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CHRONICLE INSIDE Is it here yet? Students are dissatisfied with the long waiting times for campus buses, a survey by the NTU Research Society shows

NEWS | Page 2

Fantastic pets and where to find them Explore the realm of unconventional pets, from snails to preppy chinchillas

LIFESTYLE | Page 8-9

利用Telegram频道 托人“打包”食物 利用小费换取便利,托南大 生帮忙“打包”食物的服务 日渐受欢迎

新闻| Page 17

Best shot falls short

SPORTS | Page 21


09 9.04.18

ISSN NO. 0218-7310

Students told to cease brewing beer in hall

Three students brewed beer in hall and shared it with their friends, violating local laws. They stopped their operations after seven months Sherlyn Seah WHEN fourth-year student Rahul Immandira was on his overseas internship at an American beer company, he became eager to share what he was learning with his close friends. After returning in August last year, he and his friends, Heetesh Alwani and Abilash Subbaraman, started to brew beer for fun in their their hall of residence, Binjai Hall. After their initial batches were successful, the three Renaissance Engineering Programme (REP) students, all 24, let interested friends try their products. They also accepted donations in return for the beer. Binjai Brew, their self-titled brand, was unexpectedly well-received. But after their tenth batch and spending almost $2,500, they were asked to stop their brewing activities in February. They received notice from the NTU administration that they were violating Singapore laws by brewing on campus grounds and selling the beer. Under Singapore law, individuals are allowed to home-brew beer as long as conditions in the Customs (Home-Brewing of Fermented Liquors) (Exemption) Order are fulfilled. Binjai Brew had violated two of these conditions. First, the beer brewed had to be for personal consumption and not for sale. While the students claimed they did not intend to sell the beer for profit, any exchange of money for the product was deemed a sale. Second, the brewing had to be carried out at the home of the individual, which could be a HDB flat or private property. Subbaraman said the latter was the main reason they had to close down. “We were on NTU property, which was considered a commercial site.”

Starting out small

NTU archers miss out on championship gold by a whisker in this year’s 10th Institutional Archery Competition


As part of an REP requirement for students to pursue their third year of studies abroad, the three students spent a year in California for their exchange and internship programmes. Immandira used what he had learnt at the Benoist-Casper Brewing Company to start Binjai Brew. “While I was interning there, Abilash and Heetesh kept asking me how difficult it was to brew beer. But it’s actually quite easy. So we decided to try it back in Singapore for fun,” said Immandira.


They pooled $500 to buy basic beer-brewing equipment, which included a brewing pot, an induction heater and a fermenter. They then brewed their first batch in hall. The end-product surpassed their expectations, encouraging them to produce more batches. Each batch took three to four weeks to brew, and along the way the group worked on their recipe to improve the beer’s quality.

Demand drove the supply As interest increased, Immandira, Subbaran and Alwani started to work as if they were running a small-scale business. By their estimation, their beer had been consumed by over 700 people. They established the brand, created a logo and initiated publicity efforts — buyers could

customise their bottle labels, and the trio gave out name cards for promotion. Eventually, they started accepting money from their peers. Immandira said that payments were made in donations. “If they liked it, they could just pay whatever they felt it was worth, and in that way help to cover our costs,” said Alwani. “On average, we received $3 or $4 for each bottle, which was definitely not enough for us to earn any profits.” The trio also started an Instagram page to share their beeer-brewing experiences with their friends. It was through this page that the NTU administration found out about Binjai Brew.

Continued on Page 2

News Can’t halt this malt

Continued from Page 1 “The page made it look like we were running a business with actual operations. Once the school saw that, they said we had to stop,” said Subbaraman. The Instagram page has since been deleted.

“There’s nothing to regret. It was a good adventure.” Heetesh Alwani, 24 Fourth-year student Renaissance Engineering Programme

While disappointed with Binjai Brew’s closure, the three students do not regret their decision to spend thousands of dollars on the project. “There’s nothing to regret. It was a good adventure. The costs were manageable because it was between three of us. And the gradual expenditure made it less painful to spend that money,” Alwani said. Binjai Hall’s faculty-in-residence Associate Professor Wang Hong believes that the trio should have done their homework before embarking on the project. “The first thing they needed to do was to check the rules, and put up a proper application for whatever activities they wanted to do,” he said. “They should have been careful before spending so much money on a project without proper licensing.” But the students are undeterred. They are currently exploring options in the local beer industry. “In Singapore, to become a fullscale brewery, there are a lot of legal procedures you need to go through and you have to fork out a huge capital sum to get a licence,” said Subbaraman. The trio, who are currently in the midst of their final-year projects, are looking at working with licensed commercial brewers as an intermediate step. At certain prices, these companies would brew their beer, using their recipes. They would then have to personally source for people interested in buying the beer. Immandira said: “It doesn’t feel as nice and we won’t have the thrill of brewing the beer ourselves, but it is a step in between. “That’s just the way the rules are here, so that’s what we have to do.”


Need for higher shuttle bus frequency in the evenings: Survey The Bus Service Satisfaction Survey identified issues such as long waiting times and bus-bunching Shabana Begum STUDENTS want internal shuttle buses to be deployed at a higher frequency during the evenings to reduce waiting time, a survey has found. The survey, conducted by the NTU Research Society (NTURS), showed that more than half of the respondents who took the internal campus shuttle buses after 6pm had to wait more than 15 minutes for a bus. In a question that asked respondents to identify areas that needed to be improved on, the issue of low bus frequency topped the list. NTURS conducted the Bus Service Satisfaction Survey last year to evaluate the campus’ internal shuttle bus service quality based on waiting times, adequacy of bus stops and routes,

bus drivers’ service quality, and passengers’ comfort. About 680 students and staff participated in the web survey conducted between October and December last year. Edmund Chew, a first-year student at the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, said more buses should be deployed in the evenings to reduce waiting time. “Whenever I take the red line (Campus Loop Red) at North Spine, there is high commuter volume. Most people just end up choosing to take the public bus service to save time,” said Chew, 22. Currently, up to 23 Campus Rider buses and Campus Loop buses are deployed during peak periods, and the number varies during off-peak periods, said a spokesperson for the Office of Housing and Auxiliary Services (HAS). The spokesperson added that the delays in bus arrival occur due to peak hour traffic and road infrastructure. “For instance, single-lane roads, heavy traffic at T-junctions and other traffic conditions may cause

bottlenecks and affect bus timings,” he said.

Bus-bunching More than two in 10 survey respondents also highlighted the issue of bus-bunching, when two buses of the same line arrive at a bus stop at the same time. NTURS said bus-bunching is a problem that needs to be addressed, because increasing the number of buses would be meaningless if the frequency of buses is not managed well. Low Jun Hong, 25, research director of NTURS and the sole author of the report, suggested that bus-bunching and long waiting times could be avoided with the better use of data. In its recommendations, the research society suggested the University’s bus service provider Tong Tar Transport work with the technology companies that collect realtime data on its buses, in order to better coordinate bus movement. According to Low, the bus arrival timings estimation service is powered by two technology firms, Ba-

seRide Technologies and Overdrive. This has allowed NTU students to develop bus arrival mobile applications, such as NTU GO! and NTU Bus. NTU Campus Bus, the only official bus app created by the University, uses the real-time data provided by BaseRide Technologies and Overdrive as well. But several survey respondents also raised concerns about the inaccuracies of the bus arrival mobile apps such as NTU GO! and NTU Campus Bus. Ng Yong Zhi, a first-year student at the School of Biological Sciences, uses both the NTU GO! and NTU Campus Bus apps, and heads to the bus stop only when the apps show that the shuttle bus is approaching. “Sometimes, I decide to wait for a bus that never comes, and end up being late for classes.” said Ng, 21. In response to NTURS’ recommendations, the HAS spokesperson said: “We are working with the (NTU) Students’ Union to study the survey results, and will look into the suggestions that had been put forward.”






Vivian Balakrishnan: Young people, be idealistic The Minister for Foreign Affairs believes that raising young visionaries is key to Singapore’s survival

Freda Peh INSTEAD of being too focused on pragmatism, young people should be idealistic, said Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan. “If at the age of 20, you are not idealistic, we are in trouble. If at the age of 20, you are only pragmatic, you will be cynical by the time you are 40,” said Dr Balakrishnan. He was speaking to an audience of some 400 students at the NTU Students’ Union (NTUSU) Ministerial Forum 2018 on 27 Mar. “Singapore is not just about pragmatism and economics. Even our founding was based on principles, based on ideals,” he added. The country is the way it is today because people in the past believed in an ideal that allowed them to

live peacefully with each other, even if they were different, said Dr Balakrishnan. While having ideals, young people should also be prepared that not everyone will accept their perspectives.

“The beauty about being young is that you have not yet become cynical, you have not yet become timid.” Dr Vivian Balakrishnan Minister for Foreign Affairs

He said: “The most important trait for us is how we live with each other despite our differences.” Above all, Dr Balakrishnan emphasised the power of youth, and

urged young Singaporeans to dream big. “The beauty about being young is that you have not yet become cynical, you have not yet become timid, you have not yet become kiasu,” he quipped. Professor Kwok Kian Woon, associate provost for student life, said that ideals allow students to avoid being passive bystanders and intervene when they see others in a difficult situation. “Idealism is the sense that the world needs to be changed for the better," said Prof Kwok, who was present at the forum. “One can think through what are the changes needed, and take action,” he said. Grace Tan, 21, a second-year student at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, believes that idealism can better individuals in Singapore, as well as the country. “I think that we should have dreams for ourselves and our coun-

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan emphasised the power of youth at the NTUSU Ministerial Forum 2018.

try to better the odds of us staying competitive and flourishing on a global scale,” she said. Darwin Shia, 24, president of the School of Humanities club, hopes his peers will heed Dr Balakrish-


nan’s words and chase their goals. “Be brave to go for your dreams. Set up your business. Go out and see the world. Join clubs and committees to know more people,” he said.

NTU PEAK sees largest number of partner organisations “I got to learn more about the finance world, which I didn't pay much attention to before.”

For the third semester running, the leadership development programme sees students work together to solve industryrelated challenges across various fields Wee Rae A RECORD number of organisations took part in this year’s NTU PEAK, the Career & Attachment Office’s (CAO) leadership development programme, which was launched in March last year. Offered every semester to second and third-year students from different disciplines, participants are attached to different organisations and tasked to solve challenges in areas such as marketing, business development and human capital strategies. The one-month programme ends with one group winning the Best Ideation Award. This year’s run of the programme, which took place in February and March, saw Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited and PSA Corporation Ltd participate for the first time. They joined three other organisations that have participated since

Joanna Ng, 20 Second-year student School of Social Sciences

The month-long NTU PEAK programme sends students to organisations, where they are tasked with solving various industry challenges.

