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THE NANYANG

CHRONICLE

LASER-EDGE TECHNOLOGY PROFESSOR

PUNK

VOL. NO.

19

07 04.02.13 ISSN NO. 0218-7310

NEWS | 5 New laser-cooling system developed by NTU researchers

LE’STRANGE

LANEWAY REVIEWS | 14-15

杨丞琳 狮城开唱 LIFESTYLE | 8 南苑 | 31


02 NEWS

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News Bites SINGAPORE

NTU Nanyang business school ranks up NTU’s MBA programme has received international accolade by the Financial Times. Nanyang Business School moved up two spots to clinch the 32nd place on their premier league table, published on 28 June 2012. The school has consistently made top 35 rankings for the past five years. Nanyang Business School admits about 80 students to its full-time MBA programme every year. Dutch university and NTu partnership Holland’s Wageningen University is NTU’s latest partner. NTU students will get opportunities to do research in the highly interdisciplinary field of food science with new undergraduate modules to choose from. The tieup was signed by both university presidents and witnessed by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, who was in NTU as part of her official visit to Singapore.

WP to merge town councils NEA conducts checks on caterers ahead of CNY The Workers’ Party will be applying to merge town council operations The National Environment Agency of both Punggol East and its has conducted an additional round existing Aljunied-Hougang Town of checks on all caterers and Council. The move will increase restaurant ahead of the festive operational efficiency while saving season. The checks focused on cost. If the application is approved, practices that may result in crossthe new town council will manage contamination of raw and cooked seven wards, making it one of the food. It has advised food businesses to tighten supervision especially on largest councils in Singapore. those who handle food directly. Mother delivers eulogy for sons More land for bigger population Mdm Suliani Ang, who lost her Ministry of National sons in a tragic accident along The Tampines, shared heartfelt words Development released a Land Use as she delivered a eulogy. She plan detailing new housing plans described her youngest son for the projected population of Donovan, as “God’s gift” after 6.9 million by 2030. An expected he was conceived, following a 700,000 new homes are set to be miscarriage. She also shared how built to meet the nation’s future Nigel, her older son had led her to needs. The housing units will be Christianity and the change saved added to existing mature estates, her marriage. “Through these two while new residential zones will boys I have been blessed. I believe develop in areas like the former they are right now in heaven,” she Bukit Timah Turf Club, Kallang Riverside, Keppel and Bukit Brown. said.

WORLD N.Korea set for nuke test North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is set to conduct a third nuclear test, South Korean media reported. The test is speculated to take place mid of February. However, Kim is expected to shift the date forward as a response to the UN Security Council’s resolution that “deplored” Pyongyang’s rocket launch last December. Japan and South Korea have pledged to dissuade North Korea from pursuing the test.

Rare whale vomit worth 50,000 euros

Mr Ken Wilman was walking his dog in the coastal town of Morecambe, in northwest England. He chanced upon the strange smelling rock that was yellowish and had a waxy appearance. The substance on it is likely to be ambergris, found in the digestive systems of sperm whales that is spewed up. The rare vomit is best known for its musky smell sometimes used in perfume making. Mr Wilman has since been offered Parents appeal for stricter 50,000 euros ($84,000) by a French gun control dealer. Families and neighbours of children killed in last month’s Man sells canned fresh air Connecticut school shooting Billionaire entrepreneur Chen have implored lawmakers to Guangbiao responded to China’s ban the powerful rifles used in air quality problem with his line massacre. The meeting, held on of fresh canned air. This was a 30 Jan, the audience of 600 shed publicity stunt set at provoking tears and gave standing ovations citizens to push the government as testimonies were shared. for change to pollution standards. However, gun advocates disagree According to Reuters, each can was claiming it strips Americans sold for 5 yuan ($1) with proceeds of their constitutional right to going to poor regions in China. bear arms.

What’s happening on campus? Lunchtime Talk Series: Moving Towards Success The Student Counselling Centre is organising a talk series to be conducted by Daniel Wong, bestselling author of The Happy Student: 5 Steps to Academic Fulfilment and Success. The topic for the first talk will be ‘Your Happiness, Your Choice’. Where: LT4 When: 6 Feb, 12.30-1.30pm

Ukulele Workshop Designed for beginners without prior experience in stringed instruments, the introductory course by Ukulele Movement will cover basic chords, rhythm, and strumming. The workshop costs $12 and is part of the Nanyang Arts Festival 2013. Register at: bit.ly/ukworkshop. Where: TR+1, Block NS4 When: 8 Feb, 4-5pm

Materials Awareness Day 2013 To promote materials science and technology, the School of Materials Science and Engineering will hold the event to introduce leading research institutes and feature booths by companies in the sector.

There will also be a science demonstration on stage. Where: Canopy K at LT1A When: 20 Feb, 1.15-5pm

New Boardgame App for Engineers

Organised by Sports Science and Management (SSM) students, the annual relay will have four race categories this year, with up to $700 worth of cash and prizes. In conjunction, the EW Barker Scholarship valued at S$8,000 per annum will be presented to two students with outstanding academic results and CCA records, pursuing their degree in SSM. Register at facebook.com/ ntubarker2013.

Peer Helping Programme Recruitment Students interested to become confidants can join the Peer Helping Programme (PHP), a peer support programme by the Student Counselling Centre. There will be two separate recruitment talks. Register at bit.ly/Peerhelp Where: LT25 & LT5 When: 7 & 13 Feb, 6-7pm

PlugFest International Programming Competition (IPC) Modelled after the reality show The Voice, the inaugural competition will see individuals and teams working closely with experienced mentors to create innovative web applications. Visit www.plugfest.asia for more information. Registration closes on 8 Feb. When: 15 Feb-15 Mar

EW Barker Challenge 2013

The College of Engineering has launched a Facebook game for the school to engage more personally with its students. The game allows users to befriend each other, get to know more about NTU and win prizes. Where: http://www.facebook.com/NTUCollegeOfEngineering

K-Pop Dance Workshop Dance Factory Singapore will hold a dance workshop in NTU to teach the choreography of Fantastic Baby and Gangnam Style. No dance background is required. Registerfor the workshop at bit.ly/kpopdance. Where: TBC When: 19 Feb, 4.45-5.45pm Cost: $6

Film Screening: Not So Secret Lives of Us Directed by local filmmaker Boo Jun Feng, the interactive movie on HIV allows the audience to direct the story through their choices. Where: Lecture Theatre 7 When: 27 Feb

Where: NIE Building 1 (Administration) When: 1 Mar, 3.30-6.30pm

Healthy Lifestyle Exhibition As part of the Health and Wellness Programme, issues such as nutrition, alcohol abuse, and smoking. The Youth Advolution for Health and the Red Cross Youth NTU are among some of the organisations featured at the event. Where: Canopy K at LT1A When: 26 Feb, 10am-4pm


News

Supper Wars: New services face off — Page 4

New treatment for glaucoma New eye research centre in NTU makes room for interdisciplinary collaboration Wong Pei Ting

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new treatment technology for t he eye d isease glaucoma was released at the opening of a research centre here last week. I nstead of t he t rad it iona l eyedrops, sufferers of the optic nerve disorder can soon administer a slow-r e lea se d r ug, v ia a n injection. The technology was developed by the new Ocular Therapeutic Engineering Centre (OTEC), which opened at NTU's School of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE). “Patients often have to use a lot of eye drops — up to three bottles a day. What’s more, they have to wait five minutes between each drop, otherwise it’ll not be well absorbed,” said Dr Tina Wong, the co-director of the Centre.

Nano-sized solution

A persistent problem plaguing glaucoma sufferers is forgetting to apply the eyedrops daily. Failure to do so could result in a permanent loss of vision. But there is now an alternative: a quick and painless injection, effective for up to three months. The jab, administered at the eye’s sur face, delivers nanosized capsules, which will slowly

EYE TO EYE: Prof Venkatraman (left) and Dr Tina Wong (right) combine engineering and medicine to create revolutionary eye treatments. PHOTO: WONG PEI TING

release an anti-glaucoma drug over several weeks. The capsules, known as LipoLat, are ready for clinical trials. At the official opening of the facility, guest of honour Provost Freddy Boey said the centre can be the missing link between pharmacology and materials science. “It's not rocket science,” he added, convinced of the largely untapped potential across the disciplines.

“It just takes someone to jump out of the electronics industry to take a look into the biomedical industry, spot a problem, and then find a solution.” Dr Wong, a senior consultant at the Singapore National Eye Centre is one such example. The MSE associate professor brings her medical experience to the engineering field. With experience in dealing

with over 40,000 glaucoma patients a year, she knows what problems patients com mon ly face. She then tackles them at the Ocular Therapeutic and Drug Delivery Research Group at the Singapore Eye Research Institute.

Convergence

OTEC has allowed for interdisciplinary solutions from both the medical and engineering

f ie ld s , sa id P rofe s sor Subbu Venkatraman. The acting chair of MSE now works alongside Dr Wong as co-director. As OTEC positions itself to develop new drug delivery systems for the eye, Prof Boey is confident that potential investors will be attracted to the unusual, and much needed, collaboration between the two disciplines. “Cent r e s l i ke O T EC g r a nt opportunities to researchers and visibility to investors. “The good news in Singapore is that a good idea would never lack proper funding," he said. He added that some of the existing equipment in the facility were funded by grants from the private-sector. OTEC will be home to about 10 full-time scientists. Another project in the pipeline is an implantable device that can constantly monitor pressure changes within the eye. T his innovation will offer patients more convenient options for treatment, said Dr Wong. T he r e w i l l be e ve n mor e opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations, when NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine takes in its first batch of students this July. Prof Boey revealed that centres combi n i ng engi neer i ng w it h medical and healthcare research will soon come under one umbrella, set to be named the Nanyang Institute of Technology, Health and Medicine. It will be launched later this year.

Graduation giving gives back Yebeen Ashley Kim A FREE cup of coffee, personal attention, and even job interview adv ice were just some of the i ncent ives of fered to donor s as part of the revamped iGave campaign. For the first time in six years, the donation campaign also hosted a launch event last month — a big step away from its traditional mode of outreach. T h is new approach was conceived after negative feedback f r om s t ude nt s who fe lt t he campaign was too aggressive in previous years, said organiser Phua Jia Min, Assistant Manager of the Development Office. “We're trying to reach out to students in a more personal way, instead of expecting them to donate to us without knowing exactly who

or what they are donating to,” she said. In previous years, the campaign would repeatedly call up graduating students to seek contributions. But this year, the campaign appointed student ambassadors who went around campus to talk to their peers in person, during the two-day launch. The new approach was welcomed by st udents who felt it was a meaningful conclusion to their tertiary education. Prashant Reddy, 21, a final-year Electrical and Electronic Engineering student said: “Graduation giving is meaningful as a campaign on its own and the fringe events like a photo competition give it an added element of fun." Other students, however, were not impressed by the campaign’s new methods of attracting donors. “I thought it was just a marketing

strategy trying to lure students in with free coffee,” said Arpit Malik, 21, a final-year Computer Science student. But Ms Phua was quick to add ress concer ns rega rd ing iGave’s new outreach programmes. A f te r a l l , t he ca mpa ig n encourages donation in a friendly and easy way, she said. “We want to emphasise that giving should be voluntary, and not pressured by the school,” she added. Bio e n g i ne e r i n g s t u d e nt Imayavan Manohar, 21, felt it was hard for students to appreciate the meaning of the campaign unless they had previously benefited from it. “I received a lot of help from graduation giving, so I'm more than willing to participate now that I'm in my final year,” said the bursary recipient.

SPIRITED EFFORT: Ambassador Cheong Sze Kit is glad of generous donors. PHOTO: CHERIE YEO

In its six years, iGave has seen its donation participation rates rise four-fold to 82 per cent. Money raised from the school-

wide campaign is used for NTU student bursaries, student club activities and upgrades for school facilities.


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SUPPER WARS

Student entrepreneurs compete for supper crowd with new menus and fast service

food fight: New contender The Hotbox, brings its best to NTU, challening old favourite Suppeclub.

Sivanangai Thirumeni

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hey say three’s a crowd. But the lack of convenience and a limited late-night menu prompted the introduction of a third campus supper provider: The Hotbox. Wit h t he e xcept ion of Supperclub NTU, tertiary students run Nomster and The Hotbox. All three deliver popular supper dishes to NTU students after taking orders on Facebook. Launched last December, The Hotbox is the brainchild of four undergraduate students. One of them is Ng Hoe Guan, 25, a final-

year student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. His partners are from the National University of Singapore. What started out as a casual conversation among the four friends about Ng’s woes regarding limited supper ser vices in NTU quickly developed into The Hotbox. “I had to go to another hall to collect my supper from Supperclub and it was very inconvenient,” said Ng. “We will better that by delivering supper to every hall, and providing a wider choice of food items."

“Nomster has a limited range of food, thus we try to come up with a fresh menu every week to gain an edge.” Howe ve r, s ome fe e l t h at Nomster and The Hotbox are mere copycats. Kenny Tan, 24, a final-year student from the National Institute of Education said: “I feel that The Hotbox and Nomster are tr ying to replicate the success of Supperclub.” It was a sentiment shared by Felicia Kam, 19. “I found them to be copycats because they are mobile supper businesses, just like Supperclub,”

PHOTO ILlustration: MATTHEW NG

sa id t he f i r st-yea r Na nya ng Business School student. All three supper providers operate in similar ways by taking orders via social media or mobile phones throughout the day till evening. Food is then delivered around midnight. Nonetheless, there are students in favour of the increased competition among vendors. “Having more providers means greater competition," said Hiang Cheng Woon, 20, a f irst-year Materials Science and Engineering student. “This benefits students as the businesses will have to sell their

food at a lower price as a result.” Despite a potential erosion of its market, Supperclub founder Nick Ow, 26, remains undaunted. “We’ve been around for two years, and have a good rapport with our customers,” he said. His competitors have meanwhile been only operating for less than six months. Kassler Peh, 24, another cofounder of The Hotbox believes that they can do better than Supperclub. “We are confident that we can surpass the competition by focusing on publicity and improving customer service.”

New app links graduates to jobs Ronald Loh YOU scroll through the list of prospective careers on offer. You find one that interests you. You decide to apply. Instead of filling in endless piles of paperwork, all you do is hit a button on your smartphone, and an email is generated. Your resume is then sent within the next three seconds and should you get an acceptance, a notification is sent to your phone. If you don't, you can redefine your preferred job listings and repeat the process without even using a computer. Convenience, accessibility and instant updates from participating employers are now a reality as NTU unveiled its latest career-matching app JobPASS at the university’s Career Fair last month.

The job-matching app, which is available for both Apple and Android smartphones, is also the first of its kind for Singaporean university students. NTU Provost Professor Freddy Boey said the app would provide the link between employers and technology-savvy students. “If employers fully utilise this innovative way of engaging our students via mobile devices, outreach and recruitment will become more engaging and efficient.” This year’s Career Fair held at the Nanyang Auditorium drew over 20,000 st udents and 51 companies that included public agencies, like the National Arts Council, and fashion house Abercrombie & Fitch. Firms from the energy sector were included in the line-up for the first time as well.

Job search: NTU's new app aims to connect graduating students to future job opportunities.

PHOTO: INTERNET


VOL. NO.

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NEWS 05

THE NANYANG

07 CHRONICLE

Getting cooler with lasers NTU research team makes groundbreaking discovery on use of lasers Ronald Loh

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or the first time, scientists have successfully used lasers to cool a solid. While the cooling of gases and glasses by lasers is already common practice, the research team from the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (SPMS) were the first in the world to cool a solid semiconductor by 40 degrees Celsius. T heir groundbreak ing research, which took three years to complete, was published in the international research journal Nature last month. “This is the first time we have managed to reduce the temperature of a solid, and more notably a semiconductor — commonly used in electrical devices,” said Assistant Professor Xiong Qihua, the leading scientist of the study. His team also includes research f e l low D r Z h a n g J u n , Ph D student Li Dehui, and researcher Chen Renjie. Today, cooling components — such as fa ns or elect r ica l conductors — contribute to most of the weight and bulkiness in our

everyday devices. Chunky refrigerators and noisy air-conditioning compressors hence could soon be obsolete, if this discovery is successfully replicated on a larger scale. Handphones and laptops could also come in lighter, more compact models. Be yond t he compac t ness, electronic devices — which slow considerably when heated — could also be made more powerful and to last longer after the research team was able to cool their Cadmium Sulfide (CdS) sample to -20 deg C. “ Re mov i n g t he ne e d for compressors and coolants in airconditioning and refrigerators could also reduce the emission of greenhouse gases harmful to our ozone layer,” said Prof Xiong.

Reducing heat

The process of cooling normally comes about when t he laser i nte r ac t s w it h ga s pa r t ic le s to reduce t hei r mot ion, a nd subsequently the gas’s energy, thus reducing its heat. But the process of working with solids is entirely different. In order to cool a solid, phonons — vibrations of the tightly-packed atoms that propagate through the material — have to be terminated. The physicists found that a laser — calibrated at the right wave leng t h — cou ld nu l l i f y

t he semiconductor’s phonons completely, hence lowering the temperature of the test strips. But Prof Xiong said his team’s work is far from done. “Our biggest challenge right now is finding other materials that will produce the same effect as the CdS sample,” he said.

“Our biggest challenge right now is finding other materials that will produce the same effect as the CdS sample.”

GRAPHIC: CHIN LI ZHI

Prof Xiong Qihua Leading scientist

While the tests were successful on a semiconductor 3 micrometres i n si ze , or about one -si x t h t he w idt h of a hu ma n ha i r, Dr Xiong said their task was also to reproduce the same results on a much larger scale. “After that, there is a need to design a s ystem t hat can incorporate the laser cooler and manage the heat flow.” As of now, Prof Xiong said

it will be still “years and years” before the laser coolers make it to the shelves. Shou ld t he y s ucce e d , it s capabilities are endless, he said. “Besides these gadgets, we hope to achieve a greater cooling effect of 100 deg C. This could replace the use of liquid helium in MRI scanners,” said Dr Xiong. “We are running out of liquid helium (in the next 20-25 years), so this could be a replacement. “This discovery also translates into the ability to build miniaturised coolers for infrared sensors in imaging satellites.” T he s ig n i f ic a nc e of t h i s groundbreaking project was also

highlighted by Dr Ho Shen Yong, a lecturer at SPMS. “ It m a y not b e c om mon knowledge, but low-temperature physics is one of the hottest areas in research now,” he said of the team’s breakthrough. He added if engineers are able to create a mechanism that can sustain lowered temperatures for long periods, it could pave t he way for mor e powe r f u l compute r s t hat cou ld e ve n surpass supercomputers. “A more exciting speculation is whether this optical refrigeration technology can develop into the central component of possible solid-state quantum computers.”

