ISSN NO. 0218-7310
INSIDE Mdm Chancellor on campus NTU students interact with President Halimah Yacob in her first visit to the university as Chancellor
NEWS | Page 3
Bitcoin: agent of climate change The cryptocurrency is turning up the heat — on Earth. Its mining system has become a race to waste the most electricity possible, say environmental experts
SCIENCE | Page 12
Little but lethal It’s heart over height for three NTU girls who are defying the stereotypes in male-dominated sports
Illustration of an advertisement posted on Craigslist for a fake research study.
Research guidelines updated after case of alleged molestation CLAUDIA CHONG ARIEL PANG
SPORTS| Page 26-27
新春佳节庆团圆 南大欢庆新年，活动包括春 晚，捞鱼生，让师生齐聚团 圆，让离乡游子解乡愁
新闻| Page 22
GRAPHIC: CASSANDRA LIM
THE NTU Institutional Review Board (NTUIRB) has updated its guidelines to include rules for recruitment advertisements for research participants. The NTU-IRB reviews all research proposals involving human participants or human biological materials. The rules state that researchers must submit all recruitment ads to the regulatory body for approval. The ads must feature a set of details required by the NTU-IRB, and should not contain misleading or coercive information. Prior to this, NTU-IRB application forms did require the submission of recruitment ads. But the forms did not state guidelines that the researcher should follow when making the ads. The update on 29 Jan follows the arrest of a 25-year-old male on 20 Jan for allegedly molesting a male minor. The Nanyang Chronicle understands that the suspect is an NTU graduate student. The man had allegedly placed ads online, to recruit participants for a “body stimulation” experiment that involved tickling. The male minor responded to the ad in November; he claimed that he went to the alleged perpetra-
tor’s dorm room for the so-called experiment, and was molested. The NTU-IRB confirmed to the Chronicle last month that no such research study existed. When contacted for this article, an NTU spokesperson said: “University-approved research projects would involve a faculty member responsible for supervising the study. “Advertisements for university-approved research projects will have features such as a formal research title with specific recruitment criteria, contact details of the investigating researcher and the IRB, as well as an IRB project number and NTU logo.” A search on NTU’s website revealed ads for seven unique studies posted from 2015 to 2017, none of which contained all the features that the NTU-IRB now requires. The ads were searched using the keywords “research participant”. Asst Prof Sonny Rosenthal of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information said universities can make it easier for prospective research participants to verify a study’s legitimacy. Prof Rosenthal, who is also a member of the NTU-IRB, said: “It is my understanding that the Board will soon be issuing instructions to all NTU researchers, covering those con-
cerns. Of course, this solution works best if the public is aware that they can and should ask questions when they are invited to participate in research.” Students that the Chronicle spoke to agreed that there was a need for greater public awareness about the procedures surrounding research studies. They viewed the updated NTU-IRB guidelines as a step in the right direction, but felt that more could be done. Gerald Sim, a final-year student from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, said: “I felt disturbed by (the alleged molestation) and the audacity of a person like that to solicit and disguise it as a project under the name of NTU.” Sim, 24, suggested that NTU create a department to look out for suspicious ads on the internet that make use of the University’s name, posted by people for personal gain. Pamela Tan, a final-year student from the School of Social Sciences, reckons that potential participants should take the initiative to protect themselves, too. Said Tan, whose final year project involves research: “Be more informed. Question ads more. If you come across an ad for a study that seems suspicious, then find out more before signing up.”
News Student entrepreneur represents Singapore at regional conference Co-founder of social enterprise aimed at helping youth secure jobs represents Singapore at ASEAN+3 conference Freda Peh A SOCIAL venture aimed at improving the employability of youth and the underprivileged in Singapore has brought final-year Nanyang Business School (NBS) student, Lim Kai Ning, to the Young ASEAN+3 Social Entrepreneurs in Action conference held this week in Bangkok, Thailand. Lim is one of five co-founders of CareerSocius. It started as an initiative to improve the employability of youth and the underprivileged in Singapore, and has grown into a project that now conducts career workshops and offers resume editing services to job seekers. Lim, 23, is NTU’s sole representative and one of four youth ambassadors from Singapore selected to attend the conference. Co-organised by the National Youth Council and Thailand’s Department of Children and Youth,
“A purposeful career is essential to a good life. Nobody can escape working. Yet, most cannot find their passion.” Lim Kai Ning, 23 Final-year student, NBS Co-founder of CareerSocius
the five-day programme aims to build a network of youth social entrepreneurs in ASEAN, China, Japan and Korea. Lim founded CareerSocius last May with her schoolmates: finalyear NBS students Bertrand Wong,
Lim Kai Ning shares her experience of starting her own enterprise, emphasising the importance of staying hopeful yet realistic when faced with challenges. PHOTO: CAREERSOCIUS
25, Boon Yu Pei, 23, Goh Duo Geng, 25, and ex-NTU student Wong Jing Yao, 25. Originally launched as a resume editing service on Carousell, the social enterprise expanded its community outreach efforts last November through workshops for underprivileged youth in conjunction with the Toa Payoh East-Novena Edusave Merit Bursary Awards Presentation Ceremony. “The team received an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars from attendees, with 70 per cent of them expressing interest in future workshops held by CareerSocius,” Lim said. She added that participants were most keen on tailored workshops, such as the Personalised Resume and Interview Skills Workshop. CareerSocius is currently in talks with 20 Youth Executive Committees under the People’s Association to develop more of such workshops. They include a Resume and Interview Skills workshop in collaboration with Punggol Vista Community Centre this March, and a Career Exploration workshop, which covers content such as resume crafting and online job search for youth.
The team received $10,000 in funding last year from NTU’s CoLab4Good, an initiative supporting young, sustainable businesses with positive social impact. They are also looking to support their foray into the industry with an additional grant of $20,000 from the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise. On representing Singapore at the youth social entrepreneurs conference in Bangkok, Lim said: “Being nominated means people see how CareerSocius adds value to society. It is a huge encouragement for us.” The inspiration behind CareerSocius stemmed from her desire to improve people’s lives at work. “A purposeful career is essential to a good life. Nobody can escape working. Yet, most cannot find their passion,” she said. As the first phase in job applications, Lim and her team believe offering help on resume and cover letter editing is the most effective way for them to serve job seekers. The team also helps their clients craft their resumes by tailoring their personal statements to their desired job positions. Their initiative has since ben-
efited some 200 people through one-on-one training sessions and workshops. “I managed to secure an interview with Uber and am most grateful,” one Carousell client said. Another workshop participant also added that he “enjoyed the
“Kai Ning has the strongest social emphasis... We came into this business to realise her vision.” Goh Duo Geng, 25 Final-year student, NBS Co-founder of CareerSocius
interactive games and videos” presented by the team. Running a social enterprise in the final year of school is no easy feat. Lim, who specialises in Human Resource, said that she has had to prioritise her clients over her own schoolwork.
She said: “They are looking for a job, and my efforts potentially contribute to whether or not they get that job.” “Because of that, I work on their resumes (before) my assignments,” she added. This is not her first time spearheading a social initiative. Previously, she co-chaired MAXAR, a community initiative by Hall of Residence 8’s Special Project Committee to help the elderly in activities of daily living and special needs children in science enrichment programmes. Presently, she volunteers for NTU’s Peer Helping Programme, connecting distressed students in need of counselling with the University Wellbeing Centre. Co-founder Goh said, “Kai Ning has the strongest social emphasis (and) most empathy among us. We came into this business to realise her vision.” Like Lim, Goh does his own share of volunteering. He has helped students through the Career Affairs Office (CAO) on an informal basis for more than two years, and will conduct the team’s upcoming workshops in collaboration with CAO — a Business Fundamentals Workshop on 19 Feb, and a Case Fundamentals Workshop on 5 Mar. Said CAO career consultant Esther Peh: “(The team is) innovative, creative and very giving. They contribute to a community of underprivileged students. And they have a lot of empathy — rare in youth nowadays.” She added: “I don’t think they started with the aim of getting recognition. Their heart to serve makes a difference to the community in Singapore.” Having just learnt about NTU’s homegrown social enterprise, final-year Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student Teo Teck Chye said: “I think (CareerSocius) is a great platform for engineering students. We are not as proficient in writing and it helps us stand out from other applicants.” Moving forward, CareerSocius will explore structured learning content, automating resume editing processes and refining pedagogy to better serve their clients.
New year, new Chancellor The NTU community welcomed President Halimah Yacob as the University’s new Chancellor at her inaugural visit to the campus this January Sherlyn Seah PRESIDENT of Singapore Madam Halimah Yacob began her appointment as NTU’s Chancellor last month, amid a warm response from the student community. As Chancellor, Madam Halimah will preside over convocation ceremonies and confer degrees, as well as represent NTU as an ambassador to the external community. The position was previously held by former president Dr Tony Tan. Madam Halimah made her inaugural visit to the campus as Chancellor on 17 Jan, where students got the opportunity to interact with her. Speaking at a welcome address, NTU Board of Trustees chairman Koh Boon Hwee expressed his gratitude to the president for committing her time to the university. “The Chancellor works to raise NTU’s profile and advance its interests nationally and internationally. We are deeply grateful for the time Madam Halimah will be committing to NTU’s affairs,” said Mr Koh. Hosted by NTU President Subra Suresh, Madam Halimah’s campus tour included visits to the new North Hill and Nanyang Crescent Halls of Residence.
“I was trembling when I shook her hand and welcomed her to the North Hill cluster.” Eric Zhang, 23 President, Binjai Hall JCRC
Binjai Hall’s Junior Common Room Committee (JCRC) president Eric Zhang was among those who helped plan her visit. Zhang said meeting President Halimah was a “very rewarding moment”. “I was trembling when I shook her hand and welcomed her to the North Hill cluster. She could sense my nervousness but she was patient and listened as I shared about the facilities there.” Madam Halimah was also introduced to the Residential Education (RE) programme, where students living on campus can participate in workshops beyond their formal curriculum in special classrooms located within the hall cluster.
To demonstrate this, residents from Halls of Residence 10 and 11 prepared homemade local delicacies for Madam Halimah to try in the REfresh kitchen at Tanjong Hall. The REfresh kitchen is a fullyequipped kitchen for classes and workshops on halal cooking. Hall 11’s JCRC recreational secretary Javier Ng, who was involved in the food-making and presentation, said he was honoured to have met Singapore’s president in person. “It was great to know that our president actually walked the grounds of our school herself, to appreciate the initiatives we have introduced to make this hall a better place to live in,” said the second-year student from the School of Chemical and Biological Engineering. “I’m very glad that we have Singapore’s president as the Chancellor of our school. It would definitely bring more awareness to what NTU does as an institution,” he said. Another highlight of the tour was Madam Halimah’s visit to Tamarind Hall for the planting of a tamarind tree to commemorate the hall’s official opening. Tamarind Hall’s JCRC special project officer Daniel Lim said that he was looking forward to having Madam Halimah as part of the University's community. The first-year student from the School of Materials Science and Engineering said: “She will be an
influential figure for us and help NTU cement our name as one of the top universities for education and research.”
“I can see her in a more personal light since she is directly involved in the university I am enrolled in.” Brenlyn Ng, 21 Second-year student WKWSCI
While many other NTU students did not get the chance to meet Madam Halimah in person, they expressed their hopes for her appointment as Chancellor. “From being a distant political figure, I can see her in a more personal light since she is directly involved in the university I am enrolled in,” said Brenlyn Ng, a second-year student from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information. “As Chancellor, President Halimah will boost NTU’s reputation in the region," said secondyear student Jessica Lee from the School of Humanities. “For now, her taking the time to visit us and participate in activities already shows her support for the school," she said.
ABOVE: President of Singapore and Chancellor of NTU Madam Halimah Yacob visited the campus on 17 Jan. BELOW: Tamarind Hall was officially opened by Madam Halimah with the planting of a tamarind tree. PHOTOS: LEE YI HONG
New halls face shortage of recreational games players
Budget issues and a lack of hall culture are hurting interest in recreational games among residents from newer halls Cheryl Lim FOR most halls, the last season of the Inter-Hall Recreational Games (IHRG) was just like any other. However, the newer halls are still struggling to find their feet, with Tamarind Hall setting out to prepare for their entrance next season, and the North Hill cluster trying to tackle a lack of interest in recreational games. At the three North Hill halls (Banyan, Tanjong, and Binjai Hall) and Tamarind Hall, simply organising training sessions to attract residents has proven challenging due to the absence of senior players to guide new players, difficulties arranging training sessions to accommodate all interested residents, and a lack of equipment. Recreational games played in the IHRG include Boggle, darts, carrom, international chess, Chinese chess, weiqi, Othello, Scrabble, snooker and bridge. Tamarind Hall was excluded from the recently concluded IHRG as the tournament budget was allocated before they had a team ready, and its addition would have overcomplicated the process. This hurt the morale of the fledgling recreational games team. Said Tamarind Hall Recreational Secretary Cheng Yuan Deng: “If there was the possibility of participating in IHRG, I’m pretty sure a lot more would be willing to join. Numerous residents actually gave feedback that (being excluded from IHRG and IHG) effectively killed their motivation to take part in recreational and sports activities.” With just eight players, Tamarind Hall’s darts team is the biggest among its recreational games teams, and is one of just two recreational games with a training schedule in place, the other being Othello.