2017: Mediacorp Pte Ltd, Rolls Royce Singapore Pte Ltd and Tetra Pak Jurong Pte Ltd. Mr Loh Pui Wah, director of the CAO, said that the Office wanted to increase the variety of industries represented in the programme so that students can be exposed to more challenges faced by different industries. PSA is in the service sector and Standard Chartered Bank in the finance sector. “We want to have diversity so that students can hone their lead-

ership skills and practise it across various industries irrespective of their majors,” added Mr Loh. Joanna Ng, 20, whose team was under the mentorship of Standard Chartered Bank, said: “It’s a good call for CAO to introduce more companies because that means having more groups tackling more unique problems from different industries. “I got to learn more about the finance world, which I didn’t pay much attention to before, such as


how banks are facing stiff competition from fintech startups,” added the second-year School of Social Sciences student. This year’s ceremony was held on 9 Mar at the NTU Alumni Club. A total of 10 teams, comprising four students per group, were given 10 minutes each to present their ideas to a panel of six judges. The judges consisted of NTU associate provost of student life Professor Kwok Kian Woon, and other high-ranking indus-

try professionals from each of the participating organisations. The winning group came from Team Six, which was under the mentorship of Rolls-Royce. Tasked to help airlines maximise their fuel efficiency for aircrafts and flights, the group came up with the idea of an application that helps to consolidate large amounts of data and finds the most suitable flight route. With regard to plans for future runs of the programme, first-year Nanyang Business School student Jamie Ong hopes that CAO can attach a student mentor to the teams as well. “Having an ex-participant as a mentor would really help the teams in terms of the comments they give since they know what the judges and organisations are looking for,” said Ong, 19.


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Lifestyle De-stressing on the daily The academic pursuits of Singaporean students often lead to high stress. Kames Narayanan finds ways to manage this “Every morning, I create a todo list for the day and start from there,” said Ng.

2. Get enough sleep

Resting the mind by clocking in the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep psychologically helps in coping with stress. “If you sleep better, you can certainly live better. Sleep can definitely reduce levels of stress,” said Dr Raymonde Jean, director of sleep medicine at St Luke’sRoosevelt Hospital Center in New York City. Sleep helps control one’s blood pressure, she said. It is also believed to affect cholesterol levels, in turn reducing the risk of heart disease. “Sleep is my form of escape from stress,” said Joshua Seah, 24, a third-year Sport Science and Management student. “I usually turn to sleep when I have reached my capacity for the day and my mind shuts down.” GRAPHIC: BRENDAN TAN

SINGAPOREAN students have earned a global reputation for being academic high achievers. According to findings from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2017, Singaporean students are global toppers in subjects such as Science and Mathematics. However, our students have also been found to experience high levels of stress, according to a global study that was conducted by the OECD last year. Based on the findings, 86 per cent of Singaporean students are worried about poor grades at school, compared to an average of 66 per cent of students across the 72 countries surveyed. Students face significant amounts of stress to perform well in school, as good grades are paramount to getting a place in reputable institutions and securing employment upon graduation. And more students are seeking professional help to cope with their school-related stress. Psychologist Daniel Koh of Insight Mind Centre, a local private practice that offers psychological services, used to see just one or two students with school-related anxiety five years ago.

But that number has increased to about eight per year, he told The Straits Times last year. It was also reported by The Straits Times that three out of five psychiatrists and psychologists in private practice say they have seen the number of such cases double from 2012 to 2017. If left unmanaged in the long term, stress can lead to a slew of other problems that affect both the mind and the body.

Consequences of stress

Stress has been called the “health epidemic of the 21st century” by the World Health Organisation. Long term stress can result in greater irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches and insomnia, all of which affect an individual’s well-being, according to the American Psychological Association. Additionally, stress weakens the immune system and increases the body’s susceptibility to illness. Prolonged stress also affects students psychologically, wearing them down emotionally, and can lead to depression, anxiety and mood swings, according to research conducted by the University of California, Berkeley. It is important to know how to

manage stress and seek professional help if needed.

Managing stress 1. Identify the cause

According to the American Psychological Association, after identifying the reason for stress, a plan can be conceived to address it. While stress may be overwhelming to an individual, finding out the root of the problem is key to managing it. “I find that taking some time off, even if it is just an hour to realign myself and distinguish the cause of my emotional turmoil, is a helpful starting point to address my issues,” said Carissa Ng, 23, a third-year student from Nanyang Business School. Once students have identified the cause of their stress, they can subsequently re-evaluate their responsibilities and prioritise their tasks. From ranking their tasks in order of priority, to creating a timetable, there are many options that students can explore to organise their time and to-dos. “I have adopted a method that keeps me calm and reassures me that I am getting my work done and pacing myself in doing so.

3. Exercise

Introducing exercise into the daily routine is also a method of managing stress, according to the American Heart Association. Even 20 minutes of exercise a day improves blood circulation, releases endorphins and gives one more energy, according to the Oxford Handbook of Exercise Psychology by the University of Oxford. Activities like yoga also help the mind relax. Additionally, taking breaks throughout the day to do stretching exercises can help to improve blood circulation and ease tension, while doubling as a short respite from work.

4. Declutter

The work environment also has a profound effect on an individual’s stress level. According to a study conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles’ Center on Everyday Lives of Families, the amount of stress one experiences at home is directly proportional to the amount of items they have accumulated. Hence, the less cluttered the home, the better. Aromatherapy has also been found to help in reducing stress. According to research conducted

by the US National Library of Medicine, calming scents help to relax the mind and ease emotional stress, as the brain reacts chemically to the smell.

“I was once gifted a candle during Christmas. I noticed how the scent could lighten my mood almost immediately.” Marcus Sim, 24 Third-year student School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences

Candles, incense or diffusers can enhance the scent in the house. “It might be unlikely for a guy to buy candles. but I was once gifted a candle during Christmas. I noticed how the scent could lighten my mood almost immediately,” said Marcus Sim, 24, a third-year student from the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Sim, who has been keeping candles in his bedroom for over a year, added: “Since then, I have enjoyed having candles in my room.”

5. A strong support network

Strong friendships and close relationships with family members can serve as stress buffers, according to Northwestern Medical Breakthroughs, a healthcare site managed by the American healthcare organisation Northwestern Medical. In times of stress, they can provide a source of comfort. Having someone to turn to allows one to talk about their feelings and share their burden. “I mostly speak to friends when I’m stressed because it helps to get the pent-up negative emotions out. “It also helps when they offer me advice, or even just comforting me makes me feel better” said Jacinta Chuah, 20, a second-year Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information student.


Off the streets of NTU In recent years, streetwear has been gaining traction in Singapore. Kimberly Ng explores why students are willing to invest in this culture

Joshua Ng wearing his favourite mask that he purchased from an artist on Instagram.

STREETWEAR has been making waves in Singapore in recent years. Big street brands like Off-White and Supreme have a large local following, and the term ‘“streetwear” has become ubiquitous among youths. However, many are unable to pin down the term’s exact definition. According to Bobby Kim, cofounder of popular American streetwear label The Hundreds, it is difficult to define the specific look of streetwear. “While it’s a bit sporty and athletic, it’s also skate and hip-hop, but it’s not exclusively any one of these things,” said Kim in an article he wrote for the American youth culture media platform, Complex. “Everyone has a different definition of streetwear — it’s very subjective. For instance, Japan has its own streetwear culture, Korea has its own, and so on,” said Joshua Ng, 25, a streetwear enthusiast. For example, Japan’s version of streetwear consists of baggy pants and loud, bright colours, while Korea’s version of streetwear consists of oversized tops and tight, ripped pants, explained the second-year School of Humanities student. “For me, I take different bits of the various street cultures and integrate them into my own style,” he added. He does so because not every-

thing in a specific culture suits him, and thus he only picks out the best parts of each culture.

History of streetwear According to online streetwear marketplace and blog Draped Up, streetwear is defined broadly as a form of casual clothing that has been popularised in urban settings. With its roots in urban subcultures, such as the American skateboarding and hip-hop cultures, streetwear is typically characterised by sneakers and baggy or oversized apparel. Though it has been around for over 30 years, streetwear recently started gaining popularity in the global fashion community because of hip-hop and social media. In particular, the hip-hop culture in Asia has been growing consistently in recent years and has even blown up in countries like China, following the 2017 Chinese reality show The Rap of China. Rappers and hip-hop artists like A$AP Rocky, Drake, and Kanye West are often decked out in streetwear, and rap about different street brands. As these influencers have a large social media following, fans naturally try to emulate their style by donning more streetwear. Chan Jun Xiang, a second-year student from the School of Electri-


cal and Electronic Engineering, is one such fan. “I listen to a lot of hip-hop music and artists, and that was where I first started gaining exposure to streetwear brands. For example, I first saw Supreme on the hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang

Kill Them All, and Stone Island on Drake,” said Chan, who has been a streetwear enthusiast since 2015. A hip-hop collective is different from a typical hip-hop group in that its members do not regularly perform together, and are instead like-minded collaborators.

The 23-year-old added: “I gradually started dressing like these artists, and even went beyond clothes and got accessories like chains and grills.” Grills are a type of jewellery worn over the teeth. They are normally made of metal and are removable.

Chan Jun Xiang wearing his favourite photo tee of Forrest Gump from London streetwear brand, Palace.




CHRONICLE 09 Though these accessories are not a common sight in Singapore, Chan sees accessorising as a form of self-expression. While he likes to wear his chains with different outfits when he goes out, he rarely wears his grills as they are troublesome to put on.

Modern-day streetwear Apart from wearing streetwear and rapping about these brands, many hip-hop artists have gone on to collaborate with existing street brands to create their own line of streetwear. One of the most popular collaborations to date is between Kanye West and Adidas, which saw him creating the Yeezy Boosts. Even though these sneakers were first released in 2015, they continue to sell out every time a new colour or design is released. As with many other streetwear brands, Yeezys are sold in very limited quantities, and buyers have to ballot for a ticket to buy a pair before they are released. Because of the current hype surrounding street brands and streetwear, such apparel come with a steep price tag. For instance, a simple T-shirt from American streetwear brand Supreme costs $100 while a sweatshirt from London brand, Palace, costs over $200. Though there are many replicas available for a fraction of the original price on the market, many youths, like second-year School of Humanities student Dhya Syarah, are still willing to invest in the genuine product. Syarah grew up dressed in genuine streetwear that her fashionforward mother had bought for her from a young age. And now that she makes her own fashion choices, she continues donning only the real McCoy. Though the clothes can be costly, the 20-year-old, who is a fan of labels like Stussy and Nike, said: “Designers work so hard to build their brand, and it’s not nice to rip them off by contributing to the fake market in any way.” But some students have also found ways to support original streetwear labels on a budget. Charmaine Low, 24, purchases a new outfit monthly, but tries to keep her expenditure below $100.

“My brother lives in Cambodia, so I go there very often to get factory rejects for brands like Adidas. I also like to go thrift shopping when I go overseas – it’s really easy to find cheap, unique pieces in places like Japan,” said the second-year School of Art, Design and Media student, who has been a fan of streetwear for the past two years. Despite the consensus against purchasing fakes, some students are willing to bend the rules for deliberate fakes, like the parody label Vetememes.

“Designers work so hard to build their brand, and it’s not nice to rip them off by contributing to the fake market in any way.” Dhya Syarah, 20 Second-year student School of Humanities

Parody labels are brands that release merchandise mimicking the designs or logos of notable fashion brands. They are meant to poke fun at originals, and are priced lower than branded apparel. “Though I would personally never purchase replica streetwear, I’m okay with buying parody brands, as these brands are humorous and there is value to the items that they put out there because they are unique, unlike replicas,” said How Jun Liang, 22. However, the second-year Nanyang Business School student continues to look up to owners of original streetwear brands, and makes regular purchases from them. “The founders of big brands in the current street scene all started from similar humble beginnings, but with vastly different backgrounds. As a result, the designs they release are rooted in real-life stories, which I really appreciate, and it really inspires me to continue to better understand and pursue streetwear as a lifestyle.”

How Jun Liang (left) and Chan holding black Snoopy toys from Uniqlo’s KAWS x Peanuts streetwear collection, a collaboration between the American pop artist and the popular comic series.