An accidental discovery

PHOTO: MATTHEW NG

FROM the coffee table strewn with scientific journals and the framed photos of his wife and son, it’s easy to see what Professor Xiong Qihua’s (left) two passions in life are — family and science. T h e A s s i s t a n t P r of e s s or at the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences was the Principal Investigator for the recent groundbreaking study on laser cooling technology. T he team may have made an unexpected discover y, but his enthusiasm in research is no accident. Even w it h h is impressive collection of academic awards, the modest 39-year-old doesn’t aspire to change the world. Instead, he enjoys learning from his team of 25 research fellows. And this is despite the long hours he has to spend in the office

reviewing research papers at least 30 times before they are ready to be published. Yet, Prof Xiong beamed the widest when talking about his son’s inquisitive mind, a characteristic perhaps inherited from his own love for science. From his questions about the mechanisms of laser pointers to car engines, the five-year-old may just follow the footsteps of his parents. Prof Xiong’s wife is also a researcher at DUKE-NUS. H i s a d v i c e f or a s pi r i n g researchers: “Research is not something you can learn from a textbook. “From i n it ia l r esea rc h , proposing new ideas, to designing your experiment — you’ll need to have the instinct and insight.”

— Charmaine Ng


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NTU student survives attack

LITERAL PERIL: Caught in the violent South African demostrations for higher wages, Aw Cheng Wei narrowly escapes mob attack with multiple bruises and cuts on his back.

Colin Tung

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t's not every day you receive a gash in the shoulder and multiple bruises while in the line of duty. So it came as a rude awakening for intern journalist Aw Cheng Wei when he was covering a street demonstration in South Africa last month. Aw, a third-year Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information student was working on a story for a local newspaper when the protesters suddenly turned violent. “They were pounding on our windows, throwing rocks at our car, climbing onto the roof and shaking the vehicle,” he said. Estimating the crowd to be at 40-50 strong, Aw said: “I started

the car but didn’t have the heart to hit the protesters.” But when the rear windows were smashed, a thought sparked him into action. “I realised that if I didn’t get out, I’d die,” said Aw, who subsequently flung the door open to make his escape. The union workers got Aw and his colleague to a nearby church where Aw sought medical treatment for his bruises and cuts on his head and shoulder. Stricken by bad luck, some may say, but he is more than grateful for the harrowing experience in cementing his passion for journalism. “The incident made me more prepared for riot reporting, which requires one to think on his feet,” the Singapore Press Holdings scholar said.

“The idea of being purely an observer is not a choice. Journalists get caught in the middle of the action all the time. You cannot divorce yourself from the action.” Aw Cheng Wei WKWSCI, Year 3

In fact, he relished the exposure to the perils of journalism. “The idea of being purely an observer is not a choice. “Journalists get caught in the middle of the action all the time. You cannot divorce yourself from the action," he said. Aw said that the incident traumatised his family and friends more than it shook him. “People expect me to be traumatised by it but it all feels very surreal." Aw said he didn’t think of informing his parents until two days after the incident. “I told my mother after the Straits Times interviewed me. I didn’t want her to learn about the story only when the newspaper published it." Citing the bus driver strike in Singapore, Aw commented that

PHOTOS: AW CHENG WEI

Singaporeans have little conception of what a violent protest is like. “People have the idea that strikes can be peaceful and uneventful,” he said. “You want to see a strike? Look at [those in] South Africa,” he said, referring to protestors attacking with glass fragments and stones. The protestors were peacefully holding up signs just that morning, remarked Aw. The turn of events in such a short period of time underscored the unpredictability of news reporting. Nonetheless, Aw commented that it's unlikely he will ever get opportunities to report stories that test him as much as the South African protests did. “I don’t think you will be able see these kinds of things in Singapore.”

Playing at love turns true Laura Lewis

IF LOVE is blind, then this was exactly what it took for couple Bryan Lim and Zakiah Zakariah to find love — being blindfolded. They were anonymously paired up during their hall’s freshmen orientation camp back in 2011. Following their fateful blindfolded chat during the camp, Lim admitted: “I was particularly attracted to the way she spoke. In some ways then we could connect, and that’s when we knew it could be something more.” Lim, 23, now a second-year student from the School of Art, Design and Media (ADM) and Zakariah, 22, from the Nanyang Business School, have now been together for over a year. A staple at freshmen orientation camps, the game of Secret Pals has

been a popular topic – during and after orientation. While some scorn the game, its success in fostering relationships has grown over the years. Jocelyn Ang, 20, and Thian Kun Ming, 22, felt stronger bonds were forged when they were pushed out of their comfort zones. Said Ang, a second-year student from ADM: “I was afraid during the night activities and asked Kun Ming, my Secret Pal then, whether I could hold onto his arm.” “He was very nice about it,” she added. The couple has since been together for more than a year. The Secret Pals game has its roots in an Social Development Union (SDU) initiative that provides funding for university freshmen orientation camps. “The initiative was introduced in 2003 to promote gender-bal-

anced social interaction opportunities on campus.” SDU, however, sets no expectations nor keeps track of how many couples get together. But there are those who view the game as a futile matchmaking attempt. One of them is Shaun Waters, 21, a f irst-year st udent f rom the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. “I doubt it wou ld be ver y successful. The couples may not even experience a connection as they have only met for the first time.” With its presence firmly cemented in orientation camps, the attitude that freshmen bring to these events will be pivotal. Jacon Ong, a first-year Civil Engineering student said, “I will go with an open heart and a mindset of making new friends.”

LOVE AT BLINDSIGHT: Secret Pal's the start of something new for couples. PHOTO illustration: Lim MuYao


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ADM artists' table chope Wendy Tan

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move to restrict the use of common amenities in and around the School of Art, Design and Media (ADM) looks set to remain permanent. Since last November, signs were placed near tables and benches around the school, indicating that only ADM students are permitted to use the facilities. The rule was cemented because of an increase in the use of the premises by the general student body. The swell in numbers caused a strain on ADM’s already existing space issue. Law Kai Hua, 23, a secondyear A DM st udent said: “We need the space for our hands-on coursework. This is especially so for first-years as they have to do foundation work and all of them have omly one tutorial classroom to use.” While the issue of a lack of space is pertinent, the greater contention seems to be with misusing the facilities in the school. A DM’s A ssociate Chair of Academic Matters, Professor Peer Mohideen Sathikh said that everything in ADM is uniquely designed for art- and design-related work. He acknowledged that the

BID FOR SEATS: ADM's internal regulations give priority over study spaces to its students.

ADM’s administration does not have control over public spaces in NTU, but said this rule was an internal move made with the interest of its students at heart. “It's up to the school to do something about this problem.

I've seen my students sitting on the floor doing their artwork and cutting, while students from other schools are studying at the tables,” he said. Though most ADM students lauded the change, a handful

PHOTO illustration: HAN HUI JING

remained indifferent. “I think it’s an exaggeration to paste notices,” said Jeslyn Ong, 22. a second-year ADM student. Prof Sathik h ack nowledged that many students are attracted to the comfort of the air-conditioned,

spacious ambience that A DM provides. However, his biggest gripe is with the lack of courtesy. “There is no problem with other students studying in our school. But these students monopolise the seats and refuse to share the space,” he said. When asked on the school’s stand whether there were exceptions for other students, Prof Sathikh said: “Anyone who takes an elective in ADM can use the tables, but only if they are doing work related to the course.” Some non-ADM students who used to study in the premises have been taken aback. “I feel there is no need to do this. Other schools I’ve been to don't have such measures,” said Annabel Ho, a first-year student from the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Wong Sheng Ye, 23, a first year Information Engineering and Media student: “The notices are a bit of a turn-off, but I can always study some place else.” The school has since reported a drop in the number of non-ADM students studying there. “It is much better now. I think people have gotten the hint,” said Prof Sathikh.

SRC field closures trouble athletes Amir Yusof

WHEN it rains at NTU, it pours. The recent torrential monsoon poured down hard on this year’s Inter-Hall Games (IHG) leading to the closure of the sports fields and leaving athletes without a venue. The pitches at the lower level of the Sports and Recreational Centre (SRC) were closed last December due to the high rainfall. SRC of f icia ls deemed t he ground unplayable, for safety reasons. This forced the football and softball preliminary matches off campus. Without the luxury of time for the pitches to dry out, the competitions were shifted to Bedok North Secondary School and the Kallang Diamond, both in the east of Singapore, in order to keep the IHG running on schedule. Joshua Mok, 23, the scheduler for IHG fixtures said: “All 20 sports tournaments must end before 25 Feb. In order to meet this requirement, we had to play our matches at external venues.” “Although this has occurred in previous years, the abrupt nature of the field closure this year caught us slightly off-guard,” he said. The unforeseen circumstances also increased the cost of hosting the games. Kelvin Tay, 22, the Head of Finance for the IHG said that organisers found it hard to find the

money to pay for external venues. “Bookings at SRC have always been free. But hosting each football game at Bedok Secondary School cost S$60. We have also spent around $1,000 just on the preliminary stages of the softball tournament in Kallang Diamond.” Tay said that the cost would be split amongst the 16 halls. While the washout left the organisers working overtime, the athletes were also left wondering about the venue and time of their next game. Footballer Jon Teo, 22, had to miss some matches due to the inconsistent scheduling. “I couldn’t represent my hall for some fixtures because we were not informed early enough about where and when the matches will be held. “Furthermore, I live too far from the venues, so it's a big hassle to travel there,” said the freshman from Nanyang Business School. Meanwhile, others relished the opportunity of playing off campus. Softball captain for Hall 6, Randall Cheng, 22, said: “We enjoyed the experience of playing there more than here at the SRC because of the available infrastructure. “ T he s u r f ac e at K a l la ng Diamond is also better suited for softball.” SRC’s Assistant Director for Sports, Mr Yum Shoen Keng, also

assured that the move to close the fields was for the safety of the players. “Previously, athletes suffered from rashes and even eye infections after playing in such conditions,” he said. “When it rains to such an

extent, we have no choice but to close the fields. We have to be responsible.” The fields have since been reopened and games have started back in NTU. But the SRC said that until the grass pitches are replaced with ar-

tificial turfs, there is a possibility that the fields might still be closed due to bad weather. “We have expressed an interest to replace the surfaces of all our fields with synthetic turf, but it is still in the discussion phase,” said Mr Yum.

PuddleS of Mud: Abrupt closures of sport fields due to bad weather have inconvenienced NTU athletes.

PHOTO: KENJI KWOK


Lifestyle mugshot

COOL HEAD ON CAMPUS It’s not every day that the man teaching your class could fit in at a punk concert. Fiona Lam gets to know the professor everyone’s talking about.

A MAN OF MANY HATS: James Patrick Williams is a sociology professor, a sci-fi afficionado, a cyclist and a father.

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othing screams ‘cool’ more than a professor who brings his students to mosh at a heavy metal concert. Meet Assistant Professor James Patrick Williams, the sci-fi and fantaswy geek who has raced motorcycles, played drums in punk bands, and enjoys World of Warcraft (WoW). Belonging to the subcultures of punk and straightedge, the Sociology professor also has a shaved head, pierced ears, and tattoos on his arm. It’s little surprise he has been dubbed NTU’s coolest professor by many of his students. Prof Williams, or “Prof P” as some students affectionately call him, is a straighttalking, unconventional teacher with a tough appearance and no-nonsense demeanour. Understandably, students can be easily intimidated by him on first impression — but he doesn’t mind it one bit. “I don’t work too hard to avoid that. I usually act very strict on the first day of lecture on purpose, just to set the tone early and let students know my expectations,” says Prof Williams. “But if you can get past that initial impression of me, you will see that I do care.” Aside from his appearance and unorthodox experiences, the 42-year-old attributes his overall image to his main area of study: youth

subcultures — think hipsters, goths, ah lians, punks, and otakus. “It’s easier to appear ‘cool’ when you’re teaching youth culture, as opposed to astrophysics or engineering,” says Prof Williams.

Family man

Yet, the softer side of Prof Williams emerges when it comes to family. On fatherhood, he says: “It has its challenges, but I appreciate being loved just because I’m ‘Dad’ and not being judged by my tattoos, the kind of social science I study, or how good my music ever was.” Photos of his adorable children adorn a wall in his office, and the tone of his voice trails off as he talks about them. He lingers at one of the photos which shows his son flashing a silly grin, “That’s a funny picture and he’s little there… They’re little but a lot of fun.” One of his final-year students, Jacqueline Tan, 23, describes him as a doting family man who is loving and good-humoured around his daughter — an identity that contrasts with his brusque skinhead image.

Tough love

Part of what endears Prof Williams to some students is his well-meaning candour. He’s

honest — sometimes brutally so — and has never been one to mince his words. He goes straight for the jugular, particularly if he suspects a student is being unethical in his or her work, Tan says. This makes for a reality check for his students whenever they get carried away with idealistic research proposals or postgraduate plans, and Zahirah Suhaimi, 25, is grateful for that. After all, he only has his students’ best interests at heart. “Everyone can use some tough love from time to time,” the final-year Sociology student says. And love his students he does. An email he sent to them carried the title: “Big on love, short on time” — a phrase that aptly summed up his feelings for his students. Winifred Seto, 24, a final-year Sociology student, explains: “He is big on love for all of us, except that the time he has with us is finite. “So he may come off as brutally direct with our mistakes, but it doesn’t make us love him any less.”

‘Crazy’ angmoh

Teaching sociology courses means Prof Williams tends to share a lot of his personal stories in class — which is part of why many



PHOTO: TAN PEILIN

students find him relatable. Especially on the topic of deviance, he often uses himself as an example, being someone who hasn’t always fit in. Anecdotes of him growing up as a white kid in the South and being a punk musician are frequently brought up to help him teach his classes. “That may be what adds to the allure of me being ‘cool’. Because, you know, I’m this crazy American in Singapore.” And crazy is exactly how some of his students may find him. The self-confessed “potty mouth” thinks his occasional swearing in class, which comes from having been immersed in the world of subcultures for decades, can be problematic for some students. “Those little slips of the tongue can be seen as absolutely crazy by some students, but what’s deemed as wild or ‘crazy’ is ultimately relative,” he says. That said, what’s the craziest thing he has ever done? He pauses, taking a moment to mull it over. “Moving to Singapore — that was crazy,” he says in jest. “My family thought I was nuts to move to a small island in South-east Asia, but it has worked out so far.”


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LIFESTYLE 09

THE NANYANG

07 CHRONICLE FOR THE PROUDLY SINGLE

Valentine’s Day is also the South Korean Black Day, where singles get together, eat jajangmyeon (noodles with black bean sauce) and celebrate their singlehood. Embrace your solitude and take advavntage of the day to catch up with friends. It doesn’t have to be jajangmyeon, but should you feel like trying it, Dong Fang Hong Korean Chinese Restaurant at Far East Square serves it for $11.

FOR THE spontaneous

COSY UP: Spending Valentine's Day alone could be your chance to pamper yourself.

PHOTO: DANIEL NEO

"Match Made in China One" at Clarke Quay offers an opportunity to meet fellow singles in a social setting. Most couples are probably at a restaurant or the movies, so escape the crowd and join other singles in trying to break the Guinness World Record for the longest linked toast. Who knows, you might meet someone interesting too. Tickets can be purchased at China One for $10.

FOR THE CYNICS

Demonstrations of love aren’t restricted to this particular day, but Japan’s chocolate market skyrocketed when Valentine’s Day was introduced to the country. If you think it's just another day, then go ahead and treat it like any other. But maybe pamper yourself a little: catch an extra hour of sleep if you can afford it. Self-love is as good an excuse as any to get more of this sacred commodity.

Single or Attached? For the singles out there, Valentine’s Day is better known as Single Awareness Day. But that's no reason to be S.A.D. There is plenty to do besides moping in a corner and mourning your #foreveralone status. Wendy Yee and Lysandra Lu discover what singles and couples can busy themselves with on that day.

STEPPING INTO A FAIRYTALE: The White Rabbit restaurant which was restored from a chapel provides a quiet and romantic atmosphere for a date.

AN EVENING IN WONDERLAND THE WHITE RABBIT @ DEMPSEY 39C Harding Road Singapore 249541 DIM lighting, beautiful surroundings, and good food — key components of a romantic dining setting, all of which are present in fine-dining restaurant The White Rabbit. Situated off Dempsey Road, the main draw of this restaurant would be its stunning interior. The White Rabbit is a restored chapelturned-restaurant; upon stepping inside, diners will be greeted by the extensive open stretch of the chapel hall with the high white walls, which is now also the main dining area. Large windows with intricately designed grills line the walls on both sides of the room, providing a view of the verdant greenery outside as you sip on a glass of Merlot.

Grand and beautiful, visitors’ attention will immediately be drawn to a large and artistic stained glass panel at the end of the restaurant. Unlike other restaurants, The White Rabbit offers curved sofa seats for you to get cosy with your other half. During the daytime, light enters the restaurant through the stained glass and full-length windows, brightening the entire hall and giving the restaurant a fairytale-like atmosphere. When night falls, however, the restaurant is lit by the warm glow from the candles placed at ever y table, creating a truly romantic setting perfect for a Valentine’s Day dinner. Admittedly, $128++ per person for the five-course meal can be pricey, but if your wallet permits and if your date is one who appreciates an elegant dining atmosphere, The White Rabbit should be on your itinerary. Reservations can be made at: www.chope.com.sg

First Date: Movie Night GEMINI CINEMA GOLDEN VILLAGE City Square Mall 180 Kitchener Road #05-02/03 Singapore 208539 THE dark of the cinema. A seat for two. Deep, plush, red velvet to sink into. The armrest between the couple is... up. Anything could happen. But no, the sounds of crunching popcorn and slurping Pepsi from the nearby couple ruin the romantic moment. Enter Cinema Hall 4 of GV City Square, and you will be greeted with soothing jazz music before the commercials begin. Unlike normal cinemas, an aisle separates each couple seat, such that you and your date can enjoy some privacy away from the couple in the next seat (but don’t get too hopeful, it’s not that much). The new Gemini Cinema, which holds 21 couples in double seats, cannot guarantee romance, but they will be showing the

PHOTO: MATTHEW NG

regular run of movies. Whether you watch them, or not, is up to you. And your date. Tickets are $25.25 for two, so it’s somewhat of an affordable date — guys, do take note. Afterwards, Gemini Cinema has a couples photo booth (5-9pm on Valentine’s Day) to preserve the memory for ever. Take part in gv's Valentine's day contest Step 1: Upload a picture of yourself with your loved one and tweet in 6 words, about the unforgettable experience that the two of you had. Step 2: Retweet an official message released by Golden Village. Step 3: Check out GV's official Facebook page for more details on the competition.


10 - 11 LIFESTYLE

MAD FOR MATCHA foodsnoop

Green tea ice cream, green tea chocolate, and green tea lattes – green tea, or matcha, can be found in various types of foods these days. Goh Chiew Tong checks out the variations Singapore has to offer.

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hat comes to mind when you hear the words ‘green tea’? Ye a r s a g o , o n e w o u l d immediately think of the traditional green tea drink. But these days, it’s no longer just a beverage — it’s also a dessert, a snack, and a candy. Green tea lovers have it good these days, with green tea food products now lining the shelves of local supermarkets, and stores and eateries mushrooming all over the island. Not a fan? Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it — the variety of products available might just change your mind.

