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Love Happens...

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Ballerina underwater

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A lesson in cooking

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Hall security breaches: who is to blame GOH KAI SHI HALLS of Residence 3 and 16 are known for having the tightest security of all the hostels, with locked entrances to all their blocks. But even they are vulnerable to intruders. Ironically, the people making it easier for unwanted guests to enter are more often than not the students. Notices asking residents to stay alert and take precautions against outsiders are displayed on every floor in Hall 3. However, they generally go unheeded as some students take a more relaxed stance towards security. Besides locked gates and doors, the security guards of the two halls have hourly patrols where they inspect every floor of every block. They arrive for their shift at around 7pm and leave at 7am the next morning. Jasper Tan, 21, a Hall 16 resident, feels that because the two halls have the greatest amount of security measures, people tend to take security for granted. As a result, these tougher measures are compromised when some stairwells are deliberately left unlocked, and paper is stuffed into the locks of doors to prevent them from snapping shut. Students are often behind these security infringements, according to Mr Michael Ee Tan Chee, the security guard at Hall 3. “Students are lazy. They are afraid of losing or forgetting their access cards so they leave the doors open to allow themselves to come back in,” said the 65-year old who has been working as the security guard there for three years. Therefore, despite the heavy security surrounding Halls 3 and 16, there have been serious breaches. Just last year, two separate incidents of

peeping occurred in the female bathrooms of both halls, as confirmed by Mr Ee and other hall residents. More than 20 peeping tom incidents have been reported on campus in the past nine years, according to a report in the Nanyang Chronicle earlier this year. The Chronicle has observed that it is easy to bypass the security system and enter by trailing a resident with the access card when he opens the gates. There have been incidents where residents let strangers enter without questioning them, even if they do not look like students. Siau Ming En, 19, a Hall 3 resident, recalls letting in a middle-aged man previously. “I thought he looked like someone’s father, so I didn’t question him,” the first-year student at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information said. The presidents of the Junior Common Room Committee and Senior Hall Fellows of both halls have declined to comment. Dean of Students, Professor Lok Tat Seng, also the Senior Hall Fellow of Hall 3, said the “security of halls is an important aspect of residential living and we take any breach in security very seriously”. Improvements have been made in the wake of those incidents, such as the installation of locks on the toilets of more halls over the past two semesters. Since the Nanyang Chronicle began its investigations a month ago, residents of Hall 3 noticed a sign warning students against wedging the exit door, threatening eviction for non-compliance. Hall 16 resident Tan feels these reminders and warnings are a timely way to ensure their blocks remain safe. “The hall office can send reminder emails from time to time to reinforce security issues and keep residents alert,” he said.

WIDE OPEN: Most students don’t question strangers waiting to be let in. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION | NG JUN SEN


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Nanyang MBA Programme 71st in the world Local programme wins accolades with its many strengths Pearl Lee THE Nanyang Masters of Business Administration (MBA) programme has moved up 10 places to the 71st position in the 2009 global MBA rankings by The Economist. The result was published in the October 13th issue of the magazine. T h i s i s t he be st r a n k i ng it has achieved since its first appearance on the list in 2004 at 93rd position. For the past six years, the Nanyang MBA has maintained its position as one of the top 100 MBA programmes globally. Apart from its global ranking, the Nanyang MBA has also fared well regionally. The programme is currently ranked sixth in Asia and Australasia regional ranking, a single place improvement from last year. Earlier this year, the Nanyang MBA programme was also ranked 24th by The Financial Times, the first time a Singapore-based

DIVERSITY: Students from all over the world gather to learn here. PHOTO | COURTESY

university made it to the top 25. Now in its eighth year, The Economist’s global MBA rankings assesses MBA programmes from a student’s perspective. It ranks fulltime MBA programmes according to their abilities to provide what students deem most important. Over the past 21 years, The Economist has surveyed almost 150,000 students on why they want an MBA, and the four main reasons that have emerged consistently are:

new career opportunities, personal development and educational experiences, increases in salary, and the potential to network. “The reason why we are able to improve by 10 places is that the school has made improvements in terms of career opportunities for the graduates,” said Mr Narendra Aggar wal, Director of Public Affairs of Nanyang Business School (NBS). NBS was ranked fifth globally

under the criteria of ‘diversity of recruiters’, attesting to the diverse businesses that graduates can develop careers in. “Nanyang MBA’s career services has been able to link graduates up with more employers from a wide range of industries, and their career prospects have definitely brightened upon graduation,” added Mr Aggarwal. The school has engaged former students actively and is expanding its overseas alumni network. Career and f inancial talks as well as social evenings are regularly organised for graduates to socialise with each other, said Mr Aggarwal. “T hey ca n sha re work experiences and learn from one another in all aspects of life.” Goh Wan Ling, a third-year NBS undergraduate, attended such an alumni dinner in September, and was surprised that the alumni were so willing to take time off to speak to them despite busy schedules. “I definitely gained a lot of insight,” said the 21-year-old, as she was able to network with the distinguished alumni, and also engaged in friendly dialogue with them.

Debating on Europe Going from waste to wonder Goh Kai Shi

Green technology research centre aims to increase talent pool locally Maryam Mokhtar T H E de ve lopme nt of g r e e n technology may give rise to greener pastures for both the environment and students here. The launch of a new research ce nt r e for wa s te -r e c yc l i ng technology is coupled with plans to groom students for a future in the environmental sector. The Residues and Resource Re c la m at ion Ce nt r e ( R 3C ) , launched on October 5th, is the latest centre to be opened under the Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute (NEWRI), a brainchild of NTU. Two other centres dealing with water management, the DHI-NTU Water and Environment Resesarch Centre and Education Hub and the Singapore Membrane Technology Centre, which have been in operation since 2007, were also officially launched on the same day. NEWRI, launched in March 2008 by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, aims to position Singapore as a leading hub for environmental and water

technology. As part of NEWRI’s objectives, more postgraduate studies that involve collaboration with top universities such as Stanford will be offered on top of the existing post-graduate programmes related to the field. This will be to encourage the growth of individuals who will continue to develop environment and water technology. It is integral for students to be well-informed and keen on exploring and expanding the water and environment sectors, said Ms Sofiah Jamil, a research analyst in nontraditional security studies from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. “It is great that the school and the countr y as a whole are moving towards ‘green’ te c h nolog y, e s p e c i a l l y i n Singapore, where water is such a vital resource,” she said. R 3C’s foc u s w i l l be on developing research strategies that allow for conversion of waste into reusable energies, as well as finding more strategies for environmentally-friendly waste-water management. The centre will collaborate w it h wa ste ma nage me nt c om p a n i e s h e r e , s u c h a s Sembcorp, Keppel Seghers as well as the National Environmental Agency (NEA).

Students interested in Europe had a chance to experience its political and social culture at Discover Europe on October 13th at the Nanyang Auditorium. T he event was graced by Ambassador Holger Standertskjöld, the head of the Delegation of the European Commission (EC) in Singapore. Now in its sixth year, the event aims to inspire Singapore students to visit or further their studies in Europe. The highlight of the day was a stiff fight between two debate teams with three members each from the three major universities in Singapore. The motion for the debate was: “Corporate Social Responsibility is the key to a competitive European Union”. The winning proposition team, consisted of Hendrik Cluver, Marcus Lim Tao Shien and Jonathan

Koh Qiong Hui from NTU, NUS and SMU respectively. The two best speakers were also from the proposition. Jason Poh, 25, felt that the debate was an eye-opener. “Most of the points that were brought up in the debate were things that I did not know about,” said the third-year student from the School of Art, Design & Media. Other activities held throughout the day included career seminars, language classes held by various member states’ representatives, as well as various exhibits on European culture and history. C hew Si n Yee, a secondyear student from the School of Biological Sciences, felt that the event allowed students to find out more about the potential oppor t u n it ie s t he y h av e i n Europe. “I was more exposed to the culture in Europe, and had a chance to see what education and working in Europe was like,” said the 20-year-old.

news flash President of the united States Barack Obama lauded Singapore's "legendary" founding father Lee Kuan Yew, as he sought advice ahead of his first trip to Asia since taking office. Mr Obama said that he was looking forward to hearing his views on the evolving situation in the region. The Monetary Authorit y of Singapore said the economy has moved beyond the initial postcrisis bounce of growth and will continue to expand as genuine demand begins to stabilise around the world. But Singaporeans must prepare for a 'slower and steadier' pace of expansion next year. U n e mp l oy m e n t f i g u r e s in Singapore rose slightly to a seasonally adjusted 3.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2009, after remaining steady at 3.3 per cent in the previous quarter. FAMILIES with children or relatives who have disabilities now have a Government-backed Special Needs Trust Company which will provide for the care of their disabled family members after they are gone. A SHOT of the H1N1 vaccine will cost $29 at the 18 polyclinics islandwide when it arrives in Singapore in about a week. The price was agreed upon by the two health-care clusters, Singapore Health Ser vices and National Healthcare Group, to make the vaccine affordable to everyone. L ast ye ar, the school dropout rate hit a targeted low of 1.5 per cent, or less than 1,000 students, half of that in 2006 when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong set the target. THE fourth local university will open in 2011. It will be named the Singapore University of Technology and Design, or SU for short. Its president will be Professor Thomas Magnanti, the former engineering dean at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. ASEAN e n v i r o n m e n t ministers have formed a working group on Climate Change, to be chaired by Thailand. It aims to promote closer regional cooperation and more effective regional response to the climate change situation. An Indian doctor working in 600 B.C. might have been the world's f irst plastic surgeon, according to the Science and Technology Heritage Exhibition at New Delhi's National Science Centre, which showcases the advances and discoveries with which the country says it should be credited. many Americ ans suffer from a chronic lack of sleep, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It says the problem is a bigger public health problem than is generally recognised.

ADJUDICATION: Ambassador Standertskjöld (centre) watches as the debaters slug it out. PHOTO | COURTESY


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GER-PEs make up a quarter of new course New programme appears to lack variety in core courses offered Wang Simin The pioneer batch of Sport Science and Management (SSM) students need to clear more than twice the number of General Education Requirement Prescribed Electives (GER-PEs) than their peers from other schools. In their course allocation, it was stated that they have 33 Academic Units (AUs) worth of GER-PEs. In comparison, students doing t he Bachelor of Engi neer i ng programme, for example, must clear 15 AUs of GER-PEs which

accounts for about 10 per cent of the total requirement of 154 AUs. At t he Nanyang Business School, Accountancy and Business majors must complete six AUs of GER-PEs which is just over five per cent of their 108 AUs three-year programme. The SSM programme, which was launched this academic year, requires its students to spend close to a quarter of their total requirement of 127 AUs on GERPEs. Faculty said that the balance of classes is adequate, however. The students must clear five courses related to arts, humanities and social sciences, two from business and management, as well as four from science, technology and society, making a total of 11 courses.

Above these 33 AUs worth of GER-PEs, 18 AUs of their academic requirement are allocated to un rest r icted elect ives ( U Es ) , amounting to 51 AUs, some 40 per cent of their coursework. Some SSM students felt that the large number of GER-PEs was unnecessary. Fi r st-yea r st udent Hua ng Huijing, 19, pointed out that many of the GER-PEs are irrelevant to the field they are specialising in. T he s e GE R-PE s m a ke up nearly half of her workload this semester. “It is all right to have a few GER-PEs and UEs, but they should not make up the majority of our curriculum,” she said. Fellow freshman Rose Tan also noticed that the core courses the degree offers is currently limited.

“SSM is a new course, and that is why many sports-related courses have not been established yet,” the twenty-year-old said.

“SSM has enough core courses for its students to specialise.” Chow Jia Yi Assistant Professor Despartment of Physical Education & Sport Science

Regarding the lack of courses, Assistant Professor Chow Jia Yi from the Department of Physical Education & Sport Science said:

“SSM has enough core courses for its students to specialise in.” Even so, Tan hopes the school will offer more sports-related courses in the future. “Since the 35 students in our cohort are generally active, we hope for more courses that involve more practical work,” she added. Currently, the core courses these students take involve only lectures. However, another SSM student, 21-year-old Chew Swee Seng feels it is fine to take more GER-PEs than the other schools. “It is all right because we have less core modules, though I would prefer to have more sports-related modules.” But coursemate Kelvin Chua, 22, disagrees. “We are from SSM, which is not a general degree.”

Segregation causes stir Bringing life to virtual humans Cai Zhimin news editor

THE organisers of NTU’s Super Networking Sessions have come under fire for splitting students into two sessions based on their grades. Students who were allocated the later, 4.30pm slot were left out of the talks and presentations by companies, which started at 1.30pm. The organisers, however, say the purpose of the event was to recruit top students, and that the event is open to all. Phua Tiong Lee, 24, said: “We missed out a lot of information on the graduation programme of fe r ed by t he d i f fe r e nt compa n ie s . So i n t he e nd , we actually asked those who attended for information." T h e f i n a l-y e a r s t u d e n t from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineer ing speculated that students with at least a second upper honours would be able to secure the earlier slot. Desiree Wong, 22, a final-year student at the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, was also sorted into the later session. She noted t hat t hese prospective employers appeared le s s e nt hu s i a s t ic to s h a r e information at their booths. There were also insufficient pamphlets for all students as those in the earlier slot had taken most of them, she said. W hile st udents were not informed of the differentiation, such a practice does not appear to be foreign to them. Joel Thomas Cheong, 25, said: “It is well-known that some government agencies only hire first class candidates, so do oil companies like Shell and Exxon." “It is not a secret. Ever yone shou ld k now t hat such differentiation occurs,"

the recent graduate from the School of Materials Science and Engineering added. However, not all students are complaining. V i ncent Kua n , a t h i rdyear student, welcomed the differentiation. “I’d rather talk to employers who are already aware of my GPA situation. At least they are still keen to network with me despite my grades, which means I still stand a chance." On behalf of the Career & Attachment Office, Senior Assistant Director, Mdm Wong Mun Yee Lora, explained that t he pu r pose of N T U Super Networking Day is to allow companies with very stringent hiring criteria to meet and recruit NTU’s top students. Previously, only selected st udents who met t hose companies’ specif ied requirements could attend the networking session. Now, however, the event was open to all. She added that events such as the Career Fair, Recruitment Talks and Campus Interviews are also open to all students regardless of GPA to bring them equal job opportunities. “Perhaps all of us should have the chance to attend the talks,” said Desiree Wong. Phua felt more pr ior it y should be given to students who do not do as well academically to increase their chances of landing a job. However, Jeremy Toh, 24, a first-class honours graduate from Nanyang Business School noted that the situation was beyond the school’s control. “The companies have their own needs too. The school is only the middleman and as much as they can push, they have to listen to the company.” “Even if we students disagree, we are not the hirers. This is how the real world works,” said Cheong.

Emmanuelle Soultanian W h i l e c a p a b l e of n a t u r a l interaction and empathy, the confidant you seek solace from in the future may not even be human, said Professor Nadia Thalmann, the pioneer of Virtual Humanity research. As the new director of the Institute for Media Innovation (I M I), Prof T halmann has 30 years of experience researching virtual humans and hopes that her collaboration can help develop the sector in NTU. “For now, there is some research on Virtual Humans spread out in various schools,” said the former professor at the University of Geneva.

“They should be able to interact fully with us as real humans do.” Professor Nadia Thalmann Director Institute for Media Innovation

Her multidisciplinar y academic background, combining degrees in Psychology, Biology, Chemistry and Quantum Physics, was a key factor in advancing her research. The study of Virtual Humans involves the reconstruction of ever y a spec t of hu ma n life, collaborating with various subject field professionals to recreate human anatomy, recreational activities, fashion trends, and even hairstyles. It wa s on ly a f te r Ste ve n Spielberg’s 1995 movie, Jurassic Park, which prominently featured life-like virtual recreations of dinosaurs, that the idea of virtual humans gained popularity. According to Prof Thalmann, there is a strong need to attain

PIONEERING WORK: Prof Thalmann seeks to reconstruct all aspects of human life. PHOTO | COURTESY

interactivit y with the Vir tual Humans. She wants them to be “conscious of their environment, conscious of our presence, so we can naturally interact and learn from them what information they observed”. The practical applications of her research fall under interestingly varied genres. I n f a s h ion , for e x a m ple , shoppers will be able to virtually recreate themselves online and try on clothes without physically having to do so. Doctors stand to benefit from advances in Virtual Humans as well, as the simulated model can accurately represent the patient’s

anatomy and physiology. “A n y do c tor c a n ac c e s s the individual 3D clones and understand how the organs are present ly f unctioning,” Prof Thalmann said, adding that the technology can even be extended to include virtual surgery. A future in which Virtual Hu ma n s cou ld ac t a s c lose confidants is not unrealistic, according to the expectations P rof T ha l ma n n ha s for t he technology. “They should be able to interact fully with us as real humans do, with memory, capacity for relat ionsh ips and developed personalities,” she said.


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New philosophies for HSS

A smooth journey to the west Student enterprise aims to benefit peers as they journey to school Maxie Aw Yeong

A NEW LEADER: Bringing soul into a technological university. PHOTO | GRACE AU YONG

Lau Liang Tong CHANGES are expected at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) as Professor Alan Chan Kam-Leung took over as the new Dean of the school from October 1st. He aims to turn NTU into a “technological university with a soul” through expanding its humanities and interdisciplinary studies divisions. “We currently have only six divisions, which is relatively small. We need to work on key areas like Philosophy and History,” said the professor, who specialises in Chinese philosophy and religion.

“We need to work on key areas like Philosophy and History.” Professor Alan Chan Dean for School of Humanities and Social Sciences

History is currently offered in NTU as a minor but not as a major, while Philosophy is not offered at all. Prof Chan hopes to start with a Minor in Philosophy and gradually develop it into a major. “We have to tailor it to fit our context, placing the emphasis of our Philosophy curriculum on Asian Philosophy,” he said. P r of C h a n w a s b o r n i n Hong Kong and is married to a Singaporean. He has been in Singapore for 19 years and believes Religious Studies should be introduced i n a mu lt i-religiou s conte x t like Singapore, where mutual understanding between religions

is of utmost importance. It is likely to fall under the division of Philosophy. “Asian Philosophy overlaps w it h r e l ig ion . For e xa mple, Buddhism is a major religion that also harbours a deep philosophical tradition,” explained Prof Chan. A side f rom grow ing HSS’ curriculum, Professor Chan also hopes NTU’s curriculum will allow students to take a wider variety of subjects, which will equip students with the skills to tackle and connect different topics. “Education is not a product, but a process,” he said. He added that it is important the institution imparts not only a skill, but also encourages certain habits and disciplines of the mind. “T his includes the abilit y to think, to formulate ideas, to defend new ideas, and to question assumptions," said Prof Chan. "Five years from now, skills you lear n today will become obsolete, but the habits of mind, and discipline of radical thinking and analysis will last you a whole lifetime.” Prof Chan, who has numerous overseas affiliations with major universities, hopes to implement a structured exchange programme for HSS students. “We can link up with a school that complements our strength and send a whole class of 25 students to take their classes,” he said. He feels that this will give students greater exposure and force them out of their comfort zone. Professor Chan also wants students to be more vocal and speak up. “A s i a n s a r e s t i l l m o r e conser vat ive. I’ll li ke to see students give more suggestions, and have more say in decisions that concern them.”

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NTU students living in the east of Singapore may soon be able to travel to school in comfort, thanks to two students from the National University of Singapore (NUS). They have set up A Cosy Express (ACE), a chartered bus service to cater to students staying further away from school. It will serve students of both universities. One of the founders of ACE, Ashli Koe, stays in the East and has always had problems reaching school on time. “We have observed a need for such a service, especially for students staying in the NorthEast and East areas,” said the 22-year-old final-year business student. The buses will pick up students f rom specif ic M RT stat ions straight to school, without any stop-over in between. The bus holds 45 people, and for $3.50 per tr ip, ACE plans to ferry them between their respective schools and 10 estates.

They plan to expand their service to more areas if there is enough demand. The ride should be 45 minutes to an hour, and the first bus should alight students in time for the 8.30am lecture. The service will tentatively start next semester, as they had problems with the administration in NTU, and a lack of demand from NUS.

“We hope to see this as an inter-university collaboration.” Ashli Koe Founder of ACE

They have given out flyers in NTU, and have sent out emails to NUS students. ACE has been getting good response from students since the start of their publicity efforts. First-year Nanyang Business School student, Wee Min Yu, 20, welcomes this idea. “I will sign up for this service to get the bus to send me to my hall every Monday,” she said. Wee added that she will use the bus service to travel from her Pasir Ris home to school, should

she not get a place in NTU’s Halls of Residence next year. N US Facult y of Ar ts and Social Sciences student, Siow Qin, 20, thinks this service is useful, as it makes coming to school more convenient. However, her concer n is whether the ser v ice will be affected by traffic jams, which are common in the morning. Compared with taking the MRT, Siow added “a full journey by bus might take longer if there is a jam". In addition to ACE, seven NTU students have started a company, Farevalue, to provide bus services out of NTU. “We hope to cater to fellow students. We understand that after project meetings, it’s sometimes late and they cannot catch the last bus,” said Owen Lee, 23, a thirdyear Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student involved in the project. Farevalue was the last project of their Entrepreneurship minor, explained Lee. They too plan to star t t heir ser v ices nex t semester. More information about ACE can be found at http://a-cosyexpress.blogspot.com, and more information about Farevalue can be found on their Facebook page.

