CHRONICLE What’s Inside
ISSN NO. 0218-7310
Pageants in the spotlight
Let’s not expect our MRT to be the Shinkansen
A winning goal for the ladies
LIFESTYLE | Page 8-9
OPINION | Page 15
SPORTS | Page 19
NTU Fest returns after hiatus NEWS | Page 6
Student baristas perfect their craft LIFESTYLE | Page 7
Tamarind Hall’s inaugural camp
NEWS | Page 5
First batch of PPGA students graduate The inaugural batch of 71 students from NTU’s PPGA programme have attained their degrees Adele Chiang Syed Muhammad Faris NTU’s pioneer batch of Public Policy and Global Affairs (PPGA) students graduated in July as part of the Class of 2017. The Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in PPGA was introduced in 2013 under the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. It aims to nurture the next generation of public policy-makers with a focus on public administration and international relations in its curriculum. Before its inception, students were only offered a Minor in Public Administration. To date, 2,700 students have taken courses in politics and public administration. More than 100 have graduated with a Minor in Administration. A degree in PPGA was offered in response to its rising popularity among students. In recent years, there has been a spike in the number of students who bidded for PPGA modules in
NTU’s first batch of PPGA students graduated in July this year. GRAPHIC: REYNARD ADRIANTO
the Students Automated Registration System, said Associate Chair (Academic) and Acting Head of PPGA Yohanes Eko Riyanto. “It was then that we realised we were ready to offer PPGA as a fullfledged major,” he added.
Good job prospects
Valedictorian Koh Phay Chung was one of the 71 PPGA students who graduated this year. Koh said that graduating as a student of the pioneer batch was a “defining moment” for him.
“We are a part of the first and only public policy undergraduate course offered in NTU,” said the 25-year-old. While most students may be sceptical of enrolling into a new course, Koh was impressed with what PPGA had to offer. He chose PPGA because of its nature as an “applied form of political science”. Koh added that he acquired important skills from the course and attributed this to the school’s focus on team-based learning.
Examples of team-based learning include participating in seminar dicussions and role-playing during in-class tasks. “Team-based learning hones your communication skills by engaging you on diverse levels of communication,” said Koh. These levels of communication range from small group discussions to class presentations. Students also have the opportunity to lead seminar discussions, he added. Koh said that the skills he acquired will open many doors of opportunities for him and his peers. “I feel very optimistic. There are many (career) possibilities for us,” he said. Graduate Caren Tso is also positive about her job prospects. Said the 22-year-old: “The possibilities are quite extensive given that you can work in both the private and public sector (with a degree in PPGA).” “We can work in the government affairs department in private firms or in policy planning departments in the public sector,” added Tso.
Improving the curriculum
While the pioneer batch of PPGA students celebrates their graduation, Mr Riyanto noted that there is still room for improvement in the current curriculum. “We would like to enhance the
multidisciplinary elements of the programme by allowing students to take modules beyond PPGA and count them towards their major requirements,” he said. A collaboration with the Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) is also in the works. RSIS offers PPGA-related programs at the postgraduate level. Mr Riyanto said that this collaboration will provide students with “a wider perspective on issues related to public policy-making and global relations”. NTU’s PPGA course consists of two components – public policy and public administration as well as international relations – setting it apart from other local universities offering similar courses. “Currently, no other universities in Singapore offer a major blending of these two elements,” said Mr Riyanto. NTU also launched a double major programme in Economics and Public Policy (ECPP) in 2016 to meet the increasing demand for PPGA modules. The ECPP programme complements the PPGA curriculum by introducing the economic rationales behind policy decisions. Said Mr Riyanto: ”In the current globalised world, the skills offered in the PPGA programme are highly relevant in policy-making.”
Food for thought: Reducing food waste in NTU National Geographic Emerging Explorer Tristram Stuart dishes out how to make NTU a zero food waste campus Xu Qi Yang FOR renowned food waste activist Tristram Stuart, eating leftover food out of rubbish bins is part of his everyday life. A self-proclaimed freegan – a person who routinely eats discarded food to reduce waste – he often forages for food in rubbish bins to protest against food waste. Mr Stuart’s passion against food waste started at age 15. He was raising a few pigs to earn extra pocket money. While rummaging through rubbish bins for leftover food to feed the pigs, he noticed that the bins were filled with food still suitable for human consumption. “Everywhere I looked, we were
haemorrhaging food,” said Mr Stuart, who was speaking at NTU’s National Geographic Live! Talk at The Hive last month. “I began confronting businesses about the waste and exposing it to the public,” added the National Geographic Emerging Explorer. Mr Stuart shared his investigations into the food waste phenomenon in his book Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal. He is the founder of Toast Ale, a brewery that turns surplus bread into beer. Mr Stuart also established Feedback, an organisation that aims to eliminate food waste globally. The organisation’s campaigns have included turning scraps into food parties and encouraging the use of leftover food to feed pigs.
Cut food waste on campus
At the National Geographic Live! Talk, Mr Stuart also shared insights on tackling food waste in NTU. Food waste in NTU had increased from 72 to 78 kilogram per person
from 2015 to 2016. This makes up almost half of the total waste generated in school annually. When asked how the university can strive to be a zero food waste campus, Mr Stuart said that school pride and competitiveness with other universities are potential motivating factors for students. “Think about the culture in your university and build your project around that culture; build on things that already exist,” he said. Mr Stuart also asked students to rate the food in NTU. In the roomful of around 40 students, a majority described the food as “average”. He then suggested that better food can be offered so that students would be more inclined to finish their food, especially since Singapore is “one of the gastronomical centres in the world”. Buffets are also a major source of food waste – caterers often provide a surplus of food. Said Mr Stuart: “There is no mechanism in place to ensure that
WASTE NOT WANT NOT: Food waste activist Tristram Stuart (centre) gave students advice on how to make NTU a zero food waste campus. PHOTO: BELICIA TEO
all the food gets eaten,” . Mr Stuart suggested that foodsharing applications could be created to notify students of excess food on campus. “Imagine if you had an app that pings up and says that there’s a hundred free meals in this area. “Students can enjoy free food and
help reduce food waste.” Mr Stuart urged students to participate in the global fight against food waste. “Mining that mountain of food waste and turning it into really good food is something you can shout about to the rest of the world,” he said.
Internships boost students' employability amidst rising unemployment rate
GRAPHIC: AMY ONG
Internship experience opens the door to employment for NTU's Class of 2017, where two in three graduates secured jobs before graduation.
Two in three students from NTU’s Class of 2017 found employment before graduation, even as unemployment rates rise due to structural changes in the economy Adele Chiang HAVING internship experience has given graduating NTU students a leg up in the job hunt. More than half of the graduates from the Class of 2017 secured jobs before graduation despite rising unemployment rates. In January, The Straits Times reported that the overall unemployment rate in Singapore had continued its upward trend and had risen to 2.1 per cent in 2016, its highest level since 2010. As of June, the annual average overall unemployment rate stands at 2.2 per cent. Nevertheless, this statistic did not faze NTU’s Class of 2017. A preliminary survey done by NTU, which involved more than 5,000 students, found that two in three students secured a job before graduation. In NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson’s address to the Class of 2017, he said this statistic was encouraging despite the “uncertain economic conditions”.
“It shows the high standing of NTU graduates with employers,” he added. One reason for this is that the majority of NTU students have something many employers value — an internship experience. Chief executive officer of maritime company Ascenz Solutions Pte Ltd Chia Yoong Hui said he prefers to hire a candidate who has had experience in the field over one with good results. “Grades do not always translate to real world abilities,” said the 49-year-old, who is also the cofounder and director of Ascenz. “New hires with experience have a gentler learning curve, can contribute more and be more productive in a shorter time,” he added.
"New hires with experience have a gentler learning curve, can contribute more and be more productive in a shorter time." Mr Chia Yoong Hui, 49 CEO, Co-founder and Director Ascenz Solutions Pte Ltd
85 per cent of NTU students undergo a credit-bearing internship
with external companies within their four years of study. One such example is NTU alumnus Debra Rajwani, 23, who secured a job at a public relations and marketing agency a month before graduating in July. She completed her six-month compulsory internship at an offshore and marine company in her third year of school, which gave her valuable practical experience. "It taught me how to deliver client-ready work, and that boosts my superiors' confidence in me," said the graduate from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information. Yet, the job search is not always a breeze. Despite having an internship under her belt, Ms Charmaine Chua, a fresh graduate from the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering struggled to find a job. “I remember sending more than 30 applications a day during my job hunt, but I only received two replies,” said the 23-year-old. She had started applying for jobs two months before her graduation. Ms Chua eventually found employment at a pharmaceutical firm three weeks before graduating. But not all fresh graduates are as fortunate. Ms Hema Lata, a graduate from the School of Social Sciences, has yet to receive a favourable job offer since she began searching in May. In the meantime, she has decided to do internships and part time work to gain more experience.