“We had to
(choose) captains from among the freshmen; even the captains didn’t know how IHRG works.” Anmol Mathur, 23 Recreational Secretary Tanjong Hall JCRC
Newer halls are finding it challenging to attract residents to participate in recreational games, citing budgetary constraints, lack of interest and scheduling difficulties. PHOTO: CRESCENT HALL
“We are still gathering information on the equipment to buy. For certain games like carrom, specific sets (of equipment) have to be purchased to meet competition requirements,” said Cheng. To spark greater enthusiasm and foster camaraderie among residents, Tamarind Hall’s Junior Common Room Committee (JCRC) has turned to holding inter-block games to publicise hall activities. However, some residents still feel that more can be done. “I feel the Tamarind Hall Telegram group is how people get information when they are not already involved,” said Tamarind Hall resident Amanda Tock, a first-year student from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. "Maybe they should set up booths because not everyone is in the Telegram group." The organisers of the IHRG, the Hall Olympiad Committee, have since confirmed that Tamarind Hall will be included in the next IHRG season.
In the same boat As Tamarind Hall looks forward to their inaugural appearance in the next IHRG season, the North Hill cluster reflects on their lacklustre performance this season. With a total of 15 players, Banyan Hall competed in four out of the 10 recreational games available — Othello, Scrabble, carrom and
Boggle. Binjai Hall took part in five while Tanjong Hall took part in six recreational games. Tanjong Hall ended the IHRG season at the bottom of the table, while Binjai Hall tied with Banyan Hall for second-last place. Recruitment for recreational games was a recurring obstacle among the three halls during the IHRG. Tanjong Hall Recreational Secretary Anmol Mathur felt that the North Hill cluster halls were “in the same boat” when it came to recruiting players. “The main issue is, ultimately, that we are a new hall,” said the first-year student from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. “We had to (choose) captains from among the freshmen; even the captains didn’t know how IHRG works.” Binjai Hall, which had the added responsibility of co-chairing for IHRG along with Hall 13 and Hall 14, faced similar issues. Players’ attitudes towards recreational games were also a challenge during IHRG. Banyan Hall Recreational Secretary Ng Jian Cheng said: “Many residents are interested in recreational games as a form of leisure rather than competition. “As IHRG took place during the holidays, many of our players were overseas, resulting in a walkover for some games this season.” Binjai Hall Recreational Secre-
tary Jonathan Soh added that there seemed to be more initial interest for sports as compared to recreational games, estimating that sports had double the sign-up rates of recreational games for his hall. Singapore Chess Federation (SCF) vice-president John Wong feels that interest in recreational games like chess should be cultivated from a young age. He told the Nanyang Chronicle: “The decline of interest (in chess) doesn’t start at age 18, it actually starts way back, from around age 14. Participation from (the Under-18 and Under 14) categories has declined considerably over the last five years. “My premise is that when it comes to participation of recreational games in the hall, you already have a small pool to begin with.” Mr Wong feels this is also true for some other sports that the University’s halls consider as recreational games. Unlike SCF, which is affiliated with organisations such as the Singapore Sports Council, sports like darts have no such backing, and hence face declining interest among Singaporeans. Amid participation woes, the North Hill halls maintain a positive outlook on their futures regarding recreational games, treating the recent IHRG as a learning experience. Despite finishing second last, Binjai Hall’s recreational games players had some positive takea-
“I feel that it’s a good start that there are players willing to represent Banyan Hall to take part even though they are not confident in their ability to compete.” Ng Jian Cheng, 23 Recreational Secretary Banyan Hall JCRC
ways from the experience, and hope that this can draw more residents to the team. The hall managed to get within 0.5 points of qualifying for the quarter-finals in Chinese chess, after earning four wins, three losses and a draw against Pioneer Hall. Tanjong Hall and Banyan Hall also foresee improvement in future IHRG seasons as their players gain exposure. “It was a good chance to get advice from other halls on how their sessions are run internally,” said Ng. “I feel that it’s a good start that there are players who are willing to represent Banyan Hall to take part even though they are not confident in their ability to compete.”
Lifestyle Rain, rain, go away GRAPHIC: BRENDAN TAN
After prolonged wet weather here in January, Toh Xun Qiang listens to students recount their horrific experiences of being caught in the rain and their advice on how to stay dry THANKS to frequent heavy downpours last month, temperatures in Singapore dipped to a low 22 degree Celsius and flash floods plagued several locations across the island. A few students share with the Nanyang Chronicle their worst experiences of being caught in the rain, as well as their strategies to manage a rainy day. Humble brollies What was originally meant to be a five-minute walk to class turned out to be an hour’s journey for 24-year-old Muhammad Irsyad — because he had forgotten to bring along an umbrella. The third-year School of Humanities (SoH) student had arrived at Pioneer MRT Station that Thursday morning, and caught sight of a Campus Rider bus picking up NTU students and staff. Realising that he was early for class, Irsyad made the fateful decision to use the washroom before boarding the next Campus Rider shuttle bus to school. Though the sky was clear at that time, Irsyad was greeted by a heavy downpour the moment he stepped out of the washroom. Despite boarding the shuttle bus soon after, he was unable to make his way to the classroom after alighting at the Tan Chin Tuan Lecture Theatre bus stop due to the intense rainfall. “It was raining heavily and the
wind was blowing the rain into the bus stop. The shelter was rather pointless and most of us had to stand all the way back, with our backs against the glass wall. Some even squeezed themselves into a small space behind the glass wall to hide from the rain,” he said. Deciding against sharing an umbrella with someone else as it would have gotten both of them soaked, Irsyad waited at the bus stop until the rain subsided. As a result, he arrived at his seminar close to an hour late, drenched.
“It was as though Singapore was hit by a typhoon.” Wu Xin Yan, 22 Final-year student Nanyang Business School
On why he chose to still go for class, Irsyad said: “It was a fourhour seminar that was not recorded, and I had already done my preparation and read up on the class materials. I thought that I could score extra participation points instead of wasting my effort by going home.” Today, Irsyad never leaves home without taking an umbrella with him. If he forgets to do so, his next strategy would be to start befriend-
ing umbrella-wielding strangers. “The weather can change at any moment and start pouring. The rain doesn’t always grow from a light drizzle to a downpour. It can turn into one in just an instant. You’ll never know when an umbrella can come in handy,” he said. Waterproofing your shoes Everyone dreads the inconvenience of getting your footwear wet from the rain, but none more so than sneakerheads. Goh Zhao Jie, 23, a third-year SoH student, recalled the horror of his sneakers being soaked in a sudden downpour. Goh had been walking along the road from Ngee Ann City to 313@ Somerset for dinner on a Saturday evening when it started raining. There was no shelter between the two malls. Goh was stranded. Though he managed to keep himself dry with the help of a waterproof hoodie, he was unable to do the same for his Adidas NMD R2 Primeknit — they were worth a hefty $250 and shipped directly from Germany. “I walked slowly because I didn’t want the rainwater collected along the road to get on my shoes, but it wasn’t effective because the people beside me were running and stomping into puddles of water,” Goh said. “Also, I accidentally stepped into a pothole filled with water. My day was immediately ruined when the
water soaked through my shoes and socks,” he added. Though Goh admitted that water does not actually damage the sneakers, he prefers to keep them dry and clean. Upon reaching home, Goh scrubbed his shoes thoroughly. He has since invested in a water repellent spray which he now uses to keep his shoes dry. Water repellent sprays act as a layer of protective coating and prevent shoes from absorbing water, allowing them to stay pristine even on rainy days. “I treat my shoes well because I want them to last. If you’ve already spent hundreds on your shoes, you might as well a water repellent spray that’s less than $15 to set your mind at ease,” said Goh. Seeking shelter During her first week of internship, final-year Nanyang Business School student Wu Xin Yan had alighted at Buona Vista MRT station and was on her way to work when the rain started pouring. “It was as though Singapore was hit by a typhoon,” said the 22-year-old. “Everyone was stuck in The Star Vista because the rain and wind were too strong,” she added. Not wanting to be late on her first week, Wu decided to brave the heavy storm and dash across the road to her workplace, armed with only an umbrella.
As she was standing at the road divider flooded with ankle-deep water, Wu’s umbrella was turned inside out by the strong wind. “I couldn’t flip my umbrella back because there were too many people stuck on the small platform,” she said. To make things worse, as Wu tried to check the time using her phone, it dropped into the puddle of water. She was subsequently unable to get her phone to boot up again after retrieving it. “I was horrified. I couldn’t believe all this was happening to me,” she said. By the time Wu arrived at her office, she was drenched from head to toe. Though she was initially afraid of having to explain herself for being 10 minutes late, Wu said her boss was extremely sympathetic and offered her towels to dry herself, so that she would not catch a cold. She also eventually managed to get her phone to work after blowdrying it with a hairdryer. On hindsight, Wu said she should have found a sheltered path instead of taking the risk. “I would find the nearest overhead bridge or covered walkway to the office if it ever happens again,” Wu said. “Don’t be lazy and take shortcuts, “ she added.
Winning at roommate roulette Living with a stranger can be a nightmare or a dream come true. Kimberly Ng speaks to three pairs of randomly allocated roommates who went from strangers to best friends
Cleo Tan (left) and Jocelyn Ng outside their room in Hall of Residence 11.
PHOTOS: BRENDAN TAN
AS the new semester begins, many students embark on the next stage of their university life — going for exchange programmes or internships. As most of them no longer reside in halls, their roommates are left fretting over the possibility of now staying with a randomly allocated stranger. After spending one semester adjusting to each other’s living habits, some might have difficulties adapting to a totally new person, especially if their new roommate turns out to be a far cry from the previous one. The Nanyang Chronicle visits three pairs of random roommates turned best friends to find out how living with a stranger can also be a rewarding experience.
The girls now regard each other as best friends despite having lived with each other for only a semester.
Clean sweep Like most students who are randomly allocated a roommate, Jocelyn Ng, 20, was sceptical about meeting her new Hall of Residence 11 roommate last semester. The first-year School of Social Sciences student, who enjoys clean and tidy spaces, was worried that her roommate would have living habits that clashed with her own. However, Ng learnt that her roommate, first-year School of Humanities student Cleo Tan, 22, was just as hygienic and organised as she was through their rants about
the state of the toilets in Hall 11. Tan’s habit of keeping her side of the room clutter-free only added to their friendship.
While the washing of curtains in hall is not a norm for many, for Tan and Ng, it is a must-do before the start of every semester. The girls are particular about cleanliness and do not touch their beds unless they have showered. While the washing of curtains in hall is not a norm for many, for Tan and Ng, it is a must-do before the start of every semester. “The room gets very dusty and the curtains were actually very dirty when we first moved in, so we made it a habit to wash our curtains at the start of each semester, before school starts to get busy for us,” Ng said. This often attracts stares from their neighbours when they hang their curtains out to dry, even though Ng feels that washing their curtains is a perfectly normal thing
CHRONICLE 06 to do. “I don’t understand why no one else (washes their curtains). They are so dusty,” Ng said. Another quality that they share is an eye for innovation. Their room is air-conditioned, but Tan dislikes how cold it can get, so she taped a few pieces of cardboard to the bottom of the air-conditioner. This directed most of the cold wind to Ng’s side of the room. Ng then took it up a notch by using the cardboard base of the airconditioner as a makeshift refrigerator — placing their yogurt and eggs there to keep them chilled — prior to getting a proper refrigerator this semester. Though it has only been one semester, Tan and Ng have already agreed to remain roommates until they leave for exchange, and wish to continue rooming together even after they return. “Even though Jocelyn likes to watch dramas at two times the original speed, we are actually very similar in terms of our personalities and living habits, and I’m very thankful that I got her as a roommate,” Tan said. Dinner for two Final-year School of Humanities student Ng Jun Xiong, 23, is an early sleeper, which is unusual among hall residents. Fortunately, he has been able to sleep peacefully every night in Pioneer Hall with his allocated roommate of two years, who was always quiet and never slammed the door while Ng was asleep. Apart from being a considerate roommate, Lin Yu Cheng, 30, who graduated last semester, and was Ng’s course mate, shared some of his hobbies.
Ong Jing Yi (left) and Tan Wenqi (right) update each other about their day every night before going to sleep.
