ISSN NO. 0218-7310
Paid parcel pickups 付费包裹站将取代宿舍代收服务 南苑 | 26
Vote recount raises eyebrows
Election controversy NEWS | 3
Lifestyle heats up with too-hot-to-handle challenges
Red Hot Chilli Peppers LIFESTYLE | 10-11
The Briefing Room:
Our news editors’ pick of interesting news stories from around the world
Hazy skies back
SLIGHTLY hazy conditions can be expected in Singapore over the next two weeks. The three-hour Pollution Standards Index (PSI) rose above 100 several times last week, hitting the unhealthy range. A PSI reading of between 51 and 100 is moderate. This is due to a change in wind direction, which brings smoke from forest fires on Indonesia’s Sumatra island to our shores, said Singapore’s National Environment Agency.
A MAN robbed a store in Philadelphia, United States, on 16 Sep by using a banana to simulate a weapon. Philadephia police said that the suspect had first picked up a banana from a counter and placed it inside his sweatshirt. He then acted as if he had a handgun in his pocket, and demanded money and cigarettes. The suspect allegedly took an undetermined amount of money and fled on a bicycle.
It’s a girl!
Scotland votes no to independence
Terror attack Down Under thwarted
VOTERS in Scotland rejected independence from the United Kingdom (UK) in last Friday’s referendum, which saw a record 3.6 million votes counted — or about 85 per cent of the Scottish electorate. 55 per cent of voters chose to keep their country’s 307-year-long union with the UK alive. The referendum had divided Scots during months of campaigning. In addition, the prospect of Scotland breaking away from the UK, the world's sixth-largest economy and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, generated massive international debate and participation.
ACTOR Ryan Gosling, 33, and actress Eva Mendes, 40, became first-time parents on 12 Sep, when Mendes gave birth to a baby girl. Earlier in February, Mendes had laughed off pregnancy rumours during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The notoriously private couple has been together since 2011, after co-starring in crime drama film The Place Beyond the Pines.
TWO men were charged in Australia last Thursday, in connection with a terror plot involving a possible public execution. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that authorities had obtained information about a “demonstration killing", in which alleged assailants planned to kidnap a random member of the public, behead the victim in a public area, and then drape him or her in an Islamic State (ISIS) flag. The foiled plot comes just six days after the country raised its terror alert to high. Last week, Australia was also one of 40 nations that agreed to join the fight against militant group ISIS.
ON THE WEB
WIN BIG WITH US
Video: Man Versus Spicy Food
Lifestyle Writer Jared Alex Tan heads over to Southwest Taven to attempt their Spaghetti from Hell Challenge. Watch to find out if he survives.
Opinions: Confessions of a Racial Minority
On the surface, Singapore might seem to be a harmonious multiracial society. But delve deeper and you will see the cracks in our nation's foundations of equality. Opinions Editor Amir Yusof breaks down the issue and shares his experience as a Singaporean.
Find us at www.nanyangchronicle.ntu.edu.sg
Successful Ideas Need Not Be Original: NTU Provost
NTU Provost Professor Freddy Boey gave a speech at the annual Entrepreneurship & Innovation Festival, offering valuable advice to budding entrepreneurs. Participants were also treated to a host of innovation-themed activities throughout the eight-day event. News Writers Sheryl Tay, Cara Wong, and Ong Shi Man check it out.
Review: If I Stay
Adapted from Gayle Forman's bestselling novel, If I Stay gives the classic girl-meets-boy story a supernatural twist. Reviews Writer Asyraf Kamil tells you why it falls short of expectations and only deserves a two-star rating.
The Nanyang Chronicle is giving away 20 Zouk entry passes so that you can party away during recess week. Each pass is valued at $45 and allows entry for two people. The contest will run from 22 to 28 Sep and winners will be notified via Facebook on 29 Sep.
The Nanyang Chronicle is giving away five sets of $50 vouchers for you to update your closet with the latest fashion from Zalora. The contest will run from 29 Sep to 5 Oct and winners will be notified via Facebook on 6 Oct. 'Like' us on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ChronNTU) for more information
Bye-bye Starbucks — Page 5
Election process needs changes
A vote recount in last month’s EEE Club election has led students to call for improvements to the current system Toh Ting Wei Muhammad Zailani Ismail
tudents and management committee members have questioned the electoral process of last month’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) Club election, which took place on Union Day (28 Aug). Only 32 per cent of the votes were deemed valid. A vote recount was then held on 2 Sep due to “possible electoral irregularities”, according to the NTU Students’ Union (NTUSU). Explaining the basis of the recount in an email, Jason Lau, 23, chairman of the Union Election Committee (UEC) — which oversees constituent club elections — said that an electoral victory margin of less than five per cent is not the only scenario that requires a vote recount. “The high percentage of void votes in the first round of counting created reasonable doubt about the process, so the EEE Election Committee, in consultation with the UEC, decided to hold a recount,” added the final-year student from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The initial EEE Club election results — where only 266 out of 823 votes were declared valid — on Union Day sparked a heated debate campus-wide. The recount saw a huge swing in the results. Almost 84 per cent of the votes — 688 out of 823 votes — were declared valid, resulting in changes to the declared winning candidates for the President and Social Secretary posts. Presidential candidate A. Saravanan saw his tally rise sharply from 45 to 292 votes, while Zhang Jiaheng, who was originally elected president, had 212 votes, an increase from the 126 votes he initially received. Social Secretary candidate Jacqqie Poh received 280 votes in the recount, up from 49 votes previously. She replaced Yang Qiaoyu — who received 258 votes, up from her original tally of 158 — as one of the two Social Secretaries of the EEE Club. Lau revealed that the high percentage of void votes in the first round of counting stemmed from
the vote counting officers not being certain about what constituted a valid vote. For example, vote counters were unsure about accepting votes with ‘X’ markings that were not crossed from end-to-end inside the boxes. Despite that, the “criterion to determine a valid vote is clear”, said Associate Professor Lok Tat Seng, Director of Students from the Student Affairs Office (SAO) in an email interview. However, he added: “The counting officers, who play an important role in deciding whether to accept a ballot or not, should allow for a degree of flexibility if the voter’s intention is reasonably obvious.” Lau also said that each vote during the recount was deemed valid as long as the voter’s intention was clear. Tan Yih Horng, 21, a secondyear EEE student, commented that “instructions on how to cast (their) votes properly” may not have been “communicated clearly” to students voting that day. But Lau said that “there was no miscommunication” of the voting instructions to students, and that all election committees were given the same guidelines.
More transparent process
In light of the incident, students the Nanyang Chronicle spoke to felt that the vote counting process during university elections should be refined. First-year EEE student Tan Keng Tian, 21, said that while the election committee’s professionalism should be trusted, the need for a recount raised doubts about its credibility. “We are actually counting on them to protect and ensure the welfare of one of the biggest student bodies in the university. I feel that more transparency and indicative measures should be enforced so that such incidents will not surface again,” he added. Election committees, which conduct constituent club elections, are appointed by the NTUSU. But UEC, which is also appointed by the NTUSU, is a body independent of the NTUSU. Theodora Soh, 21, a third-year student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), felt that the recount was unfair towards EEE Club election candidates.
POLLING FLAWS: The EEE Club election vote recount, held at LT 29, raised doubts about the electoral process.
PHOTO: ANSELM SOH
She added: “There was such a huge jump in the total number of votes after the recount,” “If this situation situation arises again, other people might not trust the system anymore.”
Student management committee members from other schools also suggested ways to prevent such situations from happening again. Ayeshah Mirzha, 21, the outgoing President of the Communication and Information Club, felt that a different voting system would improve the overall process. “Personally, I am a huge advocate of an online voting system. I believe it gives a better representation of what people want due to its accessibility, as some students aren’t able to come down to vote. This can sometimes make a huge difference to the (voting) outcome,” the third-year student from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI) said. The School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and WKWSCI were the only schools to implement an online voting system on Union Day last year. All three reverted to the paper system this year. Ayeshah added that it would have been helpful to have signages at the election booths to show voters how to cast their votes. Newly sworn-in HSS Club President and second-year student Jaryl Sim, 23, said: “Proper measures should be put in place and voters should be educated. The election
VOTE RIGHT: The correct way to cast votes on Union Day.
committees also have to be clear on their instructions and (voting) protocol.” But both UEC and SAO expressed caution with regard to implementing such changes. Lau pointed out that while the NTUSU Council has been looking at improving the election process, the student body needs to be consulted before proposed changes can be made. Assoc Prof Lok added: “No matter which voting system is used, it is of utmost importance that the integrity of the electoral process is maintained,” “Although online voting can enhance accuracy, there are other concerns, such as (the security of) the electronic voting system. Any alternative voting system needs to be evaluated carefully before adoption.”
GRAPHIC: PAMELA NG
Timeline of events 28 Aug:
Voting on Union Day
Initial election results released
Investigation into “possible electoral irregularities”
Announcement of vote recount
Final election results released
Starbucks closure brews dismay Students lament the closure of the campus Starbucks outlet earlier this month, but there are no plans for a return yet A. Preethi Devi Jo-ann Quah Sheryl Tay
tudents have expressed disappointment over the closure of the Starbucks outlet in NTU. The coffee chain announced the news just two days before NTU Starbucks baristas brewed their final cuppa on 5 Sep. The closure was due to plans to refurbish the area around the Student Activities Centre, as well as the expiry of its lease with the university, said Marketing Manager of Starbucks Coffee Singapore Cheyenne Ng. In response to queries regarding plans to open another outlet on campus, she added: “We will continue to explore available opportunities, and we hope to connect with the NTU community soon.” The outlet, which opened in 2011, has been a favourite among students who want to get their caffeine fix before hitting the books. Rhonda Kung, 20, a secondyear student from Nanyang Business School, said: “I buy (a cup of Starbucks coffee) quite often to accompany my study sessions at the Lee Wee Nam Library. It’s quite a pity that it’s closing down."
BIDDING GOODBYE: A notice was put up to inform Starbucks customers regarding its closure.
“HAS, in consultation with various NTU stakeholders, sought to bring in a wider range of food and beverage tenants who can meet the campus community's diverse tastes.” Mr Jimmy Lee Chief Housing and Auxiliary Services Officer
Other students the Nanyang Chronicle spoke to praised the outlet here for its quality coffee and friendly staff. Iqbal Firdauz, 22, a second-year student from the School of Biological Sciences, said: “It served better drinks than other coffee outlets and the baristas are friendly.” Chua Xin Pei, 22, a final-year student from the School of Materials Science and Engineering, agreed, saying that she frequented the Starbucks outlet in school to
Kaleidoscope to run independently Shaun Tan NTU Kaleidoscope will no longer be listed as an official Co-Curricular Activity under NTU’s Student Affairs Office (SAO). The group released an official statement on its Facebook page on 9 Sep, saying that it will continue to operate as an “independent group of students from NTU”. NTU Kaleidoscope, which currently has about 170 members, attributed the decision to “structural limitations created by working under SAO” and announced its “common consensus” to carry on as an independent entity. Kaleidoscope — founded in March last year — aims to promote equality and objective discussion on issues such as sexual orientation, gender, class and race. In an email correspondence last month, Kaleidoscope President
Dhanashree Shelgaonkar, 24, a final-year student from the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, said that the group did not participate in the university’s annual Welcome Week (13 to 15 Aug) as it was undergoing “some restructuring” during that period. In another email interview last Thursday, a spokesman for Kaleidoscope denied that the split was caused by issues between the society and SAO. “SAO has been supportive, and they have not interfered with us. They have asked us to clearly define our aims and goals before approving of our group, but for the most part they’ve been hands-off (Kaleidoscope’s activities),” said the spokesman. In response to the Chronicle’s queries on why Kaleidoscope is no longer an official student organisation under NTU, Associate Professor Lok Tat Seng, Director of Students
from SAO, said: “The activities proposed by the students are already being organised by existing student clubs, but we respect the students’ decision to form an independent group to pursue similar activities and fulfil their objectives.” Kaleidoscope had organised an “informal picnic” at Pink Dot SG, an annual LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) gathering. It plans to organise activities such as arts appreciation events, networking sessions with supporters, and a welcome tea session. It will also hold fundraising events to “run as a self-sufficient student body”. Previously, the club was allocated funding under SAO. Despite the split, the spokesman said that the club’s aims to “campaign for greater sensibility towards people of similar and contrasting beliefs and views" and “improve campaign vibrancy" remain unchanged.
PHOTO: KELLY PHUA
get her dose of good coffee. Another plus point was the 10 per cent discount offered to NTU students and staff when they purchased items at the campus Starbucks outlet. Starbucks is not the only food and beverage (F&B) outlet located at the North Spine to close its doors. Canadian Pizza, Old Chang Kee and Palette have also moved out, leaving students with just five dining options — the North Spine Food Court, The New World Cafe,
McDonald’s, Subway, and KFC — in the area. Chief Housing & Auxiliary Services (HAS) Officer Jimmy Lee explained: “As a number of leases were newly initiated or up for renewal, HAS, in consultation with various NTU stakeholders, sought to bring in a wider range of F&B tenants who can meet the campus community’s diverse tastes.” He added that Pizza Hut, Peach Garden Chinese Restaurant, and two other well-known F&B brands will open outlets in the North Spine by the end of November. However, students who worked at the Starbucks outlet in NTU did not see the upcoming eateries as alternative on-campus employment opportunities. Faris Malik, 22, a second-year student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), said: “We’re like a family, and work is always a good break from school. I love what I do and I’ll most likely transfer to another outlet.” “It’s a good experience working at other stores. When I was attached to (the Starbucks outlet at) Universal Studios Singapore, it was quite a challenge communicating with the customers as most of them were tourists. But it’s always good fun,” he added. Nur Eliqah Ali, 20, a secondyear student from HSS, agreed, adding that she was not giving up on the possibility of the campus outlet making a comeback. “I will still be (working) at another Starbucks outlet somewhere. We are all hoping that we will get our store back one day,” she said.
New one-stop medical facility on campus The new University Health Service Building that replaces the Medical Clinic is now a one-stop medical facility for NTU students and staff. It can accommodate 60 patients — a 50 per cent increase from the former clinic, located at the South Spine beside Lee Kong Chian Lecture Theatre, which could only accommodate 40 patients. Located at the former International House Building on Nanyang Avenue, the 600-square-foot centre brings the medical, dental, and X-ray clinics, Employee Wellbeing Centre, and Student Wellbeing Centre under one roof. Read the full story at www.nanyangchronicle.ntu.edu.sg. PHOTO: LIEW YU WEI
HEALING THE FRACTURES
1 In Qinghai, Communications Student Han Hui Jing witnesses Yushu’s apparent progress since the 2010 Yushu Earthquake and finds the cracks that still lie beneath the surface. As she travels on a medical mission, she learns more about the lives of the locals, serving as a volunteer and a friend.
reyed disaster relief tents. Grubby children running barefoot on grimy streets. Gloomy scenes of poverty and squalor. These were what I had expected to see at the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China’s Qinghai Province — a region still recovering from a massive 7.1-magnitude earthquake that struck four years ago, killing close to 3,000 people and injuring more than 10,000. But there were hardly any relief tents left when I visited in July this year. The Chinese government’s 44.4 billion yuan (SGD $9.1 billion) reconstruction efforts resulted in new houses, water plants, a hospital, and even a telecommunications tower being built within the last four years. I was there to provide video coverage for a medical mission to Ramjor — a remote village about a six-hour drive from Yushu City. The mission was organised by my father and his close friend to provide medical relief in Ramjor, which had been hit by the Yushu Earthquake in 2010. As we passed through Yushu City on our way to Ramjor, I felt slightly unnerved by its rapid development — a feeling I often get
in Singapore, where familiar neighbourhoods change completely within a year. And if Yushu is progressing as quickly, will their people still need our help?
