ISSN NO. 0218-7310
NTU tightens security in Halls 1 and 2
NEWS | 2
How it feels to see Donald Trump win OPINION | 18-19
E-scooters Convenient or risky? NEWS | 4
Athletes gear up for Inter-School Games SPORTS | 23
NTU to install CCTVs in Halls 1, 2
Sophia Tan NTU plans to install Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in Halls of Residence 1 and 2 by March next year, following the arrest of a suspected molester near Hall 1 about two weeks ago. The University also deployed an additional security officer to patrol Blocks 12 and 13 starting last week, according to Mr Jimmy Lee, Chief Housing and Auxiliary Services Officer. “We take the safety of our students very seriously,” Mr Lee said in a statement. “As NTU is an open campus, we have various precautionary safety measures that at the same time, balance the students’ wish for privacy.” Police arrested a 31-year-old man on 18 Nov for allegedly molesting a female NTU student at Hall 1. The man, who is not affiliated with NTU, was arrested along Nanyang Circle and was charged in court with outrage of modesty a day after his arrest. For outrage of modesty, one can be jailed for between two and 10 years and caned. The arrest also follows reports from other Hall 1 residents of an unknown masked man loitering around Hall grounds and attempting to enter rooms on three separate occasions in November.
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: VALERIE LAY
It is not known if this man was the same as the one arrested. Sarah (not her real name), a resident from Block 12, told the Nanyang Chronicle that a masked man entered her room on 16 Nov while she and her roommate were asleep. The 21-year-old, a second-year School of Humanities and Social Sciences student, said she woke up to the sound of someone near her bed at 5.30am. Her suspicions were aroused when the person immediately crouched down beside her chair when she got up. A blackout had occurred in
the Hall due to heavy rain, so she grabbed her mobile phone and shone it at the intruder, whom she described as a “tall and thin” man wearing a fully zipped black sweater with the hood up. He was also wearing a white mask that covered his face. When confronted, the man claimed he was checking on residents because of the blackout. Sarah said: “I did not buy his story, as a security personnel would never enter our rooms without getting permission.” After repeatedly assuring the
man that she did not need help, he left the room. Unlike rooms in other campus residential halls, which are secured with electric locks, those in Halls 1 and 2 use key locks. Hall 1 Junior Common Room Committee president Lai Chun Wai said such incidents have occurred before, but is unsure how many there have been. Despite news of the arrest, Hall residents are still taking precautions to keep themselves safe. First-year School of Art, Design and Media student Adithi Surya,
19, said she was relieved that a suspect had been caught, but will continue with added safety precautions such as putting chairs in front of her room door. “We cannot be sure that the person arrested was the same guy who broke into the room, or if he is just one in a group of many intruders,” Surya added. Mr Lee also reminded students “to be vigilant and to take personal responsibility, by locking their doors at all times, especially before going to sleep, and keeping their valuables safe.”
NTU Fest returns after year-long hiatus Cheryl Tee NTU Fest will be back next year. But the new version of the university festival may see major changes — including the absence of K-pop stars, a change in venue, and the removal of the charity run. These are among the tweaks proposed by the NTU Students’ Union (NTUSU), who officially announced the event’s comeback on its Facebook page on 21 Oct. NTU Fest was cancelled this year following declining student involvement in the past few years. The Nanyang Chronicle had earlier reported that attendance to the event decreased by more than 50 per cent from 2014 to 2015. This year’s break gave the NTUSU a chance to review the event
and propose ways to encourage more students to participate. The Union will present its ideas to the NTU Campus Life Committee this month for approval, said NTUSU President Gan Rui Yun. One of the ideas submitted by the NTUSU is to host NTU Fest on campus to increase participation from students. Past editions took place at public venues — the Padang in 2014, and The Promontory @ Marina Bay in 2015. Having the event in the University would make it convenient for them to join in, said Gan. About 17,000 students will be staying on campus by next August. However, the event committee is debating whether it should keep the charity run, as shifting it to NTU would require further planning. In the meantime, there will not
be performances by guest stars, such as Korean rapper Kang Gary and girl group Dal Shabet, who headlined the events in 2014 and 2015 respectively. These stars distracted event-goers from the focus of fostering an NTU identity, the NTUSU said. The concert should be kept for student and alumni performers only, it further suggested. Most students the Nanyang Chronicle spoke to welcomed the potential changes. “Bringing the venue to NTU appeals to students. They are likely to be more comfortable with the environment, and travelling there after classes is also easier,” said second-year School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) student Liao Wanting, 21. Second-year Nanyang Business School student Lee Yuansiang, 21,
said: “Having NTU Fest on campus would especially appeal to exchange students to join in, since most of them stay in hall.” She added: “They are also part of the NTU community, and should be given opportunities to mingle with local students.” Some, like third-year School of Art, Design and Media student Chris Tan, are also in favour of a student-led concert. The 22-year-old said that a platform like NTU Fest would be a “great incentive” for student performers to improve on their craft to put up a good show. “When I attended the event in 2014, every single band became an opening act for Kang Gary. It was painful to watch,” Tan added. “NTU has plenty of budding musical talents, so I’m sure NTU Fest can do without any guest stars.”
Others, however, are concerned that the new direction of NTU Fest may overlap with similar events. “If NTU Fest’s focus shifts to the showcase of student talent, it will need to distinguish itself from existing events, such as FUSE and Nanyang Arts Fest (NAF). Then, it has to compete with these events for performers,” said third-year MAE student Andrew Fung, 23. But Fung said that if the NTU Fest committee could find a way around this problem, having students and alumni perform would “definitely improve student turnout”, as friends of the performers are likely to extend their support by attending the event. He said: “FUSE and NAF have been pretty successful. I don’t see why any similar activity can’t emulate their successes as long as it doesn’t feel redundant.”
Round 2 for student card design contest
TOP: The three shortlisted entries from the NTU Card Design Contest, with "Everything at NTU" (top left) winning based on student votes. BOTTOM: Some of the submissions uploaded onto the "Revival Blessings" Facebook album, with a blue, red and white entry (bottom right) highly praised in the comments.
NTU holds a second competition after winning designs from the first round were severely criticised online Gracia Lee
THE mechanics were simple: vote for a winner, and every student will receive a new matriculation card based on the winning design. But a second competition is now being held for the new NTU student matriculation card, after the three designs originally shortlisted under the NTU Student Card Design Contest held earlier in September were panned by students and alumni. This second search, called the Union Prize Contest, will allow students to pick one more design from a pool of 50 re-shortlisted entries from the first contest. Voting began on 21 Nov and will close on 4 Dec. In all, two winning entries – one from each contest – will be integrated into two new card designs, the University said in a Facebook post. When making their new matriculation card next year, students can choose one of the two designs.
Pictures of the three shortlisted designs from the first competition drew flak when they were uploaded on the NTU Facebook page for voting on 31 Oct. The university-wide competition attracted more than 500 entries, and three winners were picked by
a panel of representatives from the student body and faculty. The winning entries are a crystal-inspired design, a Mondrianinspired design, and an illustrative doodle of University landmarks such as The Hive and the Chinese Heritage Centre. The third design, titled “Everything at NTU”, won the contest by garnering more than 1,000 likes. But it was slammed as “terrible” and “ugly”, with the Facebook post receiving over 90 comments from students and alumni.
“The student card is a part of NTU's identity... How will others think of us if our student cards are so poorly designed?” Shamirah A'Azman, 20 First-year student School of Biological Sciences
“The student card is a part of NTU’s identity,” said first-year School of Biological Sciences (SBS) student Shamirah A’Azman, 20. She added: “When I show my (student) card to get discounts, I want to be proud to associate myself with the school. How will others think of us if our student cards are so poorly designed?” Jefferson Koh, 23, said the shortlisted designs were equal to a “public image blunder” for the school, especially since the designs and students’ reactions to them had
been picked up and published into articles on websites like Mothership and SGAG. “We have become the subject of mockery for many people outside of NTU,” the third-year School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student added.
Online, many students also expressed surprise at the “poor quality” of the shortlisted designs despite the number of submissions. Some felt the winning entries lacked basic design techniques, while one shortlisted design even violated the competition rule that the NTU logo should be placed against a white background. “Poor design reflects badly on the university, especially when we have an art school here,” said finalyear School of Art, Design and Media (ADM) student Rachel Tan, 23. She added that though two of the shortlisted designs were done by ADM students, it did not mean their designs were above criticism.
“Poor design reflects badly on the university, especially when we have an art school here. ” Rachel Tan, 23 Final-year student School of Art, Design and Media
Shortly after the results were announced, an album of entries that did not make the cut was compiled on a Facebook page named “Revival Blessings”.
Students who took part in the first contest were encouraged to submit their entries to the public album, owned by an ADM student who declined to be named. “Most of us who saw the shortlisted designs knew that that wasn’t the best NTU could do,” she told the Nanyang Chronicle. “This album provides more transparency for us to see our options.”
“There were better designs that were submitted. The school should explain why the (final) three designs were chosen over others, when it seems like they were randomly picked out of a bowl.” Nicholas Wee, 24 Final-year student School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
A total of 59 submissions have been uploaded as of 24 Nov. One of the most popular designs is a red, blue and white one that received praise for being “professionallooking”, “clean” and “classy”. After viewing the album, many students called for the judging criteria of the contest to be revealed. “There were better designs that were submitted. The school should explain why the (final) three designs were chosen over others, when it seems like they were randomly picked out of a bowl,” said final-year School of Mechanical
and Aerospace Engineering student Nicholas Wee, 24. Another Facebook page, named “NTU design card competition: what could have been”, was also created, featuring parody submissions such as a picture of Harambe the gorilla and a design of the National University of Singapore student card with the NTU logo photoshopped over it. The page has since been deleted.
After receiving news of the second contest, students said they were pleased to get a greater say in the card’s final design. “It’s fairer now that we have a larger pool of submissions to choose from,” said Nicholas Chin, 23, a third-year SBS student. Added third-year Electrical and Electronic Engineering student Damian Goh, 24: “Students now have more say in deciding which design wins, which is important since we are the ones who will be carrying around the cards.” But others felt the design should have been left to professionals from the beginning, instead of relying on student submissions. A vendor should have been hired to design something so important to the NTU identity, instead of “degrading it to an amateur, crowdsourced competition”, said third-year Asian School for the Environment student Simone Low, 22. She added that the winning designs made it seem like the university did not want to spend money to hire a professional, and sent the message that it did not want to support its ADM alumni.