Speed bumps for arts-based research Kyle Leung A s U R EC A—t he s c hool’s undergraduate research programme—enters its sixth year, calls have intensified for a greater understanding of research in the areas of humanities, arts and social sciences. Dr Da n ie l Je r n iga n , 32 , Assistant Professor at the Division of English at t he School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) and professor-mentor for URECA, said the programme “does not necessarily give credit to humanities research”. Esther Wang, 22, a graduate student at HSS, also felt that “URECA is very much catered towards the engineering side”. All URECA projects require students to produce A1-size posters to show professors for a round of presentation that constitutes 20 per cent of the grade. In contrast to the v isual nature of science and engineering exper iments, humanities research consists of purely textbased academic papers. Con s e q u e nt l y, s om e humanities students who had par ticipated in U RECA have said the poster presentation component is not relevant to their type of research. The URECA office maintained there is sufficient f lexibility with competent judging in all

GRAPHIC | Sreya Banerjee

fields according to well-defined (assessment) criteria. A not her issue is t he diff icu lt y in obtaining reimbursement for humanities research expenditure, according to Stanley Tang, a third-year student from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information. Under URECA guidelines, each project can claim $400 to $600 per academic year. Howe ver, a major it y of the items listed by URECA as eligible for claims belong to the categor y of science and engineering-based quantitative research. They do not cater to qualitative research expenses, such as monetar y reimbursement of survey participants, according

to Tang, 23. I n respon se, t he U R EC A office has said that it has “no plans to review the list of nonclaimable expenses”. Wit h t he spot l ig ht on URECA, Professor Alan Chan Kam-Leung, Dean of the College of Humanites, Arts and Social Sciences, said that st udents a nd fac u lt y me mbe r s mu st identify such issues and push for change. O nc e a s t r on g s e n s e of community and partnership in NTU is established, Prof Chan said that support, understanding and synergy across all areas of academic research in NTU would naturally follow. “After all, we are united by the common goal of intellectual curiosity.”


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Warning signs Educating about quakes the masses on Lim Wei Li Singaporeans could be in for the biggest earthquake “ride” of their lives, lasting up to five minutes, predicts Professor Kerry Sieh of the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS). His research has forecast a devastating earthquake to hit the region of the Mentawai Islands near Sumatra within the next few decades. It could reach a magnitude of 8.8 on t he R ic hter sca le, possibly setting off a tsunami and threatening the lives of about a million people along the coast of Sumatra. This predicted earthquake will only be 500 kilometres away, the closest ever to Singapore. EOS, based in NTU, has recently been active in this field of research, with Prof Sieh travelling to Padang for research. The recent earthquake which measured 7.6 on the Richter scale struck near Padang, Sumatra, and killed hundreds. It is only one of a series of powerful quakes that will affect the region, according to Prof Sieh. Howe ve r, Si ngapor ea n s have no cause for worry, as the impact on local shores would be insignificant. Sumatra lies between Singapore and the expected epicentre of the earthquake, providing a buffer, and “most buildings here are resting on bedrock or thin soil, so they would not shake much,” said Prof Sieh.

He has been working for the past four years with Indonesian non-governmental organisations on developing evacuation routes for earthquakes, and educating the public on how to rebuild their lives after a tsunami. He currently heads EOS, set up in NTU at a cost of $287 million and officially opened on February 19th. It brings together a team of scientists to study and forecast natural hazards in a way that will be useful to governments, communities and businesses in South-East Asia. It is the only such observatory in the region, and Singapore was chosen because it is near several major fault lines, like the Sunda Megathrust off the coast of Sumatra, and some of the most volcanically active nations in the world, like Indonesia and the Philippines. “Singapore offers the perfect stable spot from which to study highly volatile earthquake activity nearby,” said Prof Sieh. He added the generous funding offered by the government of Singapore was also a push factor for earth scientists setting up base here. The observatory is also working to increase interest in the earth sciences. It has given a series of public lectures, and is working with the Ministry of Education and some secondary schools and junior colleges on their curriculums, with the eventual goal of building a pipeline of future earth science undergraduates in NTU.

Old grads return

disaster

OPENING EYES: Prof Sieh enlightens the audience on issues of natural disasters . PHOTO | LOONG YONG EN

Kwan Hui Xian THE f irst completed documentary from the Artistin-Residence programme at the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS) was screened on October 14th. Ent it led “People-Cor a lMentawai”, it is a result of the collaborative effort between EOS and the School of Art, Design & Media (ADM). T he sc r e e n i ng of t he documentar y, produced by Professor Isaac Kerlow and a team of film majors from ADM, was followed by a dialogue session between Prof Kerlow and Professor Kerry Sieh, the director of EOS. T he A r tist-in-Residence prog r a m me a i m s to foster artistic expression of humanity’s experience with the earth and its ever-present dangers and myster ies. T his position is currently held by Prof Kerlow of ADM. The documentary follows Prof Sieh’s team and their counterparts from the

Alumni from all walks of life gathered in NTU for its Alumni Night 2009, held on October 24th, following a forum in the afternoon. During the event, 26 Alumni Awards were given out, with recipients aged from 27 to 70.

One of six recipients of the Alumni Achievement Award, Mr Ang Mong Seng, who is also a Member of Parliament, gave some advice to younger generations of NTU students: “Whatever you learn, practise and use it, then pass it on to the later generations."

project will be on Mayon, an active volcano in the Philippines. In recent months, Mayon has been experiencing small but frequent eruptions. “I want to ta lk about t he emotions of attachment and danger, issues of evacuation preparedness, and also explore issues of reality and fantasy,” said Prof Kerlow. Filming has already been completed, and Prof Kerlow is in the process of forming a team of animators for the second phase of the project, which involves animating an old legend of the volcano. Professor Chris Newhall, leader of volcanic science in EOS, said most of the village locals in the Philippines have their own ideas of how a volcano works. With their documentaries, EOS and A DM hope to create oppor t u n it ie s for p e ople to lea r n about r isk s of nat u ra l disasters. Perhaps then, they would be more willing to listen to government officials asking them to evacuate.

Bridge of friendship to China Cerelia Lim

A DISTINGUISHED GUEST: Alumni welcomes Ms Grace Fu at the Alumni Night. PHOTO | RENALD TAUSAUDI

Indonesian Institute of Sciences, as they analysed circular bands found on coral accumulated over centuries. T he infor mation gat hered provides a crucial basis to predict future earthquakes by allowing them to form a historical timeline of earthquakes in the region. The documentary included the experiences of locals who were affected by the quake, as well as efforts to educate them about the dangers. Professor Vibeke Sorensen, C ha i r of A DM , sa id t he documentar y “shows how ar t and science can work together, bringing brain and heart together for all humanity” The documentary, funded by EOS, which is in turn funded by the Ministry of Education and the National Research Foundation, aims to bring out the human issues that lie behind science. The Mentawai documentary is available in both English and Bahasa Indonesia. The next Artist-in-Residence

A n N T U professor received China’s Friendship Award, the highest accolade a foreigner can receive for contributing to China's economic and social progress. Professor Francois Raymond Mat hey f rom t he School of Physica l a nd Mat hemat ica l Sciences (SPMS) received the award on September 29th after spending 10 months setting up the International Phosphorus Labor ator y i n Z heng z hou University, in Henan, China. Additionally, he helped the university seal an international col laborat ion w it h France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Rennes Un iver sit y for phosphorous research. Phosphorous compounds are used in manufacturing flat screens on electrical appliances such as telev isions a nd cellphones. Prof Mathey also mentored graduate students and advised them on their research papers.

“This award is a great surprise and a great honour for me,” said Prof Mathey. “It was a fabulous experience working in China and setting up the International Phosphorus Laboratory.” Since 1991, 1,100 foreigners have been honoured with the Friendship Award. During the award ceremony held in Beijing this year, Zhang Dejiang, the Chinese Vice-Premier, gave a medal and cer tif icate to 100 foreign experts from 28 countries. “T he meda l displays each foreign ex per t's painsta k ing effort and contribution to China's economic development and social progress,” said Vice-Prem ier Zhang in a XinHua news agency report. P r of M a t h e y j oi n e d t h e C hem i st r y a nd Biologica l Chemistry Division in SPMS last year after 10 months in Henan. “I knew that my Chinese stint would be temporary, not permanent,” said the award-winning chemist. He explained that when the econom ic cr isis af fected t he funding for his work on catalysts

at the University of California Riverside, he started searching for another suitable position to continue his research. One of his Chinese doctoral students brought the opportunity in Henan to his attention. Prof Mathey added that he had agreed to the Chinese stint as the university treated him very well. He was given the title of Honorary Professor, and the Vice-President of Zhengzhou University received him personally when he arrived at the airport. Additionally, they hosted a banquet with other university officials in honour of him. However, t he fact t hat he did not speak Mandarin and the relatively low pay discouraged him from staying. “My family lives in Paris, and the Chinese salary is not enough for living in France,” he said. But his time in China made it easier to choose Singapore as his next stop, as he said he found China and Singapore similar in many ways, such as their predominantly Chinese population and culture.


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A pleasant graduation gift for Economics trio Sheer determination helped cosmopolitian team snag award Sean Seet Budding economists can learn a trick or two from a trio from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, who clinched the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s (MTI) Best Thesis Award. The award was presented to Mr Chiam Yee Hong, 25, Ms Zhou Yuan, 22, and Mr Yos Virin, 25, on October 13th at a ceremony for their final-year project thesis, “Double-Index Va lue at R isk Model and Skewed Distribution of Indices”. Sponsored by the Singapore MTI, the Best Thesis Award is given annually to graduating students with the best Senior Thesis in Economics programs in NTU, SMU and NUS. T h e Aw a r d i s a i m e d a t encouraging students to aspire to greater heights of academic excellence. The recent HSS (Economics) g r aduates eac h received a certificate, and a $2,000 cash prize to be shared among them. The team members were all from different backgrounds. Mr Chiam is a Singaporean, while Ms Zhou and Mr Yos are from the People’s Republic of China and

Cambodia respectively. “At first, we really had some difficulty communicating with each other due to language differences, but after a few meetings, we got over that,” said Mr Chiam. Receiving the award was a pleasant graduation gift. “It was such stunning news. I honestly never knew that such an award even existed,” said Mr Yos. M s Z h ou , w h o w a s a l s o surprised by the announcement, cited the enormous amount of effort and hard work as a major contribution to the win. The trio also attributed their win to their mentor, Dr Low Chan Kee, Associate Professor of the Division of Economics, HSS. “The students have worked ver y hard on the project, and the end result represents a small cont r ibut ion to t he e x ist i ng literature in the subject area. There is no substitution for the hard work, perseverance, selfmotivation and boldness shown by the students,” said Dr Low. While there were many factors contributing to their success, deter m inat ion was t he t r io’s defining trait. “Our Econometrics class started with almost 20 students,” said Ms Zhou. “But as time went by, only the three of us were left.” “Still, we really put in a lot of hard work and persevered till the end," she added. "I’m glad that it was worth it.”

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Crossing Down Under with solar energy Maxie Aw Yeong FOR a week, four Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering students drove across Australia, their car fueled not by petrol, but by the sun shining on the solar cells of their car. Alan Tan, Lester Chia, Eugene Tan and Ng Jun Yang were the drivers of Venture II, the solar car which was sent for the World Solar Challenge 2009, one of the world’s most prestigious solar races, in which teams design and build a car capable of crossing Australia with only sunlight as fuel. The team of students, staff and alumni is the first that a local university has sent. They competed alongside teams from the University of Michigan, the Universit y of Cambridge and Tokai University to finish the 3,000km race. T he St r a it s Ti mes ha s reported that the team was in the 10th place as of October 26th. However, the team said that their main goal was not to compete with other teams. “We were competing with ourselves,” Liang Wei Xi, 22, said. The designer of the car body explained that as it was the first time they took part in the competition, their aim was

simply to complete the race. The team had limited time to prepare. Some students were doing this for their Final Year P r oje c t , wh i le ot he r s we r e doing it as a module, Product Development Challenge, designed as an alternative to Industrial Attachment. As such, they only started working on it in June and had to return to school during the holidays. During the race, they were driving in extreme environments and had to camp by the roadside at night, when they could not drive.

This competition brings to light the feasibility of solar cars. However, Associate Professor Ng Heong Wah, who is leading the Venture II team, does not think that solar cars will be used widely anytime in the near future. “Compared with f uel-cell cars, solar cars are definitely less feasible,” he said. He also explained that besides the large amount of space that solar cells occupy, the manufacturing costs will be too high until they become widespread. V ic tor y wa s c la i me d by Japan’s Tokai Challenger, from Tokai University.

ALL GEARED UP: Using solar power to blaze new trails PHOTO | COURTESY

Not your average business quiz Connexions forte Engineering duo ace inter-varsity quiz with strong grasp of general knowledge Debby Kwong Which company has Cornelius, Tony the Tiger and Coco as its mascots? Which company started out in a bombed building in Tokyo? Which company is popular for its free cone day? These questions from the Tata Crucible Campus Quiz, held on October 23rd, show it was definitely not a boring business quiz. T he que s t ion s te s te d t he business tr iv ia k nowledge of Singaporean students. This year, over 200 teams of two tertiary students each joined the quiz, held in Singapore for the third consecutive year. Participants sat for a written preliminary round, after which the top six pairs and two wildcard teams proceeded to the finals. The quiz covered a wide range of subjects from business houses to brands, business history to people and products, and business funds

to the fundamentals of business economics. The pair of third-year students from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Rohit Jha and Soumoditya Dey, was the only team out of the 50 NTU teams registered to make it to the finals, after securing a place in the wildcard round.

“Since a lot of our friends were in the quiz, we decided to sign up as well.” Rojit Jha School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Third Year

“Since a lot of our friends were in the quiz, we decided to sign up as well. Plus, we did not have anything else to do on a Friday night,” said Jha. The pair prepared by going online and checking out the Media Resource Library. Dey explained they looked at questions from past years’ quizzes, but it was

diff icult to prepare as the questions were always relevant to the latest happenings in the business sector. “We saw how the past year quiz had a question about Ben & Jerry’s. That’s how I got the idea to find out more about other ice cream companies, and how I knew the answer in the wildcard round that Baskin Robbins had 11 flavours originally, instead of the 32 they have now,” said Jha. At the end of the evening, the winning team from NUS defeated an SMU team, which was originally in the lead, by five points by giving the cor rect answer to the last question. T he y r e c e i ve d a tot a l cash prize of $7,000 and an internship with one of the Tata companies in India. They will participate in the international finals in India in early 2010. T h i s yea r 's w i n ne r s also clinched an internship opportunity at one of the Tata Group companies in India. And the answers to the three questions: Kellogg’s, Sony, and Ben & Jerry’s. Of course.

STRONG RESEARCH ALLIANCES: Signing the Memorandum of Understanding in Paris, France. PHOTO | COURTESY

POSTGR A DUAT E st udent s a nd r esea rc h sta f f her e ca n look forward to more overseas exchange opportunities in its latest collaboration. On October 7th, NTU signed a Memorandum of Understanding w it h t he Nat iona l Cent r e of Scientific Research (known by its French initials CNRS), the largest governmental research orga n i sat ion i n Fr a nce, a nd Thales, the French electronics giant and a global technology

le ade r i n ae r o s pac e , s pac e , defence, security and transport industries. Called CNRS InternationalNTU-Thales Research Alliance (CINTRA), the alliance will set up a joint laboratory at NTU’s Research Techno Plaza. T h e C I N T R A L a b or ator y aims to harness the latest in science and technology to develop innovations in nanotechnology for future computing, sensing, and communication applications.


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A musical narrative

FUSION EXPERIMENTATION: Prof Lindborg creates magic in the studio. PHOTO | LIU XUKUN

Film of the undead gets a new life with an innovative harmony Yip Jie Ying With Halloween just around the corner, beasts and freaks dominated the screens at the Monster Mania film festival, organised by students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI). Classic gems such as Godzilla vs King Ghidorah, Little Shop of Horrors and Mighty Peking Man were screened during the festival to the delight of monster-lovers at the event, which was held from October 24th to 25th at

VivoCity. “We made the festival with the aim that ever ybody can celebrate Halloween, and at the same time, be introduced to some pedagogical aspects of horror films through our talks held before the screening,” said festival manager Thaddaeus Wee, 23, a third-year student. The highlight of the festival was the 1922 silent vampire horror flick, Nosferatu, which feat u red music e xclusively composed for the festival by Professor PerMagnus Lindborg from the School of Art, Design & Media (ADM). A committee member of the film festival who had attended Prof Lindborg's classes was impressed by his work and hence decided to seek his help.

Together with local musicians Kwong Jie Bao and Derek Lim, Prof Lindborg produced a music arrangement which he described as “a fusion of different music that echoes contemporary art life in Southeast Asia.” Strains of the Chinese pipa could be heard during the film, which provided stark contrast in the context of a Western horror film. A string quartet from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music and an electronic ensemble were also included in the soundtrack. “We created three different sound worlds which combine European and Chinese heritage and electronic experimentation,” said Prof Lindborg. “Our film here is very extreme in the sense that there is no narrative. Music is therefore important; it is an alternate touch to the emotive narrative.” T he si lent f i lm w it h it s newfound soundtrack attracted about 150 people. However, the audience had mixed reactions towards the film’s music. “I don’t know if it was effective as an accompaniment because it was distracting to the visuals of the film,” said Eternality Tan, 21, a first-year student from WKWSCI. On the contrary, Michelle Cheong, a t h i rd-yea r A DM student, found the music suitable to the film’s atmosphere. “At times it’s jarring, but the music evokes a sense of dread and gloom,” said the 21-year-old. The theatre broke into loud appreciative applause when the film ended. “Nosferat u is not only a seminal silent horror classic, it is also the first vampire movie,” said Cameron Ng, 25, a third-year student who is head of publicity for the festival. “We wanted to have a wide range of monster movies, not just movies that feature rubber-suited monsters, but ones from different countries and genres.”

Reduced loans increase woes Cai Zhimin news editor

S o m e M a r i t i m e St u d i e s students were disgruntled after being told that the loan amount for their required exchange programme had been cut by one quarter after they had sent in their applications. Ye a r 3 s t ud e nt s we nt to Nor we g i a n S c ho ol of M a n a ge me nt ( BI ) for a n exchange programme this semester. They applied for the loan in March this year and were informed in mid-April that the maximum loan quantum of the Overseas Exchange Programme Loan had been revised from $11,000 to $8,500. The authorities explained that the reduced loan amount wa s ba se d on how muc h previous students had needed. However, students felt the school had informed them too late. They had already been budgeting for their exchange as early as during their first year based on the belief that they would be able to get a loan of $11,000. “We were given an option to go to Norway for exchange initially with a $11,000 loan available to us,” said Ng Han Wei, 23. Not only was the promise not realised, it also messed up their plans, he added. Fellow schoolmate Leong Kuan Yee shared his sentiments. “We were promised $11,000 since we were in year one and have been planning based on this,” said the 21-year-old. “If I were told right from the start the loan was $8,500, it would have made my budgeting more realistic,” said Shahril Zainuddin, 23. Mrs Lee-Chua Lee Hong, Ma nager ( Under g r aduate ) of Sc hool of C i v i l a nd

Environmental Engineering, said that such a revision was reasonable based on feedback f r om s t ude nt s who h av e returned from the programme. Fr a nci s Lau , a fou r t hyear student who went for the exchange last year, said that $8,500 was a reasonable amount. Howe ve r, he d id not remember a ny feedback process. “If there was any, it was probably just an informal one.” Yet some third-year students currently at Oslo said that $8,500 is insufficient. “The amount is definitely not enough to survive the cold and to have healthy meals,” Leong said. According to her, the airfare cost $1,800 and hostel fees amounted to over $3,200. Ng a l so i nc u r r ed si m i la r expenses. Leong added that she tried to m i n i m i se e x pen ses by borrowing as much winter wear as she could and cooking her own meals. Another student, Deryck Chan, 23, said: “We have been trying to minimise our expenses, keeping our spending to necessities like groceries." “But as of now, most of us have already exceeded $8,500 when we a r e on ly t h r eequarters through this exchange programme.” C o n c u r r e n t l y, C h o n g Shoulian, a third-year Nanyang Business School student who is also on exchange in BI, received a loan of $10,000. The 21-year-old said to survive on $8,500 for the entire programe, one would have to cook and eat in every day. “If not, even $10,000 is not enough,” she added “Oslo is the world’s most e x pensive cit y. $ 8,50 0 is insufficient to live comfortably without having to scrimp and save.”

Exchanging cultures with mentors in the classroom Xue Jianyue Korean aficionados in NTU now have an opportunity to practise the language with their peers from Korean universities. Since October 9th, exchange students from Korea have been giving NTU students language classes every Friday evening. T h i s K o r e a n L a n g u a ge Exchange Project is organised by the NTU Korean Cultural Society for members who want to learn the language but cannot attend the Korean language electives. Ms Jinok Bae is one of the exchange students teaching a class of four. Initially, the first-year student from Pusan National University offered to teach Korean using Eng l i sh a s t he med iu m of

instruction, but her students preferred to use Korean as much as they could, to facilitate their learning. “In the beginning I had a difficult time,” the 20-year-old said. “I was not sure how much Korean they know, how they wanted to learn and what they expected me to teach them.” She has overcome t hese difficulties and now she finds the classes enjoyable. Students get to play games like Twenty Questions, where a student will think of an object for the rest of the class to guess. All questions and answers will then be in Korean. For Shanna Tan, 20, who taught herself Korean, the classes prov ided an oppor tunit y to practice speaking the language. “Listening and reading is

easy, but speaking is harder because I lack practice,” said the first-year student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. The small class ratio of five to one native Korean student means a more interactive environment, and such a setting allows her to learn colloquial phrases from the exchange students, which is easier as the teachers are around her age. Furthermore, these classes introduced her to an informal side of the language, which is seldom taught in formal Korean classes. Ms Bae was glad that she could help Singaporeans understand her native language better. “I feel very proud of myself, and I am happy to be able to help Singaporeans to study Korean.”