Beneath the surface of Yushu’s idyll
Away from the city, Yushu is an idyllic painting that stretches on endlessly — swathes of rolling green mountains dotted with herds of grazing yaks, blanketed by the azure blue sky and the golden summer sun. Bright Tibetan prayer flags further decorate the hills and mountain passes. The flags signify Yushu’s rich Buddhist tradition, for Tibetan Buddhism is the dominant religion in Yushu, where Tibetans form 97 per cent of the population. But Yushu’s picturesque landscape belies the heavy toll it places on its people. The harsh climate of the mountainous region results in short summers and long, bitter winters. The breathtaking mountains themselves were keepsakes from the region’s frequent earthquakes, including the 2010 Yushu Earthquake. The hardships of the villagers were immediately apparent from patients who received
treatment during the mission, which provided free general medical, dental and eye care services over three-and-a-half days. Cataracts emerged as one of the pressing conditions due to strong ultraviolet radiation in the region and the locals’ inadequate protection against it. Other common complaints ranged from arthritis to teeth cavities. Moreover, one large problem we faced was that many locals tried to consult doctors of all three specialisations — general practitioners, dentists, and opticians — despite having symptoms in only one area.
But Yushu’s picturesque landscape belies the heavy toll it places on its people. The harsh climate of the mountainous region results in short summers and long, bitter winters. When speaking with Dorlob Nima Tashi Rinpoche, 42, a venerable from Ramjor Monastery, I realised that this was because the villag-
ers had no easy access to basic medical services, for the rapid progress in Yushu City had not yet spread to remote villages like Ramjor. “The villagers here are very poor, and there was no clinic to provide checkups and medication before,” the Rinpoche said. The Rinpoche had met my father and his friend while raising funds for his monastery in Singapore, and had appealed for help to build a clinic in Ramjor. They successfully opened Kun Pen Tsok Si Ling clinic last year to treat villagers with Traditional Tibetan Medicine (TTM). TTM relies heavily on traditional herbs and physical therapy in treatment. Their hopes of exposing the clinic’s TTM practitioners to basic Western medical practices led to this year’s mission trip, which brought together a team of about 30 doctors and volunteers from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. In the three days, the team treated an overwhelming 1,200 patients. But witnessing the gratitude of the people is far more significant than numbers. Often, strangers would come up to take my hands in theirs and thank me in Tibetan.
SPICY CHALLENGE — Page 10
6 Though I could not understand the exact meaning of their words, I understood their gratitude well enough.
Bridging the divides
One of the close friends I made during the trip was a volunteer interpreter, Tsering Dolma, 22. As we conversed, I learned that her family had sent her to India to study English briefly. She loved to camp with friends on Yushu’s grasslands during the summer holidays. Tsering was also fascinated with my daily life in Singapore, and in particular, my dreams of becoming a filmmaker. “When I was in India, I dreamed of becoming a model. But my dreams shattered after I came back to Yushu,” she said. It was painfully clear to me why she felt that way. Modelling as a profession would have been unusual in Yushu, where most lived as herders or farmers. She returned to Yushu because her family did not have enough money to further fund her studies in India. Though Tsering and I became fast friends, such exchanges made me uncomfortably aware of the insurmountable differences between us. It was all too easy to feel sorry for her and her people. But another volunteer interpreter, Karma Tsering, 23, made me see things differently.
Karma openly shared about his life. He would often talk about his close ties with his family, his pride in his Tibetan ethnicity, and in particular, his dreams of joining the civil service in Yushu City. “I failed the interviews the first time I applied, but I’m preparing to apply a second time. It wasn’t easy for my parents to raise me, so I have to work hard.” He would often study in school past 9pm while preparing for the written tests and interviews — something I was similarly accustomed to in Singapore. I had been too quick to assume an unbridgeable divide between the people and myself in disaster-stricken areas. After all, I’d only hear about their circumstances — so harsh and unlike mine — through news reports. It was only when I interacted with them that I understood that there are things that define us collectively, despite the vast differences in our backgrounds. I eventually learned to help the Tibetans not because I felt sorry for them, but because I respected them as fellow human beings, who similarly have gratitude, pride, and hopes for the future. While helping the Tibetans recover from the earthquake, they helped to mend my faulty misconceptions and heal the fractures that hindered our burgeoning friendships.
1. STUNNING BACKGROUND: A venerable from Ramjor Monastery stands amid the scenic mountains looking on as vultures devour a dead yak. 2. SAY CHEESE: A group of nuns had crowded behind me to see what I was doing, before they realised that their photo was being taken. 3. DENTAL ISSUES: A young Tibetan student has a tooth checked by a dentist. Dental problems were one of the issues faced by locals, as many were unfamiliar with basic dental hygiene practices. 4. FLUTTERING FLAGS: Tibetans believe that when the flags are blown, goodwill and compassion will be spread for the benefit of all sentient beings. 5. LONG QUEUES: Locals wait to register for treatment in front of the Ramjor Monastery. Many patients came from neighbouring villages by foot, which would have taken days. 6. RESTING IN LINE: An elderly nun, one of 1,200 patients who were treated, takes a rest while waiting in line to register at the medical mission. PHOTOS: HAN HUI JING AND CHEAH CHOW SENG
SHOOTING TO THE TOP
Contrary to popular belief, a media career is not all glitz and glamour. Award-winning photojournalist and NTU alumna Neo Xiaobin stops by for a chat with Lifestyle Writer Feline Lim, and shares about her time as a student in NTU, her work and her future plans.
he may be soft-spoken, but that did not stop The Straits Times photojournalist Neo Xiaobin from winning the Icon de Martell Cordon Bleu 2014 — Singapore’s most coveted photography award — last month. Established five years ago, the award recognises the most outstanding photographer in Singapore. Past winners include NTU Alumnus and photojournalist Edwin Koo (2012), who won for his series of portfolios exploring the concept of home, which were shot in Tibet, Pakistan and Nepal. Neo, 30, a former Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI) student who graduated in 2007, beat six other contenders to win. The judging panel described her as possessing “the gift of a photojournalist working with the vocabulary of an artist”. Within a short span of seven years in the field, Neo has established a name for herself nationwide and within the region. For the competition, she submitted a total of six unique portfolios. One of them — entitled Shattered Dreams — tells a story about the death of a young karaoke lounge hostess, Li Hong Yan, whose naked body was found in a pool at Sentosa Cove in March 2010. Neo followed Li’s family back to their hometown in Heilongjiang, China, where they grieved and laid to rest their daughter, who had come to Singapore to seek a better life. Neo’s passion for photography and her job is evident, as she peppers the interview with lighthearted laughter and a constant smile. Has anything changed since you won the award? What were your thoughts when you received it? Friends and colleagues tease me occasionally, and I do feel a bit of added pressure from carrying this ‘tag’ when meeting new people. That aside, I don’t think anything has really changed, and just like anyone else, it was back to work the very next day. When did you first become interested in photography? I had a keen interest in visuals and illustrations from a young age, which is a funny thing, because I always thought I would end up in advertising and design — pity they did not offer it back in those days. My first real encounter with photography was in my third year of university when I started my specialisation in journalism. What were some of the memorable experiences you had in NTU? Out of the many different phases in my life, university was one that taught me most about independence and freedom. Cheesy as it may sound, my last two years in NTU were what I would describe to be life-changing. If I didn’t do photojournalism, if I didn’t go for GO-FAR (Going Overseas For Advanced Reporting), if I didn’t do my FYP (Final Year Project) and go to East Timor, I might be in a very different place now. GO-FAR was especially huge for me as the experience eventually spurred me on to pursue photojournalism as a career.
What were some difficulties you encountered when you first started out as a photojournalist? I think a lot of amateur photographers get caught up in the technical aspects of photography, like working with shutter speed and aperture. Also, considering myself to be rather shy and introverted, there were many instances in the past when I struggled with the fear of putting myself out there and approaching others. I used to always ask myself: “Should I?” There was always this psychological barrier I had to get past. I think that this is something that starters (often) experience. For me, it’s been seven years — with the daily assignments I’ve been tasked and the countless people I’ve had to talk to, I would say I’ve definitely learnt to dig deep and be more outspoken. What do you think makes a good photograph? Beyond basic technicalities such as lighting and composition, I think a good picture is one that conveys emotions and has the ability to connect with people. Do you have any mentors or photographers you look up to for inspiration? Why? I started out reading about Henri-Cartier Bresson and his book entitled The Decisive Moment, back then photography was purely about capturing the moment. I also first saw artistic elements in photojournalism in James Nachtwey’s earlier works. As for the local scene, we have Ms Sim Chi Yin, whom I admire for her gift in writing and photography. There’s also Mr Tay Kay Chin, who was my teacher in school and whose assignments I used to fail. He’s a really good friend and mentor to me. I appreciate him for being open to ideas and creative thinking, and his honest criticism. Of the portfolios that helped you win this award, which of them speaks to you the most and why? Do you have a personal favourite photo? Shattered Dreams, in particular, meant a lot to me and it’s a story I won’t forget for the rest of my life. I have covered similar stories before, and understand that in situations revolving around death and grief, it’s rare that people allow you to come close and intrude. I recall the day I was out on the boat with the victim’s grieving family — the cries that emerged from the father after throwing her ashes out into the sea were noises I wouldn't ever forget. I thought the story behind the sensationalised headlines and graphic pictures was important, and would be relatable for many other migrant workers out there seeking a better life in Singapore. I don’t know about my favourite photo, but I would say that photographers are always looking for the next moment to capture and fulfil this sense of satisfaction, and that’s really what keeps us going.
ALWAYS ON THE GO: Neo has photographed in several countries, including Myanmar, Nepal and East Timor. At press time, she was shooting for the Asian Games in Incheon, Korea. PHOTO: AUDREY KWOK
How do you manage to keep your personal feelings in check when shooting in emotionally-charged situations? While I always remind myself to remain neutral and objective, there’s no escaping the fact that we’re all humans with emotions. You’re not a robot that’s able to simply switch off these feelings. I remember crying when I was photographing Shattered Dreams, but to me, that was fine as long as I did not let my emotions get in the way of work. The photographs you take are said to convey emotions and narrate a story. What do you want viewers to take away from your works? It’s important to me that people feel something from photographs and learn something new from them. Photography has a way of creating awareness and educating people. With that comes a form of knowledge and understanding that I hope will make the world a better place. What have you discovered about photojournalism that you did not expect? Contrary to popular belief, photojournalism is neither easy nor glamorous. Sure, there are times when we get to eat awesome food and meet celebrities. The most recent one I got to cover was Taylor Swift, when she was here for her RED Tour. However, there are also the stakeouts, waiting for hours on end to no avail, and charging around with all
that heavy equipment. I know of colleagues suffering from slipped discs and aching shoulders as a result — but that’s all part of the job. It’s a job that we love, and so we learn to accept the negative aspects of it as well. What projects are you currently working on? Next year will be a crazy one for the picture desk at The Straits Times, especially with SG50 coming up. For my personal projects, I have actually been wanting to do one on female bodybuilders and society’s perception of beauty. As much as I would like to expand this into something more, the daily assignments we get usually leave us with little energy or time to do our own things. What advice do you have for budding photographers and photojournalists? It’s a lot of hard work and determination, especially when it comes to gaining access to subjects. In terms of finding the right people that will help you tell a better story, you really have to be persistent and learn to be thick-skinned. Always be honest, sincere and genuine about your intentions when explaining what you’re trying to do. Complete this sentence: If I weren’t a photojournalist, I’d be … A chef. I love food!
10-11 LIFESTYLE foodsnoop
FIGHTING FIRE With a burning passion for food, Lifestyle Writers Jared Alex Tan and Trisha Lim take on three spicy food challenges to see who can take the heat.
SOUTHWEST TAVERN 8 @ Tradehub 21 #01-33 8 Boon Lay Way S609964
Opening Hours Mon-Fri: 11am-12am Sat-Sun: 3pm-12am Public Holidays: 5pm-12am Tel: 6515 4303 Challenge: Finish a plate of spaghetti with bhut jolokia and Trinidad scorpion ‘butch T’ peppers — two of the spiciest peppers in the world — in 10 minutes. Drinks are not allowed. Difficulty Level:
f there is one thing Singaporeans can unanimously agree on, it would be our unending love for food. And from laksa to chilli crab, it’s no secret that we pride ourselves on being chilli aficionados. Enter Southwest Tavern, a cowboythemed restaurant that serves a wide variety of Western dishes, but is probably best known for its infamous spicy food challenges. With so many Singaporeans professing their love for spicy food, restaurant founder Andrew Koh, 44, created these challenges to give self-declared chilli champions a run for their money. In the Suicide Wings Challenge, participants are tasked with finishing a plate of six ‘suicide wings’ and a pint of beer within 15 minutes. The meal is on the house if they are successful, along with a complimentary bottle of ‘hot death sauce’ used in the dish itself. This is easier said than done, with only three per cent of participants conquering the challenge.
