08 24.02.14 ISSN NO. 0218-7310
AFTER THE STORM Moving on, post-Typhoon Haiyan
Famed radio storyteller Lee Dai Soh 南苑 | 21
LIFESTYLE | 11
Debuting new methods of teaching NEWS | 3
The Brieﬁng Room:
Our editors’ pick of interesting news stories from around the world
Facebook buys WhatsApp
US skier hits puppy snag
FACEBOOK announced on 19 Feb that it will acquire popular instant messaging smartphone application, WhatsApp, for US$19 billion (S$24 billion) in a bid to increase its popularity among the younger crowd. The move enables Facebook to enter the market for teenagers who opt to use mobile messaging applications instead of mainstream social media. WhatsApp has more than 450 million users around the world, with about a million new registered users each day.
2014 Winter Olympics skier Gus Kenworthy, 22, found himself stuck in Sochi, Russia after paperwork that allowed him to bring five adopted dogs home was not completed in time. He was scheduled to return to the US on 17 Feb, nearly a week after clinching the silver medal in the inaugural slopestyle skiing event. Mr Kenworthy found the canines near the base of the Roza Khutor plateau, which houses the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, one of the official skiing venues for the games.
Politically divided, emotionally united
Another jailed for Little India riot
DOZENS of elderly North and South Koreans reunited on 19 Feb at North Korea’s Diamond Mountain resort after six decades of separation. About 80 South Koreans travelled through falling snow to meet children, brothers, sisters, spouses and other relatives from across the Demilitarised Zone. The three-day long reunion was arranged after impoverished North Korea called for better ties with its neighbour, a move which analysts say is an attempt to garner crucial foreign investment and aid. BRITISH newspaper The Guardian wrongly referred to X-Men actor Sir Patrick Stewart, 73, as ‘gay’ in an online article dated 17 Feb. The article, which addressed 26-year-old Juno actress Ellen Page’s coming out on 15 Feb, included a line that said: “Some gay people, such as Sir Patrick Stewart, think Page’s coming out speech is newsworthy.” An amused Mr Stewart responded to the claim by tweeting: “Well @guardian it makes for a nice change...at least I didn’t wake up to the Internet telling me I was dead again.”
A THIRD Indian national received a jail sentence on 20 Feb for refusing to disperse despite police orders during the riot last December. Selvaraj Karikalan, 28, was sentenced to 18 weeks in jail on the above offence, which is lesser than his initial charge of rioting. Rioting carries a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment and caning. The other two convicted were also Indian nationals who pleaded guilty to the same offence. District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim made the decision, noting that Selvaraj had not only refused to move away from the vicinity, but also swung an object onto Race Course Road. The riot was the worst local case of violence seen in more than four decades, leaving 49 Home Team personnel hurt and 23 emergency vehicles damaged.
CHRONICLE ON THE WEB
Movie Review: RoboCop
Movie reboots are a rising trend in recent years, and RoboCop is one of the latest movies remade for a new generation. Fans are excited about RoboCop as it has gained a steady cult following since the 1987 classic movie of the same name. Reviews Writer Toh Hong Rui tells you what was kept true to the original and what has changed.
Anticipated Theatre Works of 2014
2013 was the year of musicals, with Broadway fare taking on a local flair. Reviews Writer Adeeb Fazah tells you what musicals, classics, festival plays and local works are in store. Find us at www.nanyangchronicle.ntu.edu.sg
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Man found at foot of NTU hall in stable condition
The Nanyang Chronicle is giving away one pair of Denon Urban Raver headphones worth $600. The contest will run from 24 Feb to 14 Mar, and the winner will be notified via Facebook on 17 Mar. ‘Like’ us on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ChronNTU) for more information on how to win.
A man was found at the foot of Block 15, Hall of Residence 1 on 17 Feb after falling from the third floor. He was discovered by Hall 1 cleaner, Mr Chong Teik Heng. The man was found writhing on the ground with cuts near one of his eyes. He was then rushed to National University Hospital. The case is pending further police investigation.
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21/2/14 11:57 PM
The future value of effort — Page 5
New wave of teaching Unconventional teaching methods are becoming more commonplace in NTU with the opening of new academy
NTU introduces new online courses
Sharanya Pillai Godwin Ng
TAGING a theatrical drama is a common pursuit for Drama majors like Ashley Lai, 20. Only this time, her stage is not in the theatre, but on social networking site Facebook. Lai, a third-year Canadian exchange student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, is taking Media and Performance, an innovative module. T he on l i ne Un r e st r ic ted Elective, offered by the School of Art, Design and Media (ADM), requires students to produce a virtual performance for their final project — as Lai is doing. The module, introduced this semester, is taught by American contemporary media artist, Mr Randall Packer. He conducts most of his lessons online using Adobe Connect software, from his studio in Washington, DC. He came to Singapore to host the inaugural lesson and will be back here at the end of the semester. Mr Packer, the founder of interdisciplinary arts organisation Zakros InterArts, is internationally acclaimed for his artwork that fuses aspects of multimedia and live performance. He uses Adobe Connect to interact with the 10 students in the class. They only have to turn on their webcams to see one another during the weekly three-hourlong lesson, through its multiscreen interface, in real-time.
"I feel that the flexibility of the platform encourages students to be more independent, which is very hard to achieve in Asian universities." Tran Nguyen Tuan Anh Third-year student School of Art, Design and Media
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VIRTUAL EDUCATION: Classrooms are recreated over the Internet in this module.
Lai said: “Back in Canada, online courses meant that the professors would upload course material and lecture videos weekly, so it’s completely up to you to keep up. I had no idea that this module meant that we would meet in a virtual class at a set time every week." Mr Packer explained: “When you’re studying the Internet on the Internet, it becomes much more immediate, and you have a firmer grasp of the concepts." Students can even press a button when in doubt to “raise” their hand and ask questions. Acknowledging the importance of social media in various aspects of life today, Mr Packer said that students will be inspired by each other when they interact and learn through the course’s virtual platform.
Video games in class
T he School of Computer Engineering (SCE) is also enhancing learning through virtual reality. Its module, Neural Networks, partly assesses students based on their performance in the computer game MemeWar. MemeWar, developed by NTU in 2011, involves students creating Artificial Intelligence (AI) bots within the game before training them for a simulated war. The game helps students ap-
preciate the power of Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), which are systems designed after the human brain, in performing a range of useful functions. Tay Yi, 23, a third-year student from SCE, describes the game as a breath of fresh air from the boredom of conventional classroom learning methods. “There are several concepts of ANN, like using them to predict behaviour, which didn't speak to me until I played the game. The fact that it was competitive-based made it a little more fun as well,” he said. Course instructor Associate Professor Ong Yew Soon is looking to develop and extend similar games to another module to make lessons more enjoyable. “To me, the biggest challenge of teaching is to reduce the fear or boredom of a particular subject; so we make it fun,” he said.
Technological boom However, not all students agree that such use of technology will enhance learning. “The original focus of the class may get lost when one tries to be overly innovative. Sometimes, people may just find the online learning tool fun to play with instead of learning the course content,” said Erickson Tjoa, 23, a
PHOTO: VIMALA GANAVALU
first-year student from the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (SPMS). Other students, such as Tran Nguyen Tuan Anh, 20, a third-year student from ADM, were more receptive to the idea. “I feel that the flexibility of the platform encourages students to be more independent, which is very hard to achieve in Asian universities,” said Tran. Students can expect greater usage of innovative technology and higher teaching standards in classrooms soon, with the establishment of the NTU Teaching Excellence Academy here. Twelve award-winning NTU professor s and lect urer s w i ll serve as mentors to new and less experienced facult y members. They will share teaching methods across NTU faculties to improve the school’s quality of teaching. Among them is Professor Vijay Sethi from the Nanyang Business School, who feels that current teaching methods do not sufficiently challenge students. Named Business Professor of the Year by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2013, Prof Sethi said: “We spoon-feed our students too much. I’d rather let the students learn by discussion.” Con sta nce Yeo, a secondyear student from the Wee Kim
NTU is offering two free online courses starting this month. Undergraduates will be able to transfer the credits earned towards fulfilling their degree requirements. Prospective students who have taken and passed the courses will also be able to transfer their credits to NTU should they enrol as an undergraduate later. The first course, Beauty, Form and Function: An Exploration of Symmetry, was launched on 17 Feb and is taught by Professor Tim White from the School of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE). The second, Introduction to Forensic Science, taught by Associate Professor Roderick Wayland Bates from the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, will be introduced in May. Hosted on the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform Coursera, both courses are worth three academic units each. At least three other MOOC courses are in the pipeline. Wee School of Information and Communication, supported the academy’s decision to “select the cream of the crop”. “By having these lecturers teach their faculty members, more students will be able to benefit from them,” the 21-year-old said. However, she was concerned that the academy might stifle individual teaching creativity. “The teachers might be so eager to weave in what they’ve learnt that they might compromise their own teaching style,” she added. NTU has set aside $400,000 in research funding this year for academy members to develop practical and innovative teaching tools. Professor K am Chan H in, Associate Provost (Undergraduate Education), added that 11 projects to enhance teaching are currently in progress. One such project is a smartphone application that promotes collaborative language learning. The NTU Teaching Excellence Academy will be officially inaugurated on 11 Mar, which coincides with Celebrate NTU Day.
21/2/14 11:48 PM
More than just a degree Students are adding value to their university education to give themselves an advantage in their future careers
to seven out of 10 students university-wide. A 2012 survey conducted by the Ministry of Education also showed that Accountancy and Business graduates earn an average monthly salary of $3,464. In comparision, Business graduates earn an average monthly salary of $3,268. The Accountancy and Business programme is the most popular double degree programme in the university.
LIM ZHENG WEI
ORE students are taking up double degrees and second majors, in a bid to increase employment prospects. According to the Office of Academic Services, the number of students taking double degrees have increased by 36 per cent, while the number of students taking second majors have doubled since 2010. NTU has been increasing its range of second majors since they were first introduced in 2010. Presently, there are 20 second major programmes, with the newest being Food Science and Technology, starting next semester. Professor Kam Chan Hin, Associate Provost (Undergraduate Education), said that second majors will complement students' main degrees. “Second major programmes also enhance students' long-term employability," he added. Double degree holders will receive two degree certificates upon graduation, while second major holders will only see it reflected on their transcripts. Also, double degree students need to complete an additional 60 Academic Units (AUs) to graduate, while second major students
GETTING IT RIGHT: A staff from the NTU Career and Attachment Office helps to review a student's résumé at the NTU Career Fair 2014.
need to complete an additional 30 AUs to graduate. However, their benefits are similar. Atif Saleem, 21, a finalyear student from the Nanyang Business School (NBS), said that he took up a double degree in Business and Computer Science to be proficient in multiple fields. “It has made me more attractive to employers. At NBS, there are lots of group discussions and the way I express myself has definitely improved.”
“My engineering studies have also given me an analytical mind which I can apply to any jobs I go into,” he said. When interviewed at the NTU Career Fair 2014 last Friday, Ms Irene Teo, Assistant Director (Human Resource) from the Ministry of Law, agreed that having double degrees made job candidates stand out. Ms Teo said: “We take in multiple disciplines, so we can consider this candidate for more
PHOTO: NGO CHU TING
options. We can offer you other possibilities even if you are not deemed eligible for the position you applied for.” “For example, a person doing Political Science coupled with Economics is deemed to have the attributes of a political science graduate plus the numerical skills of an economist,” she added. NTU reported that nine out of 10 Accountancy and Business students secured jobs before graduation last year, as compared
Fong Shi En, 20, a first-year student from NBS taking the programme, said that it challenged herself to be more focused and hardworking. “I wanted a degree that was able to push me to my limits. There’s a lot to be done but only one of me, so prioritising my work and time management becomes key,” she said. However, other students said that the added workload meant that their schedules were hectic and difficult to manage. Kimberly Lee, 20, a first-year student from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, dropped her second degree in Economics after her first semester. Lee, who is currently pursuing a degree in Aerospace Engineering, said: “It wasn’t the academic units, it was the tests." “Some of them were on the same day and some were on consecutive days, so it was hard to cope," she added.
