ISSN NO. 0218-7310
南苑 | 26
NEWS | 03
President speaks; students rock out
CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION Less pain, more fun
BUBBLE BALL BRAWL LIFESTYLE x SPORTS | 07
HORSING AROUND LIFESTYLE | 10
The Briefing Room:
Our news editors’ pick of interesting news stories from around the world
Reaching for the skies
APPLE announced the shipping dates for its highly anticipated foray into wearable tech, with Singapore not earmarked for the 24 Apr release to nine countries. Three versions of the wearable tech will be released. The aluminium Apple Watch Sport will start at US$349 (S$483). The stainless steel version, the Apple Watch, will range from US$549 to $1,099. Meanwhile, The Apple Watch Edition, crafted from custom rose or yellow 18-karat gold alloys, is the priciest, starting from US$10,000.
CHANGI Airport has retained the title of the World’s Best Airport for the third year running at the annual World Airport Awards, held on 12 Mar at the Passenger Terminal EXPO in Paris, France. The victory represents the sixth time that Changi Airport has won the title, after fending off competition from South Korea’s Incheon International Airport (runner-up) and Germany’s Munich Airport (second runner-up). The airport was also crowned the Best Airport in Leisure Amenities for the seventh time.
Taken star calls time
Alligator joins golfers on the greens
Ferguson police officers shot
A LARGE alligator in Florida has catapulted to fame, after images of it lounging on a golf course went viral. The alligator, estimated to be three to four metres long, has adopted the Myakka Pines Golf Club in Englewood on Florida’s West Coast as a hangout spot, but its presence has not disrupted activities at the course. A women’s tournament last Wednesday (11 Mar) took place as planned, with golfers taking care to putt around the reptile. The club’s general manager, Mickie Zada, said that despite regular alligator sightings at the club, there have been no alligator attacks throughout its 37-year-old history. The largest one said to have patronised the club was four-and-a-half meters long, nicknamed “Big George". STAR of the Taken series, Liam Neeson, has revealed plans to quit acting in action movies, after claiming that “there is a limit” to taking on action-oriented films. The success of the trilogy, which started in 2008, has seen Neeson becoming associated with this genre of movies. However, the star has shown an inclination to move on from the genre. His upcoming movies include Ted 2, a comedy centred around a crude-talking bear.
TWO police officers were shot in Ferguson, Missouri, last Thursday (12 Mar) during a late-night demonstration in the city, following the resignation of the Ferguson police chief just hours before. The officers were hit soon after midnight as they stood outside the Ferguson police headquarters, St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar said at a press conference early on Thursday morning. The city has been gripped by unrest since the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer last year. PHOTOS: INTERNET
ON THE WEB
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Love, Bonito Giveaway
News: NTU graduates starting on the front foot
A recent graduate employment survey has revealed positive job prospects for NTU's Class of 2014, with many securing higher starting salaries and jobs within six months of graduation. News Editor Toh Ting Wei reports on the results, and talks to students and graduates about it.
News: New travel app by NTU students wins competition by Tencent
A mobile application created by two NTU Engineering students that can identify and give you a personal ‘tour' of local landmarks, has won the 2014 edition of the WeMage Challenge, a competition to develop the best app for WeChat. News Writer Saranya Mahendran reports.
Video: Subsidised horse riding lessons for NTU students Watch Video Producer Muhammad Zailani Ismail as he experiences horse riding for the first time, and find out how you can enjoy exclusive discounted rates for lessons at Gallop Stables.
Reviews: Unbroken This inspirational blockbuster film documents World War II veteran Louis Zamperini's transition from Olympian distance runner to a prisoner-of-war captured by the Japanese Navy. Reviews Writer Nicole Ang gives her take on why this story about the human spirit was more long-drawn than necessary.
The Nanyang Chronicle is giving away five Love, Bonito vouchers (worth $20 each). The contest will run from 16 to 20 Mar and winners will be notified via Facebook by 22 Mar. Head over to our Facebook page for contest details!
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Final Year Projects take flight — Page 4-5
NTU’s year of celebration University will join the nation in SG50 celebrations, while positive rankings and new facilities mean there is much to look forward to
Plans in the pipeline
Toh Ting Wei News Editor
his year’s NTU Fest will be part of the nation’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, on top of its role as a charity extravaganza. Announcing this at the annual State of the University Address at the Nanyang Auditorium on 12 Mar, NTU President Bertil Andersson is looking for the event to follow in the footsteps of the 2014 NTU Fest, which he praised as “an absolute success beyond all expectations”. Prof Andersson said: “The Minister of Education (Mr Heng Swee Keat) has asked the university to organise NTU Fest 2015 as part of the celebrations. “NTU Fest is an example of how students, student leaders and the university can do big things and pull the NTU community together. I hope NTU Fest 2015 will be even more impressive and exciting in honour of Singapore.” To be held on 29 Aug at The Promontory @ Marina Bay, the theme of NTU Fest this year is “See-
MOVING AHEAD: While Professor Andersson was delighted with NTU’s academic and research achievements in the past year, he also spoke of the need to work harder to mantain and improve on these successes. PHOTO: NTU
ing Beyond Yourself”. It will highlight the “inclusiveness of family and contributions to society”. The event will see an attempt to create a record-breaking banner showing NTU Fest’s logo, formed by 10,000 photos of participants. Apart from announcing the milestone festivity at the address, there was also a celebration of teaching excellence, with the Nanyang Education Award (University). Launched to recognise excellence in teaching, it is NTU’s most prestigious award for faculty members. Professors Vijay Sethi and Jenny Higham received the Gold Award, while Associate Professor Roderick Wayland Bates took the Silver
Award. Meanwhile, Associate Professors Ruth Wong and Jung Younbo received the Bronze Award. Prof Andersson also touched on the university’s performance in various rankings, lauding the results shown in both research and academic excellence. For example, in the 2014 QS World University Rankings, NTU was crowned the Best Young University among those established in the past 50 years.
Room for more
Students will stand a better chance to stay in Hall of Residences, with 16,000 — half the student population — expected to be housed on campus by 2017.
“More students will have the opportunity to immerse in university life 24/7, which provides further opportunities to develop students. We have developed a residential education model that will enhance intellectual growth, community development and personal engagement for our students. “It is important to learn beyond the classroom and simple facts,” said Prof Andersson. He added that this model will help students develop useful skills needed for the workforce. In order to build on this, NTU is considering the appointment of a dean to oversee the university’s residential education network.
Although some undergraduates might be more accustomed to seeing green construction boards on campus, Prof Andersson aims to paint the university in a different shade of green. He said: “We are going to turn this campus into a botanical garden. We are starting to work together with Singapore Botanic Gardens to increase the biodiversity of plants on this unique tropical campus.” While renovation is still undergoing at Carpark A in the North Spine, this year has seen the completion of two construction projects — the NTU Learning Hub at South Spine, and the Nanyang Lake, which is located beside the Chinese Heritage Centre. Prof Andersson said he was looking forward to the official opening of the Learning Hub in August, declaring that it “will change campus life quite dramatically”. In addition, he also discussed his ambition of expanding the current three-kilometre long jogging track to circle the whole campus. The rehabilitated Nanyang Lake was a particular point of delight for Prof Andersson, having promised to clean it up at last year’s State of the University Address. He joked: “Previously, it was a muddy lake that I would never consider taking my wife to, but now, I will consider it.”
Makeover for Nanyang Lake completed STUDENTS used to describe it as foul-smelling and muddy, but eight months of rehabilitation work has seen the Nanyang Lake undergo a drastic transformation. Gone are the days where dead aquatic life floated on its yellowishbrown water, with the lake now a viable retreat. The lake’s reopening last month came as a welcome sight for students like Kenny Chua, 23. The second-year student from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering said: “The lake used to be extremely smelly and stagnant, but it is cleaner and clearer now, such that I can even see the fishes swimming inside.” An NTU spokesperson said that during its closure, the lake was dredged to remove silt, which had accumulated over the years. Work was also done to prevent erosion of the lake’s embankment. Students the Nanyang Chronicle spoke to said that the lake was formerly a popular spot for birthday celebrations, with the birthday boy or girl being thrown inside as
a ‘present’. However, this practice has been discouraged by Associate Professor Kwok Kian Woon, Associate Provost (Student Life). He said: “As with any water body, visitors to the lake are expected to behave responsibly and to ensure their own safety and the safety of others. “The deepest part of the lake is 3.5 metres and even at certain parts near the edge, the depth is 2m, so no visitors should enter the water.”
More than a lake
For photography enthusiasts like Sakthivelan Chandran, 21, the lake acts as a training ground to further hone their skills. The first-year student from the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences said: “The greenery in the surroundings, along with the calm water body, come together to provide an ideal location for photo shoots and impromptu pictures.” Fishing is only allowed for permit holders from NTU Anglers’ Club (NTUAC), who are required to release any fish caught back into
CLEANED UP: The Nanyang Lake is now a more attractive hangout for students, a far cry from its days as a muddy and smelly lake. PHOTO: CHARISSE ONG
the lake. Derek Yeo, 25, president of NTUAC, said that the rehabilitation of the lake has seen the diversity of fish species reduced to just two, from 10 previously. However, fishing activities will
soon resume, with a fishing carnival set to be held on 28 Mar. The third-year student from the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering added: “There are plans to replenish the fish in the lake over time when we have the
funds and after we have studied what fish to introduce. “We want to create a balanced ecosystem that will bring about a self-sustainable lake.”
Toh Ting Wei
To FYP and beyond
A TEAM EFFORT: (Clockwise from left) The co-founders of The Platform Collective (TPC) organised a series of talks to encourage businesses to collaborate; Isaac Tan briefing the audience about TPC’s goals; Sandra Riley Tang of The Yoga Co. speaks about her path to success.
More students are using their Final Year Projects as a stepping stone to their careers and turning their ideas into reality Cara Wong Janell Chu
he Final Year Project (FYP) is a daunting hurdle for even the toughest students, but these months of hard work also mark the beginning of careers for some budding entrepreneurs. A group of final-year students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI) are living this example. Caster Teoh, Isaac Tan, Wong Yan Ting and Olivia Ng created a website to matchmake startups, called The Platform Collective (TPC). This ‘matchmaking agency’ for startups allows local businesses to barter skills and services to offset monetary expenses. Apart from bartering, TPC aims to foster community spirit among local startups, encouraging them to work with and support one another. The students are confident that their project will find an audience here and they plan to turn it into a full-fledged business after graduation. “We wanted to turn competition into collaboration. Relive the kampung spirit online, and bring it offline,” said Teoh, 25. They were inspired after hearing a speech made by Emeritus Senior
Minister Goh Chok Tong at a community event last year. He said that the jury is still out for the younger generation on whether they could build on the contributions of Singapore’s pioneers. Wong, 23, noted that the younger generation was often criticised for being less hardworking than previous generations. However, the group felt that what they saw on the ground was very different from what was reported. “We saw a lot of young people working hard, trying to carve a name for themselves and make a difference in their businesses. Yet, many had difficulties sustaining them. “There was a need for more opportunities to collaborate with people from other industries to access more resources. That was how The Platform Collective first came about,” said Wong. To spur on the entire community, TPC organised a series of talks encouraging startups to connect with one another. One such event was held at Food for Thought’s outlet at the National Museum of Singapore on 5 Mar. The group and seven collaborators demonstrated the spirit of bartering by organising the event solely through a mutual exchange of services. With 50 startups such as bespoke tailoring service Mr Gentleman and café Hyde & Co already signed up as collaborators, the group is confident that their project has the potential to succeed as a business. Teoh said: “Signups have been good, with people bringing us interesting projects. One notable
collaboration we did was for The Baking Yolk, an online baking store. “After featuring it on our website, the owner was approached by another café, and both successfully bartered for services which they might otherwise have to pay for,” he added.
“We saw a lot of young people working hard, trying to carve a name for themselves. There was a need for more opportunities to collaborate with people from other industries to access more resources.” Wong Yan Ting, 23 Final-year student Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
from falls. eVida originally started off as part of Chee’s FYP for the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. The well-received startup was launched after Chee graduated in 2013. Despite its current success, Chee said that eVida was actually a revisitation of a failed FYP idea. Chee said: “(My group) spent about six months in product development, but we couldn’t bring down the cost of manufacturing. “Also, there wasn’t a very strong market demand at that time. We eventually froze the original FYP project and worked on another one instead,” she added. However, Chee’s belief in eVida persisted and her groupmates allowed her to pursue eVida on her own, where she rectified the project’s weaknesses.
PHOTOS: HILLARY TAN, SHAUN TAN
It eventually won the Top Incubation Award and Most Socially Responsible Startup Award at the 2013 Ideas.Inc. Business Challenge, taking home $50,000 in funding from Spring Singapore. Chee added that she learnt hands-on problem solving skills while working on her FYP, which she applied to eVida. “I learnt not just engineering skills, but also the sourcing of components and management of funds — things I probably would not have picked up if not for the FYP,” she said.
Developing new skills
According to WKWSCI FYP coordinator Dr Mark Cenite, starting up businesses is a new development in FYP, and it is far more common for students to work with clients instead for their FYP. However, Dr
The team plans to register their company and source for funding after the completion of their FYP.
Down, but not out
TPC can take cues from another successful entrepreneur, NTU graduate Joyce Chee, 26, who turned a shelved FYP idea into a full-fledged business. Chee co-founded eVida, a startup providing personalised smart home and patient care solutions for the healthcare industry. eVida’s most successful product is the occupancy sensor, which senses a user’s movements and provides alerts to their caregiver, helping patients avoid injuries
ALL TOGETHER NOW: Some of the businesses listed on TPC’s website. PHOTO: INTERNET
SECOND CHANCES: Founder of eVida, Joyce Chee (left), with her company’s most successful product, eBos, a bed sensor that helps the elderly and bedridden patients avoid falls from their bed. A closer look at the control unit (right), which detects a user’s movement and alerts caretakers.
