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The Briefing Room:
Our news editors’ pick of interesting news stories from around the world
Vietnam lifts ban on same-sex marriage
Scrabble war of words
VIETNAM has become the first country in Southeast Asia to lift the ban on same-sex marriage, in a law that took effect on New Year’s Day. Having abolished fines that were imposed on homosexual weddings last year, Vietnam has now removed the regulations banning them. However, these weddings will not be recognised by the government. The removal of this ban is expected to present Vietnam as a more attractive option to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender tourists, hence providing a boost to the country's tourism industry.
A RETIRED teacher has finally succeeded in appealing against a Scrabble ban in court — five years after serving the ban. Mohammed A Hegazi was deemed by the Australian Scrabble Players Association (ASPA) in 2008 to be guilty of behaving in a manner “unbecoming” to the game, and was alleged to have cheated in a game. It was not a clean victory for Mr Hegazi, though. Allegations of him cheating was not retracted, and he was ordered to pay ASPA legal costs of over A$3,000 (S$3,245). PHOTOS: INTERNET
Lawyer Subhas dies
Bieber’s one leg kicking
Charlie Hebdo gunmen killed by French police FRENCH police stormed a printworks and supermarket in the town of Dammartin-en-Goele last Friday, killing the two brothers responsible for the shootings at French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. The brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, were suspected of slaying 12 people in the Charlie Hebdo shooting last Wednesday. Among those killed were five of France’s best-known satirical cartoonists, including the magazine’s editor. They had been on the run for two days before French police tracked and cornered them in the town. Another gunman with ties to the pair, Amedy Coulibaly, was also killed in the Porte de Vincennes area of Paris last Friday. He was the main suspect in the Thursday shooting that left a French policewoman dead.
LOCALLY renowned lawyer, Subhas Anandan, has died at the age of 67 after suffering a heart failure last Wednesday. Mr Subhas took up more than 2,500 cases in a career which spanned over 40 years. He has defended notorious criminals such as Anthony Ler, who hired a teenager to kill his wife, and Took Leng How, a vegetable packer who murdered eight-year-old Huang Na. More than 400 people attended his funeral last Thursday evening.
JUSTIN Bieber has started 2015 on the wrong foot, after reportedly breaking his leg while playing soccer in Turks and Caicos. The Canadian singer, who broke the news via Facebook on 6 Jan, was at the islands to usher in the new year with aspiring model Hailey Baldwin, model Christie Brinkley and her family. However, Bieber did not let the broken foot slow him down, with a YouTube video of him hitting the gym on crutches posted shortly after. The 20-year-old has been making waves on the Internet the past week over a raunchy photoshoot for Calvin Klein underwear, leaving little to imagination while bringing much delight to his legion of fans.
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A new eating disorder among men has emerged in recent years, with some becoming obsessed with bodybuilding and perceiving that they are not muscular enough. Opinions Writer Masayoe Nabilah finds out why it occurs, and what we can do to prevent it.
Lifestyle Writer Foo Rong En reviews two new cafés serving dishes infused with a local twist. The revival of fusion cuisine in the food industry has led to exotic eastmeets-west creations. Discover unconventional menu offerings like durian crème brûlée and bak kut teh salad.
The Nanyang Chronicle is giving away five passes for a one-hour session on the Flowrider, worth $40 each. Surf the waves in an exhilarating flowboarding experience that is not available anywhere else in Singapore. The contest will run from today to 15 Jan and winners will be notified via Facebook on 16 Jan.
Watch Lifestyle Writers Feline Lim and Amanda Chai investigate the rising trend of smartphone taxi booking, and find out if their supposed convenience and efficiency are truly worth the hype.
Sports Writers Fiona Lee and Leila Lai take on a timed challenge to determine which mode of transport gets you from one end of campus to the other faster. Watch the duo and find out if walking or taking the bus is a more efficient way to get to class.
Four lucky Nanyang Chronicle readers stand to win a pair of tickets (worth $39 per ticket) each to try out Megazip zip line. Megazip is more than 450 metres long and is 72m above sea level, letting you whizz over the jungle canopy and the buzz of Siloso Beach. The contest will run from 19 to 22 Jan and winners will be notified via Facebook on 23 Jan.
Find us at www.nanyangchronicle.ntu.edu.sg. 'Like' us on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ChronNTU) for more information.
Dr Cherian George has “set the record straight” — Page 6
Exciting changes to NTU in 2015 Developments and advances abound as the new year begins
South Spine Learning Hub
Saranya Mahendran Janell Chu
s Singapore commemorates her jubilee year, NTU joins the celebrations with new satellites, hubs and F&B outlets.
New satellites to launch
In the last two years, NTU has sent a total of four satellites into space. Another two satellites will be launched in the fourth quarter of this year — one to collect climate data and another to test if data can be sent to Singapore even if the satellite is not directly above the island. Previous successful technologies tested in NTU satellites have been adopted by these two devices. They include an advanced Global Positioning System and a mechanism to control the orientation of satellites. Associate Professor Low Kay Soon, Director of the Satellite Research Centre (SRC) in NTU, worked with 50 students to build these satellites with funding aid from the Economic Development Board. “The completion of such a complex multi-disciplinary project requires a lot of hard work. Once the satellite is launched, it cannot be repaired or recalled for servicing. It is built as a Space Qualified Product which requires a very high standard of work,” said Professor Low. The first satellite to be launched this year, VELOX-CI, is Singapore’s first climate satellite. It uses technology pioneered by NTU and Addvalue Innovation’s radiationresistant communication modem. This mini satellite weighs 130 kilogrammes and is the size of a mini-fridge. It will be useful in long-term tropical climate studies as it collects weather data — from upper atmospheric pressure to humidity. The second satellite to be launched is a nano-satellite named VELOX-II. It weighs 12 kg and will be used for inter-satellite communication study. Current satellites require a 12-hour wait by ground station staff before satellite data can be downloaded. Compounding the issue is the fact that data can only be downloaded for 40 minutes a day on average. Professor Low said that if the VELOX-II is successful, satellite transmissions “will be real-time”, eliminating the need for the 12-
OUT OF THIS WORLD: Assoc Prof Low Kay Soon with research engineer Lau Zi Rui, presenting the chassis of the VELOX-II and its internal components on the laboratory table.
The building is commonly referred to as the ‘Dim Sum building’ by students, for its unique architecture resembling bamboo containers of chinese dumplings stacked on top of one another. The eight-storey building is located next to the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) and will open in the second half of this year. It contains a lecture theatre, library, café, seven student activities pods, and 55 smart classrooms. “These smart classrooms are designed to promote more interactive teaching and active learning in small groups,” said Mr Jimmy Lee, NTU’s Chief Housing and Auxiliary Services (HAS) Officer. Samuel Pang, 23, a secondyear student from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, is looking forward to the opening of the café and library in the South Spine Learning Hub. “During the exam period, there is always a shortage of study spaces. The new building will hopefully open up more space for studying,” he said. Henry Loh, 22, a second-year student from Nanyang Business School, said that the location of the new hub is convenient and offers him as well as other students more venues to study. There are also recreational spaces on the roof which house a garden, planter terraces and a small stage for performances.
DIM SUM TOWERS: The new South Spine Learning Hub’s unique architecture resembles a stack of dim sum containers, and will be open in the second half of the year. PHOTOS: NTU, HILLARY TAN
“Singapore started from scratch for satellitebuilding. There were a lot of things we didn’t know, a lot of processes we were unfamiliar with in the beginning.” Lau Zi Rui, 26 Second-year student researcher School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
hour wait. This allows for “quicker damage assessment, and more effective relief by governments and aid organisations”. Lau Zi Rui, 26, a second-year student researcher pursuing a part-time Master’s degree in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, who has been working on the VELOX satellite programme since 2012, said that they encountered many difficulties as satellite-building is a niche area. “Singapore started from scratch
for satellite-building. There were a lot of things that we didn’t know, a lot of processes we were unfamiliar with in the beginning,” he said. “What we had to do was to keep learning from other countries. That was also difficult as a lot of information was kept secret (sic). “I feel quite satisfied, and definitely happy to be given this opportunity to be part of this important project that helps to build Singapore’s capabilities in the satellite industry,” Lau added.
The North Spine is also undergoing a facelift and will be home to the new North Spine Hub, a revitalised F&B and shopping hub with restaurants, takeaway kiosks, student-run pushcart businesses, and a mini-stage, complete with amphitheatre-style seating. In a previous interview with the Nanyang Chronicle, Mr Lee mentioned that there will be a post office in the North Spine Hub, but the Chronicle understands that it will not be built this year. However, students can look forward to two new student spaces — Union Street and the Spotlight. Union Street will be home to student-run pushcart businesses, managed by the NTU Students’ Union (NTUSU). Students can work with NTUSU to sell anything linked to fashion and hobbies, such as clothes, arts and crafts, and even gadgets. The Spotlight is a mini-stage outside SAC for aspiring artistes to “present their talents in music, dance and drama”, said Associate Provost (Student Life), Associate Professor Kwok Kian Woon.
More F&B options on campus Food-lovers have much to look forward to as NTU replaces outgoing F&B outlets with more dining choices Saranya Mahendran Janell Chu
total of eight new F&B outlets opened last year to provide new options for staff and students. They include popular Spanish frozen yoghurt franchise, Llao Llao, and upmarket Chinese restaurant, Peach Garden.
The new outlets replace the seven Food & Beverage (F&B) outlets, including Old Chang Kee and Canadian Pizza, which closed down because their leases were not renewed. “With Mr Bean closed, I have fewer dining options. Canteen B closes too early and I live in Hall 7, which is too far from the other dining options,” said Zheng Shiyang, 21, a second-year student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS). The closest F&B outlet to Hall of Residence 7 is Canteen B. Starbucks was among the outlets that closed late last year, to the dismay of students. The outlet closed due to the ongoing construction at the Student Activities Centre (SAC), but had their lease renewed in November 2014, according to store manager Noor Izzat, 25. Starbucks eventually relocated a stone’s throw away from their original location in SAC, to a stall between Subway and the newly opened Jollibean U+ located in a row of F&B outlets The new store features an instore dining space, which can seat 26 patrons. “Business is much better here, as the store is more noticeable, and we have our own sitting area,” Mr Izzat said. Starting 12 Jan, Starbucks will operate round the clock during the school term, including weekends and public holidays. During the semester breaks, it will open from 7am to 9pm on weekdays, 7am to 3am on weekends, and will be closed on public holidays. The opening hours are tentative and will be adjusted according to demand. “It is really useful that cafés like Starbucks graciously extend their operating hours during exam periods. This allows students to have a venue to study together,” said Natalie Chua, 19, a first-year HSS student. “Sometimes at night, we get customers coming in with blankets and pillows to study here,” Mr Izzat said. “Unlike other outlets I have worked in, we don’t chase students away. This is a school, we can’t ask them not to study,” he added. Llao Llao, which is located at Canteen B and seats around 12 cus-
NEW BEGINNINGS: Starbucks relocated to its new premises within the North Spine, to a stall between Subway and the newly opened Jollibean U+.
FRESHLY MADE: Llao Llao has proven itself to be popular among Singaporean youths, and has been equally successful in NTU to date.
IN BLOOM: Staff working at Peach Garden said that business has been slow, but are expecting business to pick up once the school year starts. PHOTOS: HILLARY TAN
tomers, has already garnered much popularity during the holidays. This is especially because items on the menu are sold at discounted prices. This includes the Sanum, a crowd favourite. The customisable yoghurt parfait is sold at $5.90 instead of the original $6.50 in other outlets. “The queues are especially long during lunch hours," said Yong Pei Xuan, 20, a first-year HSS student, who has been working full-time at NTU’s Llao Llao during the holidays. The soon-to-be-opened North Spine Hub in August will also be home to more than 10 new shops and take-away food kiosks, the exact details of which have yet to be released. Hall students no longer need to head out of NTU for their midnight supper, as Crescent Hall will soon be home to NTU’s first supper café, The Night Owl, which opens end January. Spruce is also expanding its footprint in NTU with the addition of two new outlets, Spruce Bistro
Felicia Teo, 21, a third-year School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student, felt that more food stalls should be opened on campus. “The food courts are always crowded, and it’s hard to find seats sometimes, especially at the Quad,” she said. In response, NTU said it is exploring all available options to cater to the demands of students.
Bar, located near Nanyang Auditorium and Spruce Bistro Petit, which is situated at the Campus Clubhouse. The bistro bar opens in early February, with an official opening ceremony cum Valentine’s Day celebration on 13 Feb, while the Bistro Petit will open later this month. Mr Jimmy Lee, NTU’s Chief Housing and Auxiliary Services Officer, said that Spruce Bistro Bar will “offer an exciting mix of music, drinks and food, plus a specially concocted and as-yet-unnamed cocktail dedicated to NTU”. He added: “It is also a viable venue for private functions such as parties and networking events.” The first Spruce café will remain at its original premises at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information.
Striking a balance
Despite the opening of new F&B outlets, many students still feel the current dining options in NTU are limited, and some are even unhealthy.
“The food courts are always crowded and it's hard to find seats sometimes, especially at the Quad.” Felicia Teo, 21 Third-year student School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Mr Lee said: “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.” One student said she hoped for more healthy options. Zoe Lim, 20, a second-year HSS student, said: “NTU introduced unhealthy alternatives such as KFC and Pizza Hut. There are healthier options out there.” Zoe also felt that the price of food was getting more expensive. She said: “I spent $7.50 at Jollibean on beehoon and a green tea drink. The service staff was slow and had bad attitudes. I waited ten minutes for it, and the food tasted bad.” In a previous interview with the Chronicle, Mr Lee explained that it is often a balancing act to deal with students’ complaints of costly food while catering to their varying tastes. He added that criticism was “inevitable”, and that balancing students’ demands with the university’s available resources is a tough task.
Clocking in the hours With local 15-year-olds ranked third globally in time spent on homework, the Nanyang Chronicle surveys the studying habits of NTU undergraduates
tutorial every week, then I would think he or she needs to commit at least two hours per tutorial.” Spending ten hours weekly on revision and homework is insufficient to learn effectively given the workload in university, according to teacher-in-training Ho Shi Yun, 21, a third-year student from the National Institute of Education (NIE). “I feel that it's rather disheartening to hear that a proportion of people study less than 10 hours a week,” Ho added. “From the pedagogical modules I took in NIE, I was taught that studying should be a constant process of revision, in order for us to fully internalise the knowledge we have learnt.”
ours spent on readings, revising for quizzes and completing homework after classes. Such is the life of a NTU student, or so it would seem, based on a Facebook poll of 87 students conducted by the Nanyang Chronicle. In the survey, two-thirds of respondents said they spent more than 10 hours a week on school work — 25 per cent said they spent between 10 to 20 hours; 20 per cent spent between 20 to 30 hours, and 23 per cent spent more than 30 hours a week. Among those who clock in the hours consistently, is Alvin Ang, 23, a second-year student from Nanyang Business School (NBS). He spends about 25 hours weekly on homework and revision. When exams draw near, he spends an additional eight hours studying daily, which works out to be around 81 hours per week. Likewise for Candice Goh, 22, a final-year student from the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering (SCBE). She spends five hours a day on school work, with up to two of these spent on reviewing lecture notes. In comparison, according to a
HITTING THE BOOKS: Most students polled said that they spend more than 10 hours a week studying outside curriculum time. PHOTO: HILLARY TAN
survey done last year by the National Survey of Student Engagement Institute on students in US and Canada, the average undergraduate spends about 17 hours each week preparing for classes.