“Hopefully this will increase the chances of me landing more interviews,” said the 24-year-old.
"It taught me how to deliver client-ready work, and that boosts my superiors' confidence in me." Ms Debra Rajwani, 23 NTU Alumnus
NTU’s Career and Attachment Office (CAO) aims to continue engaging the other 33 per cent of students who have yet to secure employment. “We push out jobs through email notifications to these students on a weekly basis for at least six months after their graduation,” said Director of CAO Loh Pui Wah. Despite the discouraging job market statistics, Mr Loh remains optimistic. “Singapore is not in a full-on economic recession. Its economy is experiencing a structure shake-up, leading to an increasing unemployment rate,” he said. He added that since Singapore is moving towards increasing productivity and automating more jobs, students should be open to employment from these sunrise industries, which tend to hire more employees.
Nevertheless, CAO still recognises the value of professional experience in boosting students’ employability, and is developing initiatives to give students a greater competitive edge. One such initiative, NTU PEAK, will see 30 students solving realworld problems posed by external companies like Mediacorp and Systems on Silicon Manufacturing Company Pte Ltd in September.
"Singapore is not in a full-on economic recession. Its economy is experiencing a structure shake-up." Mr Loh Pui Wah Director NTU Career and Attachment Office
Students will then come up with solutions and present them to the leaders of each company. Mr Loh said this will give students more valuable experience beyond the classroom. He said: “I hope to see students hone their leadership, critical thinking and problem solving skills — competencies that are highly sought after by employers.”
Rise in parking rates draws mixed reactions from students
As of 1 Jul, parking rates across campus carparks have increased, eliciting mixed reactions from students.
Some are upset, but others say it means a greater availability of parking lots Xu Qi Yang Syed Muhammad Faris HIKES in parking rates across campus carparks have drawn mixed reactions from regular student drivers. While some are unhappy with the extra charge, others feel it is affordable, and a few have even welcomed it. As of 1 Jul, parking rates in campus carparks have increased between $0.30 to $1.02 per hour. Motorists from Hall of Residences 10 to 14, graduate halls and faculty residential areas used to enjoy free parking. Now they are paying $1.02 per hour, with a cap at $4.30, or $25 a month for season parking. Carparks in the North and South Spine region — which constitute Zone 1 — also saw a significant increase. Season parking holders have to pay $90 a month, $15 more than before. Motorists going by the per minute charge now need to pay $2 per hour — $0.40 more than before — for a parking spot.
Some students the Nanyang Chronicle spoke to were unhappy with the increase. Third-year School of Social Sciences student Jamie Lai said: “It definitely isn’t friendly to the wallet, especially when you’re a student without a disposable income.” The 21-year-old, who drives to school thrice a week, was shocked to discover that the cap price for her usual parking spot at Nanyang Lake had risen by $0.70. Third-year School of Biological Sciences student Sian Chan said the increase would add to her monthly expenditure. “I have to clock in more hours at my part-time job and go home later to pay for this,” said the 23-yearold, who drives to school four times a week. But both Lai and Chan said they will continue driving to school as doing so affords them time and convenience. Said Lai: “I live in the east, so coming to school by public transport means that I have to spend two hours travelling each morning. Driving requires only half the time, which means I can sleep in more in the mornings.” In an email sent to season park ing holders on 3 May, NTU’s Chief Housing and Auxiliary Services
PHOTO: YEO WEI LUN
(HAS) officer Jimmy Lee said the rise in parking rates was due to an increased demand for prime parking areas on campus. “These (new) rates are based on demand and supply, such that a motorist pays more to park in a prime area and less in non-prime areas,” said Mr Lee. He added that the last carpark revision was implemented in 2012. Other students, however, approved of having parking charges in carparks at their halls. “Carparks that previously offered free parking were always full. The higher prices discourage people from parking now, so it will be easier to find a parking space,” said second-year School of Computer Science and Engineering student Lim Hong Yee, 22, who usually parks at Hall of Residence 14. Nonetheless, some believe the revised rates remain affordable. Third-year School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student Sean Chong has been driving to school daily for the past two years. He now pays $40 per month for season parking at Zone 2b, $5 more than what he paid for previously. Said the 23-year-old: “$40 is still considered really cheap for season parking compared to parking rates outside NTU."
GRAPHIC: DIANE LIM AND REYNARD ADRIANTO
An orientation camp with a difference Tamarind Hall’s pioneer batch of students overcame the odds to spearhead the hall’s firstever freshmen orientation camp Elizabeth Lee IT WAS a camp that was not supposed to take place. Tamarind Hall, part of the Nanyang Crescent cluster of hall residences, was opened just this year and a freshmen orientation camp had not been planned as the Junior Common Room Committee (JCRC) was not yet formed. But in just a month, a group of almost 70 residents came together and overcame the odds, executing a two-day orientation camp for one of NTU’s newest halls for undergraduates. The planning of Tamarind’s hall camp started with a Telegram group chat, consisting of a handful of new residents seeking to connect with fellow hallmates. Soon after the chat was created, several freshmen within the group began asking for an orientation camp, prompting existing hall residents to orchestrate one. One resident, Tay Zhi Qi, stepped up to take on the role of chairperson for Tamarind Hall’s inaugural orientation camp. The second-year School of Biological Sciences (SBS) student said he felt bad that the hall’s incoming freshmen did not have an orientation camp to look forward to. “If I could do something for them, it wouldn’t hurt,” said the 22-year-old. “Hall life will be more fun if people know each other,” he added. Let the camp begin With the help of the hall’s senior faculty-in-residence Associate Professor Jasmine Lam, Tay wrote a proposal for the orientation, which later secured funding from the Student Affairs Office. Tay then began roping in residents by sending a sign-up link in the Telegram chat group, which had grown to include over 200 residents. He also asked for volunteers to be main committee members, programmers or orientation group leaders. One resident who offered his help was first-year School of Materials Science and Engineering student Joseph Ong, who stepped up to be an orientation group leader. “I saw my NTU friends applying for hall camp, and when I learnt that there was no Tamarind hall camp, I felt a strong sense (like I was) missing out on something,” said the 21-year-old. Ong added: "I wanted to make new friends and find a community, and so, I took that initiative.” Ong was one of almost 70 residents who rallied together to plan
New residents of Tamarind Hall managed to enjoy a hall camp experience after a group of over 70 residents banded together to plan and execute the hall's first-ever orientation camp. PHOTOS: YEO WEI LUN
FROM LEFT: Tamarind Hall residents Joseph Ong, 21, Leong Utek, 22, and Daniel Chong, 22, enjoying group bonding activities.
Second-year School of Biological Sciences student Tay Zhi Qi, 22, stepped up to take on the role of chairperson for the camp.
and execute the camp, which ran from 18 to 19 Aug. Tamarind’s two-day orientation camp saw over 200 campers painting Pokemon characters on flags to represent their orientation groups’ identities, and exploring the hall in search of cards, as part of an orientation game. The objective was to provide common ground for people to know each other, said Tay. Despite the short duration of Tamarind’s camp, many residents were grateful to have enjoyed a hall camp experience.
pressed the desire to build a culture of inclusivity. First-year SBS student Leong Utek, 22, said he hopes the hall culture can be “laid-back" so that shyer residents can feel comfortable enough to join hall activities.
"Hall life will be more fun if people know each other." Tay Zhi Qi, 22 Second-year student School of Biological Sciences
Chief programmer and secondyear Nanyang Business School (NBS) student Eddie Soh, 23, said:
“Though the camp was not bigscale, at least we have something.” First-year School of Humanities student Rosalind Ang, 23, said: “The point of an orientation camp is to make friends, and I think the (Tamarind) FOC achieved that.” She added that the camp helped her to grow closer to her fellow residents, whom she described as “friendly”. Hall life after camp Even though the camp has ended, the many frienships forged remain strong. Second-year NBS student Christina Wong, who was an orientation group leader, said the camp has helped residents become more comfortable to talk to one another, or ask for help. The 20-year-old added: “A freshie even offered to buy food from the pasar malam he was at.” Third-year School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences student Daniel Neo, 23, said: “There is no barrier between the seniors and freshies. Everyone hangs out together.” When asked about their plans for Tamarind Hall, residents ex-
"There is no barrier between the seniors and freshies. Everyone hangs out together." Daniel Neo, 23 Third-year student School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
Others hope that there will be more activities for residents to participate in. Neo said having a range of activities like sports or recreational
games that residents can choose from will allow them to enjoy “the full hall experience”. In her address to campers, Assoc Prof Jasmine Lam said she hopes to initiate and implement programmes in line with NTU’s Residential Education (RE) scheme, which Tamarind Hall is a part of. The RE scheme aims to enrich students’ hall life by training them in life skills beyond the academic curriculum. Faculty-in-residence Professor Kristina Marie Tom said she was interested in looking out for the emotional well-being of students by organising workshops on handling stress, peer helping and counselling skills. “It’s about bringing our life and career experiences and trying to make that available as a resource to students,” said Prof Tom, who also expressed interest in making music and the arts a focus. “I hope you will participate actively in the activities,” said Prof Lam in her address to campers during the orientation camp. “Hall life is a very precious experience because it’s once in a lifetime.”