Cenite felt the FYP experience was sufficient for students to embark on a bigger venture beyond school. “The main purpose of FYP would be to showcase what you’ve learnt so far in the programme and to take your skills to the next level, applying it in a real world context. Your FYP should not just be on a library shelf,” said Dr Cenite. Samuel Chi, a final-year student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), echoed Dr Cenite’s sentiments, highlighting the importance of picking up transferable skill sets during FYP.
Chi’s FYP explored whether cognitive training could improve hearing problems in the elderly. “I definitely learnt a lot in terms of skills — handling of equipment, conducting audio checks and administering the cognitive test. “Similar skill sets are used in the audiology department in National University Hospital (NUH), where I might possibly work in the future,” the 25-year-old said. Chi added: “I chose this topic because I want to be a speech therapist in the future. (My FYP) definitely gave me a better under-
standing and awareness of hearing issues that the elderly face.”
Not everyone’s cup of tea
However, other students the Nanyang Chronicle spoke to remained sceptical about extending their FYPs beyond the school term as businesses or otherwise. For most, the nature of their projects makes it difficult for them to commercialise their ideas. “For hard sciences like Chemistry, most projects cannot have a direct real world impact in the near future.
“A lot of our FYPs are so specific (to our areas of study) that the average person will not be able to understand our projects,” said Dillon Tay, 25, a final-year student from the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. For his FYP, Tay worked in the drug discovery team for neurosciences in pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline. His project aimed to generate new Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) drugs for biologists to test and provide feedback for their potential use in treating the
PHOTOS: HILLARY TAN
neurodegenerative disease. Likewise, Chan Wei Jie, 25, felt that his project was also unsuitable to be turned into a business. The final-year student from HSS said: “If I was doing a project with an actual business plan, maybe I would have considered it, since I would already have nurtured those (business) skills through the project. “My project is very much academic-based and it will be difficult to translate it into a business. It all boils down to the nature of the project in the first place.”
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Giving back to the nation
Nazri Eddy Razali
childhood encounter with a PUB officer sparked a passion for a lifetime. “When I was a kid in the 80s, a PUB officer came to my grandmother’s house because there was a problem with the water output,” recalled Gabriel Sim, 33. As an impressionable young boy, he was awed by how the man restored the water service in her house with diligence and professionalism. “It then occurred to me that there is an organisation that works tirelessly to ensure a continuous supply of clean water for all in Singapore. From then on, I’ve always wanted to be part of PUB,” he said. After serving his National Service, Gabriel went on to complete his degree in Mechanical Engineering from NTU in 2008. He joined PUB, the national water agency, immediately after attainment of his degree and is happy with his decision. Garbriel started as an engineer with the Water Supply Network Department, taking care of the network services in the eastern part of Singapore. "Our customers normally call in when there is a problem with the water supply to their homes," he said. For him however, being able to mitigate and rectify faults before they
occur is the ideal scenario. "The best way to know that we're doing a good job is when our call centres have quiet days," he said. Six years on, Gabriel now heads the department as an Ag Principal Engineer. He spends most of his time not only managing PUB’s networks, but also mentoring the younger engineers that work under him. “I find my role fulfilling as I get to pass on the knowledge that I have accumulated over the years to fellow engineers who are as passionate as me,” Gabriel said.
“I find my role fulfilling as I get to pass on the knowledge that I have accumulated over the years to fellow engineers who are as passionate as me.” Apart from that, Gabriel is also involved in other projects; one of the more exciting projects involves the implementation of a sensor monitoring system for PUB’s water networks around Singapore. This system makes use of sensors to detect fluctuations in water pressure within PUB's network. “When the sensors pick up a change in pressure, this might indicate the possibility of a leak in the system,” he explained. This would then allow PUB to rectify any fault to ensure that the
PLANNING AHEAD: For Gabriel, prevention is better than cure when it comes to ensuring the ready supply of clean water. PHOTO: TANG HAO customers will not be affected by it. ''Prior to the implementation of the system, PUB had to rely on customer's feedback to detect for faults, which in our view could have been rectified if the fault was detected earlier.'' Gabriel said. The system has already been put in place in Singapore's city center and is now being implemented in the heartlands.
Giving back to the nation
A key motivation for Gabriel in fulfilling his role in PUB is the thought that he is actively contributing to the nation. “Having a sustainable source of clean water is something that we should be proud of,” he said “But we should remain diligent regardless. After all, when saving water, we all have a part to play.”
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Lifestyle lifestyle x sports feature
BALL F A TIME?
Bubble Soccer sees players don suits which encase them in round plastic bubbles. Lifestyle Writer Laura Kartika Naland and Sports Writer Lim Wei Hao suit up in an exciting collaboration to find out all the rage behind this unconventional sport.
was really excited when I first heard that I was going to play in a Bubble Soccer match. For once, this actually seemed like a sport that I would enjoy. Competitive sports have never appealed to me as I have always been afraid of rough play. Bubble Soccer dispelled all my qualms about getting hurt. The bubble suit that we donned prevented us from coming into direct physical contact with others; colliding with each other would only result in harmless bumps as well as rolling around in fun and laughter. But one thing that I was unprepared for was the weight of the bubble suits — they were ridiculously heavy! Furthermore, suiting up came across as a little daunting at first due to the tight space constraints of the suit. Apart from the substantial weight, which proved to be a burden on my back, the cramped space meant a lack of proper air circulation and stifling heat. In addition, there was an uncomfortable pressure at the back of my head which bugged me for the entire game. I came to find out that it was due to my hair tie pressing against the suit. This makes Bubble Soccer a relatively inconvenient sport for girls with long hair, like myself. It took quite a while before I could get accustomed to playing in the bubble suit. The suit ended just below my knees, inevitably cutting my strides into small
shuffles. This made chasing after the ball even more tiring, and my vision was also inhibited by the suit. For someone like me who does not exercise regularly, Bubble Soccer proved to be an arduous sport and I was exhausted just 10 minutes into the game. However, despite its many limitations, Bubble Soccer also possesses elements of fun that are not present in regular soccer. The bubble suit bestowed upon me a newfound confidence — for the first time in my life, I had the guts to slam into my opponents in a bid to get the ball. I did feel a little scared the first time I was knocked off my feet — I ended up rolling around helplessly, unable to regain my balance. Thankfully, the bubble suit cushioned my fall and the tumble ultimately did no harm. In fact, after getting used to the suit, I actually enjoyed rolling around in it! It was no surprise that we eventually gave up being cordial and bumped into each other in the name of fun, even when the ball was nowhere near us. The end of the one-hour session left me feeling like I had just completed an intensive workout. Ultimately, playing this unique game once was more than enough for me, though adrenaline junkies craving a novel team-building activity should give Bubble Soccer a shot.
-Laura Kartika Naland
BALL IN THEIR COURT: Those interested in Bubble Soccer can visit Bumpz.sg for booking enquiries.
THERE are certain things in life that should be tried at least once, and Bubble Soccer falls into that category. With that being said, just playing it once was certainly good enough for me. When I found out I had the chance to try out this new adaptation of The Beautiful Game, I was a little sceptical and hesitant. Playing soccer in ridiculous-looking bubble suits would be a far cry from ‘normal’ soccer, a sport that I have been involved in since young. With more than 100 years of history, soccer has shaped the lives of many individuals across the world. Legends like Pelé, Diego Maradona and David Beckham have graced stadiums around the world and dazzled us with their ability. Men tussling with each other and chasing after a soccer ball might seem unappealing to some but playing the sport undoubtedly requires a certain level of finesse and motor skills. This often discourages people from giving soccer a try. But as I found out, Bubble Soccer bridges this gap — no athletic proficiency is required at all. In this simple five-a-side game, the general rule of outscoring your opponent remains but there is no such thing as committing fouls in this sport. The first step was getting in and out of the bubble suit, which was rather intuitive. Adopting an almost prone position, I wriggled my way into the suit and slipped
my hands through the shoulder straps. Once inside, I could grab the handles, which helped me to lift the bubble suit. While lifting the suit did not pose too much difficulty, it became quite humid after a while and admittedly, claustrophobic. Being trapped in a bubble suit also caused my vision to be limited. As we started getting better at manoeuvring, the intentional bombarding of our opponents became our main priority. The fun of the game became more about the 360-degree flips and the tumbles rather than scoring goals. However, excitement levels plateaued after a while, since actual face-to-face interaction was minimal. After we got over the initial thrill, playing the game became a little bit laboured and mundane. While I did enjoy the novelty of Bubble Soccer, a part of me felt that there was something lacking. Bubble Soccer is without doubt a game that everyone can play. Unfortunately for those seeking a true competitive sporting experience, this sport may not be the answer. Sorry for bursting your bubble.
-Lim Wei Hao WATCH Chronicle editors, Nur Amyraa and Fabian Loo, try out Bubble Soccer at www. nanyangchronicle.ntu.edu.sg/multimedia
PHOTOS: MOHAMMAD SHYBREE
08-09 LIFESTYLE foodsnoop
EAST V.S. WEST
CLASH OF THE ZONES
The West has nothing much to offer in terms of hawker food — or such is the common misconception. Follow Lifestyle Writers Nadhirah Ismail and Aysha Quek as they attempt to settle the longstanding fight between those from opposite ends of the country, by comparing four local delights from famous hawker food stalls.
MEE GORENG HASS BAWA MEE STALL Marine Parade Food Centre Block 84 Marine Parade Central #01-150 S440084 Opening hours: 11.30am - 9.30pm daily
riginally owned by his father, Hass Bawa Mee Stall is now co-run by Mr Abdulaleem Abdul Latiff, 43, and his nephew, Mr Sheikh Arafat. What makes Mr Abdulaleem’s Mee Goreng (Indian-style fried noodles) special is the sambal (sauce made from a variety of chilli peppers and shrimp paste). We could actually taste its tanginess coated on every single strand of noodle. This, along with the generous amount of vegetables and mutton bits served, made the
dish piquant and fragrant. But priced at $3.50 per plate, Hass Bawa’s Mee Goreng hardly made a favourable impression on us other than its sambal. The noodles tasted too oily and slightly undercooked. Thankfully, the mutton pieces were juicy and tender, and they made up for the unsatisfactory taste of the noodles. Still, those planning to give this a try should head down early, as the place can get crowded during weekends and lunchtimes.
ALTHOUGH the stall has been serving classic Indian Muslim dishes like Mee Kuah (Indian-style noodles in red gravy made of chilli paste) for the past 35 years, N.M. Abdul Rahim, opened by Mr Ashraf Ali, is still best known in the West today for its Mee Goreng. The Mee Goreng served was pipconsistency that did not go well with the smooth rich gravy. But what the Katong Laksa lacked in taste, it sure made up for in terms of authenticity. Served just like the old times, we had to eat the dish with just a spoon, allowing us to get the best gravy-to-noodle ratio in every mouth we took. Overall, we felt that this bowl of Laksa is largely overrated. As much as the gravy was bursting with local flavours, we felt that for $5, fresher ingredients could have been used. That being said, the authentic experience served over at 328 Katong Laksa is one that is hard to be found elsewhere.
TURN UP THE HEAT: 328 Katong Laksa fails to live up to its reputation.
Ayer Rajah Food Centre Block 503 West Coast Drive #01-60 S120503 Opening hours: 8.30am - 1.30am daily
LAKSA 328 KATONG LAKSA 51/53 and 216/218 East Coast Road S428770 Opening hours: 8am - 10pm daily IT IS a widely known fact that 328 Katong Laksa is one of the most popular and raved-about places in Singapore to get your Laksa fix. The plethora of stalls in the area selling Katong Laksa came across as a little daunting to us but
really, it was impossible to miss the original one. It even recently triumphed over Gordon Ramsay in the Singtel Hawker Heroes Challenge in 2013. With such critical acclaim, we had to see if their Laksa was really worth the hype. The aroma of the gravy was intoxicating, and our taste test revealed a thick and rich broth that was punctuated with chilli and coconut milk. Do not let the initial spiciness of the gravy turn you off — subsequent mouthfuls will reveal that this bowl of Laksa has the perfect balance of spice and flavour. However, the noodles felt a little too undercooked. They had a tough
WEI YI LAKSA Tanglin Halt Market & Food Centre 1A Commonwealth Drive S141001 Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 5.30am - 2pm Closed on Mondays
FIRE POWER: Wei Yi’s Laksa is packed with spice and everything nice.
noodles, with the zest and hotness coming through in every bite. We felt that the dish had great texture, and it left us scraping our plates clean. With an abundance of ingredients and great flavour, it sure does justify the price of $3.50. Should you ever be hankering for Mee Goreng, the one at N.M Abdul Rahim is definitely worth a try.
ing hot and generously garnished with peas and tomatoes. This came as a pleasant surprise as most stalls do not usually provide that many greens in their Mee Goreng. The noodles were also springy and the sambal sauce provided a fiery kick. N.M. Abdul Rahim’s dish was strikingly redder than your normal Mee Goreng. Mr Ashraf’s brother attributed this distinctive colour to the quality of the ingredients that go into making the sambal. It was no wonder that the folks at N.M. Abdul declined to reveal their secret sambal recipe — it greatly enhanced the taste and smell of the
N.M. ABDUL RAHIM
SEEING RED: The distinctive red colour is what sets N.M. Abdul Rahim’s Mee Goreng apart from others.
SAMBAL-ICIOUS: The special sambal in Hass Bawa’s Mee Goreng is the star of the dish.