FAVOURITES IN THEIR CLOSET With so many brands and styles of clothing to choose from, it can be intimidating for students who are new to the streetwear scene to decide what to invest in first. Here, students share their favourite apparel and accessories. Chan: “I really like this Palace photo tee of Forrest Gump. I love Forrest Gump, so it immediately resonated with me. I also like how Forrest Gump is wearing a Palace cap in the photo, because it’s such a simple but fun take on the original picture. Palace always puts a very funny spin on their designs.” How: “My favourite article of clothing would be my Adidas NMDs. I always view a person’s outfit from the bottom up, which means I base my first impressions of people off their shoes, so I always pay the most attention to my shoes in any outfit. NMDs aren’t very new, but they are still trendy and very comfortable, which is why I like them.” Low: “My favourite item would be this Adidas jacket that I got from the factory in Cambodia. I got it at $17 because of a defect but it retailed for $120 in Adidas stores. I really love it because it was such a steal, and also because it’s super comfy and classic — it really adds an oomph to every outfit.” Ng: “My favourite item would definitely be this mask that I bought off the artist, @inq_, on Instagram. He painted his own version of the Bape (an alternate name for Japanese clothing brand A Bathing Ape) logo on it, so it’s technically a bastardised fake. But I really like it because it’s a limited piece and not many people in the world have it. It’s also very functional — I have a very sensitive nose, so I use this mask a lot when I have allergies.” Syarah: “My favourite thing to wear would be my X-Large hoodie. Not many locals know of, or like, this brand because it rivals Bape, which is quite popular in Singapore. But I prefer X-Large because their designs are simpler and more versatile. I actually wear this hoodie everywhere — to school, to shop, or to any kind of event or place. I just throw on a pair of tights and I’m pretty much good to go.”

Various streetwear apparel that Ng has purchased over the years.


Ordinary owners, not so ordinary pets Whether they are big or small, typical or odd, pets bring happiness to people. Toh Xun Qiang speaks to two students with peculiar pets

One of Nadia Khoo’s snails eating a flower petal. Snails are able to see using their two longest tentacles.

PETS can play an important role in our lives, providing us with companionship and love. Many owners even regard them as family. According to a Straits Times article in 2016, more people in Singapore see value in keeping domestic animals, with pet ownership increasing over the years from 816,115 in 2014 to 824,600 in 2016. But not all pet owners take care of cats and dogs. Some, including these two NTU students, are proud owners of a few unusual pets.

A love shell-dom seen Garden snails, commonly spotted along pavements and in grass patches especially after a rain, are often stepped on by unsuspecting passers-by. To many, these gastropods are just obstacles to avoid when walking along the road after wet weather. But for 22-year-old Nadia Khoo, these garden snails are her most beloved companions. The second-year School of Art, Design and Media student has been the owner of seven pet snails for about five months now.

When she was younger, Khoo owned a pet hamster but neglected it as she did not know how to take care of it. As she grew older, Khoo wanted another pet that she could care for responsibly. As she did not want to keep another rodent, which would remind her of her hamster, Khoo did some research on potential pets and came across snails. She watched YouTube videos and learned about their lifestyle and diets. In her eagerness to own them, Khoo even went to Ikea to buy a greenhouse in preparation to keep the snails. She then casually mentioned her interest in keeping snails as pets to her friend, who later found one in a drain and gave it to Khoo last November as her birthday present. Initially, Khoo’s parents laughed at her decision to keep the snail because they were not sure if she was serious about it. However, they were convinced after she assured them that she was determined to look after the snail well. To her surprise, the snail was pregnant and hatched a batch

of 120 eggs shortly after she had received it. According to Khoo, the eggs started protruding out from a hole near the snail’s face while it was eating. She also found eggs when she checked the soil. “My whole family kept coming into my room everyday to check on them for the first few weeks. I think my dad and sister wanted to make sure that the snail was doing well, while the rest of my family were mostly curious about when the eggs would hatch,” said Khoo. Eventually, all but 20 eggs hatched. Khoo took care of all the hatchlings by feeding them lettuce and keeping the tank moist by spraying it with water every night. As they were very tiny, Khoo did not need to get an extra tank to fit all of the 100 snails. She eventually kept 10 hatchlings for herself and released the rest at a tree near her house after a month. Among the 10 that she kept, only six survived. Currently, Khoo sprays her snails’ tank with water every night


to make sure that they stay wellmoisturised and hydrated. Otherwise, the snails would become lethargic, indicating that they were on the verge of dying.

“To me, not being able to hug or play with them (the snails) is not an issue. I love my snails and love taking care of them, observing them and seeing them happy.” Nadia Khoo, 22 Second-year student School of Art, Design and Media

She also leaves a piece of cuttlefish bone and eggshells for the snails to eat, replacing them whenever they run out. This is to

provide a steady supply of calcium for her snails to build and repair their own shells. Once every three weeks, Khoo also treats her snails to their favourite snack — wet tortoise feed and cat food, which she had learnt about online. Whenever Khoo places the snack in the tank, it is often consumed quickly — unlike the lettuce or cuttlefish bone. Though the snails do not need to be bathed, Khoo wipes their shells when there are pieces of faeces on them, as the baby snails often leave trails and defecate when climbing onto the mother snail’s shell. Despite her immense love for snails, Khoo’s friends find it disgusting that she keeps them as pets. They question her decision and sometimes say mean things about her snails. However, Khoo remains positive and shrugs off their hurtful comments and criticism. “To me, not being able to hug or play with them (the snails) is not an issue. I love my snails and love taking care of them, observing them and seeing them happy,” she said.




CHRONICLE 09 “I am staying true to what I love, and that is all that really matters to me,” she added.

Chin-chilling around Chinchillas are not mainstream pet rodents, unlike hamsters or guinea pigs, according to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Singapore. However, Florence Pau owned two chinchillas since 2014, though one passed away last year. “Chinchillas are not pets that require high maintenance. They can be toilet trained from young, which makes it convenient to clean up after them,” said Ms Pau, 25, who graduated from the School of Humanities last year. She added that chinchillas can be toilet trained by encouraging them to use litter boxes with bedding placed inside. By putting a litter box near the area where they urinate, chinchillas will slowly learn that they should only urinate in the box. “I just need to provide a glass container filled with bedding for them to pee on, and I clear the cage twice a day,” Ms Pau. Her desire to own a chinchilla came about when she chanced upon a photo of them online when she was 12. Eight years later, she bought Zippy, a male Standard Grey chinchilla, from Pets Specialist. He had cost her $400. The following year, she purchased Dingding, a male white Mosaic chinchilla, for $800.

He was sold at a higher price because of his rare breed. In total, Ms Pau would spend $100 per month on her chinchillas, buying pellets and snacks, bedding, and dust to bathe them in. Ms Pau would feed her chinchillas with pellets twice a day, and let them roll in dust baths twice a week to keep their thick fur clean and healthy. She also bought a special comb to remove dead hair from the chinchillas, preventing them from eating their own fur which might lead to indigestion. “Dingding used to have tangled fur near his tail, so grooming had to be done one to two times a week. Zippy would join him in the dust bath and grooming too,” she said. As chinchillas are vulnerable to heat stroke in Singapore’s climate due to their thick fur, Ms Pau placed their cage in the breezy part of her house and left the fan on at night for them. When chinchillas roam the house, they might chew on wire or dangerous objects to trim their ever-growing teeth. “Once, Dingding bit my brother’s speaker cable, and also ate the corners of his worksheets,” she said. Her brother no longer allows Dingding to enter his room. As a result, Ms Pau started monitoring her chinchillas wherever they went. This was time-consuming, but she did not mind it because they always kept her entertained. Before she bought a running wheel in 2014, Ms Pau also used to

Zippy (left) and Dingding taking a break on a chess table. They used to exercise once a week by climbing the stairs. PHOTO: FLORENCE PAU

bring Zippy and Dingding for exercise by running up five storeys. She would tie a leash around them and bring them to the stairs in her apartment building to exercise, one at a time.

“Once, Dingding bit my brother’s speaker cable, and also ate the corners of his worksheets.” Ms Florence Pau, 25 Graduate School of Humanities

Dingding, a Mosaic chinchilla, perches outside his cage.


In 2017, Zippy died from a bloated stomach. His overgrown molar teeth had made him unable to ingest pellets and snacks to defecate properly. He was five years old then. This would have been 45 in human years. Now only left with Dingding, Ms Pau says the bond between her and her pet chinchilla continues to grow every day. She talks to him daily and has even taught him a few tricks such as walking for a short distance to receive his treats. “I always talk to Dingding about my day, and he will stand still outside the cage while placing his paw on my finger, listening to me. But he won’t stand still for very long. He gets bored after five minutes and will start to jump off the cage and wander about the house,” said Ms Pau. “I don’t want to think about the day Dingding leaves me. Even if he leaves, I hope it isn’t a painful death like what Zippy went through,” she added.

FUN FACTS ABOUT SNAILS AND CHINCHILLAS Garden snails 1. An average garden snail has 14,000 razor-sharp teeth arranged in rows on its tongue. 2. Garden snails secrete a trail of mucus which consists of 98 per cent water. It allows them to climb up walls and glide on sharp blades like knives. 3. Garden snails are hermaphroditic, but still prefer to mate. Most, although not all, have both male and female reproductive organs and thus are able to self-fertilise. Their reproductive system ends in an external opening located near the head, called a genital pore. The eggs are also buried in different places underneath the soil. 4. They are intelligent and adapt well to their environment. As Khoo feeds her snails by opening the lid on the right side of the tank, they tend to stay on the left side at night, so as to not get in her way. Chinchillas 1. Dingding sometimes emits a series of loud barks when he is bored or terrified, so Ms Pau feeds him an apple chew stick to keep him occupied. Chew sticks are fruit-flavoured twigs that help chinchillas to trim and sharpen their teeth when gnawed on. 2. Chinchillas are territorial creatures that guard their homes and possessions fiercely. In order to ensure that Zippy and Dingding could live together in the same cage and not fight to establish dominance over each other, Ms Pau sent them for a three-week bonding session with a shop called Pets Republic, which has since closed down. The bonding session acquainted Zippy with Dingding slowly by feeding them, bathing them, and letting them play together. The pair was able to live together amiably in the same cage after the bonding session. 3. Chinchillas have the softest fur among all land mammals. Their hair is very dense, with 50 to 80 strands of hair growing out of a single follicle as compared to humans, which have an average of two to three strands. 4. Despite their active nature, chinchillas do not have strong stamina. It is recommended by local retailer House of Chinchillas that they rest 15 minutes for every five minutes of exercise.

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Sc ence

No more running for marathoner Cheah Wenqi

(Top) Two years after being diagnosed with HSP, Mr Tan climbs Bukit Timah with the aid of hiking poles. (Bottom) In the same year, Mr Tan tackles a trail near MacRitchie Reservoir using a walker PHOTOS: MOUNTAIN-TORTOISE/FACEBOOK

IN 2012, Mr Eugene Tan was 22 and at his fittest. He ran every day, pushing himself to go faster at every run. He had already completed four marathons and two ultra-marathons by then. At the Individual Physical Proficiency Test, he consistently scored gold. But at a test later that year, Mr Tan, a former Sports Science and Management undergraduate at NTU, failed his standing broad jump and shuttle run. “I had been getting gold all my life, so failing was quite shocking to me,” said Mr Tan. And failing meant he might have the same genetic disorder as his brother Kenneth, then 24 — hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP), for which there is no known cure. HSP is a rare genetic neurological condition that affects the transmission of information from the spinal cord to the legs, making it difficult to move. Soon, it was confirmed that Mr Tan too was suffering from HSP. Doctors explained that his parents were carriers of the gene that were passed to their sons where they manifested.