Nana’s Green Tea

Where: The Atrium @ Orchard, Plaza Singapura 60B, #03-80/82 When: Mondays to Sundays, 11am-10pm Tel: 6684 4321 When the waitress set the Matcha Shiratama Parfait ($11.90) on the table, the vivid mix of colours put a smile on my face immediately. Said to be the most popular dessert in the cafe, the parfait was a tall glass layered with surprises — whipped cream drizzled with matcha syrup over a scoop of matcha ice cream, followed by layers of azuki red bean paste, Japanese mochi, cornflakes, and soft-serve vanilla ice cream. My first mouthful of the matcha ice cream was sweet, w it h a mi ld bit ter

aftertaste that was reminiscent of freshly brewed matcha tea. When eaten together with a spoonful of whipped cream and red bean paste, it brought an excellent contrast to the sweetness of the azuki. Although the mochi was flavourless, its chewiness combined with the crunch of the cornflakes provided an intricate interplay of textures floating in my mouth. Desserts are meant to be slowly enjoyed, but the arrangement of the parfait may result in you taking too long to reach the layer of vanilla ice cream. And just when I thought I had scooped to the bottom, there was a surprising layer of matcha-flavoured kanten jelly (traditional Japanese herbal jelly) at the base. The soft jelly was unsweetened and, unlike the matcha ice cream, the bitterness of the matcha was stronger, but was mostly masked by the strong vanilla taste from the soft-serve ice cream. Overall, the mixes of creamy, chewy, and crunchy textures come together to make this house special a light and refreshing dessert great for sharing with friends. Expect the most interesting creations from Nana’s Green Tea’s Singapore franchise. Originating from Kyoto, Japan, the cafe recently moved from JCube to the newly opened extension at Plaza Singapura. The cafe’s architecture is a blend of the modern and the traditional. The layout itself follows a very open, spacious concept. At the same time, privacy is maintained —

THE POWER OF MATCHA: The versatile green powder can be used in all kinds of foods.

tables are separated with modern, wooden rectangular frames suspended from the ceiling, decorated with Japanese r ice paper and yellow lighting inspired by the ambience at traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. This clever arrangement suits social gatherings as customers can enjoy their meal in their own private space despite being in an open concept area.

Contrary to what the name suggests, Nana’s is not all about green tea. The menu also includes an extensive range of Japanese fare, tweaked from the original menu to cater to local preferences. “When you mention Japanese food to Singaporeans, the usual dishes such as teriyaki chicken don and Japanese ramen come to mind,” said Haru, Nana’s Business

ICE CREAM WITH A TWIST: Nana’s Green Tea’s Matcha Shiratama Parfait.


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CHRONICLE 07 Tsujiri

Where: 100AM, 100 Tras Street, #01-14B When: Mondays to Sundays, 10am–10pm Tel: 6543 6110 Set in a small shop space in Tanjong Pagar, Tsujiri is a place to get your quick matcha fix. Unlike Nana’s Green Tea and Maccha House, this Kyoto dessert house serves its drinks and desserts in plastic cups — but without any compromise on quality. With a menu strictly dedicated to green tea fare, Tsujiri’s specialty is its O-maccha Roll Cake ($4.50), served with a dollop of whipped cream and red bean paste. Having heard good reviews about this roll, I was excited to dig in. On first bite, the cake was light and fluffy, albeit slightly dry. Thankfully, the thick matcha cream in the centre made up for the dryness.

As I continued, the sweetness of the roll together with the red bean and whipped cream became rather overwhelming — it might be wise to eat the roll on its own instead. But the cafe doesn’t just set itself apart with just its sweets; the parfaits here also offer something extra. The Chiffon Parfait O-maccha ($7.50) is served with a rich matcha soft serve and a generous slice of the O-maccha chiffon — a creative addition to the typical green tea parfait. For a light tea time snack, tr y the O-maccha Almond Shell Cookies ($6.20), baked thinly with almonds that give an extra crunch. The hefty price tag for the small pack of cookies raised my expectations, but unfortunately, all I could taste were the roasted almonds. Despite the space constraints at Tsujiri that make it less ideal for social gatherings, the variety of items available on the menu will definitely appeal to green tea lovers.

GREEN TEA PARTY: Tsujiri’s quick bites, O-maccha Almond Shell Cookies (left) and O-maccha Roll Cake (right). PHOTOS: TAN YANGER & MATTHEW NG WEI SHUEN

Other green tea creations UHA High Concentrated Matcha Candy

ICEd GREEN TEA: Tsujiri uses matcha soft serve and their O-maccha chiffon cake to create an orginal dessert.

Manager. “That is why we decided to include the more popular eats in our Singaporean menu, ones that are not present in our original menu at our Kyoto branch.” However, their matcha is specially imported from Kyoto — the most famous production centre of powdered green tea — and is a big hit here. Despite prices being on the steep side, from $6.50 - 13.80, customers are more than willing to pay for quality matcha beverages and desserts. Those who visited the outlet in Japan said that the food served in the Singapore outlet came very close to the original taste and quantity. For those who aren’t fans of matcha, Nana’s Green Tea also serves azuki red bean drinks, as well as Hoji-cha, a roasted green tea that has a smoky, slightly caramelised flavour.

Maccha House

Where: Orchard Central, #B1-40 When: Mondays to Sundays, 11am-10pm Tel: 6636 5830 Maccha House’s Matcha Parfait with mochi ($9.50) is similar to Nana’s Green Tea’s Matcha Shiratama Parfait albeit with an extra kick of citrus, and at a lower price. The Maccha House version includes a crispy stick of ‘love letter’ and tangerine

wedges, with the latter lending a mild sourness to the dessert that complements the sweetness of the matcha ice cream. Less than two months old in Singapore, this green tea themed cafe recently opened its pioneer outlet at the basement of Orchard Central and offers a spread of matcha variations and other Japanese dishes. But what makes Maccha House distinctive is its affordability: there is no ser vice charge as customers personally place their orders at the counter. At Maccha House, it’s not just all about modern artisan matcha fare. For those looking for a more traditional experience, the cafe provides a replica of the Japanese tea ceremony with its traditional Maccha Tea Set ($3.90), complete with a bamboo whisk, teapot, and matcha powder. Each set also comes with mochi doused in sweet green tea syrup. The tea is served without milk, and unapologetically bitter — an acquired taste, no doubt. If you are a fan of saccharine sweet matcha lattes, this may not be your cup of tea. For a creamier, milkier version of matcha, try the green tea soft-serve ice cream in the Matcha Ice Cream Anmitsu ($7.90). Presented alongside azuki red beans, green tea jelly, cut tangerines, mocha and green tea syrup, this is a less filling dessert compared to the parfait — a pleasant way to end a heavy meal.

This slighty sticky hard candy has a delectable milky taste combined with a distinct green tea flavour. The sweetness can get overwhelming, but this sugary goodness is nonetheless an affordable solution to any mid-lecture green tea craving.

Available at NTU Yunnan Bookstore Sold in a box of 10 for $1.90. Matcha Kit Kat These crispy wafer biscuits with green tea white chocolate coating have the right amount of sweetness, balanced by the familiar bitterness of matcha — a refreshing change from the original milk chocolate Kit Kat.

Available at ShiokJapan, 175 Bencoolen Street, #01-37, Burlington Square Sold in a packet of 12 for $10.90 or a box of 30 for $45 Green Tea Gelato Stick Besides serving gelato on a stick, Stick House also removes the guilt of indulgence by making it sugar-free. The Green Tea Gelato Stick ($3.50) can be customised with a choice of Premium Dark, Milk, or Whole Chocolate dipping at an additional charge.

Available at Stick House, 150 Orchard Road, #01-49, Orchard Plaza Green Tea Ice Cheese Tarts This almond cookie-based tart is sweet and crumbly, while the green tea cream cheese filling is smooth, with a slight saltiness from the cheese. The combination of both sweet and savoury is refreshing to the palette. A reasonable portion for its price, this tart makes a satisfying dessert to end a meal with.

Available at Flor’s Patisserie, Takashimaya Basement 2 Food Hall, 391 Orchard Road


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travelogue

WET AND WILD IN MYANMAR When Ethel Chua took a trip to Myanmar, she never imagined herself getting wet and sweaty with the locals along the streets of Yangon. She tells of her accidental encounter with the country’s annual water festival, Thingyan.

WHAT A SPLASH: Staying dry is almost impossible during Thingyan as everyone is equipped with hoses, buckets and pails.

out of our hotel, we were soaked from head to toe by enthusiastic locals who egged us to join in the water festival. As I walked down the street towards Yangon City Hall, there was a string of jeeps and open-top vehicles waiting in line to visit the water throwing platforms. Children and adults alike would run up to people on the footpaths, pouring cups or buckets of cold water down everyone’s backs or just flinging them all about. The 3m-tall platforms were equipped with numerous running faucets and fireman hoses. For about S$30, anyone can purchase passes that grant allday access to more than 30 such hoses, so that they can join in the festivities. Cheaper alternatives were also

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ading in shin-deep murky waters with my clothes clinging onto my skin, I held on tightly to a pail as my eyes fixed onto the oncoming motorcyclist and his pillion rider. “Go!” My travel buddy Kris shouted as we charged towards the motorbike, splashing our ‘victims’ with buckets of water. I was in Yangon, just in time for Myanmar’s annual water festival, Thingyan, which is celebrated in mid-April. The country’s most important public holiday is best described as a wilder Mardi Gras – a Catholic carnival commemorating the day before six weeks of fasting – where the street parties and water fights are bigger, louder and crazier. Witnessing thousands of people dancing on the road, and waving their beers in the air while having a good time reminded me of the nightlife back home. Thingyan marks the end of the dry season, and by splashing water on one another, the locals embrace a new lease of life and new year by ‘washing away’ one’s sins. Within 10 minutes of stepping

available from small road stands that drew water from houses. Luckily for me, I received three passes from my Myanmese friend. Scanning the crowd, I spotted some men dressed up as women — a far cry from the usual sarong, and a rather curious sight for a Singaporean accustomed to conservative outfits back home. But this wasn’t a pride parade — a Myanmese friend of mine explained that the blonde wigs and bras are worn deliberately to attract attention for an auspicious dousing. Even along the less crowded streets, children were armed with hoses, pails and cups, while some tourists had the luxury of water guns. This act was a common sight, and welcomed by all in the spirit of the New Year. Obviously,

PHOTOS: ETHEL CHUA

it was a futile effort trying to pass the armed attackers without getting wet. Thankfully, water balloons and pressurised water guns are banned in Myanmar due to the risk of injuring others. Thing yan, however, is not celebrated on ly in Myanmar. Neighbouring Theravada Buddhist countries such as Cambodia and Thailand also celebrate the water festival, called the Chaul Chnam Thmey and Songkran respectively. However i n Mya n ma r, Thingyan is quite different among all these water festivals. After deciding I was soaked enough, I managed to hitch a ride with some locals, Taiwanese, Canadians and Koreans back to my hotel. The locals seemed to love the

But this wasn’t a pride parade — a Myanmese friend of mine explained that the blonde wigs and bras are worn deliberately to attract attention for an auspicious dousing.

idea of having foreigners on board their trucks, and even though everyone else paid 20,000 kyats (aboutS$30), the foreigners were invited on for free. As I warmed up with the people on the truck, I was greeted with an obligatory dose of moonshine of 80 per cent alcohol — a concoction of whiskey, orange juice and chilli padi. Downing the shot, I first felt a burning sensation along my throat, followed by the bitterness of the whiskey that left me cringing afterwards. The displeasure on my face caused everyone to burst into peals of drunken laughter. And in the midst of our guffaws, a sobering thought struck me. Mynamar is inevitably changing with the country’s shift towards democracy. Despite the looming adjustments they will have to accept in their lives, I pray the Myanmese will still hold strongly their beliefs and traditions. Hop e f u l l y, f e s t i v a l s l i ke Thingyan will live on to become a symbolic union of the old and new.


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glamour

VINTAGE & VALOUR Ronald Lim, 23 Third year Art, Design & Media (ADM) student Visual Communications Major

graphic: CHIN LI ZHI

www.behance.net/absolutvintage

EXPLORING IDEAS: Ronald Lim hopes that his art can help people realise the beauty of nature and simplicity.

Courage allowed him to take the step of faith to enter into the unknown. Lifestyle Editor Bernice Koh sits down with Ronald Lim and finds out his witty interplay of fashion and art

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fter experimenting with Photoshop and designing posters and cards at the age of 15, Ronald Lim decided to further his interests at the School of Art, Design and Media upon being offered a scholarship by the Singapore Air Force. Finding his footing has not been easy for this budding designer. Ronald was in the science stream in his junior college days and even had a place at Singapore Management University (SMU) studying Information Systems, a far cry from what he’s doing today. Thankfully, his scholarship has freed him from the worries of getting a job after graduation, allowing him to pursue art. Ronald’s liberal use of negative space in his works are reflective of the influence from Ukio-e prints, which are Japanese woodblock prints. Ukio-e translates to ‘pictures of the floating world’. Inspired by rhythmic geometry in the art movements of Art Deco and Cubism, he did a fusion between the late French fashion illustrator Erte and Tea Company Harney and Sons for his school project. Ronald’s project involved branding a new line of tea-related products, infusing it with the essence of Erte’s world of couture. Erte was a prominent illustrator in the Art Deco movement and was even the head illustrator for Harper’s Bazaar. Art Deco is a purely decorative artistic movement that thrived from the 1920s-1930s, unlike most movements of its time that had political or philosophical beginnings.

Caveman or shaved man?

PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH QI QI

His philosophy is simple: Beauty is everywhere. Through his works, he encourages Singaporeans to appreciate the beauty around them and go deeper to understand the meaning behind each artwork. “It’s amazing how people can see design as something that can blend so seamlessly into the functionality of things.”

You call yourself a designer. What is the difference between a designer and an artist? An artist does art for self-interest. It doesn’t necessarily need to convey a message to others. A designer on the other hand, needs to communicate messages through his work. and their works cannot be self-indulgent. However, we always flirt around with the idea of art in our work, challenging ourselves to incorporate art into our designs. I’m more of a designer than an artist.

How does the Art Deco movement speak to you as a designer? Personally, I feel that art shouldn’t be limited by rules of any period. However, rules can help make the artwork clearer as they are there to liberate self-expression.

What was the message behind the fictitious collaboration between Erte and Harney and Sons? The branding of the new line of tea-related products is vintage in nature, influenced by the Art Deco movement and the GrecoRoman culture, which was a favourite of Erte himself. It merges fashion and tea — since both have a lot in common in terms of style

fashion high tea party: The fictitious collaboration explores the possibility of the path not yet ventured in the world of art and fashion. PHOTO COURTESY OF RONALD Lim

and audience. I thought it would be interesting to see how the two of them could mix.

What do you think of Singapore’s attitudes towards art, 10 years ago and today? Ten years ago, people bought an item more for its function rather than its physical appeal. Today, people have a keener sense of awareness in aesthetics around them. However, we are still a long way from appreciating design as compared to other more developed societies.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

If I could have it my way, I would like to start my own magazine as I believe the influence and impact a magazine can bring,

CUTS, razor burns and ingrown hairs — painful woes faced by men every morning. While the quick removal of facial hair is now much easier with disposable blades and canned shaving foam, the trade-off for saving time is often lingering and unpleasant. The art of the clean shave has also lost popularity, with men going for the unkempt look after watching Hollywood celebrities like Hugh Jackman and even local Member of Parliament Mr Baey Yam Keng pull it off effortlessly. But, a clean-shaven face is traditionally still the ideal look to impress bosses looking for prospective employees. Moreover, it takes years off your age and gives a positive impression. Hair grows in all directions, especially around the neck, and when you drag a razor against its natural direction of growth, the hair is effectively pulled back — causing razor burn: damaged hair follicles and ingrown hairs. While shaving in the opposite direction of hair growth gives a closer shave, there is also a higher chance of ingrown hairs. Moisturising your face before shaving helps soften hair and avoid irritation of the skin. It also helps soothe pores after shaving and is wa good way to combat the irksome nicks and bumps. More blades also help, with five being the current gold standard. Meanwhile, splashing hot water on the skin before shaving also helps soften keratin — a protein within the hair shaft. Most men “don’t take time to prepare their skin”, says Karen Grant, global industry analyst for beauty at market researcher NPD Group. But should all else fail, and you end up with a cut or nick, simply apply pressure for three to five minutes to stop the bleeding. -BERNICE KOH


14- 15 LIFESTYLE spotlight

indie BY THE BAY Back for its third run, the St Jerome’s Laneway Festival drew a crowd with a die-hard energy that matched the blazing heat. Reviews Editor Charmaine Ng experienced it first-hand.

WArrior: Kimbra fired up the crowd with her own energetic and powerful set before returning to the stage to perform Somebody That I Used to Know with Gotye at the end of the night.

FOLK SINGERS: Kings of Convenience (left) kicked off the festival with their smooth sounds. Later, crowd favourite Of Monsters and Men (right) took over the stage with their large band and infectious tunes.

PHOTOs: YEO KAI WEN


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SUNSHINE GIRLS: Fans braved the heat at The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay, to spend over 12 hours watching their favourite indie acts.

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ELENTLESS, crazy and energetic. And this was despite the scorching weather. For over six hours on 26 Jan, the boisterous crowd at Gardens by the Bay braved the af ternoon sun for 14 indie acts from Norway, Iceland, New Zealand and UK. Many showed foresight by arming themselves with sunblock, while bikini tops and bare torsos were fashion statements of the day. Others who didn’t anticipate the intense weather improvised by cutting up cardboard boxes into environmentally-friendly headgear for some shade. Such was the level of dedication exuded by thousands of fans who turned up that day. T he St Je rome La neway Festival was founded in 2004, in one of Melbourne’s back alleys. This year, the evolved event makes its way to Singapore and six Australian cities. So forgoing the sunburnt skin, c rowd s wer e r ewa rded when Icelandic band Of Monsters And Men — the obvious crowd favourite — took the stage at 5pm. The band rightfully attracted the largest and loudest crowd, who went shrilling mad when they played their first song Dirty Paws. Occasional strumming mistakes and off-key vocals were hardly an issue to the audience. The five-piece band demonstrated superb live-playing abilities, together with session trumpeter Ragnhildur Gunnarsdottir. The group was even brought back on stage for a brief encore, enchanting the crowd one last time with their song Numb Bears. It appeared their charm was unparalleled throughout Laneway. Not even closing act Gotye, one of the most well-known acts at the festival, could stop part of the crowd from scrambling to leave before taxi queues became absurdly long. Never theless, the BelgianAustralian came on at midnight

to a sizable crowd, performing his renowned single Somebody That I Used To Know with New Zealander Kimbra. Following closely behind Of Monsters And Men in terms of popularity was Kings Of Convenience, who opened the festival with their relaxing folk tunes and mellow, baritone voices. Many couldn’t resist dancing along to the Norwegian duo’s closing song, I’d Rather Dance With You, including singer-guitarist Erlend Øye (pronounced “oy-yay”) himself, who teased the crowd with some sensual moves. The music event also played host to two eclectic solo acts: Kimbra and UK’s Natasha Khan (aka Bat for Lashes). The two indie divas ruled the stage in their own right while dressed in flamboyant outfits. In a flowy all-white ensemble, Khan showed off her trademark falsetto vocals in All Your Gold, while dancing along to the song’s upbeat and catchy rhythm. Despite a few technical glitches, the event was admirably wellorganised for the 12 consecutive hours of performances. Even the one that forced British rock band Alt-J to stop their act for almost 10 minutes didn’t dampen the mood. Instead, the crowd had other issues to contend with. With a crowd this massive, the problem wasn’t only the neverending taxi queues. Inside the venue, the snaking queue for food and drinks also meant long waiting times. That aside, the music event drew a diverse crowd of all ages, from teenage indie music junkies to 50-year-olds soaking in the fun. The concert even attracted foreigners from nearby countries, such as 25-year-olds Ping, Mhee, and Chompoo from Thailand who were here for only a day. The blistering heat was indeed persistent, but nothing compared to the devotion displayed by fans, artists and organisers alike.