New initiatives at NTU Fest 2017 Students welcome new changes at NTU’s biggest event of the year held on campus for the first time
Wee Rae NTU Fest made its comeback on 19 Aug after a year-long hiatus, with a slew of new initiatives that saw more emphasis placed on celebrating the University’s achievements and support for student groups. Part of the annual Freshmen Welcome activities, NTU Fest is a full-day extravaganza to mark the start of the new academic year. This year’s affair comprised a carnival, walkathon and concert — a central event to bring the University's community together. It was opened to all NTU students and staff. Residents of Jurong and their families and friends were also invited. NTU Fest held its inaugural event in 2014. It took a one-year hiatus in 2016 to review its operations, following declining student participation from 2014 to 2015.
Back with new measures Unlike past years, this year’s event was held on campus at the Sports and Recreation Centre — the first of many changes. Previously, the event was held at public venues such as the Padang in 2014 and The Promontory@Marina Bay in 2015. Second-year student Fan Wenxuan, who attended NTU Fest in 2015 and 2017, felt the change in venue was a good decision. “Holding it in school makes it more convenient for students who stay in halls to come,” said Fan, a student at the School of Chemical and Biological Engineering. “We are also in an environment that we are familiar with,” added the 19-year-old. Chairperson of the NTU Fest 2017 committee Bryan Tan shares similar sentiments. “By bringing the event back home, it relates back to the original objective of identity and appreciation for our school,” said the 25-year-old, who graduated from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering last month.
“By bringing the event back home, it relates back to the original objective of identity and appreciation for our school." Mr Bryan Tan, 25 Chairperson of NTU Fest 2017 committee
“If NTU Fest was held in the CBD (Central Business District), it becomes a public event rather than a school event,” he said. Mr Tan added that this year’s event took on a more student-centric approach. This comes as the NTU Fest student committee had a greater influence over the planning of the event. They also worked with other student clubs such as the NTU Sports Club and Welfare Services Club, who assisted with idea generation and the execution of the event. This allowed the committee to gather more feedback from students during the planning process, added Mr Tan. Other changes included the introduction of a walkathon at the event, which covered scenic routes along Nanyang Lake and the Chinese Heritage Centre.
FUN UNDER THE SUN: Performances by student groups, exhibition booths and a walkathon are some new initiatives at this year's NTU Fest.
Performances by Jam Bands from the various Halls of Residences, dance groups and the university’s acapella group, Harmonix, were also among the line-up. In a bid to support local talent, there were also special guest performances by artistes Hayley and Jayley Woo. At previous editions of NTU Fest, the focus had been on K-pop stars like Kang Gary and Dal Sherbet. Exhibition booths were also set up at The Wave, NTU’s newly opened sports hall. The booths showcased notable student projects such as the EDGAR-2 robot engineered by students from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The Nanyang Venture 8 — a four-wheel urban concept electric micro-car by students from the College of Engineering — was also another highlight at the booths. Vy Tran, 22, an exchange student from Vietnam, said that the event was a good platform for exchange students to learn more about NTU. “As exchange students, we do not know much about NTU. Through this event, we can make more friends and learn more about the NTU spirit which is really nice,” said Tran.
is so inaccessible." She added that the event could have been better promoted to generate more interest among students.
“When you celebrate NTU, I think it's good to showcase it to the rest of Singapore as well." Jeryl Chen, 22 Vocalist of Jam Band One Knight Stand Hall of Residence 16
“I felt that there wasn’t really much hype about it,” said Lim. Jeryl Chen, vocalist of Hall of Residence 16 Jam Band One Knight Stand, 22, preferred the event to be held off campus. “When you celebrate NTU, I think it's good to showcase it to the rest of Singapore as well," said the second-year student from the Asian School of the Environment.
He added: "Performing to a larger audience public will allow students to gain exposure and step out of their comfort zones. Despite the lower-than-expected attendance, this year’s crowd size is still an improvement from the turnout at NTU Fest in previous years. President of the Students’ Union Gan Rui Yun said the event turnout was estimated at 5,000 based on ticket sales — a 45 per cent increase from 3,441 back in 2015. Professor Kwok Kian-Woon, Associate Provost of Student Life, believes the main problem for the low turnout lies with the students’ mindsets. “Sometimes we can’t always use the same old argument of the campus being too far. We all have to chip in a little for a special day,” he said. Added Prof Kwok: “Building strong university traditions is always challenging, but we have to start somewhere.”
Small crowd despite changes Despite the new initiatives in place, many students felt that the event turnout was underwhelming. Aakash Kumar, 22, a member of NTU Breakers who performed at the event, said students are less likely to attend school events on a weekend. “Most people aren’t in school on a weekend and those staying in halls would have gone home,” said the third-year student from the School of Biological Sciences. Some attributed the small crowd to the event’s inconvenient location. Third-year School of Social Sciences student Gladys Lim, 21, said: “To be honest, I expected it to be quite dead because nobody would come at this time, and also since NTU
PHOTOS: HAZIM ZULFADHLI
This year's extravaganza was held on campus for the first time.
LEFT: Cafe-hopping inspired Muhammad Ashiq to pursue work as a barista over three years ago. TOP: Since 2014, Amelia Yap has been training to be a barista at Strangers’ Reunion and Curious Palette.
PHOTOS: DAYNA YIN
Joining the express-o stream NTU is home to a group of student baristas who are learning to craft the perfect cup. Dayna Yin finds out how these student baristas succeed in balancing school and their interest for all things coffee.
KOPI o. Kopi gao. Kopi siew dai. The coffee culture in Singapore revolves around a curious blend of Hokkien lingo that is often lost on younger generations. But this has not stopped secondyear Nanyang Business School student Loh Hiu Wai from pursuing her passions. Inspired by conversations with canteen staff at her junior college, the 21-year-old began visiting more artisanal coffee establishments and started developing a taste for different types of coffee. Soon, her interest in coffee went beyond the neighbourhood kopitiam as she set her sights on the craft behind the perfect latte. Today, she spends her off-campus days as a barista-in-training at The Tiny Roaster, a small coffee roasting establishment located at Sunset Way. “I was thinking, ‘If not now, then when?’ [Coffee-making] is not a slipshod kind of job because it will really show in the coffee quality,” said Loh.
“When you come to The Tiny Roaster, you, as a barista, really start to go in-depth about extraction and the different types of beans that produce different tastes,” she added. Loh is part of a growing number of NTU students who are dipping their toes into third-wave coffee culture — a movement to produce high-quality coffee through improvements at all the stages of production. For final-year School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences student Amelia Yap, her goals as a barista have evolved over the last three years during her stint at popular cafe, Strangers’ Reunion, and its sister outlet, Curious Palette. Initially looking to kill time and earn extra cash during the holidays, Yap found that working during the semester helped her cope with stressful coursework. “I really feel like working is a form of de-stress, to get away from studying,” said the 23-year-old, who takes comfort in the little joys
of her routine to produce the perfect cup. Other perks of the job include meeting a diverse range of people who share her love of coffee. From knowledgeable mentors to coffee enthusiasts, Yap makes it a point to strike up conversations to share and gain more knowledge about her passion. “I think meeting different people in this industry has really enriched me as a person. Good coffee is subjective and everybody has a different palate, but they’re all so willing to share about their experiences,” said Yap. Like most labours of love, coffee requires time and effort to perfect. On top of understanding how coffee is prepared, baristas need to possess strong knowledge on bean origins, steaming milk, and methods of coffee extraction. For would-be student baristas, Yap stresses the importance of good mentorship. At Strangers’ Reunion, Yap trained under Singapore National
Barista & Latte Art Champion Zenn Soon for several months, before being assigned to handle barista service on her own at Curious Palette. “Working here [at Curious Palette], there’s this sense of achievement to proceed after you master something,” said Yap. “So when they knew that I was keen, they put me on barista training.” Now entering her second year at NTU, Loh shares similar sentiments on having proper training. She finds that her customers are mostly coffee enthusiasts and connoisseurs, so sometimes it can be intimidating to meet their expectations as a novice. “You’re serving someone who probably has a lot more experience than you,” said Loh. “But they trust us to do it and I feel like you also need to trust yourself to make a good cup of coffee.” So, what exactly does the future hold for NTU student baristas after they graduate? School of Mechanical and Aero-
space Engineering alumnus Muhammad Ashiq, 26, is concerned that prospects in the industry might not be promising. He has worked as a barista in establishments such as Maison Ikkoku, Dapper Coffee and Coast & Company for the last three years. “The only thing that is stopping me is that this cafe movement might just be a fad, from the number of shops that have closed in the last few years,” said Ashiq. According to a 2015 study by Spring Singapore, small businesses like cafes tend to struggle in the food and beverage industry. Statistics from the study show that four out of 10 such establishments close down in less than five years. Despite the odds, Ashiq hopes his passion for the craft will lead him to pursue coffee as a livelihood some day. “Combining work and passion is rare these days,” he said. “I really want to get into the coffee business and learn everything about coffee, from bean to cup.”