FUN WHILE LEARNING: Language bridges cultures. PHOTO | GRACE AU YONG


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Lessons in Islam Week-long event aims to unveil the beauty of Islam to students Ng Yee Theng A FAMILY man, a businessman, a leader, a mentor and a messenger— Prophet Muhammad played many roles in the Islamic world. Islamic Awareness Week aimed to bring this across in a colourful exhibition at the canopy outside LT1A on October 20th. This time round, 10 years after its first Islamic Awareness Programme, NTU Muslim society concentrated its efforts in one week, instead of a semester. The aims of strengthening bonds with and raising awareness among nonMuslims still stay strong. The event, themed “Unveiling the Beauty” hoped to go beyond merely showing what Islam is and aimed to clear misconceptions and increase awareness of the beauty of the religion. Its opening ceremony was held at the canopy outside LT1A. “This event is a good reminder and inspiration to motivate me further to emulate the Prophet’s character,” said Muhammad B. Md. Rahim, 24, a final-year student at

the Nanyang Business School. However, others like first-year student Christopher Chow, 21, from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, felt the exhibition did not introduce anything new. He sa id: “Most of u s Singaporeans have Muslim friends and already know a lot about their culture from them.” Apart from Muslim students, participants included many nonMuslims, ranging from Chinese to Germans. O t h e r ac t i v i t i e s i n c l u d e different lecture series, as well as a trip that took students off campus to visit the iconic Arab Street to experience Islamic culture and practices locally. “Through these activities, we hope to portray the universality of the concept of Islam as a religion,” said Muhammad Firdaus Bin Hamzah, 23, the programme head for IAW. Chairperson of IAW, Abdullah Abdul Aziz, 24, feels that more can be done to further engage Singaporeans. “I hope to see more participation from other faith-based societies and even have inter-religious dialogues with each other, as part of our effort to discuss the issue of religion openly,” he said.

Celebrating Diwali Despite being away from home, international students still manage to celebrate Diwali here In a place far from home, without t hei r pa rents and a fa m i lia r environment, foreign students from

NTU converge in the function hall of Hall 10 to spend the time together in the company of friends. Organized by t he Indian Social & Cultural Society, the event drew a huge crowd in a night marked by authentic Indian food, traditional Indian songs and dance performances.

T he n ig ht ended w it h everyone on the dance f loor dancing to popular Indian disco music. To them, Diwali is the perfect opportunity to get a taste of home. PHOTO & TEXT | NG JUN SEN


Lifestyle Bargains at training restaurants - Page 14

storytelling, no children allowed

Listening to stories while being tucked in bed brings back fond memories of being a kid. Some stories though, should not be told to children, as Jason Quah discovers at a storytelling session for adults THE swollen member grew larger and redder as the wife of the protagonist took it in her hand and stroked it. The room of 40 listened with rapt attention, grins spreading as Ignatius Ng’s cheeky tale revealed that the “member” was in fact a pimple. Filled with innuendos and double entendres, Ng’s tale was definitely not a bedtime story for kids, just like other stories performed by seven other storytellers during ‘Twists: Tales of Surprise and Suspense from Around the World’, at the Substation on October 24th. Audience had to pay a $10 fee to attend the session. Eight storytellers presented the tales in their own styles, from goofy and funny to powerful and charismatic. From a chilling horror story that raised goose pimples to the tale of the swollen member that drew gales of laughter, the audience was put through a gamut of emotions. Aptly labelled ‘Storytelling for Adults’, the stories contained mature themes of cheeky adultoriented humour as well as delicate issues like religious tolerance. T h rough events li ke t his, t he Stor y tel li ng A ssociat ion (Singapore) hopes to debunk the myth that storytelling is only for children. Currently, the Association is made up of 13 ordinary members w h o a r e a l s o p r of e s s i o n a l storytellers. While many turned up for the event to support a friend or relative who was performing, they became hooked on storytelling in the process. Yvon ne Ta i , 19, a n u nde r g r aduate at Si ngapor e Ma nagement Un iver sit y law school, attended the event to support a relative, but declared she would attend similar events in the future. “I really liked the creepy story — it really spooked me out,” she explains, referring to ‘Ghost Month’, an original story by teller Lim Peng Peng. Cheryl Lee, 24, who came to support Lim, enjoyed the setting because it was small and not pretentious. Indeed, the spartan setting of the Substation, with its

This is also what Tay enjoys when she performs stories. “You and you alone can build up another world of imagination for the audience,” she says. David Bok, who performed at ‘Twists’, took up the storytelling workshop as he feels that “stories make teaching come alive”. He also feels that the storytelling skills he gained strengthen his effectiveness as a Bible teacher in his church. T he or a l t r ad it ion of storytelling provides a new form of live entertainment, huddled in a room with the lights dimmed, listening to tales that have the ability to make you blush or recoil in fear. Wee says: “You should try it once. You’ll never know what life has to offer if you keep doing the same thing all the time.”

SILENCE IN THE RANKS: As organisers are strict about noise, fearing it might distract the performers, complete silence fills the room when storytellers like Kordial Kor enrapture the audience with their tales. PHOTOS | NG JUN SEN

green windows and old floorboards, is in stark contrast to homogenous, mass-produced cinemas or most forms of modern entertainment. Another audience at ‘Twists’, Pauline Koe, who is in her forties, feels that storytelling is “more personal and intimate compared with a movie”, and she has already attended several stor y telling sessions. These are not to be confused with book-reading events where authors read excerpts of their work to an audience. “Stor ytelling is a different kettle of fish as it’s not meant to be read on the page,” says Sheila Wee, 51, an established professional storyteller in Singapore. Telling a story is different from just reading off a book, she adds. “The power of the story is that you can tell the same story to another set of audience in a different way each time.” Indeed, the tellers at ‘Twists’ made use of body language, inf lection of voice and other tec h n ique s to t r a n spor t t he

audience into the world of the story. A lso i n t he r a n k s of t he Stor y telling A ssociat ion (Singapore) a re 51 associate me mbe r s — pe ople l i ke t he performers at ‘Twists’ who are passionate about storytelling and consider it a craft. The performers have all attended a storytelling workshop conducted by professional storyteller Verena Tay, who also conducts the ‘Speech and Argumentation’ module at NTU. “In the past, storytelling was for all ages. Only in recent times has it been relegated to kids,” says Tay, who took a storytelling course in 2003 in her path to becoming a professional. “A lot of people in modern societies miss out because they don’t talk to people and listen to their stories. The human dimension is lost.” Storytelling is also different from other forms of entertainment in that it is an intimate, personal experience that is not static. “What you are doing is that you

are sort of igniting the audience’s imagination. They identify with somebody in the story and they live the story vicariously in their mind,” says Wee. Fellow storytelling enthusiast Ng says that there is interaction between storyteller and listener that you don’t get in a movie. He adapts the story to the audience by judging their response in the storytelling process.

ENTERING THE STORY-TELLING REALM: David Bok’s ghost stories has his listeners at the edge of their seats.

Want a taste of some storytelling magic? ‘The Last of the Heather Ale’, featuring esteemed Scottish storyteller Seoras Macpherson, will be held on November 8th. For more details, visit http://www.storytellingsingapore.com/events. htm#Events


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all under one roof A café, shop and a makeshift gallery – hair salons are now offering more than just the usual cut and rinse. Debby Kwong finds out more Hairloom & Caramel 100 Beach Road Shaw Towers #01-50/52 Opening hours: Mon-Sun: 11am-8pm

TWO IN ONE: Get your hair done at Hairloom, then pop over to Caramel for a bite.

next salon 2 Orchard Turn Ion Orchard #03-24A Opening hours: Mon-Sun: 10am-10pm

WITH a dramatic entrance and floor to ceiling mirrors, the fourth salon of the Next group sticks with their aesthetic of edgy, club-like interiors. Local art is incorporated into the layout of the salon with a collection of black and white pictures by photographer Wee Khim. Pic t u r es to one side, t he signature experience is its head massage ($32). They lather the customer’s head with shampoo and apply just the right amount of strength to the pressure points, as nimble fingers move from the left to the right of the head and soft lounge music plays in the background. To top it off, the shoulders and upper back are massaged, before warm water rinses off the shampoo. At the salon, a haircut by a stylist starts at $50, while a standard shampoo and blowdry costs $32. Just before leaving with a new hairdo, customers can add pizzazz to their outfit with fashion jeweller y and hair accessories by Mice&Peas, making its first

FINISHING TOUCHES: Adorn an outfit with jewellery to complement your hairdo.

appearance in a shop outside Jakarta, where the brand started four years ago. “Everyone expects a salon to sell shampoo, but with this jewellery, it brings the salon to another level, by introducing a good retail concept. We chose Next Salon as it is well-known and has a myriad of customers ranging from socialites and celebrities,” says brand owner Amy Loo. T he pr ice tag is similarly exclusive. Handmade with silver and semi-precious stones, jewellery is from $200 to $4500. Customers can work with the designers to create custom-made pieces.

S T E PPI NG i nto s a lon- c u mcafe Hairloom & Caramel is like falling through a rabbit hole into Wonderland. Wit h t he v ibrant colours, eclectic furniture and tiers of intricately decorated cupcakes, the cafe element of this strange emporium could very well be the Mad Hatter’s tea party. Six tables in vivid hues of yellow, lilac and turquoise carry shot glasses with tiny cacti or beans sprouting. Caramel serves lunch but not dinner, although regulars go there in the evenings just for the desserts. Co-owner CK Koo says that the Tiramisu ($6.90) with Bailey’s Irish Cream, which is only available from Thursdays to Saturdays, is a favourite. “The Bailey’s allows for a smoother texture and more fragrance for the dessert,” he says. Caramel’s cupcakes include f lavour s such as St rawber r y C r ea mc he e se a nd C hocolate Caramel ($3.50 each), baked daily by their cupcake chef, Karen Tan. T hei r signat u re d r in k , meanwhile, is the wholesome Vita Plum, made from Vitagen and sour plum. Upstairs, the olive green walls of the salon come to view. A few cutting stations have white curtains around them, like those in a dressing room, for more privacy. The make-up table mirrors are lined with light bulbs, like backstage dressing tables of singers from bygone eras. This salon was opened 10 months ago by Calvin Gan, a veteran in the industry, who trained at Vidal Sasson in America. H i s c l ie nt s i nc lude loca l celebrities such as Rui En and Hady Mirza, and customers pay $60 to $120 for Calvin to tend to their locks. Alternatively, it costs just $20 for a trainee’s cut, supervised by Calvin; and $50 and above for a cut by a stylist. The home store, Objet d’Art, sells quirky items such as stuffed dolls, totes and tableware, kept in worn looking wooden cupboards and white birdcages. Illustratorpartner Kuanth designs a range of knick-knacks which are produced locally. The range of hand-screened dolls ($69.90) and acrylic necklaces ($49.90 ) under t he ‘M ista ke’ collection are inspired by the idea that mistakes can be beautiful. Hence the quirky figurines dotted with freckles, and bearing deformed looking noses.

fox salon. beauty. cafe 181 Orchard Road Orchard Central #04-15/16/17 Opening hours: Mon–Sat: 10am–9pm Sun: 11am–7pm

THE portions at FOX Salon are small—not because they are mean, but because there isn’t space. “Because of the small tables in front of the mirrors, we do not want customers to be overwhelmed by the clutter of utensils and big plates,” says director Uzi C. Instead, mini-portions of tasty dishes, such as the escargots ($12.90), are served for customers to snack on while they wait for their treatments to work their magic at the salon. Colouring and rebonding can take up to four hours, according to Uzi—plenty of time to get hungry. With a choice of half a dozen soups, salads, main courses and sandwiches, plus desserts and wines, there is plenty of choice. Most dishes feature crab for a Singaporean flavour, such as the Chilli Crab Spaghetti and XO

Crab Linguini (both $14.80). And while wives and girlfriends snack in the salon itself, husbands and boyfriends can eat the same food in the adjoining small cafe with around a dozen tables for groups of two or four. Going for a minimalist feel, the feature wall of recommended dishes is the only spot of colour against the white walls. Two big f lat screens show different films from Hollywood blockbusters, such as X-Men Or igins: Wolver ine and P.S I Love You to local films to keep customers entertained whether they are having their hair cut or grabbing a bite. “I finished my meal about half an hour ago, but I’m still here as I want to find out the ending of the film,” says Sally Lim, a first time customer. The salon hopes to reach out to the talent of the Singapore film industry. “A spir ing f ilmmakers can submit their short films or movies to be screened on our TVs. They can even have a mini launch party at the café. We hope that the salon-café will be a place for filmmakers to hang out, to network and discuss their ideas,” says Uzi.

MINI MEAL: Morsels of escargots for a quick pick-me-up.

PHOTOS | COURTESY


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cornucopia of choices

Having a headache customising your Subway sandwich? Brace yourself for more dilemmas as eateries are taking more things personal – by allowing customers to have a say in their burgers, cakes and sundaes. Kenneth Goh gets his brains cracking building burgers Fatboy’s – The Burger Bar 187 Upper Thomson Road Opening hours: 12noon to 12mn (daily)

THIS cosy burger bar is the latest addition to the burgeoning food enclave along Upper Thomson Road. Besides c h r i sten i ng t hei r hulking burgers with zany names like ‘Pizza The Hutt’, the bar’s stand-out feature is the ‘BuildYour-Burger Menu’. Think Subway, but replace the sandwiches with burgers. “My brother and I grew up eating burgers and like them done in our style so we have always thought of how to customise it,” explains owner Bernie Tay, 36. “It has also become a novelty for people to customise their burgers,” he adds. Fatboy’s sells up to 190 burgers on the weekends. And an imposingly burly Fatboy takes centre stage as a motif on the simply styled walls which are hung with whimsical prints of clouds and animal silhouettes, which Tay describes as “monochromatically mambo”. The eatery offers three types of tailor-made buns and handcrafted, grilled patties as well as a mind-boggling variety of addons, from perennial mainstays like bacon and jalapeños, to browrising flourishes such as grilled bananas and peanut butter sauce. The self-confessed ‘fat boy’ explains that the ingredients on the Build-Your Burger menu are ‘deconstructed’ from their à la carte burgers for customers to mix and match them into a one-of-akind burger. Those feeling adventurous can create unorthodox burgers on a whim, like grilled bananas decked on a pork patty, liberally smeared with peanut butter and tucked between two cushiony honey oat buns. The pairing of peanut butter and pork is surprisingly smooth, while the gooey sauce permeated the bacon-studded patty, adding a creamy, buttery touch and velvety texture. The bananas slices judiciously lend a dash of sweetness to the concoction. “I think that this is a fantastic place to have burgers as I can customise a burger to get what I really want,” says Phyllis Tan, an events manager, who constructed a veggie croquette burger with sautéed mushrooms and fried egg. All burgers come with lettuce and a tomato slice placed separately (so they do not turn soggy when pressed against the juicy patty) and a side of fluffy fries. Pricing is student-friendly and a scrumptious DIY burger ranges from $10.50 to $14.50.

THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT, DEAR: Putting their final touches on a heart-shaped creation.

designing is a piece of cake The Icing Room 1 Jurong West Central 2 Jurong Point #B1- 105 Opening hours: Mon – Thu: 10am to 10pm Fri to Sun: 10am to 1030pm DIY sessions are from 12noon to 9pm daily.

BOWLED OVER: A merry marriage of peanut butter, pork and grilled bananas in this custom-made burger.

scream for ice cream Swensen’s Ion Orchard 2 Orchard Turn, #B1-31 Opening hours: Mon – Thu: 10.30am to 10.30pm Fri: 10.30am to 12mn Sat & PH: 8am to 12mn Sun: 8am to 10.30pm

IF Willy Wonka chose to branch into creating ice cream sundaes, the decadent scene at Swensen’s ice cream buffet would probably be the result. The displays house two rectangular ice cream and gelato counters, and in this sacred temple of icy dessert rest over 50 tubs of ice cream. Ice cream flavours with higher scoop-up frequencies include Sticky Chewy Chocolate, Banana Split and Frosted Chocolate Malt. Located strategically nearby is the toppings counter, which houses a tongue-tingling selection of 40 toppings, such as whipped cream, Oreos, peach slices, chocolate chips and many more to decorate the luscious globes of ice cream. And be sure to make a beeline for the waffle machine, chocolate fondue and ‘Chop Shop’. In ‘Chop Shop’, personalise your sundae by selecting any ice cream flavour and dry toppings, and watch the staff skillfully mash them up into

not-so-pretty lumps on the frozen concrete slab. The mashed-up creation of Cookies N Cream, Sticky Chewy Chocolate and Vanilla sundae turned out to be a triple whammy of cloying sweetness. Crunchy studs of Oreo cookies and chocolate wafers wondrously offset the rich creaminess of the globes of sundae. It is highly advisable to take lots of water throughout the buffet, to prevent an over-dose of sugar. But don’t overdo it. “It might not be worth it unless you have an ice box for a stomach,” says Kelly Chua, 20, a student who spent two hours at the ice cream buffet. The Ice Cream and Dessert Bu f fe t i s $18.9 0 for adu lt s and $13.90 for kids below 12, exclusively at Swensen’s Ion Orchard branch.

SMORGASBORD OF TOPPINGS: To sweeten your icy concoction.

HERE, ‘Cake Picassos’ flaunt their artistic flair. The Icing Room’s Design-ItYourself cake personalisation service gives customers free rein to spruce up cake designs. This flexibility has proven to be quite a hit, especially among teenagers and young adults, says brand manager Clara Lee. “We observed a trend on the need for personalisation as there were too many ready designed cakes, and that became too common for special occasions,” she says. Designing a cake seems like child’s play. But that is deceptive. Besides having def t hands to control the amount of cream oozing out obediently from the piping bags, decorators need a vivid mental picture to transform the bare vanilla chiffon cake, glazed with Chantilly icing, into a visually palatable one.

Chia Hui Jun, 19, a f irstyear student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, designed a DIY cake for a friend’s birthday recently by drawing a cartoon version of the birthday girl. “My hands got a little shaky when I started squeezing the icing tube,” she recalls. Chia says that it is easiest to keep designs simple, as the cake is not big enough for fancy adornments. “I could not bear to eat my design, because it would be gone once the cake is sliced, so I snapped many pictures of the cake beforehand,” she says. While more effort is involved, fans of cake designing are not fazed. “I knew my friend would like the cake as I could draw the stuff she likes on it, plus handson activities are always more interesting,” says Chia. Judging from the surprised look on the birthday girl’s face, and the fun she had while designing the cake, Chia felt it was money well spent. T he vani lla ch if fon ca ke, peppered with mixed fruits, comes in three sizes, from four inches in diameter ($11.80) to eight inches ($28.80). Each comes with a packet of icing decorations and three piping colours—pink, green and yellow.

SQUEEZE AND GRIN: Gorgeous designs adorn what was once a bare chiffon cake. PHOTOS | GLEN SIN & COURTESY


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Party on the move

Rev up your celebrations with merry-making in cable cars, safari trams and luxury limousine parties. Danielle Han hops onto the mobile party scene A L A RG E w h i t e v a n h a l t s innocently at a traffic light while inside a bash carries on in full swing, unseen by surrounding motorists. Furnished with plush sofas, carpet and hanging lights, this u nassu m i ng veh icle is f u l ly equipped with an entertainment system, and a steady flow of food and drinks. Cosmosine’s Décor Mobile Limousine Bus, a new ser vice which started in April this year, offers discreet private parties and calls itself a ”party on the go” that promises “customisable red carpet treatment”. It is quickly becoming the dernier cri of partying, gaining popu la r it y fa ster t ha n t hei r Mercedes party buses can take them. Accor d i ng to Cosmosi ne, customers sometimes have to

The simple and sleek van hides an elaborately furnished interior with themes such as masquerade, love and halloween

make reser vations months in advance. Currently, the company has two limousine buses. Unlike typical stretch limousines, they are tall enough to stand up in—and even dance in. The limousine buses are roomy enough for you to comfortably croon your favourite tunes on the in-vehicle karaoke system and LCD TV, or engage in friendly battle with each other on the Nintendo Wii and other games. Customers choose their own route, and the organisers will make sure they get comfort breaks at five-star hotels when the need arises. The simple and sleek van hides an elaborately furnished interior with themes such as masquerade, love and halloween created by inhouse designers. Buses can also be converted to suit customers’ tastes—think plastic jewels hanging along the windows, metallic cushions, and dim faux candles, set in place with a changeable lighting system that suits the mood. Dressed like pilots in black uniforms topped with a white cap, Cosmosine drivers do their best to ensure a comfor table ride by keeping to speed limits. Nonetheless, with enough to keep party-makers occupied, there have been no complaints so far about bumpy rides. Cosmosi ne l i mou si ne bu s

NIGHT SAFARI GOURMET EXPRESS: A feast for the eyes and palate.

owners, Faith Lu, Marcus Chiang and Anthea Hooi, say the service is popular for hen and stag parties, as the cost of such events is usually split, so the individual cost is not too high. The thought of eating and drinking in a moving vehicle may sound too innovative to stomach, but it has proven to be an awardwinning (and money-spinning) formula as can be seen by the Night Safari Gourmet Express, another service that offers you an experience on the go. Off the roads and into the wild, it pairs a candlelit fine dining experience with a safari tour on board a tram and clinched the Gold Award at the 2001 IFEA Pinnacle Awards for Best New Event.

