ISSN NO. 0218-7310
Whatâ€™s Inside WKWSCI celebrates 25th anniversary NEWS & SPOTLIGHT | Page 06-09
NTU offers Russian language elective NEWS| Page 02
Conquering Mt. Everest SPORTS| Page 22
Preparing for your summer getaway
LIFESTYLE | Page 14-15
High rent forces stores to close NEWS | Page 03
Some tips for cool graduation photos
LIFESTYLE | Page 16-17
NTU starts Russian language elective; to offer Swedish, Latin next semester
Russian language coordinator Elena Ermilova (centre) conducts her Russian Language class using multimedia materials. NTU is the only university in Singapore to offer the Russian language as a module, with Swedish and Latin set to be offered next semester. This will bring the total number of language electives to 16. PHOTO: SHABANA BEGUM
Russian is the latest language offered by NTU; Swedish and Latin to be rolled out next semester
Two new languages — Swedish and Latin — will also be offered next semester, bringing the total number of language electives to 16. The centre is also considering introducing Cantonese in the future.
Globalised world CML lecturer Patricia Lorenz said expanding CML’s language options allows them to accommodate students’ demand for more languages, as well as their desire to stay relevant in a globalised world. Forty students were enrolled in the inaugural Russian class this semester, conducted by Ms Elena Ermilova. Ms Ermilova hails from Moscow and is the only Russian lecturer at NTU. For final-year School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) student Shimma Abdul Rahim, the desire to read her favourite Russian text in its original language spurred her to take up the elective. “I did my Final Year Project on ‘The Master and Margarita’ by Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov,” said Shimma, 27, who was introduced to Russian literature two years ago when she took HSS modules on European and Modernist Literature.
THEY are an energetic bunch, guffawing at their peers’ mispronunciations and cheering for those who correctly translate Russian phrases to English. Whenever a student mispronounces a crucial word, the language coordinator asks the class to repeat it. The students more than gladly oblige. This is the typical atmosphere of a Russian Language class here, the latest language elective offered by the Centre for Modern Languages (CML) this semester. The University decided to offer Russian after it came up tops in a CML survey of 500 students, who were asked which languages they would most like to study. NTU is the only university in Singapore to offer the Russian language as a module.
Despite their strong interest, students whom the Nanyang Chronicle spoke to said learning Russian was no walk in the park.
Russian vocabulary.” Jiang said knowing the language would also help her during her solo trip to Russia after graduation.
Difficult language Fourth-year Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering student Carrie Jiang, 23, who had taken French Level 1, said: “Some French words are somewhat similar to English, but Russian words are longer and different from English, except for borrowed words. So we remembered the words by memorising.” Students also found learning the Cyrillic alphabets, which contain English letters but have different phonetic sounds, and differentiating between the vocal stress patterns, very challenging. To help students master the language, Ms Ermilova conducts her classes using role-playing activities and multimedia materials that require students to work together. “The role-playing tasks were beneficial because it helped me recognise which phrases to use in certain situations,” said Shimma. Jiang also said: “Through the Russian cartoons Ms Ermilova showed us, we learnt to memorise
Future relevance Russian language elective students are also able to attend lectures by prominent figures from the local Russian community. Last March, the Russian ambassador to Singapore, Mr Andrey Tatarinov, was invited down to the University for a talk. CML also plans to invite industry experts from Russian companies in Singapore to speak to students next semester, said Ms Ermilova. “We want students to stay in touch with Russian culture and keep them informed about the happenings in the local Russian community, and the opportunities open to those who are learning Russian as a foreign language,” Ms Ermilova added. With increasing opportunities for Singaporean companies to conduct business in Russia, many students believe that learning the language will help them be more prepared for the future. In May last year, Prime Minister
Lee Hsien Loong told the media after a four-day work visit to Russia that trade between Singapore and Russia has been growing rapidly over the past decade. The two nations established diplomatic relations in 1968. But Mr Lee said there was a need to overcome existing language barriers in order to better understand Russia’s business landscape and governmental operations. Standing out “I may come across a Russian businessman someday,” said final-year School of Civil and Environmental Engineering student Seah Xiang Yu, 26. “When that happens, I hope to apply the language and culture I’ve learnt here.” Drawn to the prospect of mastering a unique language, third-year HSS student, Anthea Tan, 23, is considering taking up the Russian module next semester. “It’s a language that hasn’t been explored much in Asia and Singapore, which makes it appealing,” Tan said. “You might not be able to find many who speak Russian here, and you can be the exception.”