“Our friendship was really built on our shared love for Gundam model building.” Lin Yu Cheng, 30 Fresh Graduate School of Humanities
Lin Yu Cheng (left) and Ng Jun Xiong (right) used to cook dinner in hall together every night.
“We both like to build plastic models and our favourite comic character is Batman,” Ng said, adding that they attend annual Gundam model exhibitions at Orchard Road and watch new superhero movies together. “Our friendship was really built on our shared love for Gundam model building,” Lin said. They often exchanged tips on how to build certain models, and shared their reviews of new models. The roommates also used to cook dinner in hall every night, a routine they started to improve their cook-
PHOTO: NG JUN XIONG
ing skills and have healthier meals. A typical meal used to include rice, one vegetable dish and one meat dish. They would also occasionally try out new recipes and invite course mates over to cook and eat with them. “He (Lin) left his cooking pot behind for me to use until I graduate, and I still cook dinner for myself every night,” Ng said. Despite their common interests, Ng says that he and Lin have very different personalities. Where Lin was more outgoing and would usually start their conversations, Ng tended to hide his emotions and could go the entire day without talking. But with Lin, he is comfortable chatting about anything, ranging from school work to their families to their relationships. They would sometimes have “heart-to-heart” talks before falling asleep. They remain updated on each other’s lives through text and social media, even though they no longer meet daily. The two friends also have plans to travel overseas in the future. “We actually promised to travel to Japan or Taiwan together. It’s a part of our bucket list,” Ng said. Lucky break Tan Wenqi, 20, applied for a double occupancy room in Hall of Residence 15 last semester due to its lower cost compared to renting a single room. Unlike most people, Tan chose to be matched to a random roommate. “I knew people coming to NTU, but I didn’t want to room with anyone I know, because I was afraid I would end up hating my friends and their living habits if I roomed with them,” said the first-year Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information student. Tan’s current roommate is firstyear School of Chemistry and
Biological Chemistry student Ong Jing Yi, 21, whose living habits are identical to that of Tan’s. “We are both not morning people, so it’s always interesting trying to get up in the morning, because we tend to oversleep and have to rush for class,” Ong said.
One memorable shared experience is the time they spent almost an hour trying to chase a large spider out of their room. The similarly extroverted girls hit it off from the start and now talk as if they have known each other for years — reading each other’s minds and finishing each other’s sentences — despite having been roommates for only one semester. One memorable shared experience is the time they spent almost an hour trying to chase a large spider out of their room. “We are both scared of spiders, but no one was around to help us, so we had to kill it ourselves,” Tan said. They also took a video of their attempts which they still watch every now and then for a good laugh. Though the girls are busy with their own commitments in hall, their friendship continues to grow through living together. “Jing Yi plays sports while I’m in dance, but spending every night together since our freshman orientation camp and talking about our day before we go to sleep is what really bonded us,” Tan said.
Forget about planning holidays — at the heart of the spontaneous trip is the packing up and setting off without a plan. Kames Narayanan finds out what makes spontaneous travel so enticing TRAVEL services that organise surprise trips for spontaneous travellers have recently sprung up. They have caught the attention of millennials who seek out the convenience and mystery of the — ironically — planned unplanned trips that these businesses, like Anywhr, offer. But there is a certain joy and wonder in embarking on unplanned trips with a backpack on your shoulders, passport in hand. NTU students who have embarked on trips without a plan share their stories with the Nanyang Chronicle.
Journey of self-discovery
To some, taking off on an unplanned trip is akin to embarking on a journey in self-discovery. For Sonya Dhillon, a third-year School of Humanities student, her maiden solo trip to Bali last year was a self-imposed challenge to step out of her comfort zone. “I booked the trip the same week I was leaving. I also decided to stay in a hostel and opened up myself to the possibilities of making new friends along the way,” said the 23-year-old, who embarked on her trip last June. Prior to her four-night escapade, Dhillon had never felt driven to travel alone. It was only after a conversation with her friend that her curiosity was piqued. As she listened to her friend's stories about backpacking across Asia, which included climbing the active Mount Rinjani volcano in Indonesia, island-hopping across Thailand, and a spiritual retreat in Cambodia, Sonya found herself wondering if she was suited for solo travelling. “Initially, I had my reservations about travelling alone but something in me told me I needed to experience this for myself. It was very much a decision I made in the spur of the moment,” she said, adding that she decided on Bali due to its affordability and proximity. To Dhillon, travelling without
The view from Seruni Point on Mount Bromo, in Indonesia.
“Surfing was something that I would have never in a million years thought I would try, but there is something about travelling alone that prompts you to take risks you would never have taken." Sonya Dhillon, 23 Third-year student School of Humanities
an itinerary also meant setting lower expectations and taking full responsibility for the choices she made — such as agreeing to take part in activities on a whim. On her first night, she met an Australian who had been in Bali for two months and was taking surf lessons. He invited her to join him at his lessons the next day. She agreed, a decision she would not have made had she planned her itinerary beforehand. “Surfing was something that I would have never in a million years thought I would try, but there is something about travelling alone that prompts you to take risks you would never have taken,” she said. Besides it being a milestone in overcoming her childhood fear of deep water, Dhillon returned from the trip with newfound understanding of her own strength. She said: “I am capable of so much more than I had ever given myself credit for.
PHOTO: JEANETTE TAN
“These days I am more receptive to engaging in activities that I never did before in the past.”
Hunger for adventure
While the spontaneity of an impromptu holiday is an adventure in itself, some go a step further to try out new exhilarating activities. Sometimes, these unplanned adventures turn into something more than mere one-off experiences. Last May, 25-year-old Jeanette Tan agreed to go on a diving trip to Pulau Tioman with her friend, just one week before the flight. “It was only a couple of days and it seemed like it would make for an interesting trip,” said the digital marketing executive, who graduated from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information in 2016. As it was her first time diving, Miss Tan was unsure of what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised. “The trip was an eye opener.
Being in the deep sea and its surrounding silence — it was all very peaceful. As someone who loves nature, I was left wondering what took me so long before exploring underwater,” she said. Since then, diving has become a permanent fixture in Miss Tan’s life. She has since completed her diving certification and continues to dive regularly, having gone on two other diving trips to Phuket and Kota Kinabalu. For Ms Tan, who likes to meticulously plan her trips, the highlight of that first diving trip was the spontaneity of it all. “At times, the months of legwork prior to planning these travels do take away from the liberating feeling that is inherently expected of a holiday,” she said. “I took in the experience for what it was meant to be, and not fussing with the planning helped me to really live in the moment.”
If you wish to embark on spontaneous trips but still want to have some semblance of a plan, here are a few travel services that can help you on your journeys. 1. Anywhr Surprise Travel (anywhr.co) An online service which curates holiday plans for travellers but only provides details about the trip one week before departure. To cater to different kinds of travel experiences, trips are classified into three categories: Adventure, Getaway and Experience. Prices start from S$300. 2. Triptease (triptease.com) On Triptease, visitors can browse through a wide array of itineraries posted by fellow users of the site. When on an impromptu trip, these tried-and-tested plans come in handy when deciding on the day’s activities. 3. Pack Up + Go (packupgo.com) Like Anywhr Surprise Travel, Pack Up + Go curates surprise trips where the itinerary is kept a secret. The destinations, which are all within the United States, are determined depending on the number of travellers and the chosen mode of travel, such as taking the plane, train or bus. The duration of travel is also limited to three days. When looking for a surprise weekend getaway, Pack Up + Go is the site to visit. Holiday-goers in Bali enjoying the last rays of the sun.
PHOTO: SONYA DHILLON
Hidden in plain sight News Writer Rafidah Raffi and Photo Editor Nicholas Koo search for little-known eating places near NTU that are perfect for the hungry student craving something different SICK and tired of the same old food in school? Switch it up with some of Pioneer North’s best-kept secrets - all within a five-minute walk from NTU. Located at the Nanyang Community Centre, The Playground Coffee is a small, but cosy, café that opened in early 2017, delivering delectable food like donburi and açaí bowls, and specialty coffee. “We were hoping that our location in the Pioneer North area would entice some of the students studying nearby to patronise our café,” said Mr Zayden Chiam, co-owner and barista of The Playground Coffee. Despite being just a short walk from the NTU campus, the 24-year-old remarked that so far, NTU students are not their main customers. “Students tend to go straight to Jurong Point that is located next to the train station, or just stay in school to eat.” he said. “We hope to introduce more donburi in our menu, I would say that they are one of our best sellers,” he added. The Playground Coffee is not the only the only food stop near school that students miss out on. Known to most students as the “Extension”, the NTI Food Court is a popular supper spot located just outside school,
opposite City Harvest Church. What students may not know about, however, is the existence of a stall selling delicious mee chiam kueh, which are Chinese-style pancakes. The inconspicuous stall is open only in the morning, from 6 a.m. to about 1 p.m. As most students frequent the area at supper time when the stall has closed for the day, it is often mistaken for a tray collection area. The stall has remained under the radar due to its relatively smaller signboard, and also because it goes by a simple name: Pancake. The owner of the stall, who only wanted to be known as Madam Koh, says they do not usually get NTU students as customers in the morning. “Our customers are usually young students who get breakfast here before heading to school,” said the 55-yearold in Mandarin. The stall is closed on Wednesdays, however, and those looking for a quick snack fix may turn towards another coffee shop just five minutes away. Best Coffee Pte Ltd, nicknamed “Extension Plus” by some NTU students, offers a variety of local and foreign cuisine,
ranging from assorted breakfast kuehs to authentic Chinese scallion pancake. “The nasi lemak and hokkien mee are a must-try,” said Caleb Wong, a first-year student at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information who lives just a block away in Pioneer North. “They don’t open late, but there’s a lot of variety here that isn’t available in school or even at the nearby supper spots.”
The Playground Coffee 60 Jurong West Street 91 #01-04 Nanyang Community Club Pancake NTI Food Court 964 Jurong West Street 91 Best Coffee Pte Ltd 959 Jurong West Street 92
1. Though Pancake has been around in the NTI Food Court for the past 10 years, it rarely sees any students come by despite its proximity to the University and the stall’s popularity. 2. The Playground Coffee serves up gourmet coffee, as an alternative to the usual coffee stops in school, for those who need their daily fix. Co-owner Zayden Chiam doubles up as a barista when he is in the cafe. 3. Featuring The Playground Coffee’s best-sellers — the salmon donburi and smoked duck aglio olio, paired with a flat white and a matcha latte. 4. Pancake is open everyday except Wednesdays, from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. 5. Although Best Coffee Shop, or “Extension Plus”, is a five-minute walk from the Nanyang Community Centre, it is rarely patronised by students from the University. PHOTOS: NICHOLAS KOO
Bitcoin is an energy guzzler
Wacky weather woes Ang Hwee Min UNUSUAL weather has been making headlines worldwide over the past two months. Scientists say although most of these weather events occurred naturally, climate change is causing them to turn more extreme. A spokesman from the Meteorologist Service Singapore told The Straits Times that cool spells here could become more frequent due to climate change. Projections for 2100 made by the met service show there could be more rain from cold surges during the northeast monsoon season.
Inside Bitmain Technologies' bitcoin mining facility in Inner Mongolia, China.
PHOTO: QILAI SHEN/BLOOMBERG
Toh Ting Wei WILD speculation over Bitcoin has seen its price surge to record highs in recent months, but critics fear the cryptocurrency could now push frontiers in an unwelcome territory — climate change. The process of creating bitcoins uses massive amounts of electricity, leading detractors to call it a huge waste of power that could be put to better use. Scientists warn that global temperatures could be driven up too. A limited number of bitcoins is released into circulation by a process called mining, in which powerful computers compete to solve complicated mathematical problems every 10 minutes. As more bitcoins have been released, the codes to be cracked in this ongoing contest have become more and more difficult, requiring larger and larger energy-hungry computers to work on them. Before the reward of 12.5 bitcoins can be claimed every 10 minutes, the fastest mining computer must show it consumed enough energy as a proof of work done. Should a computer use less energy than usually required to crack the code, it will be rejected by the network and fail to snag the prize. This process is happening nonstop in vast warehouses called “mining farms” in countries with cheap energy. They are known to be operating everywhere from China to India, Iceland and parts of the United States.
Bitcoin mining will continue until 21 million bitcoins are released into the network. So far, about 16 million are in circulation. Critics have blasted this system as a competition to waste the most electricity possible. According to a Bloomberg report, about 75 per cent of the world’s Bitcoin mining capacity is in China, because of its cheap electricity. More than half of China’s energy is generated by burning coal, which has been branded by environment group Greenpeace as the “single greatest threat facing our climate”. Bitcoin mining businesses are now moving into energy-rich Canada as they seek more cheap energy. But the country’s largest utility company has said that it will not have the long-term capacity to meet all the anticipated demand. The Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Index estimates that the entire network now guzzles 44.54 terawatt hours annually, placing it ahead of Hong Kong and Iraq, and just behind Singapore. That also means some 20 megatonnes of carbon dioxide is emitted, or roughly the equivalent of 1 million transatlantic flights. The enigmatic currency’s energy consumption more than doubled in the past six months, according to the index, and is expected to gobble up even more in time to come as more players join the mining business.