The limousine buses are roomy enough for you to comfortably croon your favourite tunes on the invehicle karoake system

PARTY ON THE GO: Add some tunes to get your pulse racing in the Limo Bus.

Only corporate bookings of at least 15 people are available, together with a hefty price tag of $190 per adult and $135 per child. Guests can enjoy the sights and sounds of the animals as they ride on a tram fitted with tables and cushioned seats, both appropriately clad in safari-inspired prints. The tram serves up French cuisine prepared by a Cordon Bleutrained chef, plus free flow of beer, wine, and other drinks. Hosts of distinguished guests, including ambassadors and their families, have taken the ride since it started in 2001. Corporate groups who want to bring out-of-town

PHOTOS | DANIELLE HAN & COURTESY

clients on a different experience love it, they say, but the Night Safari also gets the occasional request for birthday celebrations. Going up in the world, the Singapore Flyer and cable cars at Mount Faber (when they re-open in the middle of next year) will also do fancy food on the move, with private capsules for a romantic dinner or for bigger groups of up to 28 people, with a 360-degree panoramic view to go with your meal. The Jewel Box at Mount Faber offers sky dining, and although some may find it unnerving having a meal high above the ground, isolated in a cabin from the hustle and bustle of the city, the view is so enjoyable as to distract anyone with a fear of heights. Becky Wong, 23, an alumnus from the School of Biological Sciences, felt it was apt celebrating her boyfriend’s birthday on the cable car last year. A table lined with a royal purple tablecloth and a candle was placed in a cabin for a ride lasting about one and a half hours. The dinner started off with appetisers served at Mount Faber, and then made a round trip to Sentosa and Harbour Front with the main course served in between.

OPEN SESAME: A simple exterior reveals roomy party grounds in the Limo Bus.

B e i n g a ble to e njoy t he changing scenery as the cable car moved made for interesting conversation in between courses as they observed Singapore from a different perspective. But wh i le pr ivac y wa s a privilege, it was the simplicity that appealed to them most. “It is spacious, private and affordable too. It is simple and not too fancy, and we both like it that way.”

SMOKED SALMON: One of the dishes you could try on the Gourmet Express.


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foodsnoop

Class in session

The staff may be a little wet behind their ears, but eating at a student training restaurant is a good way of getting top-notch food at affordable prices. Kezia Toh and Hong Shuheng go back to school Charcoal gourmet & Deli bar 100 High Street #01-03 The Treasury LESSON IN PROGRESS: A cookery student picks up the tricks of the trade at the Restaurant In The Square, Temasek Polytechnic's training eatery.

Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 8am-10pm Sun/PH: 8am-3pm

Restaurant IN the square RUN by hospitality school Shatec Institutes, the bistro is sleekly contemporary with soft lighting illuminating plush dark wood fixtures, and dark stone walls peeping from behind clear glass veneers. Little gives away the fact that it is a student-run eatery, save for a mounted plaque asserting that diners’ support contributes to students’ learning. Students work as waiters and chefs here, and they are graded for their efforts. The menu they are practising on is often a simple mishmash of flavours and textures like the charred mushroom and edamame salad with soy truffle vinaigrette ($6). The velvety smooth texture of chilled tofu delivered a clean wholesome taste, complementing the silky chunks of mushroom, wh i le s pr i n k le s of c r u nc h y edamame soyabeans dashed with soya truffle oil gave a salty flourish to the appetizer. Next came the smoked duck and potato with sesame aioli ($7.60) – a slab of fragrantly smoked duck topped with a pinch of mango salsa that delivered a piquant smack. Shaped like a sushi roll, the meat rested on a base of warm mashed potato and splashed aioli (garlic and olive oil creamed together). According to the supervisor mentoring the student chefs, Soon Yoeng Shon, the restaurant serves Western cuisine with a modern Asian twist, such as the broth of double-boiled chicken tea with smoked chicken and wolfberries ($6). The Western ingredient of smoked chicken was complemented by traditional medicinal touches and served like a cup of tea, for a fusion dish. The lamb shank on red wine sauce with garlic-mashed potatoes was pricey ($26), but the portion was good for two. The tender meat drips with the warm sweet juices of mutton, steeped in lashings of sharp red wine sauce that leaves a pleasantly bittersweet aftertaste. The fluffy white garlic potato was mashed by hand, then creamed and mixed with butter and a hint of nutmeg for a sweetly aromatic

12 Artillery Avenue Sentosa Island Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 11.30am-2.30pm (Closed on weekends and school holidays)

RACK OF LAMB: A generous serving of mutton doused in sharp red wine sauce.

touch merging with crunchy garlic morsels. To round off the meal on a sweet note, the Fruit Minestrone ($4.40) comes in a bowl of syrup dotted with colourful cuts of citrus fruit and berries, circling a centrepiece of vanilla ice-cream and jauntily topped with a sprig of mint.

Bashfully shy and charmingly polite, the student waiters were competent—napkins were folded promptly left whenever the diner left the seat, and cutler y was changed with every course. Service is so quietly efficient that it melts into the background, allowing the food to take centrestage.

A JAPANESE TWIST: Mashed potato topped with a thin slab of smoked duck comes served like a sushi roll.

VISIBLY nervous young waiters were on hand to greet customers eagerly, some stumbling over their words, and some too soft to be audible, but all clearly trying to please. After all, it was just the second day of opening at Restaurant in the Square (RITS) after the school holidays. The restaurant, a training eatery drilling students of the Tourism Academy @ Sentosa in the art of food and drink, is next to a beautifully restored colonial parade square, as it is so aptly named after. It ser ves one menu daily, though the items change every few days. A two-course set goes for $12.50 nett, while a three-course meal with dessert costs $15. The meal kicked off with an appetiser of tomato and mozzarella salad, with slices of red tomatoes and creamy cheese on a bed of rocket leaves, drizzled with balsamico glaze that added a hint of tart sweetness. T he bit te r r o c ke t le a v e s contrasted with the juicy tomatoes, while the cheese slices were spongy

with a milky taste. The oven-baked chicken dish had a hunk of succulent breast meat in a pool of tarragon sauce. The chicken would have been better if it had been marinated, though, as its lack of f lavour translated into a bland dish. The gratin potato served on the side became the star instead, with layers of thin potato slices, bathed in cream, milk and herbs. Tossed with olive oil, roasted pinenuts and diced bell peppers in a grainy green sauce that added a crunchy texture, the pesto linguine had a firm bite and was slick with olive oil. Grated slices of par mesan cheese added a savoury dimension, but the slab of pink salmon, sitting attractively atop the pile of pasta, really stole the show. The fresh fish yielded easily under the fork to reveal beautifully oily meat, which melted in the mouth with a burst of seafood flavour. The meal rounded off with bread and butter pudding, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side sitting comfortably on a bed of crushed pistachios. It would have been the perfect partner to the pudding, but the dessert itself was a letdown. It was too dry, dense and hard, and chewing on the bread became a chore. Though value-for-money, the food is passable but not inspiring. The earnestness of students eager to learn on the job is tangible, so coming here for a meal is essentially an encouragement for the students more than anything else.

STUDENT CREATIONS: Fresh mozzarella salad drizzled with balsamico glaze (left), and a sweet dessert of bread and butter pudding (right). PHOTOS | IRWIN TAN & IVAN TAN


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travelogue

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Frugal living, lavish eating

Embarking on the not-so-luxurious trail may mean fuss-free living, but that need not translate into mediocre food. Lifestyle editor Cheryl Wee indulges in first-rate fare, while shacking up in austere lodging in Hong Kong THE upper bunk of the rickety bed could hold 50kg without breaking. Those heavier slept there at their own risk. As I come in under the breaking point, I was chosen out of a group of nine friends to sleep there for the next three nights at the Dragon City Hostel in Hong Kong. As I was to discover later, the base of the bed sagged under even my petite frame, causing

CHOU DOU FU: You could smell it metres away while it was being fried.

much anxiety to those sleeping beneath. In a building surrounded by scaffolding and with a lift lobby just beside a store selling chou dou fu (fermented bean curd), the hostel was a steal at S$100 a night for a room for five. It was immaculately clean compared with the dust-ridden corridors of the building it was in, and worlds apart from the cockroach-infested place I stayed at during a previous trip to Hong Kong. Arriving in the evening, we stowed our luggage at the hostel and trooped out in search of a late dinner. Stepping out into the sticky summer night air, we settled for a place specialising in cow innards. A bowl of bowel, anyone? Not fancying noodles with bits of cow lung, spleen, intestines and liver bobbing around in broth, I settled on a bowl of wanton noodles. At S$4, it was not cheap, but it put to shame every bowl I had ever eaten back home. Six shrimp dumplings were perched atop a generous mound of slender yellow noodles. Each dumpling had an entire prawn in it and leaked tasty soup with every bite.

STREET STALLS AT NIGHT: Glistening with oil, the skewered treats make a light supper snack, before heading back to the dorm room.

Returning back to the hostel, we showered before turning in. Each room had its own bathing facility; the doors though, came without locks. Instead, two tiny round magnets, each with a diameter of less than a centimetre, held the door close. Though the windows were c lose d be cau se of t he a i r conditioning, and we were on the seventh floor, shouts and swearing from the street below still drifted up to our room. A mass of frantic horning rang through the air followed by more cussing. To make matters worse, the walls between rooms were so thin that fellow hostel mates returning late at night could be heard stomping through the hallway. Doors slammed and the communal shower outside made a ghastly noise every time someone used it. Sleep was elusive that night. Still, it was worth it, because spending less on accommodation meant more money for food. It was of utmost priority that our bellies were properly filled—at whatever cost—and that we got an authentic taste of Hong Kong cuisine, even if it meant living in a noisy, cramped hostel. With those priorities in mind, we made the most of it. The most expensive meal was a scrumptious seafood dinner where a single ‘pissing prawn’ or mantis shrimp—a crustacean halfway between a prawn and praying mantis—cost S$10. They came buried in a heap of fried oats and tasted like a cross between crayfish and prawn. Other treats included bamboo clams and shellfish. Along with a few other dishes, the meal came to about S$40 each, more than twice the cost of the hostel. The second most expensive meal had succulent goose in the limelight. A simple meal of roast

PRECARIOUS SLEEPING CONDITIONS: The bed frame shook whenever one of the sleepers moved, but at least it was cheap. PHOTOS | CHERYL WEE

goose, two small roast pigeons, braised vegetables and rice was shared among nine. We chose to have our first taste of goose meat at the famous Yung Kee Roasted Goose Restaurant, which won the Michelin Guide Hong Kong & Macau Award 2009, and numerous other awards almost every year since 1986. Gilded doors opened up to a lavishly decorated dining setting with hanging chandeliers. Dinner came with an expensive price tag of S$30 per person. Goose meat is sof ter than duck, its close relative. A layer of fat glistened bet ween t he crispy roast skin and tender flesh, succulent with every bite. The tough, chewy meat of the pigeon clung to miniscule bones and we had to pick it off the bones with our teeth.

MANTIS SHRIMP: Buried in a heap of fried bits, they were crisp on the outside with succulent flesh on the inside, worth skimping on hotel costs for.

“The reason why you don’t see pigeons in Hong Kong is because they are all in eateries,” said Lee Cheuk Yin, a friend whose family was originally from Hong Kong. The trip revolved around meal times. I also remember fondly the dim sum breakfasts with baos that oozed bright yellow custard filling, plates of delicate chee cheong fan swimming in light sauce, siew mai and xiao long bao dripping tasty gravy on a spoon. Not to mention tea breaks of bowls brimming with chilled mango, sago and pomelo, sticky rice wrapped around durian and wobbly milk puddings that tasted refreshingly light. Look i ng back st i l l ma kes me salivate and want to buy a plane ticket back to Hong Kong. Living simply was well worth the indulgent eating.

MEMORABLE DIM SUM BREAKFASTS: Siew mai with a smudge of roe atop a juicy prawn.


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lifestyle review

BOOKS Homer and Langley E.L.Doctorow $35.90, available at Borders Published by Random House Inc

IN THE spring of 1947, the decomposing bodies of brothers Homer and Langley Collyer were discovered at their Upper Fifth Avenue home in Manhattan, lying amid tons of trash. The reclusive Collyers, labelled compulsive pack rats, were cocooned within an assortment of junk they had accumulated over the years, including enormous columns of newspapers dating back decades, more than 2,500 books and a Model T Ford in their dining room. The novel is entirely narrated first-hand by Homer Collyer, who lost his sight in childhood and relies entirely on his tactile and aural senses. The fact that Homer is blind lends a claustrophobic feel to the novel, as the reader sits in the dark amongst the debris with him, the name ‘Homer’ suggesting as much about his ascetic nature. In his latest novel, author E.L. Doctorow explores the human need to search for love and comfort, both in people and in material objects. The resulting masterpiece is one that evokes sympathy and unease as changes occur within and outside of the Collyer residence, leaving the brothers to try and establish a sense of purpose and meaning in their continued existence. In contrast, Homer’s elder brother Langley, a Great War veteran, holds a messianic belief that history inevitably loops itself. He takes it upon himself to create a universal newspaper that would foresee events for all time. His ‘theory of replacement’ dictates that as time passes, events in history would eventually repeat themselves time and time again, as human beings replace the ones that came before them. Langley scavenges for and archives every article documented in the papers, in an effort to predict a pattern in events around him. This poignantly portrays an individual’s attempt to make sense and maintain order in a world that is fraught with change, development and progress. Yet the daily confusion experienced by the Collyer brothers is only dealt with fleetingly by Doctorow. He portrays their hoarding habit as a mere eccentricity rather than the unsparing disability it actually is, and in that respect the novel falls short. One might feel a sense of guilt or helplessness after glimpsing the inner world of the Collyers. The brothers loved, laughed and grieved in a dysfunctional household that faced senseless discrimination, against the backdrop of an evolving America. Homer & Langley is a tale of individual oppression from Doctorow, who also explored similar themes in his critically acclaimed The Book of Daniel and Ragtime. Their physical alienation alludes to the prevalent motif of isolation in the novel. It is not an easy story to tell, but Doctorow’s deft hand and compassionate pen has elucidated the story of the Collyers with dignity, elevating them beyond an off-kilter urban legend to real men with real tales to tell.

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“Even if you don’t like my music, you can’t get it out of your head. That’s my power." Mika, on The Boy Who Knew Too Much

Brand New (Alternative Rock)

¯¯¯¯¯ Most songs were penned by guitarist Vin Accardi, instead of frontman Jesse Lacey as in previous albums.

DAISY is the fourth studio album to be released by Brand New, an American alternative rock band. With this evocative offering, it is clear that this is one band that has grown up. Brand New clearly effaces its angst ridden adolescent appeal in favour of lyrical themes and gut-wrenching screams. The first song Vices starts out in a sweet female timbre, but midway through, guitar distortions invade the song and border its vibe on abrasiveness. Yet a closer listen to the album reveals its quieter undertones, as found in You Stole, a wistful musical exploration of trust and longing. Brand New skillfully manages the clever juxtaposition of two extremes on the musical spectrum, the dichotomy of rueful tenderness and raw visceral rage continually keeping things fresh. As a whole, Daisy fails to eclipse the grandeur of Brand New’s past albums. Nonetheless, it is a keeper, and grows on the listener with repeated plays.

-Debby Kwong

The Boy Who Knew Too Much Mika (Pop) Mika recorded the majority of the album with musician Greg Wells, who also produced his debut album.

DUBBED a sequel to Life in Cartoon Motion, The Boy Who Knew Too Much is a palette of rhythms and sounds one might mistake for a Freddie Mercury tribute. But its gusto belies the picture of angst painted by Mika’s lyrics. We Are Golden, the first single, sports a musical chorus that could well be the next Mambo anthem, the one you would see half-drunk revelers shout in the faces of their friends. Yet, rueful lyrics like Left here on my own/I’m gonna hurt myself spell a vast contradiction against the strutting confidence of the track's major key and strident beats. The album's downfall is that Mika’s signature upbeat musical style tends to get repetitive after a while as the tracks meld into a singular chirpy entity. Mika’s sophomore effort has musical appeal, but its angst-ridden lyrics will be lost on the well-adjusted young adult. This boy hardly knows too much, not enough to wow his listeners at least.

-Natasha Hong

Forget and Not Slow Down Relient K (Pop Punk)

¯¯¯¯¯ The band was named after a Plymouth Relient K car that guitarist Matt Harper used to own.

Homer and Langley in numbers

FORGET and Not Slow Down chronicles the heartbreak of a failed relationship, and how religion comes into play in this time of healing. Relient K’s latest offering is a mixture of angst, raw emotions, and a hint of resignation to the fact that no matter what happens, life goes on. The band continues to lavish fans with well-crafted poprock tunes in the album. But they do not forget to trade in their electric instruments for a stripped down acoustic feel once in a while, as in Candlelight. The most notable tracks in the album include This is the End and If You Want It, both of which share the same main melody and several lines of lyrics. Though the former is driven by heavy acoustics and the latter mostly by a piano accompaniment, both songs convey sorrow equally well. While Forget and Not Slow Down will be a crowd pleaser, fans may find it a little too reminiscent of Relient K’s previous works to leave a lasting impression.

The number of grand pianos removed from the Collyer household. The number of oranges Langley fed Homer in a week, believing it to eventually cure his blindness.

100,000

Daisy

¯¯¯¯¯

-Yip Jieying

14 100

MUSIC

The approximate value of the Collyers' property, as est i mated by t hei r attorney. PHOTO | COURTESY

-Foo Jieying


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FILMS My Sister's Keeper Drama Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Sofia Vassilieva 109min

FANS of the best-selling novel by Jodi Picoult will be in for a surprise if they expect the movie to be anything like the book of the same title. 11-year-old Anna Fitzgerald (Abigail Breslin) was conceived through genetic engineering, so that parts of her body could be donated to her sister Kate (Sofia Vassilieva), who suffers from leukaemia. Indignant, she seeks the help of a lawyer (Alec Baldwin) and sues her parents, Sara (Cameron Diaz) and Brian (Jason Patric), for “medical emancipation”, to have the rights to her body. Having evidently matured from her days of romantic comedies, Diaz takes a huge leap in playing the role of a mother of three teenagers. Surprisingly, she is able to pull off the steely, unwavering determination of a mother single-mindedly fighting to keep her child alive with much aplomb. This complements the outstanding performances of the two young actresses,

Lesbian Vampire Killers Comedy/Horror James Corden, Matthew Horne, MyAnna Buring 86min

NNNNN Vassilieva and Breslin. Newcomer Vassilieva unhesitatingly sheared off her long golden locks to channel the loss of the young Kate through chemotherapy. In a scene where the two sisters are lazing in the sun, Kate tells Anna: “I’m sorry I let them hurt you”. The simplicity of the line results in a poignance that manages to strike all the right chords in the hearts of audiences. Yet, this is one film that sacrifices depth for breadth, as the exploration of the ethics of organ-donation and genetic selection is compromised in favour of Kate’s relationship with fellow cancer patient Taylor (Thomas Dekker). The charismatic Taylor will certainly appeal to female audiences. However, one cannot help but feel that he is but a blithe token inclusion, set intentionally against the sombre backdrop of this movie. Backstories of other characters like the judge presiding over Anna’s case (Joan Cusack) and the girls’ dyslexic brother (Evan

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Ellingson) are saddled with maudlin emotion, yet we are only offered tantalising glimpses into the lives of these characters in the form of flashbacks, voiceovers and blackout cuts, with minimal success. Director Nick Cassavetes, in this case, is not to blame — films as a medium hardly offer the potential for character development as the novel.

Love Happens Romance

Despite the alternative ending, he successfully creates a bittersweet movie about the different aspects of family, tough love, sacrifice and learning to let go. This is one film that unabashedly milks the tears, with indulgent montages accompanied by mawkish sentimentality. A pack of tissues is a must.

-Debby Kwong

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Aaron Eckhart, Jennifer Aniston, Dan Fogler 109min

PHOTO | COURTESY

LESBIAN Vampire Killers is a campy, B-grade British horror comedy in which the novel concept of lesbian vampires is quickly reduced to a farce. The movie is rife with portrayals of lesbian vampires making out with other females to turn them into their bloodthirsty kind. From the get-go, the movie stereotypes women by overtly highlighting their sex appeal. The actresses in the movie were clad mostly in skin-tight skirts and revealing tops, with gratuitous close-up shots of their chests and derrieres. In contrast, male leads Fletch (James Corden) and Jimmy (Matthew Homes) are the quintessential anti-heroes, with hardly an iota of machismo. Ever y horror movie entails its own version of a chilling curse and this one comes courtesy of Carmilla, the vampire queen. The curse dictates that every female descendant of Baron Wolfgang MacLaren, a 17th century

PHOTO | COURTESY

vampire hunter, will be turned into a lesbian vampire on her eighteenth birthday. Only the blood of the last of MacLaren’s bloodline mixed with that of a virgin girl’s will resurrect her. As luck would have it, the discovery of a birthmark on Jimmy’s chest reveals he is the heir of the Baron, and the pair of underdogs team up with the virgin Lotte (Maya Burning) to fend off a team of vampires with a raging bloodlust. What could have been an epic and climactic battle is instead foiled by the trappings of frat-boy humour, milking cheap laughs with the ridiculous inclusion of holy water filled condom balloons as a weapon. If swearing, homosexuality, nudity and gore are not your cup of tea, it will be best to stay away from watching Lesbian Vampire Killers. The movie rates high in novelty, but ultimately fails to leave an impression.

