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CHRONICLE Met iMac yet? PAGE 17

the nanyang

FEBRUARY

Catch a Cuppa

1 , 2010 | V ol 16 no 7 | is sn no 0 218 -7310 | W W w. n t u. edu. s g / c hronic l e

A TIGHT FIT:

Some students in BS803: Biology in Popular Media had to sit on the floor due to a glitch in the LT booking system. The LT assigned, Tan Chin Tuan LT, had a sitting capacity of 335, whereas the class had an enrollment of 639 people.

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The Element of Freedom

喜相逢, 愁撞期? 23页

PHOTO | LOONG YONG EN

POPULAR no more Change in bookstore vendor leaves students rushing to buy their textbooks Leonard How

Up up and PAGE 36 Away

POPULAR, the island-wide stationery chain, closed its NTU branch on January 22nd after nine years here, as the University decided not to extend its lease. Students rushed to buy their textbooks after hearing from fellow students about the closure, which resulted in long queues. Most students The Nanyang Chronicle spoke to did not know about the change. Wong Yue Ying, 21, a third-year student from the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, joined the crowd when she heard the news two days before POPULAR bookstore closed. “I only knew about it after overhearing a conversation between my friends,” she said. “I think it’s closing at a bad time. School has just started and many people are rushing to buy their textbooks.” The POPULAR bookstore in NTU opened in 2001 on a nine-year lease, selling course materials and textbooks that fit within the university’s syllabi to students. While prices are similar to those of textbooks sold

in outlets outside campus, the convenience of being able to buy all their textbooks together, with a store assistant helping them to find their books, has kept students coming back. Under t he r u les of t he lease, t he University is to put up a tender for the space to interested companies. Companies respond with a proposal, and the University selects one of them. Factors such as product pricing, service plans and proposed rent are taken into consideration. Ms Deine Tan, who was Operations Executive of the NTU POPULAR bookstore, said that while the chain was interested in renewing their lease in NTU, the University chose to offer the lease to another company, Yun Nan Bookstore, which runs the Campus Book Centre at NIE, instead. They did not say why the University made the decision. Students can expect a new bookstore on the vacant lot in March, said Ms Siew Kien, manager of the NTU POPULAR branch. “The bookstore at NIE will have taken over operations by then.” However, foremost on students’ minds is how and where they can buy textbooks and course materials in the interim. For now, some students will have to walk a little further to the Campus Book Centre for their textbooks. But not all the textbooks needed

ALL EMPTY: Bookshelves were cleared as POPULAR prepared to close down. PHOTO | WALLACE WOON

for modules taught at NTU are sold there. According to Ms Lai Ai Ling of the Office of Facilities Management, students can make orders for unavailable textbooks at Yun Nan Bookstore at the telephone number 67930580, and the textbooks will be delivered to the Campus Book Store. The orders will, however, take about a month. “Alternatively, I can always go to other POPULAR branches or, failing that, Clementi Bookstore,” said Louisa Ho, 22, a third-year student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.


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news

FE B R UARY 1, 2010

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

YOG pushes back start of next semester Longer summer break, but less time away in December Khoo Fang Xuan Some are overjoyed, while some are not. Mostly, though, people are just uncertain of the changes that will be made to their timetables next semester due to the Youth Olympic Games (YOG). As NTU will be the site of the Youth Olympic Village from August 14th to 26th, the university will delay the start of the school year by three weeks to August 30th. Detailed changes to the academic calendar will be announced by the Office of Academic Services (OAS) by the first week of February, said its Senior Assistant Director Diana Chew. “We are currently awaiting the school’s approval for the changed calendar, after which we will announce it as soon as possible through the school’s website and email system,” she said. For School of Humanities and Social Sciences student Eileen Loh, 20, who will be going for exchange to Taiwan, the delay gives her greater freedom in planning her return date. “I am holding onto an open

GRAPHIC | ALAN CHOONG

return date ticket so I can choose to come back around early August instead of July 20th,” said Loh, “It would be great as I can travel for a longer time.” NTU has said that the number of academic weeks will not be affected, which means that the upcoming semester will stretch well into December. The next semester is also likely to be affected, and it is speculated to start around January 24th. Year two Nanyang Business School Accountancy student Chen Heng Qing, 22, also

welcomed this possible change. “I could go travelling in the off-peak period which would be cheaper,” said Chen, who is keen to avoid travelling in December as it is a popular month for vacationing families with school children having their December holidays. While some people look forward to the possibilities this change may bring about, Associate Professor Toh Guan Nge from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) feels that the change “doesn’t help family time”.

Associate Professor Toh, who has three children, two of whom are still schooling, said: “We probably will not be able to (travel) this year as I heard that invigilation might only end on the 23rd of December.” However, he thinks that it is possible for his fellow colleagues who are keen to travel with their families to do so by taking leave earlier and getting help from colleagues to substitute their invigilation slots. Others like double-degree student Claire Yu Fang, 21, is currently undergoing a more hectic semester than usual. EEE, where she pursues one of her degrees in Information Engineering and Media, has decided to bring forward the Design and Innovation Project (DIP) into this current semester. DIP is a five-week compulsory program for all full-time second year EEE students, usually held during the special semester in May. Worth three academic units, Yu spends around six hours per week on DIP. “Also, the examinations next semester are very near the Christmas season. It will not be a great way of celebrating it,” said Yu. “However, for the sake of YOG, I believe that it is only right that the greater interest comes before my personal interest,” she added.

Parents catch glimpse of university life First Parents' Day in NTU gathered praise from participants; organisers are considering expansion plans Divya Athmanathan The inaugural NTU Parents’ Day was held for about 1, 300 parents of first-year undergraduates on January 16th at the Nanyang Auditorium. “It was a unique opportunity to gain an insight into the environment that (their) sons and daughters have chosen to immerse themselves in for the next three or four years,” said NTU President, Dr Su Guaning. Parents were given a talk by Professor Lok Tat Seng, the Dean of Students, about the various academic, residential scholarship and career guidance options at the University. They were also treated to an array of performances put up by various co-curricular activities (CCAs), such as the school’s Dance Club, Guitar Ensemble and Jazz Club. While the idea of Parents’ Day did not excite most of the students, parents who attended

the event seemed to respond favourably. However, to Shahul Hameed, 23, a first-year student from the Nanyang Business School, having a Parents’ Day at University was slightly strange. He said that some of his friends had questioned the need for such an event, feeling that it is for younger students rather than university undergraduates.

“NTU makes sure that our children do not get disassociated from the parents at a very crucial period of their lives.”

Mr Vijay Shinde, the father of a first-year Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student, travelled from India to NTU to participate in the event. He felt the event helps parents connect with their children, and keeps them in touch with their education. “NTU makes sure that our children do not get disassociated from the parents at a very crucial period of their lives,” he said. The parent of a student in the School of Materials Science and Engineering, Mr Alan Wang, felt that the various talks, like

those on coping with stress and Traditional Chinese Medicine, were invaluable. It is not just the parents who appreciate such an event, according to Dr Lok. Faculty members also “welcomed the frank exchange of views with parents and appreciated the confidence that parents placed in them”. With both parents and faculty appreciative of it, President Su feels that inviting the parents of the rest of the undergraduate community may be an idea that “is worth thinking about”.

USA president bar ack Obama, vowed at the State of the Union address that he "would not quit" after his first year in office. He also added that American jobs will be his main priority in 2010. t he n t u s r a ja r at n a m School of International Studies has been announced to rank third among over 1,000 Think Tanks in A sia. Schools were judged by criteria such as academic reputation, public and private donations, as well as success in generating innovative policy ideas. t h e n e w i pa d ta bl e t computer has been revealed by Apple Chief executive Steve Jobs. The new touchscreen computer, which will come with a virtual keyboard, will be available worldwide in late March. n t u, i n c o l l a b o r at i o n with Rice University, a leading USA research universit y, will jointly establish the Institute of Sus t ain ab l e an d A p p lie d Infodynamics in Singapore. The institute will create technologies which will be more ef f icient and environmentally friendly. former us president bill Clinton has called for more aid to be sent to Haiti, during a special session of the World Economic Forum held in Davos. He also paid tribute to the lives lost. the nan yang mba programme from NTU Nanyang Business School was ranked 27th in the world by the Financial Times. The programme was ranked among top MBA programmes in the region, including those from Australia, China and India. the hdb will be reviewing it s rule s s o as to eliminate speculation and illegal subletting, which will lead to an unfair market for the sale of HDB flats. The review will be completed in a few months' time. aung san suu kyi, the prodemocracy icon of Myanmar, has rejected a minister's comment on her release. Myanmar's Home Affairs Minister Maung Oo reportedly told local officials that Suu Kyi's release would come in November, which she said is legally incorrect. j d salinger, who was once thought to be the most important American writer to emerge since World War II, died on January 28th 2010 at the age of 91. He was famous for the book The Catcher in the Rye.

Mr Vijay Shinde Parent of first-year School of Materials Science and Engineering student

“Parents have indicated that Parents’ Day offered them direct access to the faculty in an open and casual atmosphere,” said Professor Lok, who spoke with some parents who attended the event.

news flash

correction “byob daily, or pay” (Vol 16 No 6, page 4) It was stated that Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) day would be held every day. In reality, BYOB day is held on Wednesdays only. We apologise for the error. PARENTAL GUIDANCE: Associate Professor Patricia Tan, Associate Dean of Nanyang Business School, gives parents some valuable advice. PHOTO | NG JUN SEN


news

FE B R UA RY 1, 2010

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

03

Lively exchanges at Cultural Medallion winner swings to NTU MP dialogue session Jeremy Monteiro and his new band comes to NTU Shereen Naaz Charles Syariff

HONEST DEBATE: Participants got a chance to air their views with the female MPs PHOTO | RACHEL LOI

Frank exchange of views went on between female MPs and the students Cheryl Ong YOU might expect a dialogue with a Member of Parliament (MP) to be a monologue, but this dialogue was one that was truly interactive. Preetha Balagi, 20, a secondyear Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student, did not know what to expect when she turned up at the Ministerial Dialogue session on January 27th. “I really wanted to see how these sessions were carried out, and how it will benefit not just us students, but the ministers too,” she said. What took place surprised her and many others. The discussion picked up quickly from the getgo, when MPs were quizzed on matters from critical thinking in Singaporean students to advice on pursuing careers in the private or public sector.

“I thought the students would not speak out as much, and I was surprised they did." Liew Pui Khuan President Current Affairs Society

President of the NTU Current Affairs Society (CAS), Liew Pui K hua n, at t r ibuted t he lively dialogue to the setting. According to her, CAS changed the location f rom Tan Chin Tuan Lect ure Theatre to the SAC meeting room to make it more informal. Students even stopped using the microphone meant for them, bantering with the ministers from where they were seated. Ms Grace Fu Hai Yien , MP for Jurong GRC and Senior Minister

of State for National Development a nd E d uc at ion , e nc ou r a ge d t he 5 0 - odd s t ude nt s to a sk her anything about education policies and national policies. Her co-speaker Mdm Ho Geok Choo, MP for West Coast GRC, took on queries about the job market and employment prospects. On cr it ica l t h i n k i ng i n Singapore schools today, Ms Fu highlighted the importance of Project Work to the amusement of some students, then grimly reminded those in attendance not to rely on their university degrees too much in the workforce. “Whatever we acquire in school has at most a shelf life of five years. We do not have a lesson to teach critical thinking, but we are ready to try to broaden students’ breadth of knowledge,” she said. When questions turn to the challenges teachers face, Ms Fu acknowledged that teaching is not an easy job as it involves meeting parents’ expectations and helping students reach their highest potential. “We try to tailor programmes that are right for the students, and to keep him or her in the education system for as long as possible,” she said. “As opposed to them dropping out, which would be a failure of the education system.” Responding to a question on the difference between public and private sector jobs, Mdm Ho said: “You learn to be disciplined because of the fundamentals and foundation (in the public centre). (On the other hand), there is more leeway at the private sector.” The dialogue session, jointly organised by the CAS and Peoples’ A ssociat ion, met w it h a few hiccups at the onset, having been post poned from the prev ious semester. Not enough students signed up then as it was too close to the examinations period. W hich was why Liew was greatly surprised by the level of interaction and spontaneity of the dialogue. “I thought the students would not speak out as much, and I was very surprised they did,” she said. “This is the first time I’m glad they proved me wrong.”

Students were left in awe by the jazz sounds of Singapore’s ve r y ow n “K i ng of Sw i ng” Je r emy Monte i ro a nd h i s band, ORGANAMIX, during a lunchtime concert. The concert, held on January 20th, was part of the ExxonMobilNTU Explorations in the Arts Series, organised by NTU and sponsored by ExxonMobil. It was held in LT19. Monteiro, a Cu lt ura l Medallion winner, plays the organ in ORGANAMIX, and his band members, A ndrew Lim plays guitar and Hong Chanutr Techatana-nan plays bass. The hour-long concert saw an almost full house. “I rushed from a Professional Attachment briefing just to catch the performance,” said Leonard Chng, a second-year student from Nanyang Business School. “I’ve watched many of his performances on Youtube and I really enjoyed his performance today,” the 22-year-old added. The audience was a mix of both staff and students. Tunes ranged from old jazz pieces such as Milk Jackson’s Bags Grooves, to a piece Monteiro composed only one and a half months ago, entitled Falling in love again and again (and again). This is not the first time that Monteiro has come to NTU. He has been performing at these lunchtime concerts since the 1980s when the ExxonMobilNTU Explorations in the Arts Series was first launched.

JAZZING UP THE CROWD: Monteiro impresses the audience with his jazz tunes. PHOTO | LOONG YONG EN

“Jazz allows the audience to create a space where for that moment audiences can connect with the concentration of the artist and the music.” Jeremy Monteiro Jazz musician

Montei ro, who ha s been p e r f o r m i n g f o r 33 y e a r s , understands his audience well and likens jazz to cheese. Most people, he said, start of f w it h Chedda r cheese, a better-known type of cheese. Slowly, they learn to appreciate l e s s e r k n o w n v a r i e t i e s of cheese, and look for a different

kind of satisfaction in their cheese. Similarly, Monteiro believed t hat t he new gener at ion of fans jumped on board the jazz bandwagon thanks to poster boy Michael Bublé and jazz sensation Diana Krall, but later learn to appreciate the music more. “Jazz allows the audience to create a space where, for that moment, audiences can connect with the concentration of the artist and the music,” he said. This is something 23-yearold Chia Suat Huang experienced during the performance, as she tapped her feet to the soulful beats of ORGANAMIX. “I think he must really love what he does because it translates in his performances. It is really nice to just watch him perform because of his connection to the songs. “T here is just something about jazz that touches you,” said the first-year student from the National Institute of Education.

PHOTO | POH WEE KOON

No room inside, so... SIX benches were spotted outside Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) library at the start of the semester. According to the Head of HSS Library, Mr Chia Yew Boon, the benches were set up in response to students' feedback about the inadequate number of seats in the library. "We wanted to provide the seats outside of the library to allow more space for the students," Mr Chia said.


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news

FE B R UARY 1, 2010

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

Buy groceries with Sterling Downtown flavours at NTU's latest convenience store Kwan Hui Xian A new 24-hour convenience store, The Grocer, has opened at the Nanyang Executive Centre (NEC) in place of The Sun. It has been fully operational since January 19th. On top of selling groceries and household items, they also provide services like laundry, dry cleaning, and photocopying. One of the owners, Ms Anne Chan, said that they want to “bring town to Jalan Bahar”, and pride themselves on the selection of alcoholic drinks and magazines, including inter national titles like National Geographic among others.

“We want to cater to NTU as a whole, as a commnity.”

THE BAR, and a wellness centre at the Staff Club. The name NV50 came from the address of the restaurant, 50 Nanyang View. These facilities are currently under construction and will be ready before Chinese New Year. According to Ms Chan, the bar will be open from noon to midnight, with extended hours during the football season for live football screenings. T he international restaurant will serve cuisine that is certified halal. Previously, the locations for The Grocer and NV50 were occupied by The Sun and the Mayflower restaurant and lounge respectively. Lin Yuehong, 22, a second-year student from the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences who used to go to The Sun said: “I did not know why the stuff was getting less and less and why they were not stocking up until my friend told me they were closing.” He added that he did not know about the other changes at the

Staff Club as there was no notice. Others like Hall 14 resident Hazel Lim Hui Ting, 21, a secondyear student from the School of Biological Sciences, said that she will not be making any special trips down to The Grocer as she can get her necessities from her own hall's mini-mart which is much nearer for her. When the three-year lease of The Sun and Mayflower expired in December last year, the University put up a tender to the space for interested parties to apply. Although a few companies including The Sun and Mayflower applied for the lease, the proposal by Sterling was chosen. Ac cor d i ng to t he Ce nt r e Manager of NEC, Mr Vincent Siew, the invitation to tender specified providing a healthier lifestyle in NTU as one of the requirements. “We want to cater to NT U as a whole, as a community,” he said.

Mr Vincent Chew Centre Manager Nanyang Executive Centre

The Grocer is run by Ms Chan and her partner, Ms Ng Poh Choo. Their company, Sterling Trends & Concepts, also operates a few eateries at National University of Singapore. In addition to The Grocer, Sterling will be opening an international restaurant NV50 and a bar named

news editor

A lady dancer made entirely out of two tonnes of sand was shown at Colourworks, the eighth Nanyang Arts Festival (NAF). Mr Tan Joo Heng, a Singaporean sand sculptor, unveiled the sculpture during the launch of the festival at precisely the spot where he created it, as it cannot be moved. “I wanted to use the female dancer

COLOURWORKS: Working wonders with sand.