Some analysts say the sharply increased demand for cryptocurrency could accelerate climate change. International Monetary Fund chief executive Christine Lagarde told Bloomberg in January that the Bitcoin system will consume as much electricity as Argentina this year, which ranks 30th in energy usage globally. She said: “The bitcoins mining, which is this accelerated and augmented use of computers to actually determine the value, and incentivise the functioning of the mechanism, is energy hungry.”
An extended monsoon surge caused the longest cool spell here in a decade, with temperatures falling below 24 degrees Celsius.
Heilongjiang province, China:
Australia: Temperatures in Syd-
Temperatures dropped as low as 13 deg C in mid January, affecting farm crops.
47 degrees Celsius
ney on 7 Jan soared to the hottest since 1939. Bushfires raged out of control near Melbourne, melting asphalt on a stretch of the Hume Highway.
Avalanche danger is high in the French and Swiss Alps due to nearly 10 feet of new snowfall over the weekend of 20 Jan.
5.84 metres high
of cats have a “preferred paw” when it comes to snagging a treat, according to a Queen’s University, Belfast study. Females tend to use their right limbs for food retrieval and actions like taking the first step down a flight of stairs, while males are mostly southpaws.
PHOTO: ANASTASIA GRUZDEVA
Temperatures plummeted to -56 deg C in Yakutia region, East Russia, causing at least two deaths and this viral photo of snow-covered eyelashes.
Heavy rain raised the water level of the River Seine on 29 Jan, more than double its normal level, causing floods.
The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany:
At least 12 people died when a powerful storm pummeled Europe with winds of up to 140 kilometres per hour on 18 Jan.
Temperatures dropped to -4 deg C on 24 Jan. Heavy snowfall on 22 Jan left 6,000 travellers stranded at Narita Airport overnight.
Temperatures fell to -44.5 deg C, the lowest this winter. The record for the region is -52.3 deg C. Temperatures fell to -16 deg C on 11 Jan as the country experiences one of its coldest winters.
As the city suffers its worst drought in a century, residents face losing piped water to their homes on 12 Apr, nine days earlier than predicted.
centimetres of snow
Snow fell in the northwest region on 7 Jan. Experts say this was not caused by climate change, but by cold air blowing in from the North Atlantic.
New York, Maine, San Diego and Florida:
Record low temperatures over the New Year. In Florida, cold iguanas fell from their perches.
An earthquake struck the Gulf of Alaska on 23 Jan, generating a small tsunami.
US East Coast: A “bomb cyclone”, or winter cyclone at the beginning of January, led to at least a dozen deaths.
IT PAYS TO BE DISCERNING THE Nanyang Chronicle broke one of January’s biggest stories. It was an investigative piece about the supposed molestation of a minor on campus grounds, allegedly perpetrated by an NTU graduate student. The incident gained attention nationwide, partly due to the fact that the 17-year-old victim was apparently lured by a fake research study. Could precautions have been put in place to prevent such incidents from occurring? Following this news, many readers expressed concern about trusting research study participation ads. With NTU’s reputation in research excellence gaining ground, it is timely to examine whether the safety of the public is ensured, and the reputation of its researchers protected. We are so often bombarded with information on the internet that it has become all the more important to know how to sieve out legitimate content. A BBC study last year found that over 80 per cent of Singaporean news consumers are concerned about fake news. This could also reflect Singaporeans’ concerns about the spread of general untruths online, especially with the country’s
high connectivity and degree of social media penetration. But into whose lap does the responsibility of regulating research study information fall? The answer: both the institutions and the common folk. It is unfortunate that it took an alleged molestation to prompt NTU-IRB to review its guidelines regarding the publication of ads for research. However, it is definitely a step in the right direction. The IRB and other relevant bodies also need to work on spreading awareness about how to verify a research study’s legitimacy. In the digital age, there is a need for people to become more discerning. Besides being resourceful, we have to exercise critical thinking and wisdom. This is the only way to help us arrive at the truth. By taking responsibility for the choices we make, we can protect ourselves and our loved ones. Of course, every one of us has the civic duty to report suspicious content to the relevant authorities. It is then up to the institutions to respond quickly to a potential threat. Only by working together can we ensure that an unfortunate incident similar to this does not happen again.
CHRONICLE CHIEF EDITOR
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is just a
number Kames Narayanan
LIFE can be broken down into three defining stages — birth, life and death. Everything in between is further fragmented into a series of milestones. And on this timeline, certain years serve as markers. Growing up in a structured society like Singapore, under the watchful eye of a traditional Indian mother, I quickly learnt that with age comes certain expectations. The first two decades of the average Singaporean’s life is often guided by the steps laid out in the country’s education system, as we progress from kindergarten all the way to college. At 21, the law deems us as adults but by the standards of most parents in Singapore, our initiation into adulthood begins only when we convocate from university. In our early to mid-twenties, most of us will advance from being undergraduates to being unemployed. The pressures of finding a full-time job and a life partner follow quickly. It is around the mid-twenties when most of our life decisions begin to be steered by foresight. We expect ourselves to get employed within a few months of graduation, get married by the mid-thirties, secure a Build-to-Order (BTO), and all that follows — you know the drill. The life of the average Singaporean starts to turn mechanical. According to an article published by Channel NewsAsia, a total of 213,400 Singaporeans left the country to live or work abroad in 2016, a 35 per cent increase from
157,800 in 2004. Among the reasons identified for the move was the city’s rapid pace of life. This consensus by the wider society reaffirmed my own sentiments. I was not alone. When the new year began, it dawned on me that I was only a few months shy of 25. My mother was pestering me about marriage; insurance agents who got my number from a friend of a friend were hounding me with saving plans; more than a handful of friends were getting hitched; dinner table conversations were filled with discussions about the future. Life seemed to be falling into a pattern with little to no room for any imagination. For most, adhering to this pattern signals the desire to be “normal”, so that one may be accepted by everyone else. God forbid if one should consider a career change at age 35 or hold off tertiary education as an 18-year-old. For many, going against the formula is a risk not worth taking. That said, with age comes an inexplicable sense of bravado and a reassuring confidence. It becomes apparent that at its core, life really is what you make of it. The supposed milestones attached to an age become irrelevant. I once had a conversation with a man in his mid-fifties who fondly remembered the years gone by. In his thirties, spurred by a simple need to get away, he moved from
GRAPHIC: CASSANDRA LIM
Singapore to California. As he narrated two decades worth of stories from the time he spent away from home, working in a motel run by a family friend, there was a glimmer in his eye — perhaps the look of a man who had lived a life fulfilled. And it showed. He was the “uncle” at the party with the most interesting stories to tell between shots of vodka. An average Singaporean no more privileged than you and I, his story gave me hope that I too could break out of the expected path and fulfill my own destiny. As I turn 25, I dare say that I have attained a sense of clarity. I do not have to live my life like a horse with blinders, and deviating from the typical life course does not warrant a disqualification from the race. Even though the generations before have moulded the template for how life should be lived, it is but a mere guideline. In Singapore, the average age a women gets married at is 28. In the United Kingdom, the age increases to 30 and in India it dips down to 22. The expectations and pressures that come with age are tied entirely to societal conventions. I can and should live my life on my own terms. At the end of the day, I am the only one accountable for my deeds. Like with all things, age can be looked upon as debilitating or empowering. Which path are you going down?
Tackling class divide in university Shabana Begum MY secondary school classmates had received their booklists for the following academic year when my teacher beckoned me over. She handed me a coloured sheet: an alternative booklist to receive free textbooks from bookstore vendors. You see, I was on financial aid. As I returned to my desk, a neighbour asked me why I was given a “special” list. I slipped the green paper into my bag and looked ahead, avoiding her gaze. Fast forward to two years later. I was in a tutorial room in junior college (JC), sheepishly explaining to my form tutor that I would not be able to contribute to my class fundraiser as my parents couldn’t afford the donation. When a classmate asked me if I had pitched in, I lied and said yes. As the only student in a class of 40 who needed financial assistance, I felt ashamed to discuss my family’s reliance on government aid. I was also slightly envious of my schoolmates who received more allowance and could pay for their school materials. In both secondary school and JC, I felt like a strip of copper lost in a sea of gold because of the clear class divide.
attitude in Singapore society. To avoid this scenario, the researchers encouraged Singaporeans to engage in social mixing and understand the stories of individuals who are different from them.
Embracing diversity All is not lost. When I enrolled in university, I found myself surrounded by a diverse student body which comprised of young people
from different backgrounds. In 2017, an estimated 2,240 more university places were made available in NTU, NUS and SMU combined, under the Discretionary Admissions Scheme. Under this scheme, applicants who did not meet the entry score of their preferred courses but show proficiency and interest in their chosen disciplines, would be admitted into university.
By 2020, the Ministry Of Education also plans to raise the Cohort Participation Rate (CPR) in universities to 40 per cent, from 33 per cent in 2016. The CPR refers to the percentage of students from each Primary One cohort that have secured an undergraduate position in Singapore’s publicly funded universities. With an increasing student population that consists of both academic and non-academic
Class divide in Singapore Due to elitism and the location of “top” schools in wealthier districts, class divide has been an issue in pre-tertiary institutions. A 2016 study by the Singapore Children’s Society revealed that students with higher socio-economic statuses were more likely to attend schools that offered the Gifted Education Programme and the Integrated Programme. More recently, a study conducted last December by The Institute of Policy Studies’ (IPS) concluded that people from wealthier backgrounds tended to interact more with people like themselves and less with people of lower social standing, and vice versa.
Campuses can provide opportunities for students to bridge the divide and build genuine relationships. The study used income levels and types of housing and schools as indicators of social class. For instance, a person from a non-elite school has fewer than one friend who attended an elite school. IPS researchers warned that the social class divide may culminate in tension among social classes, leading to a “winners versus losers”
oneself unable to obtain the good things that others can achieve. These emotions may lead to apprehension when opportunities to interact with someone from a different social class arise. This is something that I am gradually coming to terms with. Sharing personal experiences with friends I met in university have allowed me to gain more perspectives. I am slowly gaining the ability to confront the shame, low self-esteem and envy within me that prevented me from reaching out to students from affluent backgrounds during my pre-university days. On the other hand, students who come from privileged socioeconomic backgrounds may find it difficult to relate to peers who live with limited opportunities. A friend of mine comes from a low-income family. She lives with her mother and sister in a small, two-room flat. Since the bedroom is not spacious enough to fit a bed and a closet, the family sleeps in the living room. "When I share my woes with people who have never experienced living in such cramped conditions, they ignore my troubles and instead gripe about their bedrooms being too small," she said.
Bridging the divide
GRAPHIC: CASSANDRA LIM
talents, the chances of having more students from different financial backgrounds will be higher. Recent announcements suggest that universities can serve a function beyond academia. Campuses can provide opportunities for students to bridge the divide and build genuine relationships with others from different social backgrounds.
This will not be easy for both sides. Students from low-income backgrounds have to recognise their own deep-seated emotions, such as shame and envy, which may lead to prejudice against individuals of higher social standing. It is a natural tendency for individuals to feel indignant about inequality. Aristotle observed that anger and envy stem from finding
It will take a significant amount of time and effort to understand and empathise with people from different backgrounds, but we can start here, on our campus. NTU has 24 Halls of Residence with an average of 600 students in each hall. When roommates live under the same roof, share amenities and eat together, shared experiences become a huge influence. Journalist Bharati Jagdish, who wrote a commentary for Channel NewsAsia’s online publication in response to the IPS study, suggested the need for interaction. “It would certainly make us more empathetic human beings,” she said. Interacting with and helping people who are different from us could even help us discover strengths we didn’t know we had, and even strengths we didn't think they had, Ms Jagdish added. Understandably, the demands of the working world may prevent us from socialising beyond our immediate contacts. Coupled with the pressure to network and excel in our own fields, we may find it difficult to interact with people from different backgrounds. As university students, rather than standing by and watching the class divide grow, we should take action now. Recognising the impacts of class divide and striving to narrow the gap will take time and dedication. Let's start by bringing unity and diversity back into universities.
Questioning the binary: An open letter to straight people
DEAR straight people: I see your eyes fixated on the hand that I am holding and the person by my side. I see them widen when you realise, your judgments forming as we walk past. I must say, I have never felt as scrutinised as I do now, being in an openly homosexual relationship. Over the past few months, I have received a plethora of comments from my straight peers. These range from innocent inquiries on how gender roles play out in a homosexual relationship to hurtful assertions about the heteronormative pronouns that “should” be used. To strive towards an inclusive society, it is important that we have honest discussions about such issues of gender, sex and sexuality.