PHOTOs: YEO KAI WEN

The lineup Kings of Convenience Polica Cloud Nothings Divine Fits Japandroids Of Monsters And Men Nicolas Jaar Kimbra Real Estate Alt-J Yeasayer Bat For Lashes Tame Impala Gotye

For more Laneway photos, log on to: www. ntu.edu.sg/chronicle.

LOVE IS REAL: Divine Fits filled the Meadow with the sounds of their rock-fueled act.

Hair band: Cloud Nothings rocked out early in the afternoon with their garage band-style energy and indie-rock sound.


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singles of the month SUIT & TIE (ft. Jay Z)

NUCLEAR

SUGAR AND SPICE

IT’S been seven years since Justin Timberlake’s SexyBack ruled the airwaves, and his comeback single Suit & Tie is just as bold an effort. The song is a mix of soul, R&B, and rap — a stand-out move backed by rap veteran Jay-Z. Draggy introduction aside, the song presents a groovy, laidback beat once the verse comes in. Drum claps, finger clicks, big-band horns and synthesised sounds — Timberlake may be experimenting with this song, but it works. The music is classy and sophisticated while the 31-year-old (fittingly) sings of tuxedos. Admittedly, the single is less addictive compared to its predecessors (LoveStoned/I Think She Knows and My Love). Regardless, Suit & Tie is a timely save for folks getting tired of the usual clubbing fare on air.

BEYONCE, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams may be individual powerhouses in their own right, but Nuclear is a reminder that these three divas are, vocally, meant for each other. Even though Queen B’s tone has matured over the years, the trio manages a sensual performance, blending their voices into one smooth track, venturing slightly into the chill-out trance genre. Regrettably, the song lacks a strong hook for a memorable comeback. Nuclear is reminiscent of 90s dance pop with its retro beat loop, which becomes repetitive after the first minute. Perhaps a ballad (like their 2001 cover of Bee Gees’ Emotion) would be a better showcase of the group’s musical ability to an unacquainted audience — Nuclear does little more than appease the new generation of listeners hungry for more dance hits.

WITH a title like Sugar and Spice, one expects a cloying bubblegum-pop track — especially when it is sung by 12-year-old Willow Smith. But the title belies its macabre lyrics: “They wanna puncture me and then wonder why I bleed,” Smith croons. With dark lyrics like this, it’s clear Smith has matured well beyond her years — a result, perhaps, of growing up in the ruthless entertainment industry. The song avoids the usual hurtling of synths and beats; listeners are given a rare treat of her crystal-clear vocals, accompanied by a sample of Radiohead’s Codex. Her voice is more distinctive than ever, reminiscent of Rihanna in Russian Roulette. The drastic evolution of her music may be startling, but the maturity of her mind is certainly an eye-opener.

Justin Timberlake (R&B)

-Charmaine Ng

Destiny’s Child (R&B)

-Charmaine Ng

Willow Smith (Pop)

-Goh Chiew Tong

PHOTOS: INTERNET

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

C’MON

NOW

AFTER a decade-long hiatus, David Bowie caught the music fraternity by surprise, releasing a new single on his birthday, 8 Jan. Yet, his discography of 26 albums doesn’t seem to tire his fans out. Where Are We Now? brings us a folk-like, sultry and melancholic taste of Bowie in his mature persona. It charters the fall of the Berlin Wall and a nostalgic walkabout of the city, recognising its landmarks, complemented by his aged voice that speaks volumes of the musician’s transformed tone. But he doesn’t allow his listeners to be stuck in a reminiscent melancholy. He asks listeners repeatedly: “Where are we now?”, imploring us to consider our present. This single is a distance away from the style of his previous outing, but nonetheless, it is the Bowie that his fans know and love.

IT’S hard to ignore Ke$ha’s in-your-face vocals. Granted, too much of the party-loving singer in one sitting may result in a splitting headache from auto-tune overload, but C’mon is a guilty pleasure not to be resisted. Ke$ha pulls the same tricks on this song with the usual stuttering and rapping style of hit single TiK ToK, a formula that hasn’t waned in popularity. The 25-year-old remains persistent in promoting her motto of living for today, with the bridge repeating these words like a mantra: “I don’t want to think about/ What’s gonna be after this/ I just wanna live right now.” Perhaps that mentality is helpful for Ke$ha. Pop hits come and go, and though catchy, C’mon may be easily forgotten once a new contender appears.

YOU have to admit — Hayley Williams is not one to mess with. With a big voice in her petite frame, she doesn’t go down without a fight. Daringly loud, Now denies any speculation that the leaving of two founding members, lead guitarist Josh and drummer Zac Farro, would mark the demise of Paramore. In fact, the band debuts an updated, indie-rock sound. Williams makes this explicit in the lyrics: “We’re starting over or head back in/ There’s a time and a place to die but this ain’t it.” Purist fans may slam the song for being too much pop and not enough rock, but the chorus sticks with a catchy “now-ow-ow-ow-ow” — it won’t be surprising if the song becomes a radio hit for that line.

David Bowie (Rock)

-Russell Chan

Ke$ha (Pop)

-Charmaine Ng

Paramore (Alternative)

-Charmaine Ng


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ALBUM NO ELEPHANTS Lisa Germano (Alternative Rock)

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MUSICAL DEVIANT: Lisa Germano experiments with electronics and static sounds in no elephants.

PHOTO: INTERNET

WHEN a neighbour called the police on Lisa Germano for crying too much over her dead cat, she wrote a song to mock his actions. Ev ident ly, penning radiofriendly songs isn’t Germano’s specialty. “I don’t make records you can put on at a party. It’s not that kind of music,” she said. Her unapologetic style is already evident with the opening song Ruminants as the album introduces listeners to Germano’s personality. Her trademark hushed vocals make even the most random lyrics — “Graceful/ Sonata/ Sugary Cover/ Hogwash/ Come On” — strangely intimate. The compelling mood of the album culminates in its interlude, Dance of the Bees. The track is a musical collage with its overlay of static sounds, acoustic guitar r iffs, and the beeping of a rejected call, creating a surprisingly addictive rhythm. But the album is more than an experimentation of lyrics and sounds. Germano reveals her sensitive side too, singing about matters close to her heart.

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In a bittersweet, reminiscing track about falling out of love, the 52-year-old conveys her anguish in …And So On. Despite the literal expressions used (“I’m sad because I love/ I love you every day”), the song manages to tug at the heartstrings with its slow piano accompaniment. The same melancholia from the warm tones of Germano’s piano is also evident in A Feast as she cries for help against animal cruelty: “What of the foie gras, God help us all/ How in the world?/ How in the world?” At first, the seemingly disparate acoustic and electronic elements in the album may leave a listener disconcerted. Over time, however, it gets easier to appreciate Germano’s choice of diverse sounds as a form of expression. Like a book, no elephants requires listeners to take time to slowly work through her music. Ultimately, Germano communicates her confusion in trying to understand the world as she sees it. Unfortunately, towards the end of the album, the melodies begin to sound repetitive. For this reason, the penultimate track Last Straws For Sale is especially forgettable and uninspiring. Overall, though occasionally ambiguous, no elephants does encompass some layers of meaning and musicality. It just requires patience to scrutinise and grasp everything Germano has to offer.

-Goh Chiew Tong

FILMS THE SESSIONS

DRAMA (R21) John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William Macy 95min

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D

isabled-sex comedy-dram a s a r e u ncom mon i n Hol ly wood ci nema, but director Ben Lewin ensures The Sessions is a fine example of its kind. The movie is a rare gem in an industry fond of sexualising intimacy. It narrates the true story of Mark O’Brien (John Hawkes), a journalist and poet paralysed neck down by polio since age six. O’Brien’s physical condition leaves him trapped in a giant iron lung for life support, a hindrance to his love and sex life. At 38, he decides it’s finally time to lose his virginity, and hires a sex therapist to help him do so. Playing a bedridden character, Hawkes has no room for bodily movements. Yet relying only on facial expressions, Hawkes manages to give O’Brien a child-like vulner-

ability. Glassy-eyed and insecure about his decision to lose his virginity, his unrestrained emotions convince audiences of a disabled person’s emotional capacity. Hawkes also inserts a dry selfdeprecating sense of humour into O’Brien. While in a church, he talks with sarcasm and cynicism: “I’m definitely a true believer, but I believe in a God with a sense of humor… One who created me in His odd image.” Oscar-winning actress Helen Hunt plays O’Brien’s sex surrogate, Cheryl Cohen-Greene. With Hawkes being in a bed throughout the film, Hunt exudes grace, confident of her body. There is nothing pretentious about Hunt’s performance, leaving the audience in awe of CohenGreene’s patience, kindness and ease with full-frontal nudity. As she strips bare under the watching eyes of O’Brien, the audience becomes even more aware of her every movement, nuanced and purposeful. Hunt also delivers with great control the increasing emotional complexity Cohen-Greene experiences as the sessions progress. When O’Brien’s love poem for her ends up with her husband, Hunt’s portrayal of a seemingly fearless woman, burdened by her

BIRDS AND BEES: Helen Hunt plays a sex therapist, hired by Mark O’Brien (John Hawkes).

patient and the responsibilities of a mother and wife, shines. Put together, Hunt’s gentleness and Hawke’s endearing performance make the sex scenes unexpectedly tender. Lewin employs clever cinematography to highlight the intense moments, particularly the use of

close-up shots during moments of physical intimacy — communicating the novelty of the sexual experience for O’Brien and making the process movingly humane. In just over 90 minutes, the film sheds light on the thin line bet ween love and desire, and bet ween prostitution and sex

PHOTO: INTERNET

therapy — all with due honesty and caution. While the film does not moralise or provide any easy answers, it’s an honest portrayal of the disenfranchised as individuals finding their way as they seek —­and make — love.

-Goh Chiew Tong


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reviews

FILMS HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS (3D)

ACTION, THRILLER (NC16) Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton 88min

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BLACK MAGIC: Jeremy Renner (right) and Gemma Arterton (left) play Hansel and Gretel, siblings who hunt witches for a living. PHOTO: PARAMOUNT PICTURES

n the renowned version of the German fairytale, Hansel and Gretel are held captive in a candy house by a wicked witch, whom they defeat by throwing into an oven. This adaption by writer-director Tommy Wirkola and co-writer Dante Harper expands on the story, focusing on the two as adults. Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) had to fend for themselves at a tender age, and now scrape a living as witch hunters. In their quest of investigating a series of child disappearances in a small town, they are confronted with a motley crew of adversaries. Unfortunately, the plot fails to bring out the cast’s acting credence. Confined to his role as an insolent obstacle to the siblings, Peter Stormare as Sheriff Berringer provides far less value to the plot than expected. The romance between Hansel and Mina (Pihla Viitala) has plenty of untapped potential. For one, the stunning Finnish actress deserves

more screen time as her character brings depth to the otherwise one-dimensional story. With this film, Wirkola joins the ranks of Hollywood directors who’ve hopped on the bandwagon of Disney remakes. Regrettably, Witch Hunters joins other lacklustre remakes that fail to deliver. Brimming with cliches from the recent vampire fad, such as the discovery of an unsurprising trend in the kidnappings and uncovering a lunar eclipse-related ritual, the film tries to reconnect with the audience through feeble dabbling in sex appeal, gore, and snarky humour. While plot and character twists help to capture a viewer’s attention, the attempts appear contrived. For the most part, every detail of the plot is awfully predictable. Suspense comes not in the form of what to expect next in the story, but what special effects are about to be played out. The movie’s only saving grace is in its seamless CGI fight scenes. The 3D experience of having deadly weapons thrown at viewers may leave them flinching in their seats. But when paired with the weak storyline, all that ultimately feels disconnected and trite. Moviegoers who enjoy gore and action will find Hansel and Gretel an entertaining watch, although the plot will disappoint those who expect much from a film featuring Renner.

-Russell Chan

books UNREST (FICTION)

Yeng Pway Ngon (Translated by Jeremy Tiang) $25 at BooksActually

Published by Math Paper Press

YOU think you’ve heard it all — every side of the near-forgotten tales your grandparents fed you. But there may be some stories they will be tight-lipped about. For example, did the hot-blooded Chung Cheng student rioters from 1956 even comprehend Karl Marx’s theory on dialectical materialism? How did those youths sneak off to Keong Siak Street (the red-light district of the day) without their parents kicking up a fuss? How did their young relationships, consummated barely out of the schoolroom, last past their middle-aged years? In Unrest, 66-year-old writer Yeng Pway Ngon answers these questions that arise whenever an older Singaporean lets slip a tale set in a more vibrant yet shadier Singapore, but clams up right as it gets sordid. Indeed, the 2003 Cultural Medallion recipient couldn’t have chosen more startling themes to base his novel on — sex and politics. The writer remarks that “except in

unusually conservative societies, these two topics are no longer forbidden”. Unrest introduces four young protagonists — Guoliang, Weikang, Daming and Ziqin — and tells the story from their different points of view in a fractured narrative. The novel oscillates between their adult lives and their revolutionary exploits when they were students. From the start, one may be misled into thinking that the novel is yet another diorama on earlier Singaporeans, similar to works by local writers Goh Poh Seng and Christine Su-Chen Lim. But it’s much more than a dramatisation of the passions and fears of the young Chinese diaspora in the 50s to 80s — Unrest is a piece of work that comments on itself. Yeng bafflingly thrusts himself into the narrative at one point, as a woman banally brushes her teeth in the first chapter, telling the reader outright: “She is the female protagonist of my novel.” As the novel progresses with each new interruption, the writer becomes bolder in imposing his presence, but with method and purpose to his odd style. The writing highlights the difficulty in shoving fictional characters into typical roles and tired sequences modern readers would be dissatisfied with. This is evident in the way Yeng introduces his female protagonist, the perfect stock character of an adulterous wife. At one point, she dominates the novel for six pages — in first-person narrative — unexpectedly critiquing the treatment of female characters in novels written by men, beginning with: “Did you read what the writer wrote about me? Typical man.” Like its difficult female protagonist, Unrest is no easy read. In exchange for the reader’s initial head-scratching, one gains Yeng’s generous insights on the difficulties and intricacies of writing a Singaporean novel.

-Steffi Koh

BRAIN ON FIRE: MY MONTH OF MADNESS (NON-FICTION) Susannah Cahalan

$34.19 at Books Kinokuniya Published by Penguin Books

HER brain was turning in on itself, and there was nothing New York Post journalist Susannah Cahalan could do about it. She became increasingly paranoid, violent, and couldn’t control her actions. Within six weeks, she lost her mind. The next thing the 24-year-old remembered was finding out just how unstable and dangerous she had been in the past month. With no memory of her month-long stay at the hospital, she slowly pieced together the events of her trauma through information shared by her family, friends and doctors. In detailing her journey back to sanity, Cahalan takes the reader through an emotional rollercoaster with her graphic and thorough recount — a truly amazing feat, given her complete memory blackout. Her initial symptoms began with her failing to perform simple daily tasks properly and acting completely out of character. She then started to have hallucinations

and heard imaginary things like her stepfather calling her a slut. The last wave was when she couldn’t process information and was incapable of proper speech. Violent episodes were also a common occurrence. While in the hospital, Cahalan tried to escape from her ward at least four times, earning herself a personal guard after two escape attempts. She had no qualms about harming herself, constantly ripping electrodes off — and her hair in the process. During her month of hospitalisation, many doctors were left frustrated after they were unable to diagnose her disease despite countless tests and brain scans. Eventually, two doctors were convinced that her symptoms signalled a psychiatric problem. Cahalan became the 217th person in the world to be diagnosed with anti-receptor encephalitis, which begins with f lu-like symptoms, which then evolves to psychiatric behavior like delusions, paranoia. While the story is peppered with a fair amount of medical concepts, Cahalan explains them in an easily digestable manner, filtering out unnecessary jargon and using graphics to help readers understand her condition. The initial impetus for Cahalan to publish her memoir was the overwhelming response she received from the public about her article in the New York Post. It made her realise there are others going through similar illnesses who needed support. She was determined to raise awareness about the little-known brain disease that could be easily mistaken as demonic possession or a psychiatric problem. A gripping tale of survival from a terrifying disease, Brain On Fire: My Month Of Madness may move readers to tears with its deeply personal, moving narrative of Cahalan’s harrowing experience.

-Tan Pei Lin


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dapper: your essential style guide

On Adler Velvet Suit, $249, H&M Silver Belt, $17.90, H&M Maroon Pants, $79.90, H&M Snake Printed Shirt, $79.90, Topman On Danielle Red Dress, $115, Pinkies Closet Cobra Ring, $125, ANK Stockists ANK, Orchard Central #06-24 181 Orchard Road Pinkies Closet, www.pinkiescloset.com H&M, ION Orchard #B2-28 2 Orchard Turn / 1 Grange Road Topman, ION Orchard / Knightsbridge / VivoCity / Tampines1 / Raffles City / BHG Bugis


20-21 FASHION dapper: your essential style guide

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7 1. Gold Black Dress, $89.90, Pinkies Closet Necklace, $55, ANK 2. Printed Tee, $39.90, H&M Printed Trousers, $99.90, H&M 3. Striped Cardigan, $24.90, H&M Printed Trousers, $99.90, H&M 4. Silver Knitted Dress, $39.90, H&M Diamond Body Armour, $85, ANK 5. Red Sparkly Dress, $115, Pinkies Closet Cobra Ring, $125, ANK 6. Snake Necklace, $285, ANK 7. Golden Sequin Shirt, $79.90, H&M Photographer: Wilfred Lim Assistant: Phyllicia Wang Hair & Make-up: Vivian Vindu Dinata Models: Danielle Lim, Adler Poh (Cal-Carries)


22-23 SHOW photo: spotlight

WATCHING OUT FOR YOU A reserve of knowledge, experience and ability is what fuels the Campus Security Division (CSD) to keep us safe and secure round the clock. Photo editors Lim Mu Yao and Yeo Kai Wen visit the heart of the school’s security operations to bring you the stories behind our watchful guardians in uniform.

F

OR 10 years, Mr Abdul Khalil, 55, took many long lonely walks around the university at night as a campus warden. Most nights, there’s nothing to report as the campus is generally safe and peaceful. But occasionally, Mr Khalil is called upon to rush to an accident scene, fight a small fire, and on one instance, catch a python. Mr Khalil is now an Operations Of f ic e r at t he N T U C a mpu s Security Division (CSD), which is under the Office of Housing & Auxiliary Services. He has been working in NTU for 13 years, starting out as a campus warden at CSD. He currently helps in administering and coordinating security teams. “There was an incident about 10 years ago where there was

a complaint about thick smoke coming out from the door of a student’s hall room. I remember rushing to the scene, only to find that the door was barricaded with a computer table,” said Mr Khalil. “I crawled under the table to find a small fire caused by an overturned ashtray. There was no one in the room and thick smoke was everywhere,” he said. “So I ran out, quickly found a fire extinguisher and put the small fire out.” But his day-to-day work is not always so thrilling, though no less important. The CSD is the only task force on campus that’s on standby 24/7, constantly keeping watch to detect and deter crime through roundthe-clock patrols and campuswide surveillance.