Prestigious fellowship brings hope for better research Gillian Goh An NTU adjunct professor, Professor Phua Kok Khoo, who is also Director of the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS), has joined an elect group of some 3,500 when he was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) 2009. According to a statement released by APS, Professor Phua was awarded the recognition for his “tireless effor ts to strengthen scientific research throughout Asia” as well as his contributions to international physics education through the World Scientific Publishing Company, which he founded in 1981. APS is the second-largest organisation of physicists worldwide, with around 47,000 members currently. Professor Phua, who was the only Singaporean out of the 222 awardees this year, was praised by the APS for his research,

which focuses on phenomenology, or theory applied to high energy physics experiments. Professor Phua is the second person from NTU who has been awarded the fellowship. C h a i r o f N T U ’s S c h o o l of Elec t r ica l a nd Elec t ron ic Engineering, Professor Kam Chan Hin, said that the award is “testament to his outstanding achievements”. “Professor Phua has been instrumental in bringing many eminent scientists and engineers, including many Nobel Laureates to NTU and enriching the intellectual landscape here,” he said. “His elevation to APS fellow will bring added prestige to IAS and NTU.” Professor Phua also believes his election is seen as a step in the right direction for the IAS. “Since this is a widely recognised achievement, it is good for the IAS as well, because now we can upgrade our international status as a research institution,” said the Director. Professor Phua also hopes his appointment as fellow could also mean more funding for the IAS. “Hopefully, more money can go into scientific research,” he said. Higher quality research could also be expected from the school.

An oriental touch to health Dawn Lim PATH TO CONVENIENCE: Opening doors to more services.

PHOTO | EUNICE CHAN

Creating art, grain by grain Maxie Aw Yeong

Phenomenology professor appointed fellow

to depict the beauty of the event,” said Mr Tan, who spent two days on the sculpture, which was made specially for this festival. Themed “Colourworks”, NAF was launched on January 20th, at Canopy K (outside LT1A). Professor Er Meng Hwa, NTU’s Senior Associate Provost, graced the opening ceremony. The sand sculpture will be displayed from January 20th to March 27th, which is the duration of NAF. “I hope that sand sculptures can

PHOTO | LOONG YONG EN

be a bridge to spectators, especially young people, as a lot of people are not able to understand and connect to art that is sometimes too abstract,” Mr Tan added. Mandy Tan, 22, a secondyear Civil and Environmental Engineering student, said: “It’s cool how the sculptor used sand to create a sculpture, without it falling apart.” From now till March, activities and events like the Impressario 2010 concert, Guitar Hero jamming sessions, and basic Photoshop courses will be conducted to increase art awareness and participation among students. The activities for NAF were separated into different sub-themes which were represented by the colours red for ‘Hot Stuff’, green for ‘Green Week’, and blue for ‘The Deep Blue Scene’. NAF President, Tan Wan Ling, 21, explained that red represents activities with loud music and stunning visuals, green represents environmental-friendliness, and blue represents art that is more refined and will set one thinking. The NAF will end on March 27th, with a closing ceremony held at IMM.

STAFF and students now have an alternative to Gethin-Jones Medical Practice, the clinic next to the Lee Kong Chian Lecture Theatre. A newly opened Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinic in the lobby of the School of Biological Sciences (SBS), prov ides ser v ices such as acupuncture, cupping therapy, wellness massage and dispenses herbal medicine.

“The hands-on experience we get at the clinic teaches us the practical aspects of traditional Chinese medical treatment.” Tan Yang Thong School of Biological Sciences Third Year

First-time consultations are free for staff and students of NTU and National Institute of Education (NIE). Prices of services range from $10 to $120 per treatment, according to the clinic's website. Furthermore, it is possible to make an online medical

appointment via the website. “Our staff are professional TCM practitioners with years of expertise; we hope to raise the future standard of TCM in Singapore,” said Professor James Tam, the founding Dean of the School of Biological Sciences. A p at i e nt at t h e c l i n ic , polytechnic student Lee Jia Yao, 19, said: “The doctors here are very professional, and apart from treating my illness, they gave me a full body check-up. “The price I am paying here is the same as what they would charge outside, but given their attentiveness, I would say the s e r v ic e i s v a lue -adde d ,” he said. Third-year students taking the double-degree in TCM and Biomedical Sciences from SBS are currently undergoing internships at the clinic, and fifth-year students will do so as well when they come back from Beijing, China. Students taking this doubledegree spend three years in NTU, and then another two years in Beiji ng. Upon complet ion of their course, they will serve an internship before taking a licence examination, after which they become fully accredited TCM practitioners. Tan Yang Thong, 21, a thirdyear SBS student said: “The handson experience we get at the clinic teaches us the practical aspects of traditional Chinese medical treatment." More information about TCM clinic can be found at their website, www.yfcompuart.com/ntu


news

FE B R UA RY 1, 2010

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

Free beer—for real

Managing catastrophe Amelia Tan

RAPT ATTENTION: Participants of the brewery tour learnt more about beer brewing. PHOTO | NG JUN SEN

A series of beer-related events were held as part of an FYP project Lau Liang Tong SHOUTS of “free beer” outside Canteen A piqued the interest of many students. Four different types of beer were offered for free tasting, served from a booth by three students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information on January 18th. Tan Jinli, 23, one of those behind the idea of their Final Year Project, Meet Your Perfect Brew, said that they set out to “change the general misconception of beer, which is often seen as a cheap and yucky alcohol for uncles”. The project was carried out at all three local universities. Students were treated to free blind beer-tasting, beer vouchers and brewery tours. Lastly, there is a final event, “Comedy Day”, a stand up comedy event in February, which will tell the public more about beer. The brewery tour was the first time Brewerkz opened its doors to the public for free. A beer-appreciation session was also held. However, alcohol in campus was an issue for the organisers, as it was tough to convince the unversity and the students that their aim was to get students to appreciate beer instead of

encouraging drinking. “Indirectly, Meet Your Perfect Brew reduces binge drinking as you learn about the amount of time it takes to brew beer and so, would be more likely to take time to taste it, rather than just gulping or downing it,” said Tan. She added that schools like the National University of Singapore (NUS) have an alcohol-free policy which was a huge hurdle. Thankfully, they had the NUS Student Union’s support.

05

NOT long after the recent Haiti earthquake, the Institute of Catastrophe Risk Management (ICRM) opened in NTU, aiming to develop research in the area of disaster mitigation. The recent catastrophe highlights the institute's importance and the need to study ways to alleviate after effects of natural disasters. The centre aims to provide information on Asian cities, predict outcomes and provide solutions to lessen damage in the event of a disaster. According to the Chairman of the ICRM Advisory Board, Professor Haresh Shah, “(the institute) will be the first multidisciplinary risk management research institute of its kind in Asia". Based in NTU’s College of Engineering, ICRM will be the third autonomous research institute in NTU, alongside the Earth Observatory of Singapore and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. The ICRM will be working closely with them, as well as

the College of Engineering and the Nanyang Business School (NBS) to develop research. Said Dr Su Guaning, President of NTU: “We see the work of the Observatory and the new ICRM as being highly complementary and synergistic.”

“The ICRM vision is part of NTU's drive to be a research-intensive world's leading university.” Professor Pan Tso-Chien Director Institute of Catastrophe Risk Management

The institute will include 10 to 15 full-time senior faculty members from various disciplines, as well as graduate researchers. An expected budget of between $35 million and $50 million is set for its research in the next five years.

“The ICRM vision is part of NTU’s drive to be a research-intensive world’s leading university," said Professor Pan Tso-Chien, founding director of the ICRM and Dean of the College of Engineering. It also plans to develop research programmes for Masters students, and provide undergraduates from related courses with internships. “This is to expose them to the field of risk management,” said Professor Shah. ICRM will conduct public seminars with industry insiders, as well as open forums. This complements the introduction of courses on risk management and an insurance minor programme by NBS. For now, the ICRM will be undertaking two projects, one of which is flood risk simulation, and the other a comprehensive assessment of seismic hazards and risks based on research work currently carried out by NTU in earthquake engineering. It is hoped that the continual efforts of the collaboration will provide relevant information in managing catastrophe risks, especially as it becomes increasingly more challenging and important in Asia.

“Now when I drink beer, I'll understand the reasons behind a certain taste or texture.”

Lim Zhen Long, 22 School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, Year 1

Lim Zhen Long, 22, a first-year student from the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, attended both the beer-tasting and brewery tour and found it a pleasant learning experience. “The tour allowed me to get a better picture of the whole brewing process. Now when I drink beer, I’ll understand the reasons behind a certain taste or texture,” he said. Tan said: “Through this campaign which educates people about beer, we hope one will come to learn and meet their perfect brew.”

ALL SMILES: Managing Director MAS, Mr Heng Swee Keat (left) receiving a memento from NTU President Dr Su Guaning. PHOTO | NTU CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS

Pornographic site linked on website in NTU's server Pearl Lee An old link hosted under the NTU domain name but no longer used by anyone in NTU, was found to redirect users to an adult website. This link previously belonged to the NTU Photo-Videographic Society (PVS). Though hosted under the NTU domain name, http://www.ntu.

edu.sg, it no longer redirected users to the Universit y’s PVS website. Instead, users were taken to a pornographic website. The link was still accessible because it had been uploaded onto popular photography forum ClubSNAP.com. According to Mr Tan Teck Tim, Senior Assistant Director of the NTU Centre for IT Services (CITS), this is not the first time something

like this has happened. A similar case occurred a few years ago, but the link was quickly deactivated and removed. Assistant Director (IT Operations) at CITS, Mr Low Soo Kiat, said that students are able to promote student clubs by hosting their web content on an NTU server. “A club may configure the NTU-hosted website to redirect access to an external website,”

said Mr Low. An NTU professor specialising in Information Engineering explained that there are many possibilities why this could have happened. “It could be just a normal linkage problem or that the link used to work in the past, but now the subscription has ended and the web address is now used for other purposes,” said the NTU professor, who requested anonymity as he did not wish to be

associated with the case. “There is also the possibility that the NTU ser ver has been compromised, though such errors are quite rare,” he said. The school has since taken appropriate actions to deactivate the link so that the adult site is no longer attached to the NTU domain name. Thomas Ng, President of PVS, declined to comment.


06

news

FE B R UARY 1, 2010

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

Collision of crowds and tech School's in, for the School of Discount Crowd simulation technology gets more realistic, allowing for use in civil and urban planning Elizabeth Law Kwan Hui Xian

RESEARCH in real-time crowd simulation technology that has been in the works for about a decade will be making a new home for itself in NTU. Being able to digitally generate crowds instantaneously will help in areas like urban planning, emergency evacuation planning, gaming, and virtual teaching. This research is headed by Professor Daniel Thalmann, a visiting professor to the School of Computer Engineering (SCE), as well as the Institute for Media Innovation (IMI), a research institute in NTU that focuses on interactive digital media. Professor Thalmann is the Director of The Virtual Reality Lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland. He is also a pioneer in research on Virtual Humans. According to Professor Thalmann, the research started with generating individuals, and it was only in recent years that they started focusing on crowds. The current crowd engine is able to simulate tens of thousands of characters. “A lot of attention is dedicated to generating uniqueness in the crowd,” he said. This is because every person is unique and the technology aims to represent crowds as realistically as possible. Things like an individual’s skin tone, shape, style of walking and even accessories like spectacles and mobile phones will be taken into consideration. The technology also aims to add another dimension of realism by varying the quality of digital people in the crowd. In real life, it is hard to distinguish the features of people far away. Likewise, virtual

The tertiary students' EZ-link card carries a host of discounts and priviledges that NTU students can enjoy Chua Yan Yu

PULLING IN THE CROWD: Crowd simulation is a relatively new concept in Singapore even though Professor Thalmann has been working on it for the last decade. PHOTO | ELIZABETH LAW

people further away from the user will be less detailed compared to people nearer the user. One challenge that presents itself is in collision avoidance among humans. Professor Thalmann explained that even in everyday life, people bump into each other. Trying to avoid it in the simulation is problematic as it is not a matter of geometry or physics, but personality. “People who are shy will probably let the more outgoing

person go past first,” he said. Other factors like cultural heritage and personal characteristics will also come into play. It is here that Professor Thalmann acknowledged the need for a multi-disciplinary approach, as this ventures into the area of the social sciences. He is currently in the midst of forming a research team from the IMI, and intends to hold discussions with SCE to see how they can work together.

FANCY checking out exclusive deals for tertiary students online? The School of Discount, founded by a group of NTU students, lets you do just that. Open to all tertiary students, the website serves as an advertising platform for participating merchants who have agreed to give discounts to students. The group has tried to gather as many discounts as possible by approaching merchants. Students only have to flash their tertiary student ez-link card at participating stores to receive these discounts. No membership is required for students to access the threemonth-old website at www. schoolofdiscount.com.sg Some of the merchants involved include Cathay Cineplexes, Coffee Bean, Manhattan Fish market and 20 others. Over 40 blogshops are also included. This business idea struck a group of five NTU undergraduates when they were pursuing their final year project for their Minor in Entrepreneurship (MiE). One of the group members, Tan Zheng Qiang Darryl, 25, a fourth-year student from the School of Civil and Environment, had actually thought of this before, but had never put it into practice due to lack of resources. The group of students finally managed to turn their idea into reality when they were tasked with the challenge of setting up

a business under the MiE. The School of Discount uses flyers, posters and word-ofmouth, as well as new media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, to advertise themselves. So far, these methods have garnered much support and attention from students—they do receive emails from other students suggesting benefits and discounts they would like to see included. Also, students from the Singapore Institute of Management also requested for similar discounts.

“The more we speak to different merchants, the more we find there is potential in this.” Darryl Tan Member School of Discount

However, not all had been smooth sailing. The group revealed that they had problems convincing companies to jump on the bandwagon. “We got rejected by some merchants as they do not want to associate their brands with discounts,” said Tan. However, they are not about to give up. The group has plans to continue with the project even after their MiE ends. “The more we speak to different merchants, the more we find there is potential in this, because many of them are looking to enter the student market," said Tan. “We certainly wouldn't want to waste this opportunity," he added.

Time or Dime: it pays to help and be helped New online portal gives undergrads freedom to buy time or to earn some spare cash Nabilah Bte Syed Sultan How much would you pay someone to do your shopping? Or charge someone to stand in a queue for them? Now, you can find out. A group of undergraduates from NTU and the National University of Singapore (NUS) have started a business on the concept of service networking— where people run errands for

money—after being inspired by the popularity of social networking sites. The new service portal, TimeOrDime.com, will launch in mid-February and will allow those who are pressed for time to buy other people’s time, by posting errands on the website for fellow members to help with. This service will be launched in both universities, and it is not just for people to save time or earn money. One of the founders, Ong Chin Leng William, 22, explained that running errands for peers could also allow undergraduates to expand their social circle. “This portal aims to take friendship a step further and

make the school population more efficient,” he said. On TimeOrDime, “errand posters” will post on the portal asking for people to help them, while “errand runners” will post their offers for work. The “posters” will say how much they are prepared to pay for the errand and “runners” can decide if they are willing to do the work for the price. To make things more competitive, “errand posters” with similar errands may have to bid higher for their errand to be run. This service networking site provides students the option of allowing their errands to be viewed either by friends only, or be open to the public.

“Students can opt for their errand to be only run by their friends, which makes it very personal,” said Ong, who is a second-year student from the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Can Yan Xi, 22, a thirdyear student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, likes the concept and believes it is feasible. “Everybody on campus is pressed for time. I think this service is cool and those engaged in it will benefit in one way or another,” she said. According to Ong, the beta test of the website launch revealed that 30 percent of the 120 participants are willing to be errand runners,

40 percent are willing to be errand posters and the remaining 40 percent are willing to do both. He added that it is surprising that people were forthcoming and willing to render their services. However, some feel insecure having strangers run errands for them. Muhammad Kamal bin Sarkinin, 25, a final-year student from the school of Electrical and Electronic Engineering said: “It is a little difficult to trust any Tom, Dick or Harry to run your errand for you. What I like about this service is that we can choose our friends to run the errand for us.” “But, if I were to run an errand for a friend, I would not take cash for it. It’s more fitting that I do it as a favour,” he added.


Lifestyle Explore the highs and lows of Spain - Page 13

Love Stories

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, four faculty members give their insights into love – and their other halves. By Eunice Chew, Gu Fenghui, Kok Yinghui and Kenneth Goh the single’s viewpoint

I travelled to St. Petersburg to pay Irina a surprise visit and celebrated our very first official Valentine’s Day. To be together in love, sit at home, drink some wine, and light some candles every once in a while is really special. Being a Mathematics Professor, give an equation or formula that sums up love. Love is a very unreasonable thing. It is very unpredictable and so special that you cannot perform algebra or equate it to an ultimate solution. In Mathematics, some theorems just cannot be proven or disproven. And love is just like that.

DR Fedor Duzhin, School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences How did you meet your wife? I met Irina (a research assistant at the National Universit y of Singapore) through the instant messaging program, ICQ and chat ted for t wo years before meeting up. We fell in love the moment we met and got married almost immediately.

What are your views about Valentine’s Day? Valentine’s Day is not commonly celebrated in Russia. My teachers made us write cards to our friends and teachers but there were no romantic intentions. These days it’s becoming more and more popular with the heart shaped items that you can buy, but I think it’s artificial. So what is the most romantic thing you’ve done for your spouse?

Any words of advice to keep the romance going? Spending time away from each other and living our own lives make us cherish the time we get to spend together. It’s important to accept your loved ones for who they are. Don’t try to change them, because that is not truly accepting them. It would just be an ideal that you have in mind, someone you want them to be. That is not love. Love is not what you say or what you feel. It’s more of what you do.

Professor Lalit Goel, School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering

What are your views on Valentine’s Day? Valentine’s Day is not something that is rampant in India. It was only when I went to Canada to further my studies that I even heard about it. For us, it is more of a day of ref lection. We go out for a quiet meal together.

How did you meet your husband? I met my husband of 13 years through online chat rooms in the 1980s, which was quite uncommon, as the Internet was not widely used. I knew him for 10 years before we got married. We used to be pen pals via the bulletin boards and later, e-mail. We could only go online for a restricted period of time, as it was too expensive. What is the most romantic thing you have done for your spouse? I gave him two children. That was not easy for me as my health suffered during my pregnancy. Share with us the most romantic thing he has done for you? I grew up without dolls and soft toys. And he knew about it and went to buy a soft toy for me. Being a guy, he actually carried the soft toy and the roses to our meeting place and passed it to me, and I made him carry it throughout our date.

How did you meet your wife? During my time, and in India, romance was not common. Most people just looked for a wife at the suitable age. My parents just put up my photo on the newspaper with our contact number and it was up to fate. My wife came along, and being a young man, who is eligible for marriage, what more is there to ask for?