E-scooters on campus: safe or dangerous?
While some e-scooter users said NTU is one of the safest places to ride due to spacious pavements and low foot traffic, others said they have seen e-scooters being used on roads, which is dangerous and not recommended under LTA guidelines. PHOTO: ZHENG JUNCEN
Sophia Tan Travelling to school has been a breeze for final-year School of Mechanical and Engineering (MAE) student Benjamin Oh ever since he purchased an e-scooter four months ago. He takes a 45-minute scooter ride from Yishun station, which is 10 minutes faster than taking the bus. “I love riding my e-scooter because it is so convenient and allows me to have better control over my travelling time,” he said. Among the range of personal mobility devices (PMDs) like ebikes and hoverboards, e-scooters in particular have become an increasingly common sight on campus in recent months.
Cheap and convenient
E-scooter users the Nanyang Chronicle spoke to said that unlike penny boards and segways, e-scooters are foldable and more convenient to carry around. They also have an easier learning curve as they run on a motor. “I have seen quite a number of riders over the past few months. The trend seems to be picking up in NTU,” said third-year Nanyang Business School student Andre Lee. Part of the e-scooter’s draw is its affordability as a motorised form of transportation, compared to the cost of owning a motorbike or car, said Adjunct Associate Professor Gopinath Menon, who teaches transport engineering. The University's hilly terrain might also be a reason why students prefer using e-scooters instead of bicycles, which are less strenuous to ride, he added.
While it is not illegal to use escooters and other PMDs on campus, Office of Development and Facilities Management chief executive officer Paul Chain said students doing so put themselves at risk, as pavements on campus are too narrow for PMDs. “It is difficult to enforce safety with 40,000 people on campus daily, and accidents are prone to happen when there is a lack of space for riders to manoeuvre,” he added. The University follows the Land Transport Authority’s Active Mobility Advisory Panel guidelines on the use of PMDs. These guidelines, which will be legally binding next year, allow students to use PMDs on footpaths. However, users should not ride PMDs on roads or areas with heavy foot traffic, such as building corridors and concourses, according to the guidelines. Safety concerns regarding usage of PMDs rose to prominence this year, after a spate of PMD-related accidents on roads and pavements were reported, with victims suffering severe injuries or death. A 23-year-old died from falling off his e-scooter at East Coast Park in March, while a 53-year-old woman was left unconscious after being hit by an electric scooter at Pasir Ris Drive in September.
Divided over safety
Students the Nanyang Chronicle spoke to were divided over the safety of using e-scooters here. Some, like second-year MAE student Gan Yin Ze, said NTU is one of the safest possible places to ride, as the pavements on campus are spacious enough to avoid accidents
and has low foot traffic. The 22-year-old, who bought his e-scooter this semester as an alternative to driving, said he will never use it outside of campus, as “roads outside the campus are too crowded and narrow”. Despite falling along a crowded pavement near NTU before, Lee said that safety boils down to responsible riding practices by those who use PMDs. The 24-year-old discovered the convenience of e-scooters after his hall neighbour encouraged him to test ride one. It is now his main mode of transport on campus. “PMD users need to be mindful of their surroundings. Pedestrians and vehicles come first and electric mobility devices should never have right of way," he said. “I am conscious of my surroundings and dismount whenever pathways get too crowded." But other students, like Tan Hwee Chin, 21, said e-scooters should be banned on campus because of riders who flout safety rules and ride on campus roads. The final-year MAE student added that these devices were "too dangerous" for pedestrians to share the footpath with, and some riders were "reckless and inconsiderate”, worsening the problem. The fact that e-scooters do not come with safety mechanisms such as bells or lights makes them especially unsafe, said second-year School of Art, Design and Media student Ong Li Wen, 21. Ong said many of her classmates use e-scooters and hoverboards even in campus buildings, highlighting a lack of awareness about safety regulations.
GRAPHIC: FIONA LIM
A positive sign
Prof Menon, who is also a consultant with a transport engineering firm, said more students using e-scooters on campus is a positive sign of greater active mobility among the student body. “It is great that NTU students have taken to this, as such devices reduce dependence on private motorised transport,” he said.
Acknowledging recent accidents that involved the use of e-scooters in Singapore, he cautioned riders to put themselves in the shoes of pedestrians. “Students should be aware that the pedestrian is the vulnerable user and ride in a manner so as not to harass or harm pedestrians by keeping to speeds appropriate for the situation,” he added.
“Your work revolves around news, and news doesn't have a schedule. But that's what makes it exciting."
From intern to
Eugene Wee, 42 Editor The New Paper
TNP CHIEF From plane crashes to pits filled with jelly, Mr Eugene Wee (CS '99) has covered it all. He will now face his biggest challenge yet as TNP's new editor.
Nicholas Tan Chief Editor
n a journalism career spanning two decades, the story that sticks with Mr Eugene Wee the most begins on board his first-ever business class flight in 2000. While most would be thrilled with a seat upgrade, the NTU alumnus was hardly in the mood to enjoy the additional leg space. This was because he was en route to Taoyuan International Airport in Taiwan, where the Singapore Airlines flight SQ006 crashed on a closed runway, killing 83 people. In an interview with the Nanyang Chronicle, the 42-year-old recalls receiving a call from his editor at 1am that morning, demanding he get on a flight to Taiwan immediately to cover the calamity. Back then, he was barely a year into his reporting stint with Project Eyeball, a now-defunct Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) publication. Mr Wee, who was recently named editor of the revamped The New Paper (TNP), said of his immediate reaction: “I was more lost than anything. Usually, for any overseas assignments, all the bookings for flights are handled by our administrative side. But at 1am, no one was working." It did not help that online booking was not a thing then, and his poor command of Mandarin only raised further uncertainty in him. Yet he eventually gathered himself, packed his bags, and cabbed to Changi International Airport with his photojournalist colleague at dawn. There, he got the go-ahead from his editor to purchase business class tickets as economy seats were fully booked. Mr Wee, however, was too tired from the flurry of events to appreciate the upgrade. He said: “I didn’t enjoy it very much because I fell
asleep before takeoff, waved off the stewardess when she came with my meal, and only woke up when the plane landed,” Hours later in Taiwan, and surrounded by senior reporters in action, the wide-eyed rookie observed how they worked to “feel his way around” the situation. During a hospital tour, he broke off from the group to find his own story, and met former Singapore Airlines air stewardess Farzana Abdul Razak, then aged 18. Bandaged from head to toe, she suffered burns to 40 percent of her body while trying to save passengers on the burning plane. Mr Wee wrote her story for the next day’s news. He said: “It was a small article in Project Eyeball because human interest was not our focus at that time, but TNP saw it and rewrote it — and it became their big story of the day. “The duty editor told me if it wasn’t for me, the girl’s story wouldn’t have been told. I was very happy; (it is special) for a rival newsroom to tell you it was a good story, and for them to use it.” Madam Farzana eventually became a national icon for her heroism, while Mr Wee went on to become TNP’s news editor in 2012.
Dressed in a casual short-sleeved shirt, he admitted to being “caught off guard” when he found out about his appointment as editor of TNP in September. “It was never on my radar because I don’t think I clocked enough time at the level where I can see the big picture,” said Mr Wee, who graduated with first-class honours in Communication Studies in 1999. “I’ve always been a content guy, but now 80 to 90 per cent of my time is spent on things outside of editorial work like circulation, marketing and distribution. I’m starting
to see that there are so many things that I don’t know.” The tabloid’s new incarnation, which will appeal to PMEBs (professionals, managers, executives and businessmen), merges the old TNP and My Paper, starting 1 Dec. My Paper’s Chinese section will cease to exist, while sports and entertainment will continue to be a “big part” of the paper. “There will be sacrifices. One of the reasons why we’re merging is because the audiences from both sides for that particular kind of news seems to be dwindling,” he said matter-of-factly. “It’s nice to know that an accident happened, or that someone is trying to jump from a flat. But we’re going from 'nice to know' to 'need to know' news, where you are a bit more engaged because you need to know the facts.”
A lengthy climb
Despite going on to write for school newsletters in Victoria School (VS) and Anderson Junior College, Mr Wee initially wanted to pursue aeronautical engineering. Yet, the pen and notebook came calling — he was offered the SPH scholarship after applying for a number of scholarships upon finishing his ‘A’ levels, and was swayed by the high annual stipend. His first internship was also with TNP, after he completed his first year of university. It helped that he was treated like a full-fledged journalist there, rather than a lowly intern. He said: “I had done part-time work at my dad’s company before; all I did were things like shred paper and buy coffee for others. “But once I went in, they (TNP) put you straight to work. That builds a lot of confidence in you as an intern, when people trust you to put out live material. “I was a little shocked about how
PHOTO: MATTHEW MOHAN
much I had to go listen to people, but I enjoyed it. You meet different people from all circles of society, who tell you things that you never would have thought. “That got me really hooked; you think you have seen it all until the next day happens.” Despite being an SPH scholar and having to be a journalist after graduation, Mr Wee specialised in broadcast studies in NTU. As part of his course, he did a semester-long internship in the MTV studio, where he fostered close relationships with video jockeys like Mike Kasem. “Broadcast allowed me to learn a new skill, in terms of radio, camera work, and studio work. It inadvertently prepared me for the new integrated generation of the newsroom, where you have to do things like videos and online stuff,” he added. Mr Wee’s proclivity for skills beyond the newsroom also extends to music: he plays bass for local band The Lilac Saints, alongside four VS schoolmates. The band enjoyed its heyday in the 1990s, and performed at an SG50 music exhibition at The Substation last year.
The daily grind
He returned to TNP after one-anda-half years with Project Eyeball, and went on to cover a range of news beats, including crime, entertainment and politics. The journey, however, was far from smooth. Lamenting the irregular working hours, Mr Wee recalls a working day in TNP that spanned 20 hours. “I left Singapore at about 10am and spent the whole day finding the family of a killer in Malaysia,” he said. “When we were crossing the Causeway, we could see a huge fire happening at Woodlands. Then I got a call from my editor saying they needed the (company) car to
get to the fire; I said I could see it.” He was then diverted to cover the incident, and only ended his shift at 6am after writing both stories back in the newsroom. “Your work revolves around news, and news doesn’t have a schedule. But that’s what makes it exciting,” he added. Mr Wee then moved to the United States shortly after marrying his university coursemate Gina Ooi, 40, in 2003. He decided to accompany his wife, who was posted to St. Louis, Missouri for work. There, he was a foreign correspondent for TNP for five years, covering stories like Hurricane Katrina, the Golden Globe Awards and the odd sport of jelly wrestling. Upon returning home in 2008, reporting took a backseat as he transitioned to a supervisory role. Always eager to learn, he earned his Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration from graduate business school Insead last year, taking 17 months.