Apart from his elder brother, Mr Tan knows of only one other HSP sufferer here. She is seven. About two in 100,000 people suffer from HSP globally. The illness can show itself in children or adults, and it worsens progressively. Some HSP sufferers need canes, walkers or even wheelchairs, while others manage on their own. For Mr Tan, it meant the end of his running. His fiance, Ms Tan Ci Hui, 26, a manager at the Health Promotion Board, has stood by him throughout. “Our dates used to be going for runs. “He used to say that if I wanted to spend time with him, I needed to run with him,” she recalled.

“I had been getting gold all my life, so failing was quite shocking to me.” Eugene Tan, 28, on failing his IPPT before being diagnosed with HSP

But they have made lifestyle changes. “Going through this makes us more sure of our decision to stick together,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mr Tan has not given up on regaining control of his legs, and hopes alternative medicine will help him. “I will have to try my best. It is a never ending search for a cure.”

What is hereditary spastic paraplegia? Hereditary spastic paraplegia is a genetic disorder that affects the lower part of the body. Nerves in the spinal cord degenerate, making it harder for the person with HSP to use his legs. While some only complain of stiffness in the limbs, others with a severe form of the disease may face muscle weakness, or even lose control of the bladder. Symptoms of HSP may appear in people as young as two. A number of the HSP genes are recessive, which means that while parents may not show symptoms for HSP, it may still present themselves in their children. GRAPHIC: PIXABAY

It matters where you sit, if you don’t want the flu Ong Shi Man WHEN you board a plane, the chances of getting sick in the confined space of the cabin you have been assigned to depend on how close you are to someone who is already sick. Sitting next to a passenger with the flu almost certainly means you will get it too. Being in front or behind the coughing or sneezing person is just as bad — the risk is still 80 per cent, according to a US study. The good news is passengers not in direct contact with a sick passenger have less than a 3 per cent risk, say the researchers from Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. They found that a flight attendant with the flu is likely to infect up to five people. “Thus, it is imperative that flight attendants not fly when they are ill,” says the study. The researchers flew on 10 US

domestic flights, and noted passenger movement in the economy cabin to calculate their chances of getting respiratory ailments. Data from more than 40 flight attendants and 1,500 passengers was analysed, and the findings published in last month in PNAS, the official journal of the National Academy of Sciences. A former stewardess who declined to be named told the Nanyang Chronicle that when a crew member is sick, it is not difficult to get a medical certificate. “You just have to call in to flight operations and leave a message with the automated system.” But many who are sick still insist on going to work for fear it affects their flight record and future promotion, the stewardess said. Cabin crew members, who move around the most in an aircraft, are highest at risk of catching a sick

Your chances of getting sick is 80 per cent if you’re sitting within one row of a sick passenger, according to a PNAS study.

passenger’s cough, cold or flu, said the study. Next are those in the aisle and middle seats, though researchers cautioned that this finding may not apply to longer flights and other cabin layouts as passengers might behave differently.

Joel Lee, a second-year student from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, is not about to give up his aisle seat preference any time soon. “Personal hygiene is the most important thing. And it’s something I am in control of,” he said.


Wong Rui Yee, a second-year student at the School of Social Sciences, also likes sitting along the aisle, for easier access to the washroom. But is she troubled about getting sick from the flight? “To be honest, my first fear is the plane crashing.”


Regular jobs, regular lives The military and school may seem worlds apart. Photo Editor Nicholas Koo finds out from three SAF regulars how the military has impacted their student lives TO MOST, Brandon Tan is just a student. To some, the second-year student at the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) is also a hall president. But to Singapore, the 22-year-old is a crucial pillar of defence on our seas — this Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) regular is a naval officer in the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). Regulars, as they are commonly known in Singapore, are in-service personnel employed by the SAF. Tan said the lessons he learnt in the military — such as making the most out of every day and doing what is right, not what is popular — are applicable in school as well. Tan has stepped up to take on numerous leadership positions, such as president of the Junior Common Room Committee (JCRC) in the Hall of Residence 8, and chief group leader for MAE’s freshmen orientation programme. Tan said in both school and work, his purpose behind serving is the same. “It’s about serving the greater good, and goes beyond doing things for oneself,” he said. Fighting the same battle, but on different terrain, is army engineer Peh Mu Ru, a military expert in the SAF.

Peh, 24, picked up floorball during his course of study at the School of Materials Science and Engineering. As he had no background in the sport, Peh trained hard to catch up with his peers who had years of experience. Once a week, he would do shooting drills on his own at the Sports and Recreation Centre (SRC). He also made a point to practise stick work every day for 10 to 15 minutes. With discipline — one of the armed forces’ eight core values — and some help from his friends, Peh eventually made the Singapore University Games (SUniG) team where he helped NTU clinch the championship for the second year running. Though Peh will return to the force after graduating this year, he wants to continue playing floorball to keep fit. Apart from floorball, another skill that requires discipline and grit is playing the guitar, according to Nanyang Business School first-year student Xavier Poon, a regular from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF). During his national service, Poon saw how he could contribute to the defence of Singapore. He decided to sign on as an air warfare officer responsible for command, control and communications (C3). In trying times, music brought Poon through his national service. He would often play the guitar with his buddy in Officer Cadet School. The 21-year-old’s passion stuck and he now plays the electric guitar for a band in Pioneer Hall — a skill that he recently picked up, after switching from playing the classical guitar. It has since evolved into an avenue for him to meet people and make music. He said: “Instead of finding friends that play music, why not make friends through music?”


1. Brandon Tan, 22, is both a naval officer in the RSN, and Hall of Residence 8’s JCRC president. Leadership has been a big part of his life since secondary school. 2. As hall president, Tan says that it is all about serving the hall and its residents. The same purpose drives him both in school and in the force. 3. The SUniG season might have ended, but army engineer Peh Mu Ru still practises floorball shooting drills once a week at the school’s SRC in his own time. 4. The 24-year-old works out at the gym occasionally. Responsibility and discipline are the forces that drive him to train as he prepares for his next competition with his current team: the NTU Blizzards. 5. Air warfare officer (C3) Xavier Poon, 21, plays with his band, Wing It Wednesday, at Pioneer Hall’s cultural night.











IF YOU NEVER TRY... OPEN YouTube on your browser. Search for Grace VanderWaal’s song, I don’t know my name. Play it. Pretend you are taking a swig of Binjai Brew. Imagine savouring the excitement of brewing your very own liquor from an NTU dormitory. Three students decided to take the knowledge they gained from an overseas internship, and put it into practice. It was a trial-and-error, lowstakes-involved kind of experiment. It was a display of entrepreneurship, an exercise in risk-taking and a reminder that we all need to have fun. Although operations had to stop because the students violated two conditions of Singapore law — they should have checked the rules before setting things into motion — the founders of Binjai Brew have already taken a few concrete steps towards fulfilling their dream. And the trio might just turn their attempt into a professional business, by seeking the help of local breweries to brew their very own unique recipes. It is not often that we ask ourselves what we truly desire. It is even more rare that we allow ourselves to listen to and indulge in them. Yet deep down, we know that

that is the only treasure we want. The spirit of love. The excitement of trying something new. The capacity to share that joy with the people around us. Today, we dare you to unlock your heart and pull out just one single idea. If the idea sounds good, roll it out. Apologise later for the shortcomings that were not foreseen. After all, mistakes do not happen unless we actualise our dreams. Only then can we begin to correct them and reevaluate our course of action. Scott Belsky, American entrepreneur and co-creator of online portfolio platform Behance, once said: “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” Make your vision a reality, even if it is small. Try to devote your attention to grooming that idea. Because if you spread yourself out too thinly, the venture may seem too draining. Fail fast, fail cheap, but always get back up. Because there will always be a new day to try out a new idea. And to those who look upon the mess you have made and wonder if you will ever succeed, sing softly to them: So you say, I’m not trying. But I’m trying. To find my way...











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Beyond intelligence Toh Xun Qiang IN AN interview with The Straits Times in February, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung advised Singaporeans to develop skills such as creativity, empathy and leadership to stay relevant in the age of artificial intelligence. While success is often tied to the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) in Singapore, it would be dangerous to overlook the importance of nurturing Emotional Intelligence (EQ) — the capacity for individuals to manage their emotions.

The importance of EQ Stress and anxiety hound us both in school and at work. “(Stress and anxiety) affect our attention and our memory. If you’re very anxious about something, or agitated, how well can you focus on what’s being taught?” Mr Marc Brackett, a senior research scientist in psychology at Yale University, was reported as saying by the New York Times Magazine in 2013. EQ, which consists of self-awareness, self-management, empathy and social skills, is the crucial quality to handling these emotions. Contrary to the belief that such qualities are innate, Mr Brackett says they have to be honed. “It’s like saying that a child doesn’t need to study English because she talks with her parents at home,” Mr Brackett explained. “Emotional skills are the same. A teacher might say, ‘Calm down!’

— but how exactly do you calm down when you’re feeling anxious? Where do you learn the skills to manage those feelings?”

Developing EQ in schools In a book titled Emotional Intelligence, science journalist Daniel Goleman wrote that self-awareness can be improved through selfreflection questions. Asking ourselves questions such as “What could I have done differently?” helps us step back, observe and revisit our experiences. It is akin to “being accompanied by a second self” and realising the nature of our anger, rather than being “murderously enraged at someone” without knowing how or why, he wrote. In an article published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2014, it was found that the use of one’s own name during self-reflection amplifies the effect of self-reflection. Critiquing the experience from a third-person point of view helps us distance ourselves from the cause, making it easier for us to overcome the anxiety and stress when in similar situations in the future. Take our participation in cocurricular activities in school, for instance. When we win matches, lose awards, or survive gruelling training sessions, we learn to engage with others, and become more empathetic. This prepares us to be

team players as we shift into the working world.

EQ at work Recently, home-grown hedge fund manager Danny Yong started an initiative called Tangent, which hires candidates based on qualities such as having a creative personality, team orientation and EQ, instead of academic achievement. To him, these qualities are better determinants of job performance than a university degree. This was motivated by his personal experience. The first-class honours that he received did little to prepare him for his job as a financial trader. Instead, he felt like the “dumbest person in the company” on his first day of work in 1997, he recounted to The Straits Times in February. Many organisations, such as Google and McKinsey & Company, also practice hiring and promoting their staff by assessing their EQ. This is a sign for us to focus more on personal growth, even as we continue to complete our undergraduate courses. In the age of artificial intelligence, skills such as leadership, critical thinking and empathy will differentiate us from robots. “If you work like a robot, you will be replaced by a robot,” said Education Minister Ong. In his words, it is time we start to be “more human than ever”.







Life in plastic isn't fantastic tic bags for free. In contrast, blue garbage bags are sold at convenience stores in Taiwan from NT$1 (4.5 Singapore cents). Taiwan citizens also have to separate their trash into non-recyclables and recyclables. Without a recycling culture like this in Singapore, most of the 27 billion plastic bags that we use annually are wasted. This translates to an average of 13 plastic bags disposed of by each of us every day.