The flip side
While two-thirds of respondents said they spend much time on school work, it was the “less than 10 hours” category that received the most responses. 28 out of 87 respondents said that they spent less than 10 hours on homework and revision weekly — this meant that almost one in three students commit just over an hour to school work each day.
This came as a surprise to Germain Kwek, 19, a first-year student from the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Kwek said: “Singapore has a grade-centric education system, so I expected everyone to be studying much more in university considering how competitive it is.” However, most students interviewed felt this was expected. For undergraduates like Wang Zhi Sheng, 21, the need to accommodate co-curricular activities (CCAs) results in less time spent studying. The first-year student from the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE) said: “I feel that university is a platform for you to get to know more people instead of
just focusing on your studies and getting good results.” Among those echoing his views was Stephanie Ching, 20. The second-year student from SCBE said: “Given the amount of time we spend just being in lectures and tutorials, what little free time left is spent trying to balance our social lives and CCAs.”
More time needed
Associate Professor Goh Wan Ling from EEE believes undergraduates should invest time in revision and doing research beyond curriculum. She said: “Students have an average of five to six modules a semester. If every student has a
Matter of perspective
A few students pointed out that differences in courses and studying techniques means that it is hard to pin down an optimal amount of time for school work, while also raising the issue of individual time management. For Mr Paul Falzon, a part-time lecturer in NTU, efficient studying is key. He suggests forming study groups for students to "get more value for their study time”. Mr Falzon also recommends regular breaks while studying. He said: “You have got to be disciplined about relaxing. I suggest working for 60 to 90 minute blocks and then taking a break of, say, 20 to 30 minutes. "There's no point studying for 20 hours if 10 of those are spent being confused.”
Popular no more Cara Wong THE closure of the South Spine Popular bookstore late last year means that a trip to the one in National Institute of Education (NIE) is now necessary for those who want to buy new textbooks, but most NTU students are unfazed. With students turning to alternatives such as eBooks and second-hand textbooks instead of purchasing new ones, many said that the closure of the barely threemonth-old outlet — which focused on retailing textbooks — had little impact on them. Teresa Zhou, 20, a second-year student from Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and Information who visited the South Spine store just twice during the time it was open, said: “I learnt very quickly that it was not worth buying new textbooks. You have to spend a lot on the new books, then think of how to resell them when the semester is over. “Nowadays, I prefer to go for second-hand copies or photocopied
versions instead. If these two options still do not work out, I could just borrow from the library.” Kurtz Chua, 21, a second-year student from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, added: “I did not visit the store when it was around since I never bought textbooks. “Textbooks are big and bulky to carry around, so I would rather use eBook versions which are more convenient. We can even share the eBooks among our friends via Dropbox.” The cost of new textbooks was also cited as a reason for the nonchalant attitude towards the closure. Some students attributed their low patronage of the store to the availability of cheaper secondhand textbooks. New textbooks usually retail at between $60 and $70. Secondhand versions, on the other hand, can be found at prices as low as $10 on online marketplaces like Carousell. Despite many students’ indifference, there still were some concerned about the outlet's closure.
Leong Wenjun, 20, a secondyear Sports Science and Management student, said: “Even though I only went there twice last semester, it will definitely affect me. They had a wider range of textbooks than the NIE branch, and some textbooks can only be found there.” She added: “I know a lot of my friends don’t get textbooks from bookstores, but for me, I still prefer to own new textbooks.”
While the sudden closure of the outlet came as a surprise to some, a Popular spokesperson stated that the outlet was operating on a shortterm lease, and was only intended to be in business for a semester. She added that there are currently no plans to open another outlet in NTU. The Nanyang Chronicle understands that the outlet was set up as a temporary solution to the previous retailer, Yunnan Bookstore, closing down. Steps have already been taken to find a new retailer. According to NTU’s Office of Housing and Auxiliary Services, the tender for
SOLE OPTION: The closure of the South Spine Popular leaves the NIE outlet as the only bookstore on campus. PHOTO: HILLARY TAN
an operator to run a campus bookstore has been put up, and students “can look forward to a new store soon”. While students welcomed the news, most hoped that the new retailer will be able to provide a greater selection of textbooks and stationery. Koh Kai En, 21, a first-year student from the School of Humanities
and Social Sciences, said: “I think the new bookstore should have a wider variety of stationery, as I often cannot find the brands that I want in Popular's NIE outlet. "Of course, above everything, it will be the best if the bookstore can offer textbooks at lower prices. Since the prices are so high, I don’t know how much longer I can afford them.”
Building for the future With two new campus buildings set to be completed, LKCMedicine students can look forward to a top-class learning environment
will take priority in the new buildings, with several floors set aside for basic and translational research. Prof Andersson said that this research, along with innovative education, is aimed at developing new treatments and better diagnostics. He added: “I am confident we will help Singapore meet its future healthcare demands.”
tudents of NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) will soon get to work in cutting-edge classrooms with unique teaching facilities, following the impending completion of its new dual campus buildings. The seven-storey Experimental Medicine Building, located at NTU’s Yunnan Garden campus, will be completed by July, while the 20-storey Clinical Sciences Building, situated at the Novena campus, opens its doors the following July. The designs of these buildings were unveiled at a foundation stone laying ceremony, held at the School of Biological Sciences (SBS) last Thursday, where Singapore President and NTU Chancellor Dr Tony Tan was the guest-of-honour. NTU president Bertil Andersson stated that the developments are central to LKCMedicine's ambition to "redefine medicine and transform healthcare". He said: “To complement our innovative and technology-enhanced approach to medical education, our new buildings will be equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, and future classrooms purpose-built for our teaching pedagogy.
STRONG FOUNDATIONS: Singapore President and NTU Chancellor Dr Tony Tan expressed high hopes for the prospects of LKCMedicine at the foundation stone laying ceremony, where he was the guest-of-honour. PHOTO: NTU
Both buildings will feature circular learning studios equipped with large screens along the circumference of the room. This design seeks to give students the opportunity to present and compare their ideas side-by-side. The Experimental Medicine Building will be part of a Life Sciences cluster — comprising LKCMedicine, SBS, the School of Chemical and Biomedical
Engineering, and the Research Techno Plaza. Mr Lim Chuan Poh, chairman of LKCMedicine’s governing board, said that its location would encourage meaningful interactions between engineering, biological sciences and medicine. For the Clinical Sciences Building, its close proximity to Tan Tock Seng Hospital will ease students’ assimilation into clinical settings and promote clinical research. The
new Clinical Skills Laboratory — located within it — aims to create a realistic and immersive environment, where students will perform tasks such as stitching prosthetic wounds on artificial patients. The building will also have exclusive student facilities. These include a rooftop medical library, which will be housing a unique collection of posters, audio-visual materials and books. Along with education, research
LKCMedicine was born as a joint venture between NTU and Imperial College London (ICL), and the unveiling of the building designs was met with approval by ICL president Professor Alice Gast. Prof Gast said: “Together, NTU and ICL are laying foundations for research discoveries and for the innovative integration of education and research in LKCMedicine.” In an interview with Times Higher Education (THE) in London last month, where he was part of a Singapore delegation on a state visit led by Dr Tan, Prof Andersson revealed insights into how the partnership with ICL came about. He pointed out that the decision to collaborate on a medical school stemmed from the consideration that the school would be set up in a shorter time, as compared to a standalone venture. He added that while ICL was selected from a shortlist of four international partners for reasons of “quality and branding”, the “final decision (as to) who should be the partner was the government’s”. “(Local universities) are autonomous, but still the government has a say,” Prof Andersson said.
I've moved on: Dr George Shaun Tan News Editor
FORMER NTU journalism professor Dr Cherian George said he is ready to move on, after addressing comments made by NTU president Bertil Andersson on the reasons he was denied tenure. Last month, Prof Andersson told Times Higher Education in an interview that the denial of tenureship to Dr George — who lectured at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI) — was made as an “academic decision”. However, Dr George disagreed, maintaining that only political reasons were given for the denial of tenureship. In a blog entry on 24 Dec, Dr George requested for Prof Andersson to retract his comments. Prof Andersson subsequently clarified in a statement that “there was no intention to lower the reputation or standing of Dr George in his field of work”. Despite the clarification, Dr George said it did not remove the
implication that his tenure was rejected solely on academic grounds. Now an associate professor at the Hong Kong Baptist University, he described his exit from NTU early last year as “forced”. In an email reply to the Nanyang Chronicle last Friday, Dr George said: “I merely wanted to set the record straight and I’ve done so. As things stand, I don’t see any need to say or do anything more. I’ve moved on.” In his blog post, he had suggested that NTU release relevant documents if it wanted to dispute his clarification, adding that he was “prepared to waive any confidentiality rights” he has. When asked if NTU would be responding to Dr George, a spokesman said: “The university has already stated its position on several previous occasions and will not be making any further comments.” As for whether he would consider returning to Singapore as an academic in future, Dr George told the Chronicle: “Singapore is my home, but academia is a highly globalised industry, so my future plans will probably involve a trade-
off between the emotional pull of my birthplace and professional opportunities that may lie elsewhere. For the next several years at least, I have no reason to leave Hong Kong.” Current and former WKWSCI students the Chronicle spoke to felt that after a decade teaching in the school, Dr George’s departure last February left behind some large shoes to fill. WKWSCI alumnus, Tan Wei Zheng, 27, said that Dr George was “always clear, engaging and was well-respected by everyone”. “I remember that he always managed to navigate nuances very well, not just in his writing and public persona, but in his teaching as well. He made complicated topics easy to understand,” Tan said. Tammie Kang, 22, a final-year WKWSCI student, shared the same sentiments, calling Dr George a “precious asset” to the school. She said: “His views were very refreshing to us students, as most of us have a very sheltered view of the media here. It’s sad that he left, because he gave us another perspective of the world at large.”
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: Dr Cherian George maintainsthat he was assessed to have met NTU's academic criteria for promotion and tenure in 2009. NANYANG CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO
A passion for water
Nazri Eddy Razali
s a Civil Engineering graduate from NTU, Yehan, 34, found great satisfaction in completing post-tensioning building projects and churning out innovative designs. His eye for innovation has also allowed him to appreciate the work of his fellow engineers. While he has worked as both a contractor and then as an engineering consultant since graduating from NTU in 2002, it was only a matter of time before his passion brought him to pursue a career with PUB, the national water agency as a Senior Engineer. His introduction to PUB started early. Born in a small island in Indonesia where water is not so conveniently available, he expressed how impressed he was with the country’s water management system when he moved to Singapore more than 15 years ago. “Whenever I turn on the tap, there is clean and safe water that you can directly drink!”
In his six years with PUB, Yehan has been able to accumulate a wealth of experience, through postings to different departments within the organisation. “When I first joined PUB, I was given the opportunity to plan for sewerage system projects in
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Singapore,” said the former NTU Hall 4 & 5 resident. “After a few years, I was posted to the project management division, which happened to be implementing the very same projects that I had been working on earlier in my career with PUB.” Yehan’s job as an Engineer is not desk-bound. Besides working at his office in Waterhub, he also travels to various work sites located across the island. Carrying out public works exposed him to various stakeholders such as the residence or business owners. This has also given him the chance to develop his communication and public engagement skills.
PUB is the water agency that manages Singapore’s water supply, water catchment and used water in an integrated way. PUB offers scholarship, internship and job opportunities to those who are passionate about building an exciting future in the Singapore’s water industry.
Knowledge is power
Even after having graduated from NTU more than a decade ago, Yehan still relies on the skills that he had acquired to perform his job effectively. "Without the civil engineering knowledge gained from NTU, it would have been more difficult for me to do my job. Having said that, PUB is a learning organisation." “I have acquired a lot of practical knowledge and skills on the job and through the trainings that I received in PUB. These are valuable experiences in my career as a Civil Engineer,” he opined. “PUB is the organisation that ensures clean and sustainable
Look out for the next 4 issues of Nanyang Chronicle as we share with you what it is like to be a PUB Engineer in an organisation with the strength of more than 3000 staff. Find out more about us at www.pub.gov.sg/career NOT DESK-BOUND: Yehan also travels to various work sites as an engineer. PHOTO: ALICIA GOH
supply of water for its people in Singapore and I’m proud to be a part of it, contributing in my area
of work to build and manage our water infrastructure for the better well-being of Singapore.”
Visit PUB at NTU Career Fair 30 Jan 15, Friday Nanyang Auditorium Foyer Booth 147
NEW YEAR, NEW YOU It’s the new year — time to hit the reset button. Lifestyle Writers Jolene Ang and Sheryl Tay show you how to start off the new year on the right note.
long time trend that’s still going strong, juice cleanses are especially popular among busy working professionals. During a juice cleanse — which can last from one to six days — all meals are replaced with juices made
Ion Orchard 2 Orchard Turn, #B1-11 Singapore 238801 Opening Hours: 10am - 10pm Daily
THERE is no need to compromise on fashion while exercising. Lululemon Athletica, a company
specialising in upscale athlectic gear, now allows you to do so. It has gained a cult following recently, with the opening of their first Singapore retail store in Ion Orchard last December. While it has long established a reputable name for itself in the global market, it is still a relatively new brand here. Lululemon stocks all kinds of exercise and workout gear for people of all age groups, ranging from leggings and sports bras to sports bands and yoga mats. Although their prices are a little
37 Lorong 23 Geylang, #01-04 Singapore 388371 Opening Hours: 6.30am - 11.30pm Daily
THE quest for a healthier physique does not always involve fanciful and complicated machines. Strength and conditioning
FLOAT HOUSE SINGAPORE
Novena Medical Centre 10 Sinaran Drive, #10-21 Singapore 307506 Opening Hours: Mon - Sat: 10.30am - 9pm
FLOATING therapy is as its name suggests — it entails floating in a
feel better after the entire session. Each cleanse programme comes with six 500ml bottles of freshly cold-pressed juices that are all to be consumed in one day. Customers can also determine the duration of the cleanse, and what juices they desire. Freshness is guaranteed as the juices will be pressed on the same day of its delivery. Thanks to cold-press technology, the shelf life of the juices can be extended to three days.
training will help you toughen your body and tone your muscles, all while using the most essential of equipments, like dumbbells. Solitude of Strength was founded by Singaporean weightlifter Lewis Chua. Classes are conducted by trainers specialised in every aspect of strength and conditioning. The gym hosts a series of specialised boot camps catered to different needs and interests, from women’s boot camps to preparatory classes for National Service enlistees. Should you want to pick up a new
athletic skill this new year, Solitude of Strength offers a multitude of lessons such as powerlifting and strongman training. They even offer professional classes for those who are already familiar with the concepts, as well as basic classes for beginners looking to get stronger, faster and fitter. For those who remain undecided about whether strength and conditioning are for you, Solitude of Strength offers oneoff classes, with prices starting from $10.
steep, it serves as a great incentive to workout. Those who are tired and worried about unflattering sports wear can now enjoy Lululemon’s line of quality sports gear which promises to be trendy yet highly functional. Prices start from $52 for a tank top and $128 for a pair of stretchy yoga pants. Look at it as a health investment rather than an expenditure. You will find yourself being more motivated to work out harder and get your money’s worth everyday.