Still a reporter deep down
Though he edits stories rather than reporting on them these days, the itch to “get into the trenches” still persists for the reporter at heart. “Instead of just telling the reporter to do the story, I do it with them. I go to the phonebook, go online, do all my searches in databases… it’s like a puzzle where I can connect the dots, and I miss that,” said the father of two. “I have to actively pull myself out when I get too sucked into the individual stories, so I can manage all stories from a helicopter view.” In an industry notorious for its turnover rate, Mr Wee makes sure to devote time and attention to interns and young journalists, so they get the same empowering experience he had as a rookie. “I think 80 per cent of our fulltime staff are all former interns — and it is by design. If I work with you before and I know you can do it, I want you back,” he said. Two decades might seem a long time, but Mr Wee’s pride for the paper remains as strong as the first day he stepped into its newsroom. “I like the whole underdog image we have,” he said. “Even The Straits Times acknowledges that we are the kings when it comes to scoops; it thrills me that a small outfit like us can still punch above its weight.” Armed with a wealth of experience, passion for the craft and the drive to conquer extended shifts, don’t count on this veteran to hit the brakes anytime soon.
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22/9/16 9:38 AM
Mom goes to school After giving birth last year, Madam Jennifer Lai has been juggling student life with motherhood responsibilities. Photojournalist Sarah Thong speaks to the 37-year-old to find out how baby Amberly has inspired her final-year project.
hile many students focus on getting good grades, others have to balance similar aspirations with commitments at home. Madam Jennifer Lai, a final-year student from the National Institute of Education (NIE), has to manage her studies while taking care of her one-year-old daughter Amberly Oomur. The 37-year-old, who is married, also had to defer her studies for one semester last year to care for her newborn child. To document her memories with Amberly, Madam Lai created the mural In Your Eyes, which was featured in an exhibition housed at the NIE Art Gallery. The exhibition, named V: A BA Grad Show, took place from 25 Oct to 4 Nov. It was organised by Madam Lai and four other students as part of a final-year project (FYP) under the Studio Specialisation module in NIE, where students are taught how to create their own art exhibits. The mural showcased many brightly coloured paintings of her daughter and was inspired by Amberly’s first experience playing with bubbles.
“I really liked the expressions of joy on her face when I first introduced her to bubbles. That's why I created this artwork: to immortalise this scene and show her bubbly side. I also wanted to show that moments of togetherness should be cherished and enjoyed,” Madam Lai said.
“It is an uphill task (to balance schoolwork and family) but I just do it. This keeps my brain working so that it won’t be stagnant." Jennifer Lai, 37 Final-year student National Institute of Education
Balancing her responsibilities as a mother and student has not been easy, recalled Madam Lai, who had decided to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in July 2014 as she wanted to improve on her skills. She currently majors in Art and Drama.
4 “I wanted to upgrade my skills as a teacher so that I can get a higher salary and support my family financially," she said. She was previously working as an art teacher and coordinator at Dunearn Secondary School. But with the birth of Amberly, she found that she had to sacrifice most of her personal rest time to finish her projects and spend time with her child. Sometimes, she even has to stay up until four or five in the morning if there is a deadline to meet the next day. For the FYP exhibition, she and her classmates only had six weeks to create and install their individual art pieces, as well as to produce their own posters and decorations. To complete her artwork and other assignments, she often had to remain in school until late at night, and left Amberly in the care of her maid until she returned home. Madam Lai said: “It is an uphill task (to balance schoolwork and family) but I just do it. This keeps my brain working so that it won’t be stagnant." “Now that the semester is done, I have more time to manage my thoughts and take charge of household matters."
1: Madam Lai’s semester has just ended and she now has more time to spend with Amberly. She usually teaches Amberly how to draw simple designs with markers. 2: Madam Lai removes her artwork on the final day of the V: A BA Grad Show exhibition. Her piece, titled In Your Eyes, depicts Amberly’s first experience with bubbles. 3: Schoolmates of Madam Lai posted congratulatory notes on her exhibition wall. As she is older than her classmates, she often looks out for her classmates by checking if they are coping well with their work. “It’s not a big deal being older and I’m okay with being their classroom ‘mum’,” said Madam Lai. 4: Madam Lai (left) talks to her FYP groupmate from the Studio Specialization module at NIE. 5: Madam Lai gives tuition during the weekend to earn additional income. She often has less time to play with Amberly when project and work deadlines draw near.
Lifestyle Signature crispy fries drizzled
(Left to right) to chase you Get A Life, Classic Mojito r Monday blu and Uni Life are sure es away
with mentaiko sauce
sauce with salted egg yolk Juicy prawn burger Pen & Inc 76 Nanyang Drive, #01-01 North Spine Plaza Opening hours: Mon to Fri: 11am - 11pm Sat: 11am - 3pm
tudents are now even more spoilt for choice in terms of dining options since bistro-bar Pen & Inc set up shop at the North Spine Plaza in October. Tucked beside Kentucky Fried Chicken, this bistro-bar not only serves healthy lunch bowls by day, but also transforms into an upbeat bar — complete with a wide selection of alcohol — by night. Bar tops and bartenders might seem like a misfit in campus, and the bistro management faced challenges getting approval from the school in its initial phases. Pen & Inc Project Manager Alvin Chua told the Nanyang Chronicle that there were numerous discussions with the school management and the police before the alcohol permit was approved. The bar is only allowed to sell drinks within the stipulated alcohol limit, and no shots are sold. That aside, while the dull, nondescript exterior of Pen & Inc makes it easily unnoticed, your first step into the bistro will be greeted by the sight of a lavish bar top counter lit by cosy orange lights. In fact, Pen & Inc is an amalgamation of an upscale and laid-back dining. “Pen” is a luxurious dining area with carpeted floors. It is equipped with projector screens and audio systems, suited for faculty members who wish to hold their seminars over a meal, or simply to grab a glass of red wine. Pen also features a separate menu with a more premium range of food to choose from. The set lunch menu, consisting of a starter and a main, starts from $35. On the other hand, “Inc” features a relaxed, lively concept with a communal dining area furnished with funky chairs.
New kid on the block
Pen & Inc
Since Pen & Inc opened its doors at the North Spine Plaza a month ago, it has been attracting a steady stream of patrons. Lifestyle writer Linette Leong susses out the new kid on the block to see if it’s worth the buzz.
BAR TOP: Bistro by day and a vibrant bar by night, Pen & Inc is ideal for a gathering with friends. PHOTOS: ZHENG JUNCEN Prices of main dishes start at $8, suiting students who wish to grab a wholesome meal without breaking the bank. At Inc, customers can jam along with live bands — both hall jambands and external bands — between 7pm and 10pm from Mon-
day to Thursday weekly. For food options, the bistro specialises in Western-fusion food. The star of the menu is the salted egg yolk prawn burger ($16), available at Inc. Pen & Inc’s rendition of the prawn burger features a thick and
juicy prawn patty, coated with salted egg yolk sauce, sandwiched between soft and fluffy buns, lettuce and tomatoes. Unfortunately, the flavour of the salted egg yolk sauce seems buried under the taste of the fragrant prawn patty.
The burger comes with a side of kimchi coleslaw and tri-colour chips. These crispy chips are made from yam and sweet potato, and seasoned with chilli powder. The colourful sides also serve to make the dish vibrant and are pleasing to the eye. Bar grub like french fries are a must to pair with cocktails or beers. At Pen & Inc, the fries have four variations, namely classic, cheddar, furikake and mentaiko. The clear winner of the selection has to be the mentaiko fries ($6). The fries are drizzled with mentaiko sauce — a marinated roe of pollock and cod, and sprinkled with spring onions, a twist to the plain old french fries. But the mentaiko sauce served was too little and would have been better if it came as a dipper instead. There is also an extensive selection of drinks, ranging from cocktails and mocktails to beers and ciders, available all day. For those who want an added alcoholic kick to your mundane university life, order a glass of Uni Life ($10). The vibrant blue cocktail is made of vodka, Blue Curacao, lime juice, sprite and diced fruits. We were told that this zesty drink has one of the highest alcohol content in the menu, and will give you the energy boost you need. If you fancy a non-alcoholic drink, Get A Life ($7) is the mocktail of choice, concocted with cranberry juice, orange juice, sweet and sour, and ginger ale. Its refreshing fruity flavour also easily makes it the ideal drink for the year-round warm weather here in Singapore. If you are planning a chill night out with a group of close friends or even a romantic date with your other half, you might want to consider this bistro-bar on campus as it looks to expand its menu in the coming months.
GREENHOUSE: Garden-themed cafes like Birds of Paradise, Botanist and The Laneway Market differentiate themselves in the saturated coffee scene. PHOTOS: BOTANIST, THE LANEWAY MARKET, GABRIELA LIM
Unwinding with Nature As garden-themed cafes blossom in Singapore, Lifestyle writer Gabriela Lim takes you on a food hunt in search of tranquil places to immerse in the relaxing atmosphere.
ith Singapore’s fast-paced development, many skyscrapers are erected to fill the spaces of our little island. It is no wonder the city is left with few surviving natural spaces aside from tourist spots, such as the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the Gardens by the Bay. In this issue, the Nanyang Chronicle brings you to some new and upcoming garden-themed cafes that you might fancy if you’re looking to soak in the presence of greenery over a good cup of coffee.