WE WERE greeted with a wide selection of ingredients that we could add into our dish at Wei Yi’s. Thrilled at being able to pick our
favourite ingredients, we finally decided upon the classic selection of Laksa ($3) with prawns, cockles and tau pok (fried beancurd). The gravy was robust in flavour from the coconut milk, which added a distinctive richness to the dish. Despite the appearance of the fiery red gravy, the spice level was mild and addictive. Complemented by springy noodles that were cooked to the right consistency, every slurp was a delight. The other ingredients in the Laksa were commendable too. The prawns were succulent and the cockles were extremely fresh.
VERDICT: WEST. With more ingredients and tastier noodles, this Mee Goreng definitely trumps the one in the East — it was valuefor-money and better in flavour.
But, the tau pok was the one that won over our stomachs. These golden sponges were softer than usual and soaked up the Laksa gravy especially well — every spoonful was an explosion of rich and smooth gravy in your mouth. The ingredients were of top quality, the gravy was savoury and the price was truly justified.
VERDICT: WEST. Those tired of overhyped Laksa should give Wei Yi a try. It satisfied both our pockets and our palates.
CHENG TNG YE LAI XIANG CHENG TNG Bedok Corner Food Centre 1 Bedok Road #01-31 S469572 Opening hours: 8.30am - 1.30am daily A MUCH loved Singaporean dessert, Cheng Tng is a light refreshing soup consisting of dried ingredients such as longans, barley, jelly strips, lotus seeds and a sweet syrup. With their victory in the
2013 Singapore Hawker Masters Challenge, there is no doubt that Ye Lai Xiang Cheng Tng is one of the most popular stores selling Cheng Tng in Singapore. The stall was founded by the late Madam Yap Koo Eng who began selling Cheng Tng in 1939. Her recipe has been passed down for three generations. Despite visiting at the nonpeak hour of 4pm, there was still a queue in front of the stall. But with their efficient service, we managed to get our dessert in a short 10 minutes. A small bowl of Cheng Tng costs $2.50. While we were initially surprised at the slightly higher
price for a usually pocket-friendly bowl of dessert, we later found out that this Cheng Tng contained 11 ingredients, including barley, mung beans, sweet potato and gingko nuts. The dessert usually contains only five ingredients. There were also dried ingredients like persimmon and winter melon strips that are uncommon in your usual bowl of Cheng Tng. Owner Ms CoCo Lim also shared that regular customers of Ye Lai Xiang frequently return for the robust and rich broth. Brewed with pandan leaves for long hours, it is a fragrant and refreshing dessert on its own.
WHERE else can one get a tasty bowl of Cheng Tng at only 90 cents these days? Known for their affordable and delectable old school desserts, Xi Le Ting is the place to go for a quick sweet treat when you’re in the West. Managed by an elderly couple in
their 70s, this stall offers a humble dessert menu of only four items — Cheng Tng, Tau Suan (Mung Bean Soup), Red and Green Bean Soup. Our dessert came in a small and traditional dessert bowl, and was quickly finished within minutes. Both of us agreed that the best part of this dessert was the barley and white fungus. The ingredients were cooked to the right texture, a skill that is hard to master. At a pocket-friendly price of 90 cents, we didn’t harbour high expectations for the exceptionally small bowl of Cheng Tng. Yet, it blew us away with its rich and delightful flavours — every mouthful exploded with sweet longan flavour. Unfortunately, the stall only
to perfection — even the bones were edible. In contrast, their ikan bilis (fried anchovies) were less crispy and made chewing an uncomfortable chore. The chicken wing was also disappointing, with a soggy batter that tasted bland in flavour. These side dishes might have been left out for too long, and pulled down our overall impression of the dish. Mr Sulaiman is one of the selected Master Hawker Trainers in the Hawker Master Trainer Pilot Programme, and has been selling Nasi Lemak for almost 17 years. His skills are definitely reflected in the authentic rice that the stall dishes out. But we certainly hope to see the same thought and finesse applied to the freshly fried dishes the next time we visit.
LONGSTANDING TRADITION: D’Authentic’s Nasi Lemak has been around for 17 years.
XI LE TING Commonwealth Crescent Market Blk 119 Commonwealth Crescent #02-70 S140119 Opening hours: Wednesday - Sunday: 1pm - 10pm
NOT SO SMALL AFTER ALL: Xi Le Ting’s Cheng Tng definitely tastes better than it looks.
NASI LEMAK D’AUTHENTIC NASI LEMAK Marine Parade Food Centre Block 84 Marine Parade Central #01-150 S440084 Opening hours: 7am - 3pm daily MR SULAIMAN Bin Abdul, the owner of D’Authentic Nasi Lemak, lauds his stall as the most authentic Nasi Lemak (a fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and commonly served with chicken, fish, egg and sambal) in Singapore. Whether or not that was true, we were about to find out.
To most people, the star of the Nasi Lemak at D’Authentic would be its sambal. Mr Sulaiman told us that the chilli used is ground, instead of blended, before being mixed in with the secondary ingredients, so as to achieve a deeper taste profile. Unfortunately, the sambal didn’t come across as anything special to us. In fact, we felt that it tasted ordinary and comparable to most many other stores. What stood out for us instead was the rice — it had a slightly sticky texture akin to glutinous rice. The distinct taste and scent of coconut milk in the rice effectively charmed our taste buds, and we adored its lingering flavour at the back of our palates. Quite unlike other Nasi Lemak stalls, we also appreciated the fact that the fish served here was fried
SELERA RASA NASI LEMAK Adam Road Food Centre 2 Adam Rd #01-02 S289876 Opening hours: 7am - 3pm daily
FINGER-LICKING GOOD: Selera Rasa’s Nasi Lemak is a plate of crispy goodness. PHOTOS: CHERYL GOH, HILLARY TAN, LUI SI YING
ORDER UP: The many ingredients in Ye Lai Xiang’s Cheng Tng draws in many customers.
WITH seven different Nasi Lemak sets to choose from, Selara Rasa sure left us spoilt for choice. The stall has won various awards for their dish, including The Straits Times Best Nasi Lemak Award and The Green Book Best Food Award. To find out if they justifiably deserve the accolades, we went ahead with the crowd favourite Chicken Wing Meal — a set which included rice, fried chicken, egg,
cucumber, ikan bilis and sambal at a reasonable price of $3. While chomping on the Nasi Lemak, we realised that the rice tasted lighter and fluffier as compared to others. Selera Rasa makes use of Basmati rice (long grain rice), instead of the normal Thai rice, to achieve this unique texture. Further enriched by coconut milk, the rice was delectable enough on its own. The meat of the fried chicken was surprisingly tender under the crispy skin that was not too oily. Even the ikan bilis were lightly salted and skillfully fried, and biting into them gave an extremely satisfying crunch. The sambal served was the perfect condiment. It was mildly spicy, with subtle sweet notes that made eating much more enjoyable.
serves hot Cheng Tng, making it less refreshing to consume in the tropical heat. Xi Le Ting’s fun-sized dessert is perfect if you’re looking for a quick and cheap Cheng Tng fix.
VERDICT: Aysha’s pick: WEST. This small bowl of Cheng Tng is a big contender in terms of taste. And at a cheap price of 90 cents, this modest bowl was the clear winner for me. Nadhirah’s pick: EAST. Boasting both quality and quantity, the perfectly brewed ingredients in Ye Lai Xiang’s Cheng Tng elevated its taste and definitely worked for me.
We now know why Selera Rasa is the only one out of many Nasi Lemak stalls that is able to capture a steady customer flow all the way to their closing time. Their Nasi Lemak was indeed scrumptious and outstanding!
VERDICT: Aysha’s pick: WEST. I especially appreciate the variety of side dish options to go with my Nasi Lemak, and the various price options that will suit every budget. Nadhirah’s pick: EAST. The rice was the winning factor for me — it was so good that you can simply eat it on its own. And I am willing to look past the less impressive ingredients for the rice.
A RURAL ESCAPE Look no further for a taste of the countryside, away from the hustle and bustle of our urban jungle. Lifestyle Writer Fatin Amira Hairy discovers two places that paint a different side of our cosmopolitan city.
quick 10-minute bus ride from Kranji MRT station brought me to Bollywood Veggies. Among all the different farms in the Kranji countryside, Bollywood Veggies is the only organic farm with a vast variety of local produce. It is also a place that offers an in-depth educational take on rural living. The name Bollywood Veggies was inspired by the Indian heritage of its coowner, Mrs Ivy Singh. According to Mrs Singh, the term “Bollywood” in the name encapsulates fun and variety — something that she aims for the farm to achieve. After being pleasantly greeted with a picturesque view of the farm, I soon learnt from the staff that
the lush greenery within the compound comprised more than 100 varieties of homegrown vegetables and herbs, such as bottle gourd and basil. Curious to find out more about these shades of green, I decided to take a long stroll around the farm. Apart from basking in nature’s sights and scents, I also had fun appreciating the witty signs placed along the way. Some phrases include “Nudity is allowed in the sanctuary” and “Snakes Den: Lookout for pythons, cobras and some politicians”. Indeed, the serene and tranquil atmosphere was a refreshing change, away from the busy city. Bollywood Veggies also hosts a range of interesting
activities for children and adult visitors to have fun and learn more about the countryside life. One such activity is the Kampong Race — a competition similar to The Amazing Race — where teams play exciting games, such as scarecrow-making challenges, while gaining knowledge about food and farming. Another would be the Culinary Challenges, where participants make use of the farm’s produce for a cook-off between teams. The farm definitely takes food seriously — it even has its own Bollywood Food Museum in the compound. The museum is perfect for visitors who want to learn how to better appreciate food and its impact on the society
in the past. Rates for these activities are not fixed and may range from $12 per person for guided tours to over $100 for a full day programme. Contrary to the name of the farm’s in-house bistro, Poison Ivy serves food that is far from poisonous. In fact, you can be sure that the ingredients used are guaranteed fresh and organic. The bistro makes full use of produce grown without fertilisers and harmful pesticides, picked right from Bollywood Veggies. Barely any processed ingredients and salt are used in the preparation process, so as to keep the food as healthy as possible. However, should you require more seasoning in
your dish, you can request for a dash of “poison” — the bistro’s secret seasoning — to be served to make their food more flavourful. (You probably know where the bistro got its name from.) Mrs Singh also shared with me that young entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to showcase their locally-made products, such as homemade jams and natural balms, in the monthly Bolly Jolly event. This event is somewhat similar to a Farmer’s Market, and is held on the last weekend of each month. The next one is just around the corner, and Mrs Singh and her staff are already starting to prepare for it. Who knows what quirky locally-made products will be sold this time round?
HORSING AROUND: (From left to right) Gallop Stable hosts a series of horse-riding activities, and houses chalets adorned with unique cowboy decorations.
HORSE riding against the backdrop of a stunning seascape seems like the perfect marriage, and Gallop Stable at Punggol Road End provides just that. Gallop Stable was established in 2005 by Mr Shanker Jackuda who is also a professional equestrian and horse enthusiast himself. Growing up, Mr Jackuda’s son was deprived of the chance at equestrianism, or better known as horse riding, due to exclusive and expensive club memberships with long waiting lists. In the hope of making horse riding more affordable for all, he set up Gallop Stable. Adopting a unique Wild
Wild West concept, Gallop Stable features the decor of Western influences — from barrel-shaped chairs to an animal fur rug. Stepping out of the reception area made me think twice about where I was. Horses were resting in their yellow-painted stables to my right, while to my left was a line of chalets known as the Gallop Wagons, which looked like horse stables themselves. But, the highlight of Gallop Stable is its variety of horse riding activities. Lessons that are specially tailored to the riders’ experience levels, ensuring that every rider gets the most out of their horse riding session.
“I enjoy coming to Gallop Stable just for a quick getaway from my life,” said equestrian Shafika Maktar, 27, a frequent visitor of Gallop Stable. “Horses make me happy and the remote location is perfect when I want a chance to relax,” she added. Indeed, I got excited just by looking at these galloping horses — imagine how thrilling it would be to actually ride a horse all by yourself! According to Mr Jackuda, the Joy Rides are always a popular option among the visitors as they are allowed to roam the stables freely with the horses. Prices start from $70 for a 45-minute group session,
where you can ride with other horse lovers. After exploring the compound of Gallop Stable, I hopped into one of the rooms at the Wagons where many visitors usually go for a rest. Dumbfounded by its spacious interior, mustard walls and simple wooden furniture, I realised I was wrong to have judged the design and shape of the Wagons. The Wagons had wheels attached to their sides and even had a curved roof — no wonder I mistook them for a horse stable from afar. For a resort situated next to a horse stable, one would expect the room to smell like manure and hay.
To conclude my day, I must say, what a rustic lifestyle I’ve experienced! Indeed, such a unique outof-city experience could only be found at this local farm. And if Bollywood Veggies ignited your enthusiasm for local produce, hop on the Kranji Countryside Express Bus to visit other farms in the vicinity for a complete adventure out of the city.
BOLLYWOOD VEGGIES 100 Neo Tiew Road S719026 Opening Hours: Wednesday - Sunday and Public Holidays: 9am - 6.30pm
PHOTOS: MATTHEW CHEW
Thankfully, the rooms were odour-free. Opening of the windows even allowed for the fresh sea breeze to creep in, creating a relaxing experience. Perfect for a weekend family getaway or a friends hangout, these rooms carry rates that range from $170 to $230 per night. As what Mr Jackuda told me, being close to the horses and sea allows you to forget that you are in Singapore. True enough, Gallop Stable was a sight to behold — I never imagined that such a countrified place actually existed in Singapore. For the full and authentic Wild Wild West experience
right here in our country, you should definitely give Gallop Stable a try. Come donned in a bandana and boots, and get ready to saddle up for some fun.
GALLOP STABLE @ PUNGGOL RANCH 900 Punggol Road S829168 Opening Hours: Monday - Friday: 10.00am - 12.00pm, 2.00pm - 7.00pm Saturdays and Sundays: 10.00am - 7.00pm
WHAT DOES OPPORTUNITY LOOK LIKE?