SOLITUDE OF STRENGTH
Floatation Pod containing 11 inches of water filled with magnesium sulphate salt. Floating therapy is a weightless experience for both your body and your mind. It provides stress relief, soothes muscle aches and joint pains; treats acne, eczema and other skin related problems; and allows wounds to recover at a faster rate. Basic floating therapy affords customers an hour of floating on their backs in complete darkness and isolation in a non-invasive and
from raw and organic fruit and vegetables. There are many popular brands of juice cleansing in the market, one of which is hic’Juice. It provides several categories of drinks to suit your differing health needs, allowing you to effectively customise your own juice regime. While the six-day juice cleanse package from hic’Juice is not cheap (a one-day cleanse can set you back $108), it’s a health investment worth considering, for you will look and
peaceful environment. Those who wish to enjoy the full range of benefits of floating therapy can choose to opt for the regular float, which is about an hour and a half long. Having some personal time in your own private pod is also a good opportunity for you to be one with yourself and reflect on the coming months ahead. Prices start at $50 for an hourlong introductory float session. For a regular floating therapy session, rates will start from $100.
VARIETY'S THE SPICE OF NTU LIFE Foodies in NTU can now rejoice this semester. Lifestyle Writer Nadhirah Ismail catches up with the latest openings on campus. From dessert stops to oriental Chinese cuisine — NTU’s got your cravings covered.
Peach Garden Chinese Restaurant Location: Above New World Café at North Spine
TU now plays home to Peach Garden — a Chinese restaurant known for its signature dishes such as Roasted Spare Ribs with Honey, Steamed Lobster with Chinese Wine and Wheat Vermicelli. Serving favourite Chinese classics for over ten years, the restaurant has proudly made it into the list of Singapore Tatler’s best restaurants — the culinary insider's guide to the top food and beverage establishments in the country. Ambience-wise, the traditional Chinese
restaurant is tranquil and serene with plenty of natural light shining in from its full length glass windows. Students can now dine leisurely in a sophisticated environment, and relish the restaurant's perennial favourites, without having to travel off campus. Peach Garden also offers refreshing treats for warm days, like Chilled Osmanthus Jelly and Chilled Black Glutinous Rice with Ice Cream in Coconut — you name it, Peach Garden’s got it.
Extension of North Spine Food Court Location: Above New World Café at North Spine
IT IS easy to get bored of the same few food choices everyday. However, North Spine Food Court goers now have even more to look forward to this semester, thanks to the new extension. If you are looking for a wider variety of food options, this is one place you absolutely cannot miss. Entering the North Spine Food Court’s extension will give you a glimpse of some of the much loved cuisines from different countries around the globe, allowing you
to savour the flavours of the world in the comfort of NTU. The international selection of food at the food court, ranging from Asian cuisines such as Xi’an, Korean or Japanese to Western fare such as Italian cuisine, will leave you spoilt for choice. Go ahead and embrace the inner gourmet globetrotter in you and taste something new today. This place is not only friendly on your palate but on your pocket too.
PHOTOS: HILLARY TAN, INTERNET
Location: Beside Starbucks at North Spine
DID you know that soya beans are one of the world’s richest natural food? High in protein, low in saturated fat and containing zero cholesterol, Jollibean U+ is your go-to place when you’re looking for yummy and healthy soya milk to quench your thirst from the tropical heat. Filling the gap left by Mr Bean last year, Jollibean U+ provides you with a healthy source of energy to keep you charged up for the entire day of lectures. You can also personalise sugar levels with the self-service beverage dispenser, allowing
Location: Canteen B
you to control the sweetness of your drink. Grab a pancake for a quick breakfast. But if you are in the mood for something more satisfying, Jollibean U+ also has something for you. Choices include sushi and onigiri (triangular-shaped Japanese rice wrapped in seaweed), as well as popular local delights such as Mee Siam (malay thin rice vermicelli in gravy) and congee. Be it a light breakfast or a quick lunch, Jollibean U+ is a stop that you definitely won't want to miss out.
THEY say save the best for last and indeed we have. Let’s make way for the current queen of frozen yoghurt to grace us with its presence right here in NTU. Ever since it arrived in Singapore from Spain, Llao Llao has attracted a huge crowd with queues so long that they need to be managed by security guards. But fear not, here’s another perk of being an NTU student: you no longer have to travel out of school to get your frozen yoghurt fix. Priced slightly cheaper than those sold
out of campus, these guilt-free desserts are a great addition to your gastronomical adventure in NTU. Made of skimmed milk combined with a fresh array of toppings and sauces, cool your palate with this healthy treat after a hearty meal. It’s no doubt that NTU students surely have it good when it comes to food. School can be a little tiring sometimes, but there’s nothing a satisfying meal can’t save. Work hard, play hard and eat good food: your motto for the new semester.
A LITTLE OF EVERYTHING Is your wanderlust from the holiday season lingering in the new year? Lifestyle Editors Chelsea Tang and Fabian Loo bring you on a tour of Asia to some little countries right here in our Little Red Dot.
PHOTOS: HILLARY TAN
PHOTOS: CALVIN CHOW, HILLARY TAN
Little Korea: Insa-dong Korea Town
Little Thailand: Golden Mile Complex
ocated in the heart of Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa, the newly opened Insa-dong Korea Town emulates the traditional streets of Insa-dong in South Korea — complete with restaurants and galleries. The past and present of Korea come together when you step into the eatery. Food stalls have been designed to incorporate the neowa-jib (a shingleroofed house), bringing out the rustic vibe of a traditional Korean street while upbeat melodies of trendy Korean pop music play in the background. The eatery offers a variety of authentic Korean food as well as fusion food like Korean-Japanese, Korean-Chinese and Korean-Western cuisine. Popular Korean street food like tteokbokki (spicy rice cake) and kimchi pancakes are also freshly prepared in food kiosks conveniently located in the middle of the eatery. Little Korea has already garnered the attention of Korean tourists, many of whom were satisfied customers dining in a familiar
STEP into Golden Mile Complex and you will see that the Thais definitely know how to enjoy life. Numerous beauty parlours offering hair treatments and oil massages can be found throughout the mall. More than that, the complex is also filled with karaoke pubs, providing the Thais with a place to belt out the latest Thai pop tunes. And there is no worry of starving when in Little Thailand. Eateries serving Thai cuisine are aplenty, providing people with an authentic taste of Thai food — from mango sticky rice to Mookata (a Thai steamboat). But no trip to Golden Mile Complex is complete without paying the Thai supermarket a visit. Located on the second floor, it is home to traditional Thai ingredients such as tamarind and galangal (a spice commonly used in many Thai soups and curries). Grab a packet of freshly fried banana fritters at the entrance of the supermarket to fuel you while you shop for a piece of Thailand. This warm, sweet treat has been featured in The Straits Times and has gained
place despite being in a foreign land. Even the ordering system mirrors the ones in Korea — customers are directed to self-order kiosks to place their orders. This reduces waiting time and ensures systematic collection of food. Decorative Korean ornaments are also sold in pushcart stalls on the street as well as in the eatery, so customers can bring home a little memory of Korea. Take some time off to nestle up in a cosy corner of the eatery, underneath a ceiling of traditional paper lanterns, against the intricately printed backdrop of a scenic Korean view while enjoying an impressive Insa-dong experience.
INSA-DONG KOREA TOWN Resorts World Sentosa 26 Sentosa Gateway #01-30/31/32/33 Singapore 098138 Opening Hours: 11.30am - 10pm Daily
a large following since then. Stocked in the aisles of the supermarket are a selection of seasonings and instant noodles, giving even the most amateur cooks the ability to whip up a convincing Thai meal. Do not let the minimal rustic interior of the complex fool you. It seems like variety and choice are running themes among all the stores. Step into any shop and you will be greeted with an extensive selection of items, from cheap fashion apparel to beauty products and even Thai magazines. Golden Mile Complex truly dishes out an authentic Thai experience that is definitely not for the fickle-minded.
GOLDEN MILE COMPLEX 5001 Beach Road Singapore 199588 Opening Hours: 11am - 12am Daily
Little Philippines: Lucky Plaza
Little Japan: Liang Court
IT IS a widely known fact that Lucky Plaza is the one-stop hang out spot for Filipinos residing in Singapore, and it’s easy to understand why. Home to authentic Filipino cuisine, Lucky Plaza readily offers traditional Filipino dishes, desserts and snacks at reasonable prices. A prime example would be Lucky Plaza’s crown jewel — Jollibee (#06-48A) — a Filipino fast food restaurant that is most famous for its Filipino-style fried chicken, Chickenjoy. The fast food place is so popular among the locals and Filipinos that its queue extends out of the store, especially during peak periods. Alternatively, the quaint little eateries located within Lucky Plaza offer freshly prepared Filipino cuisine that is more than enough for one to have a taste of the Philippines itself. For those with a sweet tooth, Filipinoowned bakery Inasal (#04-49/50/51) serves aromatic sweet treats and other pastries, with buko leche flan (a refreshing dessert made of Filipino young coconut strips and cooked tapioca) and empanada (pastry stuffed with savoury ingredients) being the favourites among their customers. Serial snackers are in luck — from authentic Filipino crackers to fried pork skin,
THERE is no better place to splurge on quality Japanese products and cuisine than Liang Court itself. You know you are in the right place when you find yourself shopping in the company of Japanese families. Liang Court is undoubtedly a mini Japan — with advertisements in their local language and ornamental lanterns dotting the ceiling perimeter. Liang Court is home to numerous Japanese stores, from Japanese restaurants to fashion labels like Uniqlo. And the mall’s atrium is constantly abuzz with exciting pop-up stores selling everything from Fuji honey apples to handcrafted trinkets. Follow the aromatic scent of freshly baked goods and you’ll find yourself at Duke Bakery, a store that serves Japanese fusion artisan bread. But the real magic happens at the mall’s basement, where the largest Japanese supermarket in Singapore is located. With the combination of traditional music and supermarket staff dressed in Japanese garb promoting products in Japanese, shopping at Meidi-ya transports you to the heart of Japan. No matter what the item, the Japanese eye for detail is evident.
the mini-marts in Lucky Plaza have them all. A simple packet of mixed-nuts can be found in five different varieties, from classic original to the cheese-flavoured. You can say that the Filipinos are indeed nuts about their nuts. We were spoilt for choice by the huge array of nuts and chips, but eventually decided upon the recommended and all-time-favourite corn pops, which of course, came in several different flavours as well. Known for their gregarious personalities and warm dispositions, the Filipino store owners and shoppers were most willing to share tidbits about their culture with us. It is no wonder why Lucky Plaza is always bustling with activity. Should you ever crave for something other than local delights, this six storey high building is always ready to share stories of the Philippines with you.
LUCKY PLAZA 304 Orchard Road Singapore 238863 Opening Hours: 8am - 10pm Daily
When purchasing from food carts selling freshly made taiyaki (Japanese fish-shaped pastry) or other street food like soba noodles, pay close attention to the intricate packaging of the products. And it seems the Japanese are obsessed with freshness. Meidi-ya has an extensive decadent selection of premium-grade sashimi and beautifully marbled Kobe beef — all of which are air-flown from Japan and packaged right in front of you. What’s more impressive is the in-house tofu factory where bean curd is produced and prepared, ensuring impeccable freshness of the silken goodness. Liang Court allows you to have a taste of Japan, literally, without having to endure the seasonal changes and currency difference. Besides, if it’s good enough for Japanese living here, it sure is good enough for us Singaporeans.
LIANG COURT 117 River Valley Road Singapore 179030 Opening Hours: 10am - 10pm Daily
Reviews movie review
INTO THE WOODS
Musical, Fantasy (PG) Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine 124 min
eaturing award-winning music, beloved fairy tale characters and an ensemble cast, Into the Woods sounds like a movie well on its way to a happily ever after. Despite all these strengths, however, this musical movie is still bogged down by an unnecessarily convoluted storyline and underdeveloped characters. Into the Woods is a film adaptation of the acclaimed Broadway musical of the same name. With a unifying theme of wishes, this musical-dramedy borrows various characters from popular Grimms’ fairy tales and explores the idea that all of these stories are intertwined. While the multifaceted plot of Into the Woods might make for effective storytelling in a theatrical production, the same does
SPELLBINDING: Meryl Streep (right) delivers a magical performance.
not work as well on film. Despite a strong start, a growing number of subplots quickly dilute its initial charm, and as a result, its 124-minute duration drags on far longer than it should. This fault is due to an unnecessarily inflated cast — characters such as Rapunzel and the Big Bad Wolf seem to disappear as soon as they are introduced, and do not
PHOTO: WALT DISNEY PICTURES
add any real value to the main story. Into the Woods features a star-studded cast with the likes of Emily Blunt and Chris Pine, and the casting choices are wellmatched to their real life personas. But veteran actress Meryl Streep is the one who shines among the rest — playing the role of the quintessential witch, Streep lends a sense of convincing vulnerability
to an otherwise villainous character. The cackling, withered witch appears clichéd at first, but as the story progresses, we learn that there is literally more to her than meets the eye. Stephen Sondheim — the composer of the original musical — returns to supervise the music of Into the Woods, and his involvement in this rendition ensures that the songs featured in the film retain the essence of the original. Despite remaining relatively unchanged, the songs are as captivating as they were when they debuted on Broadway in 1987. Into the Woods is also humorously selfaware, and isn’t afraid to poke fun at the absurdity of its fairy tale roots. Halfway into the movie, two princes bump into each other in the woods, and in a clash of inflated egos, they break into a so-bad-its-good song (aptly titled Agony) in an attempt to emasculate one another. All in all, Into the Woods will resonate with fans of fairy tales and musical theatre, and it is only the lengthy runtime and overpopulated cast that plagues an otherwise entertaining film. If you can look past those, however, Into the Woods is certainly a good start to your movie-watching year.
singles of the month
YOU WOULDN’T LIKE ME ONLY ONE ft. Paul McCartney WHEN I’M ANGRY
NEW YEAR’S EVE
Thom Yorke Self-Released
Kanye West Def Jam Recordings
RUMOURED to be in the works since 2013, You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry is a bonus track that accompanies the rerelease of Thom Yorke’s second solo album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. Contrary to its title, the track is anything but angry, for its mix of mellow electronic sounds and the Radiohead frontman’s soothing falsetto is more likely to put listeners at peace than anything else. With introspective lyrics like “I can’t come when you call me, I am not who you saw”, the song is sure to resonate with anyone who has experienced the pains of love, loss and heartbreak.