Taking off to greater heights LOUISA TANG NEWS EDITOR ABEEGITHAN Jeyasothy, 23, may just be an undergraduate, but he held his own against professionals at the Singapore Airshow 2014. The final-year student from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering began working on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) from August last year for his Final Year Project (FYP). Also known as drones, UAVs are automatically flown aircrafts that do not require manual controlling or human pilots on board. Jeyasothy’s job of programming them ensured that they could fly on a collision-free course. “I wanted to do something more challenging and new. I saw a few videos on UAV formation on the Internet and decided to work on them,” he said. He then approached Professor Xie Lihua, his FYP supervisor, expressing his interest in the UAV project, which began in 2011. To his surprise, he learnt that his work would find a bigger au-
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dience than he anticipated — at the biennial Airshow, Asia’s largest aerospace and defence exhibition. Jeyasothy was part of a team of 12 from NTU, including eight graduates, working on the UAV showcase. The showcase, held in partnership with Ngee Ann Polytechnic and the National University of Singapore, was supported by the Ministry of Defence. Both trade professionals and the public got to experience the NTU team’s expertise at this year’s Airshow, held from 11 to 16 Feb at the Changi Exhibition Centre. Besides trying their hand at interactive games, visitors to the UAV booth could also enjoy performances of a mechanical kind. Twelve UAVs flew in various formations and executed complex indoor aerial manoeuvres, such as forming a heart to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Starting out just six months before the Airshow, Jeyasothy had almost no knowledge of UAVs despite his keen interest in them. He picked up UAV programming, functionality, and assembly skills
just in time to execute the formations with his team. The team custom-designed and built the UAVs from scratch with components that they bought themselves. The main Internal Combustion engines, which fuel the UAVs, were put together by the team as well, with their carbon fibre frames self-designed and outsourced for manufacturing. The UAVs are used for defence, civil and military purposes, such as rescue missions. “Anyone can get the UAVs to fly from point A to point B, but fine-tuning them to a very smooth performance was challenging. I had a lot of fun testing and improving the performances till we got satisfying results,” Jeyasothy said. The team’s UAVs proved popular beyond their expectations. “When we said that the UAVs were made by universities, companies started showing more interest. They wanted to collaborate with us in future research, even though some were not aeronautical companies,” Jeyasothy added.
FLYING HIGH: Jeyasothy is a perfectionist when it comes to programming UAVs.
Some companies wanted to purchase the team’s UAVs on the spot, with a few also wanting Jeyasothy to join them at work. “A few company representatives passed me their personal name cards and asked me to apply for jobs,” he said. Even parents approached Jeyasothy and the team to ask what university courses their children could enrol in if they wanted to enter the UAV field.
PHOTO: CLIFFORD LEE
In the months leading up to the Airshow, Jeyasothy and his teammates pulled all-nighters, working in the laboratory and surviving on few hours of sleep. However, he said the long hours were worth it. “I never regretted staying up till 8am ... if you really have passion for something, I don’t think you’ll feel tired about it. Physically, yes, but mentally we were never tired.”
21/2/14 9:30 PM
THE GREAT ESC PE Take a breather during the recess week and make a break for freedom. Follow Lifestyle writers Michelle Leong, Ng Yan Xiang and Victor Heng as they go together to get trapped, solve puzzles, and seek a way out of the mugging madness.
RAPPED in a small room, brows furrowed, foreheads creased and eyes were fi xated on scraps of paper. The digits on a nearby timer dwindles. This is a typical scene in room escape games, a form of entertainment that is gaining popularit y in Singapore. The novel concept has its roots in browser-based games like the Submarine Series. Except that instead of having players escape from a digital environment by navigating virtual game elements using a mouse and keyboard, they escape from an actual physical room. The fi rst real-life adaptations of these games appeared in bars and clubs in Japan in 2008. Variations of the game soon developed and spread far and wide to countries like Hungary, and China, with Singapore only recently joining the trend. Seeking inspiration from horror and jailhouse scenarios, these providers seek to attract and satisfy by providing a wide spectrum of themes for participants to enjoy. The Escape Artist is one of many places that offers such an experience. Mr Ivan Tan, 28, business development manager at The Escape Artist, said: “I guess the trend quickly caught on as it is a low risk business model, and it is relatively easy to replicate the concept.” Other companies offering room escape games can attest to the lucrativeness of the
business model. Having been in operation for about five months, Freeing SG estimates to have seen a hundred per cent increase in customers monthly, said general manager Mr John Teng, 30. The concept of the game is simple. Participants, usually in a group of three to six, are locked in a room. In order to escape, players have to explore their surroundings and rely on their wits to overcome the puzzles and riddles that stand in the way of their freedom. The game usually progresses in a linear manner and only by solving puzzles in the correct sequence can you advance to the next stage. Being bafﬂed by a puzzle, however, does not necessarily signal game over. Game coordinators are on hand if assistance is required. Players can also choose to exit the game if they feel uncomfortable at any time. Despite the fresh and exciting gameplay, Mr Tan acknowledged that there are skeptics who fi nd the idea of paying to get locked in a room silly. However, he encouraged everyone to give it a try as it is different from the usual sources of entertainment found in Singapore. “It allows you to break away from reality, and get caught up in an entirely different world for a while, which is really what we are trying to achieve,” he added.
PUZZLING PUZZLES: Players are required to solve a cryptic code on the wall in order to escape the room. PHOTO: THE ESCAPE ARTIST
Realistically designed, the prison themed escape room ‘Bai l Out’ in Lockdow n Singapore gave me a chance to live out my latent criminal ambitions. My team of five arrived at Lockdown Singapore anticipating the experience to be a breeze. We were handcuffed and herded into a cell just big enough to comfortably hold up to six individuals. Beyond the cell bars lie another locked door and the tantalising promise of freedom. The cold metal constraints against the skin made the scenario come alive. We immediately got down to business when the timer countdown of one hour began. To escape the room, we fi rst needed to free ourselves from the cell. It wasn’t long before the metal gates swung open, giving us access to the rest of the room where we needed to procure a fi nal key to escape. The early success galvanised us. We had a ball of a time overturning the place in search of clues. As time ticked away, my
earlier confidence evaporated. Bluff and bluster gave way to blubbing. A member of the team had a mental breakdown and started sweeping the jail cell with a broom. The despair and sense of hopelessness in the air was palpable. In the end, we escaped the room with barely seconds to spare, and that was only after three impassioned pleas for hints from the gamemasters. I was truly humbled. A career in crime was clearly not on the cards, after all. Rated 3/5 in terms of difficulty, ‘Bail Out’ is the easiest of three rooms offered by Lockdown Singapore. ‘Kidnapped’ and ‘Top Secret’ are rated at 4/5 and 5/5 respectively. ‘Top Secret’ is based on Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) system, while ‘Kidnapped’ offers the thrill of escaping an abduction. Lockdown Singapore offers an engaging experience for beginners, but just don’t expect it to be a walk in the park.
The Central 6 Eu Tong Sen Street #03-51/52 S059817 Tel: 6221 0120 Opening hours: Mon-Sun: 11am - 10pm Price: $19 – $22 per pax FALSELY accused for a murder I did not commit and imprisoned in a tiny cell, I am headed for a guilty verdict in court tomorrow. I survey my dismal surroundings and channel my frustration towards the unyielding bars. As my eyes wander, several items catch my eye, and I begin to concoct a breakout plan to rival that of Prison Break .
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‘BAIL OUT’: Players are placed behind bars in an enclosed room. PHOTO: LOCKDOWN SINGAPORE
-ng YAn XiAng
21/2/14 7:04 PM
THE ESCAPE ARTIST Bukit Timah Shopping Centre 170 Upper Bukit Timah Road #11-02 S588179 Tel: 6463 6690 Opening hours: Mon-Thurs: 12pm - 11pm Fri-Sun: 12pm - 12am Price: $15 – $28 per pax
AS WE walked into The Escape Artist’s Bukit Timah outlet, I could not help but wonder if we made the right decision in choosing The Secrets of Da Vinci room. For one, it is the hardest room at the outlet, with a 4/5 difficulty rating. The other three rooms are rated either 2/5 or 3/5. Furthermore, we were told that the room had a success rate of only 2.61 per cent, which was depressing news for a group of first-timers. Nevertheless we chose the room as we wanted to push ourselves to the limit. We walked into the room empty-handed, not knowing what to expect. A staff gave us some instructions and started the countdown of 50 minutes. We were left locked in a small bedroom-sized space that was
decked in classy European decor. The white and gold furniture, complete with small cracks and browned corners, completed the Renaissance feel. But there was no time to admire the decor. Time was of the essence — we had to find the physical key and escape from the room. In a matter of minutes, we were rummaging through everything we could lay our hands on. We found difficult puzzles to solve — a mix of logic, word and number puzzles. Thankfully, there were no restrictions on the number of hints, and we buzzed away for help using a speaker beside the door that conveyed tips to us. Even so, progress was slow.
Finding the key required a sequential unlocking of four number combination locks. Frustration was slowly setting in as the clock ticked — we were desperate to escape. Alas, by the end of 50 minutes, we were nowhere near unlocking the fourth number lock. Taking pity on our distraught selves, the staff kindly let us continue to see if we could eventually escape. This service is subject to availability. After what seemed like an eternity of fumbling, guessing, and buzzing for hints, we finally made it out — a full 50 minutes over the allotted time. It was no easy feat, but it was a good couple of hours spent challenging ourselves and building friendships. Da Vinci sure kept his secrets well.
RENAISSANCE FEEL: Participants engage in serious teamwork and discussion in the classy European decorated ‘The Secrets of Da Vinci’ room.
HANDS ON: Unchaining the shackles to freedom.
HELPLESS HANDS: Players are handcuffed to the ceiling in ‘Silent Blood’.
MISSION POSSIBLE: A player attempts to avoid the laser beams at all costs.
FREEING SG Bugis+ 201 Victoria Street Level 7 S188067 Tel: 6636 9655 Opening hours: Sun-Thurs: 11am - 11pm Fri-Sat: 11am - 12:45am Price: $28 – $38 per pax
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THE first thing I saw when I stepped into the vampire’s castle in ‘Silent Blood’, one of six escape rooms offered at Freeing SG, was two of my friends chained to the ceiling. It was such an absurd scene that I burst out in laughter. However, it wasn’t as funny when the game master did the same to me. Once we were all trussed up, the lights went out. The game master handed us a small torch, which did little to dispel the darkness. We had to escape the castle in 45 minutes. I felt cold sweat trickle down my back. The game was on. A stroke of sheer luck early freed me and another teammate. The remaining three were not as fortunate and we quickly saw
our time diminish to 28 minutes. We were going to end up in the record books for being stuck in the first chamber for the entire game. The vampire wouldn’t even have to go far for his blood snacks. I suggested that we should abandon the rest and forge on, but no one seemed keen on that idea. When we finally extricated ourselves from the cold and dark room, the warmlylit second chamber was almost welcomed as opposed to trying to find our way around in the dark. The last chamber crawled with yet more surprises. Freeing SG had clearly spared little expense in creating the immersive experience of ‘Silent Blood’. The puzzles here proved
PHOTOS: THE ESCAPE ARTIST
PHOTOS: FREEING SG
to be our undoing as we failed to clear the room within the allotted time, even after consulting the gamemaster for a hint. The gamemaster kindly gave us a grace period, and we took an extra five minutes to finish the game. For a horror themed room, ‘Silent Blood’ is surprisingly light on the scare factor. Still, the nifty design elements and confounding riddles meant that we all had a rollicking good time. Looking back at my own near escape, I felt that I would have succeeded if we had not squandered so much time trying to free the ‘chained’ team members in the first chamber. We should have left the stragglers behind.