Birds of Paradise Gelato Boutique 63 East Coast Road, #01-05 S428776 Opening hours: Tue to Fri: 4.30pm - 10pm Sat to Sun: 12pm - 10pm Nestled in the bustling streets of Katong is a three-month-old gelato boutique known for its Asianinspired, smooth and creamy gelato. Birds of Paradise offers unconventional, botanical-themed flavours such as spiced pear and lychee raspberry, featuring a delightful mix of fruits, flowers and spices, which are all made in-house from scratch every day. The decor here follows its botany theme, with a garden-inspired wall mural and bouquets of flowers set on the countertops adding to the vibrant, inviting atmosphere. The Instagram-worthy mural, a whimsical jungle utopia with its
mix of patterned leaves and colourful birds, has become the store’s trademark branding. “To us, the beauty of these rare birds in the jungle seemed to have achieved perfection,” said owner of the boutique, Mr Edwin Lim. “Similarly, we hope to pursue the same beauty and perfection with our unique handmade gelatos.’’ Among the array of interesting ice cream flavours, my personal favourite would be white chrysanthemum — a delectable fusion taste of herbal honey and delicately sweet cacao nibs. If you’re not a fan of chrysanthemum, you can opt for the mildly sour alternatives, such as the strawberry basil, which offers a much more tangy taste. While the prices here are not cheap — a single scoop would cost you $4.70, and an additional $1 for its specialty waffle cone — customers are paying for the specially crafted ice cream flavours. Apart from using expensive and fresh ingredients, the gelato boutique also naturally infuses its flavours — a process of extracting essence from flowers and herbs, which are then used as the base of the ice cream flavours. For all you ice cream lovers, this might just be the place to try something different and more natural for the palette. Moreover, Katong is paved with many food spots, so use this opportunity to take a trip to the east and spend the day cafe-hopping.
Botanist 74 Neil Road S088839 Opening hours: Tue to Sun: 8am - 6pm Since its opening on 5 Nov, Botanist has attracted quite a sizeable crowd, with customers willing to wait up to an hour to get seats. Run by the same team behind well-known cafes Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters and Alchemist, Botanist is the newest addition to the family inspired by the cafe culture from Down Under. And just like its reputable sister cafes, Botanist also delivers great coffee. Patrons can opt for alfresco dining, which immerses them fully in the garden theme. The vertical garden, a wall feature of plants hanging over, spans across the alfresco dining area. It is meant to create a serene environment for customers having their meal. “The idea was to create a hidden garden that is subtle, and go back to the root of where coffee came from, since coffee beans are originally from plants,’’ said Mr Mike Chan, the head barista in Botanist who played an integral role in setting up the store with his friend and cafe owner, Mr Will Leow. “We had a vision of creating a meticulously curated garden interior for patrons to unwind at, almost like how a botanist would design his home,” added Mr Leow. Botanist’s menu boasts a wide range of food and drinks, and each
dish served here has accents of the cafe’s personal touch through its varied plating of edible flowers. The French Toast ($18), one of its signature dishes, is a gem for those with a sweet tooth, paired with rhubarb berry marmalade alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Topped with poached pears and fresh berries, this dish is elegant with its meticulous plating of refreshing almond flakes and edible flowers. But don’t leave without trying its coffee. Each cup of coffee is carefully brewed to attain a balanced intensity with in-house roasted beans. On top of that, customers also get to pick their favourite beans and size of the coffee, all of which maintain consistent texture and a light roast, without the burn taste that many coffee houses err on. Its house blend, Dark Matter ($3-6), is a favourite among patrons with its rich taste.
The Laneway Market 266 Tanjong Katong Road S437053 Opening hours: Wed to Fri: 11am - 9.30pm Sat and Sun: 10.30am - 9.30pm With bouquets of dried flowers hanging from the ceiling and cartons of fruits stacked against the walls, many passers-by would pop in The Laneway Market for a peek. The market-themed cafe’s interior captures a mix of old and new, with large vases of dried flowers and wooden furniture juxtaposed
with accents of modern minimalism from its wall tiles. The restaurant is adorned with bunches of dried baby’s breath lining its walls. Vases of fresh blooms add colour to each table and are changed weekly by the staff. “We felt that the theme and decoration would leave customers with a calming effect, which explains the mass number of flowers everywhere,” said Mr Christopher Tan, owner of the cafe. The cafe offers classic brunch items such as scrambled eggs and truffle fries ($12), but the one item that keeps me coming back for more is the mushroom risotto ($20), a delicate concoction of Italian and Japanese flavours. Over the past year, Mr Tan, who is also the head chef, has surprised me with different variations of this dish, from a simpler Hon Dashi risotto with field mushrooms that has a creamy base topped with bonito flakes, to a contemporary take on risotto, topped with fried mushrooms and a sous vide egg. “We want to keep things interesting so guests will be able to try new dishes whenever they visit,” the 25-year-old said. Apart from its mains, a favourite among customers is the cafe's signature coffee, the cold brew ($6.50) served in a bottle. But if you are feeling slightly more adventurous, try the Earl Grey Latte ($6) for its floral essence that complements the coffee taste.
ailed as the leading international film platform in Southeast Asia, the 27th Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) will be screening more than 160 curated films from all around the world from 23 Nov to 4 Dec. The festival is typically greeted with a 12,000-strong audience, and it is with good reason that it remains the largest and longestrunning film event in Singapore, comparable to its established Asian counterparts like the Hong Kong International Film Festival and Busan International Film Festival. Following the landscapes of cinema from its nostalgic 35mm reels to its present digital convenience, the festival reflects Singaporeans’ growing interest with film throughout the years. “How Singapore has actually evolved as a country really ties in very much with the festival,” said Ms Chrystal Ng, 25, a SGIFF Youth Jury Facilitator. From its beginnings in 1987, the festival has since developed a reputation for presenting Southeast Asian works — reiterated with the screenings of Bhutanese and Nepali short films this year. “Many of us only watch what’s showing in theatres. And all of those films are very specific and only provide one perspective,” said Ms Leck Choon Ling, 23, a SGIFF Hospitality Executive. “But with this festival, we really get a whole scope of perspectives and a whole scope of cultures.” While the idea of independent films may be too foreign for a mass audience, here are some film recommendations that may appeal to you — comforting in their familiar genres, but refreshing in their stylised film-making techniques and rich cultural perspectives.
The best of SGIFF
Screening over 160 feature and short films from 52 countries, the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) puts your other movie plans to shame. Be sure to catch the festival, which runs from 23 Nov to 4 Dec, with Lifestyle writer Megan Koh’s hand-picked recommendations.
For the animation lover: My Life as a Courgette 3 Dec, Saturday, 7pm Filmgarde Bugis+ Leave the realms of Pixar and DreamWorks, and catch Swiss director Claude Barras’ first animated feature — a deeply moving story for all ages. Following the tale of nine-yearold Courgette who is suddenly orphaned by the death of his alcoholic mother and taken into a foster home, this adaptation of French novelist Gilles Paris’ Autobiography of a Courgette reveals Barras’ talent in unflinching honesty delivered with a light-handed touch. The narrative of troubled parents and the effect on their children is understood universally, but when told through the innocence of Courgette, it manages to garner greater empathy. My Life as a Courgette has won the Audience Award and the Cristal for Best Feature Film at the renowned Annecy International Animated Film Festival this year. It was also selected as the Swiss entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.
For the thriller enthusiast: Psycho Raman 2 Dec, Friday, 11.45pm Filmgarde Bugis+ Directed by Indian filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, Psycho Raman is a film that terrifies and shocks its viewers. Inspired by Raman Raghav, the infamous serial killer from the 1960s, Kashyap’s Hindi serial killer thriller is set in present day Mumbai and tells the tale of Ramanna, a deranged murderer in his slew of crimes. Ramanna develops an obsession towards Raghavan, convinced that the drug-abusing, corrupt cop is his alter ego. Fate sets them at odds when the latter is put in charge of Ramanna’s criminal investigations.
Actors Nawazuddin Siddiqui (as Ramanna) and Vicky Kaushal's (as Raghavan) relentless performances of their shockingly charged personas complement Kashyap’s tasteful direction that breaks the expectations of the genre. The film premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival in May with Siddiqui receiving a standing ovation after the screening. For the local fan: SEA Short Film Competition 2 Dec, Friday, 7pm and 9.30pm 3 Dec, Saturday, 11am National Gallery of Singapore The Southeast Asian Short Film Competition is a delightful way to gain insights into the region's different film-making locales just un-
der 90 minutes. As part of the Silver Screen Awards, an initiative introduced in 1991 to highlight the works of Asian and Southeast Asian filmmakers, each showcase spotlights five to six short films from all over Southeast Asia. Scheduled into three different programmes, films are divided into themes and genres from social realism to experimental, promising something for everyone. Enjoy an emotive personal documentary, Sugar & Spice, by Mi Mi Lwin that tells the story of her parents making a living from selling sugar balls in Myanmar. The couple’s banter and way of life subtly reflects Myanmar’s social problems, and this documentary seeks to engage the emotional
TAKING THE STAGE: Featuring films that entertain and inspire, SGIFF is one that goes beyond your normal movie experience. PHOTOS: 27TH SGIFF
and sentimental side of viewers. Alternatively, immerse yourself in the bold narrative of Le Bao’s short film, Taste — a story of a Nigerian football player who is dismissed from the Vietnamese football league after breaking his leg. It is a heart-breaking and contentious journey where the protagonist eventually turns to the sex trade to provide for his family.
CHRISTMAS ABROAD Christmas is a time of celebration when we get together with our families and bask in the elaborate decorations that fill the streets. For many exchange students here in NTU, December means they can finally return home in time for Christmas. Lifestyle writer Syed Ebrahim Al-idrus catches up with three NTU exchange students to find out what their Christmas traditions are like back in their home countries.
Jiyoun Lim, 23 Seoul, Korea Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
Ankit Sareen, 20 Chennai, India School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
Rosa Jussilainen, 23 Espoo, Finland National Institute of Education
Every December is a white Christmas in the neighbourhood of Myeongdong in Korea’s capital, Seoul. Crystal flakes start falling from the sky and soon enough, blankets of white snow coat the streets of Seoul and its frosty corners. Despite the freezing temperatures that dip as low as -10 degree Celsius, the streets of Jiyoun’s hometown is warmed by the mesmerising Christmas lights that welcome tourists who flock to one of the busiest shopping districts in Seoul. “During this time, those of us who stay in the dormitory (at Chung-Ang University) will move back home to Myeongdong to celebrate with close friends and family,” she said. Having just completed her semester-long exchange in the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Jiyoun decided to stay in Singapore until February to look for a marketing internship. This means she would be giving the white Christmas in Seoul a miss — a first for the 23-year-old. When asked what she would miss the most, she said she would miss the bakes from the popular bakery Paris Baguette, which can be found on almost every street back in her hometown. She’d often buy her favourite chocolate cake to share with her parents and sister. Though there are a few franchise outlets here in Singapore, she laments that the taste just isn’t the same. Jiyoun also shared that Christmas in Myeongdong is great for couples. On Christmas Eve, many couples would head down to the countdown celebration at the LOTTE Young Plaza Mall. When the clock strikes 12, all the store and street lights will be turned off for a few minutes for couples to kiss. Every year, Jiyoun’s family would write each other cards and open them on Christmas day itself, reading them aloud to each other. “I hope when my family members read my card, they can tell I really miss them.”