Mrs Chan-Ng Ai Lin, Nanyang Business School (Accountancy)

Being an accounting lecturer, how would you make a Valentine’s Day date more cost effective? PHOTOS | PROF GOEL, PROF DUZHIN, KOK YINGHUI & INTERNET GRAPHIC | ALAN CHOONG

What is the most romantic thing you have ever done for your wife?

Being an engineer, how do you use your knowledge to do something for your wife?

Buying her a diamond ring with the money I earned. Besides that, I took her to Penang once for a trip on our own. I would love to travel with my wife to Switzerland to visit the Alps.

She just stares at me and asks me to fix electrical appliances, like phones, radio sets or television sets whenever they are spoilt at home. I will try my best to fix the damaged parts.

Firstly, I believe in buying roses. I remember my then-boyfriend (now husband) ordered a dozen flowers. Although it is no doubt that girls like receiving it, there is no need to buy. However, it was not nicely wrapped ; there were more leaves than the flowers; it’s like a jungle to me. Secondly, guys can cook a simple meal for the ladies. That’s very romantic and cost-effective.

DR Jeremy Fernando, Research Fellow, Humanities and Social Sciences What are your views on Valentine’s Day? Strictly speaking it is a meaningless ritual, in which both parties give each other gifts, with knowledge that the gift is reciprocated. Hence what you have is an irrational, and even stupid, way of buying gifts, which becomes a paradox, in which you actually expect a gift. What gave you such a perspective on Valentine’s Day? It was a thinking of the paradox of the connection of love. It is like: Do you love someone for “who” they are or “what” they are? The problem is that you can only access the “what” and then guess at the “who” even as much as we all strive to love people for “who” they are. I feel it is a rather amusing simulated event, if taken seriously. Have you actually celebrated Valentine’s Day? Not really. It is a rather amusing simulated event, if taken seriously. The thing about rituals is that you must plunge into them, whilst maintaining a sense of irony about them. After all, rituals are meaningless. What do you think couples should do, instead of celebrating V-day? If you know how to skip a day, do let me know.


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lifestyle

fe b r uary 1, 2010

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

The BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

Their intoxicating mix of races make people sit up and do a double take at their unconventional surnames. Kenneth Goh, Rachel Loi and Zhao Boshu find out if being of mixed parentage is as exotic as it sounds

Shoshi Kudo, 23, Humanities and Social Sciences, Year 1 IF NOT for his name, one would think that Shoshi Kudo is Singaporean. The affable Psychology undergraduate served National Service and peppers his conversation with lah-s. Kudo is of Japanese and Ch inese parentage. However, his permanent resident identity card states that he is a Japanese. “People only realise that I am not a Singaporean from knowing my name, which sounds like sushi,” he explains. Having spent two decades here makes him relate more to being a Chinese, though Kudo still considers himself to be Japanese. “I admire the Japanese for their wholehearted work ethic and loyalty,” he says.

Ahmad Khan, 21, WEE KIM WEE SCHOOL OF Communication and INFORMATION, Year 1

MEET Ahmad Khan—his mother is an Arab, his father a Pakistani, his second language is Malay, and his identity card states that he is Indian.

Although he speaks and thinks like his friends here, Kudo hopes to connect to his Japanese heritage. One way is by visiting his relatives once a year in the Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo. He is learning Japanese, which he admits is difficult. Back in Singapore, his family preserves the Japanese culture by saying Japanese greetings like ‘itadakimasu’ before meals and celebrating Japanese New Year by feasting on mochi, a type of glutinous rice cake. He points out that his family is “not really rooted in the Japanese culture” as his father is quite liberal. As for the story of how his parents met, it is quite amusing. Kudo’s father was working in Singapore as architect. His company was late in paying the bills, so an accountant was sent to chase for the money to be paid. As fate had it, the accountant turned out to be Kudo’s mother. And, as they say, the rest is history. Living in a multi-cultural society here made it easier for Kudo to assimilate into life in Singapore. “Not everyone here is of a single-race, so it is easier to fit in as a ‘cross breed’,” he explains. His only brush with an identity crisis came when his army officer asked him if he would choose to fight for Singapore or Japan—a question that has him stumped even today. One e yebr ow-r a i si ng e x pe r ie nce happened when he served as an officer at the Basic Military Training Centre in Pulau Tekong. “The parents were a little stunned when they saw that a ‘foreigner’ was in charge of the recruits,” he says. But at the end of the day, he feels that it speaks volumes to locals who are reluctant to serve National Service, when a half-Singaporean is willing to serve the country.

A MASTER of many tongues, Im Eun Bee is fluent in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Japanese. She converses most fluently in English, which she calls a “universal language”. Adding on to her multilingualism, she is currently learning French. It comes as little surprise when the first-year Art, Design and Media (ADM) student explains she is of Korean-Chinese parentage. Im’s Chinese-Malaysian mother met her Korean father while she was on an exchange programme in South Korea. There, her pen pal, who was a translator in English and Korean, introduced them.

According to Im, being of mi xed parentage improves her social life. It also makes it easier for her to break the ice between strangers as “people are often curious and want to talk to you more”. However, the downside is that Im grew up as a confused kid who “did not know which side she belonged to”. The half-Korean also finds herself in an awkward situation when it comes to communicating. Im mostly understands Korean, but cannot speak it fluently. In order to address her identity crisis, Im decided that she belongs more to Singapore. “This is the place where I grew up most of my life and I feel a stronger sense of belonging here,” she explains. Ultimately, she thinks that the only thing that shows any indication of her being a Korean or Malaysian is merely reflected on her identity card. To stay in touch with her Korean roots, her family celebrates Chul Sok, a Korean festival at the beginning of the year in Singapore. Im’s boyfriend is also a mix of five ethnicities—English, Jewish, Chinese, Indian and one, which she does not know. Asked if she was looking for a boyfriend of mixed ethnicity just like her, Im laughed and said “No, it just came naturally.”

With what some might call a rich heritage, there are bound to be issues Khan faces with regards to his identity. Khan says that sometimes people do not realise he is local, and it can make him feel like an outsider in his own country. His long brown hair is not a feature of a typical Singaporean, and makes him stand out in a crowd. “When I was in school, I had some trouble with discipline. They thought I had dyed my hair when it was actually a natural colour,”

said the 21-year-old Communication Studies student. His friends, however, have grown used to his looks and accept him as a Singaporean with “mixed blood". “People do not judge me that much, because as soon as they realise I’m local in nature, there’s nothing more than the fact that I just look different,” he says. He not only accepts his background, but also takes pride in his heritage. Instead of sticking squarely to one of his many cultures, Khan

chooses to see his background as a chance for him to accept the different cultures around him. “At the end of the day, no matter what heritage you’re from, we all face the same issues, problems, and environment so it doesn’t really make much of a difference,” he says. With a stronger sense of belonging as a Singaporean than of his traditional roots, Khan says: “I think it’s how you were brought up that matters, not what it says on your pink I/C.”

Im’s father, who could not speak a word of English at that time, learnt the language so that he could communicate with her mother. Today, her fami ly spea k s English comfortably.

“This is the place where I grew up most of my life and I feel a stronger sense of belonging here.”

PHOTOS | JULIANA TAN, GAN JIA JUN & INTERNET

Im Eun Bee, 19, Art, Design and Media, Year 1


lifestyle

fe b r ua ry 1, 2010

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

09

foodsnoop

Back to the old food

Swing back to the retro eighties with the comeback of these two restaurants after a short absence. Lifestyle Editor Kenneth Goh eats his way down memory lane

T.G.I. Friday’s 260 Orchard Road #01-K5 The Heeren Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 11am - 12mn Sat - Sun: 11am – 3am

A HOUSEHOLD name with over 1,000 branches in 50 countries, American diner T.G.I. Friday’s is located in a new side extension of The Hereen. It m a ke s a Si ngapor ea n comeback after being away from the food scene for more than 10 years. The first floor has an all-day bar which is home to a mindboggling list of liquor, f lanked by red-striped canopies, vintage electric guitars and models of helicopters. Upstairs, the place is buzzing w it h d i ne r s soa k i ng up t he salubrious mood, complemented by radio-fr iendly hits in the background. P r oud l y pr oc la i m i ng it s American roots, the month-old eatery bears a flamboyant décor. It is dressed up with old-school posters of James Dean, Barr y Manilow and films like Gone With The Wind. A life-size wall motif, featuring memorabilia like boxing gloves, vinyl records, and a wall of

RACK OF BEEF: Chargrilled glazed ribs.

PHOTOS | MELVIN LAU & ELIZABETH LAW

vintage record covers which pay tribute to the rock and roll era. Service was intuitively breezy, f rom sec u r i ng seats w it hout reser vations to the gregarious manager repeatedly assur ing t hat t he food will be ser ved within 10 minutes, without much prompting. Although the charming waiters

were attentive and fun-loving (donning their jester-like hat), they seemed rather clueless about the dishes and ingredients when probed. The menu is Tex-Mex (TexanMexican) which translates into a mishmash of appetisers, burgers, pastas, steaks, fajitas and pork ribs in big servings.

wendy's 18 Raffles Quay 34 – 38 & 41 Lau Pa Sat Festival Market Opening Hours: Mon - Sun: 7.30am – 10pm

IN THE midst of local chow like laksa and char kway teow, a freckle-faced redhead seems out of place. The redhead in question is the face of Wendy’s, which is gunning for a slice of the fast food pie in Singapore. The American fast food joint was here for a while in 1985 with its signature square, diskette-sized beef burger patty, which still holds fresh in the memories of many Generation Xers. But, a dispute over franchise rights forced Wendy’s to call it a day. Fast-forward to today. Judging from the long queues at its new Singapore flagship outlet in Lau Pa Sat, Singaporeans may just have enough room for yet another fast food name. “Singapore is a food paradise

CLUMSY STACK: Triple beef burger.

and Singaporeans love to have new varieties in their food,” said Mr Jimmy Oh, Restaurant Manager of Wendy’s. He also pointed out that some Singaporeans sti ll remember Wendy’s fondly and feel that they are “missing out", given that it maintains a popular following in America and Asia. “I remember loving the Frosty Float,” said Mr Oh, who has a soft spot for the concoction of root beer with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Unlike McDonald’s, Wendy’s

burgers are made-to-order in as little as seven seconds. Working the magic in the kitchen are the deft hands of a sandwich professional, who builds every burger from scratch. Staying true to its American roots, the cooking equipment and ground beef has been imported from the USA. This means portions are exactly the same as in America, as opposed to being scaled-down. “Even our tomatoes are sliced uniformly to ensure each chunk is of a certain depth,” said Mr Oh. One noticeable difference is the square patties used in the burgers. Unlike its American counterpart, Wendy's is certified Halal in Singapore. Apparently this means better value for the customer, as the corners are not cut off, as is the case in round burgers. Mr Oh said that Wendy’s is selling almost 300 quarter-pounder burgers a day. Besides burgers, Wendy’s also offers side dishes like salads, baked potatoes, Mandarin oranges and fried chicken. The Three-Quar ter-Pound Triple Burger with cheese ($8.65 with fries and drink) is a must-

Individual portions are big enough for two to share. Their signature dishes are the Jack Daniel’s Grill and Steaks, where a dash of Jack Daniel’s American whisky is added to their barbecue sauce. T.G.I. Fr iday’s is the only restaurant in Singapore that has the rights to feature the sauce in their menus. The Jack Daniel’s Glazed Ribs ($24.90 for half rack) is of a slab of seven beef ribs. The smoky chargrilled meat is firm to the bite, but juicy and tender. It is perked up by the tang of Cajun spices in which the meat is marinated. Carpeting the rack of ribs is the Jack Daniel’s sauce, which tastes like a marriage of honey and caramelised onions. The supporting side of French fries, which are plump and fluffy, hold their own to the ribs. If ribs are not up your alley, zero in on the Sizzling Chicken and Shrimp ($17.90). The dish is an assemblage of chicken, shrimps, tomato salsa and cheddar cheese mashed potatoes in a puddle of melted cheese. The sautéed garlic marinated chicken breast was slightly dry and tough, and an assault on the taste buds. Those who need to satisfy their burger cravings can opt for Bacon Cheeseburger ($13.90), which

try, once you have overcome the challenge of fitting the hulking stack of three moist beef patties into your mouth. The perfectly seared patties alternate with slices of cheese and are topped with lettuce and a good lashing of mustard and mayonnaise. Between the crispy lettuce, the mass of meat is slightly cloying. For a premium dip for the chunky French fries, the Chili (a cup of stew brimming with soaked

GOLDEN STREAKS: Chunky French fries.

SMOKIN': Sizzling chicken & shrimp.

whets one's appetite. With just four desserts, there are not many options for a tonguetingling wrap-up to the meal. For those sick of the doneto-death brownie and vanilla ice cream combo, opt for something different, but equally sinful— the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie ($12.90). The deceptively slim wedge is chockfull of peanut butter, from the mousse to its crust. The crusty graham cracker base cuts through the heav y creaminess of the peanut butter mousse, which is topped with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup on a

COUCH POTATO: Topped with sour cream.

beans, tomato, capsicum, onions and ground beef for $2.50) makes an addictive partnership. Dieters can limit themselves to an oven-baked potato ($2.90), with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled with chives. As testimony to its popularity, a queue of 15 people formed at the counter barely before lunchtime. Mr Oh observed that Wendy’s is especially popular with Filipinos, who make up a sizeable portion of the weekend crowd. With plans to open 35 outlets within the next decade (the second outlet opens in March at Jurong Point), Wendy’s looks set to stay for good this time.


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lifestyle

fe b r uary 1, 2010

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

quiet is the new loud

The Great

Escape

Forget crowded coffee joints as Wilson Ng, Boey Wei Shan and Lee Jianxuan find cafés that you can retreat to, which are accessible yet hushed kith café 7 Rodyk Street #01-33 Watermark @ Robertson Quay Tel: 63419407 Opening hours: Mon - Sun: 7am - 7pm

CLEAN FURNISHING: Conducive for anyone. PHOTO | GOH CHAY TENG

TUCKED away underneath Watermark condominium at Robertson Quay is a nine-month old cafe on the outskirts of the city that enjoys its relative obscurity. “Kith literally means ‘people in a small community’,” said Jane Hia, the 25-year-old owner of the joint. The full-length glass panels let in sunlight and brightens up the small, air-conditioned interior. Inside, a wall-mounted chalkboard adds spontaneity to the décor while

The coffee nations 17 Bali Lane Tel: 63922263 Opening hours: Sun - Thurs: 11am – 11pm Fri - Sat: 11am – 1am AMIDST a slew of Arab restaurants and avant-garde boutiques, The Coffee Nations at Bali Lane touts itself as a “T h ird Place, neit her home nor workplace but somewhere between”. Even on weekends, the café is relatively deserted, as compared with the Starbucks and The Coffee Connoisseur joints everywhere else that are often overflowing with people. The Coffee Nations crowd consists mostly of sullen youths armed with their MP3 players and laptops, enjoying a cuppa while retreating into their sanctuary of countless Youtube videos. It also helps that The Coffee Nations also has high-speed wireless internet and a multitude of power points.

serving as a menu to help customers make their choices. Regular patrons of the café are mainly expatriates living in the area who enjoy the quiet ambience. “It is a good place for me to work and the coffee here is wonderful,” said Mike Cooke, 35. The place sits 20 people, so “it can get really packed during the weekends,” according to Hia. “Customers can rearrange the tables and chairs to suit their group size." For more flexibility, the plywood high chairs can double up as low coffee tables. They were designed by Hia and a local company, HJGHER. Two benches and coffee tables outside the café provide more seating, and are ideal for customers who wish to enjoy the breeze while sipping a cup of coffee. Customers never get bored as the blackboard menu changes every other week. We ordered a tasty smoked-duck breast sandwich ($10) accompanied with tangy green apple, and the sautéed mushroom sandwich ($8) with the reccommended delicious homemade pesto sauce. “It reminds me of Paris,” said Natalie, 39, a yoga teacher from France. “You don’t see such cafés in the city area."

Co-owner Bryan Tan, 32, said: "Yuppies come here to chill out over coffee." This is unsurprising, as the décor is vintage with plush cushioning and classy understated wood furniture that is offset by low-hanging lamps that illuminate the café with a warm glow. There is a cosy little alcove upstairs, partitioned off from the rest of the café that makes it seem perfectly conducive for couples looking for some privacy and a romantic atmosphere.

THE THIRD PLACE: The candid attic feel of the second level puts you at ease. PHOTO | SYAFIQAH BTE SAIRI

Vanilla bar & Cafe 3 Boon Tat Street #01-01 Tel: 64230366 Opening hours: Mon - Thurs: 10.30am - 11pm Fri: 10.30am - 12mn Sat: 11am - 12mn STOWED away in the heart of the Central Business District, Vanilla Bar & Café is a haven for anyone looking for a bit of peace. This little pocket of cosiness sits in a row of quaint refurbished shop houses. The café grabs you with a warm whiff of vanilla essence the second you walk through the door. One of the three shop owners, Jo Ann Ng, 27, quit her previous job in marketing to open the café in December last year. Many elements make this new venture look and feel good. The interior is lined with simple and neat wooden tables and chairs while Japanese manga line the shelves. All these add a more personal touch to the otherwise stripped, minimalist feel of the place.

AFFOGATO: A scoop of vanilla ice-cream topped with a shot of hot espresso.