Singapore's cavalier attitude towards plastic waste needs to change; even the simple act of refusing a straw can make a difference Jovi Ho News Editor “ONE teh bing, thank you.” You drop two coins into the auntie’s palm, and a plastic cup slides across the counter. You grab your drink and a straw, and leave. Throwing away the straw later on is a mindless act, but it contributes to a collective waste of plastic. In February, Taiwan announced a

ban on single-use plastic drinking straws. The ban will first take effect in establishments selling food and beverage next year. From 2020, free plastic straws will be banned from all food and beverage outlets, and a blanket ban on plastic bags, disposable utensils, and disposable beverage cups will be imposed in 2030.

At home Singapore seems to be playing catch-up with a world that is increasingly conscious of its plastic waste, and I only wish we would be more aware of our harmful habits. In 2015, Singapore’s domestic recycling rate was 19 per cent, placing us below other developed economies like the United Kingdom and Taiwan, where the household

recycling rates in 2013 were already at 44.2 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively. Singaporean households discarded about 1.67 million tonnes of waste in 2017, according to a lifecycle assessment study published by the National Environmental Agency (NEA) earlier this year. Of this, about one-third was packaging waste, which included plastic bags and food packaging. Why are Singaporeans so obsessed with using plastic bags? Experts believe this is due to the high proportion of citizens who live in high-rise apartments, like HDB flats, using plastic bags to dispose of wet refuse. The ease of getting plastic bags here could also be a factor. Most places in Singapore hand out plas-

A case for religion Religion is still relevant in today's age, even as religiosity among Singaporeans seems to be on a decline

Kames Narayanan IN A country that celebrates diversity in religion, Singaporeans who do not see themselves affiliated to any is on the rise. The number of Singaporeans who expressed no religious affiliation increased from 17 per cent in 2010 to 19.5 per cent in 2015, according to the Department of Statistics’ General Household Survey. This trend is particularly evident in the younger generation, with 23 per cent of people aged 15 to 24 not identifying with any religion, as opposed to 14.6 per cent among residents aged 55 and above. Families are slowly losing the knowledge and skills to practice religious rituals, according to Mr Mathew Mathews, senior research fellow at the Institute of Policy

Studies. This causes them to grow distant, he said. Furthermore, the Internet provides people with diverse perspectives. More independent thinking, especially among youths, changes their attitudes towards faith and religion, said Singapore Buddhist Federation president Seck Kwang Phing in an interview with The Straits Times in 2016. It may seem that religion has become obsolete in this age of science and reason. However, I believe that there is still a place for it. Born into a Hindu family, I was never given the opportunity to fully understand my religion. I simply accepted it. As I grew older, I began to question its legitimacy and ultimately, grew detached from it. Yet, what pulled me back to engage with religion was a conversation with a friend, which made me realise that there are moments in life that cannot be rationalised. Only by placing our faith can we pull through. It prompted me to reconsider the value of religion and its ability

Despite its convenience, plastic is harmful for many reasons. Due to the lightweight nature of plastic waste, litter that is not disposed of properly can clog Singapore’s drains and waterways, eventually reaching the ocean. Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, Mr Pek Shibao of the non-profit group Plastic-Lite Singapore said plastic straws break down into microplastics. This threatens the lives of marine animals such as seabirds and sea turtles when ingested. When aquatic animals are caught for food, we are the ones who ultimately consume the microplastics. Proper disposal of plastic does not solve the matter entirely either. When plastic waste reaches the incineration plant, the burning plastic releases toxic gases and ash, which is dumped into our only landfill, located at Pulau Semakau. The Pulau Semakau landfill is also projected to be filled by 2035, and the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources has not re-

vealed plans for the development of another landfill. With only 7 per cent of Singapore’s plastic waste in 2016 being recycled, it seems we still have a long way to go.

Movements in Singapore The simple act of refusing a plastic straw when ordering your drink can help to reduce the amount of discarded plastic in Singapore. Local food court chain Koufu set a national record on 29 Mar, by having 198 students, staff, faculty, and members of the public enjoy their drinks with bamboo straws at the same time. Held at Koufu at Singapore Management University (SMU), the record-setting feat accompanied the launch of the chain’s No Plastic Straw initiative. Koufu at SMU has since eliminated the use of plastic straws. If Koufu were to bring the initiative to NTU’s branch at South Spine, how prepared would we be for the change? Imagine ordering a teh bing to go, but having to slurp it from the cup instead. A little messy, yes, but not entirely impossible. If you must use a straw, metal straws are available for online purchase from $1.70. These reusable straws typically come with a pipe cleaner for a thorough wash after use. This may be a hassle, but it is still a small price to pay for reducing our eco-footprint. Are you ready for the last straw?

to provide benefits for those who place faith in a higher calling.

Shared values Religion forges a strong sense of community. It brings people together and grounds them in the same values. Common practices, such as praying five times a day for Muslims or giving thanks before meals for Christians, serve to provide a form of order in a family. Furthermore, learning that someone who is unrelated by blood performs the same rituals and believes in the same values can give one a sense of familiarity and comfort. Religion also provides a way by which we can learn morals and ethics. Unlike subjects taught in schools that primarily focus on imparting knowledge and skills, religions emphasise our adherence to principles that guide our thoughts and actions in the real world. “What religious education might do that no other subject can, is to help people think about this kind of moral reasoning and imagination,” writes an editorial piece published in The Guardian this February.


“Ethics, and even to some extent, philosophy, can’t be taught only in the classroom.” By learning more about religion, we can come closer to understanding why people behave the way they do.

Holding on Whether we seek out supernatural forces or choose to place belief in ourselves, aren’t we all constantly trying to find meaning and purpose in life? Religion suggests answers to these questions.

Though it may not be in line with the beliefs of the modern world, it does provide the emotional and spiritual support that many of us find missing in our lives. Knowing that there is a higher being that we can look to for guidance in times of need, or a religious community we can fall back on, can provide that anchor we need in our lives. Rather than disassociating ourselves from religion, perhaps we can lean towards a better understanding of it. Let us strive to keep the faith.







The tissue issue Beyond providing financial support to tissue paper sellers, we should also extend more compassion towards them Tan Yu Jia

A PLASTIC chair to rest her knees. A purple grocery trolley filled with tissue packets. Her arm outstretched with tissue packets in hand. This is how Mdm Zakaria, 47, makes a living every day at Jurong Point. She is the sole breadwinner of her family, as her husband suffers from a heart condition which prevents him from getting a job. When we walk past tissue paper sellers like Mdm Zakaria at MRT stations and shopping malls, we are often faced with a moral dilemma. We know it is impossible to buy from every one of them, but rejecting them leaves us feeling guilty. So instead of debating whether to buy from them or not, perhaps it is time we find more effective ways to lend a hand.

The selling situation In 2014, the National Environmental Agency (NEA)'s Street Hawking Scheme declared that tissue paper sellers who sell from a stationary spot are unlicensed hawkers, and introduced a $120 licence fee. According to NEA, only 11 sellers across the country are licensed. Without a licence, most sellers can be forced to stop selling. They do not have job security, unlike other seniors working in similarly low-wage contractual jobs, said Assistant Professor of Psychology Andy Ho from NTU’s School of Social Sciences. NEA clarified that their officers would first direct illegal hawkers with genuine financial difficulties to social service agencies before imposing the $120 fee. However, the Agency also said: “Street hawking may not always be the best solution for someone trying to make a living.”

Financial struggles However, these sellers may not have much of a choice. Many of Singapore’s tissue paper sellers that I have talked to while volunteering struggle with the hefty cost of medical treatment. Mr Najib sits by the walkway outside Choa Chu Kang MRT station. He relies heavily on his walking stick due to his paralysed right leg, the result of a stroke three years ago.

The lunchtime crowd at Choa Chu Kang bus interchange whizzes past Mr Najib, who sells tissue at the same spot every day.

Compared to the $4,500 salary he earned as a facilities manager prior to his stroke, Mr Najib now survives by earning about $600 a month. In contrast, contract workers like cleaners earn anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 per month, according to Dr Ho’s research about seniors in low-wage menial jobs. Besides NEA’s efforts to direct such illegal hawkers to social service agencies, Workforce Singapore (WSG) Career Centres also provide career training and advice to help them secure a long-term job. Individuals with disabilities can also find work via the Open Door Programme’s Jobs-ODP database, where they can access hiring postings online for free. Additionally, organisations such as SG Enable provide job-matching services for disabled individuals. “Many tissue paper sellers are not aware of this financial help available,” said Dr Ho. Instead of using job portals, a lot of them, including Mr Najib, sell tissue after getting advice from their friends.

Instead of just giving them money, we can point them towards these other sources of help.

Restoring dignity As much as they need money, many tissue paper sellers also desire more from us. According to Dr Ho, they often belong to the lower socio-economic class, falling behind in terms of education level and social skills. As a result, they may suffer from lower self-esteem. “What they long for is acknowledgement and respect,” he added. We exacerbate the situation when we stuff money in their hands and walk away quickly. Mr Michael Loh Tong Seng, a retired organisational psychologist, stated in a commentary published in The New Paper in 2015 that tissue paper selling is a “disguised form of begging”, which highlights our thinly veiled disparagement of sellers. Giving them money without buying anything makes monetary sense but to Dr Ho, it does not help them with their self-esteem.

They do not want to be looked down upon as beggars waiting for donations. Instead, they want to feel empowered earning their own livelihood. Many take pride in their work as well. Joan (not her real name) hawks tissues outside the entrance of a neighbourhood mall. She is wheelchair bound due to a birth defect, and blind in one eye after being hit by her ex-husband. Passers-by have criticised her, saying that selling tissue paper is a useless job. “I don't believe in that,” Joan says. She wants to be useful to society too. Even though her resources are limited, Joan believes in giving back to people. From her meagre savings, she still buys Christmas presents for her family and friends every year. As she sells tissues, she also looks out for people who are under the weather and makes it a point to talk to them. “If I sell tissue, it doesn’t mean I can’t contribute to society,” Joan


says. “Cheering people up is meaningful too.”

It's easy to reach out We can start to reach out by befriending them, or acknowledging their presence with a simple greeting. If time allows, we can also stop in our tracks and have a chat to find out how to help them more. A simple “Hi, Uncle!” can make them feel accepted too. I spoke to Mdm Zakaria on a warm Friday evening while crowds whizzed past us. It initially felt out of place to stop and chat with her, but as she opened up, the awkwardness melted away. I asked what I could do for her, as I didn't have enough cash. She smiled. “You talk to me, is very good already,” she said. We don’t always have to give money to make an impact. Proper financial support is available, and their dignity can be restored — all they need is someone willing to stop and care.