The challenge has been around at Southwest Tavern for the past few years, and in an effort to keep things fresh, Mr Koh has come up with a new spicy challenge to replace the current one, aptly titled the Spaghetti from Hell Challenge. Much like its predecessor, this new challenge is straightforward — finish a plate of spicy spaghetti within 10 minutes, but this time without any beverage to ease the inevitable pain. The secret of the dish’s spiciness lies in the use of bhut jolokia (commonly known as ‘ghost peppers’) and Trinidad scorpion ‘butch T’ peppers. Both peppers previously held Guinness World Records as the world’s hottest chilli peppers, so the Spaghetti from Hell Challenge is less of a gastronomic experience and more of a trial by fire for your digestive system. To put things into perspective, a bottle of tabasco sauce registers at 50,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) on the Scoville Heat Scale, while the bhut jolokia and Trinidad scorpion ‘butch T’ peppers come in at an astonishing 1,041,427 and 1,463,700 SHU respectively. If one succeeds in the challenge, he or she can choose between instant gratification — two complimentary towers of Heineken beer (worth $136), or a more sustainable reward in the form of a $100 Southwest Tavern food voucher. In an attempt to make the challenge more accessible, Mr Koh has created three levels of increasing difficulty — Hell’s Gateway ($18), Halfway There ($22), and the forebodingly titled Level 18 ($26) — to cater to varying degrees of tolerance. I decided to attempt the middle ground — Halfway There — just to make sure that I would not give up right after my first bite. At first glance, the dish looked deceivingly like a regular plate of spaghetti, but the smell of the inherent peppers immediately stung my nostrils, almost pleading with me to reconsider the awful life decision I was about to make. My initial strategy was to eat the spaghetti as fast as I possibly could, before the heat could get to me. However, I soon found out that the two peppers are rightfully deserving of their places in the record books. Within seconds of my first bite, my mouth was on fire. Sweat, snot and tears started to flow uncontrollably, and the sides of my neck felt a sensation best described as “unbearable pain”. At one point, I was certain that I was going to lose consciousness. The spaghetti would have been rather delicious without the peppers, but at that point, pleasing my palate was the furthest thing from my mind. Imagine the spiciest chilli padi you’ve ever had, and it would still be nowhere near the painful spiciness of this dish. Between the endless streams of screams and tears, I somehow managed to down close to three-quarters of the dish in four minutes. I was definitely making good time, but the pain was so intolerable that giving up was an increasingly viable option. I eventually decided that I had come too far to be bested by a mere plate of Italian noodles. With trembling hands, I wiped the seemingly unending stream of tears and mu-
cus from my face, and reluctantly finished the last few of mouthfuls of what was truly beginning to look like spaghetti from hell. As I struggled to swallow the last mouthful, Mr. Koh inspected the empty plate and congratulated me on successfully completing the challenge. He also handed me a well-deserved glass of milk. Unfortunately, it did little to subdue the still-raging inferno in my mouth.
Within seconds after my first bite, my mouth was on fire. Sweat, snot and tears started to flow uncontrollably, and the sides of my neck felt a sensation best described as “unbearable pain”. At one point, I was certain that I was going to lose consciousness. I completed the Spaghetti from Hell Challenge with close to four minutes to spare, but my ordeal was far from over. The pasta made its way down my digestive system, and my stomach felt like a washing machine that someone had thrown a brick into. In the battle of man versus food, I had won. But as I left Southwest Tavern, I began to wonder who the real loser was. I only attempted the second of three levels, and I shudder at the thought of anyone crazy enough to attempt Level 18. For those who think they can take the heat, and want to give the Spaghetti from Hell Challenge a try, Mr Koh is offering a 10 per cent discount for all NTU students who present their matriculation cards. But be warned: your next few trips to the washroom will not be pleasant.
-Jared Alex Tan
PHOTOS: FIONA TAN
WATCH Jared and Trisha take on their spicy food challenges at www. nanyangchronicle.ntu.edu.sg/multimedia
CHRONICLE 03 LAGNAA BAREFOOT DINING 6 Upper Dickson Road S207466
Opening hours: Daily: 11.30am-10.30pm Tel: 6296 1215 Challenge: Complete a Level Six curry dish on your own, with no yogurt-based items to help you out. Difficulty level:
THE people behind Lagnaa Barefoot Dining are so serious about chilli that they have dedicated an entire wall of their restaurant to a Spicy Wall of Fame. From the seemingly-mocking Level One: Not Hot (Anyone Can) to the glorifying Level Ten: We Declare You King, hundreds of clothespins decorate the wall — each representing a victorious challenger. On any given day, Level Six: I Dare You is the highest spiciness level that this cosy bistro offers. Those who complete it successfully are welcome to fire up their taste buds once again during the restaurant’s monthly Full Moon Chilli Challenge — where Levels Seven to Ten beckon those who dare. For the brave survivors, their meal is free. To date, a lone Australian man retains his place at the top of the wall at Level Nine: Make My Day. Manager Ms Shanti Pillai, 52, shared that the Australian said that he will fly back to Singapore should someone ever want to best him. The system of different spice levels started in 2006, when the chefs at Lagnaa ac-
ceded to a customer’s request for something spicier than what was on the menu. Word soon got around, and customers were clamouring for more. Ms Shanti said: “It’s not just a matter of the chilli that’s being used, it’s the spices that go in there, and the technique of cooking.” “I can give the chilli to somebody else, but they’re not going to be able to cook it as hot,” she added. And the chefs at Lagnaa know exactly how to make it hot. The thick reddish-brown chicken curry arrived with six curry leaves in it – each representing 100,000 SHU. At 600,000 SHU, the palm-sized dish clocks in a rating that is a whopping 120 times spicier than that of tabasco sauce on the Scoville Heat Scale. The curry is served with rice and naan to help with my challenge. I was reminded of the conditions of the challenge: I had to finish the dish by myself with no yogurt-based items to cool the fiery effects of the curry. Water is allowed, but Ms Shanti advised against it, as water only intensifies the spiciness. A mere whiff of the curry was enough to send me reeling in the opposite direction. I must have been delirious to take up the challenge, but there was no turning back. Envisioning a clothespin with my name on that wall of fame, I readied my fork and spoon. This was not a timed challenge, but I decided to shovel down the curry — I did not want to prolong my agony by taking time to savour the food. The first mouthful was divine. The sweet taste of the Indian spices flooded my mouth. The succulent chicken was full of flavour, and not to mention, tender and juicy. Together with a spoonful of basmati rice, I escaped to food heaven. My first bite gave me the impression that getting my name up on that wall was going to be piece of cake. I soon realised how wrong I was. I was halfway through my second mouth-
PHOTO: LIEW YU WEI
Bedok Mall #B1-53 311 New Upper Changi Road S467360 Opening Hours Mon-Sun: 11am-10pm Tel: 6844 9200 Challenge: Finish six atomic wings prepared with Habanero peppers. No beverages allowed. Difficulty Level:
IT HAD come down to this — Trisha and I had both successfully completed our respective spicy food challenges, and to determine the ultimate spicy food champion, we decided to go head-to-head in Wingstop’s Atomic Wings Challenge. As its name implies, Wingstop prides themselves on being chicken wing experts, and offers 10 unique flavours to cater to a wide range of palates. Their atomic flavoured wings, however, are less of an actual menu choice and more of a novelty item for those brave (or foolish) enough to try. The source of the atomic wing’s spiciness can be attributed to the use of Habanero peppers. Once regarded as the world’s hottest chilli in 1999, Habanero peppers have the potential to reach up to 350,000 SHU on the Scoville Heat Scale.
PHOTO: CEPHEUS CHAN
ful when my entire body felt like it had caught fire. Within seconds, my stomach felt like it was being stabbed by a thousand tiny knives. Abandoning the rice and naan altogether, I focused my efforts on polishing off the curry and heaped as much as I could fit into my mouth. Cold sweat dripped from my brow. I chewed the chicken furiously and tried not to think of the excruciating pain in my gut. I continued in this fervour until I was scraping the last of the thick gravy from the bottom of the plate. It took a tremendous effort to get it into my mouth, and the final swallow set fire to my entire digestive system. I collapsed against the wall behind me, my brain barely registering my victory. My victory was sweetened when Ms. Shanti told me that I was the first person to
ever complete the challenge without finishing the rice and naan. I was presented with the clothespin. After carefully etching my name and the level completed on it, I attached it to the Spicy Wall of Fame. I walked out of Lagnaa as a proud woman, though my entire mouth was numb from the challenge. My stomach did not feel too well either. The fact that it was still hurting 20 minutes after the challenge told me that I would be spending some quality time hugging a toilet bowl that night. Lagnaa’s next Full Moon party takes place on 8 Oct. For those who are interested, there are two whole weeks left to earn your invitation. But I must admit that my triumph over Level Six has got me thinking about how much more heat I can take.
The Atomic Wings Challenge is an unofficial challenge at Wingstop where challengers are given the ‘simple’ task of finishing six atomic wings. Wingstop’s Vice-President of Sales and Marketing Communications, Chia Tze Yong, 36, shared that the average customer can eat three to five atomic wings in one sitting, with the highest record being 13. Trisha and I decided that the fastest to complete the challenge would win, and that no beverages would be allowed. With the ground rules of our final battle laid out, the only thing left for us to do was to begin eating. The pungent smell of our 12 atomic wings had already set the stage for us, and I planned to retain my strategy of ploughing through the wings before the Habanero’s spiciness could kick in (of course, I had already learnt that this was easier said than done). Like my Spaghetti from Hell Challenge earlier on, my initial lack of reaction threatened to lull me into a false sense of security. However, within the next few seconds, the atomic sauce took effect and launched its relentless assault on my taste buds. While the wings were quite ordinary, it was the atomic sauce that made them stand out. Generously coated over the wings, the thick sauce quickly got all over my hands. I had to constantly remind myself not to lick and risk getting any more into my mouth. Despite possessing a significantly lower rating on the Scoville Heat Scale than the previous two challenges, it soon became apparent that spiciness cared little for trivial numbers. The atomic wings were as torturous as the previous challenges, and I swore that my tears were emanating heat as they rolled down my tingling cheeks.
Trisha and I were immersed in our own worlds of pain. In addition to the continuous stream of tears, my hands had begun trembling, and the all-too-familiar sensations attacking the sides of my neck returned to haunt me again. Fortunately, I somehow managed to finish a majority of the wings without realising it. Not wanting to lose, I forced myself to swallow the remaining scraps of chicken and completed the challenge in four minutes and 10 seconds, with Trisha trailing closely behind at five minutes and 17 seconds. Trisha put up a valiant effort, but with a faster timing, I emerged as the ultimate spicy food champion. There was little cause for celebration though — in four short minutes, the atomic wings ignited a massive firestorm in my head, and water failed to quell the heat. Trisha and I left Wingstop with an important lesson: no matter how many times you eat an exceptionally spicy dish, your body will never get used to heat of that magnitude. While there is no formal Atomic Wings Challenge offered by Wingstop, those who want to recreate the challenge can do so by purchasing a six-wing meal ($9.95, inclusive of one side, one drink and one dip) and choosing the atomic flavour. For a bigger challenge, forgo the beverages. Trisha and I successfully completed all three spicy food challenges, making us unanimous winners in the battle of man versus food. We don’t know if we would ever agree to put ourselves through such discomfort again, but one thing is for sure — we definitely won’t be eating spaghetti, curry, or chicken wings any time soon.
-Jared Alex Tan
Nifty but little known offerings have appeared on the lifestyle applications scene. Lifestyle Writer Rachel Chia finds notable standouts that put new twists on classic services like discounts, delivery and digital cards. Available on Android and iOS, these apps can all be downloaded for free.
eecha is an app that collects information from different sites to create a summary of neighbourhood updates. This information service is available for 230 local neighbourhoods like Admiralty, Mandai and Joo Chiat. The app has 13 categories, including arts activities, café reviews, news, and shopping deals, under each neighbourhood. This allows users to search for information specific to the areas they live in, work or frequent. For instance, users who select Boon Lay can find out that the Japanese food street in Jurong Point sells cronuts, view registration brochures for free bodyweight training trials in September, or read a notice about a Siberian husky for adoption in a neighbourhood. A circle beside the category tag shows users how many new unread posts there are for that category. Clicking on the categories brings up lists of posts contributed by people in the community, which range from Foursquare entries to daily posts by Channel NewsAsia. Each post is marked on a map, and shows its distance, in kilometres, from the user. The list of selectable neighbourhoods is also arranged alphabetically for easy searching. The application interface is colourful and easy to use. However, because of its community-based nature, there is no quality control for the posts. It is also not yet possible to select sto-
Sugar is an app that helps users save money by offering discounts through something called ‘skimming’. Users can click on, or ‘skim’, items in the app, and each click lowers the price by 20 cents. If many people ‘skim’ an item, savings can be significant. The app automatically detects its user’s location, then ranks the offers in order of increasing distance of stores carrying discounted items from the user. The app also offers five filter categories: ‘everything’, drinks, food, desserts and ‘I’m curious’ (all non-culinary deals). Although most offers are F&B deals, there are also spa vouchers and fashion discounts available. Some examples of impressive savings include Tian Tian chicken rice for $1.80 (down from $5), electric guitar classes for $26.60 (down from $37.50) and tickets to The Kumar Show for $39 each (down from $55). If users are satisfied with the prices, they can buy the coupon for the item using inapp cash credit, and present it at the merchant’s cashier upon purchase, to redeem the discounted price. Users receive $10 worth of complimentary credit upon signing up, which can be topped up using a credit card. The app’s interface is clean and easy to use, with little lag time. The welcome slideshow has clear instructions, and the FAQ section is comprehensive. The sorting system also helps users find relevant deals easily. There is no limit to how many items one can ‘skim’, but users can ‘skim’ each item
PHOTO: FEECHA APP
ries based on their site of origin — users have to sieve through submissions from Instagram accounts, Facebook pictures and snippets from Stomp when looking for what they want to read. The lack of chronologically ordered lists can also be very confusing.
PHOTO: SUGAR APP
only once a day. Users are also restricted to one coupon per week. Furthermore, each item can be redeemed only once a day; if the item has already been redeemed by someone, other users must wait for the next day to buy it. However, item prices reset back to their original values every morning, so how much you save depends on your luck.
Perx is a loyalty card app that rewards spending with ‘chops’ to let users redeem free items at stores. For instance, five 'chops' earn the user a 100-gram cookie bag from Famous Amos or a diamond facial peel treat-
PHOTO: PERX APP
ment from Rappelez Beauty; six 'chops' entitle users to a pizza from Skinny Pizza. This app allows users to store their loyalty cards digitally. To store their cards, users upload the barcodes on the back of their physical cards into the app, via an in-app scanner. It also issues reminders when cards are about to expire. There are currently 139 brands registered on Perx’s list of uploadable cards, including Koi, Ramen Keisuke (Amex) and Party World KTV. When users make purchases from participating stores, the staff will give users a QR code to get a Perx e-chop under that particular card. After collecting a certain number of chops from that brand, users can redeem free items from the merchant. Using Global Positioning System (GPS), the app indicates the nearest Perx brands to the user, what free items are redeemable, and also the number of chops required to redeem them. The app only has three sections to it — scan card, cards, and rewards — and it is simple to use. Pages also load quickly. However, on the cards page, deals are listed randomly, and cannot be filtered by category. In addition, some chops require minimum value purchases, and terms and conditions differ across brands. Certain deals may also only apply to particular outlets, so users must read the terms of each item carefully.