REMINISCENT of West’s earlier work in 808s & Heartbreak, Only One features his AutoTuned vocals paired with McCartney’s gentle notes on the keyboard. Sung from the perspective of West’s mother, the late Donda West, Only One is about a parent’s love towards a child. The minimalistic track isn’t quite West at his stunning best, but reveals an emotional side to him that may have been overshadowed by his brash and abrasive personality. It’s a beautiful tribute to his mother and daughter, North ‘Nori’ West, and a breath of fresh air for those weary of his egocentric and controversial songs in recent years.
UP-AND-COMING Danish singer-songwriter MØ is making waves in the electro-pop scene with her combination of heavy synth beats, lush vocals and stirring lyrics. New Year’s Eve is a more accessible track compared to those on her debut album No Mythologies to Follow released last year. Focusing less on electronic beats, and more on vocals and keys, the track eases listeners into MØ’s signature sound. New Year’s Eve is a call for introspection but also for one to live in the moment. As we make New Year’s resolutions, her realistic take on resolutions is also a reminder for us to be grounded in the year ahead.
IT’S easy to see why R&B upstart The Weeknd’s new song was chosen as the lead single for the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack. Driven by a minimalistic pairing of playful strings and a commanding drum beat, Earned It is an undoubtedly sensual song. With lyrics like “You know our love would be tragic, so you don’t pay it no mind”, Earned It perfectly encapsulates the essence of a forbidden relationship in this seductive slow jam. To sweeten the deal, the strings crescendo towards the end and climaxes to a satisfying conclusion.
-Jared Alex Tan
-Jared Alex Tan
The Weeknd Republic Records
Despite it being early in the year, 2015 is shaping up to be one filled with stellar offerings. Reviews Editors Jared Alex Tan and Ernest Chin, along with Reviews Writer Lilian Lee, provide a heads-up on what's worth looking forward to in the year ahead.
TBA Kendrick Lamar Release Date TBA
TBA Death Cab For Cutie Release Date TBA
A HEAD FULL OF DREAMS Coldplay Release Date TBA
TBA James Blake Release Date TBA
OLLOWING up from his critically-acclaimed good kid, m.A.A.d city (GKMC), Lamar has promised “aggression and emotion” in his upcoming record. Inspired by Lamar’s childhood, GKMC was lauded for his authenticity and commentary on growing up amid gang violence and crime in America. With Lamar sharing that “there are a few new (songs) that can tie in with what I was talking about (in GKMC)”, one can expect another powerful, electrifying and sociallyrelevant record that further cements his reputation as one of hip-hop’s finest talents.
THE record will be the first in the band’s 17-year history that sees founding member Chris Walla rescind his role as record producer, due to his departure from the band after the recording process was completed. In an interview with Stereogum, lead singer Ben Gibbard promised that fans can expect “a much better record than Codes And Keys (the band’s previous record)”. He added: “If that record turned anybody off, this one could win them back.” Despite the change, Gibbard assured that “there are threads in this one that connect back to our earliest stuff that people love”.
LESS than a year after releasing their sixth album Ghost Stories, Coldplay have started working on their upcoming record. In an interview with BBC Radio 1, frontman Chris Martin likened A Head Full of Dreams to “the last Harry Potter book”, stating it represented “the completion of something”. This led to speculation among fans about an impending break-up or hiatus. While the band has remained mum about the ongoing speculation, Martin’s cryptic words have heightened the anticipation for the new record, and fans have every reason to be excited in the coming year.
INSTEAD of sticking to the tried-and-tested methods that made his sophomore record Overgrown a success, Blake’s upcoming record will see him reinventing his music by “focus(ing) on the songwriting” and “dabbling in some different production techniques”. Blake’s record is set to feature collaborations with Justin Vernon from Bon Iver, a yet-to-be-revealed artiste that Blake is “excited” about, and possibly Kanye West. Widely recognised to be at the forefront of the post-dubstep scene, it will be exciting to experience the next step in the evolution of Blake’s sound and production style.
MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER ABC 6 Jan
BETTER CALL SAUL AMC 8 Feb
WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT Nassim Soleimanpour 21 to 24 Jan
CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION Pangdemonium
MARVEL’S Agent Carter is the latest addition to the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. Set in the 1940s, the series follows the life of Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), better known as Captain America’s love interest, as she returns to America after World War II. Apart from coping with the aftermath of the war, Carter leads a double life as a Strategic Scientific Reserve officer by day and agent for Howard Stark by night. If the quality of the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far is anything to go by, Marvel fans should be sure to catch this.
A SPINOFF from the critically-acclaimed television series Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul is set six years before the events of the former, and centred around criminal lawyer Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk). Despite being largely known for the comic relief his character brings, Odenkirk said that Better Call Saul will not be a mere barrel of laughs, but “85 per cent drama, 15 per cent comedy”. Helmed by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, Better Call Saul has all the right ingredients to become another hit.
THE annual M1 Singapore Fringe Festival is home to many great performances, but one to look out for is White Rabbit Red Rabbit by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour. Despite being forbidden from leaving his country, Soleimanpour’s play has been performed worldwide by a myriad of actors, and requires no rehearsal, set or direction. Join actors Lim Kay Siu, Pam Oei, Benjamin Kheng and Karen Tan as they read the script for the very first time and perform their interpretations at the Esplanade Recital Studio later this month.
FOLLOWING the success of their latest production Frozen last year, Pangdemonium kicks off its 2015 season with Circle Mirror Transformation. The play follows four distinctively different participants as they enrol themselves in an acting class run by the eccentric “earth mother” Marty. Voted as one of the top ten plays of 2009 by the New York Times, this adaptation stars household names such as Adrian Pang and Neo Swee Lin, and will be held at the DBS Arts Centre.
THE GATHERING 14 Feb
CHRISTINA PERRI 27 Feb
FUTURE MUSIC FESTIVAL ASIA 13 to 14 Mar
CHARLI XCX 22 Apr
THIS Valentine’s Day, skip the fancy restaurants and make a date with your inner hipster at Fort Canning Green instead. The Gathering boasts an impressive eightact lineup with a mix of international indie bands (Belle and Sebastian, Caribou), alongside some of the best local artists Singapore has to offer (Charlie Lim, Pleasantry). As their Facebook page promises, “think colourful marquees, positive vibes, fairy lights and a bloody good time”. Tickets are going for $118 online and $150 at the door.
AS PART of the Head or Heart tour to promote her sophomore studio album, Christina Perri returns to Singapore for her second concert at the Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel. The pop singer-songwriter is sure to perform favourites like Human and A Thousand Years. If that isn’t incentive enough, local musician Gentle Bones — who was recently named Best New Artiste of 2014 by iTunes Singapore — will also be taking the stage as the opening act. Tickets are available at $118 online and $138 at the door.
AFTER being held in Kuala Lumpur for the past three years, South East Asia’s largest music festival is making Singapore its new home in 2015. To be held at Changi Exhibition Centre over two days, FMFA 2015 is set to feature its biggest lineup to date, with world-class electronic dance music acts such as Avicii, Afrojack and Knife Party. More additions to the lineup are expected to be announced later this month. Day 1 and Weekend Passes are selling for $148 and $208 respectively.
THE creative mind behind hits like Boom Clap and Fancy, Charli XCX has been gaining a fast following of her own, owing to her distinct style which she describes as “magical, ethereal, gangsta pop”. Performing at the Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel, the up-and-coming pop princess will no doubt electrify audiences with her older hits, along with songs from her third studio album Sucker, which was named best pop album 2014 by Rolling Stone magazine. Tickets are selling for $98 online and $120 at the door.
29 Jan to 15 Feb
FIFTY SHADES OF GREY February 2015
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD May 2015
INSIDE OUT June 2015
ANT MAN July 2015
BASED on the best-selling erotic romance novel by E. L. James, the book-to-movie adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey is one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2015. Originally rumoured for big names like Ryan Gosling to star, newcomers Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson have taken on the leading roles of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele respectively. Moreover, with the rating yet to be confirmed, it will be interesting to see how director Sam Taylor-Wood has translated some of the more risqué scenes onto the big screen.
CONSIDERING that the last film in its series was released 30 years ago, it’s understandable if you are not familiar with the Mad Max franchise. Director George Miller is poised to bring the iconic road warrior back to the big screen this year with Mad Max: Fury Road, starring Tom Hardy as the title character and Charlize Theron as the mysterious Furiosa. Although not much has been revealed about the plot, Miller describes the movie as a “110-minute chase scene”, which probably looks as exciting as it sounds.
FROM Pete Docter — the same mind that brought us animated classics like Toy Story and Up — comes a brand new comedy that might be Pixar’s most ambitious film yet. Featuring the voices of seasoned comedians including Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling and Bill Hader, Inside Out follows the personified emotions of Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear and Sadness. Residing in the aptly-named “Headquarters”, they attempt to guide their 11-year-old owner through the changes in her life as she moves to a new home.
LAST year’s Guardians of the Galaxy was a perfect example of how unknown comic book characters can be made appealing to mainstream audiences, and Marvel is hoping to recreate that same success with the upcoming Ant Man. Starring funnyman Paul Rudd as the titular superhero — who possesses the power to decrease in size while increasing in strength — Ant Man will be a breath of fresh air after all the familiar faces in the highly anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron, which opens three months earlier in April 2015.
Find out what some of the Nanyang Chronicle Editors are looking forward to this year:
“The fourth season of Sherlock — it’s been too long since the last one! The wait for the new season has been antagonising.”
“Ed Sheeran’s concert. His past two albums have been good, and hearing him perform his songs live should be even better.”
“I’m looking forward to the musical Cats! I missed The Phantom of the Opera two years ago, and I’m not going to miss this one.”
— Fabian Loo, Lifestyle Editor
— Louisa Tang, Chief Editor
— Ang Hwee Min, Opinions Editor
In the past few decades, our society has witnessed reshapings in terms of its economic, political and social landscape. Photo Editors Alicia Goh and Hillary Tan speak to an elderly cleaner who has lived through tough times and embraced the changes.
WEATHERED, NOT WITHERED dm Koh Hong Git leaves her home at 7am each morning and reaches NTU one and a half hours later. She strides towards a cramped utility room in Hall of Residence 14, and puts down her blue recyclable plastic bag filled with her belongings — her handphone, umbrella and a packet of tissue. From a small box of cleaning supplies in the corner of the room, she picks up a garbage bag and starts her day by clearing the trash from the night before. Mdm Koh, 60, is nearing retirement age, but she is unlikely to stop working any time soon. She explains: “I have to work to earn money for my family. I have a daughter working as a nurse. She sends us some money every month.” However, it is not enough to support her family. She worked in NTU previously as a part-time cleaner in 2011. “I wanted a full-time job as a cleaner, but there were no openings at that time,” recalls Mdm Koh.
After her neighbour informed her about a vacancy in the school in June 2013, she applied for the job and was hired later that month.
“I remember the last time I went on holiday, it was to Thailand with my family. That was almost 20 years ago.” - Mdm Koh Having been employed in a factory assembly line, she is no stranger to hard work. Her job was to assemble pagers, and when those went out of fashion, she began assembling television sets. It was this change that eventually made her quit the job. “We had to lift the television sets while on the assembly line, and they were very heavy,” Mdm Koh says. “I was getting older and was afraid to injure my back, so I resigned.” Mdm Koh currently earns $1,000
a month as a cleaner, with a $50 bonus if she does not fall sick or take any days off. Reminiscing about the earlier days, Mdm Koh shares that she and her husband earned $1,000 each. Back then, they were still able to go on holidays with their daughter. “I remember the last time I went on holiday, it was to Thailand with my family. That was almost 20 years ago,” Mdm Koh recalls. Massaging the wrinkles on her hands, she talks about how things have changed. A small sigh escapes her. “I used to be able to take the bus for a few cents, but now I spend 70 cents every time I tap my bus card,” she remarks. Notably, even with the amount of work she does for her small salary, Mdm Koh is not complaining. Speaking in a world-weary tone, she tells us that she still has her husband and daughter. But when she says “I am living comfortably”, it is a statement of triumph, not resignation.
Clockwise from top left: WELCOME: Greeting us in the cramped and stuffy utility room, with only one small open window, Mdm Koh Hong Git, 60, tries to show us the contents of the room. Among the uniforms and belongings are cleaning supplies and stacks of old newspapers. THE LONG DAY AHEAD: Sweeping the floor in the late morning, Mdm Koh tells us her biggest gripe is that “sometimes there is a lot of hair to clean up”, since she is cleaning an all-female floor. THE USUAL: Part of Mdm Koh’s daily work involves cleaning and scrubbing the toilet cubicles, but she would much rather be mopping the corridors. “I only have to mop the floors once a week,” she explains with a laugh. ALMOST HOME: After leaving Hall of Residence 14, Mdm Koh still faces one last challenge: waiting for the bus. Sometimes it comes immediately, sometimes it takes a while, but she is going home to her husband and daughter, and so the waiting does not matter. IN CONTROL: Mdm Koh has been through hard times, and her weathered hands look the part. Yet she goes about her day with a firm and steady grip, a reflection of the character she has shown throughout her life.