-Audrey Lim

WIDOWER Burke Ryan (Aaron Eckhart) leads a double life that is not immediately apparent. By day, he is a successful self-help author and inspirational speaker, helping countless Americans cope with the loss of their loved ones. By night, stripped of the schmaltzy routine and striking bravado that characterises his motivational seminars, it becomes clear that he has yet to exorcise the devastating demons of his wife’s death. As the story unfurls we are offered insights into Ryan’s pain as florist Eloise Chandler (Jennifer Anniston) coaxes him out of his shell, one difficult step at a time. Ryan is at times stubbornly petulant and at others wracked with shame and denial, but underneath all that is an utterly broken man who desperately charts his path to recovery. Eckhart is competent in his depiction of the multi-faceted Ryan, delivering with gusto the trademark unctuous smile and flashy pizzazz of his motivational speaker character. He is clearly comfortable in the role, which bears more than a few similarities to the oily cigarette spokesman he played to perfection in Thank You For Smoking. Ryan’s split second transformation just before he enters a hall of exultant fans is welltimed and sensitively executed, and conveys the despondency of his everyday life. Yet the tender moments of the film are where Eckhart falls short. The climactic disintegration of his practiced game before a riveted audience could have elevated this film beyond the typical romantic comedy, but the scene instead appears contrived and awkward. Aniston’s performance as the quirky Chandler is similarly middling, though it is evident that first-time director Brandon Camp has elected to focus on Ryan’s emotional journey. The onscreen glow she emanates is due more to her vibrant blonde tresses and sunny smile rather than any amount of acting chops,

and one is hard-pressed to recall any standout scene of hers. But it has to be admitted that Aniston’s perky and pretty presence brings much needed cheer to the overcast Seattle skies and is more often than not, a welcome addition to the scene. An entertaining supporting cast adds variety to the film. Chandler’s assistant at her flower shop is free-spirited Marty (Judy Greer). The modern day hippie with red hair recites explicit poetry to unsuspecting customers. Though blithe in her irreverence, she is every bit the lovable foil to Aniston’s love woes. Dan Fogler also impresses as Ryan’s manager and buddy, his mercenary nature giving way to genuine concern for Ryan as the latter comes to terms with bereavement. As the title Love Happens suggests, Chandler and Ryan’s pairing seems to be written in the clouds. They bicker, date, laugh and cry, with Chandler’s sentiment towards Ryan apparent when she successfully persuades him to face up to the ghosts of his past. Love Happens is a sensitive take on a difficult topic, and handles the subject matter with adequate compassion. It is a pleasant romp of a movie, even if not much other than love actually happens.

-Clara Lock

PHOTO | COURTESY


18

show GREY MATTER Black may be a fail-safe choice for suits, but fashionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favourite in-between hue can also be an exciting option that solves all your sartorial conundrums.

GENTLEMAN Tales of A

PHOTOGRAPHY Chen Wei Li |

www.bythewei.com

STYLING Gerald Tan


n ov e m b e r 2 , 20 0 9

T h e na n ya ng c h ron ic l e

dapper: your essential style guide COAT-OF-ARMS A coat – in all its manifestations – is what separates the boys from the men. Acetate Frames, by Emporio Armani at AS Optics. Pants, $79.90 from Victoria JoMo

WHITE-OUT A crisp white shirt is a wardrobe staple for any discerning man. Simple and unpretentious, it is the male equivalent of a Little Black Dress. Acetate Frames, by Prada from AS Optics

FINE & DANDY It may not shield you from our relentless sunlight, but a hat is the de facto accessory for every season

SUAVE DEBONAIR Charm your way through with an ensemble that is easy to put together, yet remains big on comfort and style. Pants, $79.90, from Victoria Jomo

GROOMING By Hidayah Mohamad using Graftobian Cosmetics MODEL Andre C / Quest STOCKLIST AS Optics #B1-69 Lucky Plaza Victoria JoMo 9 Haji Lane


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lifestyle

N ov e m b e r 2 , 20 0 9

T h e na n ya ng c h ron ic l e

review

THEATRE Backstage pass Maryam Mokhtar talks to Shane Mardjuki about his role as Henri Labisse in upcoming blockbuster musical Victor/Victoria If you could describe Henri Labisse in one word, what would it be and why?

Supercilious! He is just disdainful of almost everyone and he doesn't hide it. What is it like being a part of such an international cast and crew in this musical?

It is just plain inspiring. There are people from France, the Philippines, Cuba, United States and all sorts of far flung places. And of course Laura Fygi from Holland. Everyone brings something different to the table and it makes you want to up your game to prove that Singaporeans have what it takes. Is there anything in particular that you look out for when you decide to play a character?

I usually just ask myself, "Will it be fun?" What is your favourite part about getting ready to do a musical? PHOTO | COURTESY

Could you tell us a bit about your character and the role he plays in the Victor/Victoria?

I play Henry Labisse, the proprietor of a rather seedy nightclub in Paris. He is a larger-than-life, can't-do-anything-right baddie. He dislikes Victoria from the get go and is all out to bring her down. He is great fun to play.

Those moments in the rehearsal room where great things happen and you get goosebumps and you think to yourself, "We have a show". The first time Laura sang this duet with Jake Macapagal in the rehearsal room, it happened. What can audiences expect to see from Shane Mardjuki this time round?

They can expect to see me bust out my best

faux French accent. Sort of a cross between Pepe Le Pew and any character from the 80's sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo. We hear you like to keep fit with Ju Jitsu and Muay Thai. Have they helped in getting you ready for your role as Henri Labisse?

Yes actually! This role is far more physically demanding than I thought. I get into accidents, a lot. I get beaten up, a lot. I fall, a lot. So getting beaten up in my free time sure has helped me get ready for getting beaten up at work. Who is your favourite character in this play, and why?

When you first read the script there is one character that stands out, one character that all the actors want to play. The character of Norma Cassidy, the loud-mouthed, air headed lady. She has fantastic songs and it must be a blast to get to be her every day. Nicole Stinton gets that privilege. I will have to settle for Mr Labisse. Were there any crazy or quirky incidents that happened in rehearsals or during runs?

It's still early in the rehearsal process so nothing major has happened yet. Watching the dance ensemble warm up every morning by placing their legs behind their head still freaks me out though. Why should people come see this?

I dare say that this may just be the biggest show in Singapore this year. That's a fairly bold thing to say. Now I am going to go one step further, into dangerously bold - I believe that this staging of Victor/Victoria will be enough to rival all previous stagings. There, I have said it. No taking it back. Now I better go and get everyone to rehearse doubly hard. Catch Shane Mardjuki in Victor/Victoria, playing at the Esplanade from 9-29 November. Tickets available from Sistic from $36 each. NTU students that order a minimum of 20 tickets get a 20% discount.

upcoming events L'OREAL BRANDSTORM 2010 — I DARE Open to students from Singapore’s three universities, participants of this competition get the chance to become brand managers and conceptualise a men’s grooming range for Diesel. The national winners get a chance to showcase their talents at the international finals in Paris in June 2010. Registration is open till 15 December 2009. For more information, please log on to www.brandstorm.loreal.com GAMING LALLAPALOOZA Gaming Lallapalooza is a board game competition initiated by FastForward, NTU's Board Games Society. There will be both competitive and leisure gaming. Stand to win attractive prizes and take home goodie bags. 19th Dec 2009, 10:30-6:30pm, SMU For more information, visit http: // lallapalooza2010.blogspot.com or contact Ben Lim/Raghu at 96942794/97700751 INTERNATIONAL CULTURE AND TRAVEL FAIR 2010 (ICTF 2010) The ICTF 2010 combines together two annual events of the NTU Students’ Union, namely the International Culture and Food Festival and the Travel Fair. It will provide a platform for the various international undergraduate communities on campus to showcase their rich cultures and food to promote better understanding of different backgrounds. 8-9 Feb 2010, Nanyang Auditorium For more information, contact Sirichat Vongsomtakul at 96438830 if you would like to have an event listed, drop us a mail at chronicle@Ntu.edu.sg

tech review

as good as it gets

Audrey Lim

THE Samsung Omnia II is a beautiful iteration of the original Omnia, which was one of the most popular Windows Mobile devices ever. Looking quite similar to the iPhone, the most striking feature is the dominating 3.7inch active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) display. The name is quite a mouthful, but the technology is catching on. Currently a rarity for mobile devices, an AMOLED screen illuminates active pixels individually. Traditional LCD displays require backlighting, which is the single biggest killer of battery life in mobile devices. The Omnia II does include a standard backlight which you can choose to turn off. Doing so will save on battery life, but you would not be able to view the device while outdoors if it is sunny. The plastic screen also gets washed out in direct light, which is a shame. Ironically, the device has a light sensor to regulate

screen brightness. However, that does not work too well either. Samsung has done a great job at integrating the menus into the Windows Mobile environment. The upgraded TouchWiz 2.0 User Interface is a joy to use. In fact, everything is so finger-friendly that you would not even need to carry the annoying dangling stylus. The Omnia II allows users to multi-task, removing the need to close an application to launch another. It imitates the functionality of a notebook. The Omnia II comes equipped with Office Mobile Suite, which includes Adobe Reader LE. The Widget Bar panel on the left is definitely a hit. It allows Omnia users to organise their widgets and drag them to their homescreen for quick access. Widgets this time actually work better with the Omnia II due to multiple pages. T he homescreen has undergone a complete overhaul. Users can now customise up to three homescreens, and easily access each one by swiping left. However, the fact that it is a Windows

Mobile 6.1 device, is also its Achilles heel. There is noticeable lag, especially on the homescreen. The Widget interface tends to feel clunky and slow. This can be so bad at times that it would probably be faster to restart the mobile phone, spoiling the entire user experience. Of course, there is the option to upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.5, which should run much faster. The Omnia II sports the same five megapixel resolution camera as the Omnia. Regretfully, the camera on the Omnia II does not perform well for both photos and videos. In low light conditions, photos tend to turn out grainy. Colour reproduction is dull, especially in videos. There is once again a noticeable delay in the camera. The Samsung Omnia II comes really close to becoming a true winner. It offers good multimedia experience with a downright beautiful, high resolution display. There is just one thing that holds it back: lag, lag and more lag. As of now, what we have is a great phone that badly needs some software optimisation.

PHOTO | COURTESY


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tech flash

tech review

PHONEZILLA

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SEAN SEET

MOBILE phone technology has improved by leaps and bounds ever since it became mainstream in Singapore. The brick-like Motorola DynaTAC which was once a hefty, two-pound status symbol with a mere 35 minute talk time has now given way to the super sleek, ‘do whatever, whenever’ Apple iPhone. Still, being predictably human, we are always unsatisfied with what we have. Hence, by combining the best of different handsets commercially available today, I present to you, Phonezilla, the one phone to rule them all.

FORM FACTOR When ogling at mobile phones, the first thing that catches our attention is its looks. What could be any more alluring than the sleek, curvy body of the Samsung B7620 Giorgio Armani? Far from tacky, the B7620 is a sexy black beast framed with beautiful rose-gold borders that screams understated elegance. Of course, how can we forget the Giorgio Armani logo that is located above the screen in silver. Now that is classy. A sliding QWERTY keyboard supplements its touch function.

NTU IMPLEMENTS WINDOWS Live on NTU email accounts in phases. NOKIA PARTNERS FASHION label, RAOUL, to introduce the Nokia N97 mini RAOUL Limited Edition, with only 1000 units and exclusively available in Singapore. M1 AND APPLE HAVE REACHED an agreement to bring iPhone to customers in Singapore later this year. WAC O M A NN O U N C E S T HE B am b o o s e c o n d g en er at io n , the first interactive tablet that merges multi-touch functionality with pen tablet features.

QWERTY KEYBOARD Probably the best five-row QWERTY keyboard for mobile devices in the market today, the slide out keyboard of the HTC Touch Pro 2 is pure finger-candy. Impressive ergonomics with sufficient feedback makes typing a breeze. Large buttons and adequate spacing between each key will definitely be a boon for those with salami fingers and ham fists.

NINTENDO SAYS THAT IT WOULD release a new model of its DSi portable game platform with larger screens and built-in software.

SCREEN Storming, literally, into the screen today, we have the bright, colourful and high resolution screen of the Blackberry Storm 9500. It is strikingly brilliant, displaying our favourite pictures, websites and videos in a true 4:3 aspect ratio. Also, unlike many mobile phone screens, it is highly legible under bright sunlight. This eliminates the need for running under shady trees every time you get a text message. The Storm also comes with the Surepress system, where the screen is essentially one giant button. This gives you the chance to play around with your selections on the screen without instantly confirming it.

PATRIOT MEMORY PROUDLY presents the new Box Office allin-one High Definition media player, bridging the gap bewteen your digital media and your Home Theater.

CAMERA Unless you are serving your National Service or work in a highly sensitive location, a camera is often an essential component of a mobile phone today. The Samsung M8910 Pixon 12 brings to the table a power-packed, 12 megapixels of goodness to satisfy our voyeuristic needs. Equipped with a camera found usually in compact point-and-shoots, the Pixon 12 surpasses the previous offering of eight megapixels by a whole four megapixels. Featuring both xenon and LED flash, the Pixon 12 sheds light on problems shooting in dim conditions which would be present when using a camera with only a xenon flash. Advanced camera functions are also available, such as face detection, image stabilisation and sports tracking.

APPLE INTRODUCES THE new wirele s s M a gic M ous e , the world’s first mouse to use Apple’s revolutionary Multi-Touch technology. ONCE THE INTERNET’S THIRD most visited domain, GeoCities finally shuts down for good, it will take with it thousands of user home pages and decades of data. A L B AT R O N T E C H N O L O GY releases 42-inch Albatron Optical To u c h M o n i t o r ( O T M ) w i t h Mircrosoft Windows 7 support.

MEMORY As mobile phones are starting to come equipped with bigger cameras, better audio and video players, they would need the capacity to handle these memory hungry functions. The phone that embodies this quality is the Nokia N97. The N97 is certainly a well-endowed mobile device, with 32GB of built-in memory. This would translate to approximately 7,000 songs or 46 episodes of your favourite Korean drama serial. Tragically, what if the drama serial was actually 50 episodes long? Not a problem, the N97 possesses an expansion slot for a microSD card for up to an additional 16GB of storage space. Happy watching!

AVG’S SECURITY RESEARCHERS have discovered hacked Facebook applications used to launch drive-by attacks which target vulnerabilities in Adobe reader and Flash.

BATTERY The Phonezilla may have all the bells, whistles and firecrackers that the mobile world can offer, but without a reliable power source, it is just another awesome-looking paper weight. Introducing the Philips Xenium X520, the phone with the endurance of an Olympic marathoner. Boasting a 740-hour standby time, it is almost double that of other mobile phones, and with an eight-hour talk time, an entire Basic Military Training company can call their mothers and girlfriends with a single charge. In addition to its great endurance, the power pack of the X520 has also another unique feature. Ever had your phone run out of juice in the most inopportune of times? Just insert a normal AAA battery into the X520’s power pack and viola, instant talk time.

OPERATING SYSTEM Touted as perhaps the fastest, most user-friendly operating system (OS) to grace a mobile phone, the iPhone OS 3.0 is worthy of the praise so often lavished on it. The user interface is a simple grid of icons, and to open any application, users merely need to tap once on it and out it comes almost instantly. It is that simple. The iPhone OS is also incredibly snappy in response, without much noticeable lag time that is commonly encountered in complex mobile devices. No company has made it easier for developers to distribute and profit from their handiwork. With excellent music and application databases, Apple has allowed users access to thousands of applications and tunes straight from their phones. While not perfect, the iPhone OS 3.0 comes as close as it gets to the holy grail of mobile device OS.

TOSHIBA INTRODUCES NEW Slim Series Portégé Notebook PCs, measuring less than an inch thin with Intel Ultra-Low Voltage processors and impressive battery life of up to 11 hours.

KASPERSKY LABS FOUND THAT as many as one in every 500 URLs posted on Twitter lead to sites hosting malware. FUJITSU PROUDLY INTRODUCES the Fujitsu LifeBook P8110, the latest notebook in the P Series, combining beauty and power. GOOGLE TO SELL E-BOOKS through its new service, Google Editions, launching at the beginning of 2010.

PHOTOS | COURTESY

THE LOGITECH UNIF YING receiver provides a convenient and clutter-free way for notebook users to connect wireless keyboards and mice to their computers.


偶像剧,还是“呕”像剧? —— 刊26页

新闻 南大校友之夜2009

傅海燕:校友是母校的“资产” 黄海●报道

大的校友团队除了能在 财务方面为母校贡献, 更大程度上,他们是母校的宝 贵“资产”。 国家发展部及教育部高 级政务部长傅海燕,在10月 24日所举行的“南大校友之夜 2009”致词时,发表以上看 法,概述了母校与校友之间 的微妙关系。 傅海燕说,校友不但是在 籍南大生学习的楷模,同时还 能为这些学弟妹牵线,提供 他们在职场上实习与就业的良 机。 傅海燕补充,校友还可发挥 群体精神,设立奖、助学金, 帮助经济有困难的学生。 她以这届“南洋卓越校友 奖”的3位得主,拿督余国隆、 谢万森和陈建民医生为例,表扬 校友为南大作出的贡献。

余国隆(67岁)于1966年毕 业自理学院化学系,目前在联 洲特别油脂有限公司担任企业 顾问,是棕榈油下游加工业中 的佼佼者。 余国隆说,自己初来南大 时,因为不懂华语,经历一段 很痛苦的时光,但他最终还是 克服了。 身为学长,他鼓励南大的 后辈们,要从事自己喜欢的职 业,并且只要相信自己,终究 能够成功。 另外,今年还有23名校友也 获颁了“南洋校友成就奖”、 “南洋杰出青年校友奖”和 “南洋校友服务奖”的殊荣, 表彰这群杰出校友在各自领域 中的贡献。 热心公益的商人王海荣(40 岁)因对母校慷慨解囊,获 颁“南洋校友服务奖”。 2007年毕业自南洋商学院高 层主管工商管理硕士课程的王 海荣说,自己在南大所学的知

识对工作有很大的帮助。 他也希望南大的学生要天天 以正面的态度去学习,好好享 受大学生涯。 毕业于1966年的陈清业博士 在晚会后受访时说:“南大给 我的教育对我一生影响很大, 只要有空,我都会来参加校友 会的活动。” 他补充,自己愿意为母校献 出力量,也希望母校能够继续 发展,成为国际名列前茅的高 等学府。 数学与经济系二年级生岳牧 (20岁)认为,除了让自己的 学习更有动力,通过这活动也 可让南大生认识杰出校友,以 及增进彼此之间的感情。 今年的校友之夜以“团结、 分享、凝聚”为主题。南大校 长徐冠林博士在致词时,以一 句“欢迎回家,感谢你们回 校,你们都是学校的VIP”, 让在场的校友们倍感窝心。徐 校长除了向校友们汇报南大近

大男生玩反串 争夺百万奖金

黄文明(右二)与好友刘铠毅(左二)参赛后接受多家新马媒体采 访,更有台湾媒体与他们进行一天的贴身跟拍。 照片|黄文明提供

萧佳慧●报道 中文总编辑

了成为百万旅游达人, 南大生不惜牺牲色相,

反串“舞女”,拍摄Kuso 版“Nobody”。 南大材料科学与工程学院四 年级生黄文明(22岁)与好友 刘铠毅(23岁)参加“世界最 棒的旅游——旅游达人台湾走

透透”,一路闯关至总决赛, 与另外29支队伍争夺冠军宝座 以及奖金台币100万元(约5万 新元)。 除了每天在Facebook上 呼吁朋友们投票,他们还模 仿当红韩国女子团体Wonder Girls,大跳“Nobody”舞,点 击率在短短两个星期内达到两 万次。 旅游短片一般上都是以传 统的旁白方式叙说画面中的事 物,或者以文字穿插图片的方 式。 但是,他们就是不想流于一 般。黄文明说:“我们想要尝 试一些更有创意,与众不同的 想法,希望能在最短的时间吸 引最多人观赏。” 他们也接受新马与台湾三地 各大报章、网络媒体与电台采 访,媒体曝光率爆增,走在街 上偶尔会被认出来,令他们既 高兴又错愕。

南大卓越校友余国隆(中)从南大校长徐冠林教授(左)和部长傅 海燕(右)手中接过奖项。 摄影|Renald Taurusdi 年的发展历程,同时也对他们 的支持表达谢意。 当晚,晚会上也举行了“南