衣 省

食 行 钱 小 贴

玩 士

—— 刊19页


用Telegram“打包”食物 渐受南大生欢迎 黄璟蕙●报道

用通讯媒体Telegram托南 大生帮自己“打包”食 物,不仅快速解决一餐,也能 让帮忙“打包”的人赚外快。 国人所俗称的“打包”, 意思就是把食物外带。而对大 学生而言,课业繁忙的一天 中,“打包”食物比起在餐饮 场所内用更节省时间,因此大 受欢迎。这个频道结合了两种 消费者:第一种是在校内或校 外餐饮场所附近的同学;第二 种则是肚子饿,又没时间亲自 去买饭的同学。 名为“NTU Food Buddy”的 Telegram频道是由一组南大师生 开创的。他们参加了南大科技 创业有限公司(NTUitive)所主 办的“创业训练营”(Entrepreneurship Bootcamp),学习创业 的重要概念。训练营中的比赛 要求参赛者提出能让南大变成 智能校园的新措施,而这项利 用通讯媒体的创新主意拔得头 筹,在比赛中获得了第一名。

通过科技 改善南大生伙食 想要帮别人“打包”食物的学 生,只需通过频道里的表格填 写自己的联络方式、外卖菜单 和位于南大的会面地点。频道 的订阅者就会收到“打包者” 的资料,有意订购的同学就可 以下单。 同样的,想托他人“打包” 食物的学生也可以填上自己想 要买的食物,与“打包者”会 面的地点。 目前,拖他人“打包”的学 生需要缴额外的费用。每购买 五元的食物,订食物的人就需 要付一元的费用。如果购买二 十至三十元的食物,就必须附 三元的“打包”费。 这项服务不但让肚子饿的 同学轻易地解决一餐,还能让 “打包者”当跑腿,赚取一些 外快。同时,也能让南大生多 交流,会见新面孔。南苑访问 了这项服务的创办团队,了解

这项服务的由来。 团队中的其中一员是南大校 友陈素英小姐(25岁)。 她说:“我在南大住了四年 的宿舍,而这项比赛的主题是 要改善南大,所以我们想到了 通过科技改善南大生的伙食。” 据了解,服务通常在傍晚需 求量最高,而裕廊坊(Jurong Point)则是最受欢迎的地点。

一元小费 换取便利 目前在亚洲环境学院工作的陈 小姐也表示,费用的定价是根 据普通学生用在一餐的花费决 定的。 陈小姐说:“普通学生们 通常愿意在自己的一餐上花上 三块半到五块钱。所以就算是 ‘打包’很多食物,我们也只 定下三块钱的附加费。” 使用频道“打包”午餐的陆 慧怡(23岁)表示,自己是通 过朋友才知道NTU Food Buddy。 她认为这个频道是一个很好的 主意,因为自己偶尔会想吃南 大没有卖的食物,用频道“打 包”食物可以节省来回的时间。 对于“打包”食物的附加 费,这名亚洲环境学院的四年 级生认为,附加费对学生来说 还算合理。 她说:“学生们通常都舍得 为麦当劳和FoodPanda的外送服 务多付一点钱,所以用一元换 来 ‘打包’食物的便利,还是 划算的。 ” 而帮忙他人“打包”食物的 朱泽明(23岁)则表示,“打 包”食物所赚取的费用有时不 值当中所花费的精力与时间。 但他表示,自己还是会继续帮 其他的学生“打包”食物。 他说:“帮人‘打包’所赚 到的钱其实不能完全覆盖我所 花的时间和乘车费用。但是, 我还是会继续在这个平台上提 供服务。我认为,大家都是学 生,都会为解决三餐而烦恼。 我可以用这项服务帮助其他学 生解决这个问题,又是一个可 长期维持的平台。整体来说, 对学生有益。”



In summary


计划提供定期宵夜服务 NTU Food Buddy目前有五百多 名浏览者。陈小姐表示,要长 期维持频道的运作,当务之急 就是增加浏览者的数量,和让 “打包者”的数量增加。 她说:“我们目前集中在增 加频道的浏览者。如果可以达 到一千名浏览者的话,频道就 可以维持运作。在来临的考试 期间,我们打算开始提供一项 定期的宵夜外卖活动。虽然我 们现在不确定有没有办法为全

部二十四所宿舍提供宵夜,但 是我们如果持续运作的话,以 后就应该可以为全部的宿舍提 供送餐的服务。” 而除了能为学生提供餐点之 外,陈小姐和管理频道的团队 也表示,希望频道可以让不同 学院,年级的南大生互相交流。 她表示:“如果我们希望 南大变成更有凝聚力的校园的 话,那我觉得校园内应该有更 多类似的活动,让学生能够有 机会互动。”

NTU Food Buddy is a newly launched student initiative which allows students to have food delivered to them by other students for a small delivery fee of $1. Using the messaging application Telegram, students may sign up to order food, or as “food buddies” to purchase food for others. The initiative’s creators believe that this can improve the quality of campus life, and allow NTU students to earn a little extra income and make new friends. Within the first month of its launch in March, there have been over 500 subscribers to the channel. There are plans by the creators to provide a regular supper delivery service to the Halls of Residence during the final exams period.






慈青发起绿色请愿书 望减少校园塑料吸管用量 青的宣传后,了解了吸管这种 一次性使用产品对环境带来的 慢行伤害,所以尝试从自身做 起不要惯性索取吸管。” 不过,她也坦言:“如果要 落实慈青的计划,应该要置入 更多的相关咨询给学生,让消 费者了解自身的社会责任。”



加坡慈济大专青年联谊会 的南大生,常走入社区进 行不同的志工服务。他们因关注 到校园内的塑料吸管使用量极 高,而决定于校园内发起 “ 无吸管的美丽世界”计划。 他 们 已 于 3月 11日 发 起 请 愿 书,并通过“绿色节” (Greenfest)向学生传达环境保护的讯 息,同时向学生收集签署。请愿 书内容包括推行“星期二无吸管 日”,希望通过校方与校内食堂 合作,减少塑料吸管的使用量, 向绿色校园迈进一步。 根据亚洲新闻的报道,我国 一家餐厅在两个月内就使用了多 达一万支塑料吸管。当塑料吸管 流入大海中,海鸟和海龟会误食 吸管,鱼儿也会吃下塑料碎片, 造成的不仅是生态危害,破坏环 境,把鱼吃下肚的人类也必然会 遭受到影响。

请愿书望提高学生环保意识 塑料吸管的大量使用对环境造成 危害,关注此课题的慈青南大生 决定从校园开始,提高学生的环 保意识。他们于3月11日开始通 过change.org网站发起请愿书, 收集学生的连署,并计划于5月

之前收集30%的学生签署名。 南大慈青成员,请愿书负责 人陈少洪(24岁)坦言,要改变 消费者的使用习惯非常不容易。 因此,组织还请教了本地针对 减少塑料使用量的非营利组织 Plastic-lite SG,了解如何在校园 内有效地对抗塑料吸管使用量。 他说:“我们从Plastic-lite SG 得知其实已经有不少中小学,已 经在推广减少使用塑料吸管的理 念,而且还实行了‘星期二无塑 料吸管日’。所以,我们受到他 们的启发,希望可以先改变南大 学生的观念,鼓励学生自带可再 使用的吸管,让学生主动拒绝索 取吸管。” 陈少洪与其慈青决定以请愿 书方式来推行他们的计划,从中 向校方提出两项方案: (1)校园餐厅与食堂只根据消 费者要求才提供塑料吸管。 ( 2) 规 定 每 周 二 无 塑 料 吸 管 日,不提供吸管。 借着“绿色节”活动,慈青 的南大学生向其他学生宣传环保 理念外,也积极说服学生支持环 保,签署请愿书,望南大向绿校 园迈进一步。 请愿书截止至3月21日已经得 到超过2200名学生签署。

陈同学表示:“我们计划于 5月把计划书提呈给校方,希望 校方能推行以上两项计划。”

无吸管计划 迈向绿校园 发起请愿书之前,慈青南大生 从去年11月已开始策划一项“无 吸管的美丽世界”计划。 来自土木与环境工程学院四 年级生的陈同学是“无吸管的 美丽世界”(Strawless Flawless)项目策划负责人。 他表示:“一开始促使我 们策划此项目的主要原因是好 奇南大校园塑料吸管的使用情 况,再加上塑料吸管因在环 保过程较难处理,也较常被忽 略,所以我们想提高消费者关 注塑料吸管对环境的危害。” 为此,陈同学还与其他的南 大慈青成员亲自到食堂A做过多 项调查。 他说:“根据食堂A饮料摊 位员工提供的详情,一天使用 7包塑料吸管,共是1250支吸 管。” 而南大校园有超过30间食堂 和餐厅,可想而知一天下来, 校园的吸管使用数量也是相当 惊人的。 为了策划此项目,陈同学也 试图向提供资金给学生筹办活

摄影:丘凯文 动的南大学校组织CoLab4Good 申请资金,然而最后却没有成 功得到资助。 不过,他们却因此得到南大 环保团体“地球之音”(Earthlink)主席的青睐,受邀到2018 年的“绿色节”向同学宣导减 少使用塑料吸管的环保理念。

学生:愿为环保尽一份力 不少学生通过慈青的宣传而开 始注意塑料吸管对生态环境的 影响,认为应该身体力行来影 响身边的人。 受访的三年级生梅先状(22 岁)就表示:“看了海龟鼻子 被吸管塞着的视频后,发现到 吸管对生态的危害很大。” 然而,他觉得要把慈青的计 划推行至全校有点困难。 他说:“不使用吸管喝冷 饮的话,冰块会直接与牙齿触 碰,会很容易麻痹。” 但是,这名机械与宇航工程 学院的梅同学却也表示,为了 生态环境,他会尽可能的减少 使用塑料吸管。 另一名来自人文学院的四年 级生张钰婵(23岁)对此计划 表示支持。 她说:“我买冷饮时都会习 惯性地去拿吸管,但是看了慈

餐饮业者:不易改变学生习惯 对于这项计划,餐饮业者表示 他们认为成功几率并不高。 食堂A的饮料摊员工王女士认 为要实行无吸管日非常困难。 她坦言:“我从来没遇过学 生不使用吸管的,就连热饮都 要拿吸管,更何况是冷饮。” 而且,受访的王女士也表示 如果只依据消费者要求才提供 吸管会造成不便。 她说:“尤其在午餐、晚餐 时间,人潮比较多的时候,如 果要特地拿吸管给消费者,会 很麻烦,而且会影响速度。” 她认为要改变学生的习惯, 实行慈青提出的环保计划是非 常困难的。 另外,第二学生宿舍食堂 的饮料摊员工陈女士也同样认 为,学生惯性使用吸管的习惯 难以改变。 她说:“平时10个人里面都 有9个人要索取吸管,一天几乎 用了12包吸管。如果要实行慈 青的计划,提高学生的环保意 识是非常必要的。” 不过,她表示若学校推行此 计划,他们也愿意配合校方, 为环保尽一份力。

In summary The Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth Association branch in NTU has launched the “Strawless Flawless” project to reduce plastic straw usage on campus. As part of the project, Heinrich Tan, a final-year student from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, started a petition with his team, with hopes of getting at least 30 per cent of the student body’s support. They hope to implement StrawLite dining places where straws are provided only upon request, and Straw-free Tuesdays, in order to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of straw usage on the environment.






衣食行玩,省钱我最大 (文/陈昱嘉/黄璟蕙) 为了帮助同学们了解省钱知识,我们结合了华侨银行FRANK信用卡代言人刘紫琴和记者们自己的小贴士,让你学到生活上的省钱秘笈!

控制开销的应用程序 一切从好习惯开始 • 刘小姐说,要记得“先存再花” 的道理。在每个月零用钱或收入里拨出特定的一笔钱,存进银行后限制自己尽量不要从储蓄取钱。 若一拿到钱就花,我们可能成为月底钱花光的 “月光族”。 • 在购买东西前,先想想自己是“需要”那样东西还是“想要”那样东西,想清楚后才作决定。 • 未雨绸缪,在自己现有的存款里定下一笔 “紧急基金”,如果往后有任何急需钱的突发状况,就不需要向银行贷款或向亲友借钱。 • 若你有特定的年底存款目标,就细分为每月甚至每个星期的目标,较小数目就比较容易应付。例如一年内想存$1200, 就代表每个月 需存$100, 每个星期则须省下$25。

1. 在商店购买衣服之前,先查看那家店有没有学生折扣。其

1. 尽量在家里解决餐饮,在自家准备食物的花费比出去吃低多

实,许多知名的服装店都有学生优惠,比如Topshop, Topman,


Dorothy Perkins 都有为学生提供10%的回扣。


2. 刘小姐也说,许多网购服务提供现金回扣(cashback),花费

2. 南大生的生活非常繁忙,有时候不得不一整天外出,每一餐




现金回扣网站有:Shopback, Deja, Ebates和MyCashback.