What sets The Coffee Nations apart from other aspiring coffee places is its homeliness. The carelessly strewn-about cushions and stacks of travel magazines that are scattered artfully askew reinforce the homeliness that the Utopian Third Place should have. Its staff also manages to strike the delicate balance between incessant hovering and prompt, helpful service. The name Coffee Nations should give an idea of what this café is all about. T he ow ner s essent ia l ly a i m to introduce coffee from various countries to Singaporeans. One customer, Jonathan Waltz, a 28-yearold software engineer, said “independent coffee places usually serve better coffee”, which rings true here. The Milan Ice Coffee ($6.50) was a chilly espresso littered with crumbly little chocolate chips topped off with chocolate ice cream. The Chai Frappe ($5.90) packed a refreshing spice-tinged punch, while the elaborately prepared Siphon Coffee ($12.30)

PLENTY: No worries about the lack of seats. PHOTOS | BOEY WEI SHAN

This 40-seater cafe is ideal for a small gathering or a night spent reminiscing under the stars on their terrace. Do look out for t he Koi pond t hat f lows beneat h t hei r wooden f loorboard. The menu is part Western and part Japanese—with all their dishes snazzily presented—and the most popular item being the Slow Cooked Pulled Pork Sandwich ($9.90). The filling, which they say takes six hours to prepare, is pulled and shredded pork stewed in their special marinade, leaving a slightly sweet aftertaste. The Nor wegian Smoked Salmon & Egg Mayo Sandwich ($7.90) has a nice balance of egg and fish, neither overpowering the other. Their must-try Bacon & Enoki Skewer ($5.90) appetiser will certainly whet your appetite. For desserts, caffeine addicts will love the Affogato ($5.90), while cocoa lovers will prefer the delectable Molten Chocolate Cake ($11.50). One final tip: Ask about their daily special before ordering, as the kitchen prepares a few ‘off-the-menu’ dishes every day.

was a powerful thick Turkish concoction so freshly brewed we could almost taste the beans. For the peckish, The Coffee Nations serves decent main courses as well. The Potato Salad ($4.50) is a flavorful ball of earthy mashed potatoes, dressed with mayonnaise and crispy greens. Hungrier patrons may want to try the grilled Cajun fish ($13.50), a light juicy catch drizzled with tangy Cajun sauce. Tan said that he was in the midst of revamping the menu to “inject more Japanese-Italian flavours and tapas”. Additionally, specially imported beers from Germany and Australia are available as well as a selection of Swedish ciders. It is no wonder then, that the café is a hit with the expatriate crowd. Most of them like sitting outside, knocking back afternoon brews. The Coffee Nations is essentially an off-the-beaten-track gem that guarantees quality coffee and experience every visit.


lifestyle

FE B R UA RY 1, 2010

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

13

travelogue

All the gypsies and kings From ancient palaces to humble cave dwellings, Shila Naidu explores Andalucia and its rich history, architecture and culture

SPA IN is home to some of the f inest architecture in the world, from ancient castles and baroque churches to the fabulous Moorish palaces such as the Alhambra. Taking a break from my exchange to Sweden, I took 10 days to explore Andalucia in Spain and found highs and lows, literally. O ne h ig h p oi nt wa s , i r on ic a l l y, underground, near the Andalucian city of Granada, where rows of little doors or makeshift doors made of cloth flapped in the wind, lining a stony hillside. The Sacromonte Caves is home to gypsies and hippies, where they have lived for hundreds of years. These people have never had to pay anything for their humble abode. They came, they saw and they dug it out. Most of them have no running water, electricity or gas. The inside walls of their caves are untouched, natural stone of the mountain. If you offer the cave’s owner a Euro or two, you may get a chance to take a peek inside. The one I saw visited was relatively spacious and had a bathroom, kitchen, living area, two tiny rooms and was fully furnished. However, as I could see from the outside, this was not the norm. Most are just long burrows lined by burning candles with a dirt floor. These caves are mostly homes, although a handful have been converted to hostels, flamenco schools and bars. The Sacromonte caves are difficult to find and are also dangerous because of the prevalence of drug addicts in the area. However there is the safer option of joining a walking tour to these caves. The walk from the caves back into Granada goes through the city’s old Moorish quarter, Albaicin (the Moors were Muslims who ruled parts of Spain for 800 years until 1492) From its lookout, the Mirador de San Nicolas, I gazed upon one of Spain’s most breathtaking sights: The Alhambra. American author Washington Irving's book Tales of the Alhambra is widely credited for reintroducing the Alhambra to Western civilisation in the 19th century.

Irving wrote: “How unworthy is my scribbling of the place." He had a point. The Alhambra is a magnificent palace that looms over the city. Built in the mid-14th century, the fortress is a vision of red emerging from the centre of city. The Alhambra translates as the “red one” in Arabic, and refers to the red clay of the surroundings of which the fort is made. Originally the palace of the Moorish monarchs, alterations were made when the Christians reconquered Spain. King Charles V rebuilt certain parts of the palace in a Renaissance style after which subsequent monarchies made more changes that reflected a more European style.

The Moorish style of architecture that blends Islamic, Christian and even gothic influences is certainly a sight to behold Even so, the beautifully decorated inter ior s and cour t yards sti ll retain u n ique c h a r ac te r i s t ic s of me d ie v a l Islamic architecture. As I walked past the massive gates, the beauty of the surrounding lush nature with the landscape spread with a variety of flowers was awe-inspiring. No expense was spared in making the sprawling palace grounds mir ror paradise itself. Enter ing t he A l ha mbra is indeed breathtaking. Intricately carved marble detailing the walls and ceilings left me staring, my mouth agape. I was so paralysed by the sight that I almost forgot I could capture the beautiful

HIPPIE QUARTERS: The mixture of clay and rock pebbles are soft enough for gypsies to dig and build their very own home. PHOTOS | SHILA NAIDU

architecture with my camera. Behind each elaborately shaped archway lies a room more incredible than the last. The floors are colourful spectrums of mosaic that continue up the walls in complex tessellations that only stopped midway to allow carvings of flowers, tendrils and calligraphy to creep up to the ceiling. Car v ings unfold f rom t he centre, multiplying and spreading out in all directions to create a three-dimensional canopy that was simply too exquisite to look away from. It is no wonder that the Alhambra is one of Spain’s most visited attractions. With 2.5 million visitors in the last year, it is a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) world heritage site, so it is best to buy entrance tickets online in advance with prices ranging from S$12-24. Two hours away from Granada was another beautiful city, Seville, home to a the Alcazar. It is not as enormous or as famous as its Granadian counterpart but the Alcazar could rival Alhambra’s position as the top tourist destination. The palace was originally a fort built in the 12th century but was rebuilt by a Christian ruler, Pedro the Cruel in the 14th century. T he Moor ish st yle of architect ure that blends Islamic, Christian and gothic influences is a sight to behold. One large room is dedicated to huge

hanging tapestries depicting maps and historical events. The gardens are lined with clementine (similar to an orange) trees and the tall hedges offer a scenic walk. Elsewhere in Seville, Star Wars fans are in for a treat as well. In Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Anakin and Padme take a stroll in the palace grounds in Naboo. This scene was filmed in the Plaza de Espana, a majestic, semicircular courtyard flanked by towers. The perimeter of the courtyard is decorated with colourful tiled alcoves that illustrate the expeditions and conquests of the provinces in Spain. In the middle of the plaza is a huge fountain that would not look out of place in a classic fairytale setting. Exploring Andalucia and its castles and caves, I felt like I was a character in a fantasy book. With the urban city life that awaits me back in Singapore, it was certainly refreshing to visit places that are still relatively untouched by modernisation and steeped in local flavour.

Tips for travelling in andalucia

1

Plan your transpor t such that you always reach your destination during the day to ensure your safety.

2

Find hostels that are centrally located to famous tour ist destinations to save money on transport.

REGAL LIVING: The Alcazar, which is one of the best remaining examples of Moorish architecture, are still used by the Spanish royal family occasionally.

ASTOUNDING: The ceilings covered with geometrical patterns.

3

Go Tapas bar-hopping with the locals to gain a richer cultural experience.


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lifestyle review

BOOKS Under The Dome (Fiction) Stephen King $42.80, available at Kinokuniya Published by Hodder and Stoughton

HORROR master Stephen King's latest offering is a curious exception in his oeuvre of works, having been in gestation for a quarter of a century. The idyllic town of Chester's Mill is one day beset by an invisible dome that cuts it off from the rest of the world. A nd t hus it begins— everything you would think nor ma l a nd i n noc uou s i n classic American suburbia gets subverted in this twisted tale of morality unhinged. The town's population of over a thousand is quickly culled by the marauding force of born-again devils. James “Big Jim" Rennie, a second selectman who will not swear but doles out murder as easily as his used-car deals when his power over the local police is threatened, leads this malicious assembly. Up against the diabolical Rennies are a rag-tag group of freedom fighters led by Colonel Dale “Barbie” Barbara, an Iraq war veteran and appointed outpost of the federal government. As the battle between good and evil escalates into a raging bloodlust, King fans can anticipate a slew of terrible secrets from a cast of over a hundred characters amongst the many pages—for therein lies the novel's estimable triumph. This massive tome of over a thousand pages may seem a daunting pick at first but promises a reading experience as haunting and unshakeable as King at his very best.

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MUSIC “I want The Element of Freedom to bring a ,,, , certain light to the world. And that’s what I’ll do from now until forever." Alicia Keys (R&B/Pop)

Keys has said that thematically, The Element of Freedom deals with overcoming depression.

Alicia Keys, in an interview with The Telegraph, on The Element of Freedom

-Danielle Han

Stir The Blood

-Goh Zhi Ling

The Bravery (Alternative Rock)

Stones into Schools (Non-Fiction)

,,,,,

Greg Mortenson

Some of the tracks in Stir The Blood were recorded by the band in an abandoned church.

$34.78, available at Kinokuniya Published by Viking

YOU need to drink Three Cups of Tea before you can turn Stones into Schools. T h ree year s af ter h is phenomenal bestseller, Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson has taken a second step to bring education into another unreached corner of the world—the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. Stones into Schools traces the unprecedented school-building effor ts in this new region, launched by Mortenson’s nonprofit organisation, the Central Asia Institute. It tells of a compassionate journey to the ‘Last Place First'; a philosophy based on Mortenson’s promise to reach out to the most remote places first, such as the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan, described by Mortenson as a territory with ‘a cold so intense that it stifled the heat of his campfires while robbing the flames of its colour’. Despite rich accounts, Mortenson’s writing often launches into long and factual details that become a little too heavy for a book that is already dealing with the austerity of destitution. His optimism towards the spreading of literacy among impoverished nations, though bordering on the idealised, is evident in his every anecdote and encounter. Mortenson must have truly believed in the Afghans’ farewell greeting Waailaikum-Salaam (May peace be with you also) to be able to hope for the desired camaraderie between human beings that he so advocates in both his books.

STIR The Blood opens with a myriad of electronic-driven riffs and keyboard chords that fans will find a little too familiar. Clichéd lyrics like Someday if we try/We could fly fly fly fly, coupled with subtle drumming and a simplistic guitar solo, do little to reach former heights of the band’s otherwise flamboyant musicality. Described by lead vocalist Sam Endicott as ‘generally dark’, the album hits polarising extremes. On one hand, the punk rock inspired Hatefuck features a backdrop of screeching guitars that develop into excessive guitar shredding and a disappointing early number. Conversely, the band finds a winner in I Am Your Skin with its chilling and heartfelt lyrics such as Spilling out in constellations on the floor. The simple but extremely effective atmospheric guitar riff never leaves listeners alone, haunting them from a catchy beginning to a lyrical solo. The band maintains this down-to-earth consistency in The Spectator, a poetic, melancholic number in which Endicott puts himself into the shoes of a ‘spectator’—delivering the track from a unique third person perspective. Nonetheless, the band seems disinclined to clarity. Trippy tracks like Sugarpill hint at the influence of external hallucinogens as Endicott pays tribute to the Beatles number Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, conjuring up psychedelic images of candy canes and kaleidoscope eyes with his trademark baritone. Like a marathon runner with a bad start, The Bravery quickly manages to reward listeners with some simple but well-written numbers. The band would do well to part with their fancy sounds and overplayed effects, focusing instead on honestly elucidating their personal struggles and triumphs—as they have done to laudable effect on Stir The Blood.

-Sarah Chang

BOOKS FROM KINOKUNIYA

THE Element of Freedom takes on a raw, introspective tone that supplements Alicia Key’s signature vocals with an endearing vulnerability; an effective tool of hers that distracts from what is otherwise a musically safe effort. With the absence of her trademark piano chords, the album’s second single Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart stands out with its mix of thudding, heavy bass, synthesisers and strains of an organ, unusual additions to one of Key’s usual songs. Thematically, it is an honest depiction of Keys’ determination to triumph over the emotional afflictions that arose from having overcome failed relationships in the past. With lyrics like And all the time you were tellin' me lies/So tonight, I'm gonna find a way to make it without you, the track endears Keys to listeners, especially those who have watched her mature both emotionally and musically since the release of her first album, Songs in A Minor, nine years ago. Yet that alluring vocal quality is all but absent in the fast, clattering Put it in a Love Song, a collaboration with Beyoncé that is more of a miss than a hit. It is lyrically banal, and the painfully cheesy opening of Hey yo B/What up A borders on inane. Moreover, the background accompaniment is similar to that of a catchy club hit that listeners will hardly be able to relate to. To her credit, Keys, with her unique, versatile vocals, need not produce anything particularly groundbreaking. This characteristically familiar album is enough to leave the average fan satisfied at the very least.

PHOTOS | INTERNET

-Ivan Tan


lifestyle

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15

review

FILMS The Boys Are Back Drama/Comedy Clive Owen, Laura Fraser, George MacKay 104min

‘Hello stranger’, Joe Warr (Clive Owen) quips tenderly to his wife Katy Warr (Laura Fraser) in their opening dialogue, seemingly referencing his performance in the psychosexual adult drama Closer. Fortunately for the familyoriented, The Boys are Back is everything Closer was not. With films such as the critically acclaimed Shine as well as the lighter No Reservations under his belt, director Scott Hicks returns to his Southern Australian roots. T he Boys Are Back is an adaptation of Simon Carr’s breezy, turn-of-the-millennium memoir, largely based on Carr’s experiences. In between pastoral montages, Hicks accelerates through the unexpected tragedy afflicting the Warr family. Katy collapses abruptly from terminal cancer at a party, sending the picturesque household into complete and utter disarray. Joe faces the task of filling the matriarchal void for his precocious sons Artie (Nicholas McAnulty) and Harry (George MacKay), the latter

,,,,,

a sulky, conflicted teen from his previous marriage. Joe, who is the leading sports correspondent for The Australian newspaper, also contends with niggling doubts from his motherin-law, the attractions of a comely divorcee and writing about the Australian Open which is hapening at the same time All the while, he is supported by the spectre of Katy, retaining her role as the voice of maternal reason, egging him on angelically in moments of despair. O wen’s abi l it y to rema i n stoically attractive—whether he is sobbing despondently amid vast Adelaide bushlands or having his nose broken in a bar tussle—reminds viewers that he remains the resident thespian in this film. Emma Booth, who plays the fetching single mum Laura, is convincingly sweet and congenial. The Boys Are Back has the potential to descend into a Hallmark mourning special, thanks to its tragic premise. However, it is testament to Hicks’ deft directorial hand and

Law Abiding Citizen

PHOTO | INTERNET

Owen’s honest delivery that the film is never weighed down, and always feels intimate and honest. His rapport with McAnulty and MacKay is evident, and their easy banter and rambunctious father-son interactions always comes across as genuine and heartfelt. Australian cinematographer Greg Fraiser dallies once again with

,,,,,

Crime /Thriller Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx, Leslie Bibb 108min

PHOTO | INTERNET

LAW Abiding Citizen centres on two protagonists, Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler), a man whose wife and daughter were murdered 10 years ago, and Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx), the attorney who was responsible for allowing one of the murderers to go free. A decade later, Shelton returns to exact his own brand of justice on the murderer, killing him in cold

blood and threatening the same fate to key players in the trial. Shelton, having saddled Rice with the bulk of the blame, demands that he right the wrong that was caused. For movie buffs, the film is a concoction of the orchestrated murders of Saw, the setting of Silence of the Lambs and the confrontations of American Gangster.

The confrontations between Shelton and Rice were intense and engaging, backed by respectable performances of the cast. While the supporting cast of Colm Meaney and Leslie Bibb delivered solidly, none was more outstanding than Butler. There was a good amount of screen time dedicated to developing the characters, immersing the audience into their psyches. An interesting feature was the lack of a clear hero or villain. Shelton’s maniacal, sometimes incomprehensible actions, for instance, were not depicted as fuelled by revenge but justice, making it difficult for us to condemn this man who had lost everything he loved. Audiences expecting a thematic exploration of morality might be left wanting, as the film seemed skewed in favour of the actions of Shelton. Nevertheless, Law Abiding Citizen presents a new and refreshing insight into the credibility of the justice system, depicting the fallibility of the men who are behind it. Law Abiding Citizen shines as a movie with drama, thrills, and seat-gripping intensity. It may not be a feel-good movie, but packs the punch of an experience that will linger for a while. - Gerard Lim

the sun as his eternal muse, evoking the beauty of coastal Adelaide and its breathtaking landforms. The use of the soft focus against Clive’s grudgingly handsome mug venerates the magnificent landscape, cloaking it under glorious sweeps of inexhaustible sunlight. The score by Icelandic indie darlings Sigur Ros is particularly

f it t i ng a s g lacia l soa r s a nd wintry shrills provide an ethereal soundscape for the lush, sepiatinged backdrop of rural Outback. With the effective treatment of the genre and a family that is portrayed, warts and all, The Boys Are Back is definitely worth your time at a comfortable 104 minutes. - Tan Sihan

contest London, 1818. A secret love affair begins between 23-year-old English poet, John Keats and the girl next door, an outspoken fashion student. Bright Star sees the lovers drawn together by letters and poems of romantic declaration, as they dissolve into a romantic obsession that deepens inexplicably over time. Only Keats’ illness will stand in their way, an insurmountable hurdle between the two star-crossed lovers. In cinemas February 18th

Stand a chance to win tickets to Bright Star! The Nanyang Chronicle has two pairs of in-season passes to be given away. Simply answer this question: Bright Star opens exclusively on February 18th at Cinema Europa, Golden Village VivoCity. True or False? Email your answer to chroniclereviews@gmail.com before Sunday, February 13th, 2359H. Include your name, matriculation number and contact number. Prizes are courtesy of Golden Village Pictures.