大校友卡”的推介仪式。这是 今年校友会的首创,目的在于 与校友们保持终身联系。

黄文明说:“高兴是因为我 们的宣传达到了效果,但是难 免还是会有一点点尴尬。” 黄文明和刘铠毅自嘲一个 是“一身肥肉”,一个“只 剩排骨”,因此将队伍取名为 “肉骨茶”。 他们以台湾原住民文化为主 题策划了4日行程,并于今年 7月底在台湾旅游局的赞助下完 成这项旅游计划。 他们走访了太鲁阁族的太鲁 阁山脉、阿美族的马太鞍部落和 太巴 部落,以及鲁凯族的达鲁 马克部落,发现原住民部落并不 像大家想像中那么落后。 黄文明说:“村落里虽然没 有高楼,但是基本设施都非常 齐全,便利商店7-Eleven更是 随处可见。” 他认为台湾并不是很大,很 多地方都免不了被城市化,但 至少原住民的村庄还保留了自 己的传统和文化,而这与马来 西亚的甘榜相似。 来到原住民部落,“肉骨 茶”当然也要入乡随俗,品尝 原住民佳肴,但是生海胆可是

让他们“提心吊胆”。 黄文明说:“刚看到生海 胆时,是有一点恐惧,但是原 住民们如此热情招待下,不敢 试也得试一试。其实,生海胆 吃下去感觉跟吃蛋黄没有两 样。” 类似荷叶饭的Abay倒是让 他回味无穷。“可惜当时在台 东只有机会吃一个,真想打包 10几个,一路上一直吃!” “肉骨茶”不仅通过个人网 站与Facebook与大家分享他们 的旅游经验,也在上个星期推 出了他们的电子书。 有兴趣知道他们还有哪 些难忘经验的话,也可以到 http://3.ly/download下载。

更正 “本地学生的‘双语之路’关 卡重重”(Vol 16 No 4, 20页) 本文中提到通商中国是由中华 总商会设立,而非我国政府。 特此更正。


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Kikki.K

在乎你

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地址:#B2-44/46, ION Orchard 电话:6509 3107 网站:www.kikki-k.com.au 营业时间:(每日)早上10时至晚上10时

说文具一定就是单 调乏味?Kikki.K就 是要颠覆传统,将文具时 尚化。 居住在瑞典的澳洲籍 创办人Kristina Karlsson 当初因为在瑞典找不到心 仪的时髦文具,便决定创 立自己的时尚文具品牌。 不久前,Kikki.K首 度进驻亚洲,在ION Orchard设立店铺。 简洁明亮的店面,整 齐地陈列着以颜色分类的 商品。顾客可直接到自己 喜欢的颜色区域选购, 非常方便。 如果你喜欢线条简

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心在时尚文具市场 中抢分一杯羹的 大众书局,赶上了剪贴 簿的新风潮,连开两家 概念新颖的文具店—— UrbanWrite。 为吸引顾客上门,店 家引用了日本的“颜色模 型理论”来决定店内的采 色和装潢。UrbanWrite经 理说:“这样其实能有 效地挑起消费者的购买 欲。” 这里售卖的剪贴簿材 料种类齐全,价格也相当

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旅游

进入花卉王国 体验非一般的“花花世界” 荷兰人除了赏花、卖花,还能玩出什么花样呢?记者陈紫筠带你到“花卉王国”荷兰,体验非一 般的“花花世界”。

市场的员工踩着小型拖拉机,载着 一箱箱郁金香,在市场里穿梭。不管是 象征爱情的红色郁金香、尊贵的紫色郁 金香、阳光开朗的黄色郁金香,或是表 示原谅的白色郁金香,都能在这“花卉 王国”找到。 除了郁金香,荷兰其实还有另外 3宝:风车、木屐,和乳酪,所以我 也到了荷兰最知名的阿可马乳酪市场 (Alkmaar cheese market)。

厂商和买主讨价还价 的方法相当有意思; 他们当面商讨价钱, 一旦商榷完毕,就伸 出右手来相互击掌, 表示交易完成,无需 白纸黑字。 每个星期,这里都会排列一排排的 乳酪。一群身穿传统服饰的男士以古老 的方法,搬运和秤量乳酪,仿效旧时售 卖乳酪的情景。 厂商和买主讨价还价的方法相当有 意思;他们当面商讨价钱,一旦商榷完 毕,就伸出右手来相互击掌,表示交易 完成,无需白纸黑字。 见识过荷兰的代表性景象,我来 到含蓄的荷兰民俗村。位于赞丹市 (Zaandam)的荷兰民俗村至今仍保留 着16、17世纪的旧式建筑和传统文化。 民俗村以优美的自然环境、淳朴的 旧式建筑和古老的风车吸引大量的游 客。荷兰是个“风车之国”,盛期全国 有多达1万2000座,至今仍有900多座。 转动的风车可排水,避免低洼的荷 兰被海洋淹没。游客到此也可以参观木 鞋、乳酪和其他利用风车推动的工作坊。 同样是花园城市,新加坡不如效仿 荷兰,放慢生活步伐,给自己多一点空 间,品味自家门前的花香。

鲜艳的花卉不仅仅是他们的经济工具,也是发挥创意的颜料。栩栩如生的鲸鱼花车,从粉紫色鱼皮、深紫色眼皮到黑白色眼 珠,都是用一朵朵小花拼凑而成的。 荷兰在植物、鲜花、球茎花出口量 过3个世纪前,郁金香是欧洲 最昂贵的稀世花种,荷兰当 方面是世界之首,我到访的爱士曼鲜 时更掀起“郁金香热”,人们不惜 花拍卖市场(Aalsmeer flower auction 投下千金,只为换取一颗郁金香球 market)更是全球最大的花卉拍卖市 场,面积达125个足球场这么大。 茎。 今天,荷兰人仍以盛产郁金香为 傲,花卉事业更堪称经典。 但是,鲜艳的花卉不仅仅是他 们的经济工具,也是发挥创意的颜 料。 今年4月,我到荷兰进行交流, 碰巧遇上阿姆斯特丹(Amsterdam) 一年一度的花卉盛典——花车游 行。 栩栩如生的鲸鱼花车,从粉紫色 鱼皮、深紫色眼皮到黑白色眼珠, 都是用一朵朵小花拼凑而成的。 彩色小屋的红色屋顶、黄色窗 沿、白色墙壁和屋外的紫色大树, 也同样是鲜花制成的。 除了这些可爱的花车造型,当地 人也用各种颜色的花朵拼凑出风车 和木屐等,巧妙地将他们国家的标 志结合在一起,让人不得不佩服他 们的创意。 来到荷兰,当然也要到他们的鲜 花拍卖市场看一看,见识荷兰人的 高效率。 阿可马乳酪市场的员工仿效旧时售卖乳酪的情景,相当有趣。 照片|陈紫筠提供


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言论 校园大声讲

咖啡厅

学习与休息的学问 当真相迷失于网络世界 陈婧

插图|刘宏富

黄海

期将尽,刚刚应付完期中考试的 南大生们,立即转而投身期末战 场。图书馆的人越来越多,校园里学生 们更加形色匆匆。 作为一名中国交换生,南大生留给 笔者最深刻的印象——除了忙碌,就是 忙碌。休息周学生们也都和往常一样, 出现在校园内,甚至比平时还忙,疯狂 补作业。 南大生的课业负担真的比其他国家 的学生重吗? 不少外国交换生都认为,南大的课 业负担并不比其他学校重;他们反而觉 得,南大考试的及格率相对较高,学校 给学生的压力并不是很大。 在日本的大学里,学生们每学期可 修上10多门课程,比起南大生平均的6 门课程,负担更重。就有香港大学生告 诉笔者,南大的课程相对简单,课业压 力较小。 那南大学生为什么总是忙忙碌碌, 无法分身呢? 笔者认为,这或是因为南大学生普 遍都拥有很高的自我期望值。不少本地 公司都很看重学生的成绩,而且一些学 生也希望深造,而好的成绩正是这一切 的基础。 正因为如此,南大生往往都不满足 于达到及格的分数,而是希望考获A或 A+的优异成绩。当然,综合来看,这不 是南大特有的现象;纵观整个亚洲,亦 是如此。 此外,也有外国学生觉得,效率不 足也可能是南大生异常忙碌的因素。 南大生进行小组讨论时,大家往往 不愿意担当组长一职,单单是选个领导 人就会花上不少时间。 有些人则是明知道同学的观点不正 确,也不愿意纠正,导致讨论了两三个 小时也得不到任何实质性结果。

相对的,欧洲学生更加自信、独 立,并且愿意发表自己的想法;这 些特质正是本地大学生所欠缺的。 其三,笔者觉得部分本地学生对 学习毫无热忱,力不从心。许多南 大生通常在讲堂课上分心,上网使 用Facebook,或是网上聊天,而有 些则会翘棵。

如何在“学习”与 “休息”两者之间 取得有效的平衡, 亦是提高效率的重 要途径。 这态度必然会使他们得在考试前 掏出多余的时间温习课业。学习事 倍功半,学生倍感压力,久而久之 也形成了恶性循环——学生对课业 失去热忱,课业也变得更难应付。 如何在“学习”与“休息”两者 之间取得有效的平衡,亦是提高效 率的重要途径。南大生应该分清楚 学习和休息的时间,学习起来也会 更有效率。最重要的是,南大生需 要学会放松。 此外,南大生应该更有自信,勇 于发表意见,而不是随波逐流。或 许他们可以从辅导课上着手,和同 学交流,巩固自己的看法。 忙碌是大多外国学生对南大生主 要的印象。或许,这背后有文化的 差异,或教育体系的不同,但找准 定位自我放松、提高效率、提升自 信,以及平衡学习与休息,则是共 通的。 期末考试即将来临,希望南大生 们都能自我减压、合理安排时间, 享受在美丽云南园的美好生活。

年10月,刚获颁诺贝尔物理奖的 m高锟(Charles K. Kao)因媒体 采访过多,不胜其扰,只好与夫人联合 发表声明,希望新闻界在已得到所需的 事实资料后,让他重返平静的生活。 高锟夫妇在声明中说:“到了现 在,你们应该都知道,高锟是光纤之 父。也正是光纤,使那些真伪莫辨、良 莠不齐的信息得以充斥于互联网上,不 分畛域,无远弗届。” 高锟的这一句感叹,把我的思绪勾 回去年此时:韩星崔真实因网络谣言而 自杀身亡,一时闹得满城风雨。韩国政 府由此推行“崔真实法”,通过网络实 名制来整顿互联网秩序,可是网络信息 的真伪难辨,又岂是一个“实名制”就 能解决的问题? 在这个网络时代,要获取信息实在 是太快、太方便了。 只要轻敲键盘,就能用一个关键词 搜索上万条相关讯息;只要轻移鼠标, 就能从一个页面打开上百个相关网站。 可也正因为这样,无数谣言在未经确 认前就传遍网络,从普通百姓到名人巨 星,无不受其影响。 2006年3月,一则毫无根据的“微软 总裁比尔·盖茨遭暗杀身亡”的传言在 中国网络上广为流传。事隔一个月后, 韩国网络媒体居然再次重演了这条假新 闻闹剧,着实令人哭笑不得。 崔真实的“真死”和比尔盖茨的 “假死”都让我们看到人言可畏不光是

在阮玲玉时代才有。而如此耸动的谣 言正是借助光纤的速度,传播得越来越 快,同时依靠网民的力量,影响得越来 越广。 光纤技术的发明,让网速大大 提高,同时也使互联网普及全球。 有人更将这个突破性的发展称之为 “给真相插上了翅膀”。 然而时隔多年,我们不难在光纤之 父的感慨中发现,网络之快、信息之 多,既可以让我们贴近事实,也可以让 我们离真相更远。 不负责任的媒体当然应该为此受谴 责,那么身为大众的我们是否也应想 想,自己为什么会轻易的上当受骗? 何不扪心自问,是什么让你全盘接 受某博客的单方面之言?又是什么让你 认为,网络论坛中的意见足以代表全民 的心声? 当我们在准备学术报告时,教授务 必三令五申:不能从方便快捷的维基百 科(Wikipedia)上照抄定义,引用信息 时要考虑资源的权威性和可信度,发表 论点时更一定要写进各角度的观点,以 示公正。 的确,网络的发展快得让我们来不 及思考,信息也多得让我们难辨真伪。 但如果我们能放慢脚步,多花些时间确 认消息的来源,多花点精力聆听不同的 声音,也许就不会那么容易在资讯爆炸 的时代迷失方向,误入歧途。 这一班信息高速列车,到底是让你 更快的“拨云见月”,还是陷入新一轮 的“雾里看花”?答案取决于列车上的 每一位乘客。

插图|Thu Nguyen


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娱乐

年度“呕”像剧 不看不可惜 《我的亿万面包》 继《恶作剧之吻》系列后,银幕情侣郑元畅 和林依晨第三度合作,两人的默契绝对不是问 题,却无法擦出新火花。剧中吵架的戏份,还是 见得到江直树和袁湘琴的影子。 剧情安排上,仅仅12集的偶像剧,间中突然 出现富家子金恩浩(张睿家饰)这个第三者,显 得有点突兀。后来两位主角被高利贷挟持,需要 钱急救的时候,金恩浩竟然在国外。结果全靠小 万爷爷(赵舜饰)才得救,令人纳闷安排金恩浩 这个角色是了为什么。 再来是郑元畅的演技真的没有多大进步。演绎 蔡进来这个吊儿郎当,为人贪慕虚荣,但满腹正 义感的人,他显得有点力不从心,在 内心戏的拿捏总有点造作。相较 之下,林依 晨的演技收 放自如且 日 益 成 熟,整部剧 的感情戏拿捏 得恰到好 处。

想知道近两年来本地和台湾最烂的连续剧 有哪些吗?让苏文琪、黄康玮和余思远为 你整理分析。

《篮球火》

《终极3国》 采用《三国演义》人物与场景的《终极3国》 是《终极》系列的第三部曲。 剧中冷场的情节,还有突然杀出的莎士比亚 名言,真叫人摸不着头脑。或许这些冷笑话元素 正符合现代青年的口味,在欣赏名著改编的剧集 之余,也能傻笑一番。 然而《终极3国》可算是将古代元素溶入现代 虚幻背景的败作,剧中除了名字和戏中提及的事 件,三国的元素根本就荡然无存。将几千年前的 大战,通过穿梭时空的方式,成为校园之间的战 斗,十分牵强。除了将注意力放在胡宇崴、任容 萱等偶像身上,观众最好还是把《终极3国》当 成拥有全新的人物和故事情 节来看待, 或许才会有 看头。

以篮球为题材的剧集有很多,如5566主演的 《MVP情人》也采用了这样主题。除非有大突 破,篮球的主题似乎很难再拍出截然不同的感觉。 本剧最大的号召力莫过于超强的卡司,但有点 大材小用,像是吴尊的角色就没有太大的发挥空 间。罗志祥在剧里的角色元大鹰性格无厘头,爱搞 笑,维持他一贯幽默的特色,却与其他角色的严 肃、沉默格格不入,编剧在融合搞笑戏份方面似乎 做得不够好。 剧集一大优点是打篮球的场面令人看得很过 瘾,特技的运用几近完美,尤其是大结局的那场球 赛,更是令人目不转睛。演员搭配方面也很新鲜, 言承旭,罗志祥和吴尊的魅力的确无法抵挡。

《双子星》

《球爱大战》 故事情节一开始就有些牵强,人物塑造不够说服 力,例如李铭顺饰演的马天武。他因童年的阴影, 导致他对女人产生一种复仇心理。每次热恋时,他 就会向对方提出分手,为的就是要看到对方痛苦, 而这竟是多次影响女主角们之间感情的因素。 此外,白薇秀、刘芷绚和谢美玉身穿比基尼 在巴刹奔跑的桥段简直是炒冷饭。继《任我遨 游》在乌节路奔跑引起轰动后,此剧也想依样画 葫芦,实在缺乏新鲜感。 本剧另一败笔是李铭顺与姚懿珊的老少配令 人看了很不舒服,不禁让人质疑新传媒没有其他年 轻男艺人可以胜任此角色了。最后,排球比赛的画 面拍得不够精彩,加上乏善可陈的剧情,就算有再 多公主和阿哥加持,也无法刺激收视率。 照片|网络下载

这部本地电视圈年中大制作打出双生双旦的噱 头,可在播映期间,阿哥阿姐的光芒全被连串抨击 掩盖。剧情最大的败笔在于过度复杂的人物关系, 前几集让人看得团团转。 剧情当中也穿插许多枝节,结果整出剧变得更 加混乱。例如章风(李南星饰)失踪的来龙去脉一 直到最后一集才得到解答,可是理由却十分牵强, 令人感到莫名其妙。 尽管各位艺人都表现得很卖力,但是却不能挽 回剧集的可看性。饰演叶仁义的黄俊雄首次挑战反 派角色,就曝露他的演技还有很多不足点,尤其是 在和他人争强好胜的情节,表情显得十分紧绷,很 不自然。 《双子星》原本应该是很大器的一出戏,结果 像泻了气的皮球。令人难忘的,竟然只有刘力扬演 唱的主题曲《寂寞光年》。

《乒乓圆》 新生代偶像洪赐健和因《小娘惹》爆红的戴阳 天主演的《乒乓圆》,故事情节和人物发展都令 人大失所望,看来新传媒在体育连续剧的制作上 还有很大的进步空间。 剧集开始已失去重心,前大部分都忽略了何胜 武(洪赐健饰),直到接近完结篇时,他才踏入 乒坛,根本没有剩余时间让他有所作为。 此外,主角之间的多角恋情毫无进展。到了结 局,何胜武还是没能化解麦晓芬对他的误会,看 了令人费解。除了配角何英雄和麦甜甜结婚外, 许多人物的结局也没交代清楚。 最后,剧中奇怪的乒乓招式也很夸张,何胜武 在结局致胜的招式竟是“太极乒乓”。除了有帅 哥和资深艺人的参与,这部剧集或许不是在打乒 乓,恐怕是被乒乓打。


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乐评 音乐Jukebox

娱乐休闲厅 李玟专访

李玟:亚洲歌手并不差

专辑:《时尚女性》 歌手:尚雯婕 推荐:《当你想起我》

赵博书●报道

识过东西方歌手的实 力,李玟认为亚洲歌手 其实不比西方歌手差。 从小听西方音乐长大的她, 自从当了歌手后,对于亚洲歌 手无法在国际舞台占有一席之 地,感到不公平。 这次为了宣传新专辑 《CoCo的东西》,相隔了6年 才来新加坡的李玟,在记者会 上表示希望能善用自己在美国 发展的经验,为亚洲歌手开启 迈向国际的门。 身为首个,也是唯一曾在奥 斯卡颁奖典礼上演唱的华裔女 歌手,李玟坦承,前往美国发 展是她人生最大挑战之一。自 己是有幸运之神的眷顾,才能 有今天的成就。 她也坦言,一个东方面孔要 在美国乐坛有所作为真的不容 易。不过,她相信若集合大家 的力量,一定能为国际乐坛带 来新气象。 李玟说:“我一直觉得亚洲 歌手必须团结起来,将我们的乐 坛变得更壮大,这样西方歌手也 会愿意加入和尊重我们。” 自称工作狂的李玟,这3年 虽然淡出歌坛,却从不曾放下 自己最热爱的音乐,当中的两 年都在筹备新专辑,其余的时 间就去环游世界。她说:“我 也听了很多场演唱会,为这张 专辑找到了许多灵感。” 最让李玟庆幸的,是遇到创 作人姚谦,这也是两人相隔10 年后再次合作。

“我一直觉得亚洲 歌手必须团结起 来,将我们的乐坛 变得更壮大,这样 西方歌手也会愿 意加入和尊重我 们。” 李玟 台湾歌手

她回忆:“我跟他(姚谦) 说我想做出一张具代表性的专 辑,通过音乐去感谢歌迷这么 多年给我的支持。就因心中一 直保持这样的信念,新专辑在 制作上也花了较长的时间。” 李玟相信音乐的力量是很 大的 ,能改变一个人的心情, 还希望自己能唱到80岁。她笑 说:“到那时歌迷可能当爷爷 奶奶了,带着他们的孙子来听 我唱歌,叫我CoCo婆婆。” 这些年来,李玟也收集歌迷 的评语跟意见,尽量把他们想

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国选秀比赛“超级女 声”2006年全国总冠军 尚雯婕和别的选秀明星不同: 她毕业于复旦大学法语系,上 海知名法语同声传译,甚至还 出版过法语译著。 尚雯婕的全新专辑由“伤人 情歌三部曲”、“魅惑摇滚三部曲”、“女性时代三部曲”构 成,其中不少歌都是著名影视作品的插曲。 “伤人情歌三部曲”的第一首《当你想起我》,原先是为 莫文蔚打造,后由尚雯婕争取到。这首都市情歌,旋律舒缓却 不失爆发力,给人一种椎心刺骨的痛。高潮过后,犹如大浪拍 岸之后的沙滩,平静得似乎从来没有发生过什么。 歌词这么写道:直到有一天/面对爱情/开始吝啬/会不 会怀念/曾有的炙热,看似平铺直叙,却能让不同经历的人产 生共鸣,或许这正是其深邃所在。尚雯婕的嗓音很独特,有点 冷冷的金属感,她声线的优势也在这首歌中充分展现。 这次,尚雯婕也首次大胆尝试摇滚,苏打绿主唱吴青峰也 为她倾心打造《什么?什么!》。她也一改往日都市白领形 象,玩起烟熏妆。 尚雯婕在这张专辑中尝试了多种风格的歌曲和造型,力图 表达自我内心与嗓音魅力,可以看出她在专辑中所付出的诚意 和心血。(文/黄海)