A student. An employee. A solutions seeker. Dunlin is one and all. With the Industrial Postgraduate Programme (IPP), she is empowered to pursue full-time PhD studies while conducting research at Thales Solutions Asia. Find out how you can make the most of the opportunities. ABOUT IPP & OPPORTUNITIES
Singaporeans & Singapore permanent residents are eligible to apply
21/8/14 3:51 PM
Reviews album & movie
COMING UP FOR AIR
Kodaline Indie Rock Sony Music Entertainment
ollowing their commercially successful debut album In A Perfect World, it would be understandable if indie rock band Kodaline stuck to the tried-andtested sound, which brought them widespread acclaim. Interestingly, the Dublin-based quartet have instead chosen to revamp their winning formula — no doubt a brave, yet risky move. Coming Up For Air bears a parallelism to Coldplay, with a touch of Snow Patrol and Fleet Foxes. Despite that, the Irish rockers still succeed in differentiating themselves from these acts through their rustic, folk-leaning melodies and wistful lyrics that tug at heartstrings. With the abundance of fervent feelings and soul-stirring lyrics, it is little wonder that the band’s material has become a quintessential fit for expressing love, loss and little else. Be that as it may, Kodaline has made a daring attempt to create a
PHOTO: SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
bigger, hard-hitting and dynamic record to differentiate Coming Up For Air from its predecessor. The band’s bold experimentation with divergent music styles has given them room to showcase their versatility, which is fully displayed throughout the album. Opening track Honest promptly establishes the raw emotions expected from a Kodaline album, creating the perfect stepping
stone between the band’s old and new albums. While the soft and sincere verses in Honest are redolent of earlier hits Perfect World and High Hopes, heavy synths that echo throughout the soaring choruses remind listeners of their ambition to stretch their soundscape. Driven by an unorthodox rhythm and a medley of jangly bells, Autopilot is one of the
standout tracks that fully validate the band’s decision to step out of their comfort zone. Along with the supporting gospel choir-esque harmonies, these elements bring a refreshing twist to Kodaline’s sound. The quartet also effortlessly pulls off heavier tunes, which are equally noteworthy. While Human Again, Play The Game and Lost feature elements reminiscent of British rock band Muse, they still retain a dash of Kodaline’s individuality. The former two see revitalising electronic-infused guitar strums and forceful drums integrated into a punchy rhythm, providing a succinct hook for the album. In spite of the apparent overhaul to their sound, fans who favour Kodaline’s slower melodies will not be disappointed. A Kodaline album would be incomplete without their signature power ballads, which the band duly delivered. Paired with emotive piano synths, frontman Steve Garrigan’s hauntingly beautiful vocals spur a familiar sense of intimacy in Everything Works Out in the End and Love Will Set You Free. Less commendable though, are the lyrical clichés dished out by the Irish charmers, namely in The One and Honest.
Action, Science Fiction Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman 120 min
IN an age where technology never seems to stop evolving, one may wonder when artificial intelligence will start to surpass the capabilities of mankind’s. Known for making movies that tackle social issues such as xenophobia and class divide, director Neill Blomkamp explores the subject of sentience with his latest film Chappie. Even though its central character is a robot, Chappie proves itself to be surprisingly human, though its execution leaves something to be desired. Chappie takes place in a dystopian reimagination of Johannesburg, where robots have been commissioned to combat the high crime rate plaguing the South African city. Experimenting with artificial intelligence, inventor Deon Wilson successfully implants human behaviour into a damaged
PARENTAL GUIDANCE: A multitude of owners gives Chappie a complex personality.
model, and the now-sentient robot — christened ‘Chappie’ — then embarks on a journey of self-discovery as it fights for its right to exist. While Chappie can occasionally be loud and violent, the film is not as action-centric as it makes itself out to be. Much like District 9 and Elysium before it, director Neill Blomkamp is more concerned with presenting a thought-provoking narrative, urging audiences to consider the philosophies of consciousness and free will.
Where the film falters, however, is in its attempt to encompass too many ideas within a 120minute runtime. The movie introduces multiple viewpoints but ironically fails to get any single point across. Dev Patel and Hugh Jackman lead the cast as Deon Wilson and rival developer Vincent Moore respectively, and their portrayal of two opposing ideologies is one of the stronger points of the film. The tension between the rivals is well executed through a series of abrasive interactions, culminating
PHOTO: SONY PICTURES
in a dramatic showdown. Providing the voice and motion capture for Chappie, Sharlto Copley masterfully lends a convincing childlike sensibility and naivety to the character. This is especially apparent in a scene when Chappie — who has found himself in the possession of gangsters — learns street speak from his ‘foster parents’ in a strangely endearing way. Rounding out the cast are Yolanda Visser and Watkin Tudor Jones from South African raprave group Die Antwoord.
Cringeworthy lyrics like “But if you lie to me again, I’ll be the one that’s walking away” smack of melodrama. Despite the lovelorn nature of the tracks in their debut album, Kodaline manages to retain a sense of level-headedness and maturity throughout. This precedence makes their occasional failure to temper their emotionality in Coming Up For Air all the more striking — an unfortunate blot on an otherwise strong record. On a whole, the band has succeeded in striking a satisfactory balance between their new and former selves. Fans will be able to slowly wean themselves into Kodaline’s new approach, while immersing in the harmonious familiarity that initially attracted them. Coming Up For Air marks a groundbreaking start by the ambitious rockers to move into new territory, as they experiment beyond their boundaries. Attempting such a radical shift in their sophomore album was indeed a leap of faith by the band, who ran the risk of falling flat on their faces — but it is clear that their gamble has paid off handsomely here.
-Jerlin Huang Playing the gangsters who steal Chappie, their performances bear an uncanny resemblance to their real-life personas, with the duo even retaining their stage names for the film. While this makes for rather naturalistic acting, Visser and Jones still appear comparably bland when juxtaposed against the likes of Patel and Jackman. Strong performances, however, cannot save the narrative from gaping plot holes and illogical decisions that will lead audiences to question the cast’s intelligence. While a suspension of disbelief is certainly expected in a film where a robot wears a giant dollar sign chain and spews vulgarities, it nevertheless makes for an irking viewing experience. Despite possessing several missteps in logic and a plot too ambitious for its own good, Chappie — much like its robotic main character — has something real and loveable beneath its scruffy presentation style. It might not be a perfect film, but for those looking for an original screenplay that boldly attempts to combine action with thought-provoking philosophy, Chappie is certainly worth a shot.
MOBILE MASTERPIECES As the quality of mobile games reaches new heights, Reviews Editor Jared Alex Tan and Reviews Writer Lilian Lee uncover some hidden gems on one of gaming’s most underrated platforms.
hen it comes to mobile games, consumers will be most familiar with casual titles such as Angry Birds and Candy Crush. This leads to the common misconception that games on smartphones and tablets are inferior to those on PCs and dedicated gaming consoles. Some developers, however, have taken advantage of the unique features available on these mobile devices to create playable works of art. Below are five mobile games that are just as good — if not better — than those on traditional gaming platforms.
ENDLESS RUNNER $2.58 on the App Store / Not available on Google Play ENDLESS runners are nothing new in the realm of mobile gaming, but what sets Alto’s Adventure apart from other games in the genre is its clean design and presentation. Tasked with chasing llamas through forests and snow-covered mountains, the game's core mechanics remain largely conventional. Dynamic lighting effects and a majestic landscape in the background do make for an attractive package. However, it is the game’s breathtaking visuals, coupled with an infectious, piano-driven soundtrack, that make Alto’s Adventure too gorgeous to stop playing as you repeatedly attempt to surpass your previous distance record.
PUZZLE / ADVENTURE $5.98 on the App Store / $6.66 on Google Play DESPITE being released in 2010, Limbo's hauntingly beautiful aesthetics and innovative gameplay still hold up five years later. Presented in a desolate colour palette of black, white and grey, players guide a nameless boy as he navigates through a series of treacherous environments, solving platforming puzzles via a system the game’s developers call ‘trial and death’. Without a single loading screen, Limbo seamlessly transitions between all of its 40 chapters, providing an immersive sense of continuity that is not usually seen in video games.
MONUMENT VALLEY PUZZLE $4.98 on the App Store / Google Play
VALIANT HEARTS: THE GREAT WAR PUZZLE / ADVENTURE $5.98 on the App Store / $7.15 on Google Play
LEARNING about history has never been this compelling. Set against a backdrop of World War I, Valiant Hearts: The Great War switches between the perspectives of four characters, each possessing a unique skill to help them navigate through the horrors of war. While its gameplay is somewhat basic, the game's strength lies in its thoughtprovoking narrative, which highlights the struggles and consequences that come with armed conflict. Valiant Hearts also provides a comprehensive list of historical facts throughout each level, making this puzzle adventure game as educational as it is entertaining.
VOTED by the App Store's own editors as the best iPad game of 2014, Monument Valley follows the silent princess Ida as she traverses a mystical landscape through a journey of redemption. Each of the 10 levels in this puzzle game is reminiscent of an interactive M. C. Escher painting, filled with optical illusions that require players to manipulate their perspective in order to reach the end. Featuring a minimalist design, Monument Valley is undoubtedly a stunning game, with its developers even including an in-game camera function to take screenshots and allow players to chronicle Ida’s scenic journey. If 10 levels aren't enough, players can purchase an additional eight levels in the Forgotten Shores expansion pack for $2.58 on both platforms.
SCREENSHOTS: JARED ALEX TAN
INFINITY BLADE III
ACTION / ADVENTURE $8.98 on the App Store / Not available on Google Play THE Infinity Blade series has always been one of the iPhone’s premier gaming titles, and the third and final instalment is its most polished and expansive iteration yet. Using intuitive finger swipes to perform a variety of actions, players engage in oneon-one duels with a wide array of enemies, some more than twice the size of the game’s two playable characters. With a seemingly endless collection of unlockable equipment and a whole host of exotic locations, Infinity Blade III is a game that can be enjoyed for five minutes, or five hours.
ABTM: A BIT TOO MUCH? In our new feature segment, Reviews Editors Ernest Chin and Jared Alex Tan give their take on Jack Neo's Ah Boys To Men series.
ONE TIME GOOD ONE: The Ah Boys To Men series must change its formulaic structure to justify the release of more sequels.
"YOU CAN DO BETTER, JACK"
h Boys to Men 3: Frogmen (ABTM 3) earned an impressive S$2.83 million within the first four days of its release — the biggest opening weekend for an Asian film in Singapore’s history. While this certainly is a milestone for local cinema, the question is: does the film deserve such acclaim? It certainly isn’t the best Singapore has to offer, and upon further inspection bears a striking resemblance to its predecessors. In ABTM 3, Tosh Zhang plays the stern but fair superior, Wang Wei Liang the street smart de facto leader of the trainees, and Maxi Lim the bullied individual who eventually stands up for himself. These characterisations bear an uncanny resemblance to the original ABTM movies, where Tosh Zhang played the stern but fair superior, Wang Wei Liang the street smart de facto leader of the trainees, and Maxi Lim the bullied individual who eventually stands up for himself. Even Joshua ‘Ken Chow’ Tan’s infamous “I hate NS (National Service), I hate the army” line is repeated word for word in the latest instalment. While it is mentioned at the start of the movie that ABTM 3 is a reimagination of these characters, it seems far too convenient for director Jack Neo to put them in a different setting without making any significant changes to the plot.
The Ah Boys To Men movies appear to be stuck in an infinite loop of increasing repetition. Considering the multitude of branches within the Singapore Armed Forces, Jack Neo could have essentially made an endless amount of sequels with this mindset. What bothers me most is the fact
that Neo is actually capable of making good films. The Money No Enough and I Not Stupid series are classics in local cinema, proving that Neo does possess a Midas touch when it comes to identifying local issues, creating a relatable story that effortlessly tugs at the heartstrings of Singaporeans. Like ABTM 3, these series had sequels as well, all with original storylines that improved upon the original idea and accurately reflected the issues of its time. In comparison, the ABTM movies appear to be stuck in an infinite loop of increasing repetition. A filmmaker is first and foremost an artist, and should always strive to surpass his or her previous work. As far as creativity is concerned, Neo seems to be headed in the other direction, sticking to a tried and tested formula and making movies for what I can only assume is monetary gain. How else could one explain the staggering amount of product placements? Maybe I am being too harsh as a movie critic. Friends that I talked to said that they enjoyed the movie, and that ABTM 3 was actually better than the original two films. From the perspectives of mothers, sisters and girlfriends, perhaps gaining an insight into NS is reason enough to buy a ticket, and takes precedence over a compelling storyline. As someone who had gone through NS myself, I will admit that there is an abundance of stories in its 48-year history that are worth telling. What I am hoping for the series’ inevitable sequels is that Neo will show a level of directorial expertise that is apparent in so many of his previous films. I’m not saying ABTM series is unwarranted — I’m just saying that there’s much room for improvement.
GRAPHIC: ZHEN QIMING
"CREATIVITY NO ENOUGH" DESPITE the ABTM series' stellar financial performance, it is far from a cult classic, and neither does it deserve grand praise. It’s enjoyable — possibly good to some, but most definitely nothing exceptional. The series is distinctively Neo — different films infused with similar elements: an abundance of local flavour and humour, and a standard plot of a ne’er-do-well’s journey of redemption. Neo is recognised as one of Singapore’s most notable directors, and rightly so. His extensive filmography boasts undisputed local classics such as Money No Enough, which he wrote, along with I Not Stupid and Homerun, which became some of his most acclaimed directorial works. These films remain benchmarks in local cinema, showing that films can be entertaining and socially relevant. Despite coming across as melodramatic or over-satirical at times, they commented on and brought attention to issues in Singapore. When contrasted against such films, it is not hard to deem that the ABTM series falls short of its more illustrious counterparts. The series comes across as a young pretender going up against seasoned heavyweights, an attempt that only highlights its flaws. This slew of army-centric films is, at its barest essence, comedy that makes for merely mindless laughter and entertainment. Three films have hit the big screen, but this begets the question: what exactly will they be remembered for in time to come? It’s highly likely that they will be recalled as entertaining comedies, but nothing else. They stand little to no chance of being listed in the annals of local cinema as outstanding or groundbreaking films. To be fair, the series holds significance and relevance to Singaporean audiences. It has brought about a renewed, and much belated wave of attention and appreciation
for NS. Given how established NS is as a part of our nation's tapestry, the series can potentially impact a wide demographic.