Where gender and sex differ There has been much debate recently about the validity of the two-gendered system that exist in most societies. There are those who embrace the grey areas in gender and those who seek to protect tradition. A lack of communication between both sides has made it difficult to reach common ground. Gender is a projection of societal and cultural expectations. Traditionally, a girl is expected to engage in more feminine activities, to play with dolls and wear dresses. At the same time, boys are expected to engage in traditionally masculine activities, like playing sports and video games.
If sexuality is a choice, then that suggests that heterosexuality is also a choice instead of an innate desire, doesn't it? This clean division between male and female provides a semblance of structure for people when it comes to making everyday decisions. However, this also means that it is difficult for those who do not identify with these gender roles to be accepted.
While gender is defined as a personal identification with femininity and masculinity, sex refers to biology and an individual’s reproductive system. We are accustomed to perceive sex as either male or female. However, biology reveals that individuals do not always fall neatly into the two categories. There are those born with androgen insensitivity syndrome, where a male body with X and Y chromosomes rejects male hormones, resulting in a body with male genetic makeup but with the physical traits of a woman. Variations of this syndrome exist, according to the United States National Library of Medicine. Moreover, research from Boston Children’s Hospital shows that one in 4,500 people worldwide are born with “ambiguous genitalia”. Many of these individuals are surgically altered when they are infants to fit into the binary concept of gender. Such evidence tells us that there is no clear-cut way to categorise people based on sex. As science deepens our understanding of human anatomy, perhaps it is time we reconsider our perspectives.
Making sense of sexuality In a similar vein, sexuality has long been accepted as a binary concept. Defined as a physical attraction to another person, it has been traditional for a male or female to settle down with a partner of the opposite gender. However, sexuality exists in grey areas too. Beyond being either gay or straight, there are also those who identify as bisexual, pansexual or queer, to name a few. I am unapologetically sexually fluid and have never felt the need to bind myself to a label, be it straight, lesbian, bisexual or pansexual. I see beyond a person’s gender identity and value their personalities and beliefs more than their biology. Hence, it was frustrating when an acquaintance once accused me of getting into a relationship with a female only to prove my sexuality.
GRAPHIC: BRENDAN TAN
Others have implied that sexuality is a choice. A lesbian friend of mine was once told by her grandmother that she should not “choose to walk this path because it is not an easy one”. Another friend was given counselling sessions by her religious leaders who were attempting to “turn her straight”, which made it challenging for her to find a balance between her faith and her sexual orientation. If sexuality is a choice, then that suggests that heterosexuality is also a choice instead of an innate desire, doesn’t it? Research done by North Shore University in Illinois claims to have discovered genetic markers that indicate whether a person is gay, taking a step towards proving that sexuality is not a choice. The lack of understanding is excusable only if the individual is willing to learn about the other
perspective. But denying another of the freedom to make their own lifestyle choices is not reasonable. Just imagine how ridiculous it would be if someone tried to convince you that you are not straight.
Compassion and hope I believe learning to be sensitive to the culture, tradition and experience that make up the identity of each individual can provide us with a broader understanding of the world. It allows us the chance to embrace the complexities of human nature — to accept that differences will always remain, rather than to project our own ideals and beliefs onto others. While everyone is entitled to their own choices and opinions, I think it is important to strive towards a society that recognises the importance of respecting different ways of life.
I am heartened by the increasing support for the annual Pink Dot movement that fights for the freedom to love. The increasing attendance rates, from 2,500 attendees in 2009 to close to 20,000 attendees last year, shows that more Singaporeans are slowly accepting these lifestyles. But more work has to be done. A polarised society can never be our end goal. Communication channels have to open up on all sides and we have to learn to empathise. As American actress and singer Keala Settle sings in the movie, The Greatest Showman, “I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me.” If we can extend our compassion to people of different races, religion or familial backgrounds, then shouldn’t we learn to feel empathy for those in the LGBTQ+ community and allow them to be comfortable in their own skin too?
Put your phone down Shirley Tay DURING the holidays, social media feeds overflow with vacation photos, all of them screaming “Like me!” as they compete to outdo each other in varying levels of “sophistication” and “fabulousness”. As you scroll through your Instagram feed, you may find out that Ben’s luxurious Airbnb comes with a jacuzzi, see Alice and friends huddling by an oceanside bonfire, and watch as an acquaintance’s brother-in-law strums his guitar to the hits of Ed Sheeran against a backdrop of a mountain range. Going on vacations now revolves around taking 'insta-worthy' photos and sharing every minute detail on social media. With no such photos, we might as well have thrown the hundreds of dollars we spent on the vacation down the drain. As
long as we garner some “likes” on Instagram, we’ve made our money’s worth. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Who doesn’t subconsciously plan for two types of trips when going on a vacation? One filled with traditional logistics such as budget, time spent at each location and travelling routes, and the other, a list of places we want reflected on our Instagram feeds. In this age of over-sharing, we must ask ourselves: how much is too much? On Instagram, 40 million photos are posted every day and about 500 out of 800 million users on Instagram are active daily. This obsession with taking and curating photos for social media becomes a problem when it pre-
vents us from fully immersing in the moment. Before we know it, the moment might have passed, and we would not be able to recall everything that has happened. This phenomenon is reflected in research conducted by Linda Herkel, a psychology professor at Fairfield University in Connecticut, who terms this the “photo-taking impairment effect”. In her study, students were instructed to either take photos of certain art pieces in a museum, or to simply observe them. The following day, they were given a memory test. Students recalled the objects they had photographed with less accuracy than the objects that they had observed. The same goes for photo-taking on vacations. It becomes problematic when we allow this habit to consume our actual experience.
Engage to enjoy
PHOTOS: SHIRLEY TAY
Currently assembling rice paper rolls in her puffy winter jacket, our professor is slowly learning the secrets to making Vietnamese rolls taste good. The farmers here are so friendly and it already feels like we've been friends for a long time. Even though it's freezing in the mountains, my heart is warm.