PHOTO: FOODPANDA APP
People seeking convenient food delivery can download foodpanda. From the app’s main page, users can search for restaurants in the vicinity using their postal codes, and place orders for meals at any of the available establishments. It also has a deals section that shows special in-app discounts for specific stores. There are no fast food options available. Instead, there are restaurants like Nihon Mura, Monster Curry and Sarpino’s. Every restaurant has a page stating their address, payment methods, delivery times, surcharges and reviews — which has a good mix of positive and negative opinions of past users. The app’s ‘sort’ function allows users to filter restaurants by cuisine type, delivery timing and fees, user ratings and minimum order quantities. In addition, there are two other categories: restaurants with free delivery and restaurants that accept online payment. The app’s interface loads quickly and operates smoothly, and the menus for each restaurant are uploaded in a uniform and clean format. However, the range of restaurants is limited. Also, since foodpanda‘s partners are restaurants and not fast food chains, delivery timings can range from 40 minutes to two hours. While the app boasts exclusive deals, only 10 deals for 10 restaurants are currently available. This app is better suited for large groups, because the discounts generally require customers to order $50 to $80 worth of food.
concert review ANBERLIN: THE FINAL TOUR 12 Sep TAB, Orchard Hotel
nberlin drew the curtains on their illustrious 12-year career with a sold-out concert at TAB, Orchard Hotel on 12 Sep. The concert, organised by Upsurge Productions, was part of the American rock band’s final tour, giving Singaporean fans a chance to witness them live for the last time. Homegrown band Caracal was the opening act for the night, and they showed the audience why they are widely regarded as one of Singapore’s favourite bands. Despite the pressure of performing right before a huge international act, the band was unfazed and made the stage their own. Caracal’s high-energy performance and signature blend of rock and post-hardcore music got the crowd going. However, the headlining act was undoubtedly Anberlin, who took the stage soon after Caracal ended their set to rapturous applause. After kickstarting the night with Paperthin Hymn from their second album, Never Take Friendship Personal, the band performed a stripped-down rendition of Naïve Orleans from their debut album, Blueprints from the Black Market. As the crowd sang along to heartrending lines like “I finally found that life goes
INTIMATE SET: Anberlin plays to a sold-out crowd at TAB.
on without you”, it was a bittersweet moment as these words echoed throughout the cosy venue and everyone contemplated the idea of life after Anberlin. Frontman Stephen Christian displayed excellent showmanship, interacting frequently with the crowd and expressing gratitude for their ardent support. The other band members — guitarists Joseph Milligan and Christian McAlhaney, bassist Deon Rexroat and drummer Nathan
PHOTO: DAWN CHUA/UPSURGE PRODUCTIONS
Young — were also at their best. Milligan oozed confidence and swagger during his guitar solos, and Rexroat was often seen strumming on his bass and singing along with his eyes closed, completely at home with his craft. Guitarist McAlhaney, who left the stage momentarily with a bloodied nose midway through the opening song after smashing his nose against a microphone stand, was undeterred by the accident and soon
returned to his headbanging ways. On a night that marked the end for the band, it was fitting that the band went full circle by revisiting their earlier songs. Perennial crowd favorites, such as Inevitable and The Unwinding Cable Car, reached anthemic heights, while hits such as A Day Late, Godspeed, and Feel Good Drag sent fans into an ecstatic mood; even those previously content with standing still were soon joyfully pumping their fists in the air. During the encore song — aptly titled (*Fin) — the crowd joined the band for one final chorus. Everyone was absolutely immersed amid the chaotic yet mesmerising image of swaying hands and mobile phone lights. The night ended with a surprise for the band: a video montage of recordings and messages from fans, put together by Upsurge Productions. It was a poignant moment for the band. Christian was visibly moved — for the first time that night, he was at a loss for words. At the end of the tribute, Rexroat embraced Christian, who had his face buried in his hands — a scene that spoke volumes about the night's emotional significance. As the lights came on, we could not help but wish that this was merely an intermission for the band; a quick pause before they took the stage again, rather than a final hurrah. It is undeniable that the show was a fitting farewell for them — to exit with a bang is not at all a bad way to bow out.
singles of the month
SAY YOU LOVE ME Jessie Ware PMR Records
BEST known for her 2012 single Wildest Moments, English singer Jessie Ware is returning strong with her second great single, Say You Love Me, off her upcoming sophomore album Tough Love (releasing in October). Say You Love Me is an emotionallyfuelled love ballad that takes you through the throes of being in a crumbling relationship. Embellished with Ware's signature raspy vocals, the song is an exemplar of music stripped to the bone. Flanked by a searingly powerful chorus, Ware impassionately launches into lines like “cause I don't wanna fall in love, if you don't wanna try” with raw conviction. Get ready to be hit by a full brunt of emotions — anguish, hope, desire and desperation — in every verse and all at once.
CHANGING ft. Paloma Faith Sigma 3Beat Records
YOU AND ME You + Me RCA Records
NEVER CATCH ME ft. Kendrick Lamar Flying Lotus Warp Records
THINK Lana Del Rey, but cranked up a few notches to fit into every club DJ’s playlist. British drum and bass duo Sigma catapulted to fame with their United Kingdom number one single Nobody to Love in April. Now they are back with a worthy follow up, Changing. The song’s combination of fast moving drum beats and soulful melodies separates itself from the humdrum of current Electronic Dance Music hits. The vocal prowess that Paloma Faith lends to Sigma’s production grounds Changing into something deeper than standard pop fare. Its message on moving forward in life is one about healing, and it leaves you pondering and hitting the replay button.
YOU+ME is an unconventional marriage of pop and folk, birthed from a collaboration between Pink and Dallas Green, the latter of City and Colour and Alexisonfire fame. Their debut single, You and Me, strikes a delicate balance between Pink’s refined vocals and Green’s acoustic influences, creating a fresh blend of pop-folk that will no doubt please fans of both artists. With lyrics such as “they say everything it happens for a reason, you can be flawed enough but perfect for a person”, this ode to love is hauntingly simple and honest from start to finish. Their album Rose Ave will be released on 14 Oct, and if its first single You and Me is any indication, this duo might just be one of the best new pairings this year.
WHEN Californian hip hop extraordinaire Kendrick Lamar drops his first verse in Never Catch Me, listeners are swept right off their feet as they chase after his trail of relentless rapping. But they’ll never catch him. In stark contrast to Lamar’s lightspeed raps, experimental music producer Flying Lotus (born Steven Ellison) — who also hails from California — ambles along with skittering drum beats and a jazzy piano number. But even these fluttering melodies pick up their pace, and by the three-minute mark, Never Catch Me has turned into a multi-layered, dense instrumental that proves itself worthy of featuring the hottest rapper in the game.
-Kevin Nicholas Wong
-Jared Alex Tan
DICK LEE: A LIFE STORY Dick Lee has been a key figure in Singapore’s arts scene, but even as he celebrates his 40th anniversary in the music industry, many only know him as the man behind the scenes. Reviews Writer Lilian Lee recounts his rise to fame and talks to the man of many hats. PHOTOS: DICK LEE ENTERTAINMENT
e’s not just any Tom, Dick or Harry — 2014 marks Dick Lee’s 40th year in showbiz. A household name in Singapore’s music scene, the 58-year-old held an intimate concert at the Drama Centre Theatre on 31 Aug to commemorate the milestone. Lee’s most prominent works are his musical achievements — he was a judge on all three seasons of Singapore Idol and he has penned timeless National Day anthems such as Home. However, his mastery of the arts seems to have been lost on much of the younger generation, and in this feature, we reminisce about the huge influence the man has had on Singapore’s art scene.
Lee's nascent music career. After years of poor album sales and resistance from the media, Lee gave one last shot at recording an album and revisited his initial concept of a Singaporean album. The resulting album, The Mad Chinaman, was an eclectic array of folk, pop and traditional songs with a Singaporean twist. It was released in August 1989 and unlike Lee's previous albums, it was an instant hit with the local media, who gave it stellar reviews.
Early beginnings and the birth of The Mad Chinaman
Lee made his first break while auditioning for Talentime in 1973 with Life Story, a song he had penned at leisure. It left such an impression on the judges that he was made a guest artiste for the competition. By mid-1974, Lee's first album, Life Story, was out in the market. Unfortunately, the hit song, Fried Rice Paradise, was immediately banned from airplay for its use of Singlish. The ban, coupled with lukewarm interest in local music, led to poor album sales. Nonetheless, Life Story served as a springboard for
Lee co-wrote Beauty World with Singaporean playwright Michael Chiang in 1988, as part of the Singapore Arts Festival. The first of two Singaporean musicals produced that year (the other being Makan World), Beauty World is about a Malaysian girl who finds herself working for a cabaret in Singapore. The musical marked Lee's first foray into local theatre and was a big hit that enjoyed sold-out runs. Lee continued to be the forerunner of theatre productions that detailed local life. His productions are set in days of yore, but he makes them easily accessible to the young and old through the common theme of ‘Singaporean-ness’.
Celebrating 40 years in music
Lee's 40th anniversary concert was a delightful musical extravaganza that brought his audience on a trip down memory lane. The concert featured guest performers who have shaped Lee's career in one way or another, including jazz pianist Jeremy Monteiro and Lush 99.5FM DJ Chris Ho. Besides belting out familiar classics such as Fried Rice Paradise and Life Story, Lee also showcased his recent works, including Treasure Every Moment, a song he wrote for 2005 Project SuperStar winner Chen Wei Lian. According to Lee, many had mistaken the song for a National Day anthem — a testament that Lee’s music still resonates with Singaporeans. Other highlights of the concert included a rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Lee and his three brothers, a throwback to the halcyon days that made Lee who he is today. In between songs, Lee regaled the audience with amusing anecdotes and updates on his latest developments. There were also solemn and teary-eyed moments, such as when Lee recounted his last meeting with Cantopop star Leslie Cheung before the latter's suicide. Lee’s concert can be described as a roller coaster ride of emotions through the passage of time; a lighthearted narration of his life story through song that ended with a standing ovation — a reaffirmation of Singaporeans’ deep respect for Lee.
work attitude led to a flourishing career in the Asia-Pacific region, making him a wellknown figure in music circles. Lee's music is testament to his never-saydie spirit, and it has placed him at the vanguard of a burgeoning local music scene forty years ago. Despite multiple setbacks and a pervading preference for international acts, he continued to produce music that both spoke to, and for Singaporeans.
MAD CHINAMAN: The iconic album artwork for Dick Lee's first breakthrough album, The Mad Chinaman.
The album’s success was also bolstered by the government’s efforts at that time in instilling a sense of patriotism in Singaporeans by serving as a form of expression and identification.
Unfortunately, stringent censorship from the government also meant that one of the album's hits, Rasa Sayang, was banned from airplay as it was construed to promote the use of Singlish. The ban was reminiscent of the Fried Rice Paradise saga. However, this ban incited heated debates in the press about language regulations in Singapore. Lee's album served as a platform for discourse between the government and the people — the latter felt that Singlish was unique to Singapore and should be freely expressed in local music. As a result, The Mad Chinaman received much publicity and eventually hit platinum sales — a first for a local English album. The government gave in to pressure from the public and the media, and Rasa Sayang was put back on the airwaves. The Mad Chinaman propelled Lee to greater heights as he was invited to tour and collaborate with artistes from major East Asian countries. His songs soon spread around Asia, allowing the little red dot to shine brighter than ever in hitherto unchartered markets. His flair for music and his industrious
"Songwriters must have songs, so keep writing, even if the songs will never get heard. The point is to improve your skills by writing." Dick Lee
Furthermore, Lee has played a key role in National Day Parades (NDPs) over the years. Besides writing beloved songs such as Home and We Will Get There, Lee was creative director for NDP in 2002, 2010 and 2014. He has also been announced as the songwriter for next year’s NDP — in hopes that Singapore will hear another great song along the likes of Home. As if all these achievements are not enough for an entire lifetime, Lee also dabbles in fashion design. He has just designed a series of men's clothing for his boutique, The Modern Outfitter. With an illustrious forty years behind him and many exciting projects ahead, Lee has carved a niche for himself as a true-blue, made-in-Singapore artiste.
An interview with Dick Lee The Nanyang Chronicle asks the man himself to introduce some of his works to the younger generation, and seeks his advice for aspiring songwriters. 1. It can be intimidating for the younger generation to dive into your body of work because of its sheer size. What would you recommend for us to start off with? Many young people are familiar with my Cantonese songs, such as Chase by Leslie Cheung and Love is Forever by Jackie Cheung (the latter in Hong Kong musical Snow.Wolf.Lake.). I guess the album that identifies me most as a Singaporean performer is The Mad Chinaman, which was also my 1989 breakthrough hit. 2. Do you have any advice for young aspiring singer-songwriters in Singapore? Songwriters must have songs, so keep writing, even if the songs will never get heard. The point is to improve your songwriting skills by writing — in every style and genre. And of course, wherever possible, get them heard. Perform at gigs and sneak in your original songs; anything to get an audience reaction. 3. What was your inspiration behind composing Cantopop's biggest hits, such as Leslie Cheung's Chase and the music for Snow.Wolf.Lake.? I had to get familiar with the Cantopop genre, which is very unique as the melodies work very closely with the intonation and accent of the language (Mandarin, in contrast, is quite neutral). It helped that I could speak some Cantonese, but those two songs in particular were inspired by stories of the productions they were written for. 4. Did you envision yourself to be where you are today when you first started out forty years ago? I certainly hoped to be making music my whole life. I just didn’t expect it to be on the professional scale it is today.
OLD-TIMERS, NEW ACTION HEROES Action thrillers have always preferred their stars to be of the hardened, middle-aged sort, but with an apparent lack of action stars rising to take the places of the veterans, the genre’s future is uncertain. Reviews Writer Serene Low examines why.
rnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis — these cinematic legends were responsible for some of the most successful action-packed blockbusters in the 80’s and 90’s. Their characters have become icons, and cinematic franchises such as Die Hard and RED are still popular with present-day audiences. Their model of what it means to be an action hero has persisted even with today’s audience expectations. Audiences want their heroes to be strong and merciless like Schwarzenegger’s Terminator, ruthlessly efficient like Stallone’s Rambo, and capable of defying the odds like Willis’ John McClane in Die Hard. However, these action icons are already in the twilight of their careers, and no new actors have filled their big shoes. It seems like the action thriller genre may no longer spell success for the young and ambitious.
Wanted: New action movie stars
That’s not to say that action thrillers have lost their appeal, because they still find major box-office success. However, many blockbusters remain helmed by the same veterans. Willis’ Die Hard franchise has lived up to its name and added two recent instalments; Schwarzenegger will appear in the upcoming Terminator: Genisys, and Stallone will also return in next year’s Rambo: Last Blood. The wave of action stars who rose to fame in the 2000s have done well in living up to these greats. Personalities like Jason Statham, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Vin Diesel — all in their forties now — found their way to stardom with films like The Transporter, The Scorpion King, and The Fast and the Furious respectively. But what of this decade? Prominent action thriller stars of today already seem to be reaching their expiry dates. Actors like Liam Neeson and Denzel Washington are both above 60 years old. However, their advanced ages do not stop them from beating up bad guys in their respective films, A Walk Among the Tombstones and The Equaliser. Both movies will be shown in theatres later this month.