The series comes across as a young pretender going up against seasoned heavyweights, an attempt that only highlights its flaws.
The series also succeeds in bringing out the different attitudes towards NS, as well as the variety of experiences that come with it, albeit often seeming like a caricature. Given the polarising views and mindsets on NS, humour is perhaps the perfect tool to bridge these divided opinions. Neo’s humorous take is a great way to make such a potentially dreary topic more palatable and relatable. And for making the topic of NS more endearing to all Singaporeans, Neo deserves credit. On a cinematic level, the ABTM series fails to make much of a case for longevity. Neo has done better, and he can do better. To some extent, ABTM 3’s strong box office performance has helped to mask the numerous flaws of the series — cringeworthy acting, stale punch lines and overbearing product placements, just to name a few. There's only so long one can entertain an audience with the same tricks, and it won't be long before Neo appears to be milking the NS experience for commercial purposes. With the multi-faceted nature of NS, there are countless iterations that Neo can add to the series. If that is his intention, let’s hope he brings something fresh to the plate. It’s the least Neo can offer to Singaporean cinema, and to Singaporeans who have supported him thus far. Given his calibre and experience, it really isn't too much to ask for.
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• Institute for Media Innovation • Active Living for the Elderly
• Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute
• Multi-platform Game Innovation Centre
• Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering
• Rapid-Rich Object Search Lab
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PROFS ON CAMPUS
Ever wondered what our professors are up to outside lecture halls and research labs? Some have travelled far to be here. Photo Editors Alicia Goh and Hillary Tan get the lowdown on how the lives of two NTU professors have changed since the move to their new homes on campus.
s he walks across his office to the light switches, A ssista nt Professor Christopher Cummings, 32, says, “Hold on, I’ll just turn the yellow lamps on. It makes my office a little cosier to work in.” Stacks of papers waiting to be graded are neatly piled on the tables in his office, while a whiteboard covered with to-do lists hangs on the wall. Asst Prof Cummings joined t he Wee K i m Wee Sc hool of Communication and Information in 2014. Prior to that, he taught at North Carolina State University, where he met his wife, Melissa.
The California native is no stranger to migration, having moved from one end to the other of the American continent to get his Master’s degree and PhD in Communication Studies. However, his subsequent move to Singapore from the United States was an eye-opener, with his daily schedule becoming more hectic ever since. He reflects: “I think that my life has changed a lot. Here, there are a lot of other things that keep you really busy.” Despite his packed schedule, he makes sure that he gets some regular downtime.
The jolly professor is a big fan of the outdoors. After each day’s work, he brings his wife and threeyear-old dog, Jazzy, to the grass roof of the School of Art, Design and Media to chill out. “We bring folding tables, and we have some takeaway sushi. We like to watch the sun go down from there,” he says. Being the avid outdoorsman, Asst Prof Cummings is also familiar with most of the parks around Singapore, perhaps even more so than the typical Singaporean. This is the result of many weekends spent exploring the various local nature parks.
In fact, he even has a favourite — the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Asst Prof Cummings and Melissa love that it boasts an incredible diversity of wildlife.
“I have seen hornbills on nature shows, but how cool it is that we can see one outside our window?” Asst Prof Christopher Cummings “Other than the amazing birds, mudskippers, and crocodiles, it is also a great place to observe ani-
mals and how they behave in their natural environment.” Animal sightings are something locals might easily dismiss, especially in NTU where we encounter wild boars and exotic birds on quite a frequent basis. However, it is a different experience for this animal lover. He gleefully shares one moment when a hornbill landed on his windowsill and stayed there for a few minutes. “I’ve seen hornbills on nature shows, but how cool it is that we can see one outside our window? We hardly see hornbills in America!” he shares, quickly
reaching over to his computer to show off some photos he had snapped of the tropical bird. Of course, everyone needs company wherever he or she is. The friendly professor has nothing but good things to say about his accommodation and neighbours at Nanyang Heights. “We’re very lucky to be here — the apartment’s amazing and we have good camaraderie among the residents. The cultural diversity has also made meal times much more exciting. “We have neig hbou r s f rom England and India, and sometimes we have potlucks together, pretty much like an international buffet,” he quips. For another professor, coming to NTU gave her the opportunity to make a close friend. A ssista nt Professor Jessica Bridgette Hinchy, in her late twenties, is currently a faculty member at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. She has developed a close bond with postdoctoral researcher Dr Charlotte Setijadi, who is in her early thirties. Though both of them grew up in Australia, they only met each other in Singapore. When asked about the most ex-
citing experience she has had since arriving in Singapore last year, Asst Prof Hinchy exclaims: “Ooh, the highlight of my life here? It’s probably coming to NTU itself!” Dr Setijadi jokingly adds on her behalf: “Well, you’ve already met me, so there’s nothing more to look forward to.” The chirpy and upbeat pair do everything together, but hands down, their favourite activity is still eating. In fact, having cocktails after dinner at Holland Village has become a regular affair. Luckily for them, the diverse food culture here in Singapore serves them well. “People in Singapore don’t ask ‘How are you?’. They ask ‘Have you had lunch yet?’ I found it really bizarre but I like food so I appreciate the national obsession about eating,” observes Prof Hinchy. It’s apt that they met over food, which remains the common glue that keeps them together. “I love her cooking! She cooks and I eat — I have nothing to do with the kitchen,” says Dr Setijadi. W h i le N T U may not be Disneyland or Universal Studios theme parks, it sure is great to see our professors enjoying every bit of their life on campus.
Clockwise from top left (Page 20): CHEERS TO THE NANYANG HEIGHTS RESIDENTS: Assistant Professor Christopher Cummings, 32, who resides in Nanyang Heights with his wife, Melissa (in blue), holds occasional dinners with his neighbours, who hail from England and Canada to India. With this cultural diversity, potlucks have become an international feast for them. PROF-TURNED-COOK: The professor can teach, but he can whip up a good meal too. He cooked this plate of Thai beef salad for a dinner with his friends. But this is not all, as the preparation of the dish was also part of his audition video for MasterChef Asia. HARD AT WORK: Asst Prof Cummings likes being comfortable while he works. As white lights are too glaring for him, he bought a couple of yellow lights that add a soft, warm glow to create a relaxed atmosphere in his office.
Page 21: A LITTLE PIECE OF HOME: Asst Prof Cummings and Melissa with the bicycles they brought with them from the United States. They have not ridden the bikes in a while, but they say it is nice to have something from their old home. LUCKY DOG: Asst Prof Cummings enjoying his time with his three-year-old dog, Jazzy, a mix of Dachshund, Irish Setter and Vizlsa. She was an abused animal before Asst Prof Cummings and Melissa adopted her from an animal shelter. HANGING OUT OVER SUSHI: Professor Jessica Bridgette Hinchy enjoys some sushi with her good friend, postdoctoral researcher Charlotte Setijadi, whom she met on campus, They are both from Australia but met over brunch in Singapore, and now play board games, have brunches and go to bookclubs together.
Can we survive without tuition? DURING the Committee of Supply debate on 6 Mar, Members of Parliament (MPs) broached the topic of Singapore’s “tuition culture” and the need to do away with it. They also discussed how Singaporean students’ overdependence on tuition could be causing them to lose the “skill of self-directed learning”. Singapore is still holding on to the belief that good academic results is the only path towards success, resulting in an ultra-competitive fight for top grades, said the MPs. It is heartening to know that the government is determined to encourage a change in this deep-rooted belief. Despite MOE’s efforts to abolish the ranking of schools, unofficial rankings are still rampant online, on sites such as theAsianparent Singapore. Although every school has its merits, ‘elite’ schools are still regarded as the best. These schools accept the crème de la crème of every cohort. This race to secure a spot in a top school spans the education system, resulting in a reliance on tuition. As with any cohort, there are always weaker students who may need tuition, since remedial classes may not deepen their understanding of subject material enough to boost their scores. However, even the students who perform well go for tuition
to transform their grades from ‘very good’ to ‘excellent’. Tuition remains a leverage for students to get ahead. It is an edge that some parents can afford and will definitely utilise, in the hopes of securing better futures for their children. This future is traditionally envisioned in the form of a university degree and a wellpaying career. Independent learning comes after years of academic labour (i.e. tuition and national examinations). Even then, only three out of ten students from each cohort obtain a place in a publicly-funded local university today. Perhaps, it is only at this stage that some students will reach this goal of “selfdirected learning”. “Self-directed learning” is an ideal in the Singaporean education system, where rote learning prevails. In spite of the recent promotion of holistic learning, many students will persist in ploughing through tenyear-series assessments and memorising model answers for the national examinations. Until the notion of “every school is a good school” resounds with Singaporeans, posters outside tuition centres boasting their students’ giant leaps of improvement from low to high grades are unlikely to be disappearing soon.
CHRONICLE CHIEF EDITOR Louisa Tang
MANAGING EDITOR Kerri Heng
Abigail Ng Parveen Maghera Austen Choo Gui Jing Yi Jerone Sim Kelly Phua Lum Hui Yi Sng Min Yee Jin Xin
NEWS EDITORS Shaun Tan Toh Ting Wei
CHINESE EDITORS Chong Yoke Ming Kiew Zhen Yi
OPINIONS EDITORS Ang Hwee Min Lo Yi Min
SPORTS EDITORS Matthew Mohan Nur Amyraa
DAPPER EDITORS Joel Lim Lydia Teo
GRAPHIC EDITOR Kimberly Ang
COMMUNITY EDITOR Gabrielle Goh
Chelsea Tang Fabian Loo
Ernest Chin Jared Alex Tan
PHOTO EDITORS Alicia Goh Hillary Tan VIDEO SUPERVISORS Nerissa Tiong
Jolyne Tan Sheena Wong Tim Wong
Lau Joon-Nie Roseline Yew Jane Ng Zann Huang
PRODUCTION SUPPORT Joe Tok Kenny Wong
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frankly, my dear
A column by Chronicle Editors on issues close to their hearts
The acoustics of listening
ARE YOU REALLY LISTENING?: Some of the most important things can’t be heard.
Kerri Heng Managing Editor
typically fail to respond whenever people call my name. When I finally hear them, I’d look around but still fail to determine where the voice is coming from. It is also difficult for me to tell how loud my voice is when I speak. This is because I have profound hearing loss in my left ear. It cannot pick up loud sounds and only senses certain vibrations. It has always been this way as I was born premature, leaving the nerves in my left ear underdeveloped. Hearing loss tends to affect my everyday interactions, but I’ve faced significantly more roadblocks as a student in school. At each stage of my academic life, I coped with my hearing loss very differently. In primary school, my mother gave me a doctor’s letter to show my teachers. The letter informed them of my hearing loss, and requested that I always be seated at the front of the classroom. I hardly spoke to others about my condition, as I didn’t quite know how to broach the subject. Life then passed quite blissfully. Teachers took extra effort to make sure I could hear them in class, by projecting their voices in my direction, for instance. My peers accepted me just as I was — they knew me as the girl who did well in her studies but couldn’t hear them clearly sometimes. A few
of us are firm friends till today. As a teenager in secondary school, I was very reluctant to share about my hearing loss. While my lack of hearing was inconsequential to peers in primary school, I perceived my secondary schoolmates to be much more judgemental and exclusive. I was a lot more self-conscious about it, and continued to remain silent as I genuinely believed that my peers would see me as disabled and abnormal if they knew. My classmates used to tell me that they had been yelling from far away, and insisted that I was ignoring them. I just brushed their words aside and replied with, “Oh, I have a hearing problem”, playing it down without explaining myself. I was anxious about blending in and definitely did not want to risk judgement from my peers. Perhaps, as a result, several misunderstandings arose between my schoolmates and I. It was only after I read a beautifully written story in Chicken Soup for the Singapore Soul, that I realised my hearing loss was nothing to be ashamed about. The article was by Ms Lynette Koh, a litigation lawyer in Singapore who is profoundly deaf in her left ear too. In her story, she described her experiences growing up, as well as her practice as a lawyer — she explained her hearing condition to legal clients where necessary, so that meetings could proceed smoothly. Her words and experiences were extremely relatable to me, as they showed her utmost desire to bypass all obstacles to achieve her goals. She inspired me to be open about my hearing loss, and to talk about it without mortification. During a sharing session in class on the first week of polytechnic, I
GRAPHIC: PHOEBE TING
announced that I couldn’t hear in my left ear. From then on, my classmates and lecturers were accommodating since they knew about my condition. For example, they would tap me on the shoulder rather than call me, or they would drop me a text message instead of yelling, among other things. I had the chance to work as a journalist for The New Paper during my polytechnic internship months where I spoke to people from all walks of life. During interviews, I listened attentively to what they had to say. I learnt that an open mind was the key to understanding people’s words; the ability to hear only aids the communication process. It did help, however, that I landed a work table with a telephone on my right side. I’m now in university and there has been no need for doctors’ letters requesting that the teachers allocate me a seat at the front of the classroom. My friends are aware of my hearing impairment, and they sit with me at the front of lecture halls. I’m grateful for their empathy. In my daily life, I’ve gone from neglecting to explain my hearing loss when meeting new people to directly letting them know that I have no hearing in my left ear. Dealing with my hearing loss has been a journey of self-acceptance and understanding, towards being comfortable about explaining my condition in a matter-of-fact way. I look to a little quote written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in The Little Prince whenever I am in doubt: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Likewise, we listen with the heart, not with the ears.