Pageant fever Pageants are more than just glitz and glamour. Clara Lee gets a behind-the-scenes peek into the lives of NTU’s fresh-faced pageant nominees before the big day FLASHING cameras. Flawless makeup. Strict diets. These are some things that come to mind at the mention of beauty pageants. But pageants in NTU are more than meets the eye. Usually held after orientation, these competitions are a cornerstone of freshmen welcome activities across student faculties and residential halls. On the outset, they may seem to unfold in typical fashion: beginning with a banquet in a fancy ballroom, boisterous talent segments mid-way, and culminating in a heady night at Zouk. But beyond the glitz and glamour, what actually happens before the big day? With the new pageant season just commencing, the North Spine has become one of the most popular spots for training sessions. It is where this year’s fresh batch of Sports Camp pageant nominees have set up camp, training tirelessly along the empty walkways long after the last lecture has ended. They spend their after-class time perfecting their strut and conditioning to peak physique, all in preparation for their big day — Sports Ball 2017. Second-year School of Social Sciences student Regina Tay, who was awarded the title of Sports Queen 2016, is one of the main pageant coordinators this year. She works with the different pairings on their catwalk routines, demonstrating poses without
breaking a sweat. “For Sports Pageant, it’s all about looking healthy and having a good physique. So we focus a lot on physical training,” said Tay, 20. During these sessions, she makes sure to dedicate a good hour for a mass workout that leaves the pageant nominees panting. Training sessions are intense, she added. Their rigorous regime is repeated almost every day, with most sessions only ending after midnight. Their end goal, of course, is the Sports Ball’s iconic beach wear segment, where the pageant nominees finally “get to show how hard they’ve worked.” However, Tay stressed that the Sports Ball goes beyond being just about physique. “Each orientation group (OG) will come dressed in clothing that they’ve designed or made by themselves as an OG,” she said. These costumes are related to the freshmen’s respective OG themes, and it is hoped that the bonds they create over costumemaking keep them tight-knit long after camp has ended. Like scenes from a movie The pageant nominees from Hall of Residence 7 have been kept busy as well. As first-year Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information student Eunice Chua exchanges ideas for the solo catwalk routines with her fellow hallmates, she continues to joke lightheartedly with them. It was this year’s movie blockbusters theme that swayed the 19-year-old into joining Hall 7’s pageant. In line with the theme of movie blockbusters, she dons a black widow costume complete with gun holsters and red
4 hairspray. While she initially had the impression that pageant nominees had to meet certain physical requirements, she was surprised to find that Hall 7’s pageant did not have any intense dieting or exercise regimes. The frequent training sessions have kept her schedules packed, but she is more than happy to give her all during practice. “The fact that I have nine other amazing friends doing this with me as well as all the seniors’ support, makes the time spent worthwhile,” she said. The entire experience has been a huge step outside her comfort zone, especially when it comes to the mass dance segment involving all the pageant nominees on stage. But seeing how effortlessly Eunice performs the choreography, it is difficult to imagine that she finds herself “terrible at it.” Morning runs, which the pageant nomi-
nees have initiated on their own, fills her with a sense of camaraderie. They gather at 7am to complete their route around the campus, cheering each other on as they go. “I know this is something I will look back on and smile about after I graduate, when I reminisce about university.” Life’s a stage Over at the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE), pageant nominees have also been putting in their paces. Fog machines, smokey make-up and flowing fabrics take center stage, as the EEE Ball 2017 aims to create an otherworldly experience with their theme of mystery and mystique. In preparation for the official photoshoot, Yong Chun Yee, 22, had his hair and makeup professionally done for the first time. But it isn’t all fun and games. Yong discov-
5 ers that working to embody the theme comes with its challenges. “It isn’t easy for both contestants and organisers, because a lot of work and effort is needed from everyone to make the event successful.” Despite the extra workload, he takes pride in being a part of this event and bringing its theme to life. As the big day draws near, the nerves of contestants will eventually kick in, as speculations among their peers become rife: Who will win the title of Hall Queen? Who will walk away with Mr Popularity? But for these pageant nominees, it is ultimately the journey, not the destination, that truly matters. At the end of the day, every pageant carries the same goal — to provide a platform for students to gain a boost of confidence and strut their stuff.
1. NTU Sports Ball’s pageant nominees find their best angle during the pre-pageant publicity shoot. 2. For the full-dress rehearsal, Hall of Residence 7 pageant nominees Fariq Isa and Lim Yu Lin dress as Carl and Ellie, from the Pixar animated movie Up. 3. Coached by Sports Pageant coordinator Regina Tay, Tan Jun Meng and Yeo Jay Sean push through their physical training. 4. Hall of Residence 7 pageant nominees Alvis Ang and Chong Shi Yah catch a break in between practices for their High School Musical-themed performance. 5. Dressed as iconic couples from blockbuster movies, the Hall 7 pageant nominees prove that you don’t need washboard abs to rock the stage. PHOTOS: CLARA LEE
Working up a sweat in school Save the heavy lifting for the gym. Tiong Linshan suggests ways to make use of alternative workout spots on campus. YOU don’t have to be a gym rat to get fit. Having a large campus presents endless opportunities for students to creatively make use of school facilities for an endorphin rush. For those in Hall of Residence 3, the sight of first-year student Kelvin Yau from Nanyang Business School completing his Tabata workouts along the corridor has become the norm. A time-saving Tabata workout can be as short as four minutes, and has been gaining traction among students on a time crunch. The 21-year-old Yau was drawn to Tabata as it maximises the use of both his time and effort. Each set starts with 20 seconds of high intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest. He repeats this circuit eight times. He would begin his workout with upper body exercises, such as push-ups, followed by flutter
kicks and abdomen twists for core strengthening, before finishing off with squats and lunges. This arrangement saves him travelling time, especially when he is not able to make it to the gym. Yau said: “Tabata is a great alternative to get my heart pumping hard. It becomes my wet weather plan when it starts to pour and I can’t head out for my run or to the gym.” Other students find time for exercising on campus by making use of longer breaks in between their classes. As third-year School of Social Sciences student Toh Han Jing does not stay on campus, she exercises during her long breaks in school to make good use of her time. When possible, the 21-year-old dancer takes dance electives so that she can make use of the studio to exercise before class. “I make sure I go to class one hour earlier when the studio is
AN UPHILL TASK: Students can make use of different parts of the campus, such as staircases, to train when the gyms are crowded.
CYCLING TO BE FIT: First-year student Bryan Wu cycles around NTU to get his exercise fix.
completely empty, and I have the entire space to myself to do yoga or dance,” Toh said. Toh also seeks out “small little spots” around school where she can dance. On some days, she can be found dancing on the first level of the School of Biological Sciences (SBS), where a large glass panel acts as a mirror for her to correct her form. This makeshift studio at SBS is popular among dancers when they lack access to proper dance studios on campus. For Bryan Wu, 21, getting some exercise is an added perk of cycling to class. The first-year student from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information cycles around school on a singlespeed bike. This mode of transport gives his legs a vigorous workout, especially when he cycles up the small hills around school. Wu said: “Going uphill is no fun for anyone, but at the same time that’s what I enjoy — putting myself through the paces of it and just feeling my legs burn.” Cycling around school also gets him acquainted with his new environment. “It’s such a big campus, and I feel like most people have left at least half of it unexplored, and this is a good way of getting to know the campus a bit better.” Other students exercise at alternative areas in school as they feel it is more accessible than going to a gym. Rugby player Aqilah Adriana, 21, enjoys doing her HIIT workouts near the field at the Sports and Recreation Centre on days she does not have training. The second-year School of Humanities student supplements these workouts with runs around the campus.
PHOTOS: TIONG LINSHAN
EXERCISING WITH TIME CONTRAINTS: A Tabata workout is perfect for students with limited free time.