A few months ago, I found myself scrolling through the photos of my vacation in Phuket on my phone. Photos of me and my friends posing with glittering sunsets and pristine beaches greeted me, our arms outstretched and mouths wide open in carefree laughter. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to recall anything substantial from that day. I then scrolled past a grainy, dark photo of rice paper rolls my friends and I were assembling during a homestay in Sapa, Vietnam. I had casually taken this photo to let my friends back home know that I was still alive after the intense trek up the rice terraces. When I looked at that photo, I remembered the conversations we had with the Black Hmong farmers as we piled minced pork and lettuce onto rice paper. Over glasses of “happy water” — a local favourite more commonly known here as rice wine — they talked about their past and how they had to work endlessly under the merciless sun for a tiny bit of income. I ended up deleting all the photos on my phone that were snapped with the purpose of sharing on social media. Except the photo of the rice paper rolls — the least aesthetic, least “insta-worthy” photo — because it captured a moment in which I was truly enjoying myself and making memories, rather than just posing in front of the camera to look glamorous for social media. That was when I realized that engagement is the key to fully enjoying our vacations, and I had always been an unknowing victim of the “photo-taking impairment effect”.
At Khao Thakib beach and its ridiculously affordable coconuts are to die for! I'm just eating my weight in coconuts right now! Wish I could live in this world of shopping and foot massages and never go back to school!!!
But everyone is doing it, you may argue. Well, that’s the problem, isn’t it? Because everyone is doing it, it will be even harder to go against the tide.
Taking back control For an extreme projection of the future, we could turn to the Netflix’s series, Black Mirror. In the episode “Nosedive”, the main character, Lacie Pound, is obsessed with maintaining her image. As an outgoing socialite, she does whatever it to get stellar ratings on a futuristic social media application that links real world interactions with online rankings. Lacie constantly checks her phone in bouts of nervousness, sighing with relief when her friends rate her photos with five stars, and frowning when she gets only four. With our current state of anxiety and obsession with our image, many of us, including me, are guilty of this as well. We are social creatures that feel the urge to interact and share our
experiences with others. While technology can help to resolve our innate need to maintain a certain image, it is important to remember that we should be the ones in control of technology — not the other way around. “If you’re on vacation and enjoying some beautiful site, take a couple of pictures and put the camera away and enjoy the sight,” said Herkel, the Fairfield University professor. Afterwards, actively take the time to reminisce with the people you shared the experience with, or share it with close friends and family. Those are things that can help keep memories alive. So go ahead and snap as many photos as you want for Instagram, but give yourself only five minutes to do so. When the time is up, tell yourself that your photos are perfect enough, or that it just wasn’t meant to be. After all, taking photos of our travels is not what makes them memorable, it is the experience we immerse ourselves in.
南 大 借 书 筹 款 活 动 为何参与人数比预期来得少
智能通行卡还未广泛使用 陈昱嘉● 报道
洋理工大学新推出的智能 通行卡方便师生“一卡通 用”，但启用一学期之后仍然 不受学生的青睐。 开学之即，南大新校长苏布 拉。苏雷什（Subra Suresh）公 布了供师生使用的南大智能通 行卡 (NTU Smart Pass)。新的 多功能通行卡能够让学生在校 园食堂里付费、图书馆借书、 预定学校设施等。 虽然智能通行卡是南大向打 造智能校园迈出的其中一步， 但学生反应不经常使用新卡。
万捷通系统未完全装置 即使有了万捷通 (Nets Flashpay) 功能的通行卡，校园内的 一些餐饮零售业还未安装相应 的付费系统。上个学期开始使 用智能通行卡的社会学院四年 级生，王俐燕（24岁) 只在快 餐店使用通行卡付费，其他时 候仍然付现金。 她说：“学校虽然推出了智 能通行卡，不过要改善现有的 设施才能善加利用智能卡。” 受访的餐饮零售业者表示， 校方在一个月前召开会议，吩 咐校内各餐饮业者安装新的万 捷通付费系统。然而，校方却 没有为餐饮业者定安装新系统 的期限，餐饮业者只好自主决 定何时才安装。 校园的主要食堂A与B以及 一些学生宿舍食堂还未安装万 捷通系统。第16学生宿舍食堂 业者林女士透露，第16学生宿 舍食堂与供应商合作安装新系 统，目前需要等待供应商的安 排才能为所有的自动点餐亭添 加万捷通。 其他宿舍食堂业者也表示， 虽然安装了万捷通系统，多数 学生仍用现金付费。第13学生 宿舍食堂韩国料理摊主姜先生 透露，万捷通启用第一个月， 仅仅用了三次。 第14学生宿舍食堂的板面摊
主王先生说，用万捷通付款的 学生“少之又少”，而且也为 业者添麻烦。 他说：“排长龙的时候用 （万捷通）比较慢，有时候还 要从新（刷）过卡，收现金会 比较快。” 南大副校长（行政）陈逸娜 女士表示，万捷通正在校内分 阶段推出。食堂A之前已投资 于另外一种无现金付费卡的系 统，校方正与业者讨论更新到 万捷通系统。学生也能期待食 堂B在未来几个月内实施万捷 通，而在口福食阁购买食物就 可使用智能通行卡付费。 对于摊主的意见，陈女士 说：“多数摊主可能还比较不 习惯用万捷通，所以还需要时 间适应新科技。”
新卡变成“备用卡” 新卡的万捷通功能是许多学生 转账卡已有的功能，学生付款 时较常用转账卡。计算机科学 与工程学院一年级生廖文雄 （25岁）同时拥有智能通行卡 与百胜储蓄银行转账卡 (PAssion Card), 但从来没用过智能 通行卡付费。
他说：“用百胜储蓄银行转 帐卡付费有额外的回扣，所以 我平常只用通行卡办些学生执 政手续。” 为了鼓励学生多用智能通行 卡，陈女士透露校方未来也有 计划与 NETS 公司合作，为学 生提供通行卡消费回扣。 除了快餐店，南大的打印店 也安装了万捷通付款系统。王 俐燕说，最近打印了整个学期 的阅读资料，打印花费不少， 但一起用易通卡和智能通行卡 就能全部还清。 只是，她并不经常使用智能 卡付费。她说：“我主要还是 用易通卡付费，只有在易通卡 不够钱时才会用上通行卡，它 只是张备用卡。” 在公交方面，智能通行卡虽 然可用在乘搭公共交通，学生 却不常使用。南洋商学院三年 级生林尤娸（22岁）表示自己 购买了地铁和巴士的优惠车资 卡 (Concession Card) ，但车资 卡里的钱不能转用到智能通行 卡，智能通行卡也就多余了。 她说：“易通卡的功能和智 能通行卡一样，实际上没有带 来什么改变。”
除了万捷通，智能通行卡的 其余功能相似现有的南大身份 证 (matriculation card)。学生 能使用通行卡在图书馆借书、 预定教室等大学设施等，功用 与旧卡相同。
学生不清楚新卡功能 学生认为，校方没有明确解释 旧与新卡的分别。各系的三年 级与四年级生从去年九月起收 到一份电邮，提醒学生尽快到 各系的行政室改换新卡。校方 在电邮通知学生换取新卡的地 点，也告知学生新卡将是唯一 正式的身份证。虽然电邮提到 新卡的万捷通功能，却没有明 确说明如何启用。 社会学院三年级生林毓净 (21岁）说，自己到社科行政室 换新卡时，行政员只负责换卡 的手续，并没有加以解释。 她说：“既然我不太清楚 新卡的功能，我就把卡放在家 里，没有带来学校。” 从AY16-17开始报读的学生 已有安装万捷通的新学生身份 证，不需要更换。 陈女士说，校方也在校园内 各广播电视播出关于使用智能
通行卡的解说视频，让学生更 了解新卡的功能。 有些学生已清楚新卡的功 能，并已开始使用新卡。南洋 商学院一年级生唐嘉仁（21 岁）一报读南大就拥有新的智 能通行卡。通行卡成为他的新 易通卡，他已习惯日常使用卡 乘搭地铁和巴士。 唐嘉仁认为充值智能通行卡 比易通卡方便，因此没有购买 优惠车资卡。 他说：“万捷通的通行卡可 以在学校的任何一个自动提款 机充值，而普通的易通卡却不 可以。” 智能通行卡储存的钱有时 也派上用场；王俐燕透露，出 门在外忘了带现金时，能用智 能通行卡储存的现金付费像是 “意外的幸福”。
智能通行卡有待未来发展 即使通行卡目前还未广泛使 用，学生仍期待智能通行卡未 来的功用。计算机科学与工程 学院四年级生林子祥（27岁） 表示，若食堂A与B也安装万捷 通，他就会常用新卡付费。他 认为，使用通行卡会让过程比 现金更方便，一次充值后可反 复使用。 在住宿方面，留宿学生也期 待智能通行卡能够结合现有的 锁匙，空调卡和洗衣机收费系 统，让新卡在宿舍里也“一卡 通用”。 住在第7学生宿舍的生物科 学学院三年级生傅庆龄（22 岁）说：“宿舍钥匙链非常繁 琐，我随时随地都会丢失，如 果能把通行卡和锁匙结合在一 起会比较方便。” 陈 女 士 表 示 ， 新 卡 实 施 与 运作测试的过程难免会碰到难 题，校方会考虑学生对新卡的 反馈意见并且做出改变。 她说：“这是南大的一项新 措施，而新措施往往不是百分 之百完美无缺的。我们的生活 习惯也需要渐渐适应这新科技 的进展。”
CHRONICLE 06 新闻
南大欢庆新年 推广华人文化解乡愁 杨量而● 报道
人农历新年将至，回乡 过节、齐聚团圆，是每年 新年里的一大传统和习俗。然 而，身在异乡的游子们在无法 回乡过年的情况下，是如何庆 祝这盛大的节日呢？ 为了迎接即将来临的农历新 年，南洋理工大学的中文学会 提前在1月26日（星期五）举办 了庆祝活动。 中文学会举办的两个主要活 动分别有 “新春嘉年华”， 和“南大春晚”。诚邀所有南 大学生共同欢庆佳节之时，也 让无法回乡过节的国际留学生 一解思乡之愁。
新春嘉年华 推广中华文化 今年是戊戌年，中文学会所举办 的新春嘉年华就以生肖“狗” 做为活动的主题。“旺旺福来 到 犬城新春NOW”活泼可爱的主 题，亦有吉祥的狗年到来，南 大校园一同欢庆之意。 位于南洋大礼堂大厅的新春 活动以免付费方式进行，让所 有南大教职员和学生一同参与 并体验各种游戏及观赏舞台表 演，欢乐一整个下午。 与往年不同的是，今年的新 春活动从北区大楼广场 (CANOPY K) 迁移到更大的场地，活动项 目也更多姿多彩。 筹办主席，姜一（19岁）受 访时表示：“今年活动的地点 有别于从前，举办于南洋大礼 堂的大厅，场地更为宽敞，因 此也特别增加了许多文化展示 区和游戏区”。 这名机械与宇航工程学院的 一年级生希望通过文化展示区 推广中华文化，让来自不同国 家的留学生更加认识及了解中 华文化。文化展示区主要有剪 纸与折纸艺术、书法、茶艺等 等，让同学们亲自动手尝试， 印象更加深刻。 除了文化展示区，活动也设 有七个游戏区，主要以东南亚 华人的小游戏为主，其中包括 丢石子、跳飞机等，供师生们 体验东南亚地区的童年玩意儿。 就读社会科学院的二年级 生，林猷能（21岁）是这次活动 的副主席。 他表示：“推广中华文化之 余，我们也希望宣传东南亚各地 的华人文化，毕竟每个地区的 华人都有不同的文化和习俗”。 此外，新春活动也准备了十 份“鱼生”，并邀请学生生活
郭建文教授与医疗中心及牙科诊所主席 Ms Mariam Hamid 为活动进行开幕仪式。
部门的副教务长，郭建文教授 作为活动贵宾，与学生们一同 进行捞鱼生活动。 来自香港的交换学生，肖伊 认为活动能为在外地庆祝新年 的学生解乡愁。 这名到艺术、设计与媒体学 院的三年级交换生表示： “新春活动为校园增添了不少 新年气息，与其他留学生一起 参加活动，消解一些乡愁”。 与她一同参加活动，同样是 到南洋商学院做交换生的三年 级生姚宁豫表示：“我从来没 有见过捞鱼生的活动，这是第 一次认识当地华人庆祝新年的 方式”。 身在国外，无法出席新春 活动的苏布拉·苏雷什 (Subra Suresh) 校长，还特别送上了他 预先录制的贺年影片，祝贺全 校师生新年快乐。
南大春晚 盛况空 今年的南大春晚有别于过去11 年的举办方式，首次由中文学 会及中国留学生会联合承办， 并对外开放宣传，不仅场地获 得扩大提升，也增加了700张座 位，邀请所有南大教职员和学 生出席春晚。 春晚的主题“灵犬臻福”取 自《海上丝绸之路赋》里的“ 臻福”，寓指福州此地年年硕 果累累，其中的“臻”字也有 达到完美、完备之意。 春晚主席姚博文（20岁）解 释，有了学校学生与学术服务 部（SAO）的支持，今年庆祝活 动的消息能够传达给更多师生。 这名土木与环境工程学院的 三年级生说：“由于过去是由 中国留学生会独自负责，在宣 传方面较于限制，无法传达至 所有南大学生。而今年有幸与
中文学会联办，并通过学校学 生与学术服务部正式的宣传， 使春晚更广为人知，也获得了 不少资金上的赞助，活动场地 因此转移至更为宽敞且舒适的 南洋大礼堂。” 虽然活动场地获得提升，但 入门票价仍然不变，依旧为2 块。姚博文表示，今年的售票 情况如同于往年，盛况空前， 售出大约900张票，另加上200张 贵宾席，出席人数超过一千人。 春晚表演晚上7时正开始，表 演项目非常丰富，包括了舞狮 舞龙、相声和二十四节令鼓表 演等等，表演者皆来自南大的 课外活动表演团体。 表演形式基本上与以往相 同，但却是首次在南洋大礼堂 举办，活动筹委也面临了一定 的挑战。 春晚的监制陈毓灵（20 岁）