High rent at North Spine Plaza leaves stores high and dry
Tenants in the North Spine Plaza struggle with high monthly rental and poor business during the holidays Wong Jinghui Eleanor Tay A COMBINATION of high rental and poor business during the semester holidays is threatening to put some stores in the North Spine Plaza out of business. Some tenants have complained of the high monthly rent — ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 a month — at the University’s North Spine Plaza, and the fall in foot traffic during the semester break. As part of the newly revamped North Spine, the North Spine Plaza was touted as a lifestyle hub when it first opened in late 2015, offering 24 food and retail options over two floors. Food and beverage outlets and retail outlets occupy the lower floor, while communal study spaces are located on the upper floor. However, things have slowed down since its opening. Currently four store spaces in North Spine Plaza are empty, with convenience store Buzz closing last January. Bakery Temptations shut in June last year reportedly due to poor business, with no new tenant taking its place yet. Rental woes The head chef and restaurant manager of Mia Pizza & Pasta Express, who only wanted to be known as Mr Khairul, said his restaurant could not make a substantial profit with its high monthly rent of $10,000, coupled with labour and utility bills. “If I take the average sales of around $1,500 on a normal day, in a month, my profits are just enough for my costs. So basically, I’m not earning anything.” Earnings can go down to around $500 a day during the semester break, added Mr. Khairul. “Business during the holidays is totally not enough to cover the rent. While we can still break even for the entire year, we have to push harder for business and pray to God that there’s more people around.” His sentiments were echoed by Mr Edwin Chan, managing director of the takeaway food kiosk, The Sandwich Guys. Mr Chan called for a slash in monthly rental during the semester break. “During the holidays, more than half of the population is gone. If the rate drops accordingly, we will be more profitable because we will be able to have longer opening hours and lower our prices,” said
Convenience store Buzz (right) has been closed since last January. Beside it stands hair salon K-Cuts (left), which has tried requesting for a slash in rent during the holidays. PHOTO: ZHENG JUNCEN
Despite only being around for a year, Mia Pizza & Pasta Express is struggling to keep its head afloat due to high monthly rental and poor sales. PHOTO: WONG JINGHUI
Although Temptations Bakery has been closed since June last year, no new tenant has moved into its space yet. PHOTO: ZHENG JUNCEN
Mr Chan. His store typically sees 160 receipts a day during the semester, but this drops to just 70 receipts a day once semester break starts. Ms Jessy Chan, an employee of hair salon K-Cuts, said: “North Spine Plaza is super quiet during the long breaks. It was so quiet last summer break that all we could do was to sit and look at each other.” “Since human traffic falls so much during the holidays, why shouldn’t the rent be cut? This place will be empty in three years with such high rent,” she added.
prematurely due to poor sales. The store will shift out once a replacement tenant has been found. “Even if business was normal, we still couldn’t earn enough to pay the monthly rent,” said Ms Fardiana, adding that sales would drop by 80 per cent during the semester break. It cost an estimated $20,000 to operate the outlet every month, she said. In response to queries from The Nanyang Chronicle, Chief Housing & Auxiliary Services Officer Jimmy Lee said: “Although contractual details cannot be disclosed for confidentiality reasons, rental rates are on par with those of other education institutions. "Potential tenants are informed of the University’s annual vacation periods beforehand, and would have taken this into consideration in their tender bids.” Mr Lee added that the Housing and Auxiliary Services Office is currently working to find new ten-
Unsuccessful efforts Some tenants say efforts to negotiate with the University have been unsuccessful. Ms Chan said her employer’s request to slash the rent during the holidays was turned down, while Mr Khairul said his attempts at approaching the school’s leasing office were fruitless.
He added: “Sorry to say but they didn’t put in any effort in addressing the concerns we gave. The least they could do was to send an email on our behalf, but they just said they couldn’t help us.” With two more years to go on their contracts with NTU, both Mr Khairul of Mia Pizza & Pasta Express, as well as Mr Chan of The Sandwich Guys, said they were uncertain if they would stay on after their contracts expired. Mr Chan said: “We’ll try our best but it depends on whether our business can be sustained. If we continue the contract, we are locking ourselves out.” Biting the dust As some tenants contemplate their future in North Spine Plaza, others like donut chain Dunkin’ Donuts have bitten the dust. Ms Fardiana Mohd Ali, senior outlet manager of Dunkin’ Donuts, said they have ended their contract
ants to enhance the North Spine Plaza’s retail mix. More variety, more services Students interviewed by the Chronicle expressed a desire for a greater variety of stores in the Plaza. Some suggestions included bringing in a bookstore — as the nearest one is located at South Spine — and popular Japanese food franchise Maki-San. Fourth-year School of Computer Science and Engineering student Samuel Lee felt that the North Spine Plaza could offer more distinct services, instead of adding more food and beverage outlets. The 25-year-old said: “We already have a lot of choices for food, so I don’t think adding more food outlets is needed. "Maybe the Buzz convenience store can be replaced by a convenience store that actually opens 24 hours a day. This would benefit the halls nearby.”