专辑:《钻石糖》 歌手:萧亚轩 推荐:《我们多久没牵手》 《颤栗传奇》

李玟希望善用自己在美国发展的经验,为有才华的亚洲歌手开启 迈向国际的门,让国际乐坛能有一番新景象。 摄影|李嘉炜 听到的曲风带入专辑里。亚洲 出生,美国长大的她说,自己 正是东西合并,新专辑所代表 的就是这样的李玟。 三年都未有新作品面世的李 玟也担心歌迷会忘记她,就申 请了Twitter账户跟歌迷保持联 系,至今她的“跟随者”已有 上千人。 最初申请时,李玟发现自 己的名字已被使用,只好改 用“cocolee117”。第一次上 Twitter时,很多人都质疑她身 份的真伪,李玟还得上载一张 自拍家居照,歌迷才相信。 现在,她只要有时间就会上 Twitter更新自己的近况,也答 复歌迷提出的问题。近期因为 忙着宣传,没有时间跟未婚夫 通电话,Twitter也成为他们之 间的联系方式。 李玟不时会问歌迷一些特别 的问题,如第一次听她的歌是 在什么样的情况下等。她指出 歌迷的故事非常有启发性,常 常会激发她做出更多好音乐回 馈歌迷对她的期望。 聊到第一波主打歌“Party Time”MV中的七个造型,李 玟特别喜欢女强人的造型,觉 得女人都应该懂得照顾自己, 成为一个独立坚强的女性。

她说:“我觉得有自信的女 人最美丽。当你有自信的时候, 你就会散发一种魅力,一种诱惑 力,吸引所有人的目光。” 问及自己最美丽的时刻, 李玟认为是在为大家唱歌的时 候。因为她认为自己的声音能 让听众有所感触。 李玟也透露,她喜欢新加坡 的干净环境和美食,怕冷的她更 喜欢本地温暖的气候,有打算在 这里定居的念头。不过,她还得 查一下资料,才能决定。



直都觉得萧亚轩有把好 嗓子,无论是快歌或慢 歌,她都能把歌曲诠释得恰到 好处。可惜这样的美好印象, 却停留在《蔷薇》、《最熟悉 的陌生人》和《爱的主打歌》 等经典歌曲。 新专辑的制作出动了国内 外著名的音乐人,其中《钻石 糖》的作曲人Wayne Hector曾与多位知名歌手合作,是全球各 音乐榜上的常客。轻快的曲风,加上俏皮的歌词,是一首不错 的舞曲。然而,这首歌对30岁的萧亚轩来说,实在过于甜腻。 抒情歌曲方面,由姚若龙作词的《我们多久没牵手》最为 动听。歌曲淡淡的旋律和深情的诠释经过细细咀嚼后,可感受 到一段感情从激情转淡后的无奈与遗憾。 然而让人比较惊艳的是由她自己创作的《颤栗传奇》。 这首歌是萧亚轩对偶像麦克杰逊致敬的一首创作。歌中提到: 人家都说你有点奇怪/其实讨论你的人更怪,以同样是艺人的 观点评论偶像的行为,值得嘉奖。 整体来说,这张专辑感觉一般,萧亚轩表现中规中举。 若要用以往的期待来欣赏,必定会让你失望。(文/魏洁莹)

赢取慈善演唱预演门票 歌坊音乐教室将在12月19日举办 VIVACE慈善演唱会,为MILK (Mainly I Love Kids) Fund筹款。 本报将送出5对预演门票。 问:VIVACE慈善演唱会将在哪一天举行? 请把正确答案、个人资料和联络号 码电邮至:nanyuan@ntu.edu.sg 得奖者将获得通知。 截止日期:11月8日

预演详情: 日期:11月15日(星期日) 地点:St James Power Station, The Lobby 时间:晚上7时


Opinions “Being paid to play games and surf the internet?” Turn to page 30 to find out

frankly, my dear

EDITORIAL

A column by The Chronicle editors on issues close to their hearts

Flash forward The lively nature of the recent f lash mobs in the heart of the central business and shopping districts belie the commercial motivation behind their execution. What began as a form of performance art has now become a tool for public relations practitioners and advertisers, the latest fad to be exploited in the battle for consumers’ attention. T h i s r obs t he f la sh mob of t he c r eat ive energy produced by the or iginal spontaneit y of t he event, as t he same tired act is rehashed to satisfy companies looking for a more edgy image. A s t he concept ’s integrit y becomes compromised further, its impact is reduced and its or iginal intent war ped. W hen its usef u lness ha s been e x hau sted , it will likely be discarded as at tent ion qu ic k ly sh i f t s to t he ne x t fad .

T he effectiveness of suc h tac t ic s i s r apid ly losing steam in the wake of lukewar m responses. It is a shame that an idea borne out of artistic e x pression f i nd s it s e x istence comprom ised b y f i n a n c i a l r e a s on s . The original joy from a d isplay of ver ve and i magi nat ion w it hout monetar y incentive needs to be rediscovered. Without the constraint of fiscal aims, there is a higher likelihood of an unbridled display of raw energy and passion, which will resonate with audiences viewing the performance. W hen this can be achieved, it will herald a new age of enlightenment for the local ar t scene, and change the perception that the chase for profits outweigh all other concerns. After all, it would be tragic if creativit y sold out for a sh i ny pen ny.

CH R O N ICL E THE NANYANG

chief editor Ng Yong Kiat Fabian

opinionS editors Shereen Naaz Charles

MANAGING editor Ahmad Iskandar

sports editors Tham Hui Min Tiffany Xue Jianyue

sub-editors Ng Wei Chuen Caleb Vo Van Hung Chuang Bing Han Hong Shuheng News editors Cai Zhimin Alexis Yusuf Abdol Hamid Lifestyle editors Toh Li Min Kezia Wee Ling Li Cheryl

layout editors Cha Ee Ling Alexis Josephine K Chow Lee Shuxian photo editors Foo Chee Chang Tan Yi Leong Irwin Lim Joe Ee Zoe graphics editor Sarah Amnah Zaihan

Reviews editor Law Shi Ming Elizabeth

ONLINE editor Kuek Jinhua

TECH editor Wee Zhi Qiang Kenneth

business managers Teo Xin Wen Jean Yong Sze Yean Joyce

dapper editors Koh Fang Ting Carina Tsen Si Jia Audrey Chinese editors Seow Kia Hui Ng Soon Kiat

production support Ng Heng Ghee Teacher advisors Andrew Duffy Javed Nazir Xu Xiaoge

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

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU News Hotline: 6790 6446 Letters: chronicle@ntu.edu.sg Opinions: chronicle.opinions@ ntu.edu.sg Please include your full name, contact number, faculty and year of study.

Like father, like camera Ahmad Iskandar managing editor

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f anything comes close to bringing out my parental instincts, owning a Digital Single-Lens Ref lex (DSLR) will be one. When it is just the camera and me alone, I am unable to keep it out of my sight, for fear of theft. When the sky turns grey and rumbles, I quickly hide it away from danger and seek shelter for the both of us. When it is in someone else’s h a nd s , I wou ld wa r n t he m incessantly to take extra care in handling it. This paternal bond would have been a touching story if not for one difference–it is just a camera. But what changes the whole game plan is that the DSLR is a high-class baby. It demands the best toys in the form of lens, a yearly spa session at the service centre, and would want nothing more than for me to carry its heavy weight around everywhere. I do believe that anyone who owns, or has owned, expensive and delicate gadgets share my plight. Imagine the following: A scratch on your Blackberry Bold; a bump on your Macbook; even dust on your PlayStation 3. A l l w i l l e l ic it a roa r i ng response, enough to scare away an army of Persians invading your town. Or, at least it did with a few of my friends recently. Let’s face it. In this world of technological won d e r s , w e a r e i t s lo y a l servants. For ge t d e v e lopm e n t s i n artificial intelligence, the era in which the machines have enslaved us is already here. But what seems like apocalyptic signs may not necessarily be a bad thing. Ownership of such gadgets can teach us many of life’s useful lessons. It forces us to make informed decisions and take responsibility for our actions, a trait that many would gladly forgo. Although we have friends and family to back us up, we are old enough to do these things on our own. People who jump onto the DSLR bandwagon tend to not know what they are going into.

GRAPHIC | ALAN CHOONG

Many do not rea li ze t hat owning one is like raising your own child. A lot of care and attention goes into the process. One would also have to consider the financial investments that come with owning a DSLR.

In this world of technological wonders, we are unfortunately its loyal servants Lastly, one would also need to understand its strengths and weaknesses. To ignore these aspects of ownership will only be a big loss for both. Like a famous saying goes, “Any tool is only as good as the hand that wields it.” The DSLR has much to offer, and the rewards are endless. But you must go the extra mile.

The weight of such a possession leads me to ref lect upon other heavy investments in my life. Like education. We have all been through the long road of education, from kindergarten to where we are now, in university. After all the time and money invested in making us intellectually stellar, this is the final time in which we can show our worth. Make everlasting friendships. S e e k ou r pr ofe s s or s a nd mentors. Initiate our own personal projec t s a nd e x plor e ou r capabilities. Our education is our baby, and it is about to head out on its own to the real working world. T hat sa id, I cou ld not be happier to have had my DSLR for three years, but there are still many things to learn before I can even consider myself a decent photographer. Life for me is like a picture. And I will not be satisfied until it is in clear focus and framed just the way I want it to. Picture perfect.


opinions

n ov e m b e r 2 , 20 0 9

T h e na n ya ng c h ron ic l e

When normal is abnormal

29

canteen talk

Last Wednesday the NTUSU distributed the biannual examination welfare package. We ask students their thoughts about the exam packages.

The longer library hours do not benefit those who stay off campus and have to travel home after studying late

Muhd Bukhair Amiruddin, EEE, Yr 3, 24

I think the exams package should be distributed at various locations and days to avoid the long queues Kee Choon Yan, CBE, Yr 3, 21

Maryam Mokhtar

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do not have a single friend from Institute of Technical Education (ITE). Or the Normal (Technical) stream for that matter. Should I be embarrassed? Now that I am studying in a local university, it seems rather late to be pondering on the dynamics of my social circle. I am comfortable with the friendships I have with people who have taken similar educational paths as me. But once in while, a nagging voice at the back of my head asks: “Am I missing something?” Every year, junior college graduates are given opportunities from local universities which promise new and exciting opportunities as part of their ‘packages’. We would be among a group of dynamic, talented, intellectual, brilliant individuals who are supposed to come from all walks of life and have different experiences. Different walks of life? Varying life experiences? The only ‘difference’ I have noticed is the colour of our skin. I latched on to how similar we, supposedly varied individuals, are when I came across an article by former Yale professor William Deresiewicz, The Disadvantages of an Elite Education. Deresiewicz, who studied and taught at Yale, had trouble holding a five-minute conversation with a plumber his age. This affliction, known as the “Ivy League retardation”, occurs at home. In NTU we hardly come into

contact with peers of our age who are really different from us. Chances are we all came from EM1, EM2 or the gifted streams, progressed to the special or express streams in secondary school, ended up in junior colleges and polytechnics, and finally entered university. Is it just me or does the word normal today have a negative connotation? Although I want to reach out and make a difference, I will be the first to admit I am afraid to reach out. It is perplexing that as a student educated in world affairs, I have limited knowledge of the people who make up the country we live in.

Is it just me or does the word ‘normal’ today have a negative connotation? How do I become worldly-wise if I do not know the experiences of those around me? A schoolmate related how she bumped into a childhood friend on the train. Previously an ITE student, he now attends the same course as her at a private university. During the ride, she felt afraid she would say something wrong. She did not want to appear to be talking down to him but also did not want to seem fake. Her friend was the one who seemed more at ease during the entire journey.

GRAPHIC | SARAH AMNAH ZAIHAN

It is amusing that this dynamic university student has problems holding a conversation with another person just because he did not take the ‘stereotypical Singaporean route’. We overthink the importance of our academic backgrounds, creating a barrier to communication. Separated by virtue of academic excellence from such a young age, we are inevitably secluded from those academically different from us. Despite the differences, should our conversations not be more varied and interesting because of all these contrasting perceptions, experiences and interests? I only have myself to blame for believing that I am placed higher than ITE students by virtue of academic merit alone. I make myself believe that I am now finding out about the remaining parts of society because as an individual in the higher rungs of society, I must partake in this civil duty. How pompous. To be fair, maybe they need to reach out to us too. To do so, we need to realise how similar we are fundamentally so as to connect. We are the supposed cream of the crop who will become important playmakers in our country’s decisions. We will make decisions on the behalf of people we have no idea about. Worse still, people we do not seem to want to have any idea about. I hope it is not too late for us to change. After all, here we are, at the top of the academic pyramid, to learn what again?

Perhaps it would be better if there were energy bars in the packages like we do in my home university

Josetin Anderssn, EEE, Yr 4, 25

I have never queued for the package before because I think the items in it are neither useful nor attractive to me Ow Ling Xiu, NBS, Yr 3, 21

It is a habitual thing for me to collect the packages that are handed out before the start of the examinations

Shankar s/o Gunalan, EEE, Yr 4, 27 TEXT | BHAVAN JAIPRAGAS; PHOTOS | JONATHAN SOON


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opinions

n ov e m b e r 2 , 20 0 9

T h e na n ya ng c h ron ic l e

Starts at at 40mm 40mm // 5mm 5mm apart apart from from top top story story Starts

Internships: A cheap way to fly Heng Hui Min

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ou k now i nter n sh ip sea son i s a rou nd t he corner when you overhear students discuss which top companies are hiring, and how much it will cost to do an internship in New York City. Most penultimate year students are gearing up for a semester away from school to put into practice what we have learnt. However, internships have become synonymous with the derogatory term ‘cheap labour'. Worse still, students end up performing jobs that are unrelated to their field of study. Because of the experiences of seniors and the general consensus that interns are not taken seriously, a n u ndesi r able t rend i n ou r attitudes has emerged. Instead of carefully ploughing through hundreds of participating companies and job scopes that are listed, we end up taking the easy way out by looking at brand names. Why do students gravitate towards well-known companies? More so here in Singapore? There is little doubt that society places a strong emphasis on paper qualifications and established brand names. In fact, the phrase ‘paper chase' was coined to mirror the attitude of Singaporeans towards education. Parents deliberately moving to locations within one kilometre of elite schools to allow their childen to gain priority admission into top primary schools, for example. Or parents patronising illegal hawkers of elite school examination papers. These are not uncommon. Exposed to these from a young age, we seem to mir ror such attitudes. The higher the educational qualification we have, the brighter our future.

I was free to play games and surf the Internet It should not be surprising that our internship choices tend to hinge on the eminence of a company. However, Mr Loh Pui Wah, director of Career & Attachment Office, disagrees. “Students should not base their choice solely on the popularity of the company. They should find out more about whether the projects they are eyeing fit their interest and career aspirations,” he contends. In fact, students could find internships in lesser known companies equally rewarding, in terms of learning and development.” Indeed, companies which are less known are by no means the poorer cousins of their more prominent counterparts.

S o m e of t h e m e xc e l i n specialised fields which might be relatively unknown to most people, while others might be relatively new companies which offer abundant growth potential. A student who did an internship at a relatively small foreign exchange company shared that because it was small, she learnt a lot more. “The company is well known

Are students using overseas internships merely as an excuse to travel? in the United States and Canada. The branch I worked for was their first in Asia-Pacific and was only a year old. Because they were small, I was provided with a lot of hands on experience and even got to meet clients.” We should not be quick to dismiss smaller and less eminent companies as they may allow us more hands-on experience than bigger and more popular companies. A second reason could be surmised in this myth: If you score an internship with a better firm, you are guaranteed a job upon graduation. The same student who did another internship at an eminent company in her second year shared that she chose the company purely for name’s sake, and its effect on her resume at the end of the day. “I felt that ultimately when I graduate, the name of the company on my resume was going to help more than that of a less well known company." Stor ies of senior s get ting job offers from distinguished compa n ies even before t he y graduate are encouraging students to go for eminent companies in their internship selection. While there are no specific data on this, Mr Loh reveals: "This is generally true in big public accounting f ir ms and financial institutions. However, some eminent companies which offer internship opportunities might only hire exper ienced candidates." It is important for students to let go of the perception that ‘eminent companies are better' as it might not be entirely true. Perhaps then, it will save us the regret of embarking on an internship that was not of interest in the first place. Another student who interned at a well-known aviation company revealed: “I was supposed to assist the fixed assets department in handling financial matters but ended up doing manual tasks. Otherwise, I was free to play games and surf the Internet."

While internships are meant to be a stepping stone for students in securing a job that is wellsuited to us, we are perhaps using internships to attain our own short term goals instead. This is especially so of those who jump on the bandwagon of applying for overseas internships without considering what the project entails. We are so interested in the prospect of spending months abroad without the nagging worry of exams that we are quick to sign on the dotted line. Students can end up doing something totally unrelated to their course of study as some companies accept students from all faculties. A student who interned at a Small and Medium Enterprise (SM E ) i n Ch i na com mented: “At times, I was asked to do repet it ive task s li ke w r it ing invoices, pack goods and do stock-taking. These tasks have little relevance to my marketing course." Therein lies the worry: are students using overseas internships merely as an excuse to travel? While there are students who focus on fulfilling the objectives of their internship, many are motivated by the opportunity to travel overseas. A student who went to China to do market research ended up working as a translator. Even more surprising is that he does not regret his decision because he finds the opportunity

GRAPHIC | NEIL BRIAN R ALAPIDE

to travel satisfying. “Given the opportunity to redo my internship knowing that I would be doing translation work, I would still want to go to China for my internship.” As such, students’ perceptions of the purpose of internships are generally deviant from its original intentions. Wit h so ma ny opt ion s available, it is inevitable that

we are enticed by the perks of travelling overseas. Many might also be misguided by the face value of companies. This trend does not bode well for the future. By refocusing on the intended goals of inter nship, st udents can avoid these fallacies when selecting their internship.

in pen on paper Bringing you the thrills and spills of NTU life

GRAPHIC | SARAH AMNAH ZAIHAN


opinions

N ov e m b e r 2 , 20 0 9

T h e na n ya ng c h ron ic l e

31

Starts at at 40mm 40mm // 5mm 5mm apart apart from from top top story story Starts

Celebrity culture Emmanuelle Soultanian

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ritney Spears’ mood swings. John and Kate Gosselin’s ongoing divorce fiasco. Kanye West’s outburst at the recent Video Music Awards. Entertainment media flourishes on celebrity life. Keeping up with the scandalous lives of the rich and famous is a worldwide craze. Some dose of celebrity entertainment is normal, as it has probably been since the formation of the concept of a celebrity. I myself like to scan through the pages of entertainment magazines while waiting in line at the checkout counter of the supermarket. But I cannot help but wonder if our curiosity about celebrities has evolved into an obsession. Coming from Los Angeles, California, the hub of anything celebrity and scandalous, I have witnessed the constant harassment of the paparazzi, the dazed faces of fans staring at someone famous in a store, and just the overall atmosphere that surrounds typical celebrity life. I cannot understand what makes these people so special. Why are we so obsessed with them? Newsstands overflow with magazines exhibiting the latest sightings, scandals, and trends. Even worse, it feels that with the evolution of the Internet, the output of celebrity news has been increased significantly. Websites dedicated to such subject matters, such as TMZ.com or PerezHilton.com seem to be popping up more frequently. As technology advances, mainstream media has to compete with these entertainment websites

that are able to update news every few seconds so there is no need for the audience to sit around and wait for a news broadcast or for the next issue of PEOPLE magazine. Even popular search engines like Yahoo! have a special section dedicated to this so-called “entertainment”. The Internet is changing the way we view media and older avenues of circulated information are being replaced. People invest countless amounts of time browsing these sites whose subject matter is banal and insignificant to our daily lives. Why not spend time surfing the net to find stories of substance that help shape social values and keep us updated on issues that are pertinent?

The media seems to think that its viewers are less interested in global and national issues I cannot help but wonder what impact this obsession has on the quality of news available to the global citizen today. It seems that current events and other substantial world issues are tainted by the latest in celebrity gossip. The media seems to think that its viewers are less interested in global and national issues, and would rather read or hear about the latest trends and gossip. As entertainment news evolves, enveloping every form of media, we

GRAPHIC | SARAH AMNAH ZAIHAN

are entering into a vicious cycle. We now live in an era where the media exhibits entertainment news simply because the common conception is that the public want it. And we accept it because we train ourselves to be interested in lives that are not our own. “I believe people enjoy reading celebrity news, regardless of how ridiculous it is because in all of us, there is an aspiration for the fame or the money,” says Alicia Ashworth, 22, an exchange student. Because of the popularity of celebrity news, it has become a

regular feature on both the morning and nightly news especially in the United States. The American culture is fast catching on in other regions, with the Internet making news on celebrities instantaneous. Because there is a demand for it, the stations must give into it because ultimately the audience decides what shows stay on the air. News quality has decreased as we obsess over what Kate will do with her children, instead of ponder the actions of our world leaders. What does this mean for the future of news media?

Chances are, in the near future, the next generation will have their interest piqued every time a member of the Jonas Brothers gets a haircut. And news coverage of an important election will simply lose out. Time needs to be invested in training young minds to stem the apathy about current events, veering them away from simply caring only about celebrities and their very entertaining lives. We must work towards change– by detaching our lives from that of celebrities and being aware of issues that are actually pertinent.