Model: Ku Kah Leong, SPMS, Y1
Model: Yeo Tze Hern, WKWSCI, Y1
Model: Jonathan Lee, NBS, Y1
Model: Tng Zhi Jian
Model: Tng Zhi Jian, HSS, Y1
Model: Isaac Lim, HSS, Y1
中文书店“草根书室” 重新出发 —— 刊30页
南大三车站 有盖走道问题待解决 的巴士站在6号宿舍，需要走过 无遮盖的步行道才能抵达新月 宿舍。” 她也透露新月宿舍的居委会 曾经向学校反映问题。但是校 方表示，他们无法准许接驳车 在新月宿舍外的巴士站停靠。
邱振毅● 报道 中文编辑
逢雨季，学生向本报透 露，南大校园3个高流量 巴士站缺少有盖走道，为他们 带来不便。 位于人文与社会科学院 （HSS）外的巴士站，每当下 课时都挤满了学生。然而那里 缺乏良好的衔接设施，方便师 生在雨天中仍可以通行无阻。 中文系三年级学生吴婉君 （23岁）表示：“在人文与社
针对学生遇到的问题，校方 透过电邮回复本报，说明已安 排在艺术与设计学院（School of Art, Design and Media) 巴 士站通往北区的道路建设有盖 走廊。 此外，惹勒南国际关系学
会科学院外的巴士站，遇到下 雨天时，我必须冒着雨穿越无 遮盖设施的停车场，到最靠近 的有盖走道，实在不方便。”
免费接驳巴士站也存在问题 另外，巴士站缺乏有盖走道 的问题也影响了专供免费接驳 巴士靠站的巴士站。 生物科学系四年级学生冯 毅杰（24岁）表示：“上学 时，我经常都搭乘学校免费提 供的接驳巴士上课。有时一下 大雨，陈振传讲堂（Tan Chin
Tuan Lecture Theatre）外的巴 士站并无盖走道衔接附近的建 筑物，让我有过上课前淋得成 落汤鸡的经验。” 南大于2014年中新落成的新 月宿舍（Crescent Hall)，虽然 设计新颖，却也存在巴士站缺 乏有盖走道的问题，让学生们 感叹宿舍建设美中不足。 化学系四年级学生王淑韵 （22岁）表示：“新月宿舍外 虽然设立巴士站，却不让巴士 停靠。这在下雨时常为我们宿 舍居民造成不便，因为最靠近
院（S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies) 与南大 健康中心（University Health Centre）外的有盖走道也已经 竣工。 他们表示校方向来都紧密地 与南大学生会合作，改善校园 设施问题，为广大学生们提供 便利。 南大住宿与后勤服务处负 责人李淑德也向本报透露，南 大学生会曾经在年度预算讨论 会上提出要求改善无有盖走道 的问题，而校方也对此作出回 应，并且已拨出经费，准许盖 建计划。
位于陈振传讲堂外的接驳巴士车站也存在缺乏有盖走道的问题。 摄影: 陈佳樂
十四号宿舍食堂预计本周四重新营业 张育铭● 报道 中文编辑
年关闭的14号宿舍食堂 预计于本周四重新开 张，好几个旧摊位将继续营 业，同时也将迎来的新摊位， 包括松饼和回教食品，但受学 生欢迎的板面摊位将被取代。 14号宿舍食堂于去年12月转 换业主，因为翻新工程暂时关 闭，终于将在本周四（15日） 重新开张。 但是新业主林静松告诉本 报，这只是预计的开张日期， 可能会因为等待环境局和校方 的卫生检查而延后。 由 饮 食 公 司 福 哥 美 食 （Foodgle Hub）接手的新食堂 将名为“福哥食阁”，旧食堂
的西餐、菜饭和饮料摊位都将 继续营业。 新的松饼和零食摊位是由一 名去年毕业的南大校友所经营 的。马来食品摊位也是为了让 回教徒学生能有更多选择。 林静松说：“我们发现校内 很多食堂都没提供回教食品， 让校内的回教徒用餐时非常为 难，而希望有了新的回教摊位 后，他们能有更多的选择。” 另外，新业主目前也在探讨 在食堂内设立贩售珍珠奶茶摊 位的可能性。
板面摊位换摊主 可惜的是，深受学生欢迎的 板面摊位老板因为健康问题， 无法继续经营摊位。 但是业主表示，老板在离开 前亲自推荐一名新摊主接手贩
售同样的面食。 据知，这位新摊主也具有丰 富经验，过去曾在校外附近的 深夜食阁营业。 但10号宿舍居民余思蔚（19 岁）感叹说：“我之前经常会 为了吃板面，而特地走到这间 食堂。现在板面摊主换了，我 可能不会再那么经常光顾这间 食堂了。” 林静松也透露，新业主也正 考虑在考试来临期间暂时将食 堂转为24小时营业，售卖宵夜 给熬夜读书的学生。 住在14号宿舍的学生赵瑞君 （19岁）则非常期待关顾翻新 后的食堂。 她说：“我很期待能够在那 么靠近宿舍的食堂吃到我最爱 的松饼，我相信其它食物也会 受到学生的欢迎。”
翻新后的14号宿舍食堂换了格局，也迎来了新摊位。 摄影: 张育铭
选择实习经验前应做足功课 邱振毅 中文编辑
业前实习为学生步入社 会提供体验职场的途径。 虽然报酬不算丰厚，但一般相 信，实习能将技能运用在工作 上，其过程和经验也能充实学 习生涯。在经过数个实习机会 及多位友人分享经验后，笔者 发现，并非每个实习机会都如 此。现实中，许多机构的实习 并未能让学生发挥潜能，甚至 成了学生们了解工作情况的绊 脚石。 在酬劳偏低下，实习能否让 学生施展能力，工作能否带来 满足感，必然是考量之一。不 过，公司在聘请实习生时，可 能因资源、行政及人力上的安 排，而无法给予符合能力的工 作。譬如，公司可能以概括方 式来形容工作职位，但实际的 还是与现实有所出入。 但从另一方面想，这也是给 予学生在职场上表现的机会。 学生不单单能强化原本技能， 还能学新知识。在瞬息万变的 职场中，工作描述或许不能很 准确，但强化专业能力之余， 能否学习新知识却是可能的。 企业给予实习生在工作上 的信赖很重要。企业在聘请实 习生时，虽然给予表现机会， 比如让实习生参与企划案和接
下案子等，但公司思维却可能 局限实习生发展发挥，导致实 习生在只做些无关紧要的事， 如打字、输入数据及整理文 件等。这些工作虽然看似对实 习过程毫无帮助，甚至有些 委屈，但其实只要把这些“小 事”做好，从而获得雇主更大 的信任，还是有机会的。 另外，学生也该与同事建立 感情，满足工作社交需求，例 如从同事身上吸取工作经验及 学习如何在职场与人相处。 资料和面试对于职位情况仅 限于工作，而非公司文化。因 此，学生们选择实习机会时， 应做足功课。
应向学长学姐讨教实习经验 除了从机构工作描述做判 断，学生不妨向学长姐们咨 询，从他们的经验了解某机构 的文化。职场其实就是像个 复杂的生态环境，同事间的互 动，都会对工作有影响。另 外，学生也可上网寻找可靠资 料或通过亲友们分享，让自己 做出最适合自己的选择。 实习机会不仅帮助学生们在 课堂外学习，更是踏入“社会 大学”前的测验。实习经验的 好坏，取决于自己的表现、学 习态度及工作安排。毕竟，实 习经验能够让人了解真实的工 作环境和复杂的社会。
深根脚下土地 重新认识新加坡 张育铭 中文编辑
的住家位于文庆地铁站附 近的麦奈雅路。 因为家就住在东北线的地铁 站旁，每次上下学途中一定会经 过东北钱的其它地铁站，包括新 加坡的主要旅游景点，牛车水。 那么多年来常常路过牛车 水，却从来没有真正探索这地方 的奥妙。 去年底的假期，我终于拿起 的相机，到新加坡各个著名的地 标当起一日游客，而第一站当然 就是牛车水。 离开了熟悉的地铁站范围， 走入牛车水密密麻麻的小路，才 发现自己有多陷入于忙碌的都市 生活，因而错过这座城市奥妙并 藏有惊喜的地方。
列于马路的两旁，为这个自两百 年前建国时期就有华人聚集的地 方增添不少传统的气息。 而有些店家也在这传统布景 之中也穿插了不少现代元素，包 括了一间设计独特的西洋咖啡厅 Potato Head Folk。 但最令人感到万分惊喜的 是，牛车水人民剧场正于当天举 行一出传统潮州戏剧表演，我也 有幸能够到后台为正在准备演出 的表演者摄影。 与其中一名制作人聊天时， 他随口感叹道：“我们从来没看 过向你这种年龄的人踏入这个后 台。现在的年轻人对传统都毫无 兴趣了。” 而仔细一看，后台的演员和 制作群当中果然都是由上了年纪 的人组成的，完全没有年轻人的 踪迹。
年轻人与传统失联 充满惊喜的牛车水 许许多多色彩缤纷的店屋排
代却正与国家的传统和历史逐渐 失联。 牛车水不再是本地华人所聚 集的地点，反而变成了外国人喜 爱光顾的旅游景点。本地华人的 传统风俗更不必说，农历新年还 未来临，就已听到不少朋友在计 划如何避年，最好不要前往亲友 家拜年。
欢庆新加坡独立50周年 今年，为庆祝新加坡独立50 周年，本地各处将举办各种欢庆 活动。 身为新加坡人，除了感受一 些欢庆的气氛，不妨趁这机会， 在这个充满象征性的一年中重新 认识新加坡。 当然，本地也有不少有趣的 地方可探索，让自己更了解新加 坡精彩的一面。 年轻人可以趁这个时候，挖 掘并能够回顾过去，并掌握属于 新加坡的特色和文化，回顾过 去，好可以更加掌握未来。
CHRONICLE 06 生活
崭新“草根书室”弥漫咖啡香 张育铭● 报道 中文编辑
进位于武吉巴梳路的“ 草根书室”，最吸引人 的是店内书架上一排排的华文 书籍。 店里的顾客不分年龄，各个 专心地翻阅手中的书本，甚至 连看不懂中文的外国人，也在 书店里徘徊，欣赏店内的独特 装潢。 而顾客只要再走进书店里， 经过收银柜台和书墙，就会发 现“草根书室”提供的另一个 天堂——迷你咖啡厅。顾客可 以在购买书籍后，一边享用热 腾腾的咖啡，一边阅读书中优 美的文字。 在书店里添加咖啡厅，亦是 重新开张的“草根书室”一大 特点。 由本地著名作家英培安成 立，之前坐落于桥北路中心 的“草根书室”其实已有20年 历史。 书室多年来未能盈利，英培 安原本有将其关闭的念头，但 最终于去年转手给林仁余、林 永心和林韦地三人。 57岁的林仁余受访时告诉本 报：“本地中文书店不多，不 少店主年龄也较高，退休后下 一代不一定会接手。在未来可 能不会再有独立的中文书店。
新加坡是一个讲华语人数不少 的现代城市，不应该没有中文 书店。” 三人原本是“草根书室”的 常客，听说书室即将关闭后， 当时在《联合早报》副刊组当 记者的林仁余和财务主管林永 心两人开始打起接手这间书店 的念头。 两人随后通过英培安的介绍 认识有同样想法的30岁医生林 韦地，经过讨论后，三人决定 一同经营书店。林仁余和林永 心也离开原本的工作岗位，全 力投入经营 “草根书室”。
“草根书室”自2014年11月 中搬迁到武吉巴梳后，新的地 点不但更显眼，空间也较大。 为了能够吸引更多人前来光 顾，业者们也将书店变得多元 化，增设了受年轻人欢迎的咖 啡座。 书店也计划在未来举办更多 “草根书室”去年底搬迁到武吉巴梳路。 摄影：张育铭、王立倪 与华文书籍相关的展览，以及 邀请作者和专业人士前来举办 著名舞台剧导演吴文德一手包 讲座，分享课题，并且发布新 办，以纸箱作为绘画的相框， 作品。 还在书店门口摆放不少特别设 其 中 ， “ 草 根 书 室 ” 已 在 计的风铃，在书店里添加一丝 去年11月和新加坡著名绘本作 艺术色彩。这让原本传统的书 者李高丰（笔名阿果）联合主 店顿时成了能够与创意艺术衔 办 插 花 展 《 听 风 的 歌 》 ( T h e 接的交流处。 Songs of Wind) 。 林仁余表示：“将书店变得 该 展 览 的 设 计 概 念 由 本 地 多元化，可能性也比较多。新 的地点有比较多人经过，更多 人现在知道草根的存在。前来 光顾的包括了许多老顾客，年 轻人也不少。 但林仁余也坦承，若“草根 书室”仍继续面对低盈利的问 题，他们三人也不可能一直贴 钱维持生意，因为他们的资源 毕竟有限。 三人虽然并不抱着赚钱的心 态经营书店，但表示若要让书 店继续生存，收入至少得能够 维持开销。 他感叹：“这不只是我们 三人的责任，而是一个社会责 任。我希望更多人能够积极买 “草根书室”里的书架上排满了各式各样的书籍。 “草根书室”也举办与华文书籍有关的展览。 书，继续支持我们。”
娱乐 影评 电影播映室
电影:《招魂》 主演: 刘芷绚、蒋伟文、 刘玲玲 类型: 恐怖
照片：Clover Films提供 《招魂》的三名主角以及导演李天仁（右一）出席了去年12月30日的记者会。
然是一部鬼片，《招 魂》的导演与剧组则希 望国人在感受片子恐怖情节的 同时，也能够欣赏此片所埋伏 的更深层的亲子情缘。 本地鬼片《招魂》在去年12 月30日位于乌节酒店 (Orchard Hotel) 召开记者会，片中饰演 夫妻的本地女演员刘子绚与台 湾男艺人蒋伟文，联同本地歌 台天后刘玲玲与导演李天仁亲 临现场，畅谈拍摄心得。 耗资110万新币拍摄的《招 魂》讲述女主角嘉恩（刘子绚 饰）因儿子突然逝世无法释 怀，想方设法与自己儿时的保 姆，司徒女士（刘玲玲饰）一 起招回孩子的灵魂。 殊不知，此事却导致被蒙在 鼓里的丈夫（蒋伟文饰）与她 的感情出现了问题，一连串的 灵异事件也接二连三的发生。
蒋伟文：自己很怕鬼 蒋伟文在记者会上表示，大 约十年前曾在新加坡主持电视 节目，但《招魂》是自己在新 加坡拍摄的首部电影作品。他 也透漏自己对鬼片又爱又恨， 虽然喜欢恐怖情节，却不敢观 赏鬼片。 蒋伟文笑说，因为自己在 片中与鬼的对手戏不多，所以 首次阅读剧本时，误以为《招 魂》是一部剧情片。直到接近 电影开拍的日子，他才发现是 鬼片，开玩笑地说有“受骗” 的感觉。 拍摄的最后一天，蒋伟文独 自在现场收拾行李的时候，也 首次在厕所外与饰演鬼的临演 偶遇，当场饱受一番惊吓。 《招魂》先在马来西亚首
映，而蒋伟文看完了首映近凌 晨才回到酒店，直到凌晨四点 都无法入睡，表现出自己对鬼 片的恐惧。
但是蒋伟文在记者会上却称 赞刘玲玲演技精湛，说自己在 首映上都是用手捂住眼睛才敢 看那一场戏。
被问到片中蒋伟文与刘子绚 的亲热戏，两位异口同声地表 示那是导演在拍场心血来潮， 临时决定加入的情节。 导演李天仁表示，加入这场 戏是希望能更完整地呈现主角 们夫妻之间的感情与互动 。
此外，刘子绚也在片中首次 挑战饰演母亲的角色。对此， 刘玲玲也称赞她把角色发挥得 很好。 对于如何在片中展现母爱， 刘子绚表示自己借镜亲人当妈 妈的经验，更把对亲人与朋友 的爱投射在片中孩子的身上， 尽己所能领会与体现母爱。 而刚升级当人父的蒋伟文也 表示，看见小孩时很容易感动 与落泪，所以在拍摄《招魂》 时，更能够进入片中的角色。 然而，蒋伟文则表示自己不 赞同片中刘子绚所使用招魂的 方法来思念已故的孩子。
刘玲玲首次饰演较凝重 角色，自认自己表情搞 笑，破坏片场气氛，做 不出效果。 第一次拍摄亲热戏的蒋伟文 则坦诚，他在拍摄的过程中十 分紧张，有种“小鹿乱跳”的 感觉。 不过，他也一再强调，刘子 绚十分会引导对手入戏，帮助 了他更好的发挥这场戏。 刘子绚在拍摄这场戏时，心 情相对较轻松。 她说：“我觉得他（蒋伟 文）应该比较有负担，毕竟他 会担心是否会冒犯了女生。”
刘玲玲角色与以往落差显 一向演出都十分幽默风趣的 本地歌台天后刘玲玲，这次也 在片中挑战较凝重的角色。她 也分享了自己担心以往的演技 角色与观众对她的印象所带了 的一些困扰。 其中一场戏，导演要求刘玲 玲即兴演出念经的模样，营造 恐怖的氛围。刘玲玲却觉得自 己的表现十分搞笑，担心破坏 了片场气氛，做不出效果。
编自新加坡女作家张瑞 芬的短篇小说，《招 魂》由本地知名艺人刘芷绚， 台湾著名主持人蒋伟文和本地 歌台大姐刘玲玲主演。电影以 恐怖元素包装两个母亲对孩子 扭曲的爱所引发的家庭惨剧。 故事讲述刘芷绚和蒋伟文原 本有一个幸福的家庭，无料独 子七岁生日当天却遭遇到车祸 惨死。 刘芷绚想要把死去儿子的灵 魂留在身边。因此她在前保姆
电影:《智取威虎山》 主演: 张涵予、梁家辉、 林更新、韩庚、余男、 佟丽娅 类型: 动作，战争
导演李天仁笑说，希望 《招魂》能吸引喜欢看 纯惊悚片的观众，让本 地电影票房“起死回 生”。 他说，“每一件事都有它 （发生）的原因。我觉得重要 的是我们怎么去克服它，而在 克服的过程中我们学到了什 么。” 近几年来，本地的鬼片都参 杂了搞怪、搞笑等其它元素， 让不少恐怖片变成了喜剧。但 是导演李天仁表示这次选择纯 粹以恐怖元素作为重心，希望 能吸引喜欢观赏纯惊悚片的观 众前来。 同时，他也开玩笑的说，希 望此片能让本地电影票房“起 死回生”。
编自同名的著名文革京 剧，《智取威虎山》 讲 述国共内战期间的东北地区， 中国解放军侦查员杨子荣（张 涵予饰）与203小分队30余人， 在首长少剑波（林更新饰）的 带领下，奋力对抗威虎山土匪 的故事。 此片由获奖无数的徐克担任
（刘玲玲饰）的帮助下请道士 做法，但接二连三发生的灵异 事件却令她招架不住。 电影题材新颖，与主流恐怖 片的鬼不同，亚洲恐怖电影常 出现（白衣）女鬼，而鬼小孩 通常是配角或是以养小鬼的方 式现身，《招魂》则是以较少 见到的男鬼做主角。 剧情惊悚悬疑又带有温情， 而电影也使用少有的长镜头， 即一镜到底。 除此之外，比起其他恐怖 片《阴儿房》(Insidious） 或《Annabelle》，《招魂》 中鬼的造型其实没有太可怕或 血腥，乍看之下只是个脸色苍 白，没有眼白的大眼外星人。 电影主要靠几乎无间歇的声 效营造诡异气氛，让观众难以 捉摸鬼现身的时机。 另外，《招魂》中有几幕 可看到其它经典恐怖电影的影 子。例如《咒怨》从楼梯爬下 来的女鬼、《女佣》神经失常 的男鬼，还有鬼片常用的浴室 和卧房的经典吓人桥段，以及 上吊女尸的镜头。 《招魂》时长1小时20分 钟，故事节奏流畅，最后结局 温情但不煽情，实在很难相信 整部电影只在短短19天内就拍 摄完毕。 由本地团队制作的《招魂》 也是新加坡2015年的开年大 片，投资超过百万新币，于1月 8日全国院线正式上映。 （文／谢嘉恩）
导演和编剧，可说是这部片子 的品质保证。 除了惊心动魄的打斗场面及 烽火连天的场景外，影片的3D 电影特效也叫人眼前一亮。 利用特效动画制作的老虎栩 栩如生地从威虎山上冲下来， 攻击担任威虎山卧底的侦查员 杨子荣一幕，配合张涵予出色 的演技，令观众犹如身入身历 其境，叫人捏把冷汗。 电影宣传虽主打偶像林更 新与韩庚，两人却没在片中担 任要角。林更新在片中表现平 平，戏份多在于指挥士兵，无 法发挥如在《步步惊心》中饰 演深情的十四阿哥的感情戏。 韩庚则多像是电影剧组找来 作宣传的噱头，仅在开场和结 尾的非关键剧情中客串，并不 是主要剧情发展的要角。 与其为了追星观看此片，还 不如欣赏张涵予和饰演威虎山 头目座山雕的梁家辉两人如何 精彩尬戏，以及电影中紧凑的 动作场面，想必更让人觉得值 回票价。 整体而言，这部影片剧情紧 凑，非常精彩。电影结尾以一 家团聚吃年夜饭做总结，为一 部视觉飨宴增添贺岁片的喜悦 与温馨。 （文／邱振毅）
The price of freedom
Two weeks into 2015 and the world has already seen a major tragedy: the fatal shooting of 12 journalists from Parisian satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, infamous for its lampooning of all kinds of religion. It has far-reaching implications, calling into question an age-old argument: how far can or should freedom of speech go? Of late, Charlie Hebdo has been courting controversy by trifling with the Islamic faith. It is not a coincidence then, that Islamic militants are suspected to be behind the shooting. In multiple instances, Charlie Hebdo’s actions have resulted in the ire of Muslims over the past decade for its editorial critiques on Islam, as well as depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, which are prohibited in the Islamic faith. In comparison, it is interesting to note Singapore’s standpoint on the freedom of expression. While Article 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore permits the “freedom of speech, assembly and association”, they are subject to restrictions that take into account national sensitivities such as race and religion. There are numerous restrictions prohibiting publications similar to Charlie Hebdo’s from ever seeing the light of day here, most notably the Sedition Act, which restricts the incitement of ill-will between different races and classes of Singapore’s population. But is there an ideal amount of free expression to which all humans are entitled to?
It would be exceedingly difficult to define and quantify. Most definitely, stifling an individual’s freedom to express himself is never ideal, but if we are to learn anything from the Charlie Hebdo shooting incident, freely practising it may result in deadly consequences, too. While media outlets should not let attacks like these dampen their free reign over editorial decisions, they should also realise that freedom of expression does not mean freedom from being criticised for their views. The Guardian published an editorial on Thursday, stressing that while it supports the freedom of expression in the media, it disapproves of publishing Charlie Hebdo’s satirical cartoons, which aimed to “satirise and provoke in a distinctive voice”. The British newspaper giant sums it up: “Put another way, defending the right of someone to say whatever they like does not oblige you to repeat their words”. Thus, companies may tread a thin line between freedom of expression and sensitivities towards different groups in society, all while bearing in mind their editorial goals and objectives. But at the end of the day, as we take into account cultural backgrounds with different social norms, values and goals, it is difficult to believe that a universal, one-size-fits-all model for free expression exists.
CHIEF EDITOR Louisa Tang
MANAGING EDITOR Kerri Heng
Abigail Ng Parveen Maghera Kelly Phua Liu Ting Ting Ong Lynette
NEWS EDITORS Shaun Tan Toh Ting Wei