21/2/14 7:04 PM
MAKE-UP START-UP Business ventures can start from one's room. Melissa Teh ﬁnds out how two roommates run their make-up and nail art business from their hall room.
OT only princesses in Disney stories have fairy godmothers — these magic wand-wavers can be found on campus too. If you stay in the Hall of Residence 4, you might have already heard of the makeup and nail art tag team of Tan Si Ying and Carmen Sia. The two first-year Nanyang Business School students discovered their shared interest in make-up when they became roommates last August. “Being able to help our friends and other girls look their best for special occasions actually makes us feel a little like fairy godmothers,” Si Ying, 19, said. It has been more than four months since they started running an unofficial makeup and nail art business in their hall room, and business has been slowly shaping up.
Recalling their mutual first impressions, both girls never thought that they would share the same interests, much less end up as business partners. “Carmen was wearing spectacles and she looked very nerdy. I didn't think she would be interested in make-up,” Si Ying said. “My first impression of Si Ying was that she is really dark-skinned. I thought she would be the sporty sort who would not enjoy decorative nail art at all,” added Carmen, 19. As it turned out, their difference in skin tones was an advantage for them as they could experiment with a wider spectrum of makeup products. Despite discovering their shared hobby,
STEADY HANDS: In order to perfect their nail art samples, the girls often spend approximately 1.5 hours designing each set of five nails.
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the business would not have kicked off had they not helped a friend with her make-up for their hall’s Dinner and Dance last year. “That was an interesting first time working together as our hall neighbour is really tanned and we had to apply many layers of make-up for the color to show,” said Si Ying. Thankfully, they managed to pull it off and their competence was affirmed by the many compliments their neighbour received. The business idea, with Si Ying in charge of make-up and Carmen handling nail art, started to develop once they got more make-up and styling requests. “We grasped the opportunity once we realised that there is an existing demand for what we can offer,” added Carmen. Initially, they kick-started their venture through word-of-mouth. However, their limited social circles in school meant that publicity was a problem. They average five customers per month. To resolve the issue, they created a blog (www.blushandfiles.blogspot.com) to advertise their work.
DYNAMIC DUO: Carmen Sia (left) and Tan Si Ying (right) pair up to help fellow girls find suitable make-up and nail art styles. PHOTOS: PHAM QUYNH ANH
pen, used for better control, that has to be specially imported from Japan. This will set her back another $300. Despite the hefty price tags, Carmen considers them as worthy long-term investments.
FOR THE FUTURE It is also tricky when dealing with special The girls have some tips for beginners requests. The girls once had a client who or those on a tight budget. They suggest requested for a Greek goddess look. To purchasing house brands like Sephora’s achieve that, they opted for light makeown line of products or trying out brands up with a nude colour scheme. However, like Catrice, which is available at stores as the event was to be held at night, the like Guardian. girls were worried that the make-up would “Sephora’s eye shadows are well-pignot be photographed well and decided to mented and are of great quality considerdarken her make-up. ing the price you pay. Catrice’s nail polish “Although we liked how it turned out, colours are vivid and they dry really fast our client complained that the dark makewhich saves much hassle,” recommended up made her come across as a vixen,” Si Si Ying. Ying said. Fortunately, the client accepted On upcoming make-up the girls’ rationale and styles, Si Ying pointed out ended up extremely satthe trend of eco-friendly isfied with the look the With their business paper lashes — fake, intrigirls planned, which cately designed lashes that gaining ground took them about 45 mincan be reused in scraputes to complete. and an undying books. Both girls humbly However, such trends passion, the duo describe themselves as are more extreme and both mere enthusiasts rather looks set to brush girls lament the lack of a than budding entrepremore adventurous spirit in neurs. Nonetheless, they up and nail it. Singaporeans. attained certification to “We get the most requests keep up-to-date with for natural looks with neunail art techniques and tral colours,” Carmen said. systems. “It would be great if we could get more Just last year, Carmen took up a private customers willing to venture out of their diploma at Odyssey Nail Systems. Both comfort zones,” Si Ying said. girls are also trained in Russian nail art, “Nonetheless, we are grateful for all which features the thinnest nail art stickers opportunities to improve our repertoire available in the market, resulting in exof skills,” she added. ceptionally delicate and intricate designs. Open to all NTU students, their make-up Aside from effort, monetary investment service is priced at $18 and their manicure is also required to sustain the business. service prices start from $5. To date, Carmen has spent an estimated With their business gaining ground and $8,000 on nail art equipment and products. an undying passion to boot, the duo looks set to brush up and nail it. She plans to purchase a new nail fountain
TOUCHING UP: Putting on the perfect make-up requires finesse and a gentle touch.
BOOKS AWAY: Stationery and lecture notes have been replaced with their full range of products on their hall tables.
21/2/14 5:19 PM
SOULFUL DINING From a vegetarian Indian buffet to a nomadic food truck, Melissa Teh and Tarandip Kaur show you how to have a good meal and pay it forward to society at the same time.
INING can satisfy more than just one’s hunger. Recently, Singapore has seen the rise of the pay-it-forward dining establishment, where money spent on food goes to helping various local communities. One such concept is Chope Food for the Needy, which encourages Singapore residents to pre-order and pay for any number of meals at local hawker stalls, after which
hawkers will give them to the needy. Other establishments include Annalakshmi, a vegetarian restaurant which offers a pay-as-you-wish concept, and Kerbside Gourmet, where each meal purchased allows you to contribute free meals to varied beneficiaries at the company’s discretion. Thus, whether you are on a date or out with friends, these places can make your dining experience more meaningful.
help out because they realise that it is a very basic concept to give. They are giving the aspiring musicians of tomorrow a lease of life,” said a patron, who only wanted to be known as Mr Savi. The 65-year-old language executive at the Subordinate Courts has been a regular customer of the restaurant since it first opened at Excelsior Hotel. Profitability takes a backseat in this restaurant. Patrons who do not pay or pay too little are still welcomed. Their doors are open to people of all economic backgrounds and from all walks of life. On average, diners pay between $10 $25 for a meal here. First-time diner Varinder Gill, 35, an accountant, said: “I would spend maybe $10 to $15 on lunch so the extra I give here is for the quality food and the concept. It feels good (eating at goodwill restaurants).” The food served here is reminiscent of heart-warming home-cooked fare. Warm and fluffy, the naan complements the accompanying variety of spiced dhals (lentil soups) and sambar (vegetable stews), which have just the right amount of kick without being too spicy. However, the restaurant does face its share of setbacks, from rental increases to a lack of volunteers, but these have not fazed Mr Krishnan. He said: “It is a learning curve. We have created a different platform and moved away from the official pricing mechanism of having a menu with fixed prices.” The impeccable décor, soulful music and delicious food of Annalakshmi call for diners to value the experience with a peace of mind as they leave monetary concerns at the door.
#01-04, Central Square 20, Havelock Road S059765 Tel: 6339 9993 www.annalakshmi.com.sg Opening Hours: Daily: 11am - 3pm, 6:15pm - 9:30pm BEHIND ornate wooden carved doors is a restaurant with traditional Indian furnishings. This, coupled with classical Indian music playing in the background, makes diners feel like they have just stepped into a lavish Indian palace. Annalakshmi features vegetarian buffet dining with a line-up of some 10 North and South Indian dishes that changes daily. Adopting the all-you-can-eat buffet concept, diners can pile their plates with as much as they want. But here’s the twist — they also get to pay as they wish. Mr Suresh Krishnan, 57, manager of Annalakshmi, describes the concept of giving “as an attitude”, and as an important influence “to share with everybody”. Inspired by Hindu monk Shantanand Saraswati, whose philosophy in life is to ‘Serve, Love and Give’, Annalakshmi was formed in 1986 to support aspiring musicians and underprivileged art students at the Temple of Fine Arts, Singapore. At Annalakshmi, every server is a volunteer except for its chefs. “Some of the volunteers come during lunchtime just to
KERBSIDE GOURMET Past places include: The Promontory@Marina Bay National Museum of Singapore www.facebook.com/kerbsidegourmet
WHILE Singapore has a strong heritage of street hawkers and food courts, food trucks are relatively unheard of. Launched in February last year, Kerbside Gourmet is a nomadic food truck that periodically changes its venue, opening hours and menu. Customers keep track of Kerbside Gourmet’s Facebook page in order to locate them and get a preview of the food on offer for the day. Run mainly by owner Ms Luan Ee, 49, this food truck is unique in more ways than one — it is the first Singaporean food truck which has ventured into a Buy-One-GiveOne business model. “For every main meal served, we give one to the needy,” said Ms Ee. So far, Kerbside Gourmet has supported the Prison Fellowship Singapore and the South Central Community Family Service Centre by giving out free meals. However, Kerbside Gourmet aspires to give more than just free meals. “If you go to a place and just give free food to people, it might affect their self-esteem. When we interact with our beneficiaries, we try to talk about what they can offer (to the business) as well,” said Ms Ee. By providing their beneficiaries the opportunity to volunteer with them, she hopes to tap into their skills, 1. FOOD GALORE: The extensive array of food will satisfy the hunger pangs of all who visit Annalakshmi. 2. HEARTY, HEALTHY FOOD: Nutritious food like the Cold Mentaiko Pasta are available at food truck Kerbside such as food preparation in the kitchen. This proves to individuals that they can be assets Gourmet. to the community. 3. STEPPING UP FOR SOCIETY: Owner of Kerbside Gourmet, Ms Luan Ee, 49, helps the less privileged in Singapore. At the same time, Ms Ee intends to focus PHOTOS: LOH JUN WEI, JOLENE TAN on the act of doing good for society instead
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of actively broadcasting her social vision, as she does not want to pressure customers into supporting her cause. “Most of our customers are not aware (of it) till they come and interact with us at the truck,” she said. One such customer is Ms Eleonore Wieth, 61, a German who was visiting Singapore. She chanced upon the food truck and was intrigued by its catchy music playing amid the tranquil setting of The Promontory@ Marina Bay. She tried the Thai Glass Noodle Salad ($8). “It is a little pricey for its portion but after discovering the social cause behind it, I think it’s worth every penny,” she said. “We get many people saying they are interested to see an enterprise that is not just profit-driven but also creative, innovative and aimed towards doing goodwill,” said Ms Ee. She has received interest from other countries in the region, with some as far away as Brazil and Canada, hoping to visit her food truck during their trip to Singapore. Kerbside Gourmet has amassed a following of more than 3,000 fans on their Facebook page to date. Despite not having a conventional kitchen, Kerbside Gourmet serves up quality food. A popular choice often featured on the menu is the herb-seasoned Cajun Fries ($5). The Cold Mentaiko Pasta ($15, with a choice of dessert), is another crowd-pleaser. Light and tasty, this chilled pasta, topped with savoury fish roe and sliced crabstick, is seasoned with sesame seeds and makes an ideal lunch on a hot day. While street food might come across as unhealthy, Ms Ee shared that she is trying to come up with more nutritious food options. With Kerbside Gourmet offering a refreshing food truck concept and healthier street food options with a social dimension, there is little reason not to give it a try.
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BATTERED, NOT BEATEN Typhoon Haiyan swept across the province of Eastern Samar, Philippines, three months ago. Rachel Gong visits the badly-hit town of Balangkayan to see how locals have moved on since then.
H E f i ve -hou r bu mpy r ide f r om Philippines’ Tacloban A ir por t to Balangkayan, Eastern Samar, that my Final Year Project (FYP) team and I took was a rough journey. But it was a walk in the park compared to what t he loca l s have gone t h roug h si nce Typhoon Haiyan smashed their homes last November. My team, from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, spent five days at Eastern Samar delivering relief aid to the locals from 3 to 7 Feb this year. The locals speak a local dialect called Waray, and the ter m “Waray” means “nothing” or “none”. I feel this alludes to the fact that they have so little; there’s barely enough food to go around, and they do not get any water in their homes. This lack of material possessions was more apparent af ter Ty phoon Haiyan destroyed many of their homes, robbing the people of all they had. However, their unwavering spirit made up for whatever belongings they had lost. As we interacted with residents still recovering from the aftermath, I saw what resilience and strength in adversity looked like.