3. 买衣服不一定要最时尚,复古的二手衣物也很特别。像

星期的晚餐 (meal prep)。你可以选择自己喜欢的口味与适合

PraiseHaven Thrift Shop, New2U, 及Refash的节俭商店(thrift


stores) 聚集了大众捐献或售卖的二手衣服,许多件衣物质量


仍很好,看起来像新的一样。 4. 买新衣之前也要 “除旧迎新”,顺便赚点外快。将衣橱里的 衣物分为两组:第一组是近半年内有穿过的,而第二组是近

3. 许多餐饮业者也在特定时段提供学生优惠,周日午餐时间最 常见。不妨参考,thesmartlocal.com等网站的 最新折扣以及学生套餐,计划下次吃饭的地方。


4. 若你置身校园里,也可加入通讯应用Telegram的@freefoodn-





1. 如果你常乘搭地铁与巴士,可以考虑购买优惠车资卡(con-

1. 和朋友出去玩不一定要花大钱,可以尝试如运动,画画,这

cession card), 每月购买就可通用无数次。若不确定每个月交


通花费多少,也可以使用 LTA 网站的车资计算机 (fare cal-


culator) 计划行程。


2. 每天往返西部先驱站路途不仅遥远,车资也昂贵。南大每天 提供免费的穿梭巴士 (shuttle bus) 服务,在新加坡七个不同 地点早上出发,供你一趟舒适迅速的车旅。

的,可以约朋友到博物馆走走,感受一下文化气息! 2. 刘小姐也指出,你可以从二手店以低价买到游戏版图和配 件,是一个既好玩又省钱的消遣方式。

3. 除了乘搭179/199公共巴士到达南大,先驱地铁站也有南大

3. 除了普通的看电影,吃饭以外,你也可以在课余时间尝试做

免费校巴 (Campus Rider), 从早上七点半到晚上十一点载南




4. 买机票要等好时机。尽量在出发前的三个月购买机票,这通

4. 与其到乌节路,市中心等唱卡拉OK,光顾咖啡厅等,看看



隐私模式 (incognito mode) 。航空公司没有你的搜索纪录次



消费更是一个支持小企业的方法。 插图:林馨怡

想要开始控制自己的开支, 却不知道从哪里开始?以下 的应用程式,都能帮助你管 理好自己的钱包。 (1)Wally 应用程式 “Wally” 的用 户除了能记录自己花了多 少钱以外,也能分类开销。 比如,花在午餐的钱会记 录在“饮食”的部分里, 而在乘搭地铁的花费则会算 进“交通”的部分。除此之 外,如果你当天的开支很 高,“Wally” 会提醒你减 少开销,以达到你已经定下 的储蓄目标。 (2)Buxfer 除了能记录开销以外,用户 也可以通过“Buxfer” 应 用程序看到自己未来三至六 个月的开销预测。预测是用 户根据目前的开销所定的, 所以如果你看到自己在预测 中无法储蓄到自己原先想的 数目,也许是时候节源开流 了。 (3)Spending Tracker 这个应用程序是最简单的, 适合想要开始记录开支的人 使用。与其他两个应用程序 不一样的是,在“Spending Tracker ”中记录开销时不需 要分类,只要为开销命名, 记下花了多少钱即可。

In summary Whether you are saving up for a vacation or hoping to earn some extra cash while in school, this article promises to help you become more financially savvy. This comprehensive list of tips include shopping strategically at online stores for maximum cashback, saving money through student meal deals on weekdays, and enjoying hiking trails and museum visits free of charge.







起行囊,离开喧嚣城市。 旅行,必然会是暂缓忙碌 生活的享受机会。而你,喜欢成 群结队出外旅游,还是喜欢独自 一人去冒险? 一个人旅行,犹如大冒险 般,没有旅伴可以依靠,没有分 享喜悦的对象,遇上困难也只能 独自一人去面对和解决。不仅如 此,独自旅行得要自己一人承担 所有交通和住宿费用,比起结伴 成行的花费开销更高。而这些担 忧,可说是大部分人抗拒独自一 人旅行的主要原因。 然而,根据国际广告公司 Resonance的报告显示,今年一 月“独自旅行”(solo travel) 一词却成为谷歌搜索的热搜词, 创下搜索量高峰,比起2017年竟 高出近55%。由此可见,一个 人单独旅行已经成为一种社会趋 势,可说是近几年来年轻人最向 往尝试的旅行方式。 我认为,独自旅行不仅能够 扩大一个人的视野,同时亦能够 提供人生的历练。就如一个人 旅行的那些担忧,其实是最大 的人生收获。当你一人身在异乡

摄影:陈培胜 时,你得学会独自面对不安和 恐惧,规划自己的时间,学习 与陌生人交流相处,甚至熟悉 跟自己内心独处的时候。 除了能帮助你更好地处理人 生挫折之外,也会让你更有勇 气跳出舒适圈,去探寻自己的 理想与目标。正因如此,独自 旅行者其实一点也不寂寞。 我和朋友曾在欧洲旅行,在 青年旅舍遇上独自旅行的背包

客,他们善于交际,愿意分享 故事。我们对这些独自旅行的 背包客是羡慕又佩服,他们的 勇气与毅力值得我们学习。 所以,“独自旅行者”已不 再是孤独的象征,而是坦然面 对自己理想的追梦者,勇于闯 荡世界的冒险家。 去年,我在巴黎交换,有不 少旅游的机会。当时我抗拒一 个人旅行,担心迷路,害怕一

个人出外用餐的尴尬。不过, 在交换学期结束之时,我决定 回国前尝试一人旅行。 还记得出发的那晚,我带 着忐忑又兴奋的心情搭上夜班 火车前往法国南部的尼斯,展 开了我人生中第一次的个人 旅行。紧张与不安的心情一直 伴随着我,手上一直紧握着手 机,随时查看谷歌地图,深怕 自己到不了目的地。 当我一人紧张地进到餐厅享 用美食时,默默观察着周围的 环境,才发现其实独自一人用 餐的人也不少。 接下来,我不再为行程而感 到担忧,反而随遇而安。住在 青年旅舍的我也更加自然地和 同房的室友打交道,认识许多 来自世界各地的背包客。每个 人都乐意分享自己旅游的故事 经历,交换旅游资讯,也互相 交流彼此的国家背景和文化习 俗。如果是和朋友一同旅行, 就会失去了这样的交流机会。 旅途中遇到的每个人都给了 我不同的世界观和启发,让我 更独立、更认识自己。

一个人旅行最大的意义其 实不在于走过多少地方,而是 过程中所遇上的人事物及重新 认识自己的经过。若你曾想过 一个人去旅行,那么就别犹豫 了,鼓起勇气踏出第一步,相 信我,这将会是你人生的一大 收获。 (文/杨量而)

的学费,所以母亲希望她报读加 州大学,因此与她起了冲突。 心疼女儿的父亲了解淑女鸟的 渴望,所以瞒着老婆帮助女儿申 请纽约大学的教育资助。最后 淑女鸟被录取了,但母亲却决定 冷战,直到在机场送行时才原谅 她。 葛韦格导演厉害之处在于了 解母女之间,是多么容易伤害彼 此。这对母女关系奇特之处是, 他们很爱多方,同时也很痛恨 对方。每段对话能迅速地变成争 吵,但也很快地被解决。 淑女鸟到大城市后才领悟, 其实她并不那么讨厌萨格罗门 托。那里有熟悉的环境和温暖的 阳光。在她最寂寞时,还是选择 回到熟悉的教堂里,被圣诗环绕 着,接着打通电话给母亲,感谢 她的养育之恩。 《淑女鸟》可说是对萨克罗 门托的一封情书,也反映了离乡 背井的心态——其实,邻家的草 未必分外青。 电影里的每一个片刻,都楚 楚动人,令观众容易感同身受。 身为一部青春电影,主题虽简 单,但葛韦格导演厉害之处,是 让日常生活中所遭遇到的小事,

变得有重量。《淑女鸟》叙述着 平凡少女的成长故事,但我们都 能在淑女鸟身上,领悟到成长的 酸甜苦乐。 (文/罗恺盈)

In summary The number of Google searches for the term “solo travel” has surged in the last year, according to international advertising agency Resonance Consultancy, indicating a rising trend of solo travellers. Travelling alone pushes one out of their comfort zone, gives them the chance to persevere through problems, and creates time for self-discovery and reflection. More people now actively choose to travel on their own to find themselves.


《淑女鸟》 跟随我们成长的足迹


部简单却令人回味的电 影。《淑女鸟》(Lady Bird)让我在最不经意的时候, 陪着女主角又哭又笑。 由知名独立女导演格蕾塔· 葛韦格 (Greta Gerwig)所导, 莎柔丝·罗南(Saoirse Ronan) 主演的《淑女鸟》随着“淑女 鸟”克莉絲汀(Christine)的青 春时期。 期间,她经历了初恋,失 恋,友情的变化,与家人的争 持等。从中,观众能体会到年

少时期,渴望“寻找自己”的 那种心情。电影中完整地呈现 了青春时期的那种尴尬、对恋 爱的好奇心、一路面对友情的 波折与父母的摩擦与叛逆等。 高中三年级生克 莉 絲 汀 生 在加利福尼亚首府萨克拉门托 (Sacramento),就读一所保 守的天主教学校。她认为自己 被困在一个鸟不生蛋的文化沙 漠。环境优美却过于宁静,更 何况那里的人思想狭窄又保守。 实际来说,克莉絲汀只不过 是一个成绩普通,生长在一个 中低收入的家庭的女孩。克莉 絲汀渴望找到自己的地位,打 造属于自己的一片天。因为渴 望生活得到改变,想让自己与 众不同的克莉絲汀决定为自己 取名为“淑女鸟”,染了一头 红发,以全新的身份,冲出家 乡,闯到大城市去试试运气。 在学校的戏剧组试镜时, 克 莉 絲 汀 看上了丹尼(Lucas Hedges饰)。日后越走越近,就 成为了她的初恋男友。当淑女 鸟的感情生活到了巅峰时,淑 女鸟突然发现丹尼与另一个男 生亲热,让她当场崩溃。 第一段感情失败后,淑女鸟

被乐团吉他手凯尔(Timoth é e Chalamet饰)吸引住,但凯尔与 淑女鸟的朋友圈完全不同。凯 尔朋友圈包括学校里的校花校 草,而淑女鸟的朋友都是书呆 子。为了接近凯尔,淑女鸟改 变自己的言行举止,制造机会 与凯尔独处。 比起保守斯文的丹尼,凯尔 潇洒、叛逆的性格,让淑女鸟 怦然心动,认为凯尔就是她改 变的触发点。 但与凯尔相处久之后,淑 女鸟发现自己变得不像原来的 样子了。淑女鸟与好友茱莉一 向喜欢参加学校的舞会,她这 次约了凯尔一起去,还精心挑 选了一条长裙。但凯尔似乎对 舞会一点兴趣都没有,还说舞 会很无聊,反而想去朋友的派 对。淑女鸟虽然很失望,还得 苦笑着同意。明明想去舞会, 但因同侪压力,还假装说舞会 很无聊。开车路上,淑女鸟一 只很安静,仿佛思考着:自己 到底究竟为了凯尔,改变和牺 牲了多少? 想逃出加州的淑女鸟,渴望 就读美国东岸的私立大学。但 因家庭经济能力不够负担庞大

In summary Lady Bird, directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Saoirse Ronan, is an unpretentious coming-of-age story about an average girl in an average city, wishing to break away from her monotonous life. Christine McPherson, a senior at a Catholic high school, is tired of Sacramento, her California hometown, and dreams of escaping to the East Coast to start anew. She gives herself the name “Lady Bird”, hoping to carve a new identity. This story depicts beautifully her last year in high school as she experiences her first love, friendship troubles, and struggles with her family in her persistent search for identity.