Country for old men While middle-aged actors continue to find success by playing wisecracking and combat-ready action heroes who save the day, the same archetype seems less profitable for the new (and less brawny) generation. To be fair, younger actors have made admirable efforts at breaking into the genre. Andrew Garfield has proved to be a popular Spider-Man, returning for a sequel in this year’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2. However, Garfield’s success has yet to match the boxoffice earnings of Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, and Hugh Jackman’s seven-film run as Wolverine — these two movies remain unparalleled in the superhero genre. Meanwhile, Shia LaBeouf found a brief spell of success with the popular Transformers series, and was set to take over the Indiana Jones franchise from Harrison Ford in 2009. However, instead of LaBeouf, Transformers: Age of Extinction later featured a 43-year-old Mark Wahlberg in its lead role. Additionally, LaBeouf’s role in Indiana Jones 4 was poorly received by fans and critics. Similarly, Taylor Kitsch had heroic roles in big-budget Hollywood productions like John Carter and Battleship, but both films performed badly at the box-office and Kitsch has since been relegated to smaller television roles. Even Twilight heartthrob Taylor Lautner could not be saved. The film he starred in, Abduction, only managed a feeble US$28 million (S$35 million) at the United States box office. Sam Worthington came closest to action stardom with his involvement in the record-breaking Avatar, but his success was hampered by his subsequent performance in the unpopular Clash of the Titans, and he has since disappeared from the Hollywood spotlight. In spite of their good looks and youthful energy, younger lead actors have been largely unsuccessful in breaking into the action genre. They also seem to possess an even shorter shelf life than that of aging veterans who have long dominated the silver screen. Perhaps the role of the masculine saviour belongs exclusively to the middle-aged, and young stars need to find a new adaptation of the action hero to occupy the minds of audiences. Fortunately, a new breed of action hero might already be waiting in the wings.
Girl Power: The rise of the action heroine
Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft character — a role she took up when she was only 26 — in Tomb Raider sees a strong contender in today’s
fight to be the ultimate action heroine. As Worthington fades from the limelight, his Avatar co-star Zoe Saldana has only grown more popular. With her role in the Star Trek remakes, and as a trained assassin in the recent Guardians of the Galaxy, Saldana is rapidly gaining a reputation in the otherwise testosterone-fuelled action genre. Indeed, it appears that members of the fairer sex are stepping forward to fill the gaps in a genre left behind by the lacklustre performances of young male leads. Following Saldana’s lead are fellow actresses Jennifer Lawrence and Chloë Grace Moretz, who won action audiences over with their iconic characters Katniss Everdeen and Hit-Girl, from the respective Hunger Games and Kick-Ass movies. It may seem unfair to compare slender and feminine actresses such as Chloë Grace Moretz with the likes of burly action icons such as Stallone, but such comparisons reflect a noteworthy change: the action genre is no longer a man’s game. Producers are scrambling to cater to the increasing demand for action films starring women, as fans cry out for spin-off movies of their beloved female characters — Marvel Comics’ Black Widow and DC Comics’ Wonder Woman. However, the men are clearly not giving up so easily. Marvel Studios’ trinity of brawny, young leads uniformly named Chris — Evans, Hemsworth and Pratt — are giving even the charismatic Downey Jr. a run for his money. Pratt’s leading man status will only grow stronger with his upcoming roles in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel and Jurassic World. And while Channing Tatum has failed to impress audiences in GI Joe and White House Down, perhaps next year’s Jupiter Ascending will finally cement his status as an action star. Tatum’s recent casting as fan-favourite Gambit in the new X-Men movies can’t hurt his chances too badly either. Or who knows? Perhaps the next young action hero is still waiting to be discovered by a shrewd casting agent. And when that happens, the likes of Neeson, Stallone, Willis, and Schwarzeneggar will have found a worthy successor. 1. TOUGH OLD-DOGS: (from left) Denzel Washington and Liam Neeson, both over 60 years old, are still starring in upcoming action movies Equalizer and A Walk Among the Tombstones respectively. 2. INTIMIDATING ICONS: (from top) Arnold Schwarzenneger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis are still fondly remembered for their monumental characters.
A SECOND SKIN
Many people dress up and act, but not everyone turns it into an art, throwing their whole heart, mind, and soul in a bid for performance excellence. Photojournalists Clifford Lee, Tan Yuan Ting and Tan Xiu Qi go backstage to uncover the hard work and dedication behind cosplay.
n preparation for her cosplay transformation, Vivian Tan, 20, first used an UHU gluestick to create a smooth layer above her eyes. She then hid her eyebrows using concealer and loose powder, before drawing on a new pair of eyebrows. Then came the difficult part; with two strips of medical tape stuck onto the bottom of her jawline, she pulled upwards and taped them to her temples. Next, she pulled on a wig and carefully checked her appearance in the mirror. With that, her transformation was complete. She was now Asahina Tsubaki, a male protagonist from the popular Japanese visual novel Brothers Conflict (BroCon), a story about thirteen step-brothers and a stepsister. Tan, a first-year student from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, attended the Singapore Toy Games and Comic Convention (STGCC) with her cosplay peers on 7 Sep. The convention, held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center at Marina Bay Sands this year, is an annual gathering of popular culture enthusiasts. Cosplayers converge there to
capture moments and mingle with like-minded individuals. No stranger to crossplaying (cosplaying as the opposite gender), Tan said that playing the opposite gender only adds to the challenge, and pushes her to find creative solutions to fit the persona. But this often require tough sacrifices on her part.
Playing the opposite gender only adds to the challenge. “Most anime and manga male characters have sharp jawlines so I tend to use medical tape to tape up my jaw. It’s like temporary plastic surgery, but it is very uncomfortable and gives me a bad migraine,” Tan said. Tan has also gone on diets in order to play her favourite characters – she once lost seven kilogrammes for
cosplay. She even wears platform shoes to add up to 20 centimetres to her height. She sees cosplaying as an all encompassing art form; she can be the subject, the photographer and the director of her own performances. “When I started off, I was really overweight. I received a lot of negativity. People told me that I was too fat, not attractive, and should just give up. But I was stubborn and spent every minute of my free time improving my makeup skills, working out and dieting,” she recalled. Tan takes her craft seriously, and strives to weed out any inaccuracies from her performance. But for all the attention that each cosplay festival draws, she still feels that the public, especially the older generation is not very receptive of cosplayers like her. “We were doing our makeup in a public toilet once, and this elderly woman gave us dirty looks and shook her head,” she recounted. “But teenagers are a more welcoming lot; they are genuinely curious about the hobby, they ask questions and take lots of photos,” she said with a smile.
Clockwise from top left: Standing United: The Brothers Conflict (or BroCon as they affectionately call themselves), is a local cosplay group named after a Japanese visual novel. The group makes customary rounds outside the Sands Convention Hall at Marina Bay Sands, where they put their performance art on display for roving fans, photographers and otakus (Japanese anime and manga lovers). Raised Eyebrows: Vivian Tan, 20, a first-year student from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, uses a white crayon eyeliner. It brightens up coloured eyeshadow which would be applied later. Going Public: The BroCon cosplayers travel to the Sands Expo and Convention Center by MRT for the annual Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention. While cosplayers often change into their costumes at the Convention Center itself, the group decided to head to a public toilet one train station away to avoid the crowd. Brotherly Companion: Dennis Ang (left), 21, a student from Nanyang Polytechnic accompanies Vivian as they walk around the Sands Convention Center. He is cosplaying as Asahina Masaomi, the eldest brother to Vivian’s character Asahina Tsubaki. Selfie Time: Vivian takes a selfie with her fellow cosplayers from BroCon. Most members of the group met during their days at Nanyang Polytechnic in the Sakuran Japanese Cultural Club. They have been together for about one and a half years. Playing The Villian: Vivian tries on a peacock tail costume, in tribute to the character Lord Shen from the movie Kung Fu Panda II. Although Lord Shen is the primary antagonist in the film, she feels that no one can be described as purely evil.
郑可为 新专辑发布会 —— 刊28页