解释，更大的场地代表人力资 源方面需要更谨慎处理。 这名计算机科学与工程学 院的三年级生说：“今年我们 面对了不少的挑战，场地的扩 大，出席的观众数量也相对 增加，需要更多的人手控制场 面，在技术与舞台效果方面也 有很大的考验。” 他觉得，虽然扩大表演场地 带来了技术上和人力资源分配 上的问题，但他认为完善的舞 台装备音响和灯光效果，让筹 备四个多月的表演项目获得了 一大提升。 此外，春晚也通过手机应用 程序RINGS TV的平台进行全程 直播，让没有抢购到票的学生 也能同步收看活动节目，同时 也让表演者的家长可以观看孩 子们准备已久的演出。济济一 堂，同欢共乐贺新春。
06 CHRONICLE 新闻
南大借书筹款活动 因宣传不足 参加人数较少 黄璟蕙● 报道
要捐出5块钱，就能把课 本借上一学期， 由南洋 理工大学发展部（NTU Development Office）举办的筹款活动虽 然有意义，但是因为宣传不足 和地点欠佳，导致参与人数寥 寥无几。 从1月15日至30日举办的一 项活动，位于校园 Phonathon Room 的 iReceived 图书馆让学 生节省购买教科书的同时，也 为有需要的学生筹款。 图书馆里总共有三百五十 二本书，是南大师生之前捐 赠的。书籍跨越不同领域，包 括：会计，心理学，传播学，
历史和经济。除了南大师生以 外，新加坡武装部队-南洋理工 大学联合学院也捐增了一部分 的书籍。 学生只需付费20元，就能 把图书馆里的课本借上一个学 期，而20元押金当中的5元将自 动捐赠给南大助学金。 负责这项活动的吴志豪先生 表示，这次的活动是第一次设 有捐款的部分。 他说：“这次的活动加 入捐款的部分，是因为我们 希望可以帮助南大助学金 (NTU Bursary Fund) 筹得更多 的款项。同时，我们也觉得， 这么多本书一直存放在我们这 里是一种浪费，所以我们决定 捐出来给学生用。”
虽然活动有益南大师生，但 参与人数却比预期来得少。 本报记者到访图书v馆报道 的四天里，观察到只有四名学 生前来借书。 其中一名前来借书的学生， 是南洋商学院一年级生 Rishabh Loomba（20岁）。 他认为虽然这项活动很有意 义，但是因为宣传不足导致参 与者反应不佳。他表示，自己 也是偶然看到发展部发出的电 邮才得知这项活动。 他说：“我觉得通过借书捐 款非常划算。与其花钱购买课 本，我可以直接借到我这个学 期需要的书。而我捐出去的钱 可以帮助他人，是一件好事。 可是，我觉得这项活动可能在
宣传方面可以多做一些，因为 当时只有电邮通知学生。” 本报访问的学生当中，大多 数并不知道有这项活动。 来自新加坡国立大学的交换 生林江丰（24岁）表示，他并 没有在南大电邮箱中看到有关 借书活动的电邮。 这名南洋商学院的三年级 生说：：“我之前并不知道有 这个活动。既然课本通常只用 上一学期，我会考虑参与。而 且，捐钱也是一件好事。” 受访的人文学院二年级生 杨芊乐（21岁）表示自己因为 款数和地点的关系，未必会到 iGave 图书馆借书。 她说：“我觉得借书用的 十五块，可能对一些人来太贵
了。如果我的任何一堂课是必 需用到课本的话，那么与其花 20块钱借书，我宁愿选购买一 本新的课本。而且，我并不清 楚活动地点的确切位置。” 对于活动地点偏僻的说法， 吴先生表示主办方别无选择。 他说：“我们明白活动的地 点（Phonathon Room）是有一 点偏僻，但是活动会定在这个 地点，是因为这个地方是除了 我们的办公室以外适合收那么 多本书的地方。” 对于未来是否有计划举办类 似的活动，吴先生表示，类似 借书筹款的活动有可能在下一 个学期再举办一次。
的一年，大部分的人都有 为自己立下目标。 培养出良好的生活习惯，比 如 多做运动，多看书，早点 睡觉，少吃零食等。但是，真 正能够达到目标的人却寥寥无 几。今天，生活版除了带你了 解‘新年目标’的历史，也会 提供一些帮助你成功达到新年 目标的小贴士。
新年目标的历史 根据《经济学人》，最早 记录新年习俗的文明是巴比伦 （Babylon）。在庆祝新的一年 时，想要积福的巴比伦人会向 神明做出承诺，把欠别人的钱 和东西都还清。 随着时间的流逝，新年目标 也受文化影响，从讨好神明的 宗教仪式演变成我们日今用来 鼓励自己的习俗。 南苑访问了几名学生，了解 他们在新的一年里，为自己立 下什么目标。
(１）多吃水果-对抗快餐 长期摄取快餐中过量的油， 糖和盐会增加我们患上高血 压，心脏病和糖尿病的风险。 想要更健康，少吃快餐绝对是 重要的环节。新加坡国立大学 苏瑞福公共卫生学院所发表的 一项研究表示，一个星期吃超 过两次快餐的人，患上糖尿病 的风险比一个月只吃一次快餐 的人高出20%。 由此可见，要变得更健康， 少吃快餐是重要的步骤之一。 下一次，当你想吃下那油腻的 薯条时，权自己改吃水果。根 据《读者文摘》的一篇新闻， 苹果，香蕉，蓝莓和鳄梨是吃 了之后最有饱足感的水果。下 一次馋嘴时，把快餐换成水 果，有利于身体。
健康 “在新的一年里，我希望 自己能够多运动。这样我就会 变得比较健康。我的计划是： 每个星期在我家附近跑一次 步。” ——— 曾溢恩（21 岁）， 土木与环境工程学院二 年级学生
(２）把运动养成一种习惯 烈日当空， 离开舒适的冷气 房到外运动固然不是最宜人的
事。养成运动的习惯的方法就 是让自己在一个固定的地点和 固定的时间做同件事情。 从时间表里面找出较空闲的一 天里的一段时间，让自己固定 在那一天的那个时段做运动。 虽然开始可能会难以适应，但 是久而久之，自己就会养成在 同个时间地点运动的习惯。而 养成这个习惯会让自己在身心 方面都变得更健康。
(3）得到充足的睡眠 充足的睡眠不仅仅能让我们 在上课时不打瞌睡，更能增强 我们的记忆力和免疫力。根据 美国国家睡眠基金，十八至二 十五岁的人平均需要七至九小 时的睡眠。 如果真的没有办法睡足七小 时的话，就试试比平时早睡， 然后第二天比平时早起。这 样，不仅能得到休息，更能避 开为了做功课打乱生理时钟所 带来的伤害。俄勒冈大学有一 项研究显示，长期扰乱生理时 钟可能会对脑部的发育造成伤 害。
学业 “新的一年，我希望自己能 好好学习，认真地完成我需要 做的功课。要达成这个目标， 我需要更有效地利用我有的时 间。” ——— 陈成（20岁） ，计算机科学与工程学院一年 级生
(1）设下温习目标 为自己要做的事情订下时 间。比如，如果你需要在忙碌 的一天里温习三节课的内容的 话，不妨限定自己一个小时必 须完成一节课的温习。这样， 你就可以有效地利用时间。
(2）尽量在白天读书 白天与夜晚相比，要完成 的事情比较多。虽然如此，一 个有效管理时间的方法是在白 天里尽量把事情做完。虽然晚 间得完成的事情比较少，但是
在深夜里会因为生理时钟的关 系，变得比较累而更难集中精 神。虽然表面上漫长黑夜不如 白天时的课堂和活动来的多， 表面上像是适宜读书的时候， 但是我们的集中力在白天比较 强，在白天把事情做完才是事 倍功半的方法。
插图：林馨怡 (3）尽早完成功课 要避免最后一分钟赶功课， 最有效的方法就是把手头上要 做的事情尽量完成。尽早写下 和安排自己需要做的事情：比 如，如果在同一个星期之内有 两个测验，那你可以试试在前 两个星期时先准备第一个测 验，然后才准备第二个测验。 这样，你就不需要在充满压力 的状况下同时温习两个测验的 内容，可以抱着比较放松的心 态温习。
CHRONICLE 06 言论
“开学忧郁” 怎么办？ 开
学前夕，我正在泰国与家 人享受一年一度的旅行。 泰国郊外的风景宜人，生活步 伐缓慢，令人感到舒适无比。然 而，我脑海里却不时开始倒数起 一月十五日的到来－新学期的第 一天。人在国外，思绪却在新加 坡，对重回校园生活，不禁感到 些许畏惧。 结束两个月的学校假期后， 学生们不得不调适心情重返校 园，回到规律的生活。我们相 信，大多数的学生都如同我们， 开学前夕总是既兴奋又紧张，期 待和朋友们一起上下课的生活， 但又害怕接连不断的课业压力。 因而开学在即，许多同学都像我 们一样，不愿面对开学的事实。 或许，你也感同身受，已 在无形中陷入“开学忧郁” (back-to-school blues) 的状 态当中，却浑然不知？ 照顾者联盟（Caregiver’s Alliance）心理辅导员傅玉娇透 露，“开学忧郁” 在学生中是
相当普遍的现象。每个新学期带 来新改变，学生需要适应新环境 时难免会感到压力。她指出大学 各学期都可能出现的变数，如学 生需要自行编排时间表，但却未 能够完全依照自己的喜好进行编 排，或是无法适应不同教授的授 课方式，而加上未必能够与熟悉 的朋友出席每堂课等，都是新学 期开始时所会面临的情况。 我们总是觉得要对自己生命 有自主的“控制权”，才更有
安全感，但往往新学期的大量变 数却是我们无法控制的、无定性 的，压力因此而倍增。 况且，大学生活不像高中一 样规律。我们需要自行安排时间 表，管理好时间完成作业，而这 新的自律 (self-regulation) 让 我们措手不及。 而我们也能体会这种心情： 每个新学期开始前的“选科大 战” （STAR WARS ）总让人忐忑 不安。选科时需要考虑自己的行
程、选修的科目（又怕没有被选 到）及是否有能力与时间完成各 科目的作业与考试等。相信大家 都经历过大一刚开始选科时，一 头雾水的状况，心情非常紧张。 而学期一开始就仿佛再坐一 趟过山车之旅：教师讲堂速度飞 快，课业和期限的压力同时涌 上。若在第一星期错过了教师的 讲解，或者不明白课堂的内容， 就未必能够在后续星期赶得上。 再过几个星期期中考就来临，拼 搏不休的生活让人厌倦，顿感喘 不过气来。 这种焦虑看似平凡，但如果 处理不当，可能会形成更严重的 后果。社会科学学院心理学副教 授沈秉鈞指出：当压力打扰了学 生的情绪、影响日常生活的规 律、使学生不能做平常能做的 事，就是过度的压力。而过度的 压力若置之不理将恶化为忧郁与 焦虑症。 他解释：面对压力时，我 们自然会有或战或退的心理
(fight or flight response)。 这是在自然界中的一种保护方 式，让我们身体适应来临的危 险。但这只是一种短暂的应对 方式。现今社会的压力通常是 长期的，而我们的身体却不能 长久持续面临这种压力。 那我们应该如何预备心理 适应来临压力呢？在忙绿的学 业中继续运动、社交、约朋友 出去玩、照顾好饮食习惯，都 能帮助我们解压和抗压。傅小 姐指出，许多大学生都早起迟 睡，为了赶功课早餐都没吃， 这种种的生活坏习惯都会影响 我们的精神与抗压的能力。 如果单靠自身力量无法释放 心里的压力和解除忧郁，就应 该寻求帮助。南大的学生福利 中心提供个人辅导服务，网页 也附上关于精神健康的咨询与 资料。傅小姐鼓励学生勇于寻 求帮助，不要因为感到走投无 路而放弃。 （文/陈昱嘉／杨量而）
图源： 滚石唱片/ ONE Production
湾天团五月天去年12月 15-17号在室内体育馆举行 了《人生无限公司》演唱会， 让歌迷连续三晚嗨翻天！ 成军20年的五月天唱着首首 经典歌曲，让体育馆里的一万 名粉丝热情的大合唱。 把人生比喻为“公司”的 五月天希望粉丝到演唱会“上 班”，当演唱会要结束前，全 场一万多名粉丝异口同声大 喊要求“加班”，想延长和五 月天共享的时光。主唱阿信笑 说，平时老板叫你们加班都不 愿意，现在却欢声雷动。 演唱会以摇滚舞曲《派对动 物》开场，让观众暖身。五月 天在长达三小时的演唱会里唱 了20多首歌曲。当然，也少不了 观众最喜欢的经典曲目，把20年 走来的歌曲呈现给新加坡的观
众。他们还翻唱了为其他歌手 作词作曲的歌曲，比如《黑暗 骑士》和《洋葱》。 经典好歌《你不是真正的快 乐》和《干杯》让全场歌迷挥 舞着荧光棒大声合唱。乐团的 招牌摇滚曲风也在《离开地球 表面》和《OAOA》中呈现，让 粉丝随着音乐跳动。 在演唱会的最后一晚，当团 员们都准备下台时，台上的荧 幕突然显示，五月天将会进攻 国家体育场的消息，让观众掌 声和尖叫声再次响起。团员们 表示，这次巡演的灯光与场地 设计比较适合大型的场地，所 以希望把完整的视觉享受呈现 给歌迷。五月天将在今年6月 2日，再次与新加坡的歌迷相 见。大家准备“开工”吧！ （文/罗恺盈）
如你知道下场必定是失 败，就算知道坚持是错误 的选择，你还会奋斗下去吗？ 由谢骏毅所导，刘以翔和校 园电影女神宋芸桦主演的《带 我去月球》是一部献给追梦人 的电影。在九十年代的热血青 春的气氛中诉说着追梦人与他 们的命运。 近年来台湾流行的青春校园 电影有很多，其中包括《那些 年，我们一起追过的女孩》和 《我的少女时代》。比起这两 部电影，《带我去月球》少了 点爱情情结，而是更注重 《梦 想》与《现实》之间的差异。 宋芸桦饰演的李恩佩是一名 几乎完美的女生。她似乎什么 都有：美貌，才艺，朋友， 是 被人人仰慕的师姐。 但恩佩高中时的成就可能 是她日后的致命伤。在高中时 期，大家都看好她，不断的鼓 励她去追梦，给予她肯定，让 她觉得自己不可能会失败。 因为在年少时被捧得太高， 恩佩无发接受残酷的现实。 虽 然恩佩被日本唱片公司甄选选 上，她日后在日本的发展却徒 劳无功。 模特儿出身的刘以豪饰演汪 正翔，是个害羞的高中生。他 是恩佩的死党，同时也暗恋着 恩佩。在恩佩临走前，正翔在
图源：ＭＭ２ Ａｓｉａ 东京探望过恩佩，看到她行尸 走肉般的活着，却无能为力。 在恩佩的葬礼后，正翔后悔莫 及，希望能改变一切，让恩佩 回到人世间。一个奇怪的婆婆 加上三朵玉兰花让正翔有机会 回到过去，改变恩佩的命运。 回到1997，汪正翔有机会再 度活现高中生活，与死党吃喝 玩乐，重回当年的校园生活。 同时，正翔有三天的时间让恩 佩无法被选上到日本发展歌唱 事业。正翔出了千方百计让恩 佩无法参加甄选，但命运是奇 妙的。就算正翔怎么努力，恩 佩最终还是找到办法让自己被
选上。正翔之后才了解，该发 生的最终还是会发生。 作为一部献给张雨生的电 影，《带我去月球》里翻唱了 他许多经典歌曲，例如《我的 未来不是梦》和与电影同名的 《带我去月球》。电影里的歌 曲植入的恰当，为电影内容增 添多一层意义。 让我印象深刻的一幕是当李 恩佩学到了真相后，含着泪唱 《我的未来不是梦》。当你知 道你的梦想会毁了自己，你还 能坚持你的坚持吗？ 《带我去月球》里的艺术设 计也值得一提。艺术组重造了 97年的西门町，让西门町在夕 阳的普照下，被笼罩着金色的 黄昏。他们注重细节，照着当 年西门町的百货设计街景，把 当时流行文化反映在布满电影 街的电影海报里。 比起其他校园电影，《带 我去月球》少了一份单纯和天 真。反而，它覆盖了现实的残 酷，和厌世的真相。对年轻人 来说，或许《带我去月球》能 让我们学到虽然梦想很遥远， 梦想可能会伤害你，但梦想很 可能成为你活着的动力。 一颗闪耀的星星，注定要在 天上燃烧发光。就算星星燃烧 完毕，成为陨石，那也算是真 正燃烧过。 （文/罗恺盈）
Dancing in the dark The competition for limited practice venues is fiercer than ever, as dancers gear up for the largest Hall Olympiad Closing Ceremony yet. Shirley Tay MEGAN Tan spends her Sunday nights practising dance routines in the Research Techno Plaza (RTP) carpark. The second-year student from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information is part of Hall of Residence 2’s dance team, Bionic. Traditionally, the team would hold their dance practices in the comfort of RTP’s air-conditioned main lobby, practising four times a week, seven hours each time, in preparation for the Hall Olympiad Closing Ceremony (HOCC). Scheduled to take place at the end of February, HOCC is a prize-giving ceremony cum dance competition that marks the end of the inter-hall sports and recreational games. However, with a record 19 teams taking part in this year’s HOCC, and the increasing size of these teams, the competition for practice space is fiercer than ever. Dance teams from Halls 7 and 12 have taken to using the same venue, pushing Bionic to venture into the carpark for their Sunday night-practices.
“Many of us, including myself, have suffered bruises from practising in the carpark.” Megan Tan, 21 Second-year student WKWSCI
While Tan sees it as “a weekly push that will help build the strength of the team”, she maintains that the carpark is not conducive for dancing. “The floor is extremely rough and dirty. We have to be careful of cuts and friction burns, especially as we have floorwork in our routine this year. Many of us, including myself, have suffered bruises from practising in the carpark,” she said.