REBUILDING THEIR HOMES
Typhoon Haiyan killed over 6,000 people across the country. However, there were no casualties among the 9,000 residents in the town of Balangkayan, thanks to early evacuations. But the storm still wiped out an estimated 90 per cent of their homes. When I looked upon the wreckage, I thought about how ironic it was that Singapore, a countr y sheltered f rom natural disasters, demolishes perfectly solid blocks of flats to make way for newer and swankier ones. And yet, in areas like Eastern Samar, houses built from palm leaves and wooden sticks, subject to the destruction of typhoons and torrential weather, are so precious to the people. Owner of the guest house we stayed in, Andy Foster, who is in his 60s, said that some locals are privileged enough to live in concrete houses less damaged by the typhoon. These lucky few have relatives who are either working abroad or in
had passed. “Our groundwater was contaminated by seawater from the storm surge and we had to drink saltwater as a result. We also had to shower with water from firetruck hoses,” said Ms Boco. As I spent more time in the town of Balangkayan, I noticed most of the locals sitting around with little to do. It turned out that the storm surge had destroyed their two main sources of income – fishing boats and rice fields – leaving many jobless, penniless and reliant on donations to survive.
IT'S NOT ALL BAD
Manila, the capital of Philippines, sending them money. Employment opportunities in Balangkayan are simply too few and the pay is far too meagre for locals to afford building more durable homes. On the second day, we travelled to the most affected area in Balangkayan known as District One – a place that the locals resignedly call “Tent City”. Many of the families are currently living in tents that serve as temporary housing while they continue to rebuild their homes. It started to drizzle as we got out of our vehicle, and a lady nearby gestured to her house as she shouted: “Get in! It’s raining!” Her husband, a carpenter, had erected a one-room home made of Nipa palm leaves just three days after Typhoon Haiyan destroyed their old house. I never expected a shelter made merely out of leaves to be that sturdy and to keep us so warm. She apologised for the shabby state of her new home. “We’re poor. This is all we can build,”
the lady said, with a demeanour that mirrored the fragility and vulnerability of her makeshift shelter. I could not help but wonder how she could have witnessed multi-storey-high waves engulf her entire neighbourhood from the nearby evacuation point, and at the same time, refuse to let strangers be out in a mere drizzle. It was incredibly heartwarming. I asked other residents in Tent City why they were rebuilding on the same plot of coastal land despite it being especially vulnerable to storm surges. Benji, 38, a father of three said: “We have nowhere else to go.”
THE IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH
After distributing aid, which included ponchos, toothbrushes and toothpastes, to the children in Balangkayan Elementary School, we interviewed 40-year-old Ms Boco, a Grade Five English teacher at the school. She vividly recalled what happened in the town right after the typhoon
Although the tragedy brought on a host of problems, not all is lost. Fol low i ng Ty phoon Ha iya n, nongovernmental organisations (NGO) and individual non-profit groups like Bakdaw (Rise) Balangkayan delivered life-saving med ici ne a nd vacci nes to t he tow n. Previously, locals had to travel to the nearest city, Borongan, to seek treatment for their ailments. Joeban, a 14-year-old local high school student, shared with my teammate about how his family could barely afford one meal a day before the typhoon. But now, thanks to post-typhoon food distribution efforts by organisations such as the World Food Programme, Joeban is able to have three meals daily. How tough life must have been for children like Joeban, to see a typhoon wiping out their town as a blessing in disguise.
Unfortunately, continuous aid distribution is not a sustainable solution in Balangkayan, and more efforts are needed to ensure a sustainable livelihood for its people. One can only hope that the town’s Mayor will keep to his promises of rebuilding the marine ecology park and distributing vegetable seeds, both important sources of income for the locals. A lt hough Ty phoon Haiyan has destroyed countless homes and battered the livelihood of the Balangkayanons, it has given the people a new-found resolve to stay strong and move on. I look forward to seeing their progress when I return in the years to come.
PHOTOS | DANIEL NEO
1. GIRL SMILING: A child's smile radiates amid the paddy fields that were destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan. 2. INNOCENT PLAY: An abandoned vehicle becomes a children's playground. 3. SHIP ASHORE: Waves caused by the storm surge from Typhoon Haiyan were strong enough to wash large ships inland.
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PHOTOS: RACHEL GONG, WALLACE WOON
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LIVE MUSIC HAVENS Reviews Writers Toh Hong Rui and Teresa Zhou set out to explore the wide array of nightspots across Singapore and how the different dining establishments affect one’s experience.
Enjoying their craft: (Anti-clockwise from top) StageFright X at Artistry, open to any brave souls looking for an opportunity to perform; rock band Shirlyn & The UnXpected performing at Wala Wala; Shuffle Bistro Bar celebrating their second-year anniversary. PHOTOS COURTESY OF ARTISTRY, WALA WALA AND SHUFFLE BISTRO BAR
ver the years, Singapore has begun to see more nightspots adopting the concept of live music. From setting aside cosy corners for acoustic sessions to integrating sizeable stages for full-fledged performances, these venues recognise the allure of live music. However, the types of venues can vastly affect the style of music presentation, with bars adopting a more exciting and interactive format, and cafe and restaurants providing a more laid-back experience. On top of catering to the musical appetite of different audiences, such places also provide a platform for local musicians to sharpen their musical skills and gain more experience in performing in front of crowds.
Bars are the most popular type of establishment to incorporate the concept of live music. Take for example Shuffle Bistro Bar, located at the heart of Clarke Quay. Crazy Notes, one of its resident bands, has made a name for itself by performing songs ranging from renditions of English pop to covers of music from Singapore’s xinyao (90s Chinese pop music) era. They occasionally surprise patrons with the inclusion of Cantopop songs. At the other end of the spectrum, venues such as Wala Wala, located at Holland Village, have gained a following as one of the go-to places for rock music. Resident act Shirlyn & The UnXpected at
Wala Wala grace the stage every Thursday (dubbed Thirst-days by the bar) and Saturday, electrifying the crowd with energetic and modern covers of classics such as Led Zeppelin, Queen and Metallica. The intimate setting of these bars place patrons in close proximity with the band, resulting in a friendly and interactive experience. Along with the affordable alcohol available at these places, one is guaranteed a fulfilling and memorable night out with friends.
CAFES Unlike the bustle of pubs, cafes aim to create a more free-spirited and intimate setting, and some cafes around Singapore have started engaging live music performers to create such an ambience. Since 1993, Ark Music Cafe has had the reputation of being the launch pad of the xinyao movement, grooming artists such as Chen Weilian, Kelly Poon and Cai Chun Jia in its later years. Now located on Short Street, Ark Music Cafe continues to suppor t young and aspiring acts, with its Mando-pop weekend evenings. Artistry is another place to visit for a combination of gourmet coffee, craft beer, homegrown music and art. Located at Jalan Pinang in the Bugis area, Artistry regularly hosts mini gigs, inviting musicians to perform at their ConTRIBUTE
events, where they pay tribute to bands like Queen and U2 by covering their songs. But what really sets this quaint cafe apart from others are its regular singer-songwriter nights, held in the middle of every month. Titled Originals Sing, musicians perform originals instead of covers and the full proceeds from these events go to the artistes.
The comfortable layout of cafes, soft lighting and soothing music leaves one with a cosy and relaxing experience — one distinctly different from bars. Blues/folk rocker David McGovern and melodic pop rock band Shades in Grey took to the stage in this month’s edition. Although the acoustic format means that the artists have to perform stripped-down versions of their songs, both artistes retained their charm with tight performances when we watched them in February. The comfortable layout of cafes, soft lighting and soothing music leaves one with a cosy and relaxing experience — one distinctly different from bars.
RESTAURANTS Music has always been a part of the great meal experience that restaurants aim to achieve. Hard Rock Cafe and Fish & Co. at The Glass House at Dhoby Ghaut are some popular restaurants that have gone one step further by introducing live music to to the dining experience. Other restaurants around the island have also followed suit. The Contemporary Melting-Pot Bar (CMPB) at Dempsey Hill is one such restaurant which has done so, with its live band, 3AM, treating customers to jazz and blues sounds. Bands that have performed there also include popular cover band 53A and seasoned bar hoppers The Next Movement. Ita l ia n-t he me d r e stau r a nt P r ego, located in Fairmont Singapore, is another establishment with regular live music. Every Sunday, solo acts are brought in to provide entertainment, with artists like Iwee de Leon regularly performing acoustic renditions of pop and jazz tunes.
MORE Catch the Nanyang Chronicle’s exclusive video interview with Shuffle Bistro Bar’s manager and their resident band, Crazy Notes, at www.youtube.com/ChronNTU
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spotlight BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
aving taken on mostly supporting roles before the massively successful 12 Years a Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor’s performance as a free man sold into slavery convinced us that he deserves to win. It allowed him to achieve his first big break as he brought Solomon Northup’s powerful story to life. Giving Ejiofor a possible run for the title is Leonardo DiCaprio. He has produced yet another powerhouse performance in The Wolf Of Wall Street, and his nomination comes as no surprise to critics and audiences. His portrayal of a decadent Wall Street stockbroker revealed a man that was, at his roots, diseased and crumbling. The fact that he has never before won an Oscar after starring in countless critically acclaimed roles has been well circulated everywhere. However, the Oscar panel is unlikely to recognise DiCaprio simply because he has never won an Oscar before.
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
CATE Blanchett proves that she is better than ever in her comeback role as a shamed socialite who falls from grace in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. Working with a director like Allen — famous for giving little direction — is not easy and Blanchett had to rely very much on her own acting skills to fully portray the nuances of her character’s dark past. In addition to the Oscar nomination, Blanchett has also won the Golden Globes award for Best Actress this year. Judging from how previous years’ winners such as Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence have gone on to win Oscars after their Golden Globes, all bodes well for the Australian actress. However, Amy Adam’s breakout role in American Hustle could be a dark horse as she pulled off the character of Sydney Prosser most convincingly. No longer the sweet Disney princess of Enchanted, Adams takes on the role of a sex symbol with confidence
HAVING gone on a five-year hiatus from acting, Jared Leto’s return saw him take on a method role in Dallas Buyers Club that required him to shed huge amounts of weight and even shave his eyebrows. Aside from a tremendous physical transformation, his convincing portrayal as a tragic HIV-positive transgender woman has earned him his first Oscar nomination. What sets Leto apart from the other nominees is his potent showcase of innocence, driven into the audience through his struggles during the AIDS pandemic. Michael Fassbender’s antagonistic role as a slave owner in 12 Years a Slave also stands him in good stead. He wholly immerses himself in the character, showcasing a sheer brutality that is hard to forget. However, the panel may prefer the lively flamboyance and sense of humour of Leto’s character over the sadistic nature of Fassbender’s character, thus giving the former the upper hand.
WE PREDICT THE OSCARS Oscar fever is heating up, with plenty of close fights among worthy contenders. Reviews Writers Jonathan Yu and Melissa Tham pick who they think will walk away with the coveted prizes come 2 Mar. BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
12 Years a Slave
FRESH out of Yale University School of Drama’s Acting Program, Lupita Nyong’o sets the screen on fire with her dynamic and heartbreaking portrayal of the slave, Patsey, in 12 Years A Slave. Kudos to her investment into the emotionally draining role that only a first rate thespian could do. The headstrong Kenyan actress recalls weeping when she had to retain overnight the elaborate scarring makeup while acting as it made her feel an intense connection to her character. Nyong’o’s natural disposition of her character’s vulnerability makes her an even stronger contender, considering that this is her first foray into a major feature film. Granted, America’s new sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence stole the limelight as a manic depressive wife in American Hustle. But, having won Best Actress for her leading role in Silver Linings Playbook last year, it is unlikely that the Oscar panel will reward the starlet’s performance too soon again.