This is a way for her to avoid the crowded school gyms, especially during peak hours. Doing the same is third-year School of Social Sciences student Linnet Xue, 21, who breaks out her yoga mat to do core exercises in her room instead. Her workouts consist of oneminute sets of leg raises, planks and crunches. “Sometimes, you want some privacy when you do bodyweight exercises,” said Xue. “I feel less self-conscious and can focus better on what I’m doing,
especially when I want to try new workout moves.” Besides core exercises, Xue also clocks miles on the running path that winds through campus. She finds this a therapeutic way to recharge during the school week. She added: “The campus is actually a really nice place to run, especially during the night and in the early mornings.” With the different ways students utilise the campus space to cater to their respective fitness regimes, there is no excuse not to get your sweat on.
GRAPHIC: DIANE LIM, AMY ONG AND REYNARD ADRIANTO
12-13 SPOTLIGHT 1.
Part-time student, full-time entrepreneur Owner of a social enterprise, an author and also a firstyear student. Sazzad Hossain shares his journey teaching migrant workers with photo editor Christy Yip
IT IS only his first year at university, but 23-year-old Sazzad Hossain is already a chief executive officer (CEO). Four years ago, he set out on a mission unthinkable to most 19-year-olds: teaching English to migrant workers. Today, the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering student — a Bangladeshi immigrant himself — is the founder of Social Development Initiative (SDI) Academy. When asked what inspired him to start a social enterprise at such a young age, he said: “We shouldn’t just wait for opportunities. There’s no such thing as a perfect time.” He started with three eager students, a park bench and a primary school English textbook. Today, SDI boasts a structured curriculum with six learning centres, a dedicated team of eight teachers and more than 5,000 students who have completed the course. SDI has also evolved beyond migrant workers and formed refugee outreach teams in Bangladesh, Malaysia and Germany. With the success and reach of SDI, some may wonder why Sazzad is still in school. The freshman – who is also taking a minor in
business – believes that he still has much to learn, and that university is a gateway to meeting like-minded people who want to do meaningful things together. Sazzad’s initiative made its first breakthrough when he met his partners at a Model United Nations conference held at NTU in 2014. In the same year, they began to participate in competitions such as NTU’s Ideasinc. His team won $10,000 in cash for The Most Socially Responsible Start-up, kick-starting a revenue stream for the enterprise.
“We shouldn’t just wait for opportunities. There’s no such thing as a perfect time. ” Sazzad Hossain, 23 First-year School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering One word of advice Sazzad has for budding social entrepreneurs: “Just having the good intention alone is not enough.” They must also consider how the cause can generate the greatest impact in the most innovative way, added Sazzad.
CHRONICLE 01 3.
1. First-year student Sazzad Hossain giving a preview lesson for students new to SDI Academy 2. First-time volunteer Joshua Tan (right) helps facilitate a group activity where participants share stories in English when prompted a phrase. The second-year Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine student said that SDI is “a very empowering form of community service” and “brings lifelong benefit to the foreign workers”. 3. Mr Israfil, 30, is one of SDI Academy’s dormitory ambassadors. Apart from basic English courses, SDI has also rolled out a mentorship programme to hone the students’ leadership skills. He has grown confident speaking English and is proud to promote SDI as a learning opportunity for his peers he said. 4. From left to right: Milon Md Rashid, Hossain Md Alamgir, Israfil, Noor Uz Zaman. These dorm ambassadors volunteer at SDI’s outreach programmes and assist in organising events to bring the local Bangladeshi community together. 5. The students broke into teams and were challenged to build the tallest structure using straws and paper clips – all while conversing only in English.
SDI is currently looking out for volunteers to help with their media and publicity team. Interested applicants can visit: www.sdi-academy.org
MAKING ORIENTATION A NORM, NOT AN EXCEPTION
OVER a year ago, the University decided to make its freshmen orientation programme more inclusive, by allowing all incoming undergraduates to participate and removing registration fees. In the past, orientation camps here had a cap on the number of students who could sign up, with participation usually granted on a first-come, first-served basis. The University decided to make these changes before the start of the last academic year, after past surveys revealed that less than half of its cohort of 6,000 new students attended orientation activities annually. New rules emphasising inclusivity were also introduced, such as having only all-English cheers so students of minority races would not be marginalised. While most freshmen welcomed the changes, several seniors were worried about the logistics and costs associated with managing a larger and more diverse group of participants, as well as the difficulties they might face in creating adequate bonding exercises for them. In addition, some customary orientation games, only suitable to be played in smaller groups, have been a mainstay across faculties and halls for years. But they may be scrapped in favour of more homogeneous activities
to accommodate a bigger crowd. While these concerns are not unfounded, there is a need for student leaders to be more receptive towards tailoring their activities to serve the greater good, even if it means altering their long-running traditions and working within a tighter budget. Recently, a group of 70 Tamarind Hall residents banded together to execute an inaugural two-day orientation camp for incoming hallmates. While their camp may have paled in comparison to the grandiosity of established camps by older residential halls, it was still a commendable effort that achieved its ultimate goal: providing a stepping stone for new residents to form friendships. A little goes a long way, and it is heartening to see these pioneer residential batches overcome the odds to construct a new community from scratch. New cultures and traditions can always be built, but orientation only happens once. As the transition to university life can be overwhelming, orientation activities are crucial in helping freshmen adjust to an unfamiliar environment and generating a sense of connection to the campus. It would be a pity for anyone to miss out, or feel remotely excluded from this rite of passage.
CHRONICLE CHIEF EDITOR Dewey Sim
OPINION EDITOR Chloe Then
Adora Tan Ignatius Koh
NEWS EDITORS Gracia Lee Natalie Choy
PHOTO EDITOR Christy Yip
Yeo Kai Wen
PRODUCTION SUPPORT Joe Tok Kenny Wong
FACULTY ADVISORS Wu Shangyuan Zakaria Zainal
LIFESTYLE EDITORS Alicia Teng Jovi Ho
BUSINESS MANAGERS Vanessa Tan Vinice Yeo
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GRAPHIC: DIANE LIM
Life in plastic? Not so fantastic Linshan Tiong MUCH has been done in the last five years to bring Singapore to the forefront of environmental sustainability in Asia, be it through developing green shopping malls and housing projects, or introducing an islandwide bike sharing scheme. We’ve been ramping up efforts — that much can be said. It is probably old news by now that the current leader of the free world, President Donald Trump, believes otherwise. But climate change is happening, and it is becoming increasingly evident, as world temperatures peak. Not only was 2016 the hottest year ever recorded, it was also the third year in a row to claim that title — a worrying trend that shows no sign of abating.
Singapore takes a stand
We can see that Singapore, too, is aware of the growing need to rethink our energy consumption. Even corporate buildings are included in the nation’s green efforts — Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Toyo Ito designed the environment-friendly CapitaGreen office building situated in the heart of our Central Business District. Many of us have probably also heard of the government’s latest efforts to make Singapore a Smart Nation. As a country, we are always hungry for more — making things more sustainable, more advanced, more convenient. In the 2016 findings released by the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), Singapore was ranked 14th in terms of meeting EPI’s dual objectives of environmental health
and ecosystem vitality. In that same study, we also came in fifth under climate and energy; EPI measured every nation’s progress in climate and energy by its reduction in carbon emissions. Yet, even with the slew of initiatives being pushed out by the government to promote Singapore as a model for green urban design, we still fall short on environmental responsibility in our daily lives. While local initiatives have sought to encourage environmental responsibility among Singaporeans — like supermarket rebates for shoppers with their own grocery bags — we need to take a more aggressive stance.
Learning from others
We should look to our environmentally-conscious European counterparts, such as Germany. Even though Singapore outranks Germany on EPI’s global overall ranking list, environmental responsibility is a huge part of their citizens’ lives — more so than ours. Singaporean supermarkets could take a leaf out of Germany’s book by charging shoppers for plastic carrier bags. Here, shop owners are extremely liberal with doling out plastic bags for groceries — something I have had to accustom myself to again, after five months of bringing reusable totes everywhere on my exchange programme in Stuttgart last semester. What I also admired about the Germans’ enthusiasm towards recycling was the Pfandsystem they had in place. Directly translated, Pfandsystem means “deposit system”. Shoppers pay a deposit on drink bottles when
they buy drinks in recyclable glass or plastic bottles. On their next trip to the supermarket, they can drop the empty bottles inside a machine to get a return of their deposit. They can use these returns, which come in receipt form, as a partial payment for their groceries. The refunded deposits range from eight to 25 cents, depending on the type of bottle (multi-use or single-use) and its capacity. Besides employing a more punitive approach to encourage ecofriendliness, Singapore could consider such rewards for citizens who are environmentally friendly. In Germany, my flatmates and I would hoard every recyclable bottle we could get our hands on so that we could return them at our neighbourhood Kaufland and get refunds in exchange for them. It was a sight to behold, as families would often return an entire trolley of beer crates and beer bottles at the same time. There are also other ways we can move towards being greener. For a start, hawkers should encourage patrons to bring their own containers if they want to order food to go, instead of dishing out disposable containers. Maybe being friendly to our environment is not in our zeitgeist, but we can always try. So the next time before we book an Uber ride because of a promotion, maybe we should think twice about its environmental impact. It is time to break out that oBike app — we sure could use the exercise, and Mother Earth could do with lesser carbon emissions.