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lifestyle

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upcoming events

review

FILMS Brothers Drama Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman 105min

SOME of Hollywood’s finest talents star as the Cahill family—Sam (Tobey Maguire) and Tommy Cahill (Jake Gyllenhaal) are brothers, polar opposites. Sam is a stoic, straight-laced marine captain married to his high school sweetheart, Grace Cahill (Natalie Portman). Younger sibling Tommy is a criminal on parole, struggling with alcoholism. Brothers is an apt exploration of the adverse psychological effects of war on human relationships. When Sam’s helicopter gets shot down in Afghanistan, he is presumed dead. The deadbeat Tommy is forced to snap out of his alcohol-induced haze to fill the shoes of older brother Sam. In time, he begins to make headway into Sam’s household— endearing himself to Grace and her daughters. The undercurrent of subtle attraction between Grace and Sam is suitbly nuanced, found in stolen glances and fleeting smiles, rather than overt displays of affection.

,,,

Play! For Charity Organised by NTU FastForward Board Games Society, participants will get a chance to play more than 100 varieties of games. All proceeds will be donated to charity.

,

The air between them is rife with attraction and an unfulfilled desire. Unfor t unately, Gyllenhaal appears too smooth and charming to acknowledge the extent of the desolation and loss his character is supposed to be going through. Portman’s grief as a widow also came across as somewhat weak and unconvincing. While her striking good looks are undeniably arresting, viewers may get a sense that her role in the script has been vastly understated. A s t he scenes ju mp back and forth between America and Afghanistan, we realise that Sam is, in fact, not dead, but captured by the Taliban. While in captivity, Sam is forced to brutally kill his comrade by beating him to death with a lead pipe, to save himself. Evidently, the stark psychological effects linger. Haunted by his actions, Sam returns a changed man, a whisper of his former self. He retreats into himself, shutting out all who care about him, including

26-28 FEB 12Pm-10pm Nanyang Auditorium For more information, visit www.play.ntufastforward.com ValenWine 2010 ValenWine is the largest wine appreciation e xhibition for undergraduates . It aims to introduce wine in an informational and educational way, while adding colour to NT U’s campus life. Varieties of food that complement wine will also be showcased.

PHOTO | INTERNET

his wife and brother, refusing any form of emotional support. Furthermore, he perceives an affair between his wife and brother, driving him into unbridled rage and irrational jealousy. These are the strongest moments of the movie as Maguire aptly brings across his character’s descent into near-insanity. Through his character, Brothers drives home the chilling notion that no man can experience the atrocities of war and return unscathed.

Adapted by writer David Benioff and directed by Jim Sheridan, the film is a remake of a 2004 Danish film by the same name. Brothers does not quite live up to its predecessor in terms of the grittiness and intensity of emotions displayed by the characters. But it is wor t h watch i ng for Magu i re’s spine-ch i l ling performance of a regular, healthy man, who went to war and came home a ghost. -Boey Wei Shan

9-10 FEB 11AM-6PM Nanyang Auditorium Exhibition Hall Level 3 For more information, visit www.valenwine.sg International Culture and Travel Fair (ICTF 2010) ICTF 2010 combines two annual events, the International Culture and Food Festival and the Travel Fair. ICTF 2010 will feature a carnival for the various international undergraduate communities on campus to showcase their rich cultures and food. 8-9 FEB 10AM-5PM Nanyang Auditorium FOYER


lifestyle

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tech review

Have you met iMac? Kevin Lim tech editor

WHERE is the rest of the computer? Like its predecessors, the new iMac hides all of its parts behind a 21.5” screen. Classy with a modern touch, it levitates a few inches above the desk on a stand and frees up space from where the computer would have been. From t he f ront where t he aluminum stand cannot be seen, the iMac appears to float a few inches above the desk, providing a nice place to stow the keyboard and mouse. The triangular stand is crafted with a flat base, holding up the computer from the back. The iMac safely balances on its stand and does not topple over easily. No big CPU means users no longer have to fight for leg space under the desk or working space on the table top. The new edge-to-edge glass covers the LED-backlit display, and users can get a wide viewing angle with the in-plane switching technology. The display screen produces stunning colours and seamless video playback through a high performance graphic card.

Despite being deceptively slim, the iMac is still a formidable competitor in terms of power. The iMac, paired with lustrous processors such as Intel’s Core 2 Duo or Core i7, performs well with tasks like video editing and gaming. With so much power packed into a compact frame, overheating is a concern. The processors, memories and hard disk drives all generate a lot of heat. To counter this, the iMac has a cooling fan at the back, holes at the bottom and a long opening near the top for ventilation.

Every iMac comes with a wireless keyboard and a Magic Mouse It is designed to make use of the chimney effect. Hot air heated by the components, aided by the fan, rises and escapes from the top, drawing even more air from the ventilation holes at the bottom. Furthermore, the aluminium enclosure acts like a gigantic heat sink, channelling the heat away more efficiently.

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tech flash

APPLE LAUNCHES iPAD SAN FRANCISCO January 27th Apple® today introduced iPad, a revolutionary device with highresolution Multi-Touch. iPad will be available in late March.

“iPad is our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price”

Steve Jobs Apple's CEO

PHOTO | APPLE

Even though it looks plain, it is well presented with many builtin features including the iSight camera, a microphone, a disc drive and an SD card reader. Wireless connectivity includes AirPort Extreme (802.11n) and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR. The 3.5mm audio jacks also supports digital audio when a mini-TOSLINK plug is used. Home theatre systems can be connected through the digital audio output, or even a dedicated

digital audio converter for better music quality. Four USB 2.0 ports, firewire 800, Mini DisplayPort and a Gigabit Ethernet port sit behind the iMac together with the audio ports. The keyboard has a very thin profile and it does not have the extended numerical keypad, saving even more desktop space. The Magic Mouse has no visible buttons or scroll wheel because you can click or scroll anywhere on the top off the mouse.

The whole of the top surface is touch sensitive and allows you to use various gestures of finger swipes to navigate. Using one finger to run down across the mouse surface will scroll the page on the screen downwards. The iMac is also pre-installed with the latest Snow Leopard Mac OS X. T h e p r o c e s s or, m e m or y, graph ics a nd ha rd d isk s a re customisable to allow for the capacity and speed users need for various applications. The iMac is affordable at the price of $1,788 and $2,988 for the higher end models.

Get connected instantly Arundas T C BESI DES bei ng a sma l l a nd lightweight netbook, at just 1.1 kg, the Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2 boasts of a new feature called the Quick Start. It a l lows t he u se r to get connected to the Internet without waiting for Windows to boot up. Quick Start is an operating system which is a stripped down version of Linux that is designed to boot up in just a few seconds. It contains modified versions of software such as Firefox, Pidgin and Skype. Quick Start can be activated with just a press of a button and allows you to surf the Internet, view photos and videos, connect to Skype as well as other messenger platforms quickly when you are in a hurry. The S10-2 comes pre-loaded with Windows XP Home Edition, uses an Intel Atom processor that runs at 1.66 GHz, has 1 GB of RAM and a 160 GB hard disk. The built-in 1.3 megapixels webcam is utilised by a software called Veriface, which recognises your face and automatically logs on to Windows for you.

PHOTO | LENOVO

For those who are concerned about battery life, you will be delighted to know that the S10-2 comes with a 3-cell battery which lasts for more than three hours. If that is not enough, you can opt for a 6-cell battery as well. A n even more impressive feature is the use of LED technology as the backlight for the LCD screen, which uses considerably less power than the previous technology.

The charger is only about half the size of most bulky chargers I have seen in the market, which makes it the perfect charger for the portable netbook. The keyboard has smaller keys compared to a normal keyboard. Although it is easy to type, there are difficulties with the backspace and arrow keys and I usually miss the backspace key and press delete instead.

The touchpad is designed as par t of the netbook’s casing, which allows it to remain clean and devoid of dirt that usually gets trapped at the sides of older touchpads. However, the surface of the touchpad is not as smooth as expected, and irritates one’s finger easily. The netbook is also installed with Lenovo Energy Management software which provides the user with four power schemes, namely high performance, balanced, low power and super energy saver. However, the Lenovo S102 netbook ha s a potent ia l ly dangerous problem. When the screen is closed the netbook goes into standby mode. After a few minutes, it resumes from standby automatically and attempts to go into hibernation. If the attempt fails, the netbook goes back to standby and the cycle repeats. The unaware user may have placed the netbook in their bag, which causes the trapping of heat or may even lead to an explosion of the battery due to excessive heat. However, there is little to worry about as the user can change the settings on the Lenovo IdeaPad to alleviate this problem.

The netbook comes with an optional SIM card reader installed behind the battery, which allows the user to get connected via a 3G broadband connection.

The small size and weight makes carrying around effortless wherever you go T he h i nge of t he d i splay mounted on the laptop is shaky and looks weak. It doesn’t seem to be sturdy enough to last long and seems prone to easy breakage from mishandling. Despite the drawbacks, the S102 is still a great netbook. The display is crisp and clear. It also has a high resolution squeezed into a 10.1” widescreen. If you are still not sold, perhaps you will fall in love with the modern and sophisticated ring pattern on the S10-2’s top cover that gives it a distinct look. You can even take your pick from a choice of grey, pink, white or black.


18

show dapper: your essential style guide

On her: Beatles tank top, $19.90, FuncDeko; Gold foil tulip skirt, $59.90; Lace-up boots, $59.90, both from New Look; sheer stockings, stylist’s own. On him: Plaid double-collared shirt, $88, Stevie’s General Store; Blasted coated skinny jeans, $69.90; white canvas sneakers, $33.90, both from New Look.

On her: Yellow peplum dress, $155, Wicked Laundry; Cage plat On him: Checkered placket grey shirt, $119.90; Charcoal grey s sneakers, $33.90, New Look.

On her: Beatles tank top, $19.90, FuncDeko; Purple tutu skirt, $55, Depression; Lace-up boots, $59.90, New Look. On him: Charcoal grey slacks, $229, Victoria Jomo; Black houndstooth canvas sneakers, $33.90, New Look; Grey t-shirt, model’s own.

On her: Black embellished scallop-hem toga dress, $119, Egg3; C


tform heels, $53.90, New Look. slacks, $229, both from Victoria Jomo; Black houndstooth canvas

Cage platform heels, $53.90, New Look.

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On her: Navy long-sleeved toga dress, $139, Egg3; Lace overlay trilby hat, $39.90; Cage platform heels, $53.90, both from New Look. On him: Herringbone wool blazer, $139; Neon pink basic t-shirt, $19.90; Blasted coated skinny jeans, $69.90, all from New Look; Black leather shoes, $299, Asylum.

VACANT AFFAIR photography by Ivan Tan; styling by Audrey Lim & Tan Jingliang

There is something for everyone when cupids fly this month; edgy selections are set against elegant pieces to complement either side of you. For some, it’s two become one, with Valentine’s Day to come. For others, it’s how someone can pull you close, only to keep you at arm’s length.

STOCKISTS

Asylum 22 Ann Siang Road Depression Far East Plaza #04-41 Egg3 33 Erskine Road FuncDeko Far East Plaza #03-90B New Look Suntec City #01-151/157 Stevie’s General Store 93 Club Street Victoria Jomo 47 Haji Lane Wicked Laundry 76 Haji Lane

MODELS

Melissa Lin & Fu Zijia


花样型男,勇闯重重关卡 —— 刊27页

新闻

南大应届毕业生 今年就业前景乐观 经济开始复苏,就业市 场渐露曙光,南大生的 就业机会也将提高。 韩伟定●报道

着全球经济逐渐出 现复苏迹象,应届 南大毕业生对就业前景表 示乐观,有的还没毕业就 已经找到工作了;但是一 些公司在招聘新员工方面 仍持谨慎观望态度。 即将在今年中毕业的 南大商学院生陈慧慧(21 岁)认为,我国的经济发 展预测数字在增长当中, 经济前景的确备受看好。 她较早前向本地4大会 计公司提出就业申请,而 被其中一家正式录取,找 到审计助理的工作。 她认为市场每年都需要 审计助理,因此她才这么 快找到自己心仪的工作。 电机与电子工程系四年 级生陈伟晋(24岁)去年 底花了3个月的时间,才 找到一份在电信公司的业 务经理职务。

参与今年南大职业展的公司有111之多,是历来最多的。

他坦言:“当时经济状 况还不明朗,工作市场不 稳定,而且我又没有足够 的经验,找工作也相对处 于劣势。” 今年参展公司历来最多 南大在上周举办了年 度的职业展(NTU Career Fair 2010),让应届毕业 生与雇主接触,了解就业 情况,并有机会提出就业 申请。共有111家公司参 与了今年的职业展,是历 来规模最大的一次。

南大董事会成员之一 的宏茂桥集选区议员殷 吉星在开幕礼当天,也 为南大就业与实习指导 处(Career & Attachment Office)所推出的两项新 职业计划:NTU Talent Site和NTU Talent Quest 举行揭幕仪式。 两项计划意在强化南大 现有的毕业生招聘机制, 提供多一些新科技平台给 学生寻找就业机会,也让 雇主在进行招聘时能更好 地筛选人才。 虽然很多公司在过去

摄影|陈优娜

一年放慢招聘新职员的步 伐,但是一些公司仍然继 续积极进行招聘。 安永会计师事务所合伙 人王万益受询时说,由于 市场的需求,他们每年都 会招聘约150名南大毕业 生,因为南大的学术课程 广泛,学生也都具备相当 高的技术能力。 许多雇主意招聘更多员工 上个月的一项就业调查 报告显示,在亚洲受访的 1500个雇主中,有超过一

半的雇主计划在今年第一 季招聘更多员工。 其中银行、金融业、媒 体、广告和公关行业将准 备增聘人手。 这对将加入劳工市场的 毕业生或许是好消息。 但是,就业与实习指 导处主任卢沛华在开幕礼 上致词时提醒学生在寻求 职业的时候,应该灵活对 待,随机应变。即使是与 自己的专业文凭没有直接 关系的工作也要争取。 黄金辉传播与信息学院 四年级生郑韫茵(24岁) 表示对就业前景持乐观态 度,但还是有一点顾虑。 就算无法找到心仪的工 作,她还是会先暂时打份 工,然后再另作打算。 她说:“现阶段我应该 不会继续深造,所以工作 是唯一的选择。但我也不 排除到香港或中国寻找工 作机会。” 为期两天的南大职业展 估计吸引了1万5000名学 生的参与,其中5000人是 应届毕业生。

傅海燕:华文还是重要的 应积极学习 宋佳佳●报道

育部兼国家发展部高级政 务部长傅海燕有个私人剪 报夹,其中收藏了一篇有关摩根 士丹利(Morgan Stanley)的杰 出员工只因不懂华文而无法跃升 中国区管理董事一职的报道。 这是傅海燕在座谈会上回答学 生提出有关国人华文水准下滑问 题时,和大家分享的故事。 她借由报道,强调着华文越发 重要的趋势,并鼓励在场的南大 生以积极的态度学习华文,巩固

双语优势。 她开玩笑说:“我一直珍藏这 篇报道就是为了等家长再写信来 投诉华文课程太难,不解为什么 孩子要学华文时拿给他们看。” 南大学生事物处(Current Affairs Society)于上周举办的 “与部长对话”座谈会,吸引50 名南大生与人民协会代表参加。 除了傅海燕,西海岸集选区议 员何玉珠也是当晚的座上嘉宾。 两人就教育、经济、国家政策等 议题同参与者展开了一场激烈的 讨论。

机械与航空工程学院二年级生 裴塔(Preetha Balagi,20岁)针 对小学分流制度的可行性,与傅 海燕进行了一段长时间的探讨。 傅海燕表示教育部已经废除 EM3制度,取而代之的是科目分 级制。理解能力较弱的学生可以 选择修读难度较低的基本课程, 以真正落实因材施教的理念。 裴塔在受访时兴致勃勃地 说:“真的很高兴部长可以这么 耐心地回答我的问题。况且,两 位领导人都和蔼可亲,所以我更 尊敬她们。”

傅海燕在座谈会上再度强调华文越发 重要的趋势。 摄影|黎淑仪


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是喜相逢 还是愁撞期? 陈韦元●报道

王俊杰庆幸家人了 解他的处境,也尊重 他的决定,因此并不 责怪他没回家拜年。

历新年初一恰 逢2月14日西 方情人节——两个重 要节日撞期,年轻情 侣会选择与家人庆 祝,还是陪另一半? 来自马来西亚的王 俊杰(21岁)选择庆 祝情人节,而不会与 家人度过新年。这名 新加坡国立大学学生 解释,由于在南大就 读的女友将在初三启 程到台湾交流,所以 决定留在本地,多花 些时间陪女友。 他说:“情人节落 在新年初一更好,这 样我们的庆祝就多了 一份意义。如果不是 她即将出国一阵子, 我会选择陪家人过 年。”

本报调查:超过半数 将照例庆祝新年

身 残 心 不 残 齐 ● 心亲 挑 战 极 限

本报对60名年龄介 于19至25岁的年轻人 进行调查,结果显示 约65%的受访者会照 例与家人度过新年, 而只有两名选择与情 人过情人节。其余则 表示会一起庆祝两个 节日。 南大商学院一年级 生蔡莉婷(19岁)会 依旧和家人去拜年。 但她在初一那天也有 打算和男友碰面,到 外吃宵夜。 黄金辉传播与信息 学院一年级生郭仪婷

(19岁)则打算邀请 男友到家里拜年,这 样一来她能与家人过 年,同时男友也能陪 在身边。 她说:“要在一天 之内赶去拜年又要和 他庆祝情人节实在是 太忙了。让他来家里 拜年除了可以有时间 和他相处,也可以让 他和我的家人对彼此 有进一步的了解。” 新加坡看似西化 但青年想法依较传统 对于调查结果,人 文与社会科学学院中 文系副教授李元瑾博 士解释,新加坡表面 上虽是个很西化的国 家,但年轻人的想法 还是相较传统。 她认为传统意味着

重视节日及家庭。 李元瑾说:“新加 坡整个大环境,从国 家到家庭,都会一直 提醒和教育年轻人要 重视农历新年。思想 观念虽然稍受西方影 响,但他们骨子里还 是蛮传统的。” 农历新年初一与 情人节下一次撞期将 会在38年后,也就是 2048年。尽管如此, 许多人并不觉得这巧 合十分特别。 数理科学学院一年 级生郭维良(21岁) 有同女友庆祝情人节 的习惯,但他将在当 天与家人出外拜年。 他觉得,情人节是 个太商业化的节日, 是让商家赚钱的途 径,而导致节日失去 原本的意义。