VISIONARY director Alfonso Cuaron is no stranger to the Oscars. Gravity’s Best Director nod is his third nomination. The Oscar panel has also been known for taking into serious consideration movies that combine cinematic grandeur with groundbreaking storytelling, and Gravity pulls that off with ease. Last year’s winner of the best director award, Ang Lee, for his film Life of Pi, paved the way for movies with a breakthrough in visual effects, and it won’t come as a surprise for Cuaron to follow in his footsteps. Despite having big name directors such as Martin Scorsese among the nominees, we feel that Cuaron’s ambitious scope in Gravity clearly overshadows all others. Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, content with merely being a character study, pales in comparison with his previous works. Gravity, on the other hand, takes it a step further by etching audiences into the skin of the characters, making us feel as if we are the ones floating in space.
WHILE Gravity and American Hustle are both big-budget crowd pleasers, 12 Years a Slave is a hard-hitting film with strong historical and political messages. When it comes to violence, director Steve McQueen shows no restraint and forces the audience to confront the horror of American slavery. So while this may still appear to be a three-way race between the aforementioned movies, we feel that 12 Years a Slave deserves to win because of the cultural impact it made. The film’s reel life to real life plot also gives it a one-up against Gravity and American Hustle, both of which could have done with more in-depth characterisations and tighter pacings. After all, the Academy is known for favouring films adapted from true stories. With previous winners such as Argo, The King’s Speech and A Beautiful Mind fitting the bill, 12 Years a Slave looks set to take home the highest honour of the night.
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STEP UP TO THE STAGE
The road to fame does not come easily. Photo Editors Clifford Lee and Tan Xiu Qi go backstage to discover the difficulties dancers face in the lead-up to the Hall Olympiad Closing Ceremony (HOCC).
hen Ng Wan Wen, 20, first joined Hall of Residence 8’s Srethgie dance team last September, she knew she had big shoes to fill. “I know Hall 8 is a strong dance hall, and I was afraid at first because I lacked experience in dance,” said the secondyear student from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE). “The only dance steps I knew were the ones from Korean girl group SNSD’s The Boys,” she added with a laugh. But the fear of inexperience did not sour the tenacious girl’s passion for dancing. In the lead up to the HOCC, she has been training almost every weeknight till the wee hours of the morning. Her commitment to dance also meant that she had to turn down the female lead role in her annual hall production. And she has never regretted her decision. “The seniors take care of us and are very patient with us; they never raised their voices even when they felt really pek chek (frustrated),” Ng said. Like Ng, Muhammad Adil, 21, was among the few without any prior dance experience who joined Hall 1’s UNIFIC dance team later
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than his peers. He was inspired when he witnessed the dedication and camaraderie displayed by his hall mates in the dance team during practises and rehearsals. “I knew I had to sign up, even though I had to acquire dance skills fast enough to match up with the rest of my team within just three months before the competiton,” said the first-year student from MAE. Over at Hall 16, the drive to overthrow the defending champions, Hall 8, is not without pain. Lionel Boey, 24, one of the main choreographers, sprained his ankle in a game of Frisbee, two weeks before HOCC. The final-year student from the National Institute of Education is worried that he may be unable to dance at the olympiad this Friday. “I don’t know if this came at a good or bad time; on one hand this is a very crucial period, but on the other hand, I’m glad I managed to complete teaching the dance choreograph at this point,” Boey said. He is thankful that he is still able to help his team brush up on their steps despite his injury. “The newcomers are picking up the dance really fast. I’m sure they’ll do Strawberry Stretch (Hall 16’s dance team) proud.”
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(CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT) A Flower In Bloom: A Hall of Residence 8 dance training session in their common hall. Hall 8 seeks to defend the Hall Olympiad Closing Ceremony (HOCC) title. The Comeback Kids: Dancers from Hall 1 perfect their moves at the basement of School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS). Hall 1 was HOCC champion for 2010/2011 and 2011/2012, and first runnerup last year. Dance All Night: Hall 16’s dance team, Strawberry Stretch, holds a dance practice at the open space just below Lee Kong Chian Lecture Theatre. The team was formed in 2009, and has been growing from strength to strength, coming in as second runner-up in the last HOCC. V-Day Rose: Mohammad Adil, 21, from Hall 1’s UNIFIC dance team presents a rose to his teammate Valerie Lim, 19. It is an annual tradition for Hall 1 dancers to celebrate Valentine’s Day together and for male dancers to give flowers to their female teammates on that special day. The Prep Work: Hall 8’s Ng Wan Wen (left), 20, and Regina Hong, 20, help to prepare props that will be used during their final performance. Much effort has been put into making props, arranging the dance choreography and music. One-and-Two, Three-and-Four: Hall 16 dancers rehearse at the HSS foyer.
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22/2/14 2:28 AM
THE DAPPER DANDY From drab to fab, a regular Joeâ€™s guide to sleek menswear.
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Photography: Leslie Wong Styling: Kames Narayanan Hair & Makeup: Ryan Tan using Label. M and MAKE UP FOR EVER. Model: Brice T (Basic) All clothing pieces are from Topman. 1. Grey Cut & Sew, $219; Traditional Mandarin collar black shirt, $33; Krem Moody floral pocket square, $16; Moody floral tie, $26; Dark bronze ultra skinny pants, $89; Black belt, $59; Brown leather satchel; stylist’s own. 2. Teal blazer, stylist’s own; Green micro short-sleeve shirt, $49; Maroon bowtie, stylist’s own; Navy & Green Tartan pocket square, $16; Peacoat Hobo Chino, $59; Socks, stylist’s own; Black Corsten shoe, $79; York satchel, $79; Watch, model’s own. 3. Grey Cut & Sew, $219; Traditional Mandarin collar black shirt, $33; Krem Moody floral pocket square, $16; Moody floral tie, $26. 4. Grey Cut & Sew, $219; Green micro short-sleeve shirt, $49; Sky blue bowtie, stylist’s own; Navy & Green Tartan pocket square, $16; Dark bronze ultra skinny pants, $89; Black belt, $59; Black Corsten shoe, $79; Socks, stylist’s own. 5. Grey Cut & Sew, $219; Green micro short-sleeve shirt, $49; Sky blue bowtie, stylist’s own; Navy & Green Tartan pocket square, $16;
Photography: Leslie Wong Styling: Frey Soh Model: Insa K (Basic) 1. Lennon flip-ups, $55, Spitfire Pillar Talk Crop Sweat, $139, Lazyoat Arlene Shorts (Peach), $69, Dr Denim Boots, $219, Vagabond Checkered shirt, Yellow Leopard-print socks, Stylist’s own 2. Lennon flip-ups, $55, Spitfire Pillar Talk Crop Sweat, $139, Lazyoat Chain necklace, Stylist’s own 3&4. Lennon flip-ups, $55, Spitfire Obscenity Dress (Red), $298, Religion Cross necklace, Skateboard, Stylist’s own
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大于上周开始通过大型 开放式网络课程（Massive Open Online Courses, 简称 MOOC）平台向全世界开放本 校课程。 首堂开讲的“美、形式与 功能：对称的探索”（Beauty, Form and Function: An Exploration of Symmetry）截至上个 星期已经有超过17,000名用户登 记，其中包括600名有意把这门 课纳入学分的南大学生。 材料科学与工程学院讲师蒂 姆·维特教授（Professor Tim White）之所以选择以这门课作 为南大网络课程的第一门课， 他解释是因为南大较早前已经 开办“对称与结晶学”（Symmetry and Crystals）。由于两门 课程内容类似，省却了半年的 准备工作，网络首个开办的课 程也应运而生。 另外，深受南大生欢迎的“ 基本法医学” （Introduction to Forensic Science）则将于五月 份开放给公众网上学习。