大宿舍将从本月29日开 始，停止帮助学生签收包 裹的服务，由新设立的24小时 包裹站Bumbox取而代之。 和以往从宿舍办公室领取 包裹方式不同，学生必需通过 Bumbox的应用程序支付包裹站 的“出租”费用。而每日的最 低收费为1.50元。 南洋理工大学住宿与后勤 服务处（Office of Housing and Auxiliary Services）总监李淑德 指出，近年来更多寄宿生上网 购物，导致邮寄到宿舍办公室 的包裹数量大增。 他反映，有些学生因为上课 迟归缘故，无法在宿舍办公时 间签收包裹，加剧大量包裹囤 积在办公室里的问题。 为了解决上述问题，李淑德 说，学校引进的Bumbox包裹站 服务能让学生在任何时候自行 领取自己的包裹，而学生日后 只需在网购结账时输入理想的 包裹站地址，包裹就会被送到 该站点。
Bumbox服务让学生更有保障 包裹站Bumbox总经理李敬 隆受访时说，这项服务有望解 决宿舍办公室无法应付大量挂
号包裹的问题。 他说：“包裹站提供24小 时的服务，除了全自动化，资 料也电子化，因此省下许多麻 烦。”这个服务将能帮助降低 包裹遗失或损坏的可能性。 李敬隆解释，快递人员在运 送包裹时需要输入客户手机号 码，确认客户的身份。之后， 客户会收到手机简讯通知他 们领取包裹和缴付储物柜的费 用。客户一付费就会获得打开 储物柜的QR码，领取包裹。 每个包裹站都有约30个储物 柜，提供四种尺寸来存放不同 大小的包裹。 若顾客在包裹领取时间截止 三天后没有领取包裹，Bumbox 将联系顾客询问详情。 如果顾客仍没有采取行 动，Bumbox将把该包裹送回位 于贝列菲路（Playfair Road）的 公司总部存放。
学生对包裹站服务有所保留 本报针对南大生网络购物的 习惯，向106名学生做了网络调 查，其中约八成学生有网购的 经验，而当中最常购买的是服 装及服饰配件（69%），电子用 品（32%）以及书籍（24%）。 在这群学生当中，有不少人 选择将包裹寄送至校舍签收， 而他们也表示对校舍目前代为
签收包裹的服务感到满意。 尽管Bumbox包裹站已在7月 份推出，但只有少数学生听闻 这个新服务。因此校舍从月底 停止签收包裹的决定，让有些 学生感到不悦，并对新服务持 有保留态度。 经常网购的张代慧（化学与 生物化学系二年级，23岁）认 为：“如果使用Bumbox，碰巧 遇上我们不在宿舍，没办法签 收包裹的情况，又让我们多付 那几天的钱，这是非常不合理 的。付了包裹运输费的我们没 有必要多付这笔费用。” 然而，也有学生不排斥 Bumbox的概念。黄金辉传播与 信息学院二年级生王伟斌（23 岁）说：“我不觉得宿舍停止 签收包裹对我有很大的影响， 因为我还是可以把包裹放入 Bumbox的储物柜，只是我可能 会对付款机制有些犹豫。” 校内的七个包裹站：创新中 心（Innovation Centre）、2 号、9号、12号、15号、先 驱以及研究生2号宿舍。 服务收费是1.50元（一天） 、2.50元（三天）以及3.50 元（七天），从包裹抵达 Bumbox储物柜开始计算。
示意图：用户通过Bumbox的应用程序支付包裹站的“出租”费用 摄影: 林佳琪 后，就会获得打开储物柜的QR码，领取包裹。
大中文系学生在十年庆晚 会上喊出“十年情满，永 不减暖”的口号。 南洋理工大学中文系十届学 生在本月5日欢聚一堂，与导师 们共同庆祝中文系十周年、教 师节以及中秋节，可谓是“三 庆同喜”。 中文系迈进创系第十年，系 主任衣若芬受访时说：“南大 中文系以关怀本土，沟通全球 华文文化为使命。” 对于中文系的愿景，她补充 说，该系近期推出华文创意写
作副修课程，结合翻译副修以 及科系主修课程，希望能够继 续培养优秀的双语读者、作者 及学者。 团队也特地邀请一直以来 对中文系付出人力和资金的 热心人士，其中包括南大人 文与社会科学学院（School of Humanities and Social Sciences）的前任署理院长郭 振羽教授，以及南大中文系创 系主任李元瑾老师。
老师捐赠私人珍藏供竞标 除了在籍生和毕业生呈现表 演，中文系老师也慷慨捐出私 人珍藏让学生竞标，所筹得的
款项将用以帮助有经济困难的 在籍学生。 历届毕业生热烈响应，踊跃 地投标以表示鼓励，让晚会气 氛更加温馨。 庆祝晚会在师生大合唱梁文 福的《细水长流》的歌声中圆 满落幕。 大一新生林育正（26岁）谈 到:“中文系十周年最让我感动 的就是历届学长学姐在百忙中 抽空‘回娘家’，还很有诚意 地呈现演出。这意味中文系那 股浓浓的人情味不散。十年， 对中文系来说只是个开端。” 去年毕业的洪亿隽（27岁） 当晚与其他校友一同表演乌克
学生不忘展现年轻活力，在表演结束之前赶紧合照，记录这个难 摄影: 林时俊 忘的时刻。 丽丽。目前已踏入社会工作的 她说：“学校（环境）改变了 很多，但是老师们都没有改 变。另外，我很怀念大学时期
的无忧无虑。” 南大人文与科学学院也将在 今年11月份举行晚宴以庆祝学 院创立十周年。
03 CHRONICLE 言论
ASPIRE措施是大学生的一记警钟 蔡欣颖 中文编辑
了打破家长对孩子必须 考获大学文凭的执着与 观念，李显龙总理在今年的 国庆群众大会上宣布设立理工 学院及工艺教育学院应用学习 教育检讨（Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review， 简称ASPIRE）委员会。 这项措施旨在帮助理工学院 和工艺学院的毕业生。政府希 望他们即使没有大学文凭，也 能够和持有大学文凭的学生在 职场上享有平等的发展空间。 作为一名理工学院毕业生， 笔者认为这是一项令人鼓舞的 措施。 虽然执行的可行度高，但却 不是在短时间内可以达成的目 标。毕竟，拥有大学文凭才有 就业保障的观念已在本地社会 根深蒂固。 相信不仅是新加坡，在当今 竞争激烈的社会中，年轻人都 背负着父母“望子成龙，望女 成凤”的期待。 因此，大多数学生尽管不擅
长学习，或对学习不感兴趣， 也会想方设法取得一纸大学文 凭，希望未来能够顺利求职。 尽管政府一再强调文凭不代 表一切，但“文凭还是一切” 的观念依然有迹可循。
大学生和大专生的薪资差异 管理咨询公司合益集团 （Hay Group）在上个月发布对 95家机构进行调查的结果。 调查显示，比起理工学院毕 业生，持有大学文凭的学生在 起薪方面增幅可能多达46%。 例如，一般大学生的起薪平 均约2741元，但理工学院毕业 生的起薪平均只有约1878元。 两者的薪资差距在不同领域 都是约1000元，说明许多企业 仍以教育文凭来判断一个人的 工作能力。 对此，政府目前的对策是通 过劳资政三方合作，鼓励雇主 依据个人的技能和工作表现来 决定酬劳。 尽管公共部门陆续开始实施 这项计划，但起薪方面的庞大 落差却成为学生从理工学院或 工艺教育学院毕业后，直接投 入职场的最大阻力。
不求一纸文凭 应终身学习 政府推行ASPIRE计划的目的 是鼓励年轻人不要盲目追求一 纸文凭，而非提倡停止学习。 相反地，年轻人应该以终身 学习作为目标，在不同的人生 阶段提升自我，学习新知识。 因此，最终目的还是希望通 过教育来达到个人的成就与成 功。然而，ASPIRE的成效能获 得多大回响还有待观察。 如果雇主不以教育作为求 职、升职的考量，那关键就在 于如何拟定标准来衡量个人的 工作能力。 各家公司是否能在了解他人 教育背景之前，给予每位求职 者一次实践的机会，判断对工 作的掌握能力呢？ 虽然这次教育与就业改革并 不容易，但作为一名在籍大学 生，笔者认为这样的改变却给 大学生敲响了一记警钟。 大学生不应该仗着拥有大学 文凭的优势而趾高气昂，因为 文凭只能帮助年轻人得到更好 的求职机会，并不保证可以帮 助升职加薪。 学生反而应该掌握专业技 能，并且抱持着良好的工作态
度，不奢望一步登天，把学到 的知识学以致用。 由于新改革需要一段时间来 执行，因此计划成功与否的关
键就在于如何设法持续这个新 的教育与就业方针，从政府机 构贯彻到私人企业，才能够让 人民改变观念。
科技尚未先进的年代，人 们普遍只求三餐温饱，合 家平安。 但随着时代变迁，在现今的 21世纪，面对爱情与面包，多 数人选择后者，并在人生道路 上寻求更多的薪金、更高的社 会地位以及更好的物质享受。 或许会有人提出异议，认为 追逐财富和地位并没有错。但 是，这些人在追求名利的道路 上，往往忽略了现今所拥有的 一切。 他们可能无意识地牺牲了和 家人朋友相处的时间、违犯道 德与职业操守，甚至牺牲健康 和赔上性命。 笔者认为，与其将财富与成 功划上等号，不如把快乐视为 衡量成功的其中一个指标。 毕竟，小人物的美好生活也 能是成功的另一种体现方式。 这取决于个人对成功的定义， 所以人生没有所谓的规律，而 成功也没有特定的方程式。 遗憾的是，本地许多家长依 然把学业成绩作为衡量成功的 标准。 《海峡时报》在本月初的其 中一篇报道提到，尽管孩子已
经考取好成绩，家长还是会积 极将他们送入补习班，因为他 们相信辅助课程是孩子取得优 秀成绩的其中一个要素。 这导致新加坡学生从小就 在备受竞争和压力的环境中成 长，并且逐渐失去对学习的初 衷与热忱。 因此，当学生面临困难时， 容易因为达不到所谓的“成 功”而感到挫败，产生负面与 偏激的想法，也不曾想过如何 解决问题的根本。 一名友人曾经和笔者分享， 她为了完成“O”水准考试的 美术作品，因此熬夜赶工。然
而，她却因为差点无法在期限 前呈交作品而试图自尽，之后 在朋友的劝说下才打消念头。 这说明年轻人无法接受自己 失败，反而只想获取成功，错 过了享受追求目标的过程。 此外，去年8月中旬，年仅 21岁的德国籍学生莫里茨•埃 尔哈特(Moritz Erhardt)在美国 银行伦敦分部实习时连续工作 72小时后，因为癫痫发作而不 幸猝死。 这位获得亲友肯定的优秀生 生前曾经坦诚，自己的人生应 该比他人出众，所以他一直以 来都比同期实习生都还要认真
工作。 由此可见，一个人若要成 功，身心灵的健康缺一不可。 只有拥有强壮的体魄和良好的 心理调适，才能带领我们走向 成功的道路。 在这其中，“快乐”还是扮 演了相当重要的角色。一个人 若不快乐，意味着他少了心灵 的健康；纵使他达到的成就再 如何让人羡慕，这也称不上是 真正的成功。 法国市场调查公司益普索 (Ipsos)在去年底发布一项全球 的网络调查，收集了超过20个 国家的人民对物质主义、理财 还是觉得不够完美
和家庭观的看法。 值得注意的是，亚洲国家如 中国和印度的受访者都认为， 自己所拥有的资产能作为衡量 成功的标准。 而参与的中国人当中，68% 的人表示会为了追求成功和挣 钱而倍感压力。 然而，笔者认为成功的人生 不一定必须以个人成就进行评 估，更重要的是要活出自我， 在自己擅长的领域做出贡献。 此外，在追求目标的同时， 人们也应该把握现在，珍惜眼 前的事物，才能让使成功更具 有意义。 插图：李兆伦
CHRONICLE 03 娱乐
郑可为要表现另类爱情态度 么做。当时我就想，如果有一 天我也成了明星，也要跟王力 宏一样谦虚。 为什么把这张专辑取名为《转 身微笑》？ 郑：这是第三波主打歌，而这 首歌对我来说很重要。《转身 微笑》是自己谱曲的，再由吴 庆隆老师编曲。我也邀请好友 张乐声帮忙写词，希望能带出 另类的爱情态度：要正视恋情 的结束，转身微笑，继续往前 走。而且，这也是我完成梦想 的一个里程碑。之前，我就在 吴庆隆老师的指导下做合音天 使，因此他对我的音乐道路有 很大的贡献，是帮助我完成梦 想的主要人物之一。
传播与信息学院的郑可为，曾 在大学时期担任资深歌手陶吉吉 和王力宏的合音天使。
所以和我同组的成员有点惨， 不只得分配工作，还要忍耐我 （东奔西跑）的样子。不过， 我也尽量赶上组员们的进度。
你在担任歌手的合音天使时是 半工半读吗？ 郑：我在大学三年级时已经开 始合音的工作，跟着很多当红 明星巡回演出，所以一直在外 地。演唱会通常在星期六举 行，所以我只要把课业安排 好，不要撞期就可以了。不过 我当时主要是在做毕业作业，
做合音天使的时候和知名艺人 有什么特别的互动？ 郑：我从他们身上学到要谦 虚，并且领悟到他们对工作的 认真态度。例如，王力宏是一 个很亲切的人。和他合作时， 尽管我只是担任合音，但他会 和我聊天，而我也很感激他这
影原声带。 其中双主题曲《后会无期》 和《平凡之路》备受关注。 这部电影讲述三个年轻人， 马浩汉（冯绍峰饰）、江河 （陈柏霖饰）和胡生（高华阳 饰）离开家乡东极岛后，在旅 途上截然不同的际遇及各自的 归宿。 电影中的多首歌曲，勾起了 许多人的成长回忆，让人们有 所共鸣。 电影同名主题曲《后会无 期》改编自美国乡村女歌手 Skeeter Davis 的 《The End of the World》 。歌曲旋律在钢琴 的伴奏下弥漫对告别的无奈和 伤感。 韩寒在接受其它媒体访谈时 提到，自己觉得歌曲旋律与电 影主题相应，便改写歌词，邀 请香港歌手邓紫棋演唱。 首次为电影献声的邓紫棋 不负众望，成功演绎《后会无 期》歌词中所表达的惆怅与沉 重感。 简单的配乐，加上歌词例 如“我会告别，告别我自己/因 为我不知道，我也不想知道/和 相聚之间的距离”紧扣故事， 让情节更加凝聚。
原创歌曲《平凡之路》由中 国民谣歌手朴树亲自作曲和演 唱，并与韩寒联手作词。 朴树温暖的歌声中带有一丝 悲伤，搭配抒情的节奏，为这 首歌曲营造一种失落与惆怅的 氛围。 歌词“我曾经失落，失望 失掉所有方向/直到看见平凡 才是唯一的答案”所描述的人 生无常，唱入听众心坎，为电 影加分不少。 另外，片头曲《东极岛之 歌》改编自英语电影《Borat》 插曲，以大合唱形式呈现。 乍听之下好像军歌，其振奋 人心的旋律结合直白的歌词又 不失诙谐，是一首对主人公故 乡东极岛的赞歌。 其它三首插曲都是耳熟能详 的经典歌曲，包括Doris Day的 《Que Sera Sera》、朱茵的《追 月》和万晓利的《女儿情》 。 整体来说，原声带虽然没 有酷炫的旋律，但却带出平凡 的感动，传达人生就是一场旅 行，“相聚有时，后会无期” 的心境。 电影已在中国大陆上映，日 后将在台湾和香港陆续上映。 （文／董梅蓉）
国畅销作家韩寒首次跨界 电影圈，自编自导《后会 无期》，并选择在微博发布电
未来10年会想继续制作专辑？ 郑：除了继续创作，我可能会 和李盈盈再做第二张专辑。但 我最想做的应该是演戏。（接 触演戏）之前我觉得演戏还 好，我只是想唱歌。但演完音 乐剧《唯一》后，觉得演戏很 有趣，因为它就和唱歌一样， 也是要有感情的。而且，我才 开始尝试演戏，所以我希望有 机会去磨练，往后才会更好。
地歌手郑可为透过首张华 语专辑《转身微笑》，与 歌迷分享她对爱情的领悟。她 更利用通过歌曲表达对歌迷、 朋友和母亲的关心和感谢。 在接受本报的独家专访时， 她也分享了过往的音乐历程以 及这次新专辑的创作理念。 毕业于南洋理工大学黄金辉
专辑:《后会无期》电影原声带 歌手：邓紫棋、朴树、朱茵等 推荐歌曲：《平凡之路》、 《后会无期》
这张专辑对你有怎样的意义？ 郑：之前我都是翻唱英文歌曲 为主，都属于较轻快、和谐的 音乐类型。在这张华语专辑 中，我参与了很多歌曲的创作 过程，所以这是属于自己的旋 律，和大家分享内心的想法。
专辑:《MAMACITA》 歌手：Super Junior 推荐歌曲：《MAMACITA》、 《Too Many Beautiful Girls》、 《SHIRT》
隔两年，韩国男子组合 Super Junior再次推出全 新专辑《MAMACITA》，也是 队长利特和成员希澈退伍后的 首张音乐作品。 融合了印度打击乐和钢琴旋 律，Super Junior的首波主打歌 曲《MAMACITA》让人耳目一 新。副歌朗朗上口的歌词，搭 配歌迷取名的“头疼舞”，让 人印象颇为深刻。 此外，Super Junior在主打 歌的MV中，不改以往爱搞怪的
形象，每个成员都扮演不同的 角色，如警长、斗牛士、水果 摊贩和调酒师等。他们也不忘 大展夸张演技，上演宝物被偷 的搞笑情节。 团员东海也参与了第二首主 打歌《SHIRT》的词曲创作。这 首混合桑巴、嘻哈以及流行元 素的歌曲，也恰好呼应男生穿 上衬衫后所散发的魅力。 强劲的节奏让人再度感受 到Super Junior虽然已经出道九 年，但他们的活力却不输其它 新成立的团体。 专辑里的歌曲都偏向轻快 明朗，其中推荐歌曲如《Too Many Beautiful Girls》和《Let’s Dance》让人不自觉跟着节奏舞 动起来。 抒情歌曲方面，《Raining Spell for Love》则以下雨天描 述已结束的爱情，表达了对恋 情逝去的深深遗憾。 听完整张专辑之后，每首歌 曲的风格迥然不同，也融入拉 丁、桑巴等不同的曲风。 随着Super Junior在欧美国 家的认知度提高，这或许是团 体拉近与国际歌迷之间距离的 一种方式。 （文／蔡欣颖）
IMAGINE this — your name, identity card number, mobile number and address splayed across the web, freely accessible to everyone. Welcome to today’s harsh reality, where your personal information may not be as private as you think. That was exactly what happened to more than 300,000 customers of local karaoke chain K Box last Tuesday. The database containing customers’ information was hacked and posted online by The Knowns, a group claiming to have released the information to show their displeasure over recent increases in toll charges at the Woodlands Checkpoint. Earlier last week, an M1 customer highlighted that he discovered a “security loophole” while trying to preorder a new iPhone 6 on the M1 website, where he could access private information belonging to M1 customers. The Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), which was fully enforced by the government in July this year, states that organisations are expected to take “reasonable measures” to protect personal data in their possession. However, as clients, we should not be complacent — we need to realise that the personal information we give out is not entirely secure. Have we perhaps been giving it away too carelessly? For instance, we share our contact details each time we fill in lucky draw applications and
survey forms. We may not even be mindful of the information we’ve shared. Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and think about how much of our personal information these merchants really need. We have the right to question their need to collect our data, because they are direct links to our private lives. Merchants should also realise that the privacy of their customers is in their hands. Earlier this month, the Personal Data Protection Commission warned that the extra swipe of your credit card by some merchants breaches data protection laws. This second swipe is typically done after creditcard transactions have been approved. Merchants do a second quick swipe to record the mode of payment and to collect cardholders’ personal data for marketing purposes. Merchants should, too, think in the shoes of their clients. They may have everything to gain from collecting our personal information — in the case where a supermarket chain in the United States found out that a customer was pregnant and sent her pregnancy-related advertisements. But wouldn’t we feel that big businesses are mining our data and tracking our every move? Personal data is information that should be dealt with the highest caution, and the onus to protect it lies on three fronts: the law, companies and individuals.