构图|黄俊森

他说:“新年初一 拜年是华人重要的传 统,更是我家人的习

Uni-Y于3月周假期间首度联办 Tri-Uni Y露营挑战。 这活动对来自国立教育学院 (NIE)生物学系的林青媚同样 别具意义,20岁的她首次担任 组长就遇上了许多棘手问题。 由于多数义工是第一次参与 活动,每当在照顾伙伴方面碰 到问题时,总会向她求助。 林青媚几乎一刻都不能松 懈,往往得对突发状况当场作 出对策,因为每位组员和体障 人士的安全都在她责任范围 内。

露营户外活动不只挑战了各自体力与耐力极限,也让义工和受惠人士从中结 成珍贵的友谊。 照片|YMCA提供

陈琪葳

即使两节日撞期,众多青年依旧选择庆祝农历新年。

报道

自照顾智障人士及掌 握他们的行踪,让21 岁的何琬琪一开始产生心理 负担。 虽然这名会计系四年级 生从未与智障人士有过近距 离接触,但她仍鼓起勇气, 克服心理障碍与他们沟通互 动,并从他们身上得到不少 生活启示。 何琬琪发现许多智障人士 可以为简单的举动或事物而 感到快乐,开始提醒自己要 懂得知足常乐、珍惜身边的

人为自己所做的一切。 132名义工与82名受惠人士 于去年12月假期间参与了由新 加坡基督青年会(YMCA of Singapore)主办的“Y露营挑 战”(Y Camp Challenge)。 这活动每三个月都会举行, 意在让每名义工同一名受惠人 士携手挑战体力与耐力极限, 在SHINES Outdoor尝试水上游 戏与高空绳索(high elements) 活动,并从中结成珍贵的友 谊。 此外,去年于南大设立 的社团University-YMCA@ NTU(Uni-Y)也将与新加坡 国立大学和新加坡管理大学的

“他们虽然有缺陷, 却能以积极的心态去 看待问题,我还有什 么理由为生活中的不 如意感到消沉呢?” 何婉琪 会计系四年级生

其中一个收获就是看到每位 义工在露营中的成长,尤其是 来自少男感化院的青年。 这些原本被标签为边缘少年 的男生在营中成为义工,照顾 并服务体障人士。许多青年也 表示自己愿意继续当义工,把 温暖和欢乐带给身边的人。 林青媚也亲眼目睹一位双腿 截肢的男生凭着双臂的力量征

惯。要我来选,无论 如何一定还是以家人 为先。”

服攀岩墙,直到手指开始流 血、安全带松脱以后才肯罢 休。 除了她和在场的义工,他 坚定的信念也激励并感动周 围的受惠人士。    来自莱佛士初级学院的何 美仪(17岁)在露营期间所 照顾的就是这名男生。 起初她对体障人士征服攀 爬岩墙也没有十分的把握, 但看到他跃跃欲试,何美仪 决定与身旁的义工为他栓 绳,见证他突破体能与耐力 极限完成任务,而这也让她 大受鼓舞。 看到受惠人士个个都以永 不言败的精神去面对眼前挑 战,何琬琪认为大家不应该 把生活中的困难视为障碍, 而是要勇敢地接受考验、想 办法克服难关。 她说:“他们虽然有缺 陷,却能以积极的心态去看 待问题,我还有什么理由为 生活中的不如意感到消沉 呢?” 本报感谢记者对《南 苑》的不懈支持与贡 献,也希望这篇报道能 代表她的热忱。


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言论 编辑室

苏文琪 中文编辑

学不到一个月,我校两名 品学兼优的女生先后离开 这个世界,令人倍感唏嘘。 很不巧,两名女生都是笔者 朋友的朋友,或多或少有机会间 接认识他们。从朋友在Facebook 上的留言可以发现,他们性格开 朗,阳光般的笑容更是每位朋友 不能忘的。这些只字片语,也让 笔者感觉到朋友对他们的不舍。 世界各地每天都在变化,新加 坡亦是如此,许多人事物会在我 们还来不及缅怀的时候消失。

把握当下 即时行动 就以本人经验来说,童年记忆 里嬉戏玩乐的地方都因为社区重 新规划发展,难逃消失的厄运。 伴笔者度过童年的母校,也因面 临收生人数不足而同另一所邻里 小学合并,留下的仅是另作他途 的校舍。 大家也不时会在报章上看到经 历大风大浪的人,或从死亡边缘 逃出来的幸存者的故事。然而, 仗着自己正年轻的我们总是嗤之 以鼻,不当作一回事,往往要等

到自己亲身经历挫折的时候,才 会恍然大悟。 这一切都一再提醒我们要更充 实地迎接每一天,好好珍惜自己 所拥有的。除了把握当下,我们 也要懂得即时行动,不要让人生 留下缺憾。 早在10多年前,“壹基金” 创办人李连杰便默默在美国办起 基金。碍于自己艺人的身份,做 起任何事情来都会引来各种的声 音,他曾坦言自己当时不够胆量

克服慈善风波的“井绳”

插图|钟佳唐

黄铭娜

阵子明义法师失信 案,和全国肾脏基 金会(NKF)前总裁杜莱 滥用捐款事件,在狮城闹 得沸沸扬扬。现在,犯罪 者得到了应有的惩罚,而 风波也随之平息许多。 最近,新一波电视筹款 节目再次出现:继《真情 无障爱》后,紧接是刚结 束的《仁心慈爱照万千》 ,接下来还有下个月举行 的同济医院筹款节目。 之前的负面新闻不只 影响涉及机构,也影响公 众对慈善事业的信心和信 任。试问身为观众的我 们,是否还会继续支持类 似的捐款活动呢? 事件发生后,仁慈医院 的捐款三年来持续下降, 截至去年,总捐献仅少过

事发前总额的一成。NKF 也同样面临冲击,失去了 很多定期捐献者。近日的 慈善业犹如金融风暴,陷 入不景气当中。

这次在善款取得突 破,筹得70万元的 确为贫弱群体带来 新希望,毕竟他们 不应该为机构的领 导者所犯的错承担 后果。 这也难怪,“一朝被蛇 咬,十年怕井绳”,直至 今日许多公众还是心有余 悸。一些观众在听到慈善 筹款时,第一句冒出来的 话是“ 骗人的啦!”。 这或许并不是他们的真

心话,但也透露了现 在鼓励观众拨电捐款更 具挑战性,因为他们观 看节目时,心态上多了 质疑。到底捐款有多少 会到达需要帮助的人手 里?节目又是否在炒 作、博取同情?若有这 些疑惑,捐献者必定会 敬而远之。 值得一提的是,还 有少数市民抱着乐观态 度。对他们来说,有了 前车之鉴,举办者在善 用款项时应该会更透 明,好对观众有个交 代。 东窗事发后,政府 也在2006年设立慈善理 事会,以更有效地监督 慈善机构的经费。这无 疑为捐款者打了支强心 针,可说是及时拯救了 残局。 事隔两年的仁慈义 演令人出乎意料,最后 所筹得的善款远远超过 40万元的目标。 这次在善款取得突 破,筹得70万元的确为 贫弱群体带来新希望, 毕竟他们不应该为机构 的领导者所犯的错承担 后果。 但要恢复到事发前 的信心指数恐怕还需要 一段时间。对“井绳” 的恐惧——观众正在克 服中。

马燕婧

大规模地进行他的计划,帮助更 多人。 经历2004年印度洋大海啸后, 李连杰在许多公开场合上分享让 他鼓起勇气,从事公益活动的契 机。“我想在05年1月1日开始在 那儿一夜没有睡,在那儿反思, 连死都不怕的人,就什么都不怕 了!”这段经历让他深感有些事 不能放着,留到将来才完成。 人生不像数学习题,有着既定 的解题方式和答案。但也因为人 生的不确定,才显得多姿多彩。 生命的脆弱与无常令人感慨,可 也让我们重新找回珍惜周围人事 物的心。

玩 乐 之 余 应 防 范

年的倒数计时晚会都是万人空巷的盛 况,但今年却出了件扫兴的事。事关一 名女子在圣淘沙新年晚会上被猥亵,众人围观 拍照而无人报警的视频在网上流传。 网上众多评论令人不寒而栗,比如批评该 女子穿着暴露才引来麻烦,以及她是自愿被骚 扰等。虽然事件起因尚无定论,但无论如何, 公共场合出现这种事端是不合理且令人恶心。 对于这起事故,各方都应负起责任。首 先,那几个猥亵女子的人,毫无疑问素质低 下。女人有权穿自己喜欢的衣服,无论穿着再 性感再暴露,也不该成为被别人猥亵的理由。 出门玩乐,大家都希望心情愉快。对广大 女性来说,防范性骚扰是很重要的一件事。无 论什么活动,一定要保持清醒,避免单独行 动。此外,对陌生人要保持戒心,不可轻信别 人。若被人骚扰,应及时求救报警,尽力反抗。 性骚扰是违法且不道德的,会对他人人格尊严造成 严重创伤。性欲泛滥和道德逐渐沦丧,体现出社会面 临的问题。没道德观念比没文化更可怕。事件中的小 混混及冷眼旁观的人,都是道德意识缺失的体现。 解决问题的根本,还是应加重惩罚和提高人们素 质,而这还是一条很长的路。生命有价,尊严无价, 尊重他人就是尊重自己。希望扫兴的“咸猪手”有朝 一日会从人们的生活中消失。

插图|钟佳唐


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生活

巧手制花篮 心思绽花香 新春佳节在即,你还在为如何布置家居来 迎接虎年而烦恼吗?不如随着记者李丽敏 亲自动手,花点心思将一个毫不起眼的篮 子和几朵芬芳诱人的鲜花变成一个精美的 节日花篮吧。

向对花情有独 钟的吴曼霞 (32岁),8年前开 始认真地学习插花。 除了布置婚礼场地、 新娘车等,她也擅于 制作花束和胸花。 为了满足朋友对她 这门手艺的好奇心, 并说服他们插花其实 没有一般人想象中困 难。去年圣诞节期 间,她就特地邀请好 友到家中亲身体验插 花的乐趣。 看见朋友们个个 乐在其中,吴曼霞随 之决定在家里开班授 课,希望能让更多人 欣赏花的美丽。 记者有幸在她的 指导下,亲手制作花 篮。对自小就毫无艺 术天分可言、性格粗 心大意的我来说,插

花从不是我那杯茶。 光是修剪一些罗汉 松(Podocarpus), 然后将它们插在浸水 后的海绵上就足以让 我满头大汗。幸好抒 情的背景音乐和吴曼 霞的鼓励,那害怕做 不好的情绪才慢慢平 复,也渐渐体会所谓 的“花香疗法”。 吴曼霞透露,她之 前在中学里任教,每 当工作压力大得让她 透不过气时,她都以 插花来解压。 兴趣渐成为职业

记者(右)在轻松的环境下首次尝试插花,对这门手艺有了更深入的认识。

为了有更多时间陪 伴3个年纪幼小的孩 子,吴曼霞两年前放 下教鞭。在相夫教子 的同时,她也继续追 求兴趣,将家里的饭

桌变成工作坊,为客 户细心制作各式各样 的鲜花饰品。

“女生比较守 规矩些,老师 教什么就做什 么。男生就敢 于突破框框, 作一些较为另 类的尝试。” 吴曼霞 插花老师

在制作花篮的过程 中,吴曼霞重申,插 花不需要天份,仅须 懂得使用剪刀、把花 插在海绵上就可。 记者亲身体验,发 现插花果然不复杂, 只要有些耐心,不管 是男女老幼都应该不 会被难倒。 男生插花也不逊色

有8年插花经验的吴曼霞,希望更多人能感受到花的 美丽。

没错,男生也可以 插花,而技术绝对不 比女生逊色。吴曼霞 说:“女生比较守规

矩些,老师教什么就 做什么。男生就敢于 突破框框,作一些较 为另类的尝试。他们 最终的作品看起来可 能有点怪,但却又散 发一种独特的美。” 有些男生或许觉 得到花店买束花送给 女友就够了,但自认 浪漫主义者的她说: “买一束花很方便, 可是女生收到男友亲 手做的花束,一定更 加珍惜礼物。反正步 骤不是很难,男生可 以尝试一下啊。” 我和吴曼霞就这 样边插花边聊天,一 个半小时后,我终于 在愉快的心情下完成 了生平第一个节日花 篮,顿时有股满足感 涌上心头。 因为不想看到花儿 凋谢的残样,所以我 很怕别人送花,但吴 曼霞说了一句话,让 我重新考虑自己的立 场。她说:“虽然花 朵的生命很短暂,但 过程中所留下的回忆 都将会是永恒的。”

摄影|刘思敏

插花小贴士 1)修剪花茎(stem)时,记得将剪刀拿在45 度左右。这样花茎吸收水分的面积比较大, 也比较容易把花插在海绵上。 2)插花时须注意绑点(binding point),否 则成品看起来会很杂乱。 3)迎接虎年,插花时可考虑以橘、红或黄色 的百合为主,或颜色鲜艳的牡丹花。有些人 认为白色的花不吉利,要谨记。 配合农历新年和情人节,The Flower Connoisseur推出特别优惠! 南大师生及职员在订购新年礼篮、桌花或 情人节花束时注明 “ntuspecial” 就能获 得10元折扣。 欲知详情,可拨96571254或上 www.theflowerconnoisseur.com.sg查询。

亲手制作节日花篮摆设家居,让家里散发春节气息。


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娱乐 梁文音校园音乐会

自然率真 巴冷公主热情满溢 郭慧盈●报道

美可人的梁文音首 次在本地办校园音 乐会,除了献上动听歌曲 外,还为南大生庆祝生 日,把气氛推到最高潮。 梁文音上周带着第二张 专辑《爱,一直存在》来 校宣传。当天也正是游戏 环节优胜者饶振扬的21岁 生日。 亲切的梁文音就当场带 领观众为他唱生日歌。在

合影时,梁文音还俏皮地 把头靠在对方的肩膀上, 让他害羞得抬不起头来。 这名心理学系二年级 生之后告诉记者:“刚 才我紧张得脑袋一片空 白,因为我真的很喜欢 她。不过我还是蛮感激朋 友‘sabo’我的。” 虽然这已是梁文音第 6次来新,但魅力丝毫未 减。音乐会在下午5时就 出现人龙,大礼堂全场爆 满,连梯级都坐满观众。

与寿星公合照时,梁文音俏皮地把头靠在他肩膀上,让饶振扬害 羞得抬不起头来。

带着迷人笑容,梁 文音一进场就引起全场 大声尖叫。她以轻快的 《第六感》作为开场曲, 瞬间就将现场气氛炒热。 压场功力也十分了得的 她唱《哭过就好了》前, 还贴心地对大家说:“大 家读书辛苦了,文音唱歌 安慰你们的心。” 台上的梁文音自然、率 真,与歌迷玩游戏时像个 小孩一样活泼蹦跳。 演唱《最最》时还坦言 自己担心会忘词。一首首 的催泪情歌,让梁文音自 己都眼眶泛红。她透露自 己越大越常哭,而站在台 上的才是最真实的自己。 梁文音在接受独家专访 时表示,唱歌给同年龄朋 友听特别有感觉。也许因 为这样,她在现场也流露 出较不为人知的幽默感。 被问及在求学时期是个 怎样的学生时,她脱口而 出:“我是男生!”,吓

虽然梁文音穿着白色的洋装,但玩游戏时活泼蹦跳的行为却无法 摄影|陈伟彦 掩饰她自然、率真的个性。

坏了DJ主持人傅俊力。 梁文音也解释最近博客 上的“露点照”是儿时学芭 蕾舞时,因爱现而拍的。

最后下台与观众互动 时,她还调皮地提醒大 家:“不可以抚摸,只能 握手!”