Let's not expect our MRT to be the Shinkansen Ginnette Ng AS WE make our long daily commutes back to Pulau NTU, students might find themselves with an extra task these days — factoring potential transport delays in their journey to the West. If good fortune is not on your side, a one-way trip to school via public transportation could be as long as a Marvel movie. It is no wonder many of us lament about the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) Corporation just as much as we do about the heat and humidity nowadays. We have all seen the harsh comments on Facebook directed at SMRT or our Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan. After all, the infamous SMRT Feedback parody account on Facebook came to fame amid the first train disruption in 2011, and still takes jabs at SMRT when a new incident occurs. The public has not forgotten that investigations revealed SMRT’s maintenance lapses in its operations two years ago. Even so, no amount of internet memes will transform the 30-yearold tracks into the Shinkansen. We will simply have to grin and bear it. SMRT has said most of its recent delays have been from testing out new software and signaling sys-
tems in the older North South Line (NSL) and East West Line (EWL). These upgrades are necessary to support the increasing number of commuters who depend on the MRT every day. Daily ridership is now at a record high of 3.1 million since operations began in 1987, according to the Land Transport Authority. In fact, train delays are not uncommon in cities around the world. In London, the Underground stations may be closed for several months at a time due to extensive renovations.
York City’s famous City Subway network has also scheduled maintenance works that close several stations every week. In 2019, the L line will see a 15-month shutdown that will inconvenience a quarter of a million commuters for necessary servicing and upgrades. Much like Singapore, replacement bus services are used during those extended periods. Commuters complain about the inconvenience, though they often have no choice but to make do. While these solutions have
whenever tourists praised our world-class transportation. Now we are just annoyed and disappointed, as I am, together with the primary school students who did not make it to their oral examinations two weeks ago. For now, it seems we will have to make do with these temporary MRT delays. Unless Magneto is with us, we can only learn to adapt and move on to Plan B or C. That could mean relying more on bus routes or train replacement buses, or giving in to Uber’s unrelenting advertising for a more comfortable ride to your destination. In an ideal world, I would not have to pay $30 for a ride to school to avoid missing my finals, but I GRAPHIC: AMY ONG will not hold it against Singapore for not being a utopia. The trains may be slower, but a worked in these cities, our public transportation network is not ex- good distraction like Netflix or Viu tensive enough to do the same at will make time pass a little faster. And for those of us who are the moment. We only have our train and bus devoted to our studies, there is no networks to rely on despite the fact shame in catching up on lecture that public transportation ridership readings while on the go. Until the new system stabilises has been increasing for 12 consecin the coming months, we will have utive years. The narrative we have all grown to take SMRT’s word for it – that up with about Singapore being our trains will eventually be as efficlean and efficient and moving cient as we once remembered them from the Third World to the First to be. Meanwhile, we can only hope World has raised our expectations that the light at the end of the tunof this city-state. We used to swell with pride nel will come soon.
Is becoming a Smart Nation a smart move? Jasmine Hoe BEING a modern cosmopolitan city, Singapore is a model for other countries in South East Asia. Thriving on constant improvement and innovation, it is no wonder that we are trying to push our technological boundaries as part of a nationwide move toward a “smart city." Following in our nation’s footsteps, NTU has been making a conscious effort to progress forward technologically in recent years. As an NTU student, I feel proud that my school is pioneering new initiatives that can help Singapore to advance as a nation. Last year, we made headlines when the University piloted a project introducing driverless buses on campus grounds. The first of its kind in Singapore, NTU collaborated with the Land Transport Authority to incorporate the Global Positioning System (GPS) and Intelligent Cameras into campus buses to capture surrounding information for the bus navigation system. While these new technological ventures can help to raise NTU’s
GRAPHIC: AMY ONG
reputation as a research university, what does it actually mean for the average student like you and me? As NTU students, we are privileged enough to be in a school that places emphasis on being technologically forward-looking. Recently, the University partnered with Telepod, a Singapore based company that produces scooters, to set up a scooter sharing system on campus.
Students only need to download the mobile application to ride these scooters. This is perfect for students who are seeking travel alternatives besides riding the bus, and is just one example of how NTU is introducing new schemes to help improve a student’s experience. Nonetheless, there are also instances when we face difficulties using technology in NTU. There
may be times when we encounter problems logging into our student accounts on NTULearn. We may also be greeted with an unresponsive screen on occasion, when we log into the Students Automated Registration System (STARS) to bid for our modules. Even though it is heartening to see that the University is embracing technology, it can be a highly stressful affair when our entire
schedule for the semester lies in the hands of an unpredictable machine. It is during such situations that I realise technology has the capacity to be more of a burden than a convenience. Besides Singapore’s intention to move towards a Smart Nation, the issue of cyber-security has also been raised by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during his National Day Rally Speech. This is even more pertinent in light of the malware attack on NTU’s information technology (IT) systems in April this year. Even though no information was lost, the fact that hackers were able to gain unauthorised access to personal information of both students and staff shows that our IT systems need to be better equipped to deal with such attacks. The University needs to ensure that they continually update their systems to keep it cyber-secure. These situations serve to remind us of how murky the waters can be. To benefit from being a Smart Nation, we must first be smart about the challenges that lie ahead, and take precautions whenever we can.
Adele Chiang DESPITE having tried many different versions of wanton mee, I still return to this one store that I have been patronising since I was a cherubic kindergartener. The springy egg noodles coated with homemade chilli, paired with caramelised char siew served with a slight char, gives me comfort. As I alternate between shovelling spoonfuls of noodles into my mouth and savouring the full-bodied soup with a hearty portion of dumplings, I am reminded of my childhood, of how much I thoroughly enjoyed this local delicacy every day after school. Yet, it is no surprise that one day, I will not get to enjoy my favourite bowl of wanton mee when the elderly grandma, who owns the store, retires. After all, she has been cooking for her loyal customers for over 50 years. So, no more wanton mee? Thankfully, this might not be the case. In recent years, younger Singaporeans have been stepping up to the plate and starting up their own hawker stalls. An example of a young hawker is Ms Lois Er, the owner of Wonderfull Nasi Lemak, a stall at Old Airport Road. After graduating with an accounting degree from Nanyang
Business School in 2014, Ms Er decided to set up a hawker stall at the age of 26. Doing so, she thought, could help combine her love for food with her skills in business and accounting. Her younger sister Ms Eunice Er, 23, joined her after graduating from National University of Singapore this year. Nonetheless, having long working hours and taking home a smaller paycheck compared to their counterparts have proven to be a challenge for young hawkers like Ms Er and her sister. Coupled with insufficient manpower and high rental costs, many of them find it difficult to sustain their business in the long run. Despite that, young hawkers are going the extra mile to ensure the highest quality of their food. Mr Lionel Hor, owner of Mr Kneady at The Bedok Marketplace, makes everything from scratch — from the sourdough base of his pizzas to the tomato sauce. In spite of that, as the young hawkers operate at traditionally affordable hawker centres, the public still expects them to keep prices low. There have definitely been attempts to support the interests of these young hawkers so far. One such initiative is a $10,000 grant to 25 individuals awarded by Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore, as part of the inaugural Tiger Street Food Support Fund to support our unique hawker trade in Singapore. Even with corporate initiatives being implemented, we have to be receptive by patronising these stalls as well. Instead of merely frequenting famous stalls operated by elde-
rly hawkers, it is vital that we are open-minded to the more interesting food options prepared by young hawkers as well. Young hawkers, unlike their older counterparts who tend to serve up more traditional dishes, are often food innovators as well, bringing fusion dishes to the table that combine both Asian and Western styles of cooking. These fusion dishes are personal favourites of mine, especially because the mastery of the cook's ingredients shines through in his unique creations. Some examples include Plum & Rice’s umeboshi porridge, A Noodle Story’s Singapore-style ramen, or even Hambaobao’s ayam buah keluak burger. Have you ever had a milo dinosaur croissant for tea? You can now try it at newlyopened Keong Saik Bakery. The two young owners of the bakery pair traditional Singaporean flavours like lup cheong with European-style bread like sourdough or dark rye. When it comes to hawkers, we tend to adopt the “older is better” mindset. But perhaps, in the long run, it might be necessary for us to make a more pronounced effort to support these young hawkers. “If Singaporeans wish to be able to enjoy the hawker heritage for years to come, it’s time to appreciate both young and old hawkers alike,” Ms Er added. Whether it is through patronising their stores or simply leaving a review on Instagram, a little effort will go a long way for these young, passionate hawkers.