CHIEF EDITOR Liu Ting Ting
MANAGING EDITOR Tiffany Goh
Kerri Heng Abigail Ng Alfred Chua Ang Hwee Min Clarisse Tan Isadora Ong Nazri Eddy Razali Ong Lynette Parveen Maghera Renee Poh
NEWS EDITORS Aqil Haziq Louisa Tang
LIFESTYLE EDITORS Justin Kor Serena Yeh
CHINESE EDITORS Camelia Ting Choy Xin Ying
OPINIONS EDITORS Amir Yusof Louisa Goh
SPORTS EDITORS Lisa Oon Saeful Hakim
DAPPER EDITORS Goh Ye Ling Lydia Teo
VIDEO SUPERVISORS Daniel Neo Kelly Phua Wu Bing Yu
DIGITAL EDITOR Wong Li Yan
REVIEWS EDITOR Zachary Tang
Lionel Lim Ho Xiu Xian Sheena Wong
Clifford Lee Tan Xiu Qi
GRAPHICS EDITOR Pamela Ng
COMMUNITY EDITOR Jeremy Hau
A students’ newspaper published by the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI)
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Unsigned editorials represent the majority view of the editorial board of The Chronicle and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of Nanyang Technological University, its employees, the students or the Council of the University. Signed opinion columns, letters and editorial cartoons represent the opinion of the writer or artist and are not necessarily those of The Chronicle. Printed by KHL Printing Co. Pte Ltd, 57 Loyang Drive, Singapore 508968
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frankly, my dear
A column by Chronicle Editors on issues close to their hearts
A weighty issue
ALL BEAUTIFUL: Regardless of body size, everyone is beautiful. GRAPHIC: MARCUS LEE
Serena Yeh L i f e s t yl e E d i t o r
s a teenager, I was slightly overweight because of my sedentary lifestyle. I liked to think that I had a valid excuse. When I was 11, I failed my NAPFA test, and was later diagnosed with a heart condition. When the doctor advised me to avoid strenuous physical activities, both the events seemed like approval from heaven to idle at home. But I was simply lazy. I’d rather eat potato chips and watch television than sweat it out in the gym. As a result, I gained weight and developed low self-esteem. Most of my classmates were active, and running 2.4 kilometres was a walk in the park for them. As I no longer needed to take the NAPFA test and was mostly inactive, I felt lousy and incapable in comparison. Many girls looked slim and fit. Easily twice the size of the smallest girl, I disliked meeting new people because it meant more would judge me for my size. After years of avoiding the problem, I took action. Last year, I worked out rather excessively — six times a week, running an average of seven kilometres each time — and opted for food that was steamed instead of fried. Running seven kilometres almost daily, that was a drastic change from my previous lifestyle. As I lost weight, I had a newfound sense of confidence. However,
this was also accompanied with mornings of self-doubt. Obsessed with weighing myself every morning, I rejoiced when my weight dropped, but felt terrible when it increased. Things are better now, as I have learnt about water retention and am aware that weight fluctuations are common. Yet the whole issue has led me to question my obsession with being skinny, even though my weight is at a healthy level. And I am not alone. A survey by Singapore’s Shape magazine in 2014 found that only three in 10 Singaporean women are happy with their weight and six in 10 Singaporean men are fatconscious. Has Hollywood’s obsession with size zeroes — with the likes of Kate Bosworth bordering on skeletal — or Ryan Gosling’s washboard abs, affected most of us? But Hollywood celebrities are not the only influence. In an 8 Days article titled Die Die Must Diet published last year, local celebrities, such as svelte starlets Rebecca Lim and Cheryl Wee, revealed the extreme ends they’ve gone to look good. Mata Mata star Wee admitted that she went through a three-day detox — eating nothing but supplements — for a hosting gig. The rise of social media has also exacerbated the perceived need to be skinny. The advent of food photography has led to an increase in quick judgement of what one consumes. Hashtags like #fatdieyou suggest that the indulgence in unhealthy food such as nasi lemak, even once in a while, would cause obesity and ultimately death. This trend of eating clean has gained much traction recently, with the emergence of fad diets
such as juice cleanses. However, not all of them are proven to work, and some dieticians are concerned that people do not ingest enough vitamins and nutrients with these diets. Furthermore, hashtags such as #fitspiration and #eatcleantraindirty — commonly captioned to pictures of people exercising — serve as a constant reminder to work out. While these can be good reminders, the continuous reinforcement of the need to eat healthily and exercise constantly can weigh heavy on one’s mind. We need an optimum balance. The Health Promotion Board recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week, and also created a portion control concept, My Healthy Plate, to emphasise the need for a balanced diet. If we adhere to these recommendations, would there still be a burning need to fit into a specific clothing size? Perhaps it’s not our diets that are unhealthy. Instead, it is the social pressures to be of a certain weight or size. Many of us are perfectly healthy human beings, but we find ourselves going to extremes to fit the picture-perfect standard lauded by society. Our perceptions need to change. As long as we take care of our bodies by eating healthily and working out regularly, it doesn’t matter what size we are. We should not base our standards of beauty on photoshopped images of models in magazines. While our bodies may not be beautiful according to our sociallyconstructed perception of reality, they are still definitely worthy of our love. I’m working towards adopting that mindset and shaking off my bouts of melancholic mornings. I hope you are too.
5mm apart from story
PHOTO: PRIDE FC
Inconsistencies damage trust
canteen talk There was a recount of votes cast during the Electrical and Electronic Engineering club election, which led to changes in some elected positions. The Nanyang Chronicle asked some students for their views on their respective school elections.
“I had no idea that there was any student committee in my school, much less student elections." Nabil Fikri, 21, MAE, Year 1
“I had friends who were running for the committee so I was inclined to vote. But the queues were really long." Weilin Tan, 20, IEM, Year 2
“I knew they had elections but I didn’t vote because the voting procedures were not communicated to us well enough." Geraldine Choo, 22, HSS, Year 2
“I don’t think the elections personally affect me because candidates hardly communicate what they do." Grace Lee, 21, WKWSCI, Year 3
"I voted, but it doesn’t make sense to have to come down on a special day just to do this. More will participate with online voting."
Ng Yi Shu
fter the 32nd Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) Club election held on Union Day on 29 Aug, the offices of President-elect and Social Secretaryelect were changed upon a recount. The unusually high number of invalid votes led many to question the accountability and transparency of student elections. Candidates of the EEE Club interviewed by the Nanyang Chronicle — all of whom declined to be named — had complaints about the counting procedure. One candidate claimed that only votes crossed from end-to-end inside the boxes were deemed valid on Union Day. Another commented: “it was a little unfair as a different set of rules was applied to judge the void votes (at the recount)."
Lack of transparency The lack of transparency has created a fertile breeding ground for distrust, which has plagued student elections in NTU. For one, the vote counting process is unclear. Voting information provided is not standardised for all schools. Emails from the NTU Students’ Union (NTUSU) and Academic Constituent Clubs (ACC) inform students of where and how to vote on Union Day, but not the regulation details. Specific election guidelines and procedures are made available only to returning officers. Returning officer Perdana Putra of the Trainee Teachers’ Club (TTC) said he received a soft copy of the guidelines after a briefing by the NTUSU.
Campaigns often turn into a festival of posters and social media videos, which may lead to students dismissing campus elections as mere popularity contests. Ayeshah Mirzha of the Communication and Information (CI) Club said that two neutral officers, who are outgoing members from another club, and an election returning officer, are involved in vote counting at each election. Members of the outgoing club who are not standing for re-election can also count votes. Vote counting is held in secret. However, where the CI Club had two neutral officers, TTC said they only had one. Perdana explained that the number of neutral officers was not specified by ACC — two officers were allocated to TTC, but one had to “leave for class”.
Cynicism and apathy
Nathanael Ng, 23, EEE, Year 4
TEXT: LOUISA GOH, AMIR YUSOF PHOTOS: SHERRY WONG
A certain amount of cynicism and apathy also affects NTU's campus elections. Unlike Singapore’s General
UNCERTAINTY: Popular support for elected leaders may crumble if there is a lack of transparency in the election process. ILLUSTRATION: ADONIS TOH
Elections, students can abstain from voting, and many students shared with the Chronicle that they voted only because their friends ran as candidates. Campaigns often turn into a festival of posters and social media videos, which may lead to students dismissing campus elections as mere popularity contests. In fact, voter turnout for Union Day elections is already -low — the CI Club election saw 45.2 per cent of about 700 students vote. The Humanities and Social Sciences Club’s Management Committee and TTC’s Management Committee both faced severe voter drought. Only 11.6 per cent and 3.8 per cent of students cast their votes respectively. Even the controversial election for EEE Club had a turnout of 823 voters — 32.9 per cent of the school. These problems widen the disconnect between candidates standing for election and the average student.
Popular support crumbles? An electoral process that lacks transparency defeats the purpose of voting, where candidates are chosen based on how well they are able to represent our interests. Sure, the average student voter may never pay attention to the election process, or even to what candidates promise in their respective campaigns. But it is important for election information to be disseminated readily so that students can choose a candidate who they feel best represents them. Worse, students disillusioned by campus elections may decide to not vote at all, leaving student leaders representative of only the vocal few.
Possible solutions A clear solution to prevent further discrepancies like the controversy surrounding the EEE Club election would be to conduct online voting, or undertake open counting in front of witnesses. An online election would lead to a more rigorous electoral system, since human objectivity and
error would be minimised, with every vote clearly indicated and accounted for. The convenience of an online election could also be an incentive for all NTU students to participate in voting. In fact, an online voting system was instituted on last year’s Union Day for the Chemical and Biomedical Club and the CI Club. Ayeshah told the Chronicle that the online voting platform was unavailable this year as there was insufficient time to set it up. Last year, the online voting system led to no invalid votes for the CI Club and resulted in a 25 per cent increase in participation. Ayeshah added that the election was held on “a secure voting site so people could vote from their laptops" away from school. According to meeting minutes of the 22nd NTUSU Council, the system prompted students for their NTU StudentLink username and password before they were allowed to vote.
Students disillusioned by campus elections may decide to not vote at all, making student leaders representative of only the vocal few. If an online voting system is too complex to implement across all schools, we could consider open counting of votes in the presence of all candidates as a stopgap measure to prepare for the change. Counting the votes in public will create full accountability and transparency — and like the Singapore national elections, candidates can send third parties to watch the vote counting. At present, we place far too much power into the hands of unseen 'officials' who oversee election processes. It’s time we treated our own student elections with the same reverence accorded to national elections — in a transparent and open manner.
Beauty beyond colour Masayoe Nabilah
irror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” Even the Evil Queen from Snow White seemed to suggest that one has to be fair-skinned to be considered beautiful. Talk about imparting moral values to children; this is one lesson children — and adults — should not be learning. At a young age, most of us — girls especially — have been exposed to materials that promote fair-skinned beauty, conditioning us to the notion that white is the beauty ideal. Cinderella, Ariel, and Rapunzel are Disney princesses with one thing in common: radiant porcelain skin. This notion that one must have fair skin to be beautiful is perpetuated not only by Disney characters, but also by beauty whitening advertisements around the world. Excessive marketing of whitening products suggests that there is something inherently wrong with darker skin. In 2010, market researchers ACNielson found that India's whitening cream market alone was
worth S$546 million (US$432). The existence of whitening products promotes the idea of fair skin being more beautiful than dark skin, encouraging women who are dark to get fair, and the fair to get even fairer. Just watch any of India’s Fair & Lovely whitening cream brand commercials that advocate the use of cosmetic products that give fairer skin. And the severity of the trend will be apparent. Most feature a young “dusky” woman who fails to impress at work despite her immense talent. The woman then uses a whitening cream. Her colleagues change their perception of her only after her skin colour visibly becomes lighter. The implication is clear: One cannot be successful in life with dark skin. India is notorious for this obsession with fair skin. Dark skin is seen as a barrier to succeed in love, career and even marriage. But the crux of this pressing problem lies beyond this perplexing obsession. Our warped perception of beauty can inadvertently threaten to distort our judgment of darkerskinned people.
If left untreated, discrimination based on skin colour can result in the painful corrosion of an individual’s self-worth. But what I fear most is this: skin colour discrimination has become so deeply embedded in our minds and that it is now ingrained as part of our identities.
The existence of whitening products promotes the idea of fair skin being more beautiful than dark skin, encouraging women who are dark to get fair, and the fair to get even fairer.
ILLUSTRATION: SEAN LEE
Those who discriminate based on skin colour will then continue their disgraceful acts, convincing themselves that their actions are perfectly acceptable. The discriminated will then, sadly, accept these tauntings as part and parcel of life, a norm that they must adapt to or risk being ostracised. But in no way does their dark skin pose any problem to this world. The real problem: Arbitrary judgment of skin colour that the
world has not yet tried to eradicate. American inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant reminds us that “the first step to solving any problem is to admit there is a problem”. In this regard, I’m glad to see indications that society is finally beginning to address the problem. The stunning, dark-skinned Princess Tiana in Disney’s 2009 animated film, The Princess and The Frog, gives us a much-needed change from the regular porcelainskinned beauties — all the more important when the media we consume affects our perception of the world. At the same time, it also serves as a reminder that dark-skinned people can achieve their aspirations. However, India has also seen improvements in this area, with big-shot Bollywood celebrities voicing out their disapproval of their society’s derogatory attitude toward the dark-skinned. Actress Nandita Das takes it a step further by being the face of India’s “Dark is Beautiful” campaign. The campaign spreads awareness of skin colour bias, and celebrates beauty and diversity of all skin colours. Hopefully, with increased positive attention on this obsession, dark-skinned people wouldn't have to worry about being the fairest of them all.
Louder than words: Haze returns
ILLUSTRATION: SEAN LEE
Exchange students representing NTU — Page 34
Varsity athletes are currently competing in the eighth annual Singapore University Games (SUniG). Sports Writer Fiona Lee looks at NTU’s performance in some of the competitions that have concluded.
espite having played table tennis for close to a decade, captain of the women’s team Carmel Soon has not been resting on her laurels. The second-year student from the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences — training rigorously in preparation for the eighth annual SUniG — has grown more passionate for her sport. Passion serves as a huge driving force for other players as well. Aldrea Leong, 20, a second-year student from the School of Sports Science and Management (SSM), has been playing table tennis for 11 years. Leong shared that the team had one goal in mind for this year’s SUniG, which was to reclaim the gold medal they had lost to the National University of Singapore (NUS) in the SUniG last year. She said: “It was this goal that kept us together; it boosted our team spirit.” Their efforts were not in vain, as the team emerged champions in the Games this year, beating their rivals from the National University of Singapore (NUS) by commanding a score of 5-0 in the finals. This sweet victory was in spite of an unforeseen rescheduling of matches, which meant that the team played their matches two weeks earlier than scheduled. Unfortunately, the men’s team had to settle for the silver medal after losing to NUS with a score of 2-3. Reflecting on the intensity of the men’s final, captain of the men’s team Lim Jie Yan, 22, who is from the Nanyang Business School (NBS), said: “Both sides had a strong desire to win. As both sides were evenly matched, the matches were all nail-biting and came down to the wire.” The table tennis team is but one of the college’s many teams which have had a successful SUniG campaign, with the NTU Ultimate frisbee and Basketball teams enjoying similar success.
Overcoming the odds
Also, NTU Ultimate was thrown off by the competition being held earlier than last year’s. To add to their troubles, the competition was held just weeks after the World’s Ultimate Club Championship, where key players of the team represented Singapore in Italy. The team had to resort to training on Saturdays. Their lack of preparation was evident, however, when they lost their first game against Singapore Management University (SMU). “The period after the loss against SMU in the first game was probably the lowest point for the team in the whole competition,” said team captain Henry Ng, 23. “The disappointment, uncertainty and
negativity were clearly displayed on our faces,” he added. The third-year student from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering added: “But I am glad we all found our way out of it through self-reflection and encouragement. That allowed us to play well, if not better, on the second day of the competition.” The team rallied to win the rest of their matches, and they eventually clinched the silver medal.
‘Teamwork’ seems to be the word of the season as the women’s Basketball team also attributed their success in the competition to strong team dynamics.