From seemingly pedestr ian tasks such as safekeeping lost be long i ngs to pat rol l i ng t he university’s numerous hallways, campus wardens and securit y officers take great pride in their work. For Mr Khalil’s colleague, Mr Mohamed Fahmi, 58, the job is not just about taking care of physical property, but also keeping the people on campus safe. T he A s s i s t a nt O p e r at ion s Officer has served seven years on the job. Prev iously a retired police of f ice r f rom t he C r i m i na l Investigation Depar tment, he now finds fulfillment in serving the student population. “Every year, there are international students who are trying to find their way around on their first

day on campus. “I find it especially rewarding when I’m able to help them, because I am like a frontline ambassador for the university,” he said. M r Fa h m i b r e a k s i n t o a smile, recalling incidents where exchange students thanked him for his help. Suddenly, the CSD’s 24-hour security hotline rings. A fellow campus warden has wheel-clamped an illegally parked vehicle and its driver wants it to be unclamped, and Mr Fahmi is tasked to resolve the situation. As he springs back to duty, Mr Fahmi said: “I take great pride in protecting life and property.” “ W h i le we don’t have t he powers of the police, it’s still a job that requires quick assessment and good judgment.”

CAMPUS SECURITY USEFUL CONTACTS 24-HOUR FAULT REPORTING AND SECURITY HOTLINE 6790 4777 NIE SECURITY 6790 3999 NTU MEDICAL CENTRE 6793 6828 IT SERVICES HELPDESK 6790 4357 EMAIL csdgo@ntu.edu.sg


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I crawled under the table to find a fire Mr Mohamed Fahmi, 58 Operations Officer Campus Security Division

(CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT) EYE ON YOU: Mr Abdul Khalil, 55, started out on the job with zero experience, unlike most of his colleagues who retired from the Singapore Civil Defence Force and Singapore Police Force. ON THE HOTLINE: Being ready 24/7 also means being prepared to deal with any situation that comes in through the Campus Security hotline. Mr Fahmi attends to a caller who’s filing a lost-and-found report. SCOOTING WHILE SCOUTING: Mr Mohamad Taufiq, 22, a campus warden, uses his nimble scooter for quick security dispatches and campus patrols. ACTIVITY MONITOR: Mr Tan Tak Kuang, 50, keeps watch over multiple computer screens at the Fire Command Centre. With more than 20 screens monitoring key installations all over campus, the Fire Command Centre houses the heart of the school’s security system. SWIFT DEPLOYMENT: Upon receiving a radio dispatch from other patrolling campus wardens, Mr Mohamed Fahmi, 58, rushes into his car to help unclamp an illegally parked car. NIGHT PATROL: The CSD patrols the halls of residences and dark corridoors meticulously every night, looking out for safety and security hazards to ensure the well-being of students and staff on campus.


生活版新春特辑 —— 刊28、29页

新闻

校园应用软件 学生直呼好难用 杨一●报道

洋理工大学为了让师生 的校园生活更加便利, 推出了多款应用软件让大家免 费下载,但是记者向学生了解 是否有多加利用,得到的答案 却是因为不精准不方便,很少 有人使用,甚至还有人直呼好 难用,让校方的美意顿时成了 民怨。 挂名为NTU mLearn的手机 应用程式综合了多项校园以及 课业资讯,方便学生通过一个 按钮即可连结至其它平台,其 中包括了多数人使用的Blackboard(简称BB)、校园地图、 教师通讯录查询以及课程简介 等资讯,可是这便利性似乎没 有受到学生的青睐。 庄佩嘉(数学与经济系, 一年级)说:“mLearn虽然结 合了很多功能但并不实用,用 起来繁琐复杂,不容易上手, 加上里头的BB也没有提醒功 能,紧急通知都得自己查询, 所以我索性直接下载了原版的 BB。” 对此,负责研制多项校园应 用程序的李财诚教授以及陈瑞 (音译)教授在接受访问时做 出了答复。 他们解释因为mLearn研发 时并没有编写有提醒功能的程 式,虽然日后升级时确实有纳

入此功能,可惜内建的程式太 多,更新时造成程序差错,所 以才会选择仍维持使用旧版的 BB。

“mLearn虽然结合 了 很 多 功 能但并不使 用,用起来繁琐复 杂,不容易上手。” 庄佩嘉 数学与经济系,一年级

除此之外,因多数学生依赖 校园巴士为代步工具,所以为 了掌握校车到站时间都纷纷选 择下载NTU Bus,一款以卫星 定位让使用者掌握校车地点的 手机应用程序。 可是问题在于手机中显示巴 士到站的预定时间和实际上往 往都有出入。 杨润通(电机与电子工程学 院,一年级)说:“有一次手 机明明显示10分钟后巴士才会 到达,结果一抬头,车就已经 来了。” 他受访时也告诉记者,自己 觉得C路线校车的定位功能不完 善,很多时候根本查询不到, 而D路线校车并没有在应用程式 中显示周末时会变更路线,若 本身不了解校车通车时间的话 就非常容易被误导。

挂名为NTU mLearn的手机应用程式综合了多项校园以及课业资讯,方便学生通过一个按钮即可连 结至其它平台,但似乎没有受到学生的青睐。 摄影:白俊杰 然而鲜少人知道其实NTU Bus并非由南大所研发的,而且 在发表时对方未曾与学校联系 沟通,因此院方表示对于这款 应用程式定位功能的准确度不 方便给予答复。 李财诚教授说若同学需要 准确的巴士应用程序,他建议 下载由前校友所编写的Traver-

sity。这应用程序不仅通过学校 认证,同时也收录在mLearn供 大家免费使用。 可是记者走访李伟南图书 馆、研发中心以及12号宿舍外 的巴士站进行观察,发现使用 NTU Bus和 Traversity 程序的学 生寥寥无几。 记者也试用了Traversity程

序,发现巴士是以车牌号码进 行定位,所以学生必须一一细 看号码以及路线,才可得知车 子究竟在哪里。由于步骤过于 复杂所以至今程式乏人问津。 今年三月将会有eFest开放日 的活动,到时候师生都可参与 并更加了解南大所编写的手机 应用程式。

南大学生:忧心就业机会将减少 刘施驿●报道

年在南大举办职业展都 会邀请许多各行各业的 公司,来校内进行大规模的招 聘活动。 今年也不例外,1月22日及 25日在南洋大礼堂内,提供了 雇主物色人才以及毕业生搜寻 工作的绝佳平台。 虽然李显龙总理去年底宣布 决定放缓新加坡的经济,从过 去的7%至8%下修到2%至3%。

但在场的公司,包括新加 坡科技研究局(A*STAR)、人力 部、三菱电器以及SMRT都纷 纷表示并不会因此缩减所需的 人才数目。 SMRT的林先生甚至说明因 为未来几年得扩建地铁网络, 他们更需要对公共服务事业有 热忱的人才。 社会的改变也造就了雇主对 新职工有新的要求,新加坡人 力部的王奇才建议有意在政府 部门工作的求职学生日后在职 场上得有未雨绸缪的能力,在 问题还没有出现时就必须做好

防范的步骤,而不是等待接到 投诉后才进行抢救。

2011年教育部公布的 大学毕业生就业排行榜 中,海事研究、会计学 和计算机工程分别以 98.1%、97.5%和95.7%位 居前三名。 然而在场寻找工作机会的准 毕业生们对前景感到忧虑,多

名数学与经济系的学生觉得今 年工作并不好找,因为许多家 银行都只招募一至两人,所以 就业压力非常大。 洪亿隽(中文系,四年级) 对未来的就业也感到不乐观, 她说:“因为修读中文,所以 能够选择的行业并不多。若不 在报馆做媒体刊物,就是得在 政府部门从事文书工作,但这 两个地方竞争都相当激烈。” 反观刘国健(电器与电子 工程学院,四年级)则不担心 未来的发展,他信心十足地表 示:“也许不能找到高薪或者

自己很喜欢的工作,但能够成 功就业应该是没有问题的。” 他也解释不同系所的学生找 工作时会觉得难易度不同是因 为得考虑到各公司是否会赏识 自己修读的专业。 虽然如此,但2011年从本 地大学毕业的学生就业率仍高 达90%,而且平均起薪也有7千 元,因此南大毕业生的就业前 景还算乐观。 毕竟职场上并非全然以专业 文凭取胜,如何表现自己的才 智与能力,让雇主刮目相看, 才是致胜的关键。


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07 CHRONICLE 南大首位华文驻校作家英培安

热血作家 谦虚大师 于文学创作。他很感恩这一路 以来有家人的默默支持,父母 虽然在面对同族间的流短蜚长 时,依然全力支持,而妻子吴 明珠也在事业与家庭上的鼎力 相助。

“本地作家不够努 力,有一点成就报纸 就会报导,太容易出 名。” 英培安 新加坡作家

忧心本地华语环境

回首自己数十年的文学创作历程,英培安感触良多:“爱一样东 西,是需要牺牲的。” 摄影: 陈键民

卢凌之

●报道

于有志于在本地从事华 文创作的青年,南大首 位华文驻校作家英培安给出了 务实的建议:“先好好地去经 营自己的一份工作,但内心仍 要保有对写作的热情,不要着 急,进行长时间的阅读与写 作。创作本身是热血的,你可 以从中得到快乐。” 在桥北中心二楼一隅,是英 培安先生所开设的华文书店, 这家专售华文文史哲类书籍的 书屋,被本地各大学中文系师 生誉为“新加坡华文世界的一 块净土”。 满园书香中,儒雅的店主人 侃侃而谈,“如果要从另一个 角度了解中国的历史,黄仁宇 的《中国大历史》是个不错的 选择。” 说罢,英培安熟练地从书 堆中抽出一本并不起眼的黄皮 书,翻到一个特定的章节,指 给我看。 这份从容自信,和数天前在 南大为他举行的“驻校作家英 培安作品展”开幕茶会上有些 拘谨的形象,很不一样。

不要误人子弟就好 “虽然有些经验,但有别于 往日给初级学院学生开讲座, 首次在大学讲课,刚开始还是 有些不适应;行政上的事务, 小至给学生发邮件,也要先请 中文系里的教授帮忙。” 这位新加坡文坛上的大将, 对于此次在驻校期间开华文 写作课的期望,回答非常谨 慎,“不要误人子弟就好”。 与他的谦卑谨慎形成对比 的,是一份耀眼的履历表:从 中学开始华文写作,创作领域 横跨小说、诗歌、散文、剧 本、文学批评、政论等;并荣 获新加坡国家书籍奖、新加坡 国家文化奖等多个奖项。 因坚持创作“逆子” 回首自己数十年的文学创作 历程,英培安感触良多:“爱 一样东西,是需要牺牲的。” 当年决定要以文学创作作为自 己终身职业时,周围亲戚纷纷 反对,甚至背地里喊他“不孝 之子”,认为他身为长子却 固执己见,不从事“实际的工 作”,不尽孝道。 但英培安仍坚持理想,专注

另外,英培安坦言,目前本 地华语文学环境不佳。一方面 是本地华文作家的优秀作品寥 寥无几。 他直言:“本地作家不够 努力,有一点成就报纸就会报 导,太容易出名。而很多人在 名气光环下,水平也就停滞不 前了。” “不是他们没有水平,而 是在新加坡这样经济为先、重 视物质化生活的大环境下,有 能力的人去做别的事情更能赚 钱。那为何要投入全职写作中 去呢?” 同时,华文读者也在不断流 失,特别是在双语政策下成长 起来的年轻一代,因为阅读习 惯是英文,对华文文学作品兴 趣不大。 可是英培安曾经遇到看了他 作品的英译本而反过来要想看 华文原版的年轻读者,国家艺 术理事会也有支持华语作家创 作的经济资助计划,因此,有 志从事创作的青年才俊大可不 必灰心。 “新加坡华语文学还是有希 望的,但成果需要静候一些时 日才能看到”。

无 线 网 络 校 内 优 良 宿 舍 极 差

胡莉珊●报道

大学生常常依赖智能手机与网络联系友人 以及查询课程表和上课地点,但日前本报 接获同学反映校园内的Wi-Fi服务,出现收讯不 稳、连线缓慢的问题。因此记者实际走访校园并 测试校内Wi-Fi网路信号的强度。 南大资讯科技服务中心(Centre for IT Services)对此作出回应时表示,学校的无线网络流量 并没有在第一通3G服务故障时涌增,也没有接获 任何无线网络信号太弱的相关投诉。然而当时大 多学生聚集的场所如Cheers便利商店却发现无线 网络的速度缓慢,两者说法明显有出入。 资讯科技服务中心也坦诚校园的设计的确会 限制无线网路信号的畅通,加上混凝土墙内的钢 筋、玻璃隔离墙、铁柜、铁门甚至是微波炉都有 可能阻碍连线,因此一些地点如洗手间、电梯、 楼梯间、走道、停车场和建筑物外围可能会收不 到信号。 记者携带智能手机测试无线网络,发现除了 停车场、巴士站、人行道和宿舍等非公用场所以 外,都能找到和成功连接“NTUWL”提供的免费 信号,速度快、稳定性强。然而不少住在宿舍的 学生向记者反映,他们在房间内几乎接收不到无 线网络,必须把手机拿到靠窗的位置才有微弱的 信号。 居住在第二宿舍的白宗庭(电机与电子工程学 院二年级)坦言,听闻有一些宿舍接收得到无线 网络,可是自己的住处却不能,因此日前房间内 的有线网络发生故障时,生活变得非常不方便, 让他感到十分困扰。 杨汉忠(公共与促销传播系二年级)认为学校 各处的无线网络信号并没有明显的强弱差异,况 且查询课业的相关资讯无须如同线上游戏一样讲 求高网速,所以对校园无线网络服务尚属满意。 潘婉君(中文系二年级)则表示虽然学校的无 线网络速度很快,可是每当从一间课室转换到另 一间课室都必须重新登入,步骤较为麻烦繁琐。 据了解,校内提供的网路其实是能满足学生需 求的。资讯科技服务中心透露,手机的Wi-Fi信号 强弱还得取决于机内的天线数量以及是否是拥有 双频段模式。 若学生须要使用更稳定的无线网路,资讯科技 服务中心则建议学生可以到Cheers便利商店附近 的快餐店和学生活动中心接通信号,他们则会多 加监控无线网络的流量,以确保能够应付学生的 需求。 但是校园Wi-Fi服务存在多少弊端,是否能够 负荷大量人数同时上网至今还是未知数,尚有待 观察。

写作与生活经验密不可分 英培安将会在课堂上使用自 己的作品为素材,分析叙述方 式以及写作的面向,同时与同 学分享人生经验。 他说:“文字写作要靠作者 本人的生活经验提炼创造,而 阅读也需要读者自身的生活经 验作为背景加以想象。” 通过本次的“驻校作家计 划”,英培安希望能够给予南 大生们在华语阅读及创作上一 些新的养分。他也非常欢迎各 位有兴趣的同学前去旁听课 程,并参与讨论以迸发出新的 火花。 英培安教授的文学创作课于 每周五早上11点30分至下午2点 30分在TR+108教学。

插图:陈厉志、陈楚怡


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言论 编辑室

为什么要捍卫新闻自由? 刘亭廷 中文编辑

年下半年至今年初对于 亚洲中文传播业可以说 是很特别的一段时间。 首先新闻言论算是亚洲最开 放自由的台湾,因为壹传媒集 团的并购案,发生了由学者以 及学生发起的“反媒体垄断, 捍卫新闻自由”游行,后来学 生还到立法院外抗议。 一月初,中国广州则发生了 《南方周末》新年特刊被删改 事件,记者选择集体罢工表达 不满,现场也有学生声援,但 接受外媒专访时,却被警察直 接抬走扔进路旁的公安车。 这两件事情虽然发生在民情 和政治非常不同的国度,但都 有一个共同点,那就是因为两 家传媒的言辞都是当地最坦率 和勇于表达自己想法的。 去年有幸在壹传媒旗下的壹 电视实习打工八个月,公司的 口号是“敢说真话的电视台,

不被财团政党收买”,当然这 段时间所受到的洗礼也启蒙我 有了捍卫新闻自由的想法。 很多新加坡人或许对新闻 自由这个词汇感到非常陌生, 但在国外它常常被称为第四权 利,也就是独立于政府的行政 权、司法权以及立法权,是个 具有自主性,免受政府干预的 机构,目的是为了给人民呈现 真相。

缺乏了一定程度、可供 信赖的事实作为基础, 也就无法开启有意义的 公众讨论,而人与人之 间缺乏了基本信任,社 会恐变得犬儒。 然而,许多人会反驳言论不 受控管的传媒是不负责任的、 会给社会带来动荡不安,而新 闻报导的多半都是捕风捉影、 不应该轻信。

因此,采取钳制言论的作 法,希望给社会带来安宁。殊 不知如此之举才是制造谣言的 同伙、控制思想的举动。反观 新闻自由才是谣言的天敌、实 实在在开拓人民的视野。 新闻以及言论的目的往往 是呈现最真实、最血淋淋的真 相,但正因为事实的丑陋,迫 使有权者进行控制行为,希望 民心依然倾向自己,《南方周 末》便是最佳的范例。 当新闻不再公正,很多人直 觉下想到的后果便是人民如何 被洗脑、蒙骗。 但最令人害怕的莫过于当 没有人真正相信遭受掌控的媒 体所说的话,导致缺乏了一定 程度、可供信赖的事实作为基 础,也就无法开启有意义的公 众讨论,而人与人之间缺乏了 基本信任,社会恐变得犬儒。 新闻是为了呈现事实的真 相,以保护世界上仅存的真 理。盼读者了解新闻自由的重 要性,莫以嗤之以鼻的心态面 对敢说真话的传媒。

上网嫉妒他人当然不快乐 孙嘉汐

加坡理工学院 的媒体与通讯 课程旗下98名学生于 上个月向本地传媒发 表了一份报告,发现 上网越久的年轻人越 不快乐。 调查对象选取了 820名年龄介于15岁 至35岁的人群,通过 一系列的问题,研究 他们对于幸福感的定 义,以及使用社交网 络媒体的看法。 结果显示,每天 平均花费5.4个小时上 网的人,普遍认为自 己很快乐。但是,每 天平均花费5.8个小时 上网的人则认为自己 不快乐。 笔者对此结果感 到毫不意外,并且 认为花时间上网对于 身心健康弊大于利。 我们身处在一个信息 科技爆炸的时代。越 来越多的年轻人热衷 于使用手机、平板电 脑,流连于各种社交 网站,如面簿、推

特、微博等。虽然许 多人认为社交网站增 进了人与人之间的交 流,促进了信息流动 和世界大同,但笔者 认为在其背后,人类 的窥私欲却是支撑社 交网站的动力之一。 因为社交平台的便 利,人们随时都有动 力想去瞧瞧多年不见 的老友、老同学,以 及身边朋友的状态, 看他们是否过得比自 己更差抑或更好。全 球股神巴菲特曾经说 过“竞争并非推动人 类前进的动力,嫉妒 才是。” 这也解释了 为什么花费越多时间 在社交网络上的人越 不快乐。 他们可能被身边不 停变换的人、事、物 吸引,有时会比较自 己和他人的差距,严 重者则可能迷失在这 自我幻想的心战中。 然而他们忽略许 多人使用社交平台时 都会犯下的通病:许 多人为了建立正面形 象,多少会修改已发 布出去的信息。因

插图:Tran Tran Thi Huyen

此,网路上看到的新 增状态和照片,未必 是朋友日常生活中的 真实写照。 鉴于人们使用社 交网站的现状,笔者 认为年轻人应摆正心 态,试着逐渐减少坐 在电脑前的时间,从 虚拟世界中走出来,

去寻找更有意义的事 去做。 你可以选择读一 本好书、参与健身运 动,甚至约朋友出来 一起享受生活。别再 躲在电脑荧幕后面做 出胡乱的揣测了。这 样的日子,不是更光 明快乐吗?