授课模式新颖 维特教授在受访时分享了自 己对比网络授课和传统课堂授 课的一些心得。他说：“网络 授课更程序化，效率也更高， 但这需要讲求讲师能否在规定 时间内有效规划教材，不得有 一刻松懈，传授的内容相比也
南洋理工大学首个开放式网络课程采用户外教学，让学生体验与以往不同的学习方式。影片截图为维特教.授在户外授课，以实际的事 例讲解教学内容。 显得更精简。” 开放式网络课程对话环节的 设计也让师生之间有更多的互 动。维特教授表示，网络授课 让“课堂”变得更加个人化。 他说真实课堂里只有坐在前 排的同学有机会回答老师的提 问，但在网络课堂里每个学生
都有发言和参与的机会。 通过网络授课，学生可以自 由选择最适合自己的上课时间 和地点。同时，学生观看视频 时也能随时暂停、倒带重放， 有足够时间消化课程内容。
“虽然网络授课模式 更加轻松开放，但这 并不表示系统不严 谨，学生是绝对不可 能以混水摸鱼的学习 方式修得学分。” 甘灿兴教授 南大副教务长（本科生教育）
网络课程的教学方式让学生可以自由选择最适合自己的上课时间 和地点。 摄影：陆雅雯
来自电子工程系的杨荃文 （23岁）对南大开设网络授课 的方式表示欢迎。他说：“我 觉得相对于课堂教学，最大的 变化就是老师采用户外教学， 在不同的地点用实际的事例演 示一些概念，让我更好地理解 这些内容。”
对于有些同学认为网络课程 更容易得分的想法，维特教授 表示，网络课程的所有测验事 实上都采用开卷考试的形式， 因此对学生理解课程内容的程 度有更高的要求，也更注重学 生对重要概念的掌握和运用能 力。若想要获取好成绩，就不 能单死记硬背。 南大副教务长（本科生教 育）甘灿兴教授在受访时谈 到，虽然网络授课模式更加轻 松开放，但这不并代表系统不 严谨，学生是绝对不可能以混 水摸鱼的学习方式修得学分。 他补充，想要将网络课程纳 入学分的学生，首先需要通过 签名识别来确认身份。 这包括要用电脑摄像头拍摄 本人头像以及南大学生证上的 照片进行匹配，还得注册独特 的个人身份识别码。 除此之外，学生在完成各项 网络作业和进行测验之前，系 统会要求他们个别登陆，透过 各种鉴定方式来防止作弊的情 况发生。
应届毕业生不急于提前上课 对于那些即将进入大学的应 届毕业生而言，南大开设网上 课程可算是好消息。 他们可以利用进入大学前的 长假预先选修大学课程，并在 正式注册成为南大学生后将之 前所修到的学分加入自己的总 成绩内。 这在一定程度上减轻了他们 将来大学过程中会面对的课业 负担。但是应届毕业生对此并 不完全表示欢迎。 来自维多利亚初级学院的张 瑶（20岁）将在八月展开大学 生涯。不过，她表示不一定会 在进入大学前的假期提前修读 网上课程。 她说：“我觉得这个长假是 个体验生活、工作的好机会， 应该多积累社会经验，才能在 选择大学课程时做出更适合自 己的选择。” 她也表示考虑到大学期间的 课程负担，自己也会考虑提前 修读以便将来可以把更多的心 思放在专业课上。
21/2/14 11:40 PM
CHRONICLE 08 言论
车资调整应合理化 胡莉珊 中文编审
加坡公共交通理事 会宣布地铁和巴士 整体车资从今年4月6日起 将上涨3.2％，创15年来 新高。 然而，优惠车资计划 在新一轮的调整中也获得 扩充，由成人乘客和业者 交叉补贴的方式，将五所 政府理工学院生的车资月 票价格减低近一半，与初 级学院生享有一样的车资 优待。 计划的实施是经过学 生、家长、车资检讨委员 会和众多议员多年诉求的 结果。由于理工学院和初 级学院学生的年龄相仿， 所以他们曾多次向有关部 门反映车资政策存在的不 公平性。 对于车资优惠调整这 则迟来的好消息，家长和 学生普遍都表示欢迎, 但
也有部分群众觉得这种根 据学府而制定车资的调整 计划并不合理。 不单是理工学院生， 笔者认为大学生也应该被 纳入考量。虽然多数大学 生都有兼职工作或是打假 期工，但他们不是稳定的 受薪阶级。 作为学生，他们平时 主要以学业为重，经济能 力其实和初级学院生并无 两样。同样作为非经济独 立的群体，交通费可能无 形中增加了家长和学生的 负担。 笔者访问了数位大学 生，他们希望即使没有持 月票，在乘搭公共交通时 也能像初级学院生支付一 样的车资。 其中就读于电机与电 子工程学院的大三生倪国 铭认为，学生年龄较大不 代表赚更多的钱，所以既 然大家都是学生，就该享 有同样的优惠。
此外，笔者也认为价 格降低的地铁和巴士混合 月票（Hybrid Concession Pass）调整对于大学生而 言并不理想。虽然持有混 合月票的消费者以后可以 无限次乘搭地铁，但该调 整的成效不大。 对于平时都搭地铁去 上课的学生，需要乘搭巴 士的次数较少，所以购买 混合月票并不比持地铁月 票，再另付车资乘搭巴士 来得划算。 由此可见，学生的车 资制度仍有改善的空间， 却不是一朝一夕能够达成 的计划。SMRT企业在近 期公布的业绩显示，车资 业务在去年12月底的第三 季度蒙受了高达900万元 的营运亏损，盈利同比猛 跌44%，原因是车资收入 不足以应付营运成本。 再加上地铁系统出现 故障的事件层出不穷，业 者除了支付维修费还要对
插图:黄植贤 乘客进行赔偿，并因为服 务不达标，遭政府重罚。 车资制度最近针对理 工学院学生、低薪工人和 残障者等特定群体实行的 优惠车资，已经是业者照 顾到个别群体和接纳他们 的反馈所迈进的一大步。
因此大学生在短期内想要 享有和初级或理工学院生 同样的车资优惠，业者只 会入不敷出，在营运上承 受更大的损失。 精打细算的业者为了 照顾成本，只会选择再以 交叉补贴的方式，调高成
人车资。 综上所述，理工学院 生现在能够享有优惠车资 也是经过多年的争取，所 以只要大众继续向有关部 门反映车资问题，相信当 局能做出令人满意的调整 结果。
个星期三上午，为 期六周的小印度骚 乱公开听证会在初级法庭 展开。 在公开听证会上，高 级政府律师邱金龙在陈词 中就指出，导致骚乱发生 的原因不会是单一的。 有人将其归咎于酒精 的影响，而有的人就认为 是外籍劳工是因为在本地 遭到不合理的对待而心生 不满。 由此带来的外籍劳工 集散地管理措施是否得当 的议题便引发公众的关注 与讨论。 自从去年12月震惊国 内外的小印度骚乱发生之 后，很多国人就一直呼吁 政府颁布应对外籍工人制 造纠纷的政策。 之后，副总理兼国安 部长及内政部长张志贤就 在1月20日的国会上提议 临时法案，给在小印度地 区执勤的警察更大的执法 权力。 这项临时法案无疑是 对之前的暴乱事件做出的 应对政策，但一定程度上 也将矛头指向了小印度骚 乱的直接发动和参与者：
在新加坡打工的外籍印度 劳工。 笔者认为类似法案不 但无助于缓和国民和外籍 劳工之间的紧张关系，反 而会因为不平等的待遇而 导致双方的关系走向更加 复杂的境地。
这项临时法案无 疑是对之前的暴乱 事件做出的应对政 策，但一定程度上 也将矛头指向了小 印度骚乱的直接发 动和参与者：新加 坡打工的外籍印度 劳工。 临时法令的颁布可能 会令双方对彼此的误解进 一步加深：外籍劳工可能 会认为新加坡人在刻意地 给他们贴上“危险分子” 的标签；而国人则会越发 地从心底里防范这些外籍 劳工，尽管他们其中的大 部分人并未对新加坡的社 会稳定造成威胁。
从另一个角度来看， 这一举动也是试图平息社 会上指向政府的民怨的有 力举措。 从社交媒体上的言论 来看，在上届大选中，很 多人就对人民行动党发出 了质疑的声音。 他们认为增长的社会 治安、环境问题很有可能 是因为政府引进过多外籍 劳工而造成的。小印度骚 乱本身更是成为了社会上 类似声音反对政府的有力 事实依据。 为了避免激起过多民 怨，执政党还是不得不拿 出一些行动来证明自己永 远是把国人的利益放在第 一位。 这类临时法令的提议 还是为了在最大程度上保 证社会秩序和国民的基本 权益。 然而，想要建立国人 与外籍劳工之间的长远和 睦关系并非一朝一夕就能 达成。 任何一方都仍需要透 过时间与努力来磨合差 异，而临时法案这样的做 法无疑只是加深了双方之 间的隔阂。
21/2/14 11:58 PM
文化与历史的承载 讲古这项传统文化在新加坡已逐渐消失。记者李婉怡参观了“李大傻特别计划”展览，进一步认 识李大傻这号新加坡传奇人物以及本地七十年代的广播文化。
乐评 音乐Jukebox 专辑：《Déjà Vu 似曾相识》 歌手：张智霖 推荐歌曲：《岁月如歌》《我的歌 声里》
世纪五十年代，李大傻是新加坡 电台界的讲古大王。他在广播节 目中以粤语讲了无数精彩的故事，将人 生近半世纪的岁月都奉献给广播。 他幽默逗趣的讲古风格深受听众的 喜爱，至今仍是许多老一辈心中的共同 回忆。 可惜的是，1979年本地政府所提倡 的“讲华语运动”导致了方言的使用日 益没落，而如今的主流媒体也不再使用 方言。 然而近期在旧国会大厦艺术之家 （The Arts House）展出的了“李大傻 特别计划”，让狮城的讲古文化再度复 兴。这项由八位义安理工学院学生发起 的计划也得到国家文物局的支持。 除了让老一辈人缅怀过去，“李大 傻特别计划”也将向年轻一代介绍这位 传奇人物。 计划小组希望借着老一辈所熟悉的 这位讲古大师，透过展览让祖孙之间有 共同的话题，促进祖孙情谊，增强家庭 凝聚力。 计划组员胡睿文（22岁）说：“老 一代去世以后，就没有人知道这个人物 了。”她也认为传统文化不应该因为” 讲华语运动”而逐渐流失, 像李大傻这 样的传奇人物所带出的文化效应也应该 被传承下去。 展览主要划分为五个区块，介绍李 大傻的一生以及展现七十年代的本土文 化。参观者可以透过视觉与听觉的感官 体验去认识李大傻，同时也能亲身接触 七十年代的传统游戏。
看一看李大傻的精彩一生 展览以照片、文字讲解与时间轴方 式讲述他人生的点滴。每张图表所标明 的年份也让公众清楚地了解李大傻经历 的历史脉络。 1989年，新加坡广播电台——丽的 呼声曾为表扬他在讲古界所做出的贡献 而颁发奖状给他。展览里的所有说明都 以双语注解，厅内播放着李大傻粤语版 本的“讲古”，参观者仿佛置身于上世 纪五十年代。
听一听李大傻的风趣故事 值得一提的是，展出文字看板对面 的角落还设置一个播放李大傻讲唱《济 公邋遢和尚傻大哥》 的试听广播。参观 者只需戴上耳机，便能听见李大傻的声 音，感受他讲古时的风趣与魅力。
距 离5 照片: “李大傻特别计划”主办方提供 毫 米 文化隐没在繁华庸碌的城市之中，“李 大傻特别计划”却展现了新加坡一段珍 贵历史的深刻意义。
李大傻特别计划 地点： Print Gallery及Box Office Foyer， 旧国会大厦艺术之家 1 Old Parliament Lane 展出时间： 上午10时 至晚上10时 展览将展至3月13日。 *入场免费
玩一玩传统小游戏 “怀旧游乐场”设置在展览厅的正 中央，摆放许多七十年代的传统游戏， 如具有马来特色的冲阁（congkak）、 名为“五石子”的布制石头、弹珠及棋 盘游戏等。 民众可借此机会重温并了解旧时的 玩具和娱乐。这些游戏对于年轻一代而 言可能是极为新鲜的玩意儿，但对老一 辈人来说则是昔日的童年回忆。 除此之外，展览里所设立的布景也 能让参观者借此机会与卡通版的李大傻 拍照留念。 在高楼耸立之间，还有那么一个地 方展示着新加坡当年的文化。纵然传统
“怀旧式乐园”摆放着许多七十年代的 传统游戏, 例如“五石子”、弹珠及棋 盘游戏等。 摄影：陈玉娴
着无线剧集《冲上云霄2》的 热映，饰演“Captain Cool” 的香港艺人张智霖乘胜追击推出全 新专辑《Déjà Vu》。 尽管这是一张旧歌翻唱的唱片， 但是在“Cool魔”的温柔演绎下也 呈现出全新浪漫的新感觉。 张智霖在其他访问中曾表示专辑 里的歌曲都是他的心头爱，一直想 找机会全新诠释经典歌曲，就好像 带给观众déjà vu——一种似曾相 识的感觉，将这种新旧交替的感觉 呈现给听众。 他抒情演绎《冲上云霄》主题 曲《岁月如歌》，展现一个痴情男 人的魅力。他以其独特的音色演唱 歌曲开头“爱上了，看见你，如何 不懂谦卑，去讲心中理想，不会俗 气”, 散发出一种温文尔雅的气息， 但又有夹杂一些玩味性，正如他在 戏中饰演的顾夏阳一样，迷人又带 些神秘感。 相比于原唱陈奕迅版本的《岁月 如歌》，两首歌有着不一样的风格 与感受。陈奕迅给人一种浪漫和梦 想的激昂，充满着朝气和希望。而 张智霖版本则给人温暖的感觉，一 种柔情中又带着振奋的感受。 MV镜头下的黑白交替中，张智 霖的帅气表现得恰到好处。最后孤 身一人得落寞正好映衬了歌词“当 世事再没完美，可远在岁月如歌中 找你”，让听众从歌曲中可以体会 到人生路漫漫，不会永远完美，但 也可以在跌宕起伏的岁月中找到对 的人。 而另一首翻唱于女歌手曲婉婷的 《我的歌声里》，也带给歌迷耳目 一新的感受。张智霖用独特的沙哑 嗓音唱出一种沧桑感，抚慰人们内 心的空虚。他也慢慢唤醒人们要珍 惜心中的梦想，让听众从歌曲里感 受到一个音乐人对音乐的追求。 另外值得一提的是，张智霖向好 友借来价值上亿的古董跑车进行封 面拍摄，再搭配潮流服饰，两者之 间形成强烈对比，跟专辑的概念如 出一辙。 （文／李迪娅）
21/2/14 11:42 PM
Opinions EDITORIAL The Anti-social Social Media WITHIN hours, the reactions came in fast and furious. Name and shame him, the mob cried. He’s a road bully; he mustn’t get away with this, they said. For 24-year-old Quek Zhen Hao, the reactions that ensued from his one act of road rage last month must have felt like they lasted forever. Mr Quek’s Honda Civic was caught on video tailgating cars, before overtaking and halting suddenly in front of one. In another video, he was captured getting out of his car aggressively to confront another driver. What started as an attack on Mr Quek soon turned out even worse. Enraged netizens directed their anger towards his family, exposing their pictures and the addresses of his family. There were even death threats made towards them. Despite coming out to apologise for his errant behaviour on video a week after the act, the outrage continued unabated online. Mr Quek is not alone. The past year has seen a number of high-profi le attacks in the online world. No surprise then, that the Media Literacy Council was quick to jump on the bandwagon by advocating a safer Internet for all. This year’s Safer Internet Day on 11 Feb had a strong
message about the individual being the ignitor of Internet etiquette. “It starts with YOU,” they exhorted. We are empowered by consumer-centric technology that enables us to capture and share everything, right down to a tiny mistake we see someone committing. But some take it a step further, as we have seen in past months. Family pictures get dug up; dirty laundry aired all over cyberspace. It makes for good entertainment to the mobs of keyboard warriors, until one realises that society is starting to turn ugly. It is most disturbing that anti-social behaviour is (ironically) creeping its way across social media. More should be done. Trolls and anti-social internet behaviour need to be nipped in the bud, and not be merely subjected to a “lighttouch” scheme. Just as dragging innocent family members into the ugly spotlight is hurtful, so must the punishment towards such trolls cut straight to the heart. This year’s campaign, with its added urgency and call to action, is a step in the right direction. Hopefully, it will not be mere online chatter, but an invitation to a wider conversation about Internet etiquette.