English, Singaporeans will put in more effort if they are talking to their professors, business associates and customers. But less so when conversing with family and friends. Speaking Queen’s English to the aunty at the market will not work. Chances are, she will probably respond with a “siao!” or a “gong si mi?” complete with a blur look on her face. The movement also wants to encourage people who cannot speak standard English to be open about improving their language skills. But then again, it is not because people are afraid that their language cui or CMI (cannot make it), but because bo chup Singaporeans simply do not care. When we interact with people in our daily lives, simple actions like ordering hawker food do not require perfect English as long as it is understandable. Spea k ing good English is

important as we continue to host more international events such as the recent Formula One night race and the upcoming inaugural Youth Olympics games. English is the social glue that binds us together as a country and to the rest of the world regardless of race or religion. But it is not u n iquely Singaporean. Si ng l i sh ma ke s u s fe e l c om f or t a ble a r ou nd f e l low Singaporeans. It reflects our intrinsic bonds as a newly forged nation. It is a homegrown language which we have developed over the years. A culmination of multi-racial Singapore. The Esplanade, chilli crab and char kway teow can only be physical symbols, but they are not in us. W hat ma kes u s u n ique ly Singaporeans? Duh, Singlish for the win.

Our English not so ‘cui’ lah Singaporeans have a love-hate relationship with Singlish. Loh Supei talks about why Singlish is not all that bad

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radicate Singlish? Don’t liddat lah. “Pork is Broken R o a s t i n g N o o d l e s ”. “Wheelchair not allowed to use the travelator” A few months ago, the new Speak Good English movement set up a contest encouraging the public to photograph signs spelt or phrased wrongly. These are just some examples of the entries sent in. The main aim of the contest was to encourage Singaporeans to be aware of how our English is really a cause for worry. But they are not the first group of people with such linguistic

concerns. In 1979, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew launched the Speak Mandarin campaign in a bid to nur t ure effectively bilingual Singaporeans.

Chances are she will probably respond with a “siao!” or a “gong si mi” More than 20 years later Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong launched the Speak Good English movement in 2003, this time to encourage Singaporeans to communicate effectively in English. How much longer do we have to wait for the Speak Singlish campaign to be launched? More recently, Singlish has been under even more scrutiny than

usual, after Ris Low’s pronunciation fiasco. Perhaps, this is the right time to help Singaporeans truly appreciate Singlish. It is important to recognise the importance of speaking Singlish as well, you know. Speaking good English does not impress; but knowing how to effectively code-switch between proper English and Singlish in different social contexts does. It is called CAT–Communication Accommodation Theory. It means we change the way we speak depending on how others speak in order to emphasise or minimise social differences. Applied here, it means that people who speak good English will lapse into speaking Singlish when speaking with those who speak bad English. And that is what the government wants to eradicate. When it comes to speaking good


sports

n ov e m b e r 2 , 20 0 9

T h e na n ya ng c h ron ic l e

sports talk

Go far with less effort

GRAPHIC ILLUSTRATION | THU NGUYEN

A guide to maximising your running technique and ability Trixie Yap Jogging is becoming a popular sport for Singaporeans as well as NTU students, given the number of runners that make their rounds in the evening. This is because it is one of the simplest sports to take up and it does not require much equipment apart from getting a good pair of track shoes. However, not many people know that there are scientifically proven techniques that one can lea r n to ma ke joggi ng more efficient. I have tried and tested these techniques and here are three ways to jog with less strain so that you get fitter, faster. Pose Running This method originated from the now defunct Soviet Union in the 1970s. The body should take on an S-shape when running which makes use of gravity to run more efficiently. To do the S-shape you should lean your body slightly forward, ready to move into the next stride with knees in a bent position. Next, the shoulders should keep the balance of the vertical line on the support. Lastly, when you stand on one leg, the body’s weight should be balanced on the ball of the foot. When I tried the body posture technique, the impact on the knees did signif icantly decrease, as scientifically proven in an article published by the American-based Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Journal. The journal stated that the use of this technique

reduced impact on the knees by 50 per cent compared with normal running. While previous running sessions felt as if I were going against gravity, this technique made running much easier as I felt lighter. Alexander The theory behind this next technique is simple—the amount of effort you put in running should be minimal. It requires both legs and arms to have a “swinging” action on their own when running and effort should not be made to propel the foot. Before you run do this simple exercise: swing your legs and arms naturally. You can even do this while sitting on the table before putting on your track shoes. The run felt comparatively easier after I tested out the exercise beforehand. Though this method did not change the amount of time needed to run a particular distance, the run felt less tiring than usual. The natural swinging of the legs did help in ensuring that the foot is propelled forward more easily. BREATHING PATTERNS This technique has not been tested scientifically but is used by some experienced joggers which might prove useful for some of you. It serves to coordinate your inhalation and exhalation with your footfalls to develop diaphragmatic strength. You should start with a 2-2 pattern—breathe in when stepping left, right; breathe out when stepping left, right. Counting ‘1,2’ mentally while breathing in and out for the two seconds makes it easier to remember. Later, advance to 3-3 (breathe in, step left, right, left; breathe out, step right, left, right), followed by a 4-4 pattern.

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sports profile

Sync or swim Cerelia Lim A ballerina brought her graceful moves to the pool and ended up winning Singapore’s f ir st bronze meda l in t he team technical categor y at the Asian Swimming World C h a mpion s h ip s 20 0 6 for synchronised swimming. She is Sports Scholarship recipient Mei Shan Krishnan, 22, a f ina l-year Nanyang Business school (NBS) student who will receive $2,000 for one academic year. The captain of the NTU swimming team joined the first formal training centre for synchronised swimming set up by renowned Olympic swimmer A ng Peng Siong when she was 15. “I have been swimming competitively at the Singapore Swimming Club but I did not think that I would go far,” said Krishnan. “When I heard about synchronised swimming, I decided to make the switch as I was learning ballet also.”

Unlike competitive swimming which is a sport that emphasises speed, synchronised swimming demands an artistic approach. “W hen I was st udy i ng at Nanyang Polytechnic, I was the vice chairperson of the Outdoor Adventure Club (ODAC). I did competitive wall climbing, but s toppe d whe n m y a r m s got larger. I didn't want that to affect synchronised swimming,” said Krishnan. Swimmers are assessed on their technical execution and aesthetic routines, hence they have to wear waterproof make-up and swimming suits adorned with bright motifs. K r ish nan a lso added t hat a go o d s e n s e of r h y t h m i s required as the team of eight swimmers must swim in unison to music coming from underwater speakers. She is c u r rent ly t ra i n i ng hard for a Silver medal in the 2011 SEA Games and next year’s Commonwealth Games. “I hope to be a coach someday in the future to pass on what I've learnt, ” said Krishnan.

This method seemed the most useful of the lot but it was difficult to test out as the patterns can be quite confusing and troublesome for someone like me who is not good at numbers, all for a short leisure run. I felt that the effort needed in mastering this technique seemed to be overkill if one has to count the number of breaths for each step and remember when to breathe. The brain seems to be more at work than the legs here. Mor eove r, accor d i ng to Professor Mohammed Azhar Bin Yusof, an NIE Master's graduate of Science in Exercise and Sports Studies, breathing patterns are considered an advanced running technique more suited for serious and competitive runners. “Proper foot-strike is important which means when you run you should be landing on the forefoot or midfoot first rather than the heel,” added the lecturer at NIE's School of Physical Education and Sports Sciences. In short... H ig h r u n n i ng e f f ic ie nc y still boils down to the basic techniques like Pose Running and Alexander. While the breathing technique may seem the most effective of all, it is almost impossible to memorise the steps involved in a short time for a leisurely daily night run. However for more ambitious runners, this might be an interesting technique to try out. Indeed, diaphragmatic strength at t a i ne d t h r oug h br eat h i ng patterns is important in ensuring that a runner can last longer and effectively utilise more oxygen. Frankly speaking, for novice runners like me, Alexander and Pose Running are enough to make a significant difference.

GRACE: Synchronised swimming is all about elegance in water. PHOTO | IRWIN TAN

ASFA funding athletes T wo NTU student athletes have been awarded the Adam Scott Foundation Asia (ASFA) scholarship and will each receive $30,000 over four years of study. Cheryl Lim, 19 and Crystal Wee, 19, both track and field athletes, were selected based on their outstanding academic results and stellar records in co-curricular activities. T he programme was

launched in August 2009. It targets needy a nd ta lented st udents pursuing the new Bachelor of Science in Spor t Science and Management offered by NTU. E stabl i she d by M r Ada m Scott, a 29-year-old Australian professional golfer, the ASFA scholarship programme aims to recognise students who are highly motivated to excel in the professional world of sport science and management.


34

sports

they said that? “I hate tennis with a dark and secret passion.” Former World No. 1 tennis player Andre Agassi's shocking revelation in his upcoming autobiography

“I will be doing everything in my power to get the club back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.” Newcastle's newly appointed coach Chris Hughton (below) isn't too popular with fans though

GRAPHIC | FLORENCE SJAH

“He's the playboy world champion with the winning smile.” Former F1 champ Damon Hill was charmed by newly crowned world champion Jenson Button

“I'll go home, become an alcoholic and jump off a bridge.” Middlesbrough manager Gordon Stratchan on whether he can handle the pressures of the job

“We just have to stick together, put our heads above the parapet and wear our tin helmets.” Portsmouth's manager Paul Hart employs a blitz strategy at Fratton Park

n ov e m b e r 2 , 20 0 9

T h e na n ya ng c h ron ic l e

NTU second at SUniG Sports editor Xue Jianyue and Andrew Darwitan round up the spoils and letdowns at SUniG Despi t e stiff competition at the Singapore University Games (SUniG), NTU retained its overall second placing among the four universities this year. In particular, long-time rivals NTU and the National University of Singapore (NUS) practically dominated the season, clashing in many finals. Si x t it les cha nged ha nd s between the two universities during the SUniG, which took place from August to early October. NTU men’s squash captured two titles, men’s individual and men’s team, from NUS. Marcus Phua, 21, took the men’s individual squash gold after clinching a 3-0 victory over the defending champion from NUS, Sean Ang. “Although the scoreline didn’t reflect it, every set was very close,” said the first-year student from Nanyang Business School. NTU’s Nur Adawiyah, who lost 2-3 to Nicole Chua from NUS in the women’s squash team final, took ‘revenge’ against Chua by winning 3-2 at the individual final. Nur, a first-year student from the National Institute of Education, said that the NUS squash court, where the individual final was held at, was less slippery than the

NTU courts. As a result, she was able to play better than in the team finals in the NTU court where she “couldn’t get a good balance when she made her shots”. “Nicole also played pretty well on the team finals and the court suited her faster way of playing,” the 28-year-old said. On the last day of the games, the women’s basketball team also captured the champion title from NUS. Felicia Chee, 21, co-captain of the NTU women’s basketball team, said the team were more confident since they already captured the Inter-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) title from NUS earlier this year. “Back then, it was really scary because we didn’t know if we would win,” the second-year School of Humanities and Social Sciences student said. Other NTU sports like women’s soccer, men’s volleyba ll and women’s pool individual retained their titles. In addition, rugby, bowling and women’s volleyball moved up the rankings. NTU swimmers, who bagged four IV P golds last year even though they had no coaches, won one gold and five silvers at the inaugural SUniG swimming championships. T he N US and SM U teams proved to be the tougher opponents that NTU had to face. I n p a r t ic u l a r, S M U 's 18 swimmers took 11 out of the 22 swimming gold medals.

GAME ON: Gearing up for a volley. PHOTO | NG JUN SEN

NTU’s road race team, which swept all the gold medals the SUniG last year, lost the men’s title to the NUS team which swept the first three positions in the race.

Other defending champions on NTU’s side, men’s basketball and touch football, were also edged out by NUS and had to settle for second place.

Dragon boat sweeps awards at sports dinner Loh Supei THE NTU dragon boaters were the stars of the recent NTU Sports Appreciation Night 2009 held on October 14th at the Nanyang Executive Centre Auditorium. “Our dragon boat teams have done very well. Not only did the men team brought back the Prime Minister’s cup, the women team has brought back a cup as well,” said Senior Associate Provost, Professor Er Meng Hwa in his opening speech. Not only have they done the university proud, the teams have been praised for their efforts in developing promising dragon boaters. An example of these efforts is the Poh Boon San and Stephen Loh Soon Ann NTU Dragon Boat Bursary Award for needy students. The bursary was set up in 2008 in remembrance of the two dragon boaters who drowned in Cambodia in a tragic event. Only NTU dragon boat team members are eligible for this award and they have to be assessed by the Office of Admission and Financial Aid (OAFA), Sports and Recreation Centre (SRC) personnel and the Dragon Boat alumni team. Neo Wan Xian, 21, and Lee Mei

Yan, 23, are two recipients of this bursary award this year. Both of them received $4,000, which they will use to pay for their school fees. “Selection is based solely on family financial background of the dragon boaters,” said Mrs Celine Lim, Senior Assistant Director of NTU Sports, who is part of the driving force behind fundraising efforts for the bursary. “This award is to help existing dragon boaters from a disadvantaged background," she said. “Dr a gon boat i ng i s ve r y demanding and they train five times a week, hence we want to help them to lighten their loads." “With the money, we do not have to work part time and we can focus on our training,” said Neo, a third-year student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. On another hand, the loudest cheers of the night were also reserved for the dragon boat coach, Mr Tan Eng Hee. More fondly known as Ah Hee, he helped the dragon boat teams to bring home a total of 53 medals to date. For his hard work, he was given the SPIRIT award. The SPIRIT award recognises coaches’ cont r ibut ion to t he

university as partners in inculcating team values in athletes. Despite the sports dinner being an annual ceremony, the award is only given out based on the panel's assessment of the shor tlisted recipients. Merit Awards, Half Colours Awards and the Full Colours Awards were given out at the award ceremony as well. “The Half Colours are presented to athletes who have consistently represented the universit y by competing in Institute Varsity Polytechnic Games, Singapore Un i v e r s i t y G a me s or ot h e r

nat ionw ide compet it ions throughout their years in NTU,” sa id M r C h ia ng C ha i L ia ng, sports manager at the Sports and Recreation Centre. “They must also have achieved regular top three placings as well as represented the Combined University Teams in the Asean University Games, or the World University Games,” he added. The Full Colours are presented to athletes who have met all the requirements of the Half Colours and also represented the Republic in major regional and international competitions.

HONOURS: Full colours awards are coveted prizes in sports. PHOTO | DANNY FOO


sports

n ov e m b e r 2 , 20 0 9

T h e na n ya ng c h ron ic l e

35

Surge in campus run participation Yip Jieying THE participation rate of this year's X-Campus run doubled from last year's. The event, held on October 22nd, attracted over 300 students and staff thanks to increased publicity, cheaper fees and goodie bags. The run’s popularity was in stark contrast to its poor reception last year. Previous reports showed that there was a lack of enthusiasm among freshmen for this inaugural event. This year, the club increased its publicity efforts with more banners and posters put up, accord ing to Li m Zi r u i, 23, organiser of the event, who is currently president of the NTU Runners’ Club. The club’s previous method of using stopwatches, which were prone to error and made results difficult to collate, was replaced

by an automated timing system. “Electronic timing makes the run more professional,” said Lim. T he club a lso i nt roduced competitive and leisure categories to appeal to a wider range of runners. While competitive runners had to run 6.8km along the entire perimeter of the NTU campus, leisure r unners only covered 5km, circling the quadrant at the National Institute of Education. Competing teams, which used to be limited to hall and co-curricular activity (CCA) members, are now open to any four participants. While part of the proceeds from registration fees was donated to Dover Park Hospice last year, the organisers stopped doing so this year. “We did not earn much money from the run, so the sum donated to charity was very small,” said Lim. “ T h i s y e a r we u s e d ou r registration fees to get better deals for our runners,” said the third-year student from the School

FLAG-OFF: X-campus enjoys a bull run. PHOTO | COURTESY

of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. T h e r e g i s t r at ion f e e for competitive student runners was cut from $10 in 2008 to $7, while that for leisure participants was

Tweaks made to ISG line-up As a result, participation rates for the Games could be affected. Rachel Loi and Eve Yeo find out why

$6 this year. Staff members also saw their fees reduced from $12 to $10. Howe ve r, P rofe s sor M i ke Patterson from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences did

not understand why the organisers "charged more for staff". Project manager Jia Tong, 19, explained the disparity in the pricing for students and staff. "Staff members should pay more as they are earning an income, while most students are not. Even so, they are charged just $3 more," said the first-year student from School of Biological and Chemical Engineering. Mor e spon sor s we r e a l so secured for this year’s run, which offered a larger variety of prizes for the winners. “In addition to the medals and trophies awarded, Field Gear towels and Biolink lotions were also given to top runners,” said Lim. Justin Goldman, a post-graduate student at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, appreciates the work the NTU Runners’ Club put in. “It is fun to be involved in campus activities. I will join the run again if I can,” the 30-yearold said.

IN: Swimming, OUT: Road Bowling Relay, Touch Rugby Swimming and bowling have been introduced into the InterSchool Games (ISG) this year. The main ISG committee has included both sports into ISG after its members offered their expertise in organising these games. Spearheading the organisation of bowling is Genesius Ng, 23, a member of the NTU Bowling Club and ISG Sports committee. “Bowling was included in ISG till last year,” the third-year student at the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences said. The event will be held at the Bukit Batok Civil Service Club. Swimming was introduced by Dinkar Mohtar, a second-year student at the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and member of t he Inter nat iona l Games’ organising committee last year. “Finding participants should not be an issue as it is a mixed team with three males and two females,” said Mohtar.

Students looking forward to p articipating in touch rugby or road relay at the ISG this year will be disappointed. The organising committee has decided to take both these sports off the list. Touch rugby has been removed because t here has been much diff icu lt y in f inding player s, especially girls. Road relay, however, has been removed for different reasons. Chairperson of the 09/10 ISG, Setiadi Juan, 19, said: “Some of the reasons for taking out road relay were the cost and safety issues involved.” “For safet y precautions, an ambulance has to be hired but it is much more expensive,” said the second-year student at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

ISG goes online For the first time ever, ISG joined the social media platform with a website, managed by the Computer Engineering Club, and a Facebook page. The Facebook page is designed for participants and spectators to confirm their attendance, while sponsored advertisements and registration are done separately on the ISG website. Contents of the website include publicity material like posters, banners and pictures of mascots from the 13 schools. The server for the website is sponsored by Stridec Creatives, a branding and designing company specialising in web and print media. Future ISG committees will have to renew this server sponsorship to ensure free usage of the server. The ISG committee has applied for their webpage to be linked from the NTU website and the decision by NTU is still pending. TO BE MISSED: Touch rugby dropped after being one of the sports in the ISG for years. PHOTO | COURTESY


Sports

Defending their titles at SUniG Page 34

Field events the weakest link NTU female athletes’ success in races was insufficient to offset their loss in field events Alvin Chia Despite winning almost all the track events, the NTU women’s track and field team fell short of clinching the women’s InstituteVa r s i t y - P o l y t e c h n i c ( I V P ) Championships title. They won a staggering eight out of the 10 gold medals available for track events at the competition, held on October 11th and 18th at Bukit Gombak Stadium. National athletes A manda Choo and Ann Siao Mei led a commanding performance on the track. They finished more than 10 seconds ahead of the runners up in the 4 x 400m relay. Meanwhile, Choo and Ann managed to clinch the top two positions in the century sprint. They were equally dominant in long-distance races, tearing through the field of competitors in the 1,500m and 3,000m races. However, NTU’s weak showing in the field events proved costly as it offset their dominance on the track. The women managed just one bronze medal placing, coming in third in the shot put event. Although the NTU women’s team were determined to wrestle the IVP title away from defending champions National University

of Singapore (NUS), the points chalked up on the track were not enough to win the IVP title. NTU women’s team accumulated 113 points, which trailed behind NUS’ 146. Ann, 22, a final-year student from the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, said: “I can’t say I’m happy because we really wanted to win the title.” The main reason for the team’s loss was the “lack in quantity, not quality”, according to Choo, a final-year National Institute of Educat ion st udent who is also competing at her last IVP Championships.

“I felt that the team did very well. Those events in which we ran, we won many of them. So I think it is really encouraging.” Amanda Choo, 22, Athlete NTU track and field team

Due to the small team size, there is a dearth of experienced competitors in field events like the javelin, discus and shot put. Sprinters Choo and Ann had to compete in them. “Some of us are cover ing

events that we don’t usually do,” Choo said. The lack of qualified field athletes also plagued the men’s track and field team. Colin Tung, a first-year student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences who took part in the 1,500m and 5,000 races, said that there are actually field athletes among the University’s students. Still, they “have chosen to relinquish the sport, pursue other sports or concentrate on their studies”. Consequently, the men’s team did not win any gold medals. However, Tung said that while there is room for improvement, the men team’s success should not be quantified by “hard results” only. Overall, both the men and women teams are pleased with the effort they have put in and their achievements at this year’s IVP. “I felt that the team did very very well,” Choo said. “For those events in which we ran, we won many of them. So I think it is really encouraging.” Tung said that measures would also be adopted to tackle the shortage of capable field atheletes in the track and field teams. They will be on the look-out for field athletes next year, regardless of experience, the 21-year-old added. “Given a year of training, athletes can be proficient enough in an event to compete at IVP level,” said Tung, a first-year student at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

STIFF COMPETITION: The Men’s team (extreme right) was disappointingly gold-shy during their IVP competitions.

SPRINT TO THE FINISH: Choo outpaces her opponents. PHOTOS | NG JUN SEN

MIXED FEELINGS: Despite their medal-winning feats, the women’s team still had to settle for second spot overall.

The Nanyang Chronicle Vol 16 Issue 05  
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