Roles engendering rape Celestia De Roza
en are the predators and women their prey — this is a widely-held gendered dynamic when it comes to the issue of rape. In the UK, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced in January this year that it will be issuing a “toolkit” to guide investigators in a more rigorous approach towards rape cases. With this new initiative, the agency, which prosecutes criminal cases in England and Wales, aims to address cases of violence against women and girls more effectively. To do so, it based the new guidelines on “gendered patterns and dynamics”, which see violence against females as more prevalent than that of males. More recently, India’s Daughter, a film by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin for the British Broadcasting Corporation and India’s New Delhi Television, has thrust rape and its inextricable link to gender back into the spotlight. The documentary focuses on a deadly 2012 gang rape case in New Delhi, and has drawn negative international attention to India once again, prompting calls by the country for the film to be banned. India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh has labelled it as an “affront
NO MEANS NO: Concern for rape should be gender neutral. GRAPHIC: ONG XIAO HUI, KIMBERLY ANG
to the dignity of women”. One of the four convicted men, who is featured in the documentary, said: “A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy." Such comments echo the simplistic narrative of gender used to frame gender dynamics of rape. As these recent cases across the world have demonstrated, gender is usually brought into the discussion of rape, and the perspective of either gender is often painted in broad strokes. Despite good intentions to fight sexual violence, efforts against gender-related oppression often generate the problem of reinforcing the very gender stereotypes of
which rape is symptomatic. The new guidelines in the UK, for example, have been frequently described as an investigation framework that scrutinises how men obtain consent for sexual activity with women. Although CPS has repeatedly stressed that this approach does not neglect that sexual abuse can be directed at males and or perpetrated by all genders, its emphasis on women has been perceived or translated as exclusive. The message received in public discourse often reads: men are the perpetrators of sexual assault, and women are always the victims. Undeniably, women in the UK
are statistically more likely to be victims of rape than men. According to a report published last year by UK’s Office for National Statistics, an estimated 85,000 females per year on average are victims of rape. In contrast, an approximate average of 12,000 males per year are rape victims. However, a marginalised group does not warrant less concern simply because they are the minority. Male rape victims are just as human, and the physical and psychological suffering they undergo is equally as damaging. Often, this is also compounded by the general social attitude towards male rape. Statistics on male rape are scant and efforts to fight it appear less prominent. This reflects the common perception that men, individuals who are typically masculine, cannot possibly be sexually assaulted by another person. Another perception of rape lies in its legal definition in many countries (such as India and Singapore) is that to force oneself sexually on another person involves forceful bodily penetration by the perpetrator. Such perceptions create a stigma that may worsen the suffering male victims already face. Writing for Women Under Siege, a journalism project that investigates rape and sexual violence, Kerry Paterson argues that the
“competition of suffering” in rape debate should be eradicated. Rape disproportionately affects more women than men, but understanding male rape is an important step to ensure all victims receive the support they deserve. Paying less attention to one gender would only reinforce problematic gender norms. If rape is always framed as a crime committed by men against women, females would always be cast in the light of the victim and deserving of sympathy. Similarly, socially constructed ideas of masculinity will be further perpetuated by this false framing, which encourages attitudes that promote rape by and against men. We need to realise that by appearing to focus only on protecting female victims, we inadvertently set ourselves back in our course to end all sexual violence. At the same time, we should recognise that highlighting male rape does not negate that statistically, women are more affected by such sexual violence. Bringing attention to other gender dynamics in rape is not about dividing victims into two camps. Our discourse on rape needs to be far more complex. To combat violence on women and men alike, for they are equally important — we have to redefine not just our laws but our social attitudes on gender.
Louder than words: Confessions of an Open House tour guide GRAPHIC: PHOEBE TING
An animated debate
From Disney films to superhero cartoons, animation is a medium that has spanned decades. The Nanyang Chronicle asks students to share their views on animation and how it is frequently associated with children.
To me, animation is more a medium than a film genre for children. It can both convey narrative storylines and bring up social issues. Kwok Li Xian, 19, WKWSCI, Year 1
NOT CHILD'S PLAY: Animated films deserve as much recognition as their live-action counterparts.
he Academy Awards is the most celebrated film award show today, yet for many in the animation industry, recognition by that golden statuette appears to be rather hollow. For this year’s Oscars, Disney clinched awards in both animation categories for their film Big Hero 6 and short film Feast. With both films being popular picks among audiences, especially the former, this latest bout of critical acclaim might come as no surprise. The process through which these works were selected for such acclaim, however, is unsettling.
Voting lacks serious regard
When The Hollywood Reporter interviewed a select few Oscar voters, one callously responded: “I have seen none of them. I have no interest whatsoever. That ended when I was six.” Another voter who picked Feast reasoned: “I’m a dog lover, so this one was no contest.” These voters unfortunately represent the blasé view on animation many still hold today. As much of children’s visual entertainment is animated, many believe it lacks sophistication, assuming it has less intellectuallystimulating content, which sells the art form short.
For children and adults
For outlandish plotlines like the wacky underwater misadventures in SpongeBob SquarePants and talking unicorns in My Little Pony, the best way to present these is usually through animation. Due to these special artistic requirements, there is a strong tendency for many individuals to associate animation with only children’s shows. However, this mindset is antiquated and short-sighted. Some of the most intelligent and mature material in today’s media comes from adult animated series like The Simpsons and new fan favourite Bob’s Burgers. Dealing out sharp quips that
succinctly merge social satire with humour, these shows have been ruling late-night airwaves for years and even decades — The Simpsons turns 26 this year. Such shows do not shy away from controversial subjects like sex, race and class, but instead highlight hypocrisies society often displays with regard to these issues. It is therefore ironic that these shows have gained so much traction for their bold stances, while people continue to stereotype animation as a simplistic endeavour. The penchant for dismissing animation as such also leads people to assume that animation targeted towards children lacks substance.
Examining life in animation
Although weighty topics are often avoided in kid-centered animations, this does not discount the fact that beyond controversial issues, a lot of such productions still explore important aspects of life. Who can forget sympathising with a young Simba from The Lion King crying helplessly over his father’s death, or shedding a tear over the poignant montage in Up recounting Ellie and Carl’s romance? These scenes tackle issues one often encounters while growing up, like loss or jealousy, adding substance and emotional depth to the films. To quote Hayao Miyazaki, cofounder of famed animation studio Studio Ghibli: “Animators can only draw from their own experiences of pain and shock and emotions.” These feelings translate into their work, no matter if they are directed towards children or an older demographic. Because of their ability to tactfully portray and handle such sensitive material, animated works can play a significant role in shaping the way adolescents think and mould the individuals they grow up to be. Recently, Dr Sarah Coyne, an associate professor researching on media and adolescence at Brigham Young University, conducted a study on the effect of Disney princess culture on girls. Her results revealed that girls who were familiar with Disney
GRAPHIC: ONG XIAO HUI
princess movies displayed “lower aggression” and surprisingly, “better body image”. Cultivating positive traits like these in children helps in ensuring that they develop into welladjusted young adults.
Animated films are stereotyped as only for children, but they are easy for the general audience to appreciate too. Taufik Azahari, 22, CEE, Year 2
Beyond real world visuals
Content aside, animation itself is a complex and sophisticated art form that requires a great deal of skill. The impressionistic art in The Tale of Princess Kaguya and the crisp 3D texture of How To Train Your Dragon 2 portray vibrant and enthralling worlds that would be otherwise difficult to capture in live-action films. Furthermore, these worlds do not differ too greatly from the CGIladen fantasy realms of live-action films that cater to audiences of all ages. In fact, one of these more recent films, Into the Woods, earned actress Meryl Streep her 29th Oscar nomination.
There are, fortunately, places where attitudes towards animation differ. Japan, home to the creators of the aforementioned Princess Kaguya, is one example. Here, fans of all ages come together to share their love of animation by attending conventions or engaging in cosplay. Perhaps it is the rampant local anime culture that encourages people to celebrate animation and the wonders it can offer, but the country’s appreciation of this form of storytelling is admirable. Destigmatising the art form can open up platforms for both content makers and their audiences. It enables audiences to view animated works with as keen an interest as they would have towards other form of production. It also gives television show and movie producers more options for presenting their ideas, as they may otherwise be hesitant to use a medium that many viewers fail to take seriously. When burdened with fewer limitations, each foray into the animated world will be a more fulfilling one.
Friends who know that I enjoy cartoons might call me a kid. But cartoons are meant to be silly, and they help me de-stress. Emilia Ooi, 22, NBS, Year 3
When I revisit childhood cartoons, I notice things that I didn’t before — mature concepts like justice and human complexity. Shah Pratik, 20, SPMS, Year 2
When I hear ‘animation’, I think of cartoons and bright colours. Maybe kids like them because they are easily attracted to colours. Soh Jia Jie, 22, CEE, Year 2
TEXT: ANG HWEE MIN, LO YI MIN PHOTOS: HILLARY TAN
Addressing the dress As the initial furore over #thedress dies down, many online are still immensely fascinated by the debate. Opinions Writer Shalom Chalson explores the reason behind the conundrum's longevity.
hances are that by now you would have heard of The Dress. The online phenomenon that went viral has recently become a mark of divergence in society. As the photo of a cocktail dress made its rounds online, most who saw it were split into two camps. It started when Caitlin McNeill asked followers of her Tumblr page to ascertain the colour of the dress. Things escalated quickly and the responses she received came from the entire Internet instead. A colourful debate ensued. Some viewed the dress as white and gold while others saw it as blue and black. In complete irony of the inconsequential conflict, many netizens wound up in serious disagreement, both on and offline. In an online Facebook poll by the Nanyang Chronicle, 57.1 per cent of our readers saw the dress as white and gold. 21.4 per cent saw it as blue and black and the remaining percentage saw various combinations of the four colours. The explosion of opinions from the online community mainly centred around the surprise that one’s perception of an image could differ vastly from another. Variation in experience is not a new phenomenon. Philosopher Thomas Nagel refers to it as the “subjective character of experience” in his influential paper, What Is It Like to Be a Bat? Nagel argues that while we can imagine what it might be like to be a bat, we ultimately cannot escape our own subjective experience to understand what it is to be one. In other words, a conscious observation of the material world by an organism, be it a bat, a dog or a human being, will always be rooted in the subjective lens of a specific living thing. This abstract concept of the subjective experience can be extended
#DRESSGATE: Do you see the dress as blue and black, or white and gold?
to understand how human experiences vary. An individual’s experiences are said to stem from a single point of view — their own. Considering that a person’s viewpoint is shaped by his or her unique history, present circumstance and sensory faculties, each person’s resulting perception is bound to differ from another, however slightly. Considering the vehement commitment to ‘white and gold’ or ‘blue and black’ by either side of the debate, many find such an idea rather difficult to contend with. Some even find it necessary to label the other perspective of the dress as wrong and claim their own to be correct. Development in many disciplines of knowledge, such as science and
The explosion of the #dressgate fiasco THE growth of The Dress went through many stages, each more refined than the previous. The initial responses revolved solely around the debate, with many online citizens turning into keyboard warriors, passionately defending what they saw. Eventually, the insignificant quarrelling gave way to goodnatured joking and memes that made their respective trips around the Internet. Other examples of the tonguein-cheek humour that featured on social media websites like Twitter and Tumblr include the ones poking fun at other objects that are also blue and black or white and gold in colour. Celebrities also weighed in with their opinion. Eventually, this all gave way
technology, builds on information that is empirically tested and widely accepted to be true. For instance, the boiling point of water that is currently established played a role in the development of steam turbines. Due to the extent to which the certainty of facts is relied on in the world — from car engines to photosynthesis, it is only natural for certainty to pervade our individual perceptions too. But absolute certainty, even in science, is impossible. Claudius Ptolemy’s geocentric concept of our universe was once widely accepted, but this has since been replaced by the model of a Sun-centred solar system after the Copernican Revolution. Likewise, famous philosophers
GRAPHIC: JOLENE TAN
have been arguing about perception for centuries and have yet to arrive at a consensus. Nevertheless, next to science, technology, or even philosophy, trying to determine the colour of a dress seems trivial. Any reach for a measure of certainty or a right answer can easily be interpreted as narcissism. Crossing arms over The Dress nonetheless signifies that not everyone perceives things in the same way, and that human beings are not as homogeneous as we may think ourselves to be. Even so, our differences do not and should not prevent us from relating to each other. We are able to draw on our own subjective experiences to identify similar feelings of pain and
pleasure in others, and that renders us capable of empathy and mutual understanding. Therein lies the stunning concept of being human. For as many connections as one can find, there exist just as many subtle differences. Expressive forms that depend on creativity to survive are a testament to how human beings contend with their individual differences and relate to what they have in common with others. Poetry, film, art, or any other product of the imagination may make references to existing works or previously explored ideas, yet each new piece has the ability to present fresh and unique perspectives. Quentin Tarantino’s works, for example, borrow aspects from the Western genre, John Wayne’s devastating swagger, Japanese martial arts films, and grindhouse movies of the 80s. By taking the old and making it new through his subjective interpretation, Tarantino manages to keep his films original while referencing material that audiences have already been exposed to. Similarly, in discussing The Dress, the actual colours of the apparel hardly matter. What really matters is that those who have seen it were puzzled by some aspect of the issue, be it its colour, philosophical or psychological importance, or whether it was a fashionable dress to begin with. Most who have seen the photo of the dress have surely formed personal impressions of it. Some see the dress as blue and black, or white and gold, while others, like Lady Gaga, see it as “periwinkle and sand”. The very fact that the range of responses to one dress is limitless, is an indication of the kaleidoscopic quality of the human condition. PHOTOS: INTERNET
to companies jumping on the bandwagon and making use of social media marketing to ride on the phenomenon's longevity. However, not all of the campaigns that took advantage of the fiasco were doing so for corporate reasons. For example, The Salvation Army used the colour debate to raise awareness for the issue of violence against women and offer a channel of support for those facing it. This highlights the undeniable influence of social media today.