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frankly, my dear
A column by Chronicle Editors on issues close to their hearts
MORE THAN PERSONAL: Birthday celebrations are not just individual milestones.
Toh Ting Wei News Editor
hile fireworks dotting the skyline closed the chapter on 2014, it also marked closure for me — in terms of the gaping hole in my wallet. Being born in 1993, most of my friends turned 21 last year. Social norms dictate that 21st birthdays are milestones, and are hence typically accompanied by lavish birthday celebrations and significant gifts. Thus, I found myself paying more for birthday presents, with trips to ATMs a frequent occurrence in the past year. On a serious note, these constant celebrations reminded me of a notion that I was introduced to back in 2010, while I was on a family trip in Shenzhen, China. While talking to a man from the same tour group, he mentioned that birthdays should not be seen as a personal milestone. Instead, they ought to be the celebration of a mother’s achievement. This idea struck me deeply, and has been lingering on my mind ever since. Personally, I appreciate birthday celebrations, and I acknowledge that birthdays are checkpoints of sorts in a person’s life, which should be celebrated. However, upon further contemplation, I do wonder what purpose a birthday celebration serves. Have I actually achieved anything worth celebrating on the day I was born, other than being
safely delivered? And ironically, even that was not a result of my own effort. Rather, it took nine months of my mother carrying me around, undergoing numerous physical and psychological obstacles for me to be born safely. A quick check online failed to reveal definite reasons for celebrating birthdays, but one thing most of us would be able to agree on, is that birthdays are usually celebrated as personal events. For example, a 21st birthday is celebrated because it signifies that the individual is now officially recognised as an adult. Nevertheless, looking at it from another perspective, I feel that the significance of birthdays should lie more in what our mothers achieved by giving birth to us. I brought up this idea through a short poem I wrote for my creative writing module, and a classmate rightfully pointed out that Mothers’ Day exists to recognise the efforts of mothers all around. Others may also hold the view that while a mother has a unique role in a child’s birth, the role of fathers too should not be ignored on birthdays. But one thing worth noting is that regardless of the occasion, it is easy to forget how much time our mothers spent carrying us around before we were born. And for men, we can only imagine the hardship and pain our mothers went through to give birth to us. Without a doubt, fathers and other caregivers play their own prominent roles in bringing us up, but mothers simply have that special responsibility that no other individual can claim to have. Furthermore, the role a mother plays does not stop after our birth.
GRAPHIC: KIMBERLY ANG
Back at home, my mother, who works full-time, takes up multiple roles of being the homemaker, the disciplinarian, the family chef… the list goes on. The same kindly man from our trip to China also suggested that I bake a cake for my mother on my own birthday, in order to show her my appreciation. While I still think it is a good idea, I have never seriously considered carrying it out, given that it seems a little too mushy to do so. The thought of outwardly displaying such affection on just one day every year already proves daunting enough, and therefore, it is not a surprise that I find it challenging to show appreciation to my parents on a daily basis. While I am genuinely grateful to my parents, it always seems hard to express it to them — to put my gratitude into words. I used to think that this problem was unique to me, but a chat with a few close friends surprisingly revealed that they have the same problem. I, for one, am able to freely show appreciation for my friends, but when it comes to my parents, the words do not seem to flow as smoothly. In fact, it seems much easier to express grievances as opposed to gratitude. It is not an uncommon sight to see friends ranting about their families on social media. One New Year’s resolution I have constantly made over the past few years is to be better at showing appreciation to my parents. Like most resolutions, it has gone unfulfilled, but I would like to believe that I am getting closer to fully achieving it every year. And maybe in the future I’ll finally bake a cake for my mother on my birthday.
As France tries to get back on its feet following its worst terror-related violence in years, Nazri Eddy Razali questions if freedom of speech is indeed worth its price in blood.
WORDS AGAINST WEAPONS: "I am tired" (translation).
he scimitar and pencil stand poised, facing each other. A few flourishes later, the pencil lies diced and defeated. After all, how could wood and lead ever hope to challenge the might of steel, fashioned to kill? The scimitar’s victory is shortlived however; each fragment of the fallen pencil defiantly respawns as individual pencils in their own right, ready to face the tyranny of the scimitar again. So it goes in the cartoon drawn by The Straits Times’ cartoonist, Miel Prudencio Ma, in response to the terror attack on the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo by three gunmen. The attack, which took place on 7 Jan, left 12 people dead, including the publication’s editor, Stéphane Charbonnier. The trigger for the unfortunate turn of events appears to have been the Parisian publication’s insistence on republishing a 2005 Danish cartoon that satirised the Prophet Muhammad, while creating one of their own despite having previously faced violent threats from Muslim extremists. And it’s not the first time Charlie Hebdo has been a victim of terror attacks. As recently as 2011, their office was firebombed as a result of publishing a special issue containing content that mocked the Islamic faith. At that time, Charlie Hebdo remained unfazed. Such was their will to defend their freedom to express that Charbonnier famously
said, “I’d rather die standing up than live on my knees.” As soon as news of the shooting broke, condemnations of the attack came swiftly. Author, Salman Rushdie, whose own book The Satanic Verses caused death threats, led the charge. “I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity,” he said. All around the world, silent vigils were held outside French embassies. Aside from lighting candles, placards with the words ‘Je suis Charlie’, which is French for ‘I am Charlie’, were also carried by crowds as a sign of solidarity with the victims.
Through the use of humour, wit, and ridicule, satire aims to highlight the shortcomings of its subject matters to the public without being overly confrontational. Even the Muslim community was quick to distance itself from the attack, with Saudi Arabia calling it a “cowardly terrorist attack that was rejected by the true Islamic religion”. And while the world still reels
from the attack, the question of whether freedom of expression is really worth one’s own life is most definitely worth pondering upon.
Freedom through speech
The ability to speak one’s mind has always been paramount in a liberally-inclined country such as France. After all, how can other freedoms be protected if its expressions are stunted by communicative limitations? The art of satire is largely built upon such a spirit. Through the use of humour, wit, and ridicule, satire aims to highlight the shortcomings of its subject matters to the public, albeit without being overtly confrontational. However, this can only work if the subject abides by the sensibilities of the satirists, and is willing to accept the criticism. This is clearly not the case in the Charlie Hebdo attack. The Muslim extremists’ stance was clear from the very beginning: do not publish the comics, or face the consequences. Charlie Hebdo saw pandering to the demands of the extremists as a sign of defeat and a compromise of their freedom of speech, and they published the comics anyway. It has become clear that many also feel the same way. A popular way through which solidarity has been shown for the victims of the attack is through the reposting of the contentious comics on social media. This act of defiance serves to
It ought to be simple to comprehend that the actions of a very small minority can hardly be representative of a religion spanning 23 per cent of the global population. show that the people would rather choose to assert their freedom and brave the consequences rather than to have their liberties curtailed by the spectre of extremists.
The other side of the coin
The primary reason for the terrorists’ rage towards Charlie Hebdo was due to what has been perceived as flagrant disrespect for Islamic customs. In Islam, the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad is forbidden as it encourages idolatry. While there can never be a reason strong enough to justify the unlawful killing of another human being, it cannot be denied that the publication of such images has served to marginalise the Muslim community in France, both radical and otherwise. The irony here is glaring — in Charlie Hebdo’s attempt to defend its freedom of expression, the freedom of others to feel respected has been infringed on. As if the guilt of being associated with the errant few
GRAPHIC: KIMBERLY ANG
is not enough, the phenomenon of “moderate” Muslims having to denounce these acts of terror highlights their fear of being judged because they share the same religion as these Muslim extremists. Some Muslim individuals have taken to social media to denounce the actions of the gunmen, using the hashtag #notinmyname to emphasise that the gunmen’s actions were not representative of the whole Islamic faith. It ought to be simple to comprehend that the actions of a very small minority can hardly be representative of a religion spanning 23 per cent of the global population. The majority shouldn’t need to feel ashamed for the few. Now, the Muslim community is expected to stand and watch as the images depicting their Prophet go viral, all in the name of making a political statement against those who misrepresented their religion to begin with. In our rush to condemn the atrocities committed by the few, it is easy to forget that hate can still implicitly be felt by the majority of Muslims. Charlie Hebdo will be releasing a million copies for their upcoming issue this week, as opposed to their usual 60,000 copies. One of its columnists, Patrick Pelloux, said the decision will show that "stupidity will not win". Fighting stupidity is all well and good, but let us not forget that humans not only think, but feel too.