插图:张家铭

黄逸凡

年底前国会议长柏默 因婚外情事件递交辞 呈,使议长一职空缺将近 一个月的时间。 日前,李显龙总理提名 58岁的回教女律师哈莉玛 (Halimah Yacob)出任议 长。这标志着国会重要席 位空缺之事尘埃落定。 对此事的舆论反应也 不算意外。只是,报道中 纷纷提及哈莉玛身为第一 位女性议长的这项“里程 碑”。这似乎暗示着公众 在潜意识里,对女性能取 得如此高的政治地位感到 意外;同时说明许多人仍 然认为在政治上,男性应 该占有主导地位。 可是,这种观念似乎与 新加坡所标榜的男女平等 及现代社会的理念背道而 驰。这不禁让笔者想到男 女平等在本地是否只是一 句口号罢了? 男性和女性是否真的 地位平等?至少从表面上 看来是真的。有越来越多 的女性走出家庭、踏入社 会,与男性角逐职场上重 要的职位;男孩和女孩也 享受着同样的教育权利, 不再听闻女孩子因性别而 上不了学的不幸消息。 但事实并没那么简单。

新加坡的男性依然比女性 更容易获得就业机会。例 如职场上,即使男女员工 背景相同,男性员工往往 更受青睐,被公司派到国 外出差。在职场的高度竞 争下,男性也往往比女性 更容易获得升职机会。男 性在福利方面也往往比女 性员工来得更佳。 虽然这次哈莉玛出任国 会议长一职,但新加坡仍 然是世界上九个没有女性 长的国家之一,可见男女 平等并没有在本地社会中 取得显著的进步。 新加坡因为华族比例较 高,所以多数人深受着儒 家传统思想“夫为妻纲” 的影响,认为男人应该作 为一家之主,而女人就得 夫唱妇随,这种思想至今 仍然根深蒂固。观念上的 不平等,远比制度上不平 等来得棘手。因为人们从 幼年就被灌输“夫为妻 纲”,甚至认为男人主导 社会是理所当然的事。 男女平等不该只是一句 人们喊喊而已的口号,它 更应该成为一种深入人骨 子里的普世价值。因此, 笔者认为就算本地出现一 位女性议长,我们不应该 过分地宣扬这现象有多特 别。如此一来,本地社会 才能朝着男女真正平等的 目标迈进。

男 女 平 等 不 只 是 句 口 号


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CHRONICLE 07 生活之春节特辑

各地华族学生的

春节STYLE

春节是华人最重要的日子,是传统习俗的集中表现。每当佳节到来,各地华人都会 暂停匆忙的脚步,尽量赶回家团聚,享受天伦之乐。记者郑欣走访了三名来自不同 地方的同学,来了解他们独特的新年习俗。

节,即农历新年, 俗称过年,是象征 团结、兴旺,对未来寄托 新的希望的佳节。春节时 间延续长、地域跨度广, 节日活动丰富,是华人最 重要、最隆重,同时也是 历史最悠久、最热闹的传 统节日。 华人的祖先们,怀着 各自的理想,去到世界各 地扎根,也将华人的习俗 带去了各个角落,久而久 之,便和当地的习俗融 合,形成了独特的地域风 俗。到了如今,虽然同是 华人,但是不同地方的人 们庆祝春节的方式也有所 差异。

何启智,来自新加坡, 商学院一年级。 何启智的家人在除夕 前会把家居里外彻底进行 一番大扫除。正所谓除旧 才能迎新,将家里打扫得 干干净净,以新的风貌迎 接新的一面。 大扫除的工作多年来 都是父母包办,他笑说因 为他怕不懂风俗而将“ 财”扫出了门,所以都对 扫除之事避而远之。

除夕这天,因为他父 亲是长兄所以他的叔叔们 全家都会来拜年。平时难 得相聚的亲友们随意地聊 着,脸上的喜悦让他深深 体会到幸福的真谛。 年夜菜包含了各种美 食佳肴,其中不可缺少的 自然有捞鱼生的环节,一 家人围在桌旁,一边捞着 鱼生,一边喊着吉祥话。 鱼生中包含的许多材 料都有吉祥的寓意,如鱼 代表着年年有余,加入薄 脆则象征黄金满地,财源 广进。 在新加坡本地的习俗 中,鱼生早已成为了不可 缺少的新年佳肴。 大家不仅可以品尝到 美食,还在欢声笑语中许 下新年美好的愿望,互相 寄予真挚的祝福。 大年初一的一大早, 全家人便在他母亲的催促 下,带着橘子、穿戴整齐 一起到外婆家拜年。 一阵寒暄后就去拜祭 祖先缅怀安息者,然后一 边准备午餐一边闲聊。 这天他们全家会四处 走访各家亲戚长辈拜年, 在新年伊始送上最真挚的 祝福。

在新加坡本地的习俗中,鱼生早已成为不可缺少的新 年佳肴,一家人一边捞鱼生,一边喊着吉祥话,十分 热闹。 摄影: 李欣立

孙嘉汐,来自中国河南, 中文系三年级。

香港人有吃盆菜的习惯,一锅菜里包含各种食材,一 家人围在桌边,在欢声笑语中尽情享受着一家团聚的 幸福。 摄影: 李欣立

陈贤馥,来自中国香 港,中文系二年级。 因为本地新年假期太 短,她很少有机会回家过 年,但每当想到在香港过 年的情景,就会不自觉非 常兴奋。 除夕这天,香港人有 吃盆菜的习惯,一锅菜里 包含各种食材,如鲍鱼、 鲜虾以及冬菇等,然后用 乳汁煲煮。 丰富的材料一层层叠 进大盘之中,最易吸收肴 汁的材料通常放在下面。 吃的时候每围一盘,一层 一层吃下去,汁液交融, 味道馥郁而香浓。 一家人围坐在桌边, 吃着热腾腾的盆菜,话着 家常,在欢声笑语中尽情 享受着一家团聚的幸福。 大年初一她会相约好 友去观赏喜气洋洋的贺岁 片,让自己轻松开心地享 受新年第一天。 每到佳节就会有许多 贺岁片争相上映,让人目 不暇接,电影院中充满了 欢乐的笑声,到处都洋溢 着新年的喜悦。 初二正是香港人拜年 的时候,当天一大早就要 将自己精心打扮一番,衣

服颜色款式随自己喜好。 香港华人的穿戴观点 和新马华人偏爱红色观点 不同,没有刻意讲究,比 较随意。 新马拜年少不了的是 橘子,还有包含各类罐头 的新年礼盒,在香港则有 所不同,除了一些新年礼 品,也有人会送些饼干一 类的甜食。 他们对于礼品的种类 没有特别的要求,正所谓 礼到心意到,将祝福送到 才是最重要的。 初三以后没什么特别 安排,只是香港人过年有 件事绝对少不了,那就是 求签。 每当过年时,香港的 寺庙就跟新加坡的四马路 观音庙一样,香火鼎盛、 人山人海,但当地有个有 趣的习俗就是这一天著名 的黄大仙庙及公车庙里求 签的人更是络绎不绝,人 们诚信拜拜,祈求来年一 切顺利。 不叫“红包”,香港 的小孩子过年收的压岁钱 叫“利是”,在春节拜年 时,到处可以听到“讨” 利是的声音,因为谐音 是“利事”,取大吉大利 的好意头。

同样因为假期时间不 够,她已多年无法回国过 年,还好在新加坡有一群 好友可以一起共度佳节, 很是热闹。 对她来说,春节能和 家人一起过早已成为一件 奢侈幸福的事,她常常想 回家家人一起买年货、贴 春联、走亲访友。和家人 团聚吃上一顿年夜饭,是 她十分向往的事。 在新加坡,除了以往 的大扫除和买年货等习 俗,最热闹的就是除夕 夜。她会约几个志同道合 的友人一起“血拼”年 菜,然后还会亲自动手做 年夜饭。 在中国北方人的年夜 饭里,饺子是必不可少 的,就好像新马少不了捞

鱼生,饺子因为外表酷似 古代的元宝,便有了吉祥 如意的寓意。 她和朋友们会一起围 着饭桌,有的和面,有的 擀饺子皮,有的则负责包 饺子,她们也会在饺子里 放入钱币,说是谁吃到了 就代表新的一年会福气、 财气大丰收! 中国北方过年时恰逢 冬季,在寒冷的天气里吃 上一碗热腾腾的饺子,幸 福温馨的感觉油然而生。 在有些北方城市,大家会 选择在零点钟声敲响时放 鞭炮、吃饺子,欢声笑语 打破了夜晚的宁静,除夕 夜总是热闹非凡。 当晚嘉汐也会和父 母、亲戚以及朋友视频, 各报祝福与平安。在欢笑 声和期待中一起倒数新年 的到来,共同期望新的一 年一切安好。

在中国北方人的年夜饭里,饺子是必不可少的,因为 外形酷似古代的元宝,饺子便有了吉祥如意的寓意。 摄影: Forlando Tambunan

距离 5毫 米


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07 CHRONICLE

生活之中医保健

开心健康过大年 华人农历新年即将来临,在这个阖家欢乐的日子,免不了在过年期间大 吃大喝,零食、饮料来者不拒,当然给身体积聚不少毒素。为了让大家 能过一个快乐健康的农历年,记者孙嘉汐、黄逸凡特地拜访了南大中医 诊所的袁锦虹医生,希望透过食疗和穴位按摩帮助排毒。

谓“食疗”,顾名思 义是透过食材来帮助 身体取得疗效作用。只有排 出毒素才能拥有健康,那么 哪些食物可以帮助排毒呢?

低胆固醇。长期食用对高血 压及脂肪过多症有一定的预 防和辅助治疗作用。 海带

有助于排毒的食材主要有以 下几种: 1.黑木耳:含有植物胶质, 有较强的吸附力,可以吸 附残留在人体消化系统内的 杂质,清洁血液,经常食用 还可以有效清除体内有毒物 质。

腹喝山楂茶。 4.荷叶:含有大量的活性物 质--生物碱,生理活性显 著,具有明显的降血脂、抗 毒素等功效。我们可以选择 喝荷叶粥或荷叶茶。长期食 用,还有瘦身的功效。 荷叶茶

2.海带:含有多种有机物和 碘、钙、铁等元素,还含蛋 白质和多种维生素,显著降

1. 超级短信群发 研发者:hebin 是否烦恼春节要发什么祝福给亲朋好友?担心 祝福词贫乏无味甚至撞词吗?这一款节日短信祝 福的应用程序可以让你的贺词在其他人当中鹤立 鸡群。 操作方式简单方便而且容易使用,只需选择心 仪的祝福贺词,无需复制就可以直接选择收件人 发送给对方即可。 除了春节的祝福,内附有其它大大小小的节日 祝福,例如重阳节以及光棍节,甚至连分手篇都 有,的确十分逗趣。 适合iOS系统,能够支援iPhone、iPad以及iPod Touch。

2.“2013 Happy Chinese New Year” 研发者:北京中录电视制作有限公司 山楂 图片:网络下载

黑木耳

现在许多人都普遍拥有智能手机,但 你知道你的手机可以让农历新年过得 更有气氛、更HIGH吗?记者郑欣为您 整理了三款免费有趣又有用的应用程 序,让新时代的春节更加多姿多彩。 趁着佳节降至,马上去下载吧!

3.山楂:含有丰富的碳水化 合物,膳食纤维及多种矿物 质元素。我们可以直接食用 生山楂或把山楂干加入热水 泡成山楂茶饮用。但是要注 意,患胃病的人一般不宜空

袁医生还亲自向两位记者传授了一些按摩 的穴位和手法以达到排毒通便的目的。她还特 别指出按压这些穴位并不是随意按一按就好, 而是要通过按压产生酸胀感。这种酸胀感就是 使得穴位产生神经反应的刺激感。 有助于排毒的穴位主要有以下几个: 1.曲池穴:按压此穴可以解决过食油腻,过咸 厚味而引起的高血压,肠胃有热感等情况,以 达到清热的效果。 位置:位于人们手肘外侧,肘纹的纹头与手肘 骨头间的中点。 曲池穴

过年吃的大多都过咸、过 辣、过甜、过油,因此袁医 生指出,一方面人们要在饮 食方面做出适当的控制。但 是如果实在控制不了的话, 一定要让摄入的毒素能够尽 量排出。这样人们才能够在 新年期间既能享受口福,也 不用为自己身形的变化而感 到苦恼。

合谷穴

这是一款可以支援中英双语的春节知识趣味 性游戏应用程序,透过角色扮演来参与虚拟游戏 中“百子村”内的新年庆祝活动,并且需要完成 各种与春节有关的游戏任务,例如煮饺子和猜灯 谜等。 游戏的发展是按着农历年中的日子次序逐步展 开,易懂耐玩,老少皆宜,而且图画色彩缤纷又 可爱,特别适合年轻人,让使用者在玩乐的同时 也能学习春节的习俗和来源哦! 适合iOS系统,但只能够支援iPad。

3.“Shake! Fireworks” 研发者:wasabi 有些人为了佳节的来临都会把手机的铃声或桌 面换成与节日相关的设计,而这是一款非常有趣 的新年桌面墙纸, 因为它不单单只是一面红红绿 绿、又有许多圈圈的图案,而是能够变成生动的 烟花在手机桌面上绽放,多彩炫目。 使用者可以从设定中选择烟花的颜色、形状以 及音效,然后只需要轻轻地摇一摇手机,烟花就 会绽放,十分应景! 可从Google Play Store下载 ,支援安装Android 系统的手机和平板电脑。

3.合谷穴:通过按压这个穴位,可以产生控 制食欲,通便消胀的作用。 位置:位于人们常说的虎口(双手拇指和食 指的衔接处)

《南苑》与中医诊所合作

摄影:王森

2.足三里穴:通过按摩此穴不仅可以开胃,而 在吃太多的时候也可以消胀。按压此穴对于 胃肠功能大有裨益。 位置:从膝盖外侧凹陷之处(膝眼),以四 只横指做测量,而酥麻感最强之处即是足三 里穴。

今年起《南苑》与南大中医诊所合 作,每一期推出中医保健专栏,让南大 生学习简单的医学保健知识。但切记这 些资讯只是帮助您在身体康健时做保 养或预防疼痛疾病,并非治疗治本的药 方。若身体不适,提醒您尽早寻求专业 医疗协助。 若想知道其他保健方法,欢迎您投 函到nanyuan@gmail.com,我们将选出 部分问题寻求中医师帮您解答,并在下 一期专栏刊登。 插图:张伟伦

新 春 软 件 帮 你 应 景 过 佳 节


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CHRONICLE 07 娱乐

杨丞琳“为爱启丞”世界巡回演唱会新加坡站

搏命演出 诚意十足 洪媛●报道 中文编辑

演唱会围绕“爱”的主题,杨丞琳当晚献唱了许多动人的情歌,带 领大家伴随着爱启程。 照片: UnUsUaL Entertainment提供

乐评 音乐Jukebox

专辑:《十二新作》 歌手:周杰伦 推荐:《明明就》《乌克 丽丽》  ,

,,,,

过往的专辑一样, 新专辑作曲依然全 部是周杰伦自己,作词也

大部分和老搭 档方文山合 作。 《 明 明 就》是专辑的 抒情主打,清 脆的钢琴,淡 淡的旋律,加 上歌词里爱泪 交织的爱恋, 很能引起人们 的共鸣。尤其 是后面那句 反复:“明明 就明明就明明就他比较温 柔” 把情绪推得一层一 层百转千回。 《乌克丽丽》是一首 以夏威夷传统拨弦乐器作 为主题的轻快民谣情歌, 副歌部分朗朗上口,曲风 独特。是一张值得一听的 专辑。 (文/邓超)

丞琳狮城开唱,身患重 感冒的她,仍坚持倒吊 在10公尺高的半空演唱、潜入1 米深透明水缸近30秒等表演项 目,如此搏命的演出,其敬业 精神令人佩服。 即使身体不适,导致嗓音有 些沙哑,现场的演唱实力仍令 人惊艳,但对自己要求很高的 她不断强调:“我唱歌很厉害 的,今天没有达到平时的水准 很遗憾。我没有在开玩笑,我 是认真的。” 她还笑称如果歌迷拍摄视频 上传网络,一定要注明这是她 在生病时所演唱的,并非正常 水平。 她也表示,对新加坡的歌迷 感到十分抱歉,也很遗憾自己 无法给大家呈现完美的演出, 歌迷立刻提议加场,让她大 呼“太突然”。 1月12日晚8点,杨丞琳为爱 启丞世界巡回演唱会在新加坡 博览中心The Max Pavilion温馨 开唱。演唱会围绕“爱”的主 题,杨丞琳当晚献唱了许多动 人的情歌,带领大家伴随着爱 启程。 在《带我走》的间奏时,杨 丞琳突然消失在舞台中央,再 次出现的她已被倒吊在10公尺 高的半空,惊险万分。 由于生病的原因,内心的情

专辑:《爱不爱》 歌手:王心凌 推荐:《变成陌生人》 《任性情人》  ,

,,,,

改往日的“甜蜜教 主”形象,王心凌 以“情歌女神”面貌全新 出发。专辑曲风多元,爵 士、电子、摇滚等,通过 不同的曲风来体现不同的 爱情滋味——“纯爱”、 “挚爱” 、 “错 爱”、“ 失爱”。 主打歌《 变成陌生 人》唱出 了许多失 恋者的无 法忘怀恋 情 的 心 声。简单

感倾泻而出,没唱两句就哽咽 了,让歌迷好心疼。过后她坦 言从没有在台上累积过这么多 的眼泪,但原来倒吊着眼泪真 的再满也不会流出来。 新加坡的特别环节的演 出中,杨丞琳向本地两位天 后——孙燕姿、蔡健雅致敬, 分别演唱了《我也很想他》和 《双栖动物》。 她更是爆料说自己其实非常 欣赏蔡健雅的女人味,甚至还 当做榜样希望也可以具有同样 的气质。

“从没有在台上积累 过这么多的眼泪,原 来倒吊着,眼泪真 的再满也不会流出 来。”