GRAPHIC: AMY ONG
Show some support for young hawkers With an ageing hawker scene, young hawkers represent our future and they need more recognition to keep going
The private made public
GRAPHIC: REYNARD ADRIANTO AND DIANE LIM
Sharing your private information online may not necessarily be a bad thing Adora Tan Sub-Editor
A SNAP of your morning run. An Instagram story of your lunch date. A Facebook post of your late night outing. Rings a bell, doesn’t it? From a young age, we’ve been told to not disclose too much personal information online. But now, sharing our private lives on social media is becoming a ritual for most of us. Just how did openly sharing our private lives become a social norm? A safe haven for many, social media is where many of us seek to express ourselves freely. Even as we rely more on social media to connect, it doesn’t mean that we are turning away from meaningful face-to-face interactions. After all, we are innately social creatures. Sharing our daily lives in an intimate manner on social media is merely our new way of communicating with one another. I am aware, though, that I should limit the amount of private information I publicise online. Still, I find myself being carried away on social media, where I may unwittingly reveal more private information than I intend to. As a user of Snapchat, I was drawn to using its location-specific filters, especially when I am in a new location. It then dawned on me that even though the filters did make my snaps more aesthetically pleasing, my personal safety was also at risk. Snapchat is publicly accessible, which meant that anyone could track down my location. Before the advent of social media, people sent text messages as a convenient alternative to face-toface communication. They offered the luxury of asynchronous communication, where people could craft messages at their own pace.
But text messaging did not allow me to instantly and widely broadcast my thoughts or experiences. Whereas with social media today, I can do a live broadcast or post, and receive immediate reactions from my friends. Sharing my private life with more people, and receiving positive feedback, has granted me a feelgood factor that text messaging had failed to provide. Nonetheless, we still need to be wary about how much information we share online. While our social media posts may seem transient – a Facebook post can be deleted immediately, while Instagram stories disappear in 24 hours – the (sometimes careless) thoughts that we share in the public sphere may come back to haunt us when we least expect it. Just this June, Harvard rescinded at least 10 acceptance offers as the students posted racially and sexually offensive remarks on a closed Facebook group Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens. Even though the post was shared within a small circle of about 100 users, the posts did not stay private for long. That said, as long as we exercise caution when we interact on social media, it can definitely be a useful tool for communication. Social media offers an immediately accessible pool of information, making it easier to stay connected, even with the most distant friends. Seeing how my mother was able to reconnect with her classmates from 25 years ago – simply because they had indicated their secondary school on their Facebook profile, reassured me that it will not be hard to keep in touch with a friend through social media. As we become surrounded by more digital technologies, mastering the use of social media becomes a necessity today. Nonetheless, the act of managing how much information to share in a public setting can be a confusing one. This is a phase that we, the digitally connected generation, will have to confront together.
New blood, same goals
Three of NTU’s teams have brushed last year’s Singapore University Games defeats aside and are gearing up towards this year’s competition, which start on 4 Sep
Aerospace Engineering. To help out, seniors have stepped up to fill i n t he g aps — A aron Lin, 33, and Huang Junli, 26, are playing dual roles of studentcoaches to the team. “I do have experience in coaching so I wanted to share my knowledge and help them get better,” said Lin, who is currently doing his master’s degree at NIE. Huang, who is doing a Postgraduate Diploma in Education at the National Institute of Education (NIE), and Lin are currently coaching the national Under-17 team. Going into the tournament having trained together for the past year, Chua is confident t hat t hey will be a more cohesive team.
Kimberly Kwek DESPITE missing out on gold last year, NTU’s netball, handball, and cross country teams have already set their sights for glory in this year’s Singapore University Games (SUniG).
A closely-fought final saw the NTU netball team, then defending champions, lose their title to National University of Singapore (NUS) during last year’s SUniG. NTU led at half-time, but did not sustain the lead and eventually lost 70-52. “I don’t think we took it as a loss, we saw it more as a journey; it was a process that we needed to get ourselves to the Inter-Varsity Games,” said current netball captain, Tan Yan Yi, 20, who was an unused substitute in last year’s competition. The second-year student from the Nanyang Business School added: “We picked ourselves up and the whole team carried on.” Similar to last year, the team will go into SUniG with a relatively new squad because a number of seniors have already graduated. Players felt that the lack of team chemistry in last year’s SUniG cost them the title. “I think we learnt a lot from the player changes and how to cope with the mentality of different players in different seasons,” said 22-year-old Ang Kai Lin, a finalyear student from the School of Art, Design and Media, who played in last year’s final. To bridge the gap between current and incoming players, the team started training earlier in July as compared to previous years, where they only began training during the school term. Training sessions were also more intensive, to help less skilful players catch up with their peers and further boost team chemistry. The team has also begun training at the newly-opened indoor sports hall, The Wave, at the
READY, SET, GO: The cross country team puts last year’s loss behind them by clocking more hours of training for this year’s SUniG. PHOTOS: YEO WEI LUN
Sports and Recreation Centre. The indoor courts at the new facility have parquet flooring, which is similar to their tournament venue, allowing them to better prepare for the upcoming Games. Despite the pressure, the team’s main goal is to qualify for this year’s finals. “When we reach there, then we’ll talk about what we’re going to do. Now it’s really just about taking it one game at a time,” said Tan, who plays midcourt. “I think this group of girls has that level of commitment and I think that’s what differentiates us and is what will push us through.”
This year’s preparation team for the handball focuses on developing both physical and mental strength. Instead of continuing their usual practice of increasing the intensity of their handball training sessions only when the season approached, the women’s team has decided to maintain the same level of physical training throughout the year. Commenting on the change in strategy, team captain Chanel Ding, 23, said: “The old regime was pointless because we risk higher injury and being worn out more easily.”
CONFIDENCE IS KEY: NTU women’s handball captain Chanel Ding (right) feels that her team has what it takes to be champions; they just need to believe in themselves.
Having the right mentality is also important for this year’s Games as the players prepare themselves to enter the new season with a new team, after many seniors graduated last year. “When our seniors were present, we would look up to them and learn from them, but we also always relied on them,” said Toylene Teo, 22, a final-year student from the School of Biological Sciences. “Now that they’ve graduated, there’s a certain pressure on us that gives us the positive motivation to push ourselves more.” While the goal for this year is to win, the most important thing for Ding is for the team to play as one. “I want us to be able to step on court confident and to remain calm; and when we step off, regardless of the score, to feel that we’re still champions, because that would be phenomenal,” said Ding, a fourthyear student from the School of Social Sciences. For the men’s team, they will enter the court without a coach this year, after losing to NUS 35-22 in the finals last year. They were unable to find a replacement for their previous coach, who left after last season. But that has not hindered the team’s progress. “Even though we had a coach last year, he wasn’t around so much. He only appeared nearing the competition period,” said team captain Clarence Chua, 22, a second-year student from the School of Mechanical and
The cross country team narrowly missed beating NUS in last year’s SUniG, with both the male and female teams coming in a close second by two points. Cross country is competed on a points-based system where each runner receives the points that correspond to their placing. The points of the first f our runners are then added up and the team with the lowest number of points wins. “Although it was close, we were also a little disappointed. We never know when we’ll get so close to NUS again,” said Lester Tan, 24. The third-year student from the School of Social Sciences competed in the event last year, coming in 10th overall, with his teammates coming in third, fourth and seventh — accumulating 24 points. Tan’s NUS competitors came in first, second, eighth and 11th to win the race with a low of 22 points. This year, the members have decided to increase the number of training sessions and take it upon themselves to train, even in their own time. But the road to gold is not just about training intensively. Captain Koh Zuo Hong, a second-year Sports Science and Management student, emphasises a lot on team bonding, which he said was something they overlooked last year. Outside of training sessions, they have meals together and schedule more outings to give teammates a chance to have fun together. Koh said: “I hope these bonding sessions will let everyone know each other better and treat one another as a second family.”
One hit at a time: Road to KL
WORTH IT: Timothy Goh clinched the bronze medal at the 2017 SEA Games. The Republic beat Thailand 3-1 on penalties on 26 Aug, bringing Goh's medal tally to two in the last two SEA Games. PHOTO: YEO WEI LUN
Making it to the SEA Games is hard work. SEA Games athlete Timothy Goh reveals the challenges he faced balancing school, family, and sports, as he prepared for the Games last month Darren Ching WHEN it comes to scoring crucial goals, the Singapore men’s hockey team can count on Timothy Goh to deliver the goods. The third-year Sports Science and Management (SSM) student bagged the equaliser in the 2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games finals against neighbours and traditional rivals Malaysia. The game ended with the countries drawn at 2-2 after 70 minutes played and a penalty shoot-out ensued, but the Republic eventually lost 3-4 on penalties. “Scoring the equaliser was definitely a highlight but my proudest moment was the first time I played for Singapore,” said the 23-year-old centre forward, who has been playing hockey for the last 13 years.