“When cars enter, we have to take extra precaution to watch out for them and avoid them, which disrupts practice,” she added. “We do wish we had our own dance room with ample space for us to practice in. It would be more conducive for practices and give us a safe space to bond together.”
Size does matter
Bionic is not alone in its struggle to find a venue to practice for the upcoming HOCC. Over the years, hall dance groups have outgrown their studios, especially when it comes to larger dance formations. The capacity of dance studios vary — studios built in older halls like Halls 1 and 2 can fit around 10 dancers, while newer ones in Pioneer Hall can fit up to 30. However, even the bigger dance studios have proved to be too small for practices where formations are needed. Bionic, with 33 dancers this year, up from 28 last year, has never used the Hall 2 studio for HOCC practices. “The studio can only fit approximately 12 dancers. However, since the size of the team has always been far too big, we have always ventured out to external venues such as RTP for practice,” said Pearly Tan, Bionic’s former dance captain. Hall 10’s dance team, Soulmix, has also seen an increase in dancers to 57 from just 34 last year. As such, the RTP, the School of Biological Sciences (SBS) and the Experimental Medicine Building (EMB) have become popular destinations among dance groups for practice. These venues have areas suitable for dance-formation purposes, namely the open collaboration space on the 3rd floor of EMB and the open space in front of the NTU Chinese Medicine Clinic at SBS. These areas are sheltered and large enough to recreate the space the dancers will be allowed at the Nanyang Auditorium.
One size can’t fit all
Binjai Hall, Banyan Hall and Tamarind Hall’s dance teams are not participating in this year’s competition due to an insufficient number of members, and the rest of the Nanyang Crescent Halls do not have dance teams of their own. “All the vice-captains and captains of the 19 halls are part of a WhatsApp chat group (created a number of years back by Hall 7 and
Bionic, the dance team from Hall of Residence 2, has been forced to hold practices in a carpark due to space constraints. PHOTO: NICHOLAS KOO
8’s dance captains) specially used to deconflict venues for practice,” said Stanley Lai, the vice-captain of Pioneer Hall’s dance team. Dance captains usually state their preferred venue, practice dates and time before they proceed to deconflict the venue with other groups who have indicated interest to use the same venue, on the same day. “For venues like SBS, EMB, and RTP, two to three dance teams can use it for practice at the same time. However, since there are usually four teams that want to use the same venue on the same day, we deconflict it such that each hall gets an equal number of times a week at the same venue,” Lai added. School dance clubs such as NTU MJ Hip Hop and NTU Breakers also share the aforementioned venues to prepare for the upcoming Joint Dance Concert scheduled to take place in April. With an average of two to four dance groups frequenting each venue every night for their respective practices, overcrowding is inevitable, which decreases the quality of practices. Rachel Lim, the vice-captain of Hall 10’s Soulmix, said that squeezing with other dance groups is stressful. “Some halls have large crew sizes, and with loud music playing everywhere, it is hard for us to train properly,” she said.
Not a “free for all”
Management in certain school buildings such as SBS and EMB have also clamped down on dance teams, citing reasons such as the inappropriate rearrangement of school property. The Apollo’s Dream art installation, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine’s first commissioned piece of public art, and other fur-
niture were constantly moved by dancers during their practices, said the EMB’s Director of Communications and External Relations, Ms Siti Rohanah Koid. “This art piece is extremely fragile as it is made of clay. These fixed items have also been carefully placed there, with a lot of thought going into design and space allocation,” she said. Cases of indiscriminate disposal of rubbish by dancers at the venue, and noise complaints by the office and lab staff were also reported by Ms Rohanah. But noise would inevitably be created during group practices such as these, said Hall 9’s dance captain Xenia Tan. “During one of the practices during recess week at the medicine building, I was counting and not playing any music, but staff told us to quieten down because this was a shared space,” she said. Cloud Nine, Hall 9’s dance team, eventually left the venue and moved to the bridge connecting SBS and EMB to practise. Ms Rohanah emphasised that dancers are not banned from using the space for their practices — however, they have to use it respectfully. Similarly, at SBS, the noise created by dancers have disrupted lessons held in the school’s lecture theatre. Furthermore, SBS is not suitable for dance, as the tiles are slippery and accidents may happen, said Ray Chong, Project Manager of Building Facilities. “Most importantly, we are concerned for the safety of the dancers more than anything else. If the students insist that they want to practice there, they should have a risk assessment taken and submitted to the Office of Health, Safety and Emergency,” said Mr Chong.
However, the SBS flooring is the most comfortable and conducive for dancing compared to the other venues available, said Pioneer Hall’s Lai.
“It’s really about making do with what we have, even though it might not be the best (option).” Stanley Lai, 23 Vice-captain, Pioneer Hall Dance team
“It’s really about making do with what we have, even though it might not be the best (option),” he said. Ang Wei Qing, captain of Hall 8’s dance team and the champions of last year’s HOCC, believes that the school could help the dance community by allowing the use of more venues for practice, such as the Nanyang Auditorium foyer and multiple courts in indoor sports halls. Performing at HOCC is important in contributing back to the history and culture of every hall, and more support should be given to dance teams, said Seah Cheng, who is not a dancer himself but often sees dancers practising at SBS and Canopy K after class. “Walking past dancers during their practices at SBS has always been a spectacle to me — it is just like walking through the streets of New York City. Just like how street magic and busking adds to the life of New York City, dancers add vibrancy to our school life,” said the third-year student from the Asian School of the Environment.
Betting small, winning big Despite their small physiques, three female athletes in NTU are excelling in sports typically associated with male players Xener Gill IT might be easy to miss them in a crowded room but put them in their element — out on water, on the rugby pitch, and in the swimming pool — and you will realise they are not to be trifled with. The Nanyang Chronicle speaks to three petite sportswomen in conventionally male-dominated sports who are busting the gender stereotype, thanks to their sheer determination and hard work. “Princess” with a paddle She was labelled a “princess” by her dragon boat teammates when she first took up the sport, for the exceptional care she took when it came to her physical appearance. Standing at 162 centimetres tall and weighing just over 50 kilogrammes then, Ashleigh Ng, 21 was one of the smallest paddlers in the team, so it came as no surprise that she was assigned the lightest stats — the weights that dragon boaters lift — in the team.
She was also once told by a senior dragon boater that she would not go far in the sport unless she could put on substantial mass. Now tanned and well-muscled after spending one and a half years training with the university’s Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) team, the second-year Nanyang Business School student looks every bit like your typical sportswoman. But it was no easy feat for Ng to prove her worth on the water. She had no prior experience in dragon boating — she used to play the pipa, a four-stringed Chinese instrument, in the Chinese orchestra in secondary school and junior college. She was also once told by a senior dragon boater that she would not go far in the sport unless she could put on substantial mass. After hearing what her senior said, Ng took supplements such as protein powder and branchedchain amino acids to help her
Dragon boater Ashleigh Ng goes to the gym at least once a week as part of her fitness regime. She also took supplements to increase her muscle mass.
increase her muscle mass. She now weighs 55 kg. However, she soon became disheartened because no matter how much effort she put into gaining mass to build her stamina, her teammates were also working as hard, making it difficult for her to reach their standards.
“The rest of the team started lifting heavier weights than me and when I increased my weights, so did they. I was always just playing catch-up.” Ashleigh Ng, 21 Second-year student Nanyang Business School
“Being a petite female on the dragon boating team did make me feel like I was on the losing end as I felt like I was being overlooked,” she said. “The rest of the team started lifting heavier weights than me and
when I increased my weights, so did they. I was always just playing catch-up.” Ng added that petite girls are usually not given much rowing time, and are often allocated the role of the drummer for the team. She decided to start eating clean and focused on gaining cardiovascular strength instead. Due to her busy schedule when she first entered university, she found it challenging to fit in extra gym sessions. However, she pushed herself during every training session to maximise her progress. She also paid extra attention to improving her rowing techniques, and used that to get a leg up over the others. After one semester, her efforts were finally recognised by her coach when he gave her the opportunity to try pacing the boat during training, a role normally given to more experienced rowers. A pacer rower is one who sits at the front of the boat and plays a pivotal role in maintaining the boat’s speed for the rest of the team. Ng, who has seen substantial growth in her upper body strength and mass since becoming a dragon boater, is in the school’s main team. She can now manage five pullups at one go, up from zero when she first started out. Of course, she has since dropped the title of “princess”.
Tackling stereotypes Contact rugby player Ang Ying Xuan, a first-year School of Humanities (SoH) student, stands at a mere 155 cm tall and weighs 53 kg. A sports enthusiast, the 21-yearold spent four years playing hockey for Crescent Girls’ School, and two as a footballer in Saint Andrew’s Junior College, before taking up rugby for a change half a year ago.
“I saw a senior take down an opponent who was twice her size and I told myself, ‘if she can do it, so can I’.” Ang Ying Xuan, 21 First-year student School of Humanities (SoH)
Tackling, where a player attempts to seize or stop an opposing player in possession of the ball by bringing them to the ground, is a major part of rugby. Being one of the smaller players on the team and having no former experience in a full-contact sport, Ang always felt she would be dis-
PHOTO: TAN XIN JIE
advantaged. She also found it intimidating to tackle players who were bigger and stronger than her. “I avoided coming into contact with the bigger players because I was afraid of getting hurt by them or missing the tackle,” she said. However, she was motivated to work hard and excel in the sport after seeing how fearless her other smaller-built seniors (who have since graduated) were on the field. “I saw a senior take down an opponent who was twice her size and I told myself, ‘if she can do it, so can I’,” said Ang. Since then, Ang decided to focus her energy on becoming a more agile player to compensate for her small build, which would help her in side-stepping opponents to evade tackles. On top of training twice a week and having a daily gym routine, she also swims twice a week to aid recovery of her muscles and cycles to build her stamina. In November last year, Ang was selected to be part of a 14-member team in NTU to compete in the annual Standard Chartered Tertiary Invitational 7s tournament in Hong Kong last month, where university rugby teams from across Asia come together to compete. The team clinched fourth place, out of 11 teams. Being one of three junior players selected to participate in the com-
CHRONICLE 06 petition, Ang now feels validated and is determined to push herself harder during training sessions. “This sport is unlike any other sport I have played, having to go backwards in order to go forward and the amount of real blood, sweat and tears put in by my team to score during a game really pushes me to stay strong and play hard for the team,” she said. Making a splash Water polo, a sport highly popular with males due to its high-contact nature, generally sits better with females with larger physiques as they would be better able to defend against stronger players on the opposing team.
“I think it’s all about conditioning your body, no matter (your) size, to be strong enough and fit enough. Every size has its advantages and disadvantages.” Jasmine Lim, 22 Third-year student SoH
Enter Jasmine Lim — 159 cm tall, weighing 58 kg, and former captain of NTU’s IVP water polo team. Players physically bigger than her have poked fun at her size, calling her “weak and small”. But her speed and strength have made them think twice, and she has proven that size and ability are not correlated. “I think it’s all about conditioning your body, no matter (your) size, to be strong enough and fit enough. Every size has its advantages and disadvantages.” said the 22-year-old. Lim, who has since stepped down as captain but is still on the school’s water polo team, started swimming when she was eight. She has background in competitive and synchronised swimming, and has been playing water polo for the past five years. However, she admitted that she was initially averse towards water polo, due to the violent nature of the sport. “(It was in) total contrast to the nature of what synchronised swimming encapsulated — grace and poise,” said the third-year SoH student. “In general, the drills for water polo focus more on leg work and ball handling skills, so the training drills and sets given are different from synchronised swimming.” She began to warm up to the sport, however, as she thoroughly enjoyed the immense sense of achievement she got whenever she
Ang YIng Xuan has been a sports enthusiast all her life, having previously been a hockey player and a footballer, before picking up rugby half a year ago.
PHOTO: LEE YI HONG
was able to successfully defend against a stronger opponent. Lim, who went on exchange last semester in the United Kingdom, had the opportunity to play water polo with the girls who were twice her size at Warwick University.
Being in a maledominated sport has also helped Lim gain confidence and develop a positive self-image. “Most were generally taller; it was a struggle at times because with their build and strength, it was an advantage in their favour,” Lim told the Chronicle. “The girls there were quite intimidating as well, but I had to get over that fear and just play the game to my best.” Being in a male-dominated sport has also helped Lim gain confidence and develop a positive self-image. “After playing (water) polo and being a sporty person throughout the many years of my life, it has empowered me in a sense, not having to worry about being fair and skinny, but accepting my body and lifestyle for the way it is, and being proud of it,” said Lim.
Former IVP captain Jasmine Lim in action in a water polo game.
PHOTO: JASMINE LIM