Defeated archers aim ahead

Archers take aim at the 10th Instituitional Archery Competition, in which NTU lost their three-year streak as champions.

After a narrow loss to NUS at the institutional archery competition this year, the NTU Archery Club plans to focus on improving archers’ mental strength to take back their title Shirley Tay NTU Archery Club’s three-year streak as champions ended last month, after the team came in as first runners-up at the 10th Institutional Archery Competition. While both institutions each clinched eight gold medals, NUS took home the championship title with five silver medals, while NTU had only four in their tally. Toh Yi Jie, 25, the captain of the NTU Archery Club, was disappointed with the results after the effort the team put into training for the past eight months. While training sessions were held thrice a week a month before the competition, many archers went down to the range almost every day to practice. “It is even more aggravating to know that the championship cup was lost by such a small margin,” said the third-year student from the School of Social Sciences.

A windy mess

After the qualification and team rounds, NTU was leading the competition with eight gold medals, while NUS was ranked second with three gold medals. However, the tables turned in the final Individual Knock-Out (IKO) segment. Vice-captain Keller Chai and Shawn Tay, the star archers of the NTU female and male team respectively, had both clinched the gold medal in their open events. But they lost out in the IKO segment by a narrow margin. In a tense shoot-off following a 5-5 draw in the IKO segment, Chai, 20, lost the gold medal to NUS opponent Kaylynn Sew. She fumbled and wrongly estimated her aim. Her arrow ended up at the seven point boundary, while Sew scored an eight. Chai, a national archer, attributed the misaim to the wind, which was “stronger than anything (she) had ever experienced in (her) archery career”. While Tay clinched the gold medal for the Individual Compound Open event, he placed second in the IKO segment. In the Compound event, archers shoot with a compound bow, a newer type of bow with a pulley system. In the final match, Tay fell short

by just one point, scoring a total of 141. Ang Han Quan from Ngee Ann Polytechnic scored 142. When archer have fully drawn their bows, they have to be patient and cool-headed while aiming, said Tay; he admits that he gets impatient sometimes. His bad habit of releasing the moment it is aimed at the bullseye causes his shots to be unstable, said Tay, 25.

“Some of our archers need more mental training to handle the pressure of knockout rounds.” Toh Yi Jie, 25 Captain NTU Archery Club

“Also, I strive for perfection all the time, which gives me unnecessary pressure. This results in an impatient and disturbed mind, which can lead to costly mistakes,” added Tay, a third-year student from the School of Biological Sciences. Tay was a little upset initially as the mistakes he made in the final three arrows cost him the match.


Moving forward

Even after their surprise loss, the team remains optimistic with plans to improve. In all competitive sports, setbacks are inevitable, said Jonas Lim, 23, who clinched one gold medal and two silver medals in the competition. “What is important is how we plan to move on from here,” said the third-year student from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The club has analysed their loss and identified learning points to be incorporated into their training plan in preparation for the NUS Indoor Archery Championships in June, said Toh. “Some of our archers need more mental training to handle the pressure of knockout rounds. As such, we will incorporate training methods that put more pressure on the archer, and simulate the competition environment as closely as possible,” added Toh. Chai plans to help their teammates spot their mistakes. “This is especially important for our club since we don’t have a coach. It can lighten the load of the captains,” said Chai, a firstyear student from the School of Humanities. Due to a lack of funds, the NTU Archery Club is unable to hire a

coach to come down on a regular basis, added Chai. Even so, the team has managed to maintain the championship title for the past three years, and snag the first-runner up ranking this year.

“As experienced archers and not coaches, there is only so much the captains can do.” Keller Chai, 20 Vice-captain NTU Archery Club

Chai believes that a coach is necessary to push the team to greater heights. Without a coach, the team’s shooting style is not standardised, she said. Each archer is taught different shooting forms, which makes it difficult for them to spot each other’s mistakes and improve. “As experienced archers and not coaches, there is only so much the captains can do. There is only so much we know, and there is only so much we can impart,” she said.

22-23 SPORTS

More sports? No probs!

Jacqueline Oo (left) from Hall of Residence 16 and Nicholas Teo (right) from Hall 8 both take part in a wide range of sports in hall and in school.

Committing to several sports at once, two students take the meaning of “enthusiast” to another level Xener Gill TRAINING in a school team can be gruelling for most students, but some school athletes are not willing to just rest on their laurels. With a wide range of sporting activities in NTU, some of them have ventured beyond their main sport to join multiple teams.

Jacq of all trades In her three years in NTU, finalyear Nanyang Business School student Jacqueline Oo has competed in five different sports. Currently a member of the NTU squash team, 22-year-old Oo used to be a part of the NTU women’s basketball team as well. On top of her school team competitions, she has also represented Hall of Residence 16 in basketball, netball, squash, tennis and volleyball. It was her performance at the Inter-Hall Games (IHG) in the 201617 season that led her to be recruited into the school’s squash team. That season, Hall 16’s squash team were crowned champions. This was in spite of her not having any prior competitive

experience in squash before she entered university. She had first picked up the sport in Secondary One, and had stayed a recreational player until she joined Hall 16’s squash team. Oo decided to join the school team after IHG ended, as she did not want to stop playing the sport.

“I guess I just liked (playing) both sports. I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to give up on.” Jacqueline Oo, 22 Final-year student Nanyang Business School

“I didn’t want to stop having organised trainings with fixed dates (after IHG). Having such training sessions helped me become more conscious about my time management since it’s a commitment,” said Oo. The team emerged third at the Singapore University Games (SUniG) last September. But Oo’s pet sport has always been basketball. She started playing basketball competitively when she was 13 years old, and continued through junior college.

She joined the NTU women’s basketball team in her second year, as some of her former teammates were on the team as well. During her time on the basketball team, they emerged champions for the AY2016/17 Institute-VarsityPolytechnic (IVP) Games. However, she quit the team before the SUniG last September, as there were enough players. During the two months she was training with both the basketball and squash teams concurrently, Oo had to train almost every day. While her studies were unaffected, Oo found it was tiring to juggle training for two school teams. But she pressed on. “I guess I just liked (playing) both sports. I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to give up on,” said Oo. However, her involvement in sports does not stop there. Since her first year, Oo has been representing Hall 16 in basketball, netball and squash at IHG. In the recent IHG season that ended in February, she also participated in volleyball and tennis despite not having any experience playing for them. She also played basketball and captain’s ball at the Inter-School Games (ISG), which were held concurrently with IHG. On why she decided to pick up sports that she had no prior experience in, Oo said: “I only started playing tennis and volleyball be-

cause those sports lacked players, and my friends from the other sports that I already play asked me to join.” She added that she decided to take part in more sports because she did not want to stay on campus without making significant contributions to her hall. Once, Oo even played in a softball game at the very last minute. “I’ve never played softball before, but the team gathered an hour before the game to teach me how softball works and the basic catching and batting skills,” she said.

“I’ve always been a sporty person and university work is tough, so I want to be able to do something apart from studying in my free time.” Jacqueline Oo

“I had fun, but I’m never going back,” she added. “Softball is too different from all the other sports I play and I don’t really have an interest in it either.”


Though training for the different sports can take up almost her entire week, especially when IHG season approaches, Oo feels that this is time well spent. “I’ve always been a sporty person and university work is tough, so I want to be able to do something apart from studying in my free time,” she said. “I really love being active and I enjoy all the sports that I do, which is why I still continue playing them even when I get busy and tired.”

The sports addict Playing for 12 teams across nine different sports for IHG, ISG and IVP, Hall 8 resident Nicholas Teo is the epitome of a sports addict. During his freshman year, Teo took part in sepak takraw, football, road relay, softball, touch rugby and water polo for IHG. “There was a girl I liked who was the team manager of a particular sport, so I decided to try something new and joined it. Slowly, I was asked to join other sports as well,” said the second-year student from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information. He added: “I only wanted to play football and touch rugby but I ended up trying everything and had a lot of fun.” In the recent ISG, the 23-yearold also played in touch rugby, frisbee and captain’s ball. But he is not just an IHG and ISG





With nine years of experience under her belt, Oo was recommended into Hall 16 for basketball. PHOTO: JACQUELINE OO

athlete. Under the encouragement of his touch rugby team mates, he joined the NTU rugby B team in February this year despite not having any background in rugby. “I used to watch rugby with my father as a kid and found it interesting. There aren’t many places or schools that offer it, so when I was given the chance, I decided to go for it,” said Teo. But as he came from a football background, Teo found it hard to adapt to the backward passes in rugby when he first picked it up. Being used to playing the game forward in football, he is still adjusting to the techniques required in this new sport.

“There was a girl I liked who was the team manager of a particular sport, so I decided to try something new and joined it.” Nicholas Teo, 23 Second-year student Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information

However, Teo hopes to make it into the A team one day. In addition to his rugby training, Teo also plays football for two other teams — Bazhang, a team made up of Teo and his friends, and Ang Mo Kio Bethesda, a team that plays in the church league in Singapore. “Football is my main sport. I’ve played it since I was a kid and I don’t have any intention of stopping. I also don’t get to see my friends much so these sessions are

good for bonding and to get in some exercise,” said Teo. “I do get tired because I’m not Superman. It gets worse as the week progresses, but I soldier on,” he added. When competition season is ongoing in the first semester of the academic year, he has training every day. Teo’s love for sports and his competitive spirit is what keeps him going even when he gets tired out. “It’s a great way to relieve stress, and the feeling you get when you score or outrun someone is just priceless,” he said. Despite participating in so many sports within his first two years at university, Teo has only won a silver and a gold medal for touch rugby and captain’s ball respectively in the recent ISG. However, he maintains a positive outlook and does not let this deter him from continuing to pursue his passion for sports. “Eventually I’ll win something, I hope. Besides, I do it (playing sports competitively) mostly for the experience,” he said. Teo, who will be heading to Hong Kong for his exchange programme next semester, hopes to continue playing rugby during his stint if the situation permits. He has also planned his exchange schedule around the next IHG. Teo chose Hong Kong as his exchange destination due to its close proximity to Singapore, which would allow him to travel back to Singapore in time for the start of the IHG games. Additionally, he intends to stay on campus during his internship in the second semester of his third year to continue participating in hall sports. “University is my last chance to do so many things before working life starts,” said Teo. “It is the only time for you to try out new things so if not now, then when?” he added.

Teo took up seven IHG sports in the latest season, including softball.

Oo joined netball in IHG as she wanted to make greater contributions to her hall.

Having played football since he was three, Teo uses his agility to his advantage when learning new sports.




Vol 24 Issue 09  
Vol 24 Issue 09