参加U频道《花样型男》

郑志明不设限 勇敢冒险 黄慧芬●报道

郑志明相信,在尝试新挑战时不应设限,而该放宽心胸、用心体 摄影|江岫颖 验。

手捉壁虎、在零下 10度的冰地赤脚站 10分钟、手臂在一缸蠕动 的面包虫里翻动,和高空 走绳索,这些都不是一般 人愿意尝试的极限活动。 但就读会计与商业双学 位的郑志明(22岁)不但 咬紧牙关完成,还从中得 到了新领悟。 这位外貌俊俏的兼职模 特儿,最近因参加新传媒 U频道举办的电视实况竞 赛《花样型男》而接受体 能耐力、胆量和时装感的 挑战。 尽管在过程中意外跌 伤、冻伤和咬到舌头,天 生爱冒险的郑志明认为, 这倒是一次难得的经验。 他说:“在尝试新挑战 时,我学到先别为自己设

限。放宽心胸,用心去体 验,表现往往会出乎自己 所料。” 因此,原本就有惧高症 的他在征服高空绳索时, 获得的成就感和满足感是 加倍且难忘的。 每当朋友发现郑志明是 兼职模特儿时,总会露出 经典的惊讶表情。惊讶, 是因他长得“不算高”, 不像是走时装秀的男模。 他说,自己去年底在机 场被“星探”发掘。后来 入行接触了才了解,模特 儿除了有大家印象中走伸 展台的一类,也有拍摄电 视及平面广告的类别,而 他是属于后者。 在一次模特儿的联谊活 动(networking session) 中,他被《花样型男》的 监制相中,受邀参与节目 制作。就这么阴差阳错

地,他经历了生平第一个 选秀比赛。 以10分为满分,要郑志 明评估自己的表现,他笑 说:“实力5分,努力满 分!” 他认为自己的胜算不 大,反而比较重视过程。 与其他参赛者建立起的友 谊,就是另一个大收获。 问及心目中“花样型 男”的定义,郑志明毫不 犹豫想要颠覆“男人不 坏,女人不爱”的说法。 他说,男生应要疼女生。 “虽然常听说在一段 感情中,给予较少关怀的 一方就是掌权的一方,但 这么一来,双方会幸福 吗?懂得付出,才是快乐 的。” 尽管曾因外表而被误以 为是“花花公子”,郑志 明坚持身体力行。


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我们都是边缘人 现

代人存在于复杂的 社会里。我们各个 独立,却又渴望联系。不 安分,我们都不安分。 看了《市中隐者/气息 尚在》后,或许你也会有

同感。 《市》是华艺2010戏聚 现场所呈现的四部作品之 一。跟以往不同的是,它 将是导演对原著的戏剧回 应 (theatrical response)。

此外,《市》也是首次 由一名非华族导演搬上舞 台;是导演娜塔莉(Natalie Hennedige)第一部完全由 华语执导的戏剧。 带领着专业团队及熟悉

今年华艺节由《市中隐者/气息尚在》掀开序 幕。作品将重新审视柯思仁1996年剧作《市中隐 者》。这个已被搬上舞台4次的作品,会有怎样的 全新面貌呢?让记者郭慧盈潜入幕后寻找答案。 的翻译员,娜塔莉不担心 自己所要表达的意思会在 翻译过程中被扭曲。 她说:“整个剧组就像 一个村庄。‘村民’说着 共同语言,许多想法也不 言而喻。剧组里有好几个 和我合作多年的伙伴,之 间已有一定的默契。” 曾获最佳导演殊荣 曾 在 两 年 前 凭 《Nothing》获《海峡时 报》副刊Life!剧场奖项最 佳导演殊荣的娜塔莉,是 本地戏剧界的头号人物。 她颠覆传统的指导手 法,成为戏剧界的反叛角 色。对于这次作品,戏迷 们也十分好奇会否有出乎 意料的表演。 娜塔莉表示,自己并没 刻意把执导方向设计得与 众不同。她认为一切还是 凭着感觉走,这次也不例 外。如果有异乎寻常的状 况发生,那必定是因剧情 所需而自然产生的。 娜塔莉也不担心观众 会不明白剧本所要传达的 意思。她说:“对戏剧而 言,没有不对的看法,只

有不同的看法。我能做的 是不断排练,把我认为最 好的呈现给观众。” 娜塔莉把这次的戏剧演 出当作是与原著作者在交 谈。她表示自己并没有更 改或删除任何内容,而是 创造一个包含原著精华的 全新作品来回应原著,表 达自己对原著里“不安分 的人”的看法。 原著作者,人文与社会 科学学院中文系副教授柯 思仁目前虽身在国外,却 难掩对演出的兴奋之情。 被问及对戏剧有何期待 时,他说:“我希望它能 给我一个意外的惊喜!一 个对我的著作有新诠释、 新发现、新惊喜的作品。 但我觉得最大的收获将是 看到自己写的作品激起导 演无限的创意。” 演出详情 日期: 2月19日(星期五) 晚上8时 2月20日(星期六) 下午2时 地点: 滨海艺术中心小剧场

虽然《市》已上演过4次,娜塔莉将通过自己的观点,创造一个包 摄影|郭仪婷 含原著精华的全新作品来回应原著。


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新婚再现 Joi魅力不减

当主持人问及她 的发型时,她便笑着 说:“对!新的一 年,造型师就帮我 剪了个超级短的发 型。”

迷。当中的学生和主 妇都目不转睛地打量 眼前的偶像。 蔡淳佳也在现场献 唱3首歌曲,让歌迷 大饱耳福。 站在第一排的10岁 小弟弟李子贤是蔡淳 佳的忠实歌迷。 背着书包,手中握 着水壶以及录像机的 他希望能够拍下偶像 现场唱歌的一面。 他害羞地说,自从 听到蔡淳佳唱《不凡 的爱》主题曲《我的 家》后,就成为了她 的歌迷。 此外,签唱会也吸 引不少外籍劳工,而 他们也有上台玩猜歌 名游戏。 其中一名兴奋的粉 丝在玩游戏时,也不 断说自己有多喜欢蔡 淳佳的歌曲。

粉丝群老少咸宜

想在MV尝试新角色

在裕廊坊举行的签 唱会吸引约200名歌

唱了这么多首本 地9点档主题曲的蔡

新婚后办签唱会的蔡淳佳魅力依旧不减,也以全新的造型吸引不少观众前来目睹 风采。 摄影|黄庆翔

陈鑫琪●报道

违了近三年, 上月蔡淳佳终 于回到老家办签唱 会,新婚的她也以全 新造型与歌迷见面。 白色内搭衣、灰色 外套、黑色紧身长裤 和高格调的鞋靴,让 蔡淳佳在出席精选辑

《淳剧佳曲》签唱会 时神采飞扬。此外, 顶着新发型的她也让 人眼前一亮。 2000年以清秀玉女 姿态出道的蔡淳佳在 10年后摇身一变,成 为独立都市女性。 原本清纯的中长发 已变成了时下最流行 帅气的蘑菇短发。

淳佳说,自己原本就 对演戏抱着很大的热 忱。 她说自己想推翻大 家对她的印象,而希 望在将来能尝试截然 不同的角色,例如女 扮男装、个性较大咧 咧的女生等。 看来喜欢蔡淳佳 的朋友们,不只能听 她的歌曲,未来也有 可能有机会欣赏本地 主题曲演绎歌后的演 出。

新婚后生活甜蜜 签唱会结束前,刚 在去年底成立的蔡淳 佳国际歌友会献上99 朵玫瑰给蔡淳佳,祝 福这位新娘子。 看到歌迷的心意, 一向对感情守口如瓶 的蔡淳佳也大方聊 起与老公甜蜜的互 动:“我想我的老公 最多只送我9朵!” 她喜悦之情不言而 喻。

能够近距离与偶像交谈,李子贤兴奋不已。

乐评 音乐Jukebox 专辑:《罗生门》 歌手:罗志祥 推荐:《习惯就好》 《爱不单行》

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辑文告说“世 界用7天创造, 舞王用7年打造”。 的确,经过7年的 照片|网络下载 锻炼,罗志祥的实力 在《罗生门》专辑中绽露无疑。 结合电子与流行摇滚元素的首波主打《爱 的主场秀》是罗志祥擅长的舞曲,维持了一 贯的水准。重金打造的MV华丽得让人看得 目不暇给,而特别到纽约向名师学习的墨镜 舞,相信能引起大家的瞩目。 专辑中最令人惊艳的却是第二波主打《习 惯就好》,从这首歌曲当中不难听出罗志祥 唱功的进步。抒情摇滚的曲风,歌曲的情绪 铺排,加上富有情感的演绎令人动容。 偶像剧《海派甜心》的插曲《爱不单行》 相信是专辑中最具K歌实力的歌曲。旋律搭 配偶像剧里的故事情节,使听众更能进入写 词人所要表达的意境。 专辑中并不缺少动听的曲目,但是总觉 得罗志祥急需的是一个突破。他需要跳脱固 定的专辑模式,为听众带来更大的惊喜。 (文/余思远)

专辑:《万凸3》 歌手:大嘴巴 推荐:《Rock It》 《爱不爱我》

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上一张《王元口力口》专辑,大 嘴巴再次延续他们“玩咖”形 象,玩起了“未来风”。 具时尚感的黑白色调“未来装”、头 上顶着红、蓝、紫、粉红色的发型;爱 纱、怀秋、仕凌与宗华不但在造型上有 突破,也在最新专辑中突显他们在诠释 不同曲风的能力。 大 嘴 巴 的 第 3 张 专 辑 《 万 凸 3 》 以 “未来感”十足的曲目为主轴。首波主 打《Rock It》由金牌制作人KYB作曲和 仕凌作词。此曲为迪斯科舞曲,也结合 了人声效果特效,制造出穿梭时空,梦 幻科技感的歌曲。 特别喜欢《爱不爱我》一曲。虽然听 感上有点像上一张专辑中的《永远在身 边》,但因为拉丁风格曲风较少在大嘴 巴的专辑中出现,这次以轻快方式诠释 被爱和敢爱之间的挣扎,仍然保留了新 鲜感。 整体而言,专辑的概念明显突出,曲 风多元化,更是展示了大嘴巴在乐坛上 的可塑性。(文/韩伟定)

专辑:《五语伦比 - Shino和她的歌儿们》 歌手:林晓培 推荐:《浓妆摇滚》 《漫步人生路》

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经历了唱片合约 被非法变卖的风 波后,林晓培Shino终 于以独立制作的方式发 行了这张《五语伦比—Shino和她的歌儿们》 Live自选集。 专辑里的歌曲以Live Acoustic Rock现场录 音的形式呈献。为她量身打造的主打歌《总 有一天》唱出Shino这几年风雨后的心情,以 轻快但带点忧伤的节奏表达对过去的领悟。 在翻唱邓丽君粤语经典《漫步人生路》 时,她沙哑的声线为原本沧桑的歌词加上摇 滚与颓废的元素,令人耳目一新。同时Shino 也为她最爱的一首歌《Oh My Little Girl》 (尾崎丰,1983年)带来不一样的抒情摇滚 (soft-rock)风格,也让听者感受到她厚实 的唱功。 这专辑让Shino回归到她最熟悉的Live House表演方式。虽然称不上惊艳之作,但 是让我们看到她对音乐及人生的热忱。我们 的摇滚女王回来了吗?相信这张专辑应该是 她重新登基的起点。(文/廖哲豪)


Opinions “Diploma holders taking over Degree holders?” Turn to page 32 to find out

frankly, my dear

EDITORIAL

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

Loss of the home

Examine Nation Late last year, the issue of bad customer ser vice arose when Singaporeans expressed their irritation with non-English speaking service staff. On newspaper and online forums, Singaporeans have commented on the lack of acceptable ser vice from plac e s t he y pat r ion i s e because the staff did not understand them. T h i s pr oble m s te m s from the influx of foreign workers in Singapore. Last week, Minister of State for Manpower and Trade & Industr y Lee Yi Shya n , a n nou nce d t he implementation of a test for foreign workers in three sector s—t he hotel, food and beverage and retail industry. It is not surprising that the only solution to this problem is a test. Aside from being known as ‘fine’ city, Singapore is synonymous with. Students who come to Singapore on exchange programmes point out that

our education system places more emphasis on the final test than on ensuring that st udents act ually lear n something at the end of the lesson. From primar y school s t ude nt s to u n i ve r sit y undergraduates, and now, foreign workers—we will all have to pass a test before being properly ‘accepted’ into Singapore’s society. I n stead of en su r i ng that these skills are put to practice on a daily basis, potential employees will merely study just to pass the test so as to get a job in Singapore. Does this ultimately solve our problem? The test, which signifies hope for the future of our service industry, is instead being overcast with black clouds—especially so when they will not have any 10year series to prep them for these tests till the year 2020. But in Singapore, it is always a game of pass or fail, pay up or go to jail.

CH R O N ICL E THE NANYANG

chief editor Shereen Naaz Charles MANAGING editor Law Shi Ming Elizabeth sub-editors Kwan Hui Xian Lau Liang Tong Lin Jieming Melissa Neo Wen Tong Vo Van Hung News editors Aw Yeong Jia Jia Maxie Goh Kai Shi Lifestyle editors Goh Shang Zhe Kenneth Jennifer Dhanaraj Reviews editor Lock Mei Jin Clara TECH editor Lim Song En Kevin dapper editors Lim Hui Ching Audrey Tan Jingliang Chinese editors Su Wenqi Wong Kang Wei

opinionS editors Chan Xiu Fen Rosemary Goh Jiamin sports editors Eve Yeo Yu Ping Loh Jiaju Ronald layout editors Hong Shuqi Loh Jun Qi Mak Jinfa Joseph Tang Ying Ying Glenda photo editors Chan Wan Wai Eunice Ng Jun Sen graphics editor Choong Jia Tang Alan ONLINE editor Han Xinyun Danielle Tan Jun Long Jeremy business managers Teo Xin Wen Jean

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

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Maxie Aw Yeong news editor

I

have moved house twice in my lifetime, and am due to move another time—in June, as my area is scheduled for an en-bloc. However, all these times, my family and I moved around the same housing estate. My friends would ask: “Why bother moving since you’re always moving around the same area?” H a l f a doze n r ea s on s , I would reply—upgrading of flats, increased convenience, or even simply having no choice. As is the case this time around. However, there is only one reason why my family would not shift out of the estate—a sense of belonging. Having stayed in the same estate for more than 20 years, I feel at ease when I am in my own neighbourhood. The sights, sounds and faces that I have grown accustomed to remind me that I am back home.

Have we diminished the house to mere property, in which buying and selling only involves signing on documents, and paying an upfront deposit? I will always remember buying tapioca chips from the mama shop run by an elderly shopkeeper. Conveniently situated at my void deck, it was the perfect place to visit for an afternoon snack. Also, waving to the friendly bus uncle from my primary school days who still remembers me. To top it off, I vividly recall running around with younger siblings in the playground. However, it is sad when some of us do not feel an emotional attachment to our neighbourhood, and treat our house as merely a place to stay. Some of us will have no second thoughts about shifting to other

GRAPHIC | ALAN CHOONG

estates, whether it is for using the property as investment, or as a tool to allow our children to enter prestigious schools of their choice. Have we diminished the home to merely property, for which buying and selling only involves signing on documents, and paying an upfront deposit? Last year, when Together, a Channel 8 drama set in the 60s, aired, my father reminisced that he used to stay in the same type of house where several families lived under one roof. Yes, they shared a kitchen, toilet and even a radio set. Just two weeks ago, my father met up with old neighbours who shared the same apartment 40 years ago. It just struck me how lasting the bond between them was. The cramped living conditions were a blessing in disguise as they allowed greater bonding between my father and his neighbours.

Their ‘kampung spirit’ lingers on, even though the shophouses are now replaced by snazzy hotels and classy restaurants. How many of us will remember the name of our next door neighbour 40 years from now? In fact, when was the last time we spoke to our neighbours? The strong sense of ‘kampung spirit’, in which people would not hesitate to help each other, was so prevalent in the past. This has faded in existence and diminished in importance in our lives. Even t hough we now live relatively closer to each other, the physical distance does not increase the strength of relationships amongst neighbours. There’s an old Chinese saying that goes, a neighbour is better than a relative who stays far away. How ac c u r ate i s t h at i n Singapore’s context today, when the house no longer represents a home?


opinions

fe b r ua ry 1, 2010

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

The ‘Allah’ Conflict The use of ‘Allah’ has sparked conflict in Malaysia. Nabilah Syed Sultan discusses its significance and origin.

I

Those who insist that ‘Allah’ is a uniquely Muslim and Arabic term may be unaware that the words for ‘God’ in Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic are very closely related To understand this issue, it is vital to understand why the word ‘Allah’ is considered special, sacred and different to Muslims. “We Muslims prefer the Arabic word ‘Allah’ to the English word ‘God’, because the English word ‘God’ is often misused or misapplied,” writes Sheikh Ahmad Deedat, a Muslim scholar in his book, The Choice. Sheikh Deedat provides an interesting example: If an Englishman were to look after somebody’s child as a guardian, he is a “godfather” to the child, and the woman a “godmother”. On the other hand, the Arabic word for God is never used in any other sense. There is no such thing as an ‘Allah-father’ or an ‘Allahmother’. Allah is the unique word for ‘God’ in Islam. The Arabic language, like every other language, has its rules of grammar. In the Arabic language, you can make neither a plural nor a feminine of ‘Allah’. But in English, the word ‘God’ can have both the plural and the feminine form. However, for those who insist that ‘Allah’ is uniquely a Muslim

canteen talk

The Renci Charity Show aired last Sunday, January 24th. We asked students what they thought of the show garnering more funds than targeted after the incarceration of ex-CEO Ming Yi.

Maybe the fact that he got punished for it, there is justice so there is more legitimate reason to donate.

n Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet says to Romeo “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet”. Juliet is convinced that a name is a meaningless and artificial convention. Her lover Romeo would just be as perfect even if he was not called Romeo. Juliet’s words bear much truth, but the recent quarrel in Malaysia over the use of the word ‘Allah’ to refer to the Christian or Catholic God proves quite the contrary. The strife started when the Malaysian Court ruled that a Roman Catholic publication was allowed to translate the English word ‘God’ as ‘Allah’ in their Bahasa Melayu edition. This caused much unrest.

31

Amali Seneviratne, WKWSCI, 22

Singaporeans are willing to step foward to donate even after Renci and NKF. Donating is feel-good. Zulfadly Zaiman, MAE, Yr 3, 23

GRAPHIC | ALAN CHOONG

and Arabic term are unaware that the words for ‘God’ in Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic are so closely related that they are almost indistinguishable.

It is then difficult to say that Christians cannot use the word ‘Allah’ when the Arab Christians have been using ‘Allah’ for thousands of years The three Abrahamic faiths— Islam, Christianity and Judaism have different conceptions of God but the Arabic word ‘Allah’ is phonetically linked with the Hebrew ‘Elohim’ and the Aramaic ‘Alaha’. There is no difficulty in our agreeing that in the languages of the world, every nation has given a distinctive name to God. Most of them are attributive names which describte an aspect of God. But the proper name for God Almighty in the Semitic

languages, that is, Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic comes from the word ‘Allah’. This is apparent in the Gospel narrative in the Bible when Christ cried out to God as ‘Eli’. ‘Eli’ is pronounced as ‘elleeye’, and there is a clear similarity in the phonetics of the words ‘Eli’ and ‘Allah’. It is then difficult to say that Christians cannot use the word ‘Allah’ when the Arab Christians have been using ‘Allah’ for thousands of years. It is also known that the term ‘Allah’ is widely used among indigenous Christian groups in Sabah and Sarawak. History serves as a reminder that the use of word ‘Allah’ in sermons or publications is something that is not new. This strife only spells out the need for the faithful to be discerning believers. In light of the desecration of places of worship in Malaysia, we should then ask ourselves how we should handle issues pertaining to inter-faith conflicts. A friend of mine said that Singapore has long promoted inter-faith dialogues. If a disagreement arises the argument should be brought to the table instead of inflicting any physical harm on the people around us. Or buildings.

As long as the public believes that the organisation is not corrupt, they will still contribute to it.

Yeo Hui Qi, HSS, Yr 2, 20

Singaporeans are generous. It has been two years since they held the show and there have been no other charity shows. Ong Hao Long Ricky, HSS, Yr 1, 21

The economy is a factor. Also, while this year’s show differed, support for charity will not change.