“The period after the loss against SMU in the first game was probably the lowest point for the team in the whole competition. I am glad we all found our way out of it through self-reflection and encouragement. That allowed us to play well, if not better, on the second day of the competition.” Henry Ng, 23 Third-year student School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
With a score of 67-57, the girls beat NUS in their final SUniG match, defending their championship title for the sixth year running. Captain of the team, Tsang Wei Yi, 22, said: “We started our SUniG preparation quite late, so we were a little rushed for time. However, with the patient guidance of our coach and support from the more experienced players, we managed to gel well as a team.” “SUniG was challenging and enjoyable, as always. We faced strong opponents, but I’m glad we stuck together as a team and got the job done,” reflected the final-year student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. The captain added: “Of course, there are many areas where we still have to improve on for the upcoming Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) games, but we will keep working hard and aim to do our best in IVP.” Anthea Chan, 20, a second-year student from NBS, said: “We didn’t have a lot of time to train together as a team because everyone was busy with their commitments but we all took the effort to come for the last few weeks of training leading up to SUniG. And that paid off.”
NO ROOM FOR ERROR: Anthea Chan (centre) is closely marked by her opponents as she takes a shot. PHOTO: MUN YONG JIAN
DISHING OUT A PASS: NTU Ultimate’s Henry Ng displays nifty footwork.
PHOTO: DARIUS CHUA
Read between the lines nchester United on loan instead, suspiciously declaring that it was his ‘dream’ as well.
Saeful Hakim Sports Editor
What he said:
“I'm very happy to be here, it's a big challenge for me, for my career. I always dreamed to be in a club like Manchester United.”
N the Barclays Premier League (BPL), players and managers alike are obliged to be conservative when releasing statements to the media, or risk incurring the wrath of the Football Association or, even worse, the fans. However, beneath the facade of the Public Relations circus lies an implicit message, not explicitly stated, but understood by all football fans.
What he meant:
“I’ve dreamt of playing for Real Madrid my whole life. All that changed in an instant when I found out the ridiculous amount of money Manchester United were prepared to pay me.”
Nicklas “Lord” Bendtner
Chelsea: striker’s graveyard
To say that Chelsea has turned into a graveyard for strikers is hardly an understatement. Fernando Torres — recently departed on a two-year loan to Italian club AC Milan — is the latest in a string of high-profile strikers that didn’t live up to expectations. Diego Costa, a £32 million (SGD 66.5 million) purchase from Spanish champions Atletico Madrid, appears to be reversing this trend by scoring seven goals in his first four matches — more goals than Torres scored in the whole of last season. Manager José Mourinho however does not want to count his eggs before they hatch. What he said:
“Seven goals in four Premier League matches is maybe too much. We cannot expect that after eight matches he has 14 goals. I think it's asking too much.” What he meant:
“We’ve already ruined Hernan Crespo, Andriy Shevchenko and Fernando Torres. I’m not going to jinx this one.”
Nicolas Anelka’s Mumbai sojourn
Nicolas Anelka’s once illustrious career has stalled, following his troubled move from Chelsea to Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua in 2012. Following brief stints at West Bromwich Albion and Juventus, he signed for Mumbai City FC in the newly formed — and
Famous for proclaiming that he’d be the best in the world, Nicklas Bendtner was the butt of many jokes during his stay at Arsenal because of his mediocre performances. He has since been released by the club and has signed for VfL Wolfsburg in Germany on a free transfer. What he said:
“I could have signed for other clubs earlier, but I waited for the right one." What he meant: STALLED CAREER: Despite expressing his 'excitement' at the prospect of playing for Mumbai FC in the Indian Super League, it is evident that Nicolas Anelka had hoped to play for a more glamorous club. PHOTO: INTERNET
less glamorous — Indian Super League. What he said:
“I'm pleased to join Mumbai City FC, and am very excited to join the Indian Super League. I look forward to using my ability to do well for my team in the matches that we will play.” What he meant:
“I didn’t really have any other choice; I have bills to pay. I’m as excited to play for Mumbai FC as I was when I signed for Shanghai Shenhua from Chelsea FC.”
From Messi to Welbeck
Having previously played alongside superstars like Lionel Messi, David Villa and Neymar at Barcelona, Alexis Sanchez found
himself in the company of less illustrious colleagues when he made the switch to Arsenal in the off season. What he said:
“Arsenal is a club that cares about the players and I can learn a lot here. It is also a great team. That’s why I am here.” What he meant:
“In Barcelona I had Lionel Messi and Neymar with me in attack. Now, I’m stuck with Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck. Tough luck.”
Radamel Falcao's dream
Initially stating on Twitter that he was on the verge of making a ‘dream come true’ by signing for Real Madrid, Radamel Falcao surprised many by making the move to Man-
“I was already scouting for an apartment in Mumbai to rent, so I could join Nicolas Anelka in his new club. Thank goodness VfL Wolfsburg contacted me.”
Redknapp's Old Trafford curse
For all his successes, Harry Redknapp's teams have never earned a point from Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United. His latest club, Queens Park Rangers recently lost 4 - 0. What he said:
“We had a great chance at 1-0 to score, Matt Phillips could have scored and I thought ‘Well we get in at 1-0.' But suddenly I thought we conceded two poor goals before half-time and then you're 3-0 down.” What he meant:
“I knew we were doomed from the start. I’ve never gained a point at Old Trafford, and I’m glad they only put four past us today.”
Serving up faults, not winners Leila Lai
WHILE most changes are met with resistance in the beginning, they are eventually accepted. However, the recent conclusion of the World Badminton Championships last month is a reminder that 11 years on, the organisers’ decision to hold the World Championships every year instead of biennially is one change that may never gain full acceptance. And for good reason — the new format has not resulted in the expected benefits and is affecting the prestige of the tournament.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) announced the switch to an annual Championships in 2003, with an exception for Olympic Games years, as the Olympic gold medallists are considered world champions. Apart from a vague reference to factoring financial reasons for the decision, the BWF
did not specify a reason for the change, and players and audiences were left to draw their own conclusions. One advocate of the change was India’s Saina Nehwal, currently ranked seventh worldwide in the women’s singles. She was quoted just before the 2009 World Championships, saying: “An annual tournament will give many more the chance to be the world’s best. I would love to see a new world champion every year.”
Dilution of prestige
However, when the results of the biennial and annual formats are compared, the number of different World Champions has remained the same in two of the five categories and decreased in another two. In other words, a few top players have been winning the title repeatedly. Besides not producing a greater variety of World Champions, the BWF also needs to consider the demands a packed calendar
places on participants. At this year’s World Championships, the current world number one men’s singles player, Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei, called on the BWF to reconsider the change. He said that the World Championships will lose its prestige when players have to divide their attention between the Championships and the Superseries. The Superseries is a year-round series of 12 major tournaments, also organised by the BWF. It serves as competitive training ground for international badminton players to prepare for the annual Champsionships. But the players cannot treat these international competitions as training alone. Their results in the Superseries determine their world rankings, which are used to qualify them for the World Championships. Players who attempt to conserve energy by playing less intensively in the Superseries risk slipping in world rankings and may lose out on a spot in the World Championships.
Fresher players, higher quality
Since the records of the past 12 years have shown that the increased frequency of the World Championships has not resulted in new and fresh World Champions, the call to make it biennial once again should be seriously considered. Holding the World Championships once every two years will allow players to adjust their training plans, recuperate and train intensively as the World Championships draw near. Fundamentally, a game played between two well-prepared players will be superior to one in which the competitors are fatigued and physically unable to push themselves any further. Ultimately, this would translate to higher quality competitions, and biennial World Championships. A biennal World Championships would improve viewing experiences, ensuring a smash hit every time.
Favourable foreign exchange Lisa Oon Sports Editor
ne of the biggest reasons why final-year exchange student Catherine Baron, chose NTU was because it had an Ultimate frisbee team. Baron reached out to the team captain before the school term started and the team invited her down to train with them. She represented NTU in the Singapore University Games (SUniG). Baron, 22, from England, has opted to train for SUniG instead of travelling around Asia, as most foreign exchange students are wont to do. The product design engineering student said: “It’s very easy as an exchange student to stick with other exchange students." She did not want to do that as she felt that getting to know the local students was very important. “And the team has been very welcoming,” she added.
Jacob Dodge, a third-year student from the United States (US) Naval Academy, has joined the swimming, aquathlon, and cross country teams here in NTU. He was on his school's triathlon team. To him, it was a way of keeping fit while studying in an overseas university. Dodge, 20, shared that the training in Singapore is less rigorous compared to what he is used to in the US. “Back in the States, our team trains three times a day for four times a week. We then train two times a day for the rest of the week,” he said. “Here, the swimming team trains three times a week, and the cross country team trains two times a week. I still have to train a lot by myself to keep up with the fit-
ADAPTATION: George Rodgers shared that it took some time to get used to Singapore's humidity.
ness levels of my teammates back home,” he added. Baron, however, paints a different picture. She said shared that the Ultimate scene in Singapore is more competitive than in England. The NTU team trains for three hours per session, while Baron's team in England trains for two hours per session. “I hope to improve while I'm
TIME MANAGEMENT: Stephan Köpernik checks the dates of his games before booking tickets for trips. PHOTO: ALICIA LIM
here due to the intensive training," Baron added.
Most of the foreign exchange students had a similar and familiar grouse concerning Singapore’s humidity. Baron shared that in England, Ultimate is played both indoors and outdoors. Furthermore, they sometimes play in winter. She thus perspires a lot more than usual when playing in Singapore. She said: “After five minutes of playing in Singapore, I look disgusting. Luckily, it is not too bad as we train in the evening.” “However, it is better than playing in the winter. Sometimes our hands are so numb that it is hard to catch the frisbee,” she added. George Rodgers, 21, a third-year Aerospace Engineering student feels the same way. He said: “Back in England, rugby is considered a winter sport. We would wear layers of clothing to keep warm. Here, I just sweat and sweat and sweat." “For the first couple of weeks it was rather tough. Now that I'm used to it, it would feel weird not being drenched in sweat while playing," he added. Cross country runner, Emily Willson, 21, from Colorado, US, said: “I used to get up early at 6.30am to run, or I ran at 4.45pm after class. Here, it’s too hot during those timings, so we train in the evenings. It’s taken some getting used to.”
Reigning in the wanderlust
For Stefanie Weichert, 25, joining a university team has always been her dream since she never had the chance to join one. Weichert is a German student who is currently pursuing a twoyear master’s degree programme in Sweden. She said: “I decided to travel around South East Asia before the term started so that I could focus on my life in Singapore.” Training for the Games has gotten in the way of travel plans for some of them. Stephan Köpernik, 21, from Germany, shared that he had to miss a tennis game previously because he had already booked tickets for a trip to Thailand. His teammate had to step in and play for him. Köpernik said: “That was the first complication I ran into. I did not book anything else for this period because I felt really bad about not being able to previously.” “I think it is about managing your time and looking up the competition dates in advance,” he added. For Dodge, it was not really a matter of choice. He shared that the US Navy had discouraged their students from travelling during the term. They were advised to travel during the recess week. He said: “Technically, I could leave the country but if I left and something happened, I would probably get kicked out of school. And that’s just not worth the risk. It’s a bummer, but it happens.” Willson, however, chooses to
PHOTO: CEPHEUS CHAN
compromise on her travel plans as she wants to support her Singaporean teammates. “Once you get into the team, you form strong relationships, and you want to be there for them while they are racing,” she said.
PASSION: Catherine Baron chose to come to NTU because it has an Ultimate frisbee team. PHOTO: CEPHEUS CHAN
A league of their own Matthew Mohan
rit, guts and glory. For the past seven Singapore University Games (SUniG) seasons, the NTU women's football team has been the epitome of these values. Training under the keen eye of their coach, they have emerged as champions year after year. That run is not about to end any time soon. On 17 Sep, they comfortably outclassed Singapore Management University (SMU) with a score of 9-1 to clinch their eighth successive SUniG women's football gold medal. The team boasts the longest championship winning streak among all the sporting teams in NTU. On top of that, they remain undefeated in 24 SUniG matches — since women's football made its debut in the competition in 2007. Team captain Sharda Parvin, 29, believes that their attacking approach has paid off for the team. “Most teams play by kicking the ball upfield. But we get scolded every training (session) when the ball doesn't reach our teammates,” said the final-year student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. The team’s approach contrasts that of their opponents' hit-andrun tactics. “We don't want to be defensive and not only play on the attack. We also want to play the correct way. That's what sets us apart from other teams,” the captain said. She also cited the team's strong bonds despite the mix of players with national experience and new players, as another reason for their success. “Everybody is so humble. Nobody thinks that they are the star player. Instead, everyone feels that they are an equal part of the team,” she added. It might not come as a surprise then that her coach is described as a strict disciplinarian who keeps
UNBEATEN: NTU's women's football team remain undefeated in 24 SUniG matches since 2007.
the team grounded despite their continuous achievements. Sharda attributed much of their success to their coach, Mr S Selvakumar, likening him to four-time Spanish La Liga Coach of the Year and current Bayern Munich tactician, Pep Guardiola. Mr Selvakumar, who has been with the team since 2009, is a retired footballer who has played for
Singapore’s national team. “My coach is a very disciplined man on and off the field. He is the traditional kind of coach (to whom) players’ attitude is very important,” Sharda said. But Sharda added that there is a softer side to her coach. Mr Selvakumar cares for the team by going the extra mile to learn more about individual players.
DISCIPLINARIAN: Coach S Selvakumar keeps the team grounded despite continuous achievements.
PHOTOS: SHERRY WONG
He said that he has no problem coaching the team, and praised their determination and hunger to work together. Mr Selvakumar identified discipline and fitness as two key aspects which has made his team consistently successful, and also singled out their training sessions as a factor that separates them from their opponents. A training session typically commences with a warm-up session, followed by ball work and small-sided games, before ending off with an 11-a-side match. For Mr Selvakumar, success is not just about winning championships. He also gains satisfaction from seeing his players improve. “They are very enthusiastic and want to learn. When they can play in a tournament and do well, it makes me really happy,” he said. Despite the team’s repeated success, support from the stands remains modest. Less than 20 supporters were at NTU’s Sports and Recreation Centre
last Wednesday to catch the team's final game with SMU. In contrast, the team's fiercest rivals from the National University of Singapore consistently look to host matches despite the poorer quality of their pitch. This is due to the support they receive on home ground. For the team captain, home advantage only counts for the convenience of the location and the familiarity of the playing surface. “We don't feel any different where we play because there isn't much support at home anyway,” said Sharda. While the team have already clinched eight championship titles, they refuse to rest on their laurels. Midfielder Genevieve Lee, 19, a first-year student from the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, summed up their playing philosophy: “We want to keep playing football that is enjoyable to watch, and we want to keep winning not because we are lucky, but because we really deserve to win."