Oversupply in university graduates not a threat but an opportunity: Minister Chan Students should not fear the oversupply of degree holders locally, but adapt and compete internationally Lim Woei Lin
SINGAPORE is seeing an increasing number of university degree holders, but current students should see this as an opportunity rather than a threat, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing. “Getting employed is not about your degree," Mr Chan said. “It’s about how hungry you are." He was responding to a question posed by a second-year School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering student during the NTU Ministerial Forum last month. During the forum's questionand-answer segment, the student expressed concern about the possible oversupply of university graduates in Singapore. Mr Chan estimated that one in every two millenials in Singapore holds a university degree. But he cautioned students that having a degree does not guarantee success. “Don’t think that by completing university education, you have finished the race and won, because you have to compete on an international basis,” he said. He also challenged students to continually stretch their limits of learning — instead of only concentrating on paper qualifications — and to avoid complacency. “A country’s competitiveness is not reliant on a few, but on everyone," Mr Chan said. “We should aim to compete as Team Singapore and be globally competitive, not locally competitive.” Some 400 students and faculty members attended the forum held on 5 April. The forum's theme this year was “Advancing Our Competitiveness in the New Economy”. Public service Other questions brought up by students ranged from the definition of public service, the importance of humanities and social sciences, to the trend of protectionism embraced by many countries. Mr Chan said public service is the antidote to the potential social divisions caused by the new economy. “Public service is about keeping Singapore together, growing as one," he said. “It is my duty to give
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Chan Chun Sing talks about the challenges and opportunities in the new economy, warning students not to be complacent during last month's Ministerial Forum. PHOTO: VALERIE LAY
“Getting employed is not about your degree. It’s about how hungry you are. Don’t think that by completing university education, you have finished the race and won, because you have to compete on an international basis.” Chan Chun Sing Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office
back to the community to ensure that future generations will be able to have opportunities.” He also said protectionism was not viable for the nation, citing Singapore’s reliance on the world. “Our market is insufficient for our survival, so we do not have the option of taking the short-term, easy way out by isolating ourselves,” he said. Mr Chan addressed concerns on the role of humanities and social sciences by saying students need to
go beyond one’s academic syllabus. He said: “Regardless of subject discipline, the ability to think about the world around you is essential.” Interactive forum Students interviewed by the Nanyang Chronicle after the forum said they enjoyed the dialogue. “The Minister was very genuine," said Marcus Sng, 24, a second-year School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering student. “The interaction he had with the audience made the atmosphere very relaxed.” “I thought that it was bold to allow so much interaction between himself and the audience, since it creates much uncertainty for him,” Sng added. Grace Foo, a second-year School of Humanities and Social Sciences student, found the responses by Mr Chan insightful. “While they were not completely new ideas, they were a reminder that we need to go out to do something in order to be competitive,” the 21-year-old said. Mr Chan kicked off the forum with an interactive poll on questions ranging from Singapore’s attractiveness to investors, to what
students could do differently to increase their adaptability. Audience members participated by providing short answers online. Answers were flashed on the auditorium’s screen in the form of word clouds. Mr Chan then structured his talk based on the responses given. When Mr Chan asked about what makes Singapore attractive to investors, the dominant responses were “safety” and “security”. These answers reflected a conservative mindset, said Mr Chan. “If these were the only answers, Singapore will win hands-down on getting investments,” he said. Instead, he encouraged the audience to think beyond these factors. “Technology is neutral. Whoever can use technology to complement them better and evolve their business model wins. The same technology, if not well-applied, will cause us to be fearful of our jobs, because now someone might steal our lunch over the Internet." But if we master it, we can take other people’s lunch.” Adaptability and awareness Most students polled during the
dialogue cited “adaptability” as the most important skill they would take away from NTU. But Mr Chan encouraged students to adopt the 4As — Awareness, Analysis, Anticipation and Adaptation — to stay competitive. Singapore undergraduates are sought-after and highly skilled but they may be overtaken if they do not keep pace, he said, warning students against complacency. Giving back During his hour-long talk, Mr Chan also emphasised the need to give back to the community to ensure Singapore's continual growth. “Success is not due to individual effort, but also enabled by family and society,” he said. “It is our responsibility to reach out and take care of those who are less successful as we move on, no matter how fast or far we run.” Expressing his confidence in the younger generation, Mr Chan said: “Singapore will be successful if you lend your shoulders for the next generation to stand taller and see further. You have the basic ingredients for SG100, to be successful as an individual and as a nation.”