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: The original image of the dress as uploaded by Tumblr user Caitlin McNeill; An example of a funny meme in response to the saga; Two banners by The Salvation Army using the popularity of the phenomenon to further bring attention to violence against women.
南大爵士与蓝调乐团 ４００门票抢购一空 —— 刊28页
南大开放日 参观者人数破纪录 张育铭● 报道 中文编辑
洋理工大学开放日于本 月7日举行，吸引近1万 4500人前来，创下有史以来最 高的开放日访客人数。 今年的开放日在南洋大礼 堂、生物科学系大厅和Quad餐 厅外的广场举行。除了各科系 的展览外，还有学校各种学生 团体的展览，让参观者能够充 分了解校内生活。场上也设了
师生牺牲周末筹备开放日 在这一年一度的活动，各院 校学生们不惜牺牲自己的周末 时间，留在学校为准学生们讲 解所属院校的详情，希望能够 吸引更多学生到自己的院校报 读。前来帮忙的也包括学校的 教授。 黄金辉传播学院的彭秦权副 教授受访时说：“开放日的参 观者比我们预计的超出许多，
证明了南大非常受本地学生的 欢迎。这也是一个让学校提高 声誉的好机会。” 来自华侨中学的梁玲玮（19 岁）是参观学生之一。她告诉 本报：“我希望能够进入生物 医学工程系，所以前来多了解 学校，发现开放日比我想象得 还要热闹！”
学生的首选 南大高级副教务长（本科生 教育）甘灿兴教授说：“今年 的开放日非常成功，我相信会
学生们不惜牺牲周末到开放日帮忙。 有许多的准学生把我们的学校 当成他们的第一选择。” 他也说，校内的一些最先进 的设施目前还在建造当中，完 成后相信能在未来的开放日中 为参观者留下更深刻的印象。
前来参观的准学生难免会有 不少关于学校的疑问，一群黄 金辉传播学院的学生于是在面
簿上设立网页，让准学生能够 在网页上发留言问问题，并由 经营网页的学生们回答疑问。 网页的创办人之一是二年 级学生李登辉（23岁）。他解 释，创办网页是他们校内的社 交媒体课程中的一部分，目的 是让准学生能够和学生们直接 接触和沟通，并让准学生们能 够除了在大学网站以外能更了 解学校。
学生校方合办音乐节 气氛飙到最高点 刘芸如● 报道
集南大各个宿舍乐团前来 表演，Fuse音乐节今年 首次由宿舍代表和校方合作举 办，整晚为学生呈上一个接一 个的精彩演出。 Fuse音乐节于3月12日在校 内Quad餐厅前举行， 络驿不绝 的人潮所散发出来的热情一直 从晚7时蔓延到凌晨1时。音乐 会上共有19个乐团进行表演， 包括校内18个大学生宿舍以及 研究生宿舍的附属乐团。 各乐团都别具特色，有些以 高音见长，展现高超的专业技 巧，有的则以好音色得到观众 的支持。 音乐节今年迈入第二年，和
去年不同的是，这个之前仅由 宿舍学生代表举办的活动今年 加入校方的支持，让主办方能 够将音乐节变得更加盛大，场 面也和去年相比下场面盛大。
把气氛维持在最高点 来自人文与社会学院 （HSS）的二年级生谢伟文（24 岁）代表第10宿舍，担任宿舍 主办团队的主席。 他受访时表示：“我们今 年为了提高音乐素质，事先为 表演的乐团举行试唱。我们也 建议他们选择演唱比较充满活 力的歌曲，让整个音乐节的气 氛维持在最高点。活动进行 中，我看到学生和校方们都非 常地享受，整个音乐节非常成 功。”
谢伟文也表示，举办Fuse音 乐节的目的是为了能够让宿舍 的学生在充满竞争的宿舍比赛 后聚集在一起享受辛苦训练后 放松的愉悦，同时也让各宿舍 的附属乐团有个为学校其他学 生表演的平台。
其他团员也表示，为了这次 的音乐节，他们每周排练两三 次，只为希望能够为观众呈上 最好的表演。 海事研究一年级生黄靖婷 （19岁）是在场观众之一。她
告诉本报：“我前来是为了支 持我的宿舍的乐团。我认为活 动很成功，明年还会希望能够 来。但是，我觉得主办方能够 安排更多的活动，吸引更多的 学生。”
为表演不打断排练 当晚表演的团队之一是第一 宿舍的Unicorn乐团。乐团主 唱，HSS二年级生陈科伶（21 岁）说：”这是我第一次参加 学校音乐会，又紧张又期待， 希望我们的音乐能为大家带来 鼓舞的力量。" "这次演出也让我们知道只 要努力就能做得好，希望以后 有更多机会参加类似的活动， 让更多人认识我们。”
HSS二年级生陈科伶（右）是当晚的表演者之一。 摄影: Shybree
《我是歌手》对华语歌坛影响 张育铭 中文编辑
国湖南卫视歌唱节目《我 是歌手》第三季今年年头 开播后，迅速成为中国各地最 受关注的电视节目。 节目前两季已经让《我是歌 手》名声变得家喻户晓，同时 也捧红不少歌星。当中，最具 代表性的例子是第二季亚军－ 香港歌手邓紫棋。 参加节目前，邓紫棋对多数 歌迷来说，仅挂着“林宥嘉女 友”的称号，在香港乐坛外也 不算知名。去年受邀参加《我 是歌手》第二季后，以独特唱 风诠释“存在”、“你把我灌 醉” 等歌曲，迅速夺取观众的 心，成为亚洲新生代天后。 其它被节目捧红的歌星包 括第三季参赛的台湾“天生歌 姬”黄丽玲。她在台湾原本已 是著名歌手，但参赛后，成功 打入中国市场，在内地成为家 喻户晓的歌星。
让歌迷重新认识华文音乐 另外，《我是歌手》系列 也成功地让华文乐坛在亚洲扩 展，让许多华人重新认识华文 歌曲，并让不少其它国家歌迷 也开始接触华文乐坛。 第二季中，另一名多人关注 的歌星是来自马来西亚的巫族
歌手茜拉。首次出场，她便以 中文献上一首“想你的夜”。 该精湛表演，其录像也在网上 不断疯传，茜拉也最终夺得比 赛季军。 茜拉参赛后，许多马来西亚 歌迷也开始关注《我是歌手》 ，甚至是连不说华语的马来 族。他们在支持同胞之际，也 能够间接认识歌手们演唱的华 语歌曲。 第三季，制作团队继续增加 节目的国际化，邀请韩国版《 我是歌手》冠军The One郑淳 元前来参赛。除了为节目增添 不少色彩，提高了节目表演素 质，也成功吸引韩国观众收看 节目。
外籍歌手演唱华文歌曲 近两期赛事，郑淳元更是演 唱两首中文歌曲－沙宝亮的“ 暗香”和张惠妹耳熟能详的“ 听海”。由韩国歌王在中国舞 台上演唱中文歌曲，算是节目 对华文歌曲的极高致敬，证明 中文歌曲在韩流盛行时，仍然 能够吸引歌迷。 比赛从本周的突围赛起渐渐 接近尾声，《我是歌手》第三 季也再次吸引更多歌迷收看， 让歌手们把歌曲演唱给亚洲各 地的电视观众。3月27日的总决 赛中，希望这个节目能够再次 为忠实歌迷献上再一次的音乐 飨宴。
CHRONICLE 09 娱乐
南大爵士与蓝调乐团“Hourglass II: A Groove Supreme”音乐会
乐团至成立第二场大型演出 门票抢购一空 孙敏毅● 报道 中文编审
2005年成立的南大爵 士与蓝调乐团刚于三 月五日在新加坡艺术学院呈 献“Hourglass II: A Groove Supreme” 音乐会。这是该团 首次在校外举办音乐会，也是 成立以来的第二场大型演出。 随着2014年第一场演唱会的成
功，今年宣传也不遑多让，得 以吸引大批听众前来支持，把 约400多张门票抢购一空。 音乐会开场不久，场内灯渐 渐暗淡，观众席里交头接耳的 谈话也逐渐减弱，缓缓的音乐 奏起，演唱者带来了他们第一 首曲目“Moondance”。女歌手 以优柔的歌声、婀娜摆动充分 的把爵士乐的悠闲风格展现得 淋漓尽致。第二位上场歌手的 出场气势让人觉得相当熟练，
乐评 音乐室 专辑: iTunes Sessions EP 歌手：李荣浩 发行日期：2月17日
曲新人王李荣浩趁春节 期间在iTunes上推出了 iTunes Session EP，重新的编 曲为这些旧歌带来新的生命。 EP中收录了六首华语乐坛 经典歌曲，当中的翻唱曲目除 了是与乐手现场录音外，最亮
演唱偶像歌曲 六首歌中，李荣浩就选唱 了三首偶像王菲的歌。第一首 是之前他在中国歌唱比赛《我 是歌手》第三季中演唱的《笑 忘书》。从歌声里表现出笑忘 的洒脱和率性的态度。通过这 样全新的编曲和演唱方式，为 这首经典歌曲带来了不一样的 感觉。如此充满新角度和情感 的诠释，是非常新鲜的翻唱版 本。 李荣浩表示《不留》是他 一直很想尝试改编的歌曲。而 歌词是这首歌最先吸引他的， 他说：“看似没有那么贴近生 活的文句，但每一句都是很真 实的话；可以用在每个人的身 上，都很适合也很服帖。” 对于《催眠》， 李荣浩 说：“原曲的编曲、歌词都很 有意思，包括歌曲的唱法和写 法都是我印象深刻的地方， 让我听见了一种新的音乐风 格。”而他重新改编的版本节 奏感更强；为了保留原曲的感
一连串技巧性的转音似乎难不 了他，一点都不怯场。 除此之外，乐手们也集合 了比波普（Bebop）、波萨 诺瓦（Bossa Nova）、方克 （Funk）和摇摆乐等元素的曲 目让观众大饱耳福。 乐团副主席Jonan Wong带来 了“Lady is a Tramp”, 充分 利用了爵士乐最经典的布鲁斯 音阶和二拍子节奏把全场的气 氛带到了高潮。男歌手在乐手 们建立稳定、规律的节奏基础
觉，特别在Bass的弹奏和和声 编写下了功夫。特殊的翻唱也 有别于原唱的空灵感，带出了 另一种特色。王菲一向来都是 许多歌手爱翻唱的对象，但要 摆脱王菲的影子，唱出自己的 特色，恐怕很多歌手都没有做 到。 这次EP中三首王菲的歌，李 荣浩靠着创新的编曲和低沉的 嗓音诠释出了自己的风格，跟 原唱截然不同。 若要选出整张EP中翻唱的最 好的一首，应该就是那英的《 出卖》了。虽然这是六首改编 歌中最接近原唱的作品，也最 接近流行歌曲的曲风，但新的 编曲添加了一些骚灵的元素； 尤其是副歌的和声让整首歌更 有层次感。 在李荣浩第一张专辑《模 特》里就已经收录的《有一个 姑娘》，这次在EP中重新录 制，表现出他依旧对音乐充满 热忱和坚持。而黄磊的《边走 边唱》，是EP中唯一翻唱男歌 手的作品。歌曲中轻松洒脱的 诠释方式成功的打造出了个人 风格鲜明的情歌。
上即兴发挥出爵士音乐惯常使 用的切分音效果与规律的低音 声部之间形成的强烈对比，更 加强了这种技巧的表现力，唱 出了这首激动人心的歌曲。
熟练的技巧 另外，其他乐手们的技巧上 也相当熟练了得，从他们诠释 爵士乐曲的结构上更能感受。 在一个音符开始时，乐手们会 从下向上滑到设定的音高。在 结束时，又从原来的音高滑
下。所有的变化都是无法用乐 谱来详细记录的，必须要有经 验的爵士乐手才能熟练地掌握 了这一类方法。更难能可贵的 是，乐手们甚至可以根据不同 的旋律或伴奏音型创造出这样 的效果来。 最 后 ， 压 轴 曲 子，“Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In”更是让团里的主力 表演者们淋漓尽致地呈现，将 现场气氛推上另一个高潮，让 现场观众流连忘返。
李荣浩全新ＥＰ，歌曲增添不少新元素。 这次EP的收录的歌曲都是 非常新鲜、有特色的翻唱，再 次证明李荣浩的创作实力。不 过，这些曲目却没有让人眼前
一亮的感觉；精彩的部分似乎 都是靠编曲来衬托，而在演唱 和诠释方面没有太大的惊喜。 （文／林佳颖）
Football fashion disasters — Page 30
Kicking out xenophobia As part of efforts to combat discrimination, a group of NTU students organised a friendly futsal competition with a twist. Sports Writer Neo Jie Yao visited the event to find out more.
ompetition took a backseat while mutual acceptance came up trumps at the AnOther Angle Futsal Festival on 1 Mar, as locals and migrant workers came together to enjoy sports. Teams at the festival comprised an even mix of locals and migrant workers. The festival was part of a Final Year Project (FYP) planned by four students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI). The campaign, entitled AnOther Angle, seeks to tackle the issue of xenophobia by challenging people to look at foreign workers from a different perspective. A majority of the workers hailed from India and Bangladesh while others came from Myanmar. Held at Uber Sports East Coast, the festival began with fringe activities like darts and water pong. The public could earn coupons from these activities to redeem merchandise sponsored by Thorb, one of the event’s co-organisers. Some items sponsored by the local sportswear brand include T-shirts, water bottles and socks. A particularly popular fringe activity was Bumpzball, a sport similar to Bubble Soccer. Festival attendees could also take pledges against xenophobia at a photo-cum-pledge booth. But the key draw of the event remained undoubtedly the futsal tournament.