In a country like India, where Christians make up only about 2.3 per cent of its total population, Christmas is largely an indoor affair. Even though it sounds like a small number, it translates to over 25 million people who celebrate the festival across the country. Among them is 20-year-old Ankit, who sees Christmas as another festival of lights apart from Deepavali. His family would put up decorations and lights on any tree they have in their home garden, usually a mango tree instead of the traditional fir tree. The people from his home city of Chennai have, in recent years, adopted many Western traditions such as throwing Christmas parties on Christmas Eve, which was not a thing in the past. Ankit’s mother, being quite a baker, would also lay out a full spread that includes roast turkey, minced meat pies and blueberry tarts for dessert. He said: “My mom will always prepare an excess of food so that we can donate to the nearby orphanage we visit during Christmas." The chemical engineering undergraduate has spent the last two years away from India, having pursued a full-time degree at Purdue University in Indiana in the United States. He is now embarking on his term-long exchange in NTU. When comparing the Christmas celebrations between Indiana and Chennai, he observed that the Americans take Christmas very seriously. “I attended a Christmas dinner with my American friend’s family last year and they went all out with the food and decorations,” said Ankit, who also joined the family for carolling in the neighbourhood. Still, he much prefers the intimate atmosphere of Christmas back in Chennai over the big parties in Indiana. And it’s all good news for him as he will be on a plane back to India to reunite with his family this Christmas.
For as long as Rosa Jussilainen can remember, she has always woken up to a piping hot bowl of rice porridge on the morning of Joulu (Christmas in Finnish). As part of a family tradition, Rosa and her sister will each be served a bowl of porridge. The catch is, only one bowl would have an almond planted in it, and the one who finds the lucky almond gets to make a secret wish. In Espoo, Finland, Christmas is celebrated by a majority of the families. After breakfast, Rosa and her family would head to the cemetery to pay their respects and to lay flowers on the graves of their ancestors. This is followed by mass at the local church. Even though she has moved to the capital city, Helsinki, Rosa will still make a trip down to the cemetery in Espoo with her family. Rosa’s relationship with Christmas is closely linked with Finnish cuisine as her parents will often cook up a storm on Christmas Eve. She said: “The whole house will smell like roasted pork — something that I hate but my father loves.” Rosa always looks forward to the sweet treats her mother makes during this season. That would include piparkakku (traditional gingerbread cookie) and tähtitorttu (star-shaped tart). Traditional Finnish delicacies aside, the Finns also believe that Santa Claus or Father Christmas lives nearby, in the northern part of Finland. When she was younger, Rosa would pass letters to her parents to be posted to Santa so she could receive what she has asked for on Christmas Day, be it a new pair of iceskates or a snowboard. “At that young age, Christmas truly felt like magic,” the 23-year-old said.
GRAPHIC: BRENDA LEE
Grab your plane tickets and go as these two globetrotters show us what they pack for their travels Photos by: Gary Khoo Text and Illustration by: Desiree Ng
Second-year WKWSCI student Producer and part-time DJ at Class 95FM Tell us a bit more about the kind of travelling you do. I love travelling with friends. Your destination could be ethereal but your companions are crucial too. When my friends and I were in Thailand, we visited this eatery with a ring, where every friendly battle will reap you a free bucket of drink. So everyone jumped at the opportunity to have a friendly face-off among ourselves, and I laughed so hard that night.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. If small issues arise or things don’t go as planned, let it go. You’re there to enjoy yourself.
What do you like about travelling? When I go free-and-easy in places I’ve never been to before, it relaxes me. It’s a kind of calm I’ll never get here in Singapore. But being in an unfamiliar place excites me. If you know any locals, get them to bring you around! Always be respectful of the local culture, but go off the beaten track. Of course, the food and shopping don’t hurt.
What unforgettable experiences did you have? While admiring a Phnom Penh landmark on a tuk-tuk, a motorcyclist snatched my phone out of my hand. Singapore is much safer than a lot of places, and you have to take extra care of your belongings. There was also once I opted to stay in a traditional Japanese home in Kyoto. I got lost while finding my way, and approached a local for directions. I was expecting just hand gestures signaling where to go but she walked my friends and I all the way there – in the rain, and back to where she had came from! Her graciousness really warmed our hearts, and made me love Japan even more.
1. Cap - Having a cap can protect you from the sun, and you can also shield your view if you get claustrophobic at crowded tourist hotspots 2. Sunglasses - Important to block the sun out, and it also doubles up as an accessory when you wear it on your head 3. Sneakers - Comfortable and practical. Don’t you dare wear heels when you’re travelling overseas. I mean - salute if you CAN. But that’s crazy. 4. Make-up palette - Bring along one that can cover your whole face, like this kit! It saves space as well as ensures you look your best. 5. Backpack - A lightweight and stylish backpack is always great for you to store your travel essentials, when you’re on the go.
NTU Alumnus Travel blogger at Pohtecktoes.com and founder of The Travel Intern
Always keep your things properly and not leave them on the table, and don’t walk alone on the streets at night.
Tell us a bit more about yourself and why you travel. The kind of travel that I do is mainly budget-savvy adventure to look for hidden gems. I’ve loved the outdoors since young. When I travel, I like to push myself beyond day-to-day things, looking out for opportunities to go outdoors, especially since Singapore doesn’t have a backyard with mountains to climb. I share my love of travelling through my blog and the Travel Intern, and hope to encourage people to step out of their comfort zone and travel more. How do you travel budget-savvy?
Travelling budget-savvy means making the most out of your budget for the best experience, and not about spending the least amount of money possible. We once stayed in a transparent igloo-like structure in the middle of an Icelandic forest, and there was no one but us and the stars above. That is one interesting experience we were willing to spend on. It’s really about making smart travel choices and giving up certain luxuries to stretch your dollar. How is it like travelling alone?
1. Winter jacket: For most of my outdoor needs since I hike fairly often. It comes with a waterproof shell and removable inner fleece layer. 2. Power Bagel: This is the ultimate solution to my power issues. Instead of bringing a huge extension cord, this doughnut-sized item does the job. 3. Bright pants: I like wearing pants with a pop of color. It’s convenient and it makes your outfit more interesting. 4. Packing cubes: Ziplock bags may do the same job, but packing cubes are reusable, and lets you save both time and the environment. 5. Day bag: The perfect solution to keeping things dry and preventing theft, as the roll-up system makes it difficult for pickpockets.
It feels very free when you travel alone, and you’ll end up taking in a lot more. The things we’d usually remember are the interactions with locals or fellow travellers, so we really have to get out of our own bubble. Talk to people to know the place for what it really is, and leave some time in your itinerary for things that people recommend you to do.
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The changing media landscape It is now official. Singapore Press Holdings’ (SPH) The New Paper (TNP) and My Paper will merge at the end of the year to form a new TNP. The reason for the merger is to reduce costs of operation, in a “changing media landscape,” announced SPH. It also revealed that up to 10 per cent of staff will lose their jobs over the next two years. While some took to social media hailing the decision, mostly pleased that they now have another free paper, other Singaporeans hardly bat an eyelid to the news. Yet significantly, the merger could mean a different editorial direction for the paper and a change in the stories that it used to churn out. Soccer, sometimes scantily clad women and shocking crime stories – call it what you like, but TNP speaks to a different demographic The Straits Times did not always capture. A slice of diversity provided by the large number of human interest pieces in TNP’s coverage that we used to enjoy could possibly be lost. This merger also seems to be part of a larger shift, with the “changing media landscape”
largely affected by changing news consumption habits in Singapore and worldwide. In a media environment that already lacks diversity, having one less print outlet further signals a steady shift from print to online. Print journalism is far from dead, but there is an increased emphasis on providing news to readers through social media and online platforms. For example, a survey conducted earlier this year by Nielsen showed that the reach of The Straits Times’ print edition decreased to 22 per cent from 23.8 per cent last year. In contrast, its online audience grew from a reach of 9.52 per cent to 10.4 per cent. This increasing preference for news in the online realm is also highlighted in the proliferation of alternative media websites, some of which provide different viewpoints to breaking news stories. But such increase in the amount of information online should be confronted by an increase in discernment among readers. We as readers ought to be selective in what we read, regardless of whether the stories are from established media outlets or independent online sites, whether they are from print or online.