CHRONICLE CHIEF EDITOR Alfred Chua
OPINIONS EDITOR Huang Caiwei
MANAGING EDITOR Liu Ting Ting
CHINESE EDITORS Camelia Ting Teo Sijia
SUB-EDITORS Kerri Heng Tiffany Goh Audrey Tan Ng Jian Yang Sandy Lai Eunice Toh Koh Yong Sheng Oh Lee Shan Celine Chen DIGITAL EDITOR Jay Yeo COMMUNITY EDITOR Jonathan Lee NEWS EDITORS Aqil Haziq Louisa Tang LIFESTYLE EDITORS Justin Kor Serena Yeh REVIEWS EDITOR Zachary Tang DAPPER EDITORS Kames Narayanan Leslie Wong
PHOTO EDITORS Clifford Lee Tan Xiu Qi SPORTS EDITORS Lisa Oon Saeful Hakim GRAPHICS EDITOR Pamela Ng VIDEO PRODUCERS Michael Chen Kelly Phua Wu Bingyu BUSINESS MANAGERS Ho Xiu Xian Lionel Lim Melanie Heng Sheena Wong PRODUCTION SUPPORT Ng Heng Ghee TEACHER ADVISORS Debbie Goh Lau Joon-Nie Zakaria Zainal
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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frankly, my dear
A column by Chronicle Editors on issues close to their hearts
Balancing Act GRAPHIC: WONG WEI LOONG
essage f rom my hall’s publication director: “Can you cove r tod ay a nd tomorrow’s games?” Message from my sof tball coach: “We should start training for next year’s Inter-Hall Games, when are you free?” Message from my Scrabble teammate: “Hey, supper tonight?” Message from my classmate: “Have you subm it ted you r assignment to Turnitin?” Message from my mum: “Are you coming home this weekend?” These W hatsApp messages come in fast and furious, making me sigh in response. This inundation of activities and obligations is what hall life is like. There are activities to take part in ever y single day. Sometimes it is fun, but sometimes the idea of hibernating in bed with the phone turned off seems mightily appealing. Don’t get me wrong, I love my hall. Forming strong bonds with one another is an inevitable part of hall life. Living together, everyone starts to feel like family, and I would do anything for this family of mine. However, it does take a toll when I end up not having enough time for my real, biological family. During the Inter-Hall Games (IHG), I sometimes decided not to go home because I have a game or training session to attend. It got so bad that my mother constantly (half-jokingly) asked me: “What’s your surname?” She is very proud of her little joke and thinks it is funny because I spend so much time away from them. I just laugh weakly. Why then, do I continue to join hall activities? The real question is: What could I possibly drop? I joined my hall’s publication team because I love writing and taking photos. Helping people relive their memorable days brings me more joy than I can explain. My second love, softball, is yet another commitment I cannot bear to let go. The girls in the team are like my sisters. We eat together, have heart-to-heart talks, and of course, we train together. I cannot recall a single training session that did not drag on because we were
having so much fun that we lost track of the minutes. I also picked up darts this year, diving headfirst into the game without any experience or know-how. It paid off at the IHG when I became a capped player. These are players whom the other competing halls seek to remove from the next IHG due to their good performance. This acknowledgement of excellence and feeling of accomplishment is something that I will remember for a long time. The people I spend the most time with in hall are my Boggle and Scrabble teammates. They are fun-loving, never seem to need sleep, and never seem to have any homework. I find myself always hanging out with them, as they jio (invite) me out for supper or challenge me to a game of Scrabble. With these many commitments, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. In fact, I feel that way on most days because events are bound to clash. This is when the situation gets sticky because I am forced have to choose. At the end of the day, it is
all about time management and getting my priorities right. If there is a competition coming up, then I will choose training over my publication duties. If I have homework to submit, then I will make sure I set aside time to get it done. Most importantly, I try to make time for my family. If I cannot go home to spend time with them, I will at least send some texts or call them to let them know they are still in my thoughts. But for now, a deep calming breath, and series of replies. To m y h a l l’s publ icat ion director: “I will not be able to cover today’s game because I have an assignment due tomorrow. I will cover tomorrow’s.” To my softball coach: “I will have to get back to you, but I would love to resume training.” To my Scrabble teammate: “Could you buy some food back for me? I don’t have the time to head out because of my assignment.” To my classmate: “I am going to submit it tonight. See you in school tomorrow?” To my mum: “Yes, I am. Let’s have a family dinner.”
22/2/14 4:15 AM
5mm apart from story
Breaching Trust HUANG CAIWEI OPINIONS EDITOR
ast December, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine winner Randy Schekman announced his boycott against leading a few academic journals, including Nature, Cell and Science. In his article for The Guardian, Schekman explains that “his lab would no longer send research papers to top-tier journals” because they are “distorting the scientific process”. Schekman is one of many scientists who have spoken up about his concerns over scientific journals’ practices. This leads us to the pertinent question:
can we fully trust science? The word “science” holds a certain authority in the minds of the public — we automatically associate a piece of information to be true when it is termed “scientific”.
There is conscious and intentional deceit, whereby scientists and scholars sell their souls in exchange for fame or fortune.
On a fundamental level, Science is, broadly speaking, a discipline aimed at understanding and seeking the truth of the natural world. Furthermore, the stereotypical image of a scientist is one in a white lab coat, devoting his or her life to research and saving the world. There are, of course, many examples of heroic scientific figures. The names Marie Curie, Alexander Fleming, and Albert Einstein come to mind. For these reasons, we may put unequivocal trust in the scientific community to deliver us truths, answers and a better future. It is thus disappointing to find a proliferation of misconduct by scientists, leaving science devotees feeling betrayed.
According to a paper by Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America, “the percentage of scientific articles retracted because of fraud has increased (about) 10-fold since 1975”. Therefore, we should start being skeptical about “scientific facts” presented to us. The case gets serious when there is conscious and intentional deceit, whereby scientists and scholars sell their souls in exchange for fame or fortune.
Furthermore, the stereotypical image of a scientist is one in a white lab coat, devoting his or her life to research and saving the world. Past cases of data falsification came with serious consequences. Jan Hendrik Schön was stripped of his PhD from University of Konstanz in Germany, after his publications on superconductive properties of organic materials were found spurious in a formal investigation in 2002. Erroneous reports and publications in science may actually be rampant today. “Academic scientists readily acknowledge that they often get things wrong. There are errors in a lot more of the scientific papers being published, written about and acted on than anyone would normally suppose, or like to think,” reported The Economist in October last year. If we cannot trust scientists themselves, can we at least rely on acclaimed journals to maintain checks and balances? Authority does not always equate to accuracy, apparently.
Appeal of authority is an easy fallacy to fall into. Even when writing this article, research had to be done and part of the precess is trusting.
GRAPHIC: JONATHAN LIM
20.08 pg 23 ® Science .indd 1
In 1998, Fiona Godlee, Editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal, sent an article containing eight deliberate mistakes to test over 200 BMJ reviewers. No one picked out all the mistakes. Reviewers picked up an average of about two mistakes each. The appeal to authority is an easy fallacy to fall into. Even when writing this article, research had to be done and part of the process is about trusting our data and the reputation of our sources. The reputation of science is built on centuries of rigorous work by thinkers and inventors. We should still give them credit where credit is due. However, as The Economist fittingly concludes, we should always “trust but verify”.
22/2/14 4:00 AM
canteen talk NTU has recently started to offer accredited Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) through popular MOOCs website Coursera. We speak to students to find out if they would take these online courses.
Yes because it allows me to learn at a pace I’m comfortable with. They allow for more efficient time planning.
Konfrontasi: the Past and Present Ng Jian Yang Audrey Tan Sub Editors
Low Shao Jun, 24, MSE, Year 4
No because I prefer face-toface interaction. An online course provides a more one directional interaction. Frensky Twinda Wijaya, SCE, 22, Year 1
Not now because the courses are quite limited. Students may lose focus at times because it is easy to get distracted. Venus Goh Qianyi, 19, HSS, Year 1
It depends on whether they offer any courses that I’m interested in. I will take one in psychology. Lam Wei Shun, 22, NBS, Year 1
I would because I can take it during my IA (Industrial Attachment) next year and graduate earlier. Nuraihan Abdul Jalil, 21, SCBE, Year 2
TEXT: HUANG CAIWEI PHOTOS: ONG SHI HUI JEANETTE
20.8_pg24 .indd 1
CHRONICLE 08 NO.
he r ecent na m i ng of a n Indonesian frigate after two marines executed for a 1960s bombing of the MacDonald House in Singapore continues to stir divisive views between politicians on both sides. Many Singaporean ministers have urged in, strong words, for their Indonesian counter par ts to reconsider the move to name the new naval ship after Osman Mohamed Ali and Harun Said. Indonesian ministers, meanwhile, have publicly decried what they perceive as undue interference in the country’s domestic affairs. The issue is likely to be another pressure point in the tenuous relationship between the us and our neighbour, which is already strained by the intractable haze issue born with the annual burning of Indonesian forests. As the war of words escalate, Singapore has declared that she will not allow the “Usman Harun” to call at our ports and naval bases, or conduct joint military exercises with the disputed vessel. The bombing happened during Indonesia’s Konfrontasi , or confrontation, with the newly formed Malaysia, which Singapore was part of from September 1963 to August 1965. T he at tack on Mac Dona ld House was the worst of a series of attacks launched by members of Indonesia’s special Operations Corps Command, who had infiltrated the island. The explosion claimed the lives of 3 Singaporeans, and injured 33 others. The two men responsible were charged and hanged in Singapore in 1968. In Indonesia, they received the status of national heroes and a ceremonial funeral. Following their hangings, the Singapore embassy and consul’s residence in Indonesia were attacked and the Singapore flag was regretfully burned. The matter was closed in May 1973 when then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew sprinkled flowers on the graves of the two marines. There is a certain sense of irony that this issue has erupted into our consciousness after lying dormant for so many years in the lead up to Singapore’s Total Defence Day. In the increasingly poignant enumerations about reopened wounds on one side, and recognising national heroes on the other, one group has been strangely sanguine – Singapore’s young. In lieu of outrage, youths here have flocked to cyberspace to mock the diplomatic fiasco. A satirical work by website newnation alleging “PM Lee unfriends Susilo
GRAPHIC: JONAS YEO
Bambang Yudhoyono on Facebook” quickly went viral, with over 5,400 Facebook “likes”. A quick check with my friends revealed that while the facts of the conflict are now common knowledge, we just don’t care very much about it.
The two men responsible were charged and hanged on Singapore in 1968. In Indonesia, they received the statues of national heroes and a ceremonial funeral. This is yet another tragic example of our apathetic generation. We have been drilled since young through national education and social studies the defining moments
of our tumultuous history. We can recite the five defences that comprise Total Defence from memory. We can wax lyrical on the importance of our right to sovereignty and self-determination in an academic essay. But these events are just like those shallow scratching of pen on paper. Empty words on a page. We are unable to empathise and relate to our shared story. The phrase “show consideration for the pain of the surviving members of the victims” and its variants are bandied about on the media, when we really feel nothing. Perhaps it is because the Gen Y population never experienced Singapore’s coming-of-age from the nation’s pre-independence, hence unable to identify with the collective history. Instead, our national identities and perceptions are formed largely by the media and the Internet, which has become the essence of our social world. In trying to engage in online wrangling, we instead disengage from a significant and meaningful awareness of who we are and where we come from.