Moving beyond mudslinging Lo Yi Min Opinions Editor
e barely blink an eye when a debate in the comments section of a YouTube video or Facebook post gets heated. Yet when one party breathes threats of bringing the other to court — a familiar feature in Singapore’s culture of outrage — those on the ringside gather around to drink in the drama. In a hostile blog post published last month, blogger Ms Wendy Cheng, more prominently known as Xiaxue, accused social media marketing startup Gushcloud of unethically masking advertisements and inflating the statistics of the influencers they manage. Aside from Gushcloud’s official press statement, Ms Althea Lim, one of the company’s founders, issued a personal challenge to Xiaxue. She asserted that the blogger was a liar and argued that this would be true if Xiaxue did not take legal action in response to this claim. Xiaxue parried this move with an Instagram photo caption mocking the circular reasoning. Amid the barbed exchange, the anonymous satirical Facebook page SMRT Ltd Feedback published an “exposé” on Xiaxue that scathingly charged her with misreading
ONLINE RAGE: Taming flames from online netizens.
Gushcloud’s financial reports. Internet bickering is, of course, not a new phenomenon. But when the state of public discussion online cannot move beyond mudslinging, we end up missing out on the benefits of an accessible platform as a public forum.
Lost in rhetoric
The initial post from Xiaxue calls attention to the ethics of astroturfing in social media advertisements. In the US, it is a term with an insidious political edge, referring to the practice of creating artificial endorsements that appear spontaneous for certain
GRAPHIC: KIMBERLY ANG
policies so as to suggest credibility and popular support. Similar to its political cousin, product endorsements by social media influencers, which have been paid for by advertisers, may be seen as attempts to sway public opinion. Personal recommendations often, like advertisements, aim to persuade others to view a product or service positively and there is nothing inherently unethical about them. But it is deceptive to represent these recommendations as unsolicited and unpaid for when in fact they have been. The practice of making known whether the endorsement of a
product was bought is unregulated in the local social media marketing industry. Given Xiaxue’s celebrity status online, her spotlight on the issue of ethics could perhaps push for change. This has, however, been sidelined by retorts that Xiaxue herself and other bloggers are guilty of masking advertisements as well. They are all associated with rival blogging advertisement company Nuffnang. Gushcloud supporters claim that Xiaxue simply had a bone to pick when she criticised them. The focus of the online brouhaha appears to lie in proving the other party wrong, rather than discussing larger issues at hand. Winning an argument through personal credibility took precedence over finding conclusions to the ethics of masking advertisements.
Expecting online communities to engage in informed discussions and constructive criticism on the surface of a war of words seems near impossible. Yet, there are instances where uproar in an online community has been channelled into positive outcomes. Early last year, several prominent YouTube content creators, based mostly in the US and UK,
were accused of being emotionally manipulative and sexually abusive. The number of women who responded by sharing their stories shocked the YouTube community. Instead of merely conveying disgust at the alleged abusers, many in the YouTube community reacted by uploading videos educating their audience on what it means to have sexual consent, and highlighting its importance. The scandal also brought attention to discussions of the perception and treatment of women within YouTube. The responses to the allegations had its fair share of individuals simply condemning the accused content creators. However, the numerous organic responses that educated others on the matter highlight the community’s wish to reflect and learn from the incident. The YouTube community responded maturely by generating discussion and learning together. This is a positive and far healthier approach than what our local online community has demonstrated in the recent Gushcloud spat. The Internet is a powerful medium through which we can effect the change we want to see. Let us do that and stop using it only to throw sand into the eyes of those with a different point of view and then cry victory.
Louder than words: It's that time of the year GRAPHIC: KIMBERLY ANG
What do 9.4 hours mean?
canteen talk Students in Singapore rank third globally in the number of hours spent on homework each week. The Nanyang Chronicle asks students about their views regarding the focus on homework in Singapore, and what it means for their work-life balance.
Singapore is a young country so we work harder in certain areas, but we should not compromise on our quality of life for homework. Sean Chua Wei Jie, 20, EEE, Year 2
DIFFUSION?: Textbooks make good pillows at 4am.
Ang Hwee Min Opinions Editor
ast month, the Straits Times released an article proclaiming Singaporean students as third most hardworking in the world. A study by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development found that 15-yearolds in Singapore spend an average of 9.4 hours on homework per week, falling just behind students from Shanghai and Russia. Common responses to the report include mild disbelief and amusement, though some remained unsurprised. Since the study involved 15-year-olds specifically, the relevance of the survey results to students beyond secondary school can be questioned. To claim that Singaporean students are third most hardworking globally is a stretch. This discounts the complexities of further study and generalises the importance of a good homework-life balance. How would a university student use 9.4 hours? While it is difficult to contest that Singaporean students are generally hardworking, the 9.4 hours that were deemed by the Ministry of Education to be “fairly reasonable” for secondary school students may not hold the same value for university students.
Not only homework hours
It may seem intuitive to quantify being hardworking by counting the number of hours an individual spends on homework. However, this method neglects to consider the varied strengths and weaknesses of students. For example, a student weak at Chemistry may spend more time on Chemistry homework than a student who happens to be a Chemistry whiz. However, that does not make the former any more hardworking than the latter. Assuming time spent on homework directly indicates a student’s diligence glosses over inconsistencies in difficulty level and learning ability. Looking past these assumptions, even if homework is perfectly set to a student’s ability, homework is not the only indicator of a student’s
commitment to his or her studies. Failing to consider the other commitments of a student would neglect the importance of other factors that contribute to one’s learning journey.
Perhaps it is justifiable that clocking a certain number of hours for school work is seen as a sign of hard work since secondary education culminates in national exams. Many secondary school students also have fewer commitments aside from Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs), family and friends, which makes homework time relatively easy to come by. However, as students scale the ladders of tertiary education and university life, commitments inevitably increase. Time set aside for homework and studying steadily decreases. Aside from academic pursuits, a typical university student may actively participate in school activities, hall activities, CCAs, external internships, part time jobs — the list is endless. Whether by choice or by obligation, university students are faced with many more opportunities and commitments, which also means less time for school. Efficiency becomes a trait more valuable than diligence. To assess the dedication of students towards their studies at university level, perhaps it would be more accurate to measure time spent on homework relative to other activities instead.
What counts as homework
Furthermore, the work we bring home in university is far evolved from the homework we knew in secondary school. While ‘homework’ generally refers to written assignments to be completed at home, in university, this also extends to project work and preparations for presentations. Homework in university often requires a different skill set. For example, interpersonal skills are highly valued when it comes to group projects. Tertiary education also has different learning objectives. This gives rise to different methods of preparing for assessments. Most aspects of secondary edu-
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cation focus on providing foundational knowledge, while tertiary education aims to build upon these foundations and provide pathways to specialisation. Additionally, different courses have different forms of homework, and also varies in workload. Courses that are more technical like Engineering or Physics still have large amounts of written homework, while more experiential courses like Business are presentation-heavy. This raises debates on the moderation of grades and modes of assessment. The final nail in the coffin? Probably the fact that most, if not all, assignments count towards one’s grade. This causes homework to no longer be merely a form of revision, but also a form of assessment, leading to the careful prioritisation of homework in one’s schedule due to its effect on one’s grades.
We don’t really have any other resources in Singapore other than human resources, so the focus on studying is in line with this. Neo Ting Ling, 23, NBS, Year 1
I don’t see the necessity of homework; we need more time for family and holistic development. Faris Abdul Malik, 22, HSS, Year 2
Onto the payroll
Judgement based on one’s diligence goes beyond university. Even after entering the workforce, employees tend to be judged based on how much work they bring home. A 2012 JobStreet.com survey found that 88 per cent of employees in Singapore find themselves working overtime, with 30 per cent choosing to bring the extra work home. Such surveys suggest that productivity is a highly valued trait. Thankfully, most employees aren’t evaluated solely on the amount of time they spend on their work. Most would agree that many companies now recognise the need for traits such as flexibility, adaptability and other soft skills that need to be developed as well. Diligence may pay off when examinations are near, and it can be acknowledged that it is an important trait that may determine one’s ability to start the career path of their choice. However, as we climb the ladders of social construct, we are assessed by methods aside from examinations, and hence we need to know how to change and adapt to our respective environments. Homework may teach us how to count at school, but it won’t always teach us what counts in life.
Our conversation topics don’t stray from our studies. It’s a culture that began when we were in primary school. Leo Wong, 26, NBS, Year 3
Work-life balance depends on how you spend your time. You can spend a lot of time in school, but it’s not necessarily time spent studying. Nicole Tay, 19, SPMS, Year 1
TEXT: ANG HWEE MIN, LO YI MIN PHOTOS: BENEDICT YEO
Working resolutions When it comes to resolving to improve your life, staying happy is important too.
This year I will... New Year new me? Opinions Editor Ang Hwee Min shares tips on how to keep to your resolutions. THE cusp of a new year brings exhilarating notions of renewal and fresh starts, and it’s easy to make resolutions in this state of mind, especially after all the merrymaking we do in the month of December. However, while most of us make New Year’s resolutions, most of us also break them. Whether your list is brief, or long enough to be mistaken for your grocery list, there are ways to make your resolutions work for you instead of against you. Here are three you might find useful.
HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR: Translate positive intentions into manageable resolutions.
egardless of one’s faith or beliefs, the new year symbolises a fresh beginning. The calendar restarts, as most reflect on the year gone past and make promises to themselves for the year ahead. Most call these promises New Year’s resolutions. Reasons for making New Year’s resolutions run the gamut from improving one’s life to taking on challenges that one has always wanted to pursue. Some popular New Year’s resolutions for this year that have been shared on Twitter include working out and simply being happy, The Straits Times reported. New Year's resolutions are great in helping one envision the year ahead and guiding day-to-day choices towards a better life. But while these resolutions are often rooted in the desire for self improvement, the path to achieving this ostensibly better life may not necessarily result in an individual becoming happier.
Resolutions gone wrong
When one is overly fixated on achieving his or her New Year's resolutions, it may instead, backfire. I’ve once experienced having my New Year’s resolutions cause me unnecessary misery. Being focused on academia, I resolved to achieve good grades. I packed my timetable to the brim, went to school everyday and prioritised school work over any other commitment. Instead of meeting my friends, I chose to study. Sometimes, to maximise my studying hours, I even skipped meals. It was because I put myself under immense stress to succeed in my goal that I fell ill and did poorly in that particular school semester.
What I learnt from this instance is that to obsess over keeping a resolution may lead one to stray from the intention of the goal, resorting to unhealthy methods in order to succeed.
If we recognise that setbacks do happen, we would be able to fall back on contingency plans or recover from tripping up. It is important to step back and evaluate the choices you are making towards the goal if you find yourself miserable in the course of keeping resolutions. At the same time, consider if the source of unhappiness lies in the goal itself. According to social psychologist and Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy, New Year's resolutions may do more harm than good as people tend to give themselves unreasonable goals. By picking unrealistic goals, they are most likely setting themselves up for failure. It is often a downward spiral from there — failure tends to lower a person's self-worth and generate negative feelings.
No shame in failing
Meeting setbacks in the process of sticking to New Year's resolutions is inevitable. After all, it takes willpower and a lot of discipline to consistently abide by challenging commitments. A study conducted by the University of Scranton, published last year, found that only eight per cent of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions are ultimately successful in achieving them. It appears that we are not alone in failing to keep the promises
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we've made to ourselves. If we recognise that setbacks do happen, we would be able to fall back on contingency plans or recover from tripping up. For example, that may mean making adjustments to your initial New Year’s resolution to help you move closer to your goal while allowing yourself to maintain your personal well-being. For example, you may resolve to pick up a challenging new sport, such as capoeira, a Brazilian martial art form. However, only after attending an initial lesson do you find the intensity of the sport beyond your fitness level. You struggle with the physical training and are unable to pay attention to the techniques imparted in class. It would then be more beneficial to increase your fitness level first before further capoeira classes. This does not mean the initial goal has been abandoned; rather it is a shifting of one's focus to the climb towards the summit.
The path to achieving this ostensibly better life may not necessarily make an individual happier. Whether or not you consciously make New Year’s resolutions, the start of the new year has traditionally signalled a new beginning. It brings with it the opportunity to adopt lifestyle choices and decisions to make the upcoming year a positive one. If you are determined to better your life, it is never too late to start. After all, the whole point of making New Year's resolutions is to improve one's well-being and there is no better way to do it than to put words to actions immediately.
1. Quantify your goals Though a general resolution like “exercise more” may be a realistic goal, it makes for a weak start to the year. Rather than making vague goals, aim for specific objectives. By adding numbers and figures to your resolutions, one can set a quantifiable goal that will show obvious improvement from the previous year. This also helps you avoid cheating on your resolutions. Flimsy excuses like “eating less fries still counts as eating healthier” will no longer save you.
2. Expect to fail A common cause for failed resolutions are the self-imposed expectations that do not allow for failure. With every battle one faces with his or her self-control, one tends to grow more discouraged. Some even give up and admit defeat after failing only once. However, failure is not immediate evidence that the goal cannot be achieved. Going in with a flexible mindset will help one accept these obstacles as a process of adjustment and learning. For example, if your New Year’s resolution is to learn to play a new instrument, don’t expect to become a virtuoso overnight. Having realistic expectations of results will help you keep those resolutions.