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A column by Chronicle editors on issues close to their hearts
No longer in it to win it Rachel Chia News Editor
grasped the absolute nature of winning by the tender age of six. Back then, everything was a competition. Cohort rankings, writing contests — even the friendly races my coach held at the end of every roller-blading class, when the winner was awarded with a slice of refreshing watermelon. I learnt that competition was a zero-sum game, where the winner takes it all and the loser has to fall, as Swedish pop group ABBA famously sang. At 12, the competition that ruled my life was the nationwide one, students vying for a place in a topranked school. I was told by wellmeaning teachers that if someone got a single mark more, I would lose the spot. In my anxious state, that stuck with me: with such a fine margin of error, anyone who did better was an obstacle to a brighter future. So I wouldn’t help my classmates when asked — though they knew I was top in English — because each person I didn’t help meant one less competitor to beat. Today, I would rather have been the magnanimous classmate. Humans are wired to be far happier collaborating than competing, wrote Survival of the Nicest author and scientist Stefan Klein. Being helpful pays off in building better social connections and resource networks over time. Had I been willing to help, the friends I shunned could have been valuable allies. Nevertheless, this idea of winning at all costs persists even now, when university peers refuse to
share subject notes, and project groups try to outdo one another. Once, in a case interview, I was generous with contributing ideas during the group discussion, while other candidates mostly remained silent. But the points I made were passed off as their own in subsequent presentations. During conversations with employed friends, the single-minded desire to triumph again rears its ugly head in the relentless battle for top jobs, favourable placements and coveted promotions. Conversely, selflessness seems foolish to champion in a society obsessed with outperforming everyone else. Yet, in the long run, it might just promise the elusive prosperity we so desire. Research by University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Adam Grant found that selfless people might be taken advantage of in the short term, but end up far more successful than their calculative counterparts. Grant’s research found the most successful people to be those who enjoyed helping others as they later benefitted because of trust earned over the years. Meanwhile, the selfish and cutthroat gradually lost social support. Business theorist Mark Albion also proposed that the most successful leaders are those who address the needs of others. I experienced this during a stint at a local newspaper, where one of the editors was more nurturing than the rest; he spent time guiding interns and reviewing drafts, despite competing with his colleagues
to publish the most stories in the shortest time. He was later the only one to be promoted to a very high position. It seems, then, that the best bet for winning at life is through altruism. In the long run, a giving spirit can yield unexpected and sometimes crucial benefits. I was one of the few individuals who was willing to work under a particular colleague during a previous internship. He had a reputation for being given unglamorous work that was seldom appreciated. As a result, I was barely noticed by higher-ups, unlike the other interns, though I still enjoyed helping him. Shortly after I left the company, he offered me a prestigious and well-paid writing opportunity that remains one of my proudest achievements to date. No other writer got the call. Nearly two decades later, I’ve come to firmly reject the earliest model of winning that I was taught life taught me. Revelling in the prize is no longer satisfying; I’d rather believe in a world where, with time, nice guys (and girls) finish first. Some days, a request might catch me off guard and the panic that someone will take advantage of my selflessness still bubbles up. But it’s liberating to know that whether the friends and juniors I help now eventually outperform me or not, it doesn’t mean I’ve lost. Even if they end up earning obscenely more or land a job at Google, based on past experiences, I know I’ll ultimately be winning in the end.
A Singaporean's take on the US Elections Hillary Tan
hree months ago, it all seemed so simple. I had just arrived in the United States for my exchange semester, and thought I had my political beliefs sorted out. Donald Trump and the Republican Party seemed to be the enemies of everything decent; hateful towards anyone who didn’t fit the mould of a stereotypical “straight white male”. Looking back, I realise how broad and uninformed my thinking was. But how could I have known? Singapore is more than halfway across the world from America — at least 13 hours behind, or 14 with Daylight Saving Time. From that distance, it is easy to lean back and think you have an omniscient view of foreign politics. But, I could not understand from that far away. I am now studying at the University of Missouri, in the city of Columbia. Although Missouri is a heavily conservative state, Columbia itself leans left. Throughout my time here since arriving in August, I have come to know an amazing group of people, including Americans with diverse beliefs, personalities as well as sexualities. As the election wore on, I could sense the outrage from my friends, especially the locals. They not only had to comprehend Trump being a legitimate candidate, but also could not vote for Democratic presidential nominee Bernie Sanders, a favourite among younger voters for his more liberal stance, which Hillary Clinton would later adopt. Before going on exchange, I had already identified myself as a liberal, and could not help but feel and express the same outrage as my newfound friends. Being objective was hard when I was close by. A month into my time here, I started chatting with all the cab drivers whose cabs I got into. All of them espoused liberal beliefs, some stating outright that they would be voting for Clinton. One day, I met a driver who said he would not be voting at all. It was the first time I had heard that opinion, which also reflected how much of a bubble I was living in. My interest in talking to a fellow liberal faded away, replaced by curiosity as to how someone could think Clinton was as bad as Trump. His reply was simple, and introduced me to an increasingly popular viewpoint: “It’s either slitting your throat, or slitting your wrist.” Faced with such a blunt opinion voiced directly to me rather than reading it online, I was stunned into quiet agreement.
DEBATE: Two men engage in discussion at the "Free expression zone" just outside the debate venue at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.
Sweeping judgment was difficult to make when I was close by. I had the incredible opportunity to travel to the city of St. Louis in Missouri on the day of the second presidential debate. Although I could not get into the debate itself, I was at a “free expression zone”. It was the first time I had the opportunity to be among campaigners and protesters with different points of view. We’ve seen angry protesters on television, shouting at each other and occasionally breaking out into violent acts, and I admit to bracing myself for chaos when I got there. Instead, I saw peace, serenity, and even grace in how they reacted to one another. I witnessed Trump and Clinton supporters engaging in discussions about the economy; Green Party campaigners cheekily suggesting a football match with Libertarian Party campaigners. Not a single person present was close to shouting. After listening in on a Trump supporter talking to a fast food
worker union campaigner, I realised why everything was so civil. Everyone had a rational argument for whom they were voting for, and by the time they parted ways amicably, about 20 onlookers stood around, nodding vehemently in acknowledgement at the logical arguments made. Shutting out arguments was hard when I was close by. One common question asked after a disaster is: “Where were you when it happened?” On Election Day 2016, I was at the Blue Note music venue in Columbia where the local Democratic Party supporters gathered to watch a telecast of the election results. The air was heavy with the anticipation of the inevitable news of a new Clinton presidency. There was not much worry despite Trump winning some early states. “The Republican states always get counted first anyway; all we need are Ohio and Florida” was a familiar refrain. Late into the night, when we realised that Trump had won the state of Florida, it felt like everything
was crashing down after the giddy high of a premature celebration. All we had left was the crushing reality that Trump would be the next president. I had never seen the town as quiet as the day after the election. Where there was once the rabble of students heading to class, now I could only hear leaves rustling and falling in the late autumn wind. Even those walking with friends kept their voices low. Professors pushed aside their normal curriculum to talk about what had happened. One of my professors expressed concern for the role of the media in the aftermath of the elections. We would both be close to tears when we talked after the class. I would be in actual tears by the end of the day. After seeing my friends — whom I share beliefs with and love dearly — afraid and depressed, how could I not weep? I was angry, in disbelief, worrying for my friends. The pain is hard to take when I am close by. On Facebook, I saw the reactions of fellow Singaporeans to the news.
PHOTO: HILLARY TAN
Most were laughing at the absurdity of the results, while some were angry at the American voters. At the same time, American news organisations theorised that Middle America had felt left out and abandoned by the liberal media and politicians. Suddenly, it all made sense. So many of the liberals’ concerns, like equal rights, are good, beautiful things, and should have already been accepted. But they were pushing massive change on multiple fronts in a relatively short period of time, without understanding how it must feel for the other side. Simply put, change is hard. The chasm between both sides had been too wide, and it was all too easy to dismiss the other side. My mistake from the start was not being able to relate and not realising my lack of true understanding. If anything is to advance, it must be done together, with everyone having an open mind to hear and comprehend one another’s views. After all, it’s never easy to understand from far away.
19 Wanted: local and foreign talent OPINION
canteen talk Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections has been a major talking point. What are your thoughts on the new American President-elect and what impact do you think his administration will have on your country?
As an American, I am not particularly proud of my country at the moment. But change does have to happen in the US. For too long, we have been stagnant. Ivy Moore, 20 American, WKWSCI, Year 2
I fear for my own country. We saw what happened in the UK (Brexit), and the US, and with what is happening in Germany right now, we might be next. Milan Harnischfeger, 24 German, MAE, Year 5
I am appalled by the results and am concerned that we might be severed from being a major trading partner. Trump also stands for a lot of racism and hate, and I believe this opens the doors for many people to speak their minds like he does. Megan Hollingsworth, 21 Canadian, HSS, Year 4
I don’t think Singapore should worry too much, since Trump has more of a businessman mindset, and will not risk being enemies with us. Quek Hong Ghwee, 24 Singaporean, MAE, Year 4
GRAPHIC:: TAN ZHUO HUI
hile debate continues to brew over the integration of foreign talent into local sports, coaches say that embracing foreigners remains important in building the domestic scene, but the long-term success lies in the early and consistent grooming of homegrown talents. The Foreign Sports Talent Scheme was started in 1996 with the intention to boost and develop local sports standards. One of the stalwarts of the scheme was the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA). The STTA’s recruitment of foreign talents in the table tennis scene began earlier, in the early 1990s, with Jing Junhong as one of its pioneers. Jing placed fourth at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. She is now the Chief Coach under the Youth Development programme within the STTA. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Singapore women’s table tennis team achieved a silver medal in the team category. Four years later at the 2012 London Olympics, they finished with a bronze each in the singles and team categories. However, at this year’s Rio Olympics, the team finished without a medal. Subsequently, in October, the STTA released a statement regarding its performance strategies for the next Games, announcing hopes to “field a local-born talent to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics”. This was part of the plan to “develop and rejuvenate our national teams to be future ready”, with the association stating the need to “place greater emphasis on the development of our youth players”. They also revealed that three-time Olympic medallist and top women's singles padder Feng Tianwei would be dropped from the women’s team. Mr Chua Kok Wei, who coaches NTU's female table tennis team, be-
lieves that the alteration to STTA's approach is necessary for the growth of the sport. He described it as a shift that should have been made “yesterday”. “Results will not be immediate. It will take at least two to three years to see if the structure and development of locals will produce successful results," said Mr Chua. According to Mr Chua, young Singapore-born paddlers are also not short on potential. At the 22nd South East Asian Junior & Cadet Table Tennis Championships 2016, the Singapore contingent bagged 10 golds out of a possible 13 events. “Our junior players are very good at what they do, but one of the problems is that some of their standards might drop when they progress into their teens,” said Mr Chua. “As compared to some other countries, our system does not invest much in the local talents after their junior years, thus leading to a slower progress.” However, locals do not stand much chance against players from China, said the 45-year-old, who has been coaching schools’ table tennis teams for the past 25 years. He explained that what makes China the sport's top nation is its scientific methodology and consistent training approach. “They have machines to analyse the angle, the speed of the spinning of the ball and all the technicalities,” he said, describing the difference in approach that sets them apart on the international circuit. “In addition, they have yearly national tournaments for all age groups from seven years old. They advance from provincial tournaments to national tournaments and then they get selected to train for the national team,” said Mr Chua. The attractiveness of foreign players is not specific to table tennis. When it comes to the local football scene, the system of naturalis-
ing foreigners has been adopted since the early 2000s, when Radojko "Raddy" Avramovic was the coach of the national team. During his tenure, Singapore won three ASEAN Football Championships, with naturalised players such as Mustafic Fahrudin, Aleksandar Duric and Daniel Bennett forming an integral part of the team. But, the national men’s football team currently ranks 171 in the world. This is an all-time low as the team was ranked 92nd in 2005. NTU men’s football coach Ramoo Tharmaretnam said the national team would stand a better chance if they revert to looking at foreigners and in particular, the available pool of such talent who are already living in Singapore. Any team with an increased pool of athletes to pick from and wellgroomed talent to tap on could potentially do better, he said. “Getting the children of expats who live in Singapore would also give a higher success rate when naturalising the athletes,” said Mr Ramoo, who coaches the National Under-17 Men’s Football team. “This would also guarantee higher acceptance from Singaporeans, in turn encouraging the athletes.” But one of the main factors that may stop student footballers from going all out is the paper chase, said Mr Ramoo. “Our society is overly concerned and driven by the paper chase. Hence, our choice would be obvious between sports and studies, though a selected group like the swimmers are able to manage both. However, I can’t say the same for our footballers though.” Referring to the presence of foreign talent in the local scene, Mr Ramoo said: “I would say I support the grooming of local talents. But we should be able to accept and embrace the foreigners and only then can we put these together to achieve success as a team.”