22/2/14 4:22 AM
CHRONICLE 08 NO.
louder than words: Hazy outlook Graphic: Chin Li Zhi
Illustration : Kalaimathi Mahendran
louder than words: Flappy snappy
Infographic: Jonathan Lim
Sporting fun Tessa Cho
PLAYING BALL: Tchoukball was introduced as a sports module last semester.
PHOTO: ALEX TAI
Tchoukball and Modern Jazz Dance are two new modules rolled out last semester by NTU for students to have fun while clearing academic units.
ports modules offered by the Sport Science and Management (SSM) programme at NTU have always been popular among students — with subjects often heavily oversubscribed. Their appeal is twofold. The curriculum typically involves learning a new sport to clear academic units, which can be a breath of fresh air to most of the other conventional, classroom-based modules. Furthermore, these modules are open to all NTU undergraduates. To meet the rising demand of broader interests, two new modules, Tchoukball and Modern Jazz Dance, were introduced last semester, said Ms Ashley Lee, Programme Manager of the Physical Education and Sport Science department in the National Institute of Education. “Instructors are mostly recruited from a closely-knit physical education and sports fraternity, and they are carefully screened and reviewed by Programme Directors and committee members of the SSM programme,” said Ms Lee.
A different ball game
The Tchoukball module is assessed based on three main components — professional qualities, practical assessment and a written quiz. Throughout the course, students will also learn technical and tactical skills of the game. The former includes ball-passing techniques while the latter includes learning gameplay formation. Students will also be taught the role of a court official, and how to referee a tchoukball match. Jane Wong, 20, a first-year student from the SSM programme, completed the Tchoukball module last semester. “The course is great and its lessons are enjoyable, especially since the teacher is experienced in both theoretical and practical aspects of the game. “Throughout the course, my interpersonal skills and tchoukball skills also improved,” she said. Tan Jun Yu, 24, a third-year student from the SSM programme, said that interested students with no prior experience in the game need not fret, as tchoukball has a gentle learning curve compared to other ball games. “It’s easy to start playing because of the rules: no interception of passes and no physical contact. Beginners can learn to play at their own pace,” added Tan, who took the Tchoukball module last semester.
Dancing to a different beat
NTU students can also opt for the Modern Jazz Dance module if tchoukball is not their cup of tea. Through this module, students will learn the history of the dance form, proper stretching, conditioning and across-thefloor progressions, such as kicks, turns and jazz walk. At the end of the semester, students will be assessed on theoretical concepts, dance terminology and practical demonstrations. Christabel Reena David, 23, a final-year student from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, is taking the Modern Jazz Dance module as an elective this semester. “I chose an elective that was less academically rigorous for my final year. “I think it's great to be able to do something I like as a module, especially since I have my Final Year Project and a core module to cope with,” she said.
20.8 Sports Page 26.indd 1
22/2/14 1:07 AM
Sochi Olymemepics Joni Liamzon
he popular saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” has been validated with the explosion of memes chronicling some of the most memorable moments in the ongoing Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. The quadrennial event began with a spectacular opening ceremony at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on 7 Feb, complete with elaborate performances and stunning visuals. However, one mishap involving the Olympic rings might just prove to be the most memorable act of the night. In the aftermath of the opening ceremony mishap, netizens were quick to release a string of memes capturing the moment when one snowflake failed to ‘bloom’ into the fifth Olympic ring. (bottom right) Another one of the more popular Sochi-inspired memes would be that of 22-year-old American figure skater Ashley Wagner’s dissatisfied reaction at her short programme score of 63.10. (top right) So what exactly is a meme? Patrick Davison, a PhD student at New York University’s Department of Media, Culture, and
Communication and co-founder of MemeFactory, defines the term ‘meme’ as “a piece of culture, typically a joke, which gains influence through online transmission”. MemeFactor y is a group of three men who perform shows which present and discuss memes from around the world. Meme culture is also gaining traction off line. News regarding social media are commonly reported in traditional media like newspapers so non-Internet users are not left out. However, looking back, this meme phenomenon was remarkably obscure — if not, non-existent — in the previous Olympics, yet it maintains a curious presence in the current Sochi Olympics. The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver had no such culture. One could only argue that the meme culture thrived only in recent years due to the increased social media and social networking activity. Indeed, a study by research company eMarketer in 2013 revealed that the number of social media users globally grew from 1.22 billion in 2011, to 2.55 billion last year. Memes are indeed entertaining and many find it funny because
they are free to manipulate them, by adding their own witty captions to them. There is even an app which allows users to make their own memes. The universal entertainment value of such memes makes them a valuable, albeit indirect, form of publicity, especially for the Sochi Olympics. With the growing prominence of social media and people harnessing their right to freedom of expression, we can now sit back and relax as we look forward to the next wave of memes that will accompany the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio 2016.
Kim Yuna, acknowledging her nerves at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Football is for all Joshua Tang
20.8 Sports Page 27.indd 1
Football clubs across UK join the fight against homophbia.
every sliding tackle, every shot blocked and every gut-busting run. There is an obsession with power and winning — qualities that are not commonly associated with the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) individuals. Because male homosexuals are still stereotyped as effeminate, the cliché that ‘Gays are soft’ and do not belong in football — generally perceived as a masculine sport — persists. Awareness and education are crucial for those who are not well informed of the issue of homosexuality beyond societal stereotypes. Thankfully, the football com-
“I am a human being. I get nervous all the time. It just doesn’t show on my face.”
ports, especially football, has long been used as a platform to gather support for various causes such as racism and drug abuse, among others. But more recently, football found itself confronted by another widespread yet rarely discussed issue – homosexuality in sports – after former German and Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger came out of the closet last month. The confession, made just as Hitzlsperger announced his retirement from football, thrust the sport into the spotlight. A media storm ensued. That Hitzlsperger only felt comfortable admitting his sexual orientation after retirement spoke volumes of the subversive oppression that exists within the football community. Friends, family and ex-teammates have since come out in support of Hitzlsperger. But for many others like him, the very real fear of career suicide and social ostracisation ensures their continued silence. Football has always been stereotyped as a sport associated with masculinity. The crowd cheers at
they said that?
munity has made some strides in this area. Spearheading the change is Football v Homophobia (FvH). Launched four years ago in the United Kingdom with only five professional clubs on board, FvH has since grown to 40 Football League clubs, including top teams Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Manchester City. FvH aims to make football safe for everyone by opposing homophobia at all levels of football, from grassroots to professional. Activities are held all year round to encourage people to take action against discrimination
based on sexuality or gender identity in football. Their latest campaign celebrates and welcomes diversity, providing support, communication materials, education and training to enable anyone to promote the message that football is for everyone. FvH’s partnership with the Barclays Premier League (BPL) clubs could bring about an environment where the LGBT community will be less marginalised in the world of football, especially with the BPL’s vast global outreach. What is needed now is for more high profile athletes to lend their star power to the cause. A person’s identity or sexuality should not be material for jokes and insults, much less an excuse for violence and abuse. Ultimately, FvH reminds us of the values upheld by sports and Olympism – excellence, friendship, respect, universality and most importantly, non-discrimination. Perhaps in the near future, coming out of the closet for a sportsman wouldn’t have to be at the point of retirement, or better yet, wouldn’t be news at all.
“There are 12 new events in this year’s Winter Olympics... including the women’s ski jumping, lugeteam relay, and finding a working toilet.” Talk show host Conan O’Brien, referencing reports about the lack of proper sanitary facilities at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
“I think in the whole match we didn’t have a referee with impartiality to both teams. He decided the game.” Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini criticising referee Jonas Eriksen after his side’s 2-0 defeat to Barcelona in the first leg of their last-16 Champions league tie.
22/2/14 2:50 AM
Memes and the Sochi Olympics: Page 27
A lighter touch Contact rugby was replaced by touch rugby at the 2013/2014 Inter-Hall Games. Tan Chin Hong finds out the reasons and the reactions
his season’s Inter-Hall Games (IHG) has seen a change made to the lineup of games. Among the changes made, students might have realised that rugby has changed from contact rugby, consisting of 10 players, to touch football. The latter, more commonly known as touch rugby, consists of six players. This is the first time that touch rugby is played in the IHG.
In response to queries from the Nanyang C h ron ic le, a spokesper son f rom t he Student Affairs Office (SAO) cited safety as the primary reason for the change. wwHe said: “The change was a result of the discussion between SAO and the respective halls’ Junior Common Room Committees (JCRCs). Touch rugby is a safer sport and offers less risk of injury.” Touch rugby is widely considered to be a safer option compared to contact rugby. Many argue that minimal contact in touch rugby reduces the possibility of injuries. Despite some similarities between the two, the rules and tactics involved are vastly different sports. Pr a sheen Pa r a m , 21, a f i r st-yea r st udent f rom t he Na nya ng Bu si ness School, welcomed the change. “I used to avoid playing rugby because there was too much contact. With the introduction of touch rugby with IHG, it got me really interested to try a new sport,” he said.
START OF A NEW ERA: The 2013/2014 Inter Hall Games saw the introduction of touch rugby as a sport.
SAME BALL, DIFFERENT GAME
A faster game
Besides safety concerns, others welcomed the move because they prefer the rules of touch rugby. Edmund Teo, 22, a second year student f rom t he Sc hool of Mec ha n ica l a nd Aerospace Engineer ing (M A E ) , said: "Touch r ugby and contact r ugby are entirely different games; t he for mer benefits those who are leaner and faster.” In contact rugby, size is an advantage. It would be difficult to tackle large players and stop them from advancing across the field of play. In touch rugby, however, just a touch wou ld stop t he player f rom ga i n i ng ground. The benefits that size has in touch rugby is almost all but reduced while speed and agility are prized.
Other students however, feel that the effects of the change might not entirely be positive, mainly due to the negative effects it may have on the IVP contact rugby team and interest in the sport in general.
20.8 Sports Page 28.indd 1
TOUCH, NOT TACKLE: In touch rugby, tackles are illegal. "Touches" are the only form of contact allowed.
IVP player Daniel Lum, 23, said: “With the change from contact rugby to touch rugby in IHG, an outlet to gain experience for IVP players (through more playing time) is lost.” The second-year student from MAE added that the IHG presents an opportunity for the NTU contact rugby team to unearth hidden talent. The removal of contact rugby prevents this possibility. Similarly, first-year student Shannon Sin, 21, from Nanyang Business School, feels that there will be dwindling interest in contact rugby as a result of the switch to touch r ugby, say ing: “T he change
“Touch rugby is a safer sport and offers less risk of injury.” Spokesperson Student Affairs Office
will definitely garner more support. But ultimately, there will be fewer people who will continue on as contact rugby players as a result of the change.”
TOUCH football, or touch rugby as it is known in the IHG, replaces contact rugby in the games. There are many differences between contact rugby and touch rugby, for one, the lack of a ‘scrum’ in touch rugby: where players huddle together in pack to contest for a ball after an infringement. There is also the lack of a “ruck” in touch rugby: where the ball carrier has been tackled and a contest for the ball ensues, as well as the lack of kicking the rugby ball in touch rugby. The most obvious difference between the two is the lack of contact tackles. According to the International Rugby Board's rules for contact rugby, “a tackle occurs when the ball carrier is held by one or more opponents and is brought to ground.” In addition, tacklers must also “go to ground”, implying that the tackler must bring his opponent down with him. In touch rugby however, the contact tackle is replaced with a touch to the body of the opponent or the ball.
22/2/14 2:59 AM