3. Contingency plans What then, if one fails to keep to their resolutions? To avoid continuous failure, an alternative solution or measure to make up for a lapse in judgement could be the answer. Making up for the loss will help you avoid a slippery slope situation. For example, your New Year’s resolution could be to eat fast food only once a week but you’ve gone and done that twice this week. Putting fast food aside for the following week would make up for it. GRAPHICS: KIMBERLY ANG
An uplifting affair
Having recently returned from the World University Weightlifting Championships in Chiang Mai, John Cheah and Annie Set are at the peak of their fitness. Sports Writer Nicole Chan finds out more about their rewarding journey thus far.
t six in the morning, John Cheah pulls his sore body out of bed and prepares to leave for his first class of the day. By 10pm, he returns home, having fought through 16 hours of personal training, coaching and school. Cheah is a third-year student from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, and founder of Crossfit Statera, a gym where the 23-year-old serves as Head Coach. “As crazy as it sounds, I enjoy training. I like coaching. I meet new people and befriend them, and it’s nice to help them achieve their goals,” Cheah said. Despite the intensity of it all, he is pressing on with his newfound passion. Cheah made his first foray into the national weightlifting scene when he competed in Sin City 2013, a regional Crossfit Tournament that brings seven countries from Asia together, and puts participants’ strength, stamina and speed to the test. He has since represented Singapore in numerous regional weightlifting competitions, including the Thailand and Manila Throwdown last year. Taking a side step But before he was drawn in by the adrenaline of intensive Crossfit workouts, Cheah first loved theatre and dance. He was an active part of the Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC) drama society, ACSian Theatre — he now returns to coach his juniors when he is free. Much to his relief, Cheah’s pursuit of weightlifting did not need him to sacrifice his first love. In fact, the overlapping of the two ended up boosting his performance in both. Cheah said: “Crossfit adds to dance. Dance adds to crossfit. It’s about making these two good things work together. “There hasn’t been anything I had to give up. I’ll be busy with dance, theatre, and competitions so that’s something for me to juggle.” He said: “I try not to regret the things that I do. I know that if I can’t get it now, it’s a matter of time before I get it. I’m a believer in hard work, so I believe that if you train enough, it will come.” Besides an upcoming competition in March, he will be preparing for the M1 Fringe Festival MOSAIC and directing a play for ACJC. Keeping the tempo Discipline is key for this Head Coach, even in his diet. After trying out a Paleo diet (a diet restricted to lean meat, fruits and vegetables) two years ago, he never turned back. “My (sinusitis) cleared within a
month from starting,” he shared, having suffered from this nasal problem for the past few years. The benefits might have been worth it for Cheah, but Annie Set, 22, a final-year student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, gives herself some leeway. “I tried Paleo and it worked — I got stronger and felt better. But ultimately it was time-consuming to eat clean. So I avoid bread and try to eat rice or potatoes,” explained the national weightlifter. “The most important thing is not to starve yourself, because some people think that they need to make trainings worth it and not eat anything. But that’s how you get weak, and you won’t be able to lift anything.” A woman of steel Another recent convert to the sport of weightlifting, Set has taken part in both national and regional competitions for over a year after she began her journey alongside Cheah in 2013. Prior to picking up the sport, she was already addicted to the vigour of physical conditioning from rugby and boxing.
“I try not to regret the things that I do. I know that if I can’t get it now, it’s a matter of time before I get it." John Cheah Third-year student Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
Having faced stiff competition from physically bigger opponents, she is realistic about her chances of winning. She said: “When you see the standard of weightlifting in the world, and talk to these people, you realise it’s not just because they are good (that they succeed). These are people who have trained from age 12. They eat, sleep and breathe weightlifting. I couldn’t do that. At some point, you realise that there will always be someone better than you,” she added.
“My mum told me, ‘don’t get too bulky’, and I was like, ‘what is too bulky?’” Annie Set Final-year student School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Nevertheless, Set is keen on keeping her passion alive. “The goal all along was just to be a better athlete, to be constantly improving. Now with work starting, I don’t know how much time I’ll have but I’ll definitely make time for training,” she said. Cheah is similarly committed, choosing to focus on “getting bigger while maintaining flexibility and the grace that comes with dancing”. While these two shoulder the weight of representing the nation, their feet remain rooted firmly on the ground.
UPLIFTING: John Cheah pulls his weight at the gym and in school.
PHOTOS: ALICIA GOH
“I get very antsy when I don’t run around,” she said. Over the many years of competitive sports, Set has learnt to take training and competing in her stride. However, her recent sporting endeavour has garnered more concern from people around her, as weightlifting is commonly viewed as a male sport with a high risk of injury. “It’s mostly my parents who were hesitant. They are supportive but are afraid every now and then, telling me not to get injured. “My mum told me, ‘don’t get too bulky’, and I was like, ‘what is too bulky?’” She recalled. Set was adamant that it is “good for girls to work out”, brushing off reservations that other girls have towards physical conditioning. “I’m always excited to see girls who are interested in building themselves physically and when it’s not just about wanting to lose weight,” she said. Realistic, yet hopeful In the coming years, Set considers qualifying for the international stage “an impossible dream”.
GAME FACE ON: Annie Set is serious about weightlifting and looks to improve on her performance.
Pure intentions punished Saeful Hakim
or eight hours, they sat in interrogation rooms at the Traffic Police headquarters, handcuffs slapped on their ankles and wrists. Eric Khoo and Zul Awab were facing charges for organising HolyCrit — a series of bicycle races across Singapore, without a permit, a few days after its ninth edition was held at Tanglin Halt Close. HolyCrit was first held on a night in September 2013 and subsequent editions of the race were held monthly in various desolate locations around the island. Races are held late at night, across loops of roads of one to two kilometres. Although the event is not sanctioned by any governing body in sport, organisers made sure that participants adhere to various safety regulations. For instance, all participants were required to wear helmets, and be properly attired. Marshallers
PEDAL TO THE METAL: Cyclists are neck to neck in the pursuit for pole position. PHOTOS: INTERNET
armed with walkie-talkies were scattered across the race circuits. Investigations are still underway, and if convicted, the pair is liable to a jail term of up to six months and a fine between $1,000 and $2,000, under Section 116 of the Road Traffic Act, Chapter 276. I feel that it would be unjust to mete out the full punishment to the organisers and they should be given no more than a slap on the wrist for their involvement in
organising these events. It might seem like competitive cycling is not for everyone, especially since the cost of a new bicycle, along with the obligatory protective gear and clothing, might set one back by as much as a few thousand dollars. On top of that, local cycling events are few and far between. Entrance fees to these events like the OCBC Cycle Singapore, which has been cancelled after last
year, could cost as much as $200. In contrast, the registration fee for HolyCrit races is set at a paltry $10 per participant, and races are held regularly. Organisers of Holycrit have made an otherwise exclusive sport more accessible to serious cyclists, with the low barriers to entry and frequency of the event. Although it can be argued that organisers were potentially risking the safety of participants, pedestrians and motorists by holding races on public roads without proper road closures, it should also be taken into account that they had safety precautions for
I feel that it would be unjust to mete out the full punishment to the organisers and they should be given no more than a slap on the wrist for their involvement in organising these events.
participants and surrounding road users. In an interview with The Straits Times, Khoo explained that they would scout quiet and isolated roads weeks before an event, and “sit and observe traffic between 8pm and 2am each time, counting the number of vehicles". Khoo also added that the reluctance on the part of the organisers to obtain permits for the event was primarily due to cost — an estimated $25,000 to $35,000, which would ultimately spill over to participants in the form of higher registration fees. This would have subverted the initial vision they had for the event. Khoo and Zul organised it without the support of any local governing body, and did not make any profit from it. However, starting next month, Holycrit will continue to run — this time with a permit. Rather than stifling grassroots sporting initiatives such as this, the relevant authorities should encourage such initiatives and facilitate its organisation to allow the love for cycling and its community to grow.
Not going South anymore Tan Zhuan Liang Matthew Mohan, Sports Editor WHO would have thought that Southampton Football Club would be challenging for a top four position in the Barclays Premier League at mid-season? Very few did. In fact, many predicted that the club from the south coast of England would be destined to relegation. Last January, in the middle of the 2013/14 season, executive chairman Nicola Cortese resigned from his position. The situation worsened at the beginning of the 2014/15 season. The Saints saw an exodus beginning with the departure of manager Mauricio Pochettino and five key players, including captain Adam Lallana who departed for Liverpool and promising left-back Luke Shaw who left for Manchester United. Forward Rickie Lambert and defender Dejan Lovren left along with Lallana while the precocious Calum Chambers left for Arsenal. Other influential players like French midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin and top scorer Jay Rodriguez were unsettled at the
club too. Then, new boss Ronald Koeman faced a daunting task. The Dutchman had to build on the Saints’ eighth position from the previous season without the core of the overachieving team. Yet, despite the difficulties, Southampton has defied all odds and clawed their way into a Champions League position. The south coast club has won 11 of 20 matches and lost only six. Amazingly, they have the meanest defence in the league, conceding only 15 goals. Plan for the future Five years ago, Southampton was heading south. The club was on the brink of liquidation and hovered in League One, two divisions below the Premier League. The board of directors then proposed a five-year plan highlighting the development of the club's training facilities and a further integration of home-grown players. Since then, the club's youth academy that previously churned out notable players like Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has continued to produce talented home-grown players.
With that the club has since cashed in with huge transfer fees. Last season, Southampton sold several graduates of its academy, including Chambers, Lallana and Shaw, for a combined total of £71 million (S$144 million). Even so, the Saints' academy is still flourishing, with many of its youngsters making the first team. This season has seen Southampton integrating James WardProwse, Harrison Reed and Matt Targett, who are all under 21, into the fold. These academy graduates represented England at the youth level and have been given plenty of playing time in the English Premier League compared to young players from other English clubs, who are rarely given the chance. This epitomises the progress and faith in the club's youth academy. Transfer nous Southampton’s success had also been due to shrewd acquisitions by their manager. Koeman moved quickly to fill the hole left by the influential Lallana with the purchase of Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle from the Netherlands’ FC Twente and Feyenoord respectively.
Beautiful football Beyond the club's new found defensively solidarity, Koeman's attacking philosophy has also been another reason for their success. The Dutchman has built the team on possession-based attacking football, regardless of the opponents they face. “There is no issue to play
differently in an away game, even against big clubs,” he said. His players have embraced his approach and the Saints have grown from strength to strength. The lofty lights of the Champions League could soon beckon for Southampton and if they continue to build on their momentum, the Saints will go marching on.
ALL IS GOOD: Ronald Koeman congratulating Pellè after a good game.
Familiar faces lead at ISG The recent holidays saw students putting their books aside and returning to campus, donned in various colours for the annual Inter-School Games (ISG). Sports Writer Lim Wei Hao finds out why some schools consistently outperform their counterparts.
SG pits all 14 faculties of NTU against one another. From 8 Dec last year to 9 Jan this year, over 500 athletes competed in a diverse range of sports. Every year, the usual suspects — National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Business School (NBS) and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) — would be the frontrunners to lay claim to the Overall Challenge Shield, which is the trophy awarded to the champion school of ISG. NIE emerged champions in the 2013/2014 edition of ISG while NBS and MAE came in joint second. This trend looks set to continue, so what is their secret?
“The strength of my school lies in the fact that almost all of our sportsmen are professionally trained in the sports, both in the theory and practical aspect,” said Ricky Rueban, 21, a first-year NIE student and Special Projects Officer of the NIE Club. Decked in striking yellow, NIE are feared opponents. Yearly, they receive overwhelming sign-ups to represent the school at the ISG. With many of its athletes enrolled in the Physical Education and Sports Science (PESS) course, NIE has no lack of sporting talent. “As PESS students, we spend quite a fair bit of time outside the classroom, learning new skills and improving our performances in the sports modules we are taking,” said Fahmi Sahar, 25, a second-year NIE student and captain of the NIE tennis team.
Strength in numbers
NBS has a larger cohort of 3,000 compared to other schools such as the School of Art, Design and Media, or the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, which have around 700 and 140 students respectively. This advantage in numbers makes it easier for NBS to form teams across a myriad of sports. “Fielding athletes for every sport is never easy but thankfully we were able to do so” said Garry Yao, 21, a first-year NBS student, and Events Director of the Accountancy and Business Club. “The athletes' performances exceeded my expectations and I am pleased.” NBS has crossed swords with NIE on many occasions as they proved to be worthy adversaries. Feisty encounters ensured a spectacular showing for the supporters. Zhou Zhengyi, 22, a secondyear NBS student recalls: “The touch rugby final against NIE was the most memorable moment of my ISG experience. We managed to lead at one point but eventually lost. I’m proud of how well my team played.”
FIGHTING FOR A GOAL: Representatives from EEE and NIE battling for the ball in a soccer shot.
Support and training
Similar to NBS, MAE has a large cohort and this gives them a wider selection of athletes. Moreover, the school committee also plays an important role. “MAE committee members are supportive and make sure we have everything we need” said Andrew Lu, 23, a third-year MAE student who represented the school in touch rugby and futsal. “They also make sure that we get a few trainings done before competitions, to build our ability and chemistry.” MAE organises trainings in the lead-up to ISG. These events help pace the athletes and promote cohesion. “We have our annual MAE Games which bonds our MAE sportsmen and professors,” said Chia Xin Yu, 20, a second-year MAE student and Sports Officer of the MAE Club. “There is also a team of passionate committee members working behind the scenes. This culture is preserved and passed on from batch to batch.”
Packed sports calendar
The Hall Olympiad or Inter-Hall Games (IHG) and ISG are both held in December. Inevitably, comparisons are made between the two events. The hall system suggests that IHG is a way for students to continue staying in hall since participation is seen as contribution to hall. Thus, students usually take up three or more sports to stay longer.
“It is normal that students place more emphasis on IHG,” commented Wong Ming-Le, 22, a second-year student and Sports Director of the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (SPMS) Club. “Many see ISG as a ‘secondtier’ sports event. Yet, this year, ISG seems to have garnered more interest and participation.”
"The strength of my school lies in the fact that almost all of our sportsmen are professionally trained in the sports, both in the theory and practical aspect." Ricky Rueban First-year NIE student Special Projects Officer of NIE Club
Planning started in October last year. As both are student-run events, concerted effort was made to ensure that the dates for ISG and IHG do not clash. Having to make split second decisions was one of the many challenges the ISG Organising Committee faced. “Good communication within the committee helped to solve problems quickly,” added Yasmeen Munira, a second-year student from Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI), and Chairperson for ISG 2014/2015. “It helped me pass information
down easily and I have worked with a brilliant team who was able to adapt to changes.” 2014 saw changes to the sports calendar, with the removal of bowling, and addition of race relay and touch rugby. A new rule also limited the number of Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic players in ISG teams, allowing a level playing field.
Looking beyond the game
The theme for ISG this year was “Sportsmanship begins with Respect”. Yasmeen pointed out: “I was impressed during the race relay event. The sportsmanship seen was immense. It made me very proud when everyone in the grandstand cheered for the schools that were the last few to come in. “Not only that, they also congratulated them for their efforts.” ISG was not only a platform to gain exposure to new sports, but to foster friendships and meet new people as well. “The players gave it their all. When there were conflicts, it was touching to see participants resolving their differences with a handshake,” said Kong Tin Jun, 21, a first-year WKWSCI student and Vice-Chairperson for ISG 2014/2015. WKWSCI headed the recent games and will be handing the reins over to SPMS, who will chair the next ISG Organising Committee. But the question remains — will NIE, NBS and MAE still sit at the top in the next ISG?
PHOTOS: HILLARY TAN
Ultimate MAE Frisbee Touch NIE Rugby Netball NIE Race Relay NIE Swimming WKW, HSS Captain's NBS Ball Floorball NBS Table Tennis SPMS Badminton MAE Tennis NIE Futsal SPMS (Men) Futsal NBS (Ladies) Volleyball NIE Basketball NBS (Men) Basketball NBS (Ladies) Tchoukball EEE Overall NBS Champion