NTU to open 3 new sports facilities Students and staff members will get to enjoy new sports halls in the coming months to keep fit
tudents, faculty and staff members can look forward to more places for their exercise fix on campus as NTU unveils a host of new sports facilities. These facilities — the North Hill multi-purpose hall, North Hill gym, and the new Sports and Recreation Centre (SRC) building — are expected to better fulfil the sporting needs of the university population. While the North Hill multi-purpose hall has been in use since November, the gym will only be ready by 3 Jan next year. The new SRC building, which will be located opposite the current SRC building, is slated to open in the first quarter of 2017.
North Hill multi-purpose hall
Despite being located in the North Hill residential halls, the multi-purpose hall and gym are not limited to hall residents only. “The hall and gym are under the supervision of the SRC and aim to serve the general NTU population,” said SRC Senior Assistant Director Yum Shoen Keng. Equipped with six badminton courts and six table tennis tables, the North Hill multi-purpose hall offers an alternative to the sports hall at the current SRC if the latter is fully booked. Many students expressed difficulty in booking a badminton court at the SRC due to the sport’s popularity in NTU. Booking slots are usually filled up before the start of the week, said Russell Tan, 20. “I usually have to book a week in advance, and I try to avoid the peak hours from 3 to 6pm,” added the second-year student at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine. While the new badminton courts were well-received, some felt that the table tennis playing area could be improved. Mr Poon Weng Wai, a staff member at the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, said the table tennis courts are too close to one another. He said stray balls from neighbouring courts would often land on his court, which would then disrupt his game.
The new SRC building is still under construction but will open its doors early next year.
Added the 59-year-old: “The light is also too glaring from one side of the court, so if you’re on that side it’s harder to see where the ball is.”
North Hill gym
According to Mrs Celine Lim, who is also a Senior Assistant Director of the SRC, the North Hill gym is almost triple the size of the two SRC gyms combined. It will be the largest recreational gym in NTU, complete with changing rooms, lockers and a lounge. The range of equipment will include 16 cardio machines, 13 weight machines, a functional training cage and a dual-action lifting rack. The gym will be operated by an outsourced fitness company approved by the University’s Tender Board. A qualified trainer will be stationed there after 5pm to guide users on proper equipment use. “After 5pm the SRC gyms are usually super packed,” said Mrs Lim. “The addition of a qualified fitness trainer is necessary at the North Hill gym to better manage the peak period crowd.” The gym will also offer orientation sessions to beginners, as well as specialised training at a cost. The exact details have not been ironed out by the SRC yet. “This gym boasts a more pleasant and inviting ambience for individuals who pursue a regular gym work-out lifestyle,” said Mrs Lim.
PHOTOS: VALERIE LAY
“Besides being a functional space for people to exercise, it is also a space for interaction among users (at the lounge).” Only full-time students will have free access to the North Hill gym. Part-time students, staff, alumni and faculty members will need to sign up for a membership. The gym’s proximity to canteens and residential halls will also make it a convenient alternative to both SRC gyms. Currently, the SRC gyms are the only ones that serve all students and staff members. The other gyms located at the National Institute of Education, Campus Clubhouse and selected residential halls have limited access.
New SRC building
The new three-storey SRC building will feature activity rooms, training rooms, a weight training gym, and a multi-purpose sports hall with retractable seats and a viewing gallery. “The hall can be divided to support different types of activities, ranging from recreational badminton, university team trainings, sporting club activities, and InterSchool and Inter-Hall Games,” said Mrs Lim. The sports hall will be the largest indoor sports hall in NTU and possibly in any tertiary institution in Singapore, added Mr Yum. NTU basketball player Pek Yong
The North Hill multi-purpose hall is now open for sports activities.
Kang, 23, hopes that the new sports hall will allow greater flexibility in the booking of courts. “Due to the number of sports teams that NTU has (and the limited number of courts), the slot that we have is usually fixed,” said the third-year student at the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, whose team can only use the SRC indoor court on Monday and Friday nights. The new SRC building will also have an Athletes’ gym that is designed for sports team training
and sports injury rehabilitation needs. Unlike the recreational North Hill gym, it will only be catered to NTU sports teams for the time being. This is to serve the University’s sports teams in a greater capacity, said Mrs Lim. She added: “Being a new initiative, we need to establish that the facility provided is sufficient to support the university athletes’ needs before we can consider opening the facility to other students and staff.”
SRC helps regulate training schedules for IHG teams
Who tweeted what?
“Mesut I mean, we know you are good bro, but WOW!! @MesutOzil1088”
Those who want to use the full-sized goalposts at the SRC's three fields now need to draw a key from the SRC. PHOTO: ZHENG JUNCEN
The Sports and Recreation Centre implements two new measures to ease training congestion among the Halls of Residence Fiona Mei Robinson The Sports and Recreation Centre (SRC) recently implemented two new measures to make it easier for students to secure sports facilities for trainings. A training schedule has been introduced for hall sports teams to book training time slots through their respective sports secretaries, while the SRC's two lower fields have also been split up — one for softball, the other for football and touch rugby trainings. Both measures seek to ensure NTU students and staff have adequate access to all of the SRC’s facilities, said Hall Olympiad Sports Chairperson Derrick Lim. These come at a time when InterHall Games (IHG) preparations are almost in full swing. Lim, 22, said that the training schedule was introduced after this semester's recess week to prevent clashes in training sessions among halls, as well as due to safety concerns about softball being played on the same pitch as the other two sports. “As ironic as it may sound, the ball used by softball isn’t soft at all — other users of the pitch might get injured if they are unaware of the ball and (get) hit by it,” said Lim, a second-year student from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “The SRC and I thus came up with a plan to split the two lower fields up, one solely for IHG softball trainings, and the other for IHG football and
touch rugby trainings." Lim added that the Hall of Residence 6 sports secretaries had consolidated team training schedules to ensure that all three sports have an equal amount of time to use and train on the field. Hall 15 softball team captain Jason Aw said that softball trainings typically require at least three quarters of either one of the lower fields, and splitting the fields in such a manner reduces the likelihood of other users getting hit by the ball. But Aw, a third-year student from the School of Computer Science and Engineering, added that there is still
“As ironic as it may sound, the ball used by softball isn't soft at all — other users of the pitch might be injured if they are unaware of the ball and (get) hit.” Derrick Lim, 22, Hall Olympiad Sports Chairperson a chance that balls are overthrown, which might endanger those using the field next to that of the softball teams. “When a ball hits any part of your body or your face, (it could) either (cause) a bruise or even bleeding. It's very dangerous,” said the 24-year-old.
To complement the two measures, the SRC has also turned away the goalposts from the main and two lower fields, and locked them to the nets at the end of the fields. Students now need to exchange their matriculation cards for a key from the SRC General Office if they wish to use the full-sized posts. The move, which was implemented in August, was done to make the field less conducive for outsiders' use, according to Senior Assistant Director of the SRC Mr Yum Shoen Keng. “While we do not mind having (members of the public) kicking around, the main priority still lies with our students and staff,” said Mr Yum in an email response to the Nanyang Chronicle. He added that the move was also aimed at reducing the wear and tear of the penalty box, where the turf had to be replaced due to excessive use of the area by general users. As an alternative to using the fullsized goalposts, students and staff can use the newly acquired smaller posts instead, which are unlocked and can be found on the fields. Hall 16 football team captain Tan Zheng Yee, 22, said the new steps have made it easier for teams to organise trainings. “Prior to this, it was always hard to find space and facilities on the field, as there were always secondary school students and other members of the public taking up the space on the field,” said Tan. The second-year School of Humanities and Social Sciences student added: “It’s slightly troublesome to have to walk to the office to draw the keys (for the goalposts), but I guess that effort is justifiable because it ensures outsiders don’t hog them and we can have our trainings.”
Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin (@HectorBellerin) was left in awe after teammate Mesut Ozil’s solo effort in their Champions League win over Ludogorets.
“That's no left hand, that's a scud missile coming your way . #UFCNYC #McGregorAlvarez” Former Liverpool player and football pundit Stan Collymore (@stancollymore) believes that Mixed Martial Arts star Conor McGregor’s finishing move against Eddie Alvarez was nothing short of explosive.
“Epic start to the year by @DjokerNole. Epic end to the year by @andy_murray, ending #1 Congrats guys ” Former tennis World No.1 Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) celebrates new World No.1 Andy Murray’s ATP Final win against rival Novak Djokovic.
“I knew everyone was lying when they said they weren't voting for Trump. Trump is America's alter ego!” Atlanta Hawks’ forward Kris Humphries (@krishumpries) uncovering the Americans' true political stance in the wake of the US Presidential Election.
NTU cheerleading team aces competition Natalie Choy NTU’s cheerleaders won two golds and one bronze at the 2016 Asia Open Cheerleading Competition in South Korea last month. They represented Singapore in the international competition that was held in Geoje City on 6 Nov. Twenty-two of the 24 members are full-time students and alumni from ACES, NTU’s official cheerleading team. The other two members are friends of the team. The team sent in an audition video to the Cheerleading Association (Singapore) and was eventually selected for their maiden experience at the competition a month before it began. Singapore fielded four groups in three categories — Coed Premier Team, Coed Premier Group Stunt and Coed Premier Partner Stunt. The team emerged champions in the Team category and secured their second gold and one bronze in the Group Stunt category. For the Team category, all 24 members had to perform a threeminute routine. The team sent in two groups of three bases and a flyer for the Group Stunt category, while a base-flyer pair competed in the Partner Stunt category. A base is the foundation of the
ALL IS GOOD: Ronald Koeman congratulating Pellè after a good game.