Making the switch
Goh has come a long way since he picked up his first hockey stick when he was 10. At 20 years old, he was handed his first international cap during the Asian Games qualifiers in Bangladesh. But his versatility was put to the test
when the former Raffles Junior College player was asked to compete in unfamiliar territory for last month’s SEA Games — indoor hockey. Indoor hockey made its debut in last month’s Games, held from 19 to 30 Aug in Kuala Lumpur. Unlike field hockey, which is played on an artificial turf field with 11 players on each team, the six-a-side indoor hockey is played on a parquet or synthetic court, with downward sloping sideboards around the playing area. Goh said: “At first, I was bit apprehensive having not played it (indoor hockey) before. I thought it was a lesser version of field hockey. “But after the first few training sessions, the fast nature of the game got me hooked." Despite being a seasoned hockey player, the Hall 16 resident took no shortcuts and trained hard four times a week – each session lasting four hours or more. On the challenges of picking up this variant of the sport, Goh said indoor hockey requires players to remain low throughout the match, thus straining their thighs and lower back. He added that the game’s fast and intense nature forces players to develop swifter reflexes as they have to continuously change their direction in a smaller court. Compared to a field hockey pitch, which is slightly smaller than a football field, the size of an indoor hockey court is roughly the same as a basketball court. To adapt to these differences, Goh made it a point to train outside his scheduled training sessions. “During the summer, I went to the gym twice and ran thrice a week in
addition to my national training sessions,” said Goh.
Sacrificing family time
As preparations for the SEA Games intensified, Goh had to compromise on sleep and family time. But he made sure to prioritise his academics, by spending most of his free time catching up on school work, even during overseas competitions. “I’ve went on overseas competitions since 17, so it becomes easier to know when to squeeze out that few extra hours to study,” he said. For most of the week, Goh’s classes in the University begin at 8.30am. After a full day of lessons, he then travels to Woodlands Sports Stadium from NTU for training, leaving him with as little as five hours of sleep each day. But this was not the biggest sacrifice Goh had to make. Weekend training trips saw him missing numerous extended family gatherings in the past five months. He even had to cancel on family holidays on other occasions. While his parents have been supportive of his pursuits, Goh, an only child, said: “I look forward to such adventures when training trips take me to places like Australia or Bangladesh, but it’s unfortunate not being able to travel with my family for so long.” Though balancing work, life and sport has not been the easiest of tasks, he has no intention of giving up hockey anytime soon. “So long as I continue to be selected and my body is able, I want to continue playing for the nation until I grow old,” he said.
Singapore University Games 2017 Cross Country Date: 16 Sep Flag-off: 8am (men's), 8.15am (women's) Location: West Coast Park Distance: 6km Women's football 4 Sep: NTU vs SIM @ NTU SRC, 7.30pm 7 Sep: NTU vs SMU @ NTU SRC, 7.30pm 14 Sep: NTU vs SIT @ NTU SRC, 7.30pm 18 Sep: NTU vs NUS @ NUS SRC, 7.30pm 21 Sep: Finals @ NUS SRC, 7.30pm Handball (men's) 11 Sep: NTU vs SMU @ NUS SRC, 8.45pm 13 Sep: NTU vs SIM @ NUS SRC, 8.45pm 19 Sep: NTU vs NUS @ NUS SRC, 8.45pm Handball (women's) 11 Sep: NTU vs SIM @ NUS SRC, 8.45pm 13 Sep: NTU vs SMU @ NUS SRC, 8.45pm 19 Sep: NTU vs NUS @ NUS SRC, 8.45pm Netball 9 Sep: NTU vs SIT @ SUTD, 9.30am 11 Sep: NTU vs SIM @ SUTD, 7pm 15 Sep: NTU vs NUS @ SUTD, 8.30pm 18 Sep: NTU vs SMU @ SUTD, 7pm
* fixtures are for sports featured in this issue of the Nanyang Chronicle.
The future is female for football Football may be viewed by many as a “man’s sport”, but women’s football is fast gaining popularity around the world, including in Singapore play and be aggressive before the respect is earned.”
Going for gold
The NTU women’s football team has already shown that they are not to be trifled with.
“When I mention that
I play soccer, men will just stare at me and think I'm joking.” Bhanu Krishnasamy, 22 NTU footballer
MIDFIELD DYNAMO: Bhanu Krishnasamy (middle) does not let her dimunitive frame define her game.
Adeena Nagib FOOTBALL used to be a sport that only men would play professionally in Singapore. But now, more women are swapping their heels for muddy boots instead. Since 2017, the Women’s Premier League (WPL), the top tier of women’s football in Singapore, has been divided into two divisions — the WPL and a new Women’s National League. With this new two-tier playing structure, aimed at meeting the increasing demand for women’s football in the Republic, five additional teams have registered to compete. There are now 14 women’s football clubs, an increase from 11 in 2016.
“Football is a sport. It doesn't matter if you're a woman or a man playing it. The ball is round, so (you just need to) kick it.” Nur Syafiqah, 21 NTU and Singapore footballer Even in video games, women’s football has shown progress. In 2015, 12 women’s national teams were featured in FIFA 16, an Electronic Arts (EA) football simulation video game, featuring nota-
ble countries like England and the United States. In EA’s latest version, FIFA 17, the number of teams increased to 14 with the inclusion of Norway and New Zealand. But challenges remain for Singapore’s female football teams. The Singapore women’s national team, the Lionesses, were unable to compete in the recent Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. The requirement set by the Singapore National Olympic Council to compete in the Games was to achieve at least a draw against Myanmar in the Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup Qualifiers back in April, but the team ended up losing 4-0. Nur Syafiqah Peer Mohamed, 21, who plays for both the NTU women’s football team and the Lionesses, shared that despite the setback, she remains optimistic about the future of women’s football in Singapore. “We are still developing, and we see improvement,” said Syafiqah, a second-year student from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “I was disappointed but now, 2019’s SEA Games is the goal.” Despite her optimism, changing traditional mindsets about the sport remains a challenge. Women’s football is often deemed to be played only for recreation and is not seen as a priority. Syafiqah’s mother, for instance,
PHOTOS: YEO WEI LUN
“Women are more eager to learn and are always asking questions. With men, they believe that they know, so they don't always listen.”
In the past decade, they have won the championship title nine consecutive times, save for their loss to National University of Singapore in the Singapore University Games (SUniG) last year. With new head coach Mohammad Herman Zailani, the team’s training regime has intensified and the girls remain hungry to bring the gold home. “I can see their desire to win,” said the 37-year-old. “They are dedicated and want success, making it easier for me to work with them.” Having previously coached the Singapore Management University (SMU) women’s football team for a year in 2006, Mr Herman has seen the support for women’s football increase significantly. “Support was minimal then. The SMU girls had to go out of school to train and even pay for their coaches,” he said.
“Now, NTU trains twice a week and has a goalkeeper coach alongside a head coach.” The former Tampines Rovers Football Club coach notes that there is a stark difference between coaching a men’s team and a women’s team. “Women are more eager to learn and are always asking questions. With men, they believe that they know, so they don’t always listen,” he said. The Lionesses are currently placed 98th out of 177 countries in the Fifa rankings, comparatively higher than the ranking for the men’s football team at 171st out of 211 countries. But Mr Herman concedes that there is still room for improvement for female footballers. The difference in technical ability between men and women footballers is substantial, mostly due to females starting at a later age than males because of a lack of competitive opportunities. “Girls mostly start playing at the tertiary level. Starting off late makes it an even bigger challenge because football is not an easy sport to master,” he said. Despite this hurdle, the head coach believes that Singapore’s best route to international success is through women’s football. Mr Herman added: “Women’s football is relatively new everywhere, so we’re at the same footing as everyone else. “Except for teams like USA and Germany, Singapore is not as far off from the rest as compared to men’s football.”
Mr Mohammad Herman Zailani, 37 Head Coach NTU women's football team was hesitant about her pursuing football, saying that women can only play until a certain age “before having to find a husband and settle down.” But Syafiqah, a Manchester United fan, refuted. “Football is a sport. It doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or a man playing it. The ball is round, so (you need to) just kick it.” Bhanu Krishnasamy, 22, agrees with her NTU teammate Syafiqah. Having a petite built, Bhanu said her male peers often doubt her ability to play football. “When I mention that I play soccer, men will just stare at me and think I’m joking,” said the 1.45-metre tall midfielder. Bhanu, a first-year Sports Science and Management student added: “It’s the stereotype. You have to show them that you can
HEAR ME ROAR: Nur Syafiqah is focused on improving herself for the 2019 SEA Games.