic student gave up wushu after secondary school as tricking allowed him to explore how hard he could push his body by trying different
PHOTO: ZHENG JUNCEN
freestyle movements. This contrasted with the fixed wushu routines he had to follow. “For me, wushu is too controlled. What we learn is standardised as everyone learns the same thing,” said Lim. “In tricking, we can express ourselves more.”
Foxes hunted down this season Khairul Anwar
LEICESTER City's fairytale English Premier League (EPL) win last season brought the modern day underdog story to life. With a rock-solid backline, quietly efficient midfield, and the deadly attacking duo of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, the Foxes proved a force to be reckoned with. But all is not well at the King Power Stadium this season. Claudio Ranieri's side already have more defeats than the three they suffered in their title-winning season. They have also failed to deliver in front of goal, scoring only 11 goals compared to 19 at this point last season. The team has struggled to cope with the off-season departure of midfield workhorse N’Golo Kante to Chelsea. According to British football news website FourFourTwo.com, Kante’s only season at Leicester saw him make 175 tackles in the league, which was 31 more than any other player, and 156 interceptions, 15 more than any other player. The Frenchman’s departure left a hole in the spine of the team, with
Leicester City need to shake off their title hangover, or risk being dethroned by the chasing pack.
Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea all managing to score at least three goals against the Foxes. The lack of pace from ageing centre-backs Robert Huth and Wes Morgan has been painfully exposed as the midfield duo of Daniel Amartey and Danny Drinkwater have failed to shield the back four as well as Kante did. But Leicester’s problems run far deeper. Opponents seem to have gotten used to the old-fashioned 4-4-2 system that Ranieri employs.
While the formation helped them hit opponents on the counter last season, teams have now nullified the threat of striker Vardy and winger Mahrez by sitting deep to deny them the space to exploit. With only two goals in the league so far, Vardy seems to have misplaced his scoring boots. At this stage last season, the Englishman had nine goals. His partner in crime Mahrez has not fared much better. One goal — a penalty — in nine EPL matches is a
GRAPHIC: FIONA LIM
poor return for the reigning Professional Football Association Player of the Year. Another reason for Leicester’s failings this term could be due to the second season syndrome — a downturn in fortunes of a club in its second season, after an unexpected strong finish in its first season back in the top flight. The Foxes’ current malaise mirrors French side Montpellier’s fortunes after their triumph in the 2011-2012 Ligue 1 season.
Despite claiming a first-ever title just three seasons after promotion, Montpellier finished ninth the following season with 16 losses. In contrast to their abysmal league form, Leicester are doing well in their maiden Champions League campaign. Three wins and three clean sheets in as many games mean that the Foxes are within touching distance of qualifying for the knockout stages for the first time in their history. Leicester’s success in Europe could be due to playing against higher quality opponents who allow them only an average of 40 per cent of possession. But it would mean nothing if an early Champions League exit and poor league form cost them a place in European football next season. While new signing Islam Slimani has two league goals to his name, he has only played in four games as compared to Vardy’s eight. Given that all three of Slimani’s goals for Leicester this season — two in the EPL, one in the Champions League — came from headers, a more direct style may benefit them. For if Leicester do not recover soon, they will turn from champs to chumps.
Growing from cot to court NTU squash player Austin Ong credits his father for his development in the sport Khairul Anwar WHENEVER Mr Vincent Ong sees his son Austin don the NTU jersey before squash matches, he sees a semblance of his younger self. After all, Mr Ong, 53, had pulled on the same jersey 32 years ago. In fact, both Mr Ong and his wife, Mrs Ong Sau Wan, 50, played for NTU’s squash team back when they were students in National Institute of Education (NIE). But eight years ago, Austin, 21, was switching between sports almost every month. It was not easy for him to pick a sport to pursue competitively as he had been invested in a number of them, including football and golf. “I was fickle-minded back then and my dad didn’t want me to back out of my decision,” said the first-
“I knew (the passion) has to come from the athlete, and not (pressure) from me.” Mr Vincent Ong, 53, Austin's father and former NTU men's squash player
NTU squash player Austin Ong (pictured in red) still receives training from his father, Mr Vincent Ong, despite having a number of school coaches.
year Sports Science and Management student. While squash seemed like the natural option, Mr Ong, who is Head of Youth Coaching at the National Youth Sports Institute (NYSI), insists that neither he nor his wife forced Austin into his decision. “I left it to him to decide,” said Mr Ong. “I knew (the passion) has
to come from the athlete, and not (pressure) from me.” So when Austin chose to focus on squash, Mr Ong decided to take him under his wing and has been coaching him ever since.
“He's there for almost all my games and he's more analytical than any of my other coaches.” Austin Ong, 21, NTU men's squash player
Austin dropped a number of sports to pursue competitive squash in 2008 under the guidance of Mr Ong.
Mr Ong himself is an established squash player, reaching a B-Grade status by the time he graduated from NIE — the peak of his playing years. In squash, the grading system ranges from Novice for beginners, to A-Grade for professionals. A player would have to play in a tournament recognised by the Singapore Squash Rackets Association (SSRA) to be promoted from Novice to F-Grade. On average, it takes a year to advance to the next grade. But Mr Ong soon realised that playing and coaching are two different ball games, and especially so when his student is also his son. “When I notice an instruction I give isn’t getting through to him, I take a step back (and) tell him
to ask his school coach,” said Mr Ong, who taught physical education at Methodist Girls’ School for 15 years before moving on to NYSI. He added: “I don’t want to risk the father-son relationship we have getting strained by my coaching." Mr Ong’s coaching allowed Austin to develop a strong foundation in basic squash techniques. “My father was always drilling me on (getting the right) technique before moving on to more advanced plays," Austin explained. As he did not have formal training until he was 13, Austin had certain bad habits that caused him to lose unnecessary points during his games. Mr Ong said: “I had to constantly remind him to keep his racket up. At his age, a habit like this was very hard to kick.” Despite having school coaches, Austin considers his father as his main coach. “He’s there for almost all of my competitive games and he’s more analytical than any of my other coaches,” said the former vice-captain of the Anglo-Chinese Junior College squash team. Austin added: “He even reviews video footage of me playing, and constantly gives me pointers on how to improve my game." Under his father, Austin excelled in the local squash scene. When Austin was 15, he was selected for the Combined Schools team, which was made up of top players in his age group around the country. In the following year, he was made captain of the National “B” team.
PHOTOS: ZHENG JUNCEN
Austin also participated in the Penang Junior Squash Open with the Combined Schools team, playing against Iranian, Korean, Australian and British opponents. He was knocked out in the early stages of the tournament. The standard was “much higher than what I was used to”, he said. But getting knocked out so early in the competition fuelled his passion for the sport even more. “I learnt that I cannot be contented in my small pond in Singapore. There are many bigger fishes outside Singapore and I must work to continuously improve myself,” he added. Austin was promoted to D-Grade when he was 17. But he has yet to participate in any SSRA-sanctioned tournaments since his junior college days due to the lack of time. For Mrs Ong, although Austin and her husband spend a lot of time on the court together, she does not feel left out. The Head of Department for physical education at Peirce Secondary School regularly attends Austin’s competitive squash games when she has time. “I don’t feel left out because I’m too busy sometimes, and if I wanted to join in, I could always do so,” she said. Besides recording down his games and preparing his meals, Mrs Ong is also Austin's “development coach.” “Most importantly, she reminds me about having good sportsmanship," said Austin. “In the heat of competitions, she constantly reminds me to show good character.”