NTU's cheerleading team ACES made up the bulk of the Singapore squad that won two golds and a bronze in South Korea. PHOTO: KOREA CHEERLEADING ASSOCIATION
stunt, while flyer is the person who gets lifted or thrown into the air. Team captain Sen Poh Kang, a final-year student at the Nanyang Business School, said that the team’s main goal at the competition was to deliver an all-stuntsup routine. This is achieved when there are no falls when the stunts are executed.
“Winning was a bonus for us,” said the 24-year-old, who is also the President of ACES. “Our team is being taught to focus more on the execution of our stunts (rather than a medal finish).” Silverware aside, Sen explained that the overseas experience was also a good platform for members to gain competition exposure.
“The team had juniors who did not compete as much as them (alumni members),” said Sen. “They need more exposure in order for the team to grow.” Competing on foreign soil also came with new experiences that set it apart from local competitions. Having been used to training in Singapore’s warm climate, some
members found training in lower temperatures at the stadium an interesting experience. Base Li Ruihong, 26, said that warming up in the “cold, singledigit weather” clad in T-shirt and shorts was “memorable” as it was the team’s first time training in such conditions. The atmosphere at the Asia Open was also more relaxed as compared to local competitions. “In Singapore, you feel more hostility from the other teams,” said Li, a second-year Sports Science and Management student. “Some hope to leverage on (another) team's poor performance to win.” Sen added that at the Asia Open, it was a chance to make new international friends. This contrasted with local competitions, where winning is usually the focus. Flyer Zerlind Koh, 23, felt that the large amount of time spent training and competing with the team allowed them to grow closer, which was the most rewarding part of her experience. Koh, who graduated from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences in August, added: “This is the team spirit that I cannot get anywhere else (apart from this sport), as everyone works hard and pushes through all adversity to attain a common goal.”
The Sundram conundrum Ignatius Koh Sports Editor With his players' heads slumped in disappointment after their ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup group stage match against Thailand, Singapore coach V. Sundramoorthy could be forgiven for wondering where it all went wrong for his team. The Lions, who had defended resolutely all night long on 22 Nov, conceded an 89th minute winner to the reigning champions to lose 1-0, putting their progression to the semi-finals in danger. Coach Sundram’s defensive policy had failed once again. This is the latest setback for “the Dazzler”, who was named caretaker coach in May. Under Sundram, Singapore are currently 171 in the Fifa rankings, behind perennial regional whipping boys Cambodia. The 167th ranked Angkor Warriors triumphed over the Lions 2-1
back in July, and narrowly lost to Singapore 1-0 on 13 Nov. This came despite Cambodia playing against the Singapore Under-22 team the day before. But local football’s problems run deeper than the national team’s current form. At club level, local sides underperformed in the S.League last season — Japanese side Albirex Niigata (S) completed an unprecedented sweep of all four domestic trophies, dethroning previous league champions Brunei DPMM in the process. For the second consecutive season, a foreign team had clinched the S.League title. The lack of quality in the local clubs had been exposed once again — top scorer Rafael Ramazotti of DPMM topped the scoring chart with 20 goals, while top local-born scorer Fareez Farhan of the Garena Young Lions finished 10th behind nine foreign players with only eight goals. Sundram’s national team predecessor Bernd Stange had attempted to instil short-passing, possession-
based football into the team, but the German failed to produce the desired results. The players often reverted to a long-ball approach once opponents kept them on the back foot in games. While a large number of fans called for a local coach to lead the Lions after Stange’s departure, results have not gone Sundram’s way since his appointment. The former national striker is known for his defensively sound teams — most notably the Malaysia Super League (MSL) title-winning LionsXII team in 2013. But despite recalls for defensive stalwart Daniel Bennett and midfield enforcer Mustafic Fahrudin, the Lions have conceded 13 goals in Sundram’s first nine games (at press time). A paltry four goals scored in those games is also a poor return for a team that once boasted prolific forwards such as Noh Alam Shah, Indra Sahdan, and Aleksandar Duric. Now, aside from Khairul Amri, Sundram has no out-and-out
striking options from the bench. Currently, he can only call upon forwards Shafiq Ghani and Sahil Suhaimi to double up as strikers. With younger players like Gabriel Quak, 25, and Faris Ramli, 24, yet to fulfil their promise, it could be a while before Sundram’s team takes shape. Quak’s two goals in 20 appearances and Faris’ four goals in 28 appearances have not justified their tags as future stars after their international debuts three years ago. The dearth of rising talent has also kept Sundram’s hands tied. Only 19-year-old Irfan Fandi, son of Singapore legend Fandi Ahmad, has made a breakthrough to the national team in recent times. While the Lions’ current predicament looks bleak, two players who could play pivotal roles in a reversal of fortune are vice-captain Hariss Harun and recently crowned S.League Young Player of the Year M. Anumanthan. Through his leadership and bite in midfield, Johor Darul Takzim midfielder Hariss helped his team
go through the recently concluded MSL season unbeaten, and has led the Lions in place of dropped captain Shahril Ishak. At home, the 22-year-old Anu has been a tenacious force for Hougang United, leading 2015 cellar dwellers to sixth place last season. Sundram’s penchant for playing a conservative team would make Hariss, 26, and Anu important cogs in the midfield. And with both still young, Sundram could depend on this blossoming partnership in the years to come. But it remains to be seen if the tactician’s stint will be extended. The Football Association of Singapore’s (FAS) decision to hand Sundram only a one-year contract could be perceived as a lack of faith, and an early exit from the Suzuki Cup will not help his cause. Sundram, along with Fandi, had been a popular choice for the national post among Singapore’s football fraternity, but if results do not pick up, the FAS may soon have to look beyond our shores to revive the Lions.
Athletes to Watch
The Inter-Hall Games (IHG) typically steal the limelight once the semester ends, but the Inter-School Games (ISG), which take place concurrently with the IHG, are no less glamorous. Sports writer Fiona Mei Robinson speaks to three national athletes who will trade their Team Singapore jerseys for faculty ones this month. PHOTOS: ZHENG JUNCEN AND VALERIE LAY
Pradeep Ravichandran, 24 School/Year of study: School of Materials Science and Engineering/3 Represented Singapore in the 2014 and 2016 ASEAN University Games (AUG) in football ISG sport: Futsal (2015-2016) What was your most memorable moment of ISG 2015? In the group stages, we were 1-0 down and had to win that game to qualify for the next round. Technically, the other team was better than us, so during halftime we strategised a gameplay that required us to run more to make up for it. We managed to score two goals in the second half, and qualified for the next round. Why are you playing in the ISG? ISG brings students from different faculties together. For me, football isn’t just about scoring goals; it’s a sport that connects people of different backgrounds. What do you hope to achieve in the ISG this year? I’m looking forward to the camaraderie that is sure to follow this kind of competition. In games like AUG, it can get quite tense when things do not go your way, but ISG is more about creating bonds with the schoolmates that you’re playing with.
Loo Zi Jia, 20 School/Year of study: Nanyang Business School/2 Singapore Under-20 Women’s Contact Rugby Player ISG sports: Captain’s Ball, Futsal, Netball (2015); Touch Rugby (2015-2016) Why are you playing in the ISG? I join for the experience. It’s a lot less competitive compared to SUniG (Singapore University Games) or IVP (Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic), where everyone is expected to give nothing but their best, so it’s a lot easier for everyone to have fun. What do you hope to achieve in the ISG this year? I’m excited to play with people whom I’ve never played alongside. Touch rugby is a sport that requires a lot of teamwork, so I think playing with a new group will improve my adaptability and communication with my teammates. Would you encourage more students to play in the ISG? Yes, I would. It’s a good way to get to know others in your school, and of course there’s that feeling of school pride. It’s a good workout during the holidays too. Timothy Goh, 22 School/Year of study: National Institute of Education (Sports Science and Management)/2 National Men’s Hockey Player ISG sport: Floorball (2016) Why are you playing in the ISG? Playing at a less competitive level allows me to try out new skills and experiment — something I would not be able to do at higher levels of competition. What do you hope to achieve in the ISG this year? I want to help generate interest in floorball, and also share my passion for it. As I coach at Raffles Institution, I’m also anticipating being able to guide the lesser experienced players, and help them improve in the sport. What are you most looking forward to in the ISG? I’m excited to be playing with my friends, as well as alongside my SUniG teammates — we’ve even got some playful banter going on as to whose team will win the ISG!
TE A R PO R CO
O T N S O P O T I I GE T ET E I L L S CO N LAC A TR KP R O W
• Have you ever wondered how it is to start well in your new job? • How do you manage the demands of your work, boss and peers?
Transiting from school life to work life can be daunting (yet exciting). To help you make a smoother transition, here are some tips.
3 TIPS TO HELP YOU TRANSIT SUCCESSFULLY FROM
UNIVERSITY TO THE WORKPLACE
Being professional includes being respectful, reliable and appropriate. Ensure that you treat all your colleagues, regardless of their level and age, with respect and politeness. Be responsible and dependable, and establish your credibility by producing quality work and meeting deadlines. Being new, observe and understand the work culture and work appropriatel styles of your colleagues and adapt appropriately.
Manage Your Time
You may think you can multi-task well at NTU. However, at the workplace, multiple work projects may demand your attention concurrently, and this may overwhelm you. Use the Eisenhower Matrix’s 4 quadrants to help you assess and prioritise your projects. Focus your time and attention on Quadrant 1 and 2, while minimising the amount of tasks and effort in Quadrant 3 and 4. While you want to do well in all your projects, pace yourself and plan your time well. Discuss with your supervisor to clarify and prioritise the important and urgent projects first as you want to be a productive and effective employee.
Manage Your Expectations
Being a fresh graduate, you are ambitious and eager to excel, but do note that promotion and progression take time. Gain all the experience you can in your first job. As you strive for growth, adopt a positive attitude and be willing to learn, network and create opportunities for yourself. These will help to propel you further in your career.
CAO is here to help you in getting career-ready! Come and meet your Career Coaches for: • Career Exploration • Resume Critique • Mock Interview Visit www.ntu.edu.sg/CAO for further information.
Brought to you by NTU Career & Attachment Office (CAO)