演唱会的气氛推向了高潮。 当晚,新加坡著名歌手许美 静也到场观看,杨丞琳得知后 便大声尖叫,直呼好意外、好 开心。之后更是直接走入观众 席���许美静拥抱合影,瞬间变 成“歌迷”,难掩见到偶像时 的激动。 演唱会以《自作自受》结 尾,不同于其他演唱会热闹的 谢幕方式,杨丞琳独树一帜, 上演“湿身”秀,潜入1米深 透明水缸长达30秒,让自己可 以“回到那个无声的世界”, 别出心裁又拼命的演出,为演 唱会画上了圆满的句号。

杨丞琳 台湾歌手

她透露自己最喜欢的新加坡 美食是黑胡椒螃蟹,并早已将 其安排在庆功宴的菜单中,可 是重感冒尚未痊愈的她是不应 该食用辛辣食物的,她忙说没 关系,可以“以毒攻毒”,可 见其对胡椒螃蟹的喜爱。 虽然杨丞琳的歌曲多以抒情 的情歌为主,但演唱会自然也 少不了快歌来炒热气氛,《任 意门》、《狼来了》和《青春 斗》,一连串的劲歌热舞,将

的钢琴吉他伴奏,却异常 柔软——是“失爱”的无 奈和彷徨吧。 喜欢电子风的听众可 能会喜欢《任性情人》所 叙述的“错爱”,这首歌 像猫一般,小调的转换, 让人捉摸不透,风格上 和lady gaga有异曲同工之 妙。对于爱情迷惑的我们 不如听一听《爱不爱》, 因为“没有人是懂了爱才 开始谈恋爱的”。 (文/黄璜)

因生病而无法呈现完美的演出, 杨丞琳感到十分抱歉和遗憾。

即将登场

项艺术奖项殊荣的本 地导演吴文德改编执 导, 同时也邀请多位来 自国际及新加坡的艺 术达人和演员们一同 携手打造。 女主角阿美由丁当 饰演,是一个为了追 求梦想而离家的女子, 和她本身的经历十分 相似。

舞台剧“搭错车”原 自1983年台湾的同名 电影, 故事围绕在退伍 军人哑叔和养女阿美 的困苦生活以及期盼 已久的梦想,而主角 们得做出命运两难的 抉择。 这部舞台剧是由曾 经在2005年获得新加 坡青年奖以及荣获多

“搭错车”舞台剧 演出详情:

照片:滚石唱片提供

日期:2013年5月3 -12日晚上8时(星期 二至星期天),下午 3时(星期六与星期 天) 票价:69、89、109 、129元 地 点 : 滨 海 艺 术 中 心 剧 院 (1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981)


Opinions frankly, my dear

EDITORIAL COM PR EH ENSION. C o m p o s i t i o n . S u m m a r y. Listening. Oral. From Primary One to Secondary Four. This education model in our most formative years misses out one important aspect of life — learning how to respond well to situations. Compounded with how students are also drilled to glean lessons from the past, we’ve come face to face with a generation of young Singaporeans, who don’t have the capacity to respond constructively. Yet, every day is a battle against contradictions. For one, our country is a westernised nation trying to keep her Asian roots. An exhibition at Level 11 of the National Library currently showcases the bulldozers, sticks, knives, or knuckledusters, big or small, that pushed national interests forward. At the same time, our government wants the young to be as competitive as possible — every man for himself, while throwing in the spirit of community and nation building. Citizens are constantly asked to start more ground-up discussions, but are given little room to speak. Instead, we are often told what to do. The way the government twiddles the knobs can affect both trivial issues — seat giving, gum chewing, buying frozen

A column by Chronicle Editors on issues close to their hearts

poultry — and life-changing ones like the cutting of the fallopian tubes for monetary gains. Yet, the government continues with its barrage of contradictions. For one, “Stop at two” becomes “Three or more if you can afford it”. When George Yeo was still a minister, he uttered “boh tua, boh suay” in Hokkien. Ironically, the former Minister of Information, Communication and the Arts was heading the yearly Speak Good English campaign to eliminate the use of dialect. Un s u r pr i si ng l y, you ng Singaporeans sandwiched in between feel daunted by what the state is trying to communicate. These ambiguities tempt us to keep the peace by staying silent. After all, we are taught to approach everything “law by law”. I once read a paper explaining how geniuses become geniuses. A common trait among geniuses is that they learn without shame. They take mistakes as they come — not as blows, but as opportunities to learn. Perhaps the only way to win this battle against contradictions is to combat it with the greatest contradiction ever: Do not take yourself too seriously. And respond fearlessly.

THE NANYANG

CHRONICLE chief editor Wong Pei Ting Managing editor Wan Zhong Hao sub-editors Fiona Lam Ronald Loh Steffi Koh News editors Cynthia Choo Isaac Tan Miranda Yeo Lifestyle editors Bernice Koh Nicole Tan Reviews editor Charmaine Ng dapper editors Phyllicia Wang Wilfred Lim Chinese editors Hong Yuan Liu Ting Ting opinionS editors Dipshikha Ghosh Redzwan Kamarudin

sports editors David Lam Nazri Eddy Razali layout editors Carolyn Turgeon Willy Mah photo editors Lim Mu Yao Yeo Kai Wen GRAPHICS EDITOR Chin Li Zhi ONLINE EDITOR Agung Santoso Ongko business managerS Lim Pei Yi Vivian Lionel Lim Ng Wei Ying Xu Xian Ho production support Ng Heng Ghee Ong Li Chia Teacher advisors Andrew Duffy Debbie Goh Zakaria Zainal Lim Hai Yen

A students’ newspaper published by the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI) Nanyang Technological University 31 Nanyang Link, Singapore 637718 Tel: 6790 6446 Unsigned editorials represent the majority view of the editorial board of The Chronicle and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of Nanyang Technological University, its employees, the students or the Council of the University. Signed opinion columns, letters and editorial cartoons represent the opinion of the writer or artist and are not necessarily those of The Chronicle. Printed by KHL Printing Co. Pte Ltd, 57 Loyang Drive, Singapore 508968

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Adventure time Adventure time

GRAPHIC: CHIN LI ZHI

Redzwan Kamarudin O p i n i o n s e d i t or

I

a r r i v e d at t he de pa r t u r e hall in the airport, checked my watch, and scanned the overhead screen to make sure I was in the right terminal. I recognised familiar figures wav ing at me f rom a sea of strangers and joined them for the pre-departure ritual of taking photos and farewell embraces. This is the routine I’ve been keeping for t he past mont h, while sending my friends off for exchange. As they’re starting their own adventures, I can’t help but feel a pang of jealousy, knowing I won’t be joining them. When people ask why I’m not going for exchange, I like to joke that being an international student, I’m already studying overseas for four years. That usually prompts awkward laughter. Prior to the many trips to Changi Airport, I listened to my friends talk about the excitement of living in another country and the halfyear freedom from their families. I usually try to stifle a laugh. Though cliched, I like to tell

them to treasure the remaining time with their families. Living away from home has been the single toughest hurdle I’ve had to conquer, and it’s made me realise the impor tance of family ties. Roughly a year ago, I was in the exact same position, talking to my friends back in Br unei about the taste of freedom. In the midst of all the excitement, I took for granted the time I had left with my family. Before I knew it, it was time for me to check in my luggage and say my goodbyes. I remember t he qu iet — bordering on awkward — drive to the airport as I focused too much on the sights during the journey. Meanwhile, the excitement that had turned into trepidation began to settle. I realised how much I would m i s s m y mot h e r ’s c o ok i n g , talk ing to my younger sister about the latest Girls’ Generation song, and, Heaven forbid, my father’s incessant lectures that were suddenly making so much sense. Here, it’s the moments when my friends have gone home for the weekend and I’m left alone in

my hall room that I realise — the things that once made me crave freedom are the same things that now make me want to buy the next one-way ticket home. A s I sent yet anot her c om pa n ion of f for h i s ow n adventure away from the nest, I recalled a similar scenario when I f ir st embarked on my own adventure. The hug with my mother that I wished would last a second longer, the silent thanks I gave my father for all the lectures about a son’s filial and spiritual d u t y, a n d t h e t e a r s I s h e d knowing how scared I would be out there on my own. They felt all too familiar. But before he disappeared into the sea of travellers on the other side of the immigration gates, my friend gave one final wave to his parents. Immediately, I fished out my phone and dialled a number I knew by heart. As if on cue, a familiar voice picked up the phone. I paused my advent u re to assure a worried mother that her youngest son was alive, eating well, and missing home so much. A nd somewhere inside the ter mina ls, I k new my f r iend would remember his family too.


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07 CHRONICLE

canteen talk With the recent Worker’s Party victory at the Punggol East by-elections, where do you think Singapore is headed for the next general election?

I think PAP will still be leading in the next election. The PAP MP resigned, the residents had lost confidence. That’s what held them back. Vivian Au, SPMS, Yr 2, 21

When the hammer falls

GRAPHIC: CHIN LI ZHI

The Punggol East by-election ended with the Workers’ Party securing an outright majority. Gillian Seetoh explores the reasons for the victory and the implications for the future.

B

efore the weekend of the byelections, I predicted a close fight between the incumbent People’s Action Party (PAP) and opposition heavyweight Workers’ Party (WP), with a razor thin margin determining the winner. The two decisive factors for me were the performance of the parties and the impression that the candidates made. So I was taken aback when WP’s Lee Li Lian took Punggol East down by a decisive margin of nearly 11 per cent. Looking back, there were some key factors that inf luenced the results of the elections. The fears of the opposition vote being split turned out to be unfounded, perhaps due to Singapore Democratic Alliance and Reform Party’s lack of support and their inability to distinguish t h e m s e l v e s f r om t h e ot h e r contenders. Moreover, I believe that for voters wanting more opposition member s i n Pa rlia ment , W P stands as the best option among their opposition counterparts in challenging the dominance of the PAP, based on the previous General Election results. In a Westminster system like Singapore’s, there could be two main political parties in the future. The performance of the political party in parliament mattered too. While Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong promised the PAP would change for the better in the last General Election, things still have

not improved. Tra in brea kdow ns a re commonplace, housing prices are spiraling, and the cost of living continues to climb. I believe this is due to the lag time before the effects of new policies can be felt. The WP, though, has also been criticised with many complaining about their lacklustre performance in Parliament. But, until one-third of the opposition occupies parliament, I e x pect Singaporeans to be w i l l i ng to g i ve t he W P t he benefit of the doubt. This implies that, despite their effor ts, the r uling par t y will have a hard time fighting to win back the wards they have lost. The demographic profile of Punggol East played a part too. The figures highlighted by the Straits Times showed a young, middle class constituency, with one in five aged 22 to 35, and most residents living in four- or five-room Housing Development Board flats. Polit ica l resea rcher s have shown t hat midd le-class voters are more likely to value opposition presence. We can thus expect to see t he elec torate dema nd i ng g r e at e r a c c ou n t a bi l i t y a n d responsiveness to their wishes from political parties. To c o m p l i c a t e m a t t e r s , groundwork and impressions are crucial in winning over hearts and minds.

WP’s Lee Li Lian was a familiar face to residents, having been there since the 2011 General Election, and was hence able to relate to the residents better. Conversely, residents would have k now n PA P’s Kuo Poh Koon better if he had walked the ground earlier.

Political researchers have shown that middleclass voters are more likely to value opposition presence. We can expect to see the electorate demanding greater accountability. Perhaps he also came across a s too detac hed f rom t he ground when, in an interview with RazorT V, he said: “Well, ever ybody has a car, we have two — my wife drives one, I drive one. We are both professionals, we need to travel.” Ultimately, I believe a Member of Parliament should be able to relate to my concerns. If the PAP wants to beat the opposition, I believe it should wor k on u nde r s t a nd i ng t he people aga i n — a nece s sa r y condition to achieving success with huge margins in elections.

This time more seats went to the Worker’s Party. Thus the PAP dominance will not be as strong as previous years. Elakeyaa Selvaraji, MAE, Yr 4, 23

Things will change slowly. But as of now, I think that the PAP has a 60 per cent chance of winning. Patrick Loh, MAE, Yr 4, 26

I think WP is a more ‘on the ground’ party. It is important to get in touch with people on the ground level. They vote too. Chow Siang Deng, SPMS, Yr 1, 23

Singaporeans are becoming more aware. I think that the WP will marginally win over PAP next time. It’s a gut feeling. Amirah Bte Zazuli, MAE, Yr 2, 23

PHOTOS: TAN YANGER


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The pressure of academic integrity Tony Mayer R e s e a r c h I n t e g r it y O f f i c e r

R

esearch integrity has become an important topic across the world, especially with the phenomenal growth of research over the past decade. The number of researchers in the world is growing quickly, especially with the rise of new centres in Asia, such as Singapore, largely accounting for this change. This, together with growing pressure on researchers to deliver results on ever shorter time scales, means researchers are working in an increasingly high-pressure and competitive environment. Perhaps it is inevitable that there will be more cases of research misconduct reported. What is meant by research misconduct? It is normally defined as fabrication, falsification and plagiarism (FFP). Fortunately, cases of FFP are relatively rare although they are high-profile. Studies of research misconduct estimate that there are likely to be three cases per 100 researchers per year.

Far more common are failures to follow good research practices. Examples are selectively choosing only those data points which fit the theory and eliminating others, ‘enhancing’ images with Photoshop, not maintaining laboratory notebooks or failing to follow good authorship guidelines – a common failing. Most surveys show that bad practice can run as high as more than 30 per cent of researchers. Research is complex and often difficult for the layperson to understand. Hence, the research community always claims that self-regulation is the way to control misconduct and poor practice. To justify self-regulation, we need robust systems to spot abuses and a system of education and training so all researchers are made aware of good practice to be followed. Since 2008, NTU, led by President Andersson, has been fully committed to the highest standards in research. NTU was the lead institution in organising the Second World Conference on Research Integrity leading to the Singapore Statement

on Research Integrity, which is now incorporated into our own policy. The primary responsibility is with the individual as there can be no excuses for bad personal conduct. However, the Statement

louder than words : Home away from home

recognises that the general environment must be conducive to best practice. Maintaining the balance between this and pressures such as delivering on key performance indicators, pressure to publish so as to further one’s career

Chin Li Zhi G r a p h i c s E d it o r

GRAPHIC: ALAN CHONG

and the need to raise competitive research funding is something which NTU, along with all universities in the world, has to achieve. There is a further obligation on the individual’s part, which is ‘whistle-blowing’. If we claim self-regulation, then we not only need policies and procedures but we need whistleblowers. Again, it comes down to individual responsibility, recognising that it is extremely difficult to rat on friends and colleagues. We now have the Academic Integrity policy and the Honour Code leading on to the Research Integrity policy. This was revised in 2012 so as to develop a greater professionalism in the conduct of research, reduce risk by providing an environment in which breaches of integrity are rare, and cultivate responsible conduct of research. All faculty, research staff and graduate students now have to sign a declaration to ensure they abide by the research integrity policy. Research Integrity Points of Contact (RIPOCs) have been appointed across the university and form a network (NORIPOC), chaired by the Vice President of Research. We have an on-line training programme using the CELT edVenture platform. Schools and autonomous units are required to routinely check PhD theses for plagiarism and declare each thesis to be ‘clean’ before it is submitted for examination. Primary research data is to be stored and maintained for ten years after publication or patenting. A mandatory laboratory/research notebook system is being introduced, for all engaged in research. Our integrity as both individuals and as a university is well worth guarding. Despite all the challenges and pressures of modern research life, we need to all commit to the very highest standards of research integrity.


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07 CHRONICLE

A hero's confession Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey shed light on a web of lies spun throughout the cyclist’s career. But after years of deceit and denial, why confess now? Gillian Seetoh THE world was dealt a shocking revelation on Oprah Winfrey's talkshow three weeks ago. La nce A r m st rong's seven Tou r de France wins were a scam; he had been taking performance-enhancing dr ugs all along. During his interview with Oprah, he explained his actions:“My ruthless desire to win at all costs served me well on the bike but the level it went to, for whatever reason, is a flaw. That desire, that attitude, that arrogance.” He is not the first to confess to doping, and will certainly not be the last. Countless celebrities, politicians and athletes have admitted wrongdoings. Tennis legend Andre Agassi used recreational drugs, but only admitted to it after his retirement out of a guilty conscience.

“And then the ultimate crime is the betrayal of these people who supported and believed in me.” Lance Armstrong

But what makes people confess, putting their fame, fortune and reputation all on the line?

I believe, when there's enough evidence to condemn the guilty parties, these public figures find themselves in a predicament. Either suffer humiliation in the eyes of the public, or confess. In Armstrong’s case, the evidence from the United States Anti-Doping Agency finally caught up with him. So, left with no alternative, he let his fans and the public hear his side of the story in order to make peace. This might just be a human need to confess to our wrongdoings. Just as we need to be loved or to satiate our desire for material things, we yearn for second chances and feel the need to confess to a wrongdoing. It is not uncommon to see celebrities jump the gun and confess to the media and fans about a momentary lapse of judgment. But this is often done deliberately, to garner publicity — after all, any publicity is good publicity. They hold press conferences, dress smartly and try to look sorry enough to earn sympathy.

These famous personalities face constant scrutiny from the public. By confessing, these celebrities hope to begin their road to redemption and gain people’s trust once again. After all, A-listers are also people with their own lives, values, and beliefs, which may be the driving force for their need to correct a wrong. In the same inter view with Oprah, Armstrong said: “I’m deeply sorry for what I did. I can say that thousands of times.

GRAPHIC: TRAN THI HUYEN TRAN

“And then the ultimate crime is the betrayal of these people who supported me and believed in me and they got lied to.” People are more likely to forgive wrongdoers like Armstrong and give them a second chance when they put on such a show of contrition and guilt. It's a well thought out move on the part of Armstrong, because be it in the Tour de France, or earning forgiveness from his fans, he desired to win.

THE NTU SMILE CHALLENGE Lorraine Tan

I

've always thought of Singaporeans as happy people. “Singaporeans are emotionless", said a 2011 study. Surprisingly, Singapore also had the fewest adults who experienced positive emotions, based on the worldwide poll by Gallup of nearly 150,000 people. To put this in perspective: Singapore has fewer happy people than Haiti, where half a million are still living in makeshift shelters after the 2010 earthquake, and Afghanistan where people are constantly threatened with suicide bombings and assassinations. To satisfy my scepticism of the poll and curiosity as to whether Singaporeans really are an unhappy bunch, I carried out a mini social experiment on campus, hoping people here were happier than what the study suggested. I call this the Smile Test — smiling at strangers at random to see how many will reciprocate. The challenge went on for the week at Canteens 9 and 11, North and South Spines, and on Buses B and C. My ‘test participants’ included people of all ages, races and occupations, such as the janitors, bus drivers and canteen vendors. The result: my smile was often met

with blank stares, frightened expressions, and 'is-this-girl-insane' glares. There were also those who reacted by touching their faces or smoothing out their hair, thinking I was smiling at them because there was something amiss about their appearances. But, more often than not, I would receive confused looks, as though they were deciding whether to smile back or ignore this stranger smiling at them. Of the 100 individuals I smiled at, only 19 actually smiled back. Even more surprising, of these 19 strangers, 12 were non-Singaporeans who returned with a grin. Some of them even cheerfully greeted me with a “hi". L ook i ng at t he r e s u lt s , I g ue s s Singaporeans are not used to acts of f r iend liness f rom strangers and are probably too used to ignoring and being ignored by others. Furthermore, it is not a common practice for Singaporeans to greet strangers, unlike in some countries where a friendly wave and a simple “Good day!” are the norm. This probably explains why the foreigners I smiled at were more willing to grin back. It could be their culture, or that my sincere smile made them feel welcome in a country alien to them.