Zhuang Yan, SBS, Yr 1, 23 TEXT | GOH JIAMIN; PHOTOS | GRACE AUYONG


32

opinions

The war between Diplomas and Degrees Asia Pacific, FedEx, said a diploma holder with a good record and strong job-related skills can go up to a frontline managerial position. Moreover, most of the higher positions in FedEx are usually open for internal hire, where current employees are first considered for promotion, rather than through external hire. Current employees who only have a diploma are given the opportunity of being promoted if they are capable.

GRAPHIC | SREYA BANERJEE

Chun Yuan Shan

T

he job market is slowly picking up as the economy begins to recover. But there is still the inherent fear of a competitive job market for a fresh university graduate. With the never-ending rat race, employability is often the first issue on every graduate’s mind. Not only do graduates have to compete against cohort mates, they also face similar competition from those who have received their diplomas. As diploma holders are more employable when the economy is down due to their relatively lower salaries, there is a nagging worry of them snatching up jobs while the economy is still picking up. Wit h t he newly opened Integrated Resort (IR) in Sentosa and the soon-to-be-ready IR in Marina Bay, there is a huge job market waiting to be filled up.

Timothy Ng

M

any polytechnic students choose to obtain a diploma because of their interest in a specific line of work, or simply because it is the fastest way to a desirable paycheck. Lydia Shah, 23, a thirdyear student from the School of Art Design & Media (ADM), lamented on how her friend was earning close to $3,000 a month with the Bank of India just after graduation. “It’s quite discouraging because here I am, trying to look for a good job after graduation and polytechnic students earn so much from the start,” she said. The decision students make after the release of their ‘O’ level results to persue a diploma seems to pay dividends for them here. Lest it sounds too bleak for all of us undergraduates, there is hope yet. According to the Ministry of Defence’s central recruitment website, a male diploma holder earns on average $2,240 as an Army Officer while a degree holder of the same rank earns $3,350.

T hose tak ing the Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism in Temasek Poly technic and the Diploma in Travel, Tourism and Hos pit a l it y M a n a ge me nt i n the Management Development Institute of Singapore will have an advantage in scoring a job in that industry, since their courses are catered to that niche. T he sta r t i ng pay a nd job position of a diploma holder may generally be lower than that of a degree holder. However, after the initial year or two with the organisation, it is the work performance and experience that count, regardless of the qualification the employee started off with. Diploma holders, therefore, have an upper hand with the time factor to their favour; stepping into the workforce earlier allows years of accumulated experience over a new degree holder. Mr Kelvin Chun, Managing Director of Revenue Operations,

This suggests that graduates are the ones being favoured in this scenario. This is also evident on the Ministry of Education’s website, another major employer in Singapore. Degree-holding teachers gets a maximum start-up pay of $2,900 if they have obtained an Honours degree, while teachers with a diploma obtain a maximum startup pay of $1,870.

It is the interaction and managerial skills that gives us future graduates the edge over our polytechnic counterparts Mr Tan Meng Aun, a marketing manager at Ubisoft, a computer and video game publisher and developer, commented: “In courses such as programming, diploma graduates that the company employs will be asked to go through a degree course despite having a diploma.”

After the initial year or two with the organisation, it is the work performance and experience that counts A l s o, t h e y h a v e a mor e practical exper ience as their education provides more handson opportunies. The compulsory attachment of three to six months in most polyechnics allows students to fully immerse in the dynamic workforce of the relevant sector. Students pursuing a diploma are able to get a good feel of what a company wants and build a stunning portfolio to attract prospective employers. Moreover, there are companies which provide diploma holders opportunities to further their studies, thus giving them a chance to measure up to the degree holders in terms of paper qualifications.

Another staff at a research institute in Singapore who declined to be named mentions that their company deals with degree level engineers. The international nature of their work requires a certain level of knowledge of the industry, as well as knowing how to deal with various clients. It is the interaction and managerial skills that gives us university students the edge over our polytechnic counterparts. Taking these points into consideration, depending on which economic climate and which wave of technology is about to break upon our shores, there will always be a fluctuating demand of “hands-on” diploma holders versus “managerial” degree holders. “The secret to riches is the same as the secret to comedy—it is all about timing.” This quote from Russell Crowe’s character in A Good Life, succinctly describes why there is no definite answer to whether diploma holders are more employable than degree holders. It all boils down to when you decide to make your educated move in your studies for maximum profitability and experience.


34

sports

fe b r uary 1 , 2010

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

bpl talk

Arise, Sir Ryan Giggs Fans have called for Ryan Giggs to receive the highest of accolades Bhavan Jaipragas T H EY say familiar it y breeds ingratitude and depreciation. 20 years after his senior debut in Manchester United colours, Ryan Giggs stands out as an anomaly in English football as he continues to collect accolades of the highest order. Last year he became the oldest player to receive the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award and pipped Formula One champion Jenson Button to the BBC Sports Personality of the Year gong. The likes of Eric Cantona and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have gone down into United folklore for their role in the club’s meteoric success in the past two decades. It is the Welsh Wizard, however, who has arguably been the most instr umental in making good Sir Alex Ferguson’s well known clarion call to "knock Liverpool off their perch" back in the ‘80s. T he e ver g r een Giggs ha s playe d a nd scor e d i n e ve r y season since 1990, chalking up an unprecedented 11 league titles and 152 goals (at press time). Over the years he has lost a yard or two of his titillating pace and no longer has the vigour to play ever y single game of the

season—but it would be foolhardy to denounce Giggs’ influence in United’s current team. With the depar ture of the talismanic Cristiano Ronaldo, Giggs regains his role as the driving force of the team—a mantle he held through the 1990's. The youthful United squad will look to capitalise on Giggs' experience as they try to make up for their lacklustre form in the past few months.

The evergreen Giggs has played and scored in every season

GRAPHIC | FLORENCE SJAH

In a season where the club has been mired in its growing debt, senior players like Giggs will be entrusted with the role of ensuring that the team remain focused on the tasks at hand—retaining the title and reaching their third consecutive Champions League final. Having seen the club thrive even in lowpoints such as Eric Cantona's infamous nine month ban and the acrimonious departures of players like Jaap Stam and Ruud van Nistelrooy, Giggs will undoubtedly have plenty to share with his younger teammates. As age catches up with Giggs, the Old Trafford faithful have increasingly upped the ante of their adulation for their favourite number 11. W hen United t ravelled to the Britannia Stadium to play Stoke City last September, the

world caught a glimpse of a new ca mpa ign su r rou nd ing Ryan Giggs. In a corner of the stadium reserved for the away fans hung a banner with the words "Arise Sir Ryan Giggs". It is nary a pompous call from yet anot her overent husiastic fan, with an online petition to have Giggs join the elite circle of knighted footballers topping 25,000 signatures. Giggs has already been in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List once, receiving the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2007. K n ig ht hood , a n honou r bestowed upon only the noblest of men in the United Kingdom, is hard to come by especially in the footballing world. Only 14 football personalities have ever been knighted and they include colossal figures such as Bobby Charlton and Stanley Matthews. It is hard to dismiss Giggs as unworthy of such high honours. Apart from being the most decor ated playe r i n Eng l i sh footballing histor y, Giggs has numerous other qualities one would think befitting of a knight. He is the epitome of good discipline in the game, receiving no red cards in his entire career. Un l i ke ma ny of h i s se lfindulgent peers, he shuns the media limelight in favour of spending time with his family. An ambassador for UNICEF, Giggs is also known for championing HIV prevention in Africa. When Giggs eventually retires, he is poised to join the likes of George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law as United legends. Knighthood seems a near certainty.

sports talk

Just how much is too much? Bhavan Jaipragas shares his insights on the rising costs of the World Cup I T IS i mprobable to most Singaporeans that our glittering island state is mentioned in the same context as North Korea, Somalia and Ethiopia. Singapore's failure to clinch broadcast rights to the World Cup has evolved from a problem of unsuccessful economics into one of social issues. Unfor tunately, the current impasse over the broadcasting rights to this summer’s World Cup means that we are in contention to join these countries as the only places in the world where the biggest stage for “The Beautiful Game" may elude its viewers. While top-level executives from all three local bidders try to thrash out terms with FIFA officials in Zurich, coffeeshop pundits back home have been working overtime to churn out ideas to end the commercial stalemate.

Astro is partially owned by the Malaysian government. It is hardly an unwarranted call. Starhub, which is partially owned by the Singapore government as well, heavily subsidised the previous two World Cups. The stumbling block this time round is perhaps the astronomical asking price of FIFA.

The stumbling block this time round is perhaps the astronomical asking price of FIFA

GRAPHIC | MUHAMMAD HIDAYAT

Loudest among the cacophony of voices is t he ca l l for t he authorities to foot the bill for broadcasting the games, as a form of “National Service". Lending credence to their

argument is the fact that Malaysian satellite broadcaster Astro, has fully written off the cost of the broadcasting rights, rumoured to be three times what they paid for the games in Germany.

Even with a substantial writeoff, potential broadcasters would have to mark up the price to levels that most of its customers would baulk at in order to break even. Local journalists have been zealous in pursuing the matter. The authorities’ refusal to even play the slightest role in the debacle is perplexing. Unt i l recent ly, t he Med ia

D e v e l o p m e n t A u t h o r i t y of Singapore has maintained that the procurement of broadcasting rights to the World Cup was “purely a commercial issue”. A r de nt fa n s have voice d their dissatisfaction with the government’s stance, given how previous World Cups have always shaped up to be a social event in the country, from the kopitiams, to the Singapore Pools outlets and the pubs in Clarke Quay. Football Association of Singapore (FAS) chief and Central district Mayor Zainudin Nordin’s pledge to fly to Zurich to resolve the issue if the need arises has somewhat calmed football enthusiasts in the past week. As bleak as the situation seems currently, it seems highly unlikely that efforts by the commercial broadcasters, government-owned Mediacorp and the FAS would be all futile. Singaporeans should be able to catch their favourite footballers in action come June. The lingering question seems to be the number of matches that will eventually be televised and the cost that comes with it. In today's monetised football world, the dollar vote is what matters.


sports

fe b r ua ry 1, 2010

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

sports profile

A shot at giving back The archer-turnedambassador takes a bow from the field to promote his beloved sport Alvin Chia

35

they said that? “I'm a Manchester player unless the manager tells me otherwise. ” Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney on the rumours linking him out of Old Trafford

COME August at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG), one familiar face in the archery fraternity will once again be in the thick of the action, but in a very different way. This time, Pang Toh Jin, a thirdyear student from the National Institute of Education, will not be competing. Instead, he will be promoting the sport to spectators at Kallang Field, the venue for the archery competition. He i s pa r t of a s e le c te d group of 120 youths who will play the roles of announcers, commentators, hosts and even don the mascots' costumes to engage spec tator s across a l l venues during the YOG.

”I just got a Liverpool jersey with Fernando Torres' autograph on it, specially signed for me!!! I'm so happy. Torres is my favorite player.” Tennis player Caroline Wozniacki (below) on her Twitter account

“Discipline, passion and commitment all play a part.” Pang Toh Jin, 25, YOG Sports Presenter, NIE

Toget he r w it h fou r ot her presenters, he will promote archery through visits to primary schools, secondar y schools and junior colleges. Pang took the initiative to get involved in the YOG because he wanted to give back to his sport. “I saw it on the YOG website, and would like to contribute back to archery in another way, so I applied for it,” he said. The 25-year-old took up archery in 2000 at a local community club “out of curiosity". Subsequently, he drew the attention of a coach who took him under his wing. Watc h i ng a v ideo of t he Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and participating in his first competition at an inter-club level ignited Pang’s competitive streak. “I like being in a competition and it doesn’t feel good if I don't achieve something, so from then on I sta r ted becom i ng more competitive," he said. He v iv idly remembers the experience of competing with an international field of worldclass archers, including the gold medalist of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Competing with world-class archers motivated him to reach the level of the international standard, and towards his dream of competing in the Olympic Games.

GRAPHIC | NEIL BRIAN A ALAPIDE

POISED FOR GLORY: Toh gears up for his new role as a sports presenter with pride.

“It is every athlete’s dream to compete in the Olympics," he said. “Every competition I take part in makes me feel that I am moving closer and I hope that one day I can be an Olympian." “This year, I hope to break my personal best and qualify for the Commonwealth and Asian Games, and the World University Archery Championships," he added. While ever y athlete has to make sacrifices during the course of training, Pang has learnt to handle its demands. For example, he does not carry his schoolwork over into the weekends as he knows that

he would not have the time to complete them. Over the past 10 years, Pang developed a perspective which has helped him to preserve his passion for the sport. “As I become more competitive, I need to make more time for the sport but also not neglect my studies, family and girlfriend. I learnt how to manage my time,” Pang said. “Discipline, commitment and passion all play a part," he added. Besides archery, Pang also has a keen interest in photography. Now he takes pictures on leisure and competition trips overseas, such as a trek to the Mount Everest

PHOTO | NG JUN SEN

base camp in Nepal last December with the NIE Travel Club. His archery competitions have also taken him to countries like Serbia and Myanmar, where he was able to compete and enjoy his hobby at the same time. It is difficult to separate Pang from his passion, even in the future, when he plans to specialise Sports Psychology. “I hope to coach the next generation of archers to olympic success,” he said. In Pang Toh Jin, the YOG committee may have found itself a strong ambassador for Singapore, and for archery as well.

“I'll let you know when I need help. Maybe you can give me a hand. ” Roger Federer, to a reporter about coping with his baby twins

“To be honest, it's not really my business anymore!” F1 driver for new team Lotus, Heikki Kovalainen, on former team McLaren


Sports

Aiming for success on Page 35

A small splash for a big start Eve Yeo sports editor

A FALSE start marred an otherwise smooth start for swimming at its debut in the annual Inter-School Games (ISG). The Civil and Environmental Engineer ing men’s team was disqualified at the end of the heats after one of its swimmers dived in before his teammate had completed a lap. “We should have adhered to FINA’s practices for false starts so that swimmers will not have to continue swimming once they make a false start,” said Dinkar Mohtar, 20, head of the organising team. FINA, Fédération Internationale de Natation, is the global federation recognised by the International Olympic Committee. It oversees aquatic competitions in swimming, diving, synchronised swimming, water polo and open water swimming. FINA’s rules state that any swimmer star ting before t he starting signal has been given shall be disqualified immediately. He ld at t he Spor t s a nd Recreation Centre (SRC) on January 23rd, the event was organised

by the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE). Mohtar said: “Swimming was included in ISG because EEE wanted to try something new in the ISG and suggested swimming because I had experience organising it from the International Games last year.” There were three categories in the event: men’s and women’s freestyle and a mixed team event. Both the men’s and mixed team had three swimmers each while the women’s team had two. Each swimmer swam one lap of 50 metres in all categories. Two rounds of heats were held for each category with six schools in the first round and seven in the second. The six schools with the best times in each category went on to the finals. Sports director of the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (SPMS), Genesius Ng, 24, said: “All of SPMS’ swimmers here today are leisure swimmers.” “We had about six practice sessions, from which we determined the lineup for each category,” the third-year student from SPMS added. Ong Kai Yan, part of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences’ team that won the women’s freestyle

MASTERSTROKE: Swimming has potential to grow after its first showing at ISG.

category, said: “I joined because I like swimming and had experience from last year’s Institute-VarsityPolytechnic Games.” “I also used to swim competitively in primar y school,” added the

20-year-old Psychology major. From the level of competition seen at the event, the organising committee remains upbeat about swimming being included in the next ISG lineup and will be abiding

PHOTO | GAN JIA JUN

by FINA’s rules. Added Mohtar: “The competition in all categories was pretty tight because the winning times recorded were only marginally different, in terms of milliseconds.”

No longer vertically challenged Ronald Loh sports editor

SCALING TO GREATER HEIGHTS: For the first time ever, Bouldermania opened its doors to other institutions. PHOTO | WALLACE WOON

YOU do not have to be superhuman to w i n t he Bou lder ma n ia challenge—but it helps. For Bou lder ma n ia’s f i r stever inv itat iona l bou lder ing championship held on January 16th, the organisers introduced a “superhuman” final, in the event of a tie. For the final, additional routes of increased difficulty were set to determine the winner. Shahirah A’ Azman, Champion of the Women’s Novice category, clinched top spot by scaling her way through the Superhuman finals. T he s e cond-yea r s t ude nt from Temasek Junior College was “surprised” when she pipped other climbers for the title. “I did not think I would win as I was sick the past few days,” the 17-year-old said. “However, my intensive preparation and my coach’s presence made me strong enough to win it.” S he wa s one of t he 14 0

pa r t icipa nt s f rom va r iou s universities, polytechnics and junior colleges who took part in NTU’s University Mountaineering Club’s (UMC) annual event. This is unlike previous years where participants comprised only of NTU students. The contest allowed participants to compete in two categories— Novice and Open, with the former for beginners and the latter for those more experienced and skilled. Each climber had three minutes to complete fou r bou lder i ng routes, and the difficulty of the routes depended on the respective categories and gender. Points were awarded based on how far they progressed by the end of the three minutes. Yeo Zhen Xiong, 21, a member of the Singapore Management University’s Climb Team, reserved special praise for UMC’s running of the event. “The entire competition process was very smooth and organised,” said the first-year Law student. “The participants could tell that a lot of effort was put in as

the transition from one event to another was quick and no time was wasted.” “Also, the routes were interesting and challenging even though the wall was small,” he added. Shalynn Ler, treasurer of UMC, said that preparations for the event commenced as early as September last year. The organising committee spent the past five months sourcing for sponsors and seeking help from professional climbers to set the routes for the competition. The rock wall used in the competition, built from plywood and timber, took the committee three days to complete. Ler, a second-year student from Nanyang Business School, was satisfied with the performance of the NTU climbers, despite losing to National University of Singapore (N US) in both the Men’s and Women’s Open categories. Said the 20-year-old: “We are still nurturing our climbers. We hope to be able to improve our skills and to be able to compete with NUS.”

The Nanyang Chronicle Vol 16 Issue 07  
The Nanyang Chronicle Vol 16 Issue 07  
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