This was to ensure enough opportunities for interaction between the two groups. Both the women’s and men’s games were played in a competitive fashion. Professionalism was also not compromised; each game had its official referee. The highlight of the event came just before the respective finals when the event’s guest-of-honour, Mr Samawira Basri, played in an exhibition game. The former national soccer player successfully scored a goal in the match and demonstrated deft movements and neat footwork. Following the match, Mr Basri, 43, now a reserve team coach of Hougang United Football Club, felt that the event was able to forge bonds between locals and migrant workers. He said: “You can see for yourselves that they were having fun and enjoying themselves. “The important thing is that they interact and bond together.” The finals were a tight affair as both teams strived to eliminate opponents standing between them and the championship title. Yet, the spirit of sportsmanship was ever present. This spirit was especially exemplified by a local who helped his migrant worker opponent stretch his legs, after seeing him experience cramps moments earlier. The men’s finals went down to a
PRIMED FOR THE TACKLE: A migrant worker closes down his opponent.
EYES ON THE BALL: Competitors keep a close watch on the action.
penalty shootout after ending 1-1 at full time. But team M3 emerged victorious after team captain and goalkeeper Mr Pandiyan Vijayabalu, 22, saved two penalties to lead his team to glory. The electrician expressed his happiness not only for the win but also the bond he shared with locals.
PHOTOS: SHAUN TAN
He said: “Today was my first time playing soccer with Singaporeans and I am so happy because some Singaporeans might not like to play with us foreigners.” In the women’s category, team F1 won first place after a 1-0 win. Team member, Ms Rebekah Lau, 26, said: “I think it’s a very good initiative because you try to bring together Singaporeans and foreign workers. “Through the experience, we also bonded with our teammates from Indonesia and I felt all of us enjoyed it.” For the four final-year WKWSCI students, this was the culmination of their months of hard work. Claire Chin, Noreen Mohammad, Tammie Kang and Wong Yun Lum, all 22, pinpointed the Little India riots as the catalyst for their initiative. Confronted by the backlash following the riots, they realised that the lack of interaction and mutual understanding between Singaporeans and migrant workers could have been a contributing factor to the misunderstandings that arose. To combat this, they chose “a sports theme for their campaign as the fun and engaging medium of sports (futsal) is an effective way of building teamwork and fostering camaraderie”. Before the event, they also produced several videos that documented various Singaporeans’
feelings about migrant workers and the latter’s responses to those sentiments. The videos caught the attention of the public and generated much publicity. In addition, the team held a Sports Exchange in January this year where they coordinated the meeting of a local soccer team and a kabaddi team comprising migrant workers. Kabaddi, a contact sport incorporating wrestling, is popular in India and among the migrant worker community locally. The idea was to have each team coach the other in the nuances of their respective sports. For the AnOther Angle team, the Futsal Festival brings an end to the campaign for their FYP, giving them a well-deserved break from their planning. However, their campaign aimed at tackling xenophobia is likely to continue. The group is already in talks with co-organiser Thorb to continue or even expand the event in the upcoming year. Following the event, Chin said: “We’re really glad that it turned out so well. Both Singaporean and migrant worker participants gave us positive feedback about the Futsal Festival.” She added: “Some even asked if we would be having another soon as they would love to sign up again!”
No running from racism
Nur Amyraa Sports editor
hen one hears the word ‘sports', perhaps values such as teamwork, discipline, sportsmanship and respect spring to mind. But, another key word that is inextricably tied to sports is racism. For years, the colour of one’s skin has had an immense impact on society and found its way into stadiums and courts alike. So the question remains — is it possible that we can one day put aside our racial differences with others and form friendly ties with those from a different ethnic group in the field of play? Can we channel all the energy spent discriminating others when we play sports into encouraging sportsmanship among athletes and fans?
World number one female tennis player Serena Williams, known fo her fiery outbursts, has built a notorious reputation from a long list of controversies on court. But in the 2001 Tennis Masters Series tournament held at Indian Wells, California, Williams was
herself a victim of racism. Her younger sister, Venus, pulled out just four minutes before a match due to injury. This turn of events instigated a chorus of boos and “ni****” from the crowd directed towards Serena Williams and her father, who was in the stands. The booing continued for three days, even as Williams went on to face Kim Clijsters in the finals. The ordeal prompted Williams to boycott the event for 14 years until earlier this month, when she announced her decision to compete again. Similarly, Chelsea fans made the headlines when they stopped a black man from boarding the Paris Métro while chanting “We're racist and that's the way we like it" in France last month. But fans are not the only ones displaying racist behaviour. Sometimes, athletes themselves also get caught up in the heat of the moment and lash out at others. Who could forget former Liverpool forward Luis Suárez racially abusing Patrice Evra by calling him “negrito" at Anfield in 2011, which got him banned for eight matches and fined £40,000 (S$ 82,254)? The common thread across these incidents is that the victims belong
POISED FOR A RETURN: Serena Williams will be involved in this year's Indian Wells.
to the minority group. There is no instant solution to eliminate racism completely. However, athletes could start by being exemplary role-models and avoid racist behaviour as much as they can since they have a significant influence on their fans. Although it is understandable that they are under pressure to perform to the best of their capabilities, there is no excuse for the discrimination of others. In any given situation, the skin colour of a man should never be an excuse for athletes being physically and verbally abusive to opponents
on the field.
Kick It Out is an organisation funded by the Football Association and the English Premier League with the aim of mitigating racism. They act as watchdogs against racist behaviours on social media and appoint footballers as ambassadors to champion their cause. In addition, the United States’ National Football League (NFL) also enforces the ‘Rooney Rule’, where managers have to interview at least one minority candidate when there is a managerial opening
in the team. This ensures more minorities are given a chance to be involved in the sport, since prior to the rule, only six per cent of African-American coaches were on NFL teams. The need for such rules is clearly a step backwards for the sporting society and is questionable since sports itself should presumably be a bridge for different races to come together in a friendly face-off. I feel that the real issue here is the inability of the majority to accept change — that the minority is able to win medals and come out tops just as well. Having been seen as the ‘inferior’ race for centuries, perhaps society deems that African-Americans are best left at the bottom rung. I would not be surprised if organisations came up with various campaigns to tackle racism, which might still not work. So it is up to the athletes to keep in mind the need for sportsmanlike behaviour since they are role models for their fans. Fans should also be more conscious and mindful of the implications of their actions. Hopefully one day, we can see both athletes and fans accept each other regardless of skin colour, and enjoy a sporting good time.
Dressed for success
Matthew Mohan Sports Editor
AS THE Barclays Premier League season heads into the home stretch, clubs are reaching into their musty cupboards to dig out third kits for a little freshening up. While changes are always welcome, some jerseys should be thrown into the incinerator, never to be seen again. We take a look at three of these kits that are more cringe-worthy than Arsene Wenger’s oversized puffy coat.
Burnley’s third kit
Burnley’s alternate jersey outshines the rest — for all the wrong reasons. While the team’s home and away kits have been solid, if unspectacular, this silver selection is an exceptional eyesore. Perhaps the Clarets were hoping to blind their opponents into submission? Speaking of blind, Dutchman Daley Blind limped off the field when Burnley donned this kit at Old Trafford, but his team was victorious with Chris Smalling getting on the scoresheet twice.
Smalling scoring two against any team already warrants a contemplative moment of silence, but the sight of the gleaming silver jerseys would probably compound the misery for many a Burnley fan. The word FUN on the front of the jersey could not have been further from the truth. The only silver lining may be that the kit also bears a suspicious resemblance to aluminium foil, and may come in useful if Burnley are eventually relegated. Sean Dyche will need to wrap up Danny Ings and company to hide his star men from potential suitors. Such foresight from the design team should be applauded.
perfectly with the pitch — a tailormade excuse for defenders to claim that they could not see each other. This perhaps is explanation enough for the Toon Army’s woeful defensive record. It is also surprising that former manager Alan Pardew did not add this gripe to his extensive repertoire of excuses during his time at the club. One could imagine Pardew muttering at a post-match conference: “Our centre backs could not see each other and that’s why we
conceded five goals. Otherwise, the lads played well.”
Swansea City's away kit
Rounding off the terrible trio is Swansea’s half red, half black away jersey. While this is technically not a third kit, it deserves an honourable mention. The kit unfortunately resembles the lovechild of a deck of poker cards and a roulette table. The humungous plastering of the team’s sponsor GFWX on the front of the jersey does no favours.
It unfortunately bears an uncanny resemblance to a Chinese New Year poster gone terribly wrong. Perhaps the goal of the design was to strike fear into the opponents. What could be more striking than Jonjo Shelvey or Bafetimbi Gomis lumbering around the pitch in one of these heinous jerseys? Or maybe, this could be a sneaky marketing ploy from the Swans to draw attention to themselves after seasons of languishing in midtable mediocrity.
Newcastle United’s third kit
Puma’s excellent eye for design extends beyond Burnley’s aluminium foil efforts. Newcastle United’s alternate kit is an entirely different kind of garishness. The kit features green and navy blue halves, colours that were selected by fan representatives who evidently have not heard of a colour wheel, or are closet Sunderland fans. Coincidentally, the shade of green on the jersey blends in
A SIGHT FOR SORE EYES (FROM LEFT) : Burnley's alumnium foil kit, Newcastle United's garish green jersey and Swansea City's angbao top. PHOTOS: INTERNET
Beyond the Hall Olympiad Lim Ching Ying
he Hall Olympiad drew to a close on 24 Feb, but players were back in battle less than a week later in the Inter-Hall frisbee and floorball competitions. These two sports are often touted as ‘unofficial’ as their scores do not count towards rankings in the Hall Olympiad, or the InterHall Games (IHG), as it is more commonly known. The floorball preliminaries commenced on 3 Mar, while the day-long frisbee tournament began the subsequent day. However, there was nothing unofficial about the medals up for grabs, or the glory that accompanied a win. With many participants already playing for external clubs, the competitiveness on the floorball court was especially palpable. “It was quite demanding for me. I expected the unofficial Inter-Hall Games to be more friendly and less competitive, but I was wrong,” said Janell Chu, 19, a first-year student at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI). Chu, who represented the team from Hall of Residence 13, had prior experience from competing in the ‘A’ Division. She added: “I could tell nobody would go down without a fight.” As for frisbee, the sport was allocated a smaller field than the one normally played on. But having five players instead of the standard seven made the intensity of the sport no less physically demanding.
Interestingly, both sports were played with mixed-gender teams. For floorball, two out of five players from each team must be female. Five-a-side frisbee required at least one female player per team on the field at any point in time. Opposing teams were also required to match the number of female players on the field.
“I could tell nobody would go down without a fight.” Janell Chu, 19 First-year student Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
John Lim, 23, a member of the Hall 1 frisbee team, acknowledged that mixed-gender sports are more challenging and demanding. The second-year student from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering added: “Working as a mixed-gender team helps to instil a greater sense of cohesion among participants as opposed to a single-gender team.”
Final matches and results
With four goals, player expulsions and a penalty shootout, the final match of the floorball tournament was a fitting end to the high-octane action that took place throughout the two days. Hall 12 clawed their way to a win against Hall 3 in a pulsating penalty shootout. The champions narrowly edged past Hall 15 en route to the finals, while their opponents from Hall 3 defeated the team from Hall 13.
PASSING IT FORWARD: A Hall 1 player attempts to make a short toss to his teammate.
For the players from Hall 12, the combination of resilience and bravery proved to be their winning strategy. As with their semi-final, they scored in the dying minutes of the final match, levelling the score at 2-2 to force the resulting penalty shootout, where Hall 12 eventually
emerged victorious. Frisbee matches were held at the lower field of the Sports and Recreation Centre, and continued throughout the day to determine the individual rankings for each hall. Substitutions were only allowed after a point was scored, as opposed to occurring at any time during a floorball match. In an exceptionally tight final, newcomer Crescent Hall beat Hall 6 in a surprise upset with a score of 7-5 to take home the crown.
“Working as a mixed-gender team helps to instil a greater sense of cohesion among participants as opposed to a single-gender team." John Lim, 23 Second-year student Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
FACE OFF: A Hall 7 player and his opponent from Hall 3 await the referee's whistle.
PHOTO: RAYMOND TAN
Crescent Hall player Siddarth Reddy, 21, described the win as an extremely satisfying one, given the hall’s greenhorn status. Although they had a handful of frisbee players, they barely met the minimum requirement of having two girls on the team to match their opponents. The first-year student from the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine explained: “We were very satisfied simply once we reached the quarter finals.” He added that the team had gotten off to a bumpy start in their
PHOTO: ESMOND HENG
first match but eventually built up strong team dynamics as the day progressed to eventually pull off the win.
The NTU Floorball Club served as the organisers for the floorball tournament. The recreational club holds learn-to-play sessions once a semester with the aim of advocating the sport. Since the game is not specifically organised by the halls, it is not officially recognised as part of the IHG. Hall 1 took up the challenge of pioneering and organising the first frisbee tournament. It is still not known why frisbee is not officially part of the IHG, despite being organised by a hall. With many players from the university’s frisbee team playing for their respective halls, the sport made a fierce debut. Yet, after every match, opposing teams gathered in a huddle known as a spirit circle and thanked their opponents for the game in a show of true sportsmanship. The organisers of these two games hope to continue holding the competition yearly and perhaps even integrate it into the official Games, though they admit that there is still a long road ahead. Despite being labelled as ‘unofficial’ sports, floorball and frisbee remain a staple in the lives and hearts of players hailing from NTU’s different halls. Indeed, these sports will do well to receive greater recognition and appreciation in the future.
Published on Mar 16, 2015