A warm smile can create a ‘halo’ effect, making us and the people around us feel more optimistic, positive, and motivated, according to psychologist David Lewis. Indeed, an unexpected but pleasing outcome I got out of this experiment was that I found myself in a jolly mood almost every day.

Smiling is effortless. The next time you see a stranger on the streets, try giving him or her a big grin. You might make his or her mood a little better. Better still, you brighten your own day.

GRAPHIC: JEDIDAH TAN


Sports

Records and Rivalries Laura Lewis

W

ithin just the first day of the Institute-VarsityPolytechnic (IVP) Games track-and-field meet, NTU athletes were already flying off the block, breaking three records in the process. At h letes T h i r ua l ka rasu Piriyah, Dipna Lim Prasad, and Nurul Jannah, broke the meet’s previous records for the women’s 400m dash, the women’s 100m hurdle and the women’s triple jump respectively. Finishing in 58.60 seconds, Piriyah broke the 400m event record set by her predecessor, Nikita Sharda from NTU in 2010. Meanwhile, Dipna also broke the 100m hurdle record in the heats, before besting her own timing again in the finals. Both athletes currently also hold national records for their respective events.

“Although I’ve been training constantly, my focus was on the long jump as it is my pet event. It was a bonus achievement for me that day.” Nurul Jannah, 21 NTU Track-and-field athlete

Dipna clocked in a timing of 14.56 secs, smashing the previous record held by National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Ranjit Kaur by 0.6 secs. However, this wasn’t enough for the prolific 21-year-old track star. “I was hoping for a better timing in the final,” the third-year Sport Science and Management (SSM) student said. Dipna was 0.33 secs away from besting her national record. Rounding off the record breaking trio was Nurul Jannah, 21, who set a new competition record of 11.50m in the women’s triple jump event. But the win came as a surprise to the second-year SSM student. “Although I’ve been training constantly, my focus was on the long jump as it’s my pet event. It was a bonus achievement for me that day,” she said. The meet was also a continuation of the long-running feud between rivals NTU and NUS,

MINOR HINDERANCE: NTU fought hard against NUS but were overwhelmed by NUS’s strong defense. NTU came in second place at 32-43. Even though NTU lost to NUS in the netball final, NTU athletes in other sports have clinched six golds thus far to lead the competition in the medals tally. PHOTO: OLIVIA NG

who’ve held a stronghold on the championship for 12 years. For the IVP track-and-field championship, teams accumulate points for each event for the most number of points to win the championship.

“We got off on a good start and put in much effort. It was a good fight despite all the injuries.” Tan Ci Hui, 2 NTU Netball Captain

At last year’s meet, the men’s 4x100m team was disqualified following a false start, costing them crucial points in what was the closest championship contest in years. But the Kent Ridge outfit still managed to retain their title at 338 points narrowly overcoming NTU by four points.

Given the 4x100m relay was worth up to 16 points, it would almost have ensured a championship win, had the NTU team qualified for the finals. This year, NTU finished third in the preliminaries, giving them the chance to make amends for last year’s disappointment where they threw away their opportunity. It’s no different this year. With NTU and NUS battling it out against for the top two spots again, NUS leads 87-43 in the women’s events and 101-73 in the men’s events (as of press time). The rivalry is evident not just on the track, but in other arenas as well. N T U went up against N US in the final of the IVP Netball match held on 30 Jan at Singapore Polytechnic. Having been champions for three consecutive years — before last year’s loss to NUS — NTU were hoping to reclaim the title. But disaster struck as NTU entered the competition with several players nursing minor knocks. An injury to NTU’s Liu Xin Yi compounded the team’s misery as they crashed to a 34-43 defeat. Even so, NTU captain Tan Ci

Hui, 20, reserved praise for her team. “We got off on a good start and put in much effort. It was a good fight despite all the injuries,” she said. Despite the loss, N T U currently stands ahead of NUS in the

medals tally with six team golds, as compared to NUS’s one (as of press time). And with NTU women’s badminton and touch r ugby also clinching gold, usurping NUS’s hold on the overall championship could just happen.

CruIsing along: Dipna’s competition proved no hurdle as she beat the runner-up by almost two seconds and broke the record for her event. PHOTO: CHIA CHIN YEH


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SPORTS 37

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07 CHRONICLE

sports profile

Slingers star slams it home He breathes and bleeds basketball. Local star Wong Wei Long talks about his foray into the international scene as one of the first Singaporeans to sign a professional contract. Amir Yusof

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t just 1.75 metres tall, not many would have picked him out from the crowd a s a pr ofe s siona l ba sketba l l superstar. But when he su it s on h i s jersey, complete with his Nike Kobe Vll basketball shoes, Wong Wei Long exudes the air of a hardened warrior who has risen through the ranks of Singapore’s basketball elite. T h e s e c ond -y e a r s t u d e nt from the School of Electr ical and Electronic Engineering currently stars in his fourth season for the Singapore Slingers, the Re publ ic’s on ly profe s siona l basketball outfit that features in the ASEAN Basketball League. Not ju st t hat , t he for me r Na n y a n g Pol y t e c h n ic pl a yer competes for play ing time against talented two-metre foreign players like Rashad Jones Jennings and Kyle Jeffers. Yet Wong remains unfazed, and makes up for his lack of height with his workhorse-like dedication, making it a point to turn up early for trainings to have personal shooting practice. “I believe if you give that extra bit in training and work hard during the off-season, you will get noticed,” says Wong.

“I believe if you give that extra bit in training and work hard during the off-season, you will get noticed.” Wong Wei Long Player Singapore Slingers

He scored an average of nine points per game last year, an impressive tally for a rookie professional by any standard, and now enjoys more playing time as compared to previous years, even seeing 30 minutes of action in certain matches coming off the bench. Wong is also a local hero in his own right. In a game against the Bangkok Cobras, another ASEAN league team, Wong had the home

crowd chanting his name after firing home a three-pointer that contributed to a game-high 15 points that night. But getting to where he is today is no overnight feat. Throughout his four years with the Slingers, he has grappled with a tight schedule of basketball and schoolwork. “Even today, I find it enormously difficult to cope with the rigours of playing professionally while taking on such a challenging academic course.” “I sleep for barely three to four hours a night, and have to attend training every evening,” said Wong.

Despite his r ise to prominence, Wong remains humble about his achievements.

Humility

After all, he says, humility is one of the traits that made National Basketball Association (NBA) sensation Jeremy Lin so successful today. “Lin has done Asia proud, not only with his ability, but also with how he handles the spotlight of stardom. He credits victories to h is team mates and shares t he g lor y i n w i n n i ng,” say s Wong. H i s idol , howe ve r, i s t he l e s s e r- k n o w n R i c k y R u b i o ,

Minnesota Timberwolves’ point guard. “Rubio’s decision-making is fantastic, and this is an important trait for a point guard. “As a result of his ability to organise the team, all the players have even numbers on the point tally. I think that’s pretty special in a player,” Wong explains. “If you look at the Miami Heat or the Los Angeles Lakers, they’re represented mainly by their superstars LeBron James and Kobe Br yant respectively. Basketball shouldn’t be like that; it’s a team sport.” Despite his shot to professional stardom, Wong still caters

his packed schedule for the NTU basketball team ahead of this year’s Inter-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) games. Wong believes he has a duty to help his fellow student-athletes improve. A nd he a lready has h is sights set on the championship trophy. “I can apply what I’ve learnt from playing with the Slingers to the I V P games and impar t some technical know-how when I’m w it h t he N T U tea m ,” he says. “I also hope to be a leader who inspires my teammates to play better.”

“He is certainly one of the brightest local talents we have seen. Also, his performance on the court is telling of the hard work he puts in.” Michael Johnson Team Manager Singapore Slingers

As a result, he misses the occasional lesson, but makes up by watching the recorded lectures online after training. His induction into the professional league was also not a smooth ride. “My initial years with the Slingers were the toughest. I only played about seven minutes per game, averaging approximately three points each fixture. I had to push myself to earn the trust of the coaches,“ he said. Fi na l l y, I h ad m y br ea kthrough season last year when I signed a full-time contract.”

Breakthrough

When the local star eventually earned himself a professional basketball career, he had his team manager Michael Johnson reserving special praise for him. “He is certainly one of the brightest local talents we have seen. Also, his performance on the court is telling of the hard work he puts in,” he says. That said, Wong was instrumenta l i n t hei r open i ng day 56-50 victory against the Chang Thailand Slammers, sinking a crucial three-pointer in the middle of the fourth quarter to kill off the opponents’ comeback. His absence, due to academic commitments, was also felt as his team crashed to a 62-65 defeat a few days later to the same Thai opponents.

with the BALL IN HIS COURT: Wong enjoys being pushed to his fullest potential, and attributes his success to this sense of ambition. PHOTO: CHUA KHIPIN


38 SPORTS they said that?

THE NANYANG

sports talk

The price of gold T

“So I’m a liar? He’s thin then, so that gives reason to call me a liar.” Former Inter Milan defender Marco Materazzi (above), on his former boss Rafa Benitez.

“They are living in cloud cuckoo land. I will be coming home with that belt and they can do what they like after.” Contender Kell Brook, to reigning champion Devon Alexander’s trainer who had been making plans of future title defences ahead of their IBF welterweight title bout in Detroit.

“This final is between the small fairytale and the huge fairytale. If we are the small fairytale, what can you say about Bradford?” Swansea manager Michael Laudrup, on the prospect of facing Bradford City in the Capitol One Cup Final.

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CHRONICLE 07

Colin Tung

PHOTOS: INTERNET

VOL. NO.

he gulf in standards between Singapore’s student-athletes and their regional rivals cannot be any more obvious. At t he r e c e nt l y- conc luded ASE A N Univer sit y Games (AUG), the Singapore Combined Universities team finished sixth amongst 11 nations, with three golds, six silvers, and 23 bronzes. Fifth-placed Laos had 32 golds, 35 silvers, and 46 bronzes. As part of the approximately 200-strong Singapore Combined Universities team, this writer had an inside look at the region’s best student-athletes and the differences between them and us. In the men’s 10,000m athletics race, I lined up alongside Agus Prayogo (Indonesia) and Van Lai Nguyen (Vietnam); Agus was the winner, and Nguyen, the bronze medallist of the same event in the 2011 South-east Asian (SEA) Games. For them, the AUG was a step down in terms of prestige and competition standards. For me, it was a step up from the national-level races in that I was used to leading the field or at least being close to the leaders.

And it showed. I was lapped three times by the eventual winners, a humbling experience I’ve never suffered in Singapore. So why the disparity? With exams scheduled just before the AUG for local universities, it’s common to find studentathletes complaining about being unable to focus on training for the AUG. The best athletes in the world are usually full-timers who train two to three times daily, rain or shine. To do that requires harnessing one’s energy towards training and recovery so that athletes’ performances are maximised. The region’s best — like Agus and Nguyen— aren’t that far off in their training regime. While a daily run may not take much out of me, two runs or workouts a day will probably be too much of a stretch. It’s no wonder 26-year-old spr inter Gar y Yeo decided to take a leave of absence from the Singapore Management University this year. He contributed one of the three gold medals the Singapore contingent earned. It was a decision Yeo took along with his 4x100m relay teammates

tough race: Singapore’s student-athletes faced an uphill challenge against the region’s best in this year’s AUG. PHOTo cOurtesy of ZHENG WEILIANG

(mostly also undergraduates) in hopes of qualifying for the World Championships and clinching SEA Games gold. As for the majority of athletes who will not make the same sacrifice Yeo did, the question remains as to what can be done to spur them to greater heights. For one, athletes’ performances seem directly related to the support given to them. And as it stands, sports and

the AUG form only a small part of campus conversations, which often focus on academics and job prospects instead. Perhaps cultivating an engaged audience will be the solution. People need to know how, and why local sporting achievements, namely the performance of our student-athletes, affects them. But until then, Singaporeans might still pose the question: what is the value of a sporting gold?

bpl talk

Miles ahead for Moyes Huang Shuqun SITTING comfortably in the top ha lf of t he Ba rclays Prem ier League is a club from Merseyside often overshadowed by its more illustrious city-rivals Liverpool. Not for the first time in recent years, Everton are ahead of their fiercest rivals despite their more modest club finances and squad size. In fact, holding their own against the financial big boys in the league has been a constant feature of this club that has been in perennial debt. A nd for this, much credit goes to manager David Moyes for transforming the fortunes of the much maligned club he joined over a decade ago. A key factor is his shrewd dealings in the transfer market. Moyes has operated under the radar, digging up gems at bargain prices. Signing striker Nikica Jelavic for £5 million ($9.75 million) has been a rewarding piece of business, while the likes of Sylvain Distin and Leighton Baines arrived for similar figures as well. To put things in perspective, while

SHREWED TACTICIAN: David Moyes has long held his own against the league’s big boys.

Jelavic has cemented his place in a thriving Everton squad, Liverpool’s record £35 million signing Andy Carroll has failed to impress, and was sent out on loan to West Ham United. Meanwhile, Baines has made a name for himself as a reliable leftback, even challenging Chelsea’s Ashley Cole — one of the best leftbacks in the world (with wages that

reflect as much) — for a starting place in the national team. Yet, Moyes has also been unafraid to spend when necessary. He splurged a club record of £15 million pounds on Belgian Marouane Fellaini. Arriving as a holding midfielder in 2008, the new role he adopted this season has also been a revelation.

Playing Fellaini behind the striker in a 4-4-1-1 formation was a bold yet brilliant move by Moyes, given his obvious defensive qualities. The attention Fellaini gets with his stature, aerial threat, and ability to dictate play from upfield allows his teammates to roam, leaving most oppositions struggling to cope. Fellaini currently leads the club’s goal tally with eight goals (as of press time), one of which came during Everton’s 1-0 triumph over league leaders Manchester United last August. Despite Everton’s modest set-up, it remains unlikely for them to make it to the League’s top four this season. London heavyweight Arsenal and in-form Tottenham have denied the Toffees in past seasons, and will once again pose a massive challenge for next season’s Champions League places. It will be satisfying just to complete the season ahead of their distinguished neighbours Liverpool, who have yet to impress under Brendan Rodgers. But with Arsenal faltering and Spurs prone to inconsistency, maybe, just maybe, this could be their year.


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SPORTS 39

THE NANYANG

07 CHRONICLE

getting physical with...

The gentleman's game The boys from NTU Rugby demonstrate the finer side of the physical game: one of calm, composure, and a great deal of trust in the person beside and behind you. Jacqueline Lim gets down and dirty with these gentlemen, and puts herself through a test of tenacity.

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r imal bodies mercilessly bat tered aga i nst each other as their perspiration watered the pitch, rounded off with a whole load of testosteroneladen cursing and grunting. T hose were my initial impressions of rugby. While detractors, this writer included, consider the game to be a display of barbarism, a single session with the NTU Rugby boys set the record straight. The ‘gentleman’s game’, in fact, requires self-discipline and a calculating mind. The boys had promised to go easy on the fair lady before the rucking drill, an exercise that required the player with the ball to run straight into the opponent. So I c ha r ged towa rd s t he hulking mass of grit and muscle, and flexed every muscle to cradle the ball and stay on course for the impact. The ground accelerated towards me. Toppling, my obsession for cleanliness kicked in as I came into contact with a slimy mixture of grass and mud. How do these players get all this dirt off after training? A s I found out later f rom Muhammad Syafiq, 22, they bathe themselves with their clothes on after dirty training. “It’s strangely effective as it saves the scrubbing, and the washing machine does the rest of the work,” said the secondyear student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Brought to my feet, I regained my sense of reality, with a dull ache in my shoulder.

I wanted to do it again. The point of the rucking drill was to t rain t he player w it h the ball to fall properly on his shoulders when being tackled, and trust a teammate to enter the ruck with low body height to allow a flat pass from the tackled player to a teammate.

Moment of Conflict

More than the adrenaline rush from experiencing the game, my greatest fascination lay in the knowledge that the boys did this week after week, season upon season. Perhaps the fear and adrenaline I experienced at every collision or tackle was already routine to them. On t he ot her ha nd , I was making my debut on the pitch. A n ea rl ie r wa r m-up d r i l l ­— which involved alternating sprints and jogs around the pitch — already left my thighs burning. A s t he n ig ht d r e w on , a conflict arose in my mind. Should I tell the boys that I needed a breather and lessen their admiration for this rugged sports writer, or should I continue my torment in silence? For t unately, the dr ill that fol lowed was to pract ise t he scrummage (scrum for short), and all I had to do was to pass the ball into the warring bundle of men. “Crouch, touch... set,” went the go-ahead for the battle of brute force. Up close, the tense calves and quadriceps of the boys pushing off against each other filled my vision, topping off the sensory experience with guttural noises

Down and Dirty: Writer Jacqueline experiences the ferocity of the game as she gets tackled.

for the scrum. A s I watched t he receiver floundering with the ball, I knew push-ups were in order — the penalty for loose balls on either side. Having to repeatedly stare at the ground as I did the push-ups, my understanding of the patterns made by boot imprints became a very thorough one at the end of the night. T h r o u g h g a s p s of s h e e r fatigue, I also knew my earlier fantasies of running across the goal line with the ball in an heroic fashion with cheers and claps resounding in my ears, were

never going to happen. Between the insanity of drills, I managed to catch a few words with team captain Marah Fahmy, 24, a f inal-year student from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Trust

“Fearless indiv idual play can only come with the knowledge that the men behind and beside you would cover your back and execute their roles perfectly,” he said, when asked about the s ig n i f ic a nc e of t he C h i ne s e pictogram of ‘Trust’ on the backs of their team jersey.

PHOTOs: ROY PEK JUN JIE

Even off the pitch, the NTU Ruggers share a common tub of water flavoured with stray leaves and branches. I couldn’t decide whether my thirst or my fear of a bad stomach came through more strongly. But after much deliberation, I took a few gulps using t he common plastic cups to scoop water from the tub. At the end of the night, the camaraderie, and mud splattered all over from running through opposition lines made me feel like one of the boys. Or perhaps an A mazonian warrior of sorts.

rugby...in under a minute TACKLE: A tackle is used to stop the player carrying the ball and is only considered successful if the tackler manages to bring the ball-carrier to the ground. RUCK: A phase of play where one or more players from each team, who are on their feet, in physical contact, close around the ball on the ground after the tackle. A bit like an informal, loose scrum.

SCRUM: A way of restarting the game. The forwards from both teams interlock in a huddle with each team vying for possession of the ball, which is thrown in the scrum and kicked backwards out of the scrum. MAUL: A situation when a player is carrying the ball and the opponent tries to take it away, often after a tackle. To prevent this, the player with the ball turns his body to shield the ball whilst his teammates push him back against the opponent to gain more ground.

Lady In a Man’s World: “It was the infectious energy of the boys that kept me going throughout the training despite the fatigue and aching muscles,” said Jacqueline.



The Nanyang Chronicle Vol 19 Issue 07