Bringing learning to halls on campus The Residential Education Programme will be implemented for every hall by 2019, allowing students to participate in enrichment classes, seminars and workshops at their doorstep Lim Woei Lin SOON, all students staying on campus will have access to free enrichment classes and workshops without leaving their halls. Through the Residential Education (RE) Programme, all halls will have extra-curricular programmes that allow students to learn even beyond the classroom. “They (residents) spend most of their time here, so it would be a waste if we do not give them the chance to learn and develop holistic skills," said Associate Professor Valerie Du Toit-Low, who was appointed last year as NTU’s first Deputy Associate Provost (Residential Education). The programme first started at Crescent and Pioneer halls in 2014. It was implemented at the North Hill and Yunnan halls at the start
Residents participate in a baking workshop under the Residential Education Programme in the Crescent and Pioneer cluster. PHOTO: CRESCENT AND PIONEER HALLS
of this semester, and Halls 8 to 11 last March. Halls are free to develop their own RE programme curriculum. For instance, the Crescent and Pioneer clusters offer workshops on electronic and mechanical invention, arts, and food experience, which includes coming up with recipes and beverages.
Three new workshops on dance, food culture, and pottery will be introduced in the North Hill and Yunnan halls next semester. “More than half of our undergraduate population reside in halls," Assoc Prof Toit-Low said. “As part of the NTU 2020 Strategic Plan, the school decided to do something different for the halls so
that the students can benefit from their stay.” About 200 students participate in the various workshops organised at Crescent and Pioneer halls each academic year, according to Dr Sze Chun Chau, Senior Faculty in Residence for Pioneer Hall. Students can participate in individual workshops or work on
longer projects. Hall residents can also join RE programmes from other halls, though priority will be given to residents staying within the cluster. Facilities like fully furnished kitchens and dance studios are also being built within some halls. Feedback on the RE programme from residents has been largely positive so far. Hall 1 resident Hu Guoyu attended a theatre workshop at Tanjong Hall last March, where he learnt about the history and the concept of abstraction. “These programmes are good opportunities to enrich our residential life," said Hu, a second-year student at the School of Materials Science & Engineering. The 20-year-old also signed up for a fitness class and financial literacy workshop. “Compared to taking a course, these workshops, which consist of only a few sessions and introducing basics of a topic, are easier to fit into our schedules,” Hu said. Pioneer hall resident Sheryl Yeo, 23, said such programmes also give her more opportunities to network with like-minded individuals. “It’s usually a hi-bye relationship for those staying in hall. The workshops allow me to meet other undergraduates I wouldn't have known otherwise,” she said.
ADM streamlines curricula into 2 tracks Incoming ADM students will choose from two general degrees instead of six specialised ones Eleanor Tay
THE School of Art, Design and Media (ADM) will offer only two Bachelor of Fine Arts programmes starting August. ADM currently offers six Bachelor of Fine Arts programmes in Animation, Film-making, Photography, Interactive Media, Product Design and Visual Communication. But starting next academic year, these six programmes will be merged into only two programmes: Design Art and Media Art. The decision to streamline its existing programmes into two new, multi-disciplinary tracks was made after the school consulted leading media and design companies in Singapore, as well as overseas. The Design Art degree will be a combination of three current
ADM will be streamlining its current six programmes into two new, multi-disciplinary programmes to give students more flexibility in choosing subjects that suit their interests. PHOTO: VALERIE LAY
programmes: Interactive Media, Product Design and Visual Communication. The Media Art degree will combine existing specialisations in Digital Animation, Digital Filmmaking, and Photography and Digital Imaging. “Students need to have multifaceted skills and inter-disciplinary knowledge to be of increasing value and relevance to employers and
meet the challenges and demands of tomorrow," Professor Kam Chan Hin, NTU’s Deputy Provost for Education, said in a press release. “The consolidation of NTU’s Bachelor of Fine Arts offerings into two distinct programmes is designed to better equip students with those competencies, and also let them have more freedom to tailor their learning to match their in-
terests and career aspirations.” Currently, ADM students have to complete all prescribed electives in their chosen major. Under the new programme, students can choose up to two electives from the other departments of the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) to fulfill some of their prescribed electives. Prospective and current ADM students interviewed by the Nanyang Chronicle welcomed the revised curricula, which is more inter-disciplinary in approach. “It’s great for people who are undecided on their majors. Some of my friends would rather have majors combined than having to specialise so early,” said first-year ADM student Lim Ling Ern, 20. Incoming freshman Dominique Chan, 22, also said: “Deciding on my major will be much easier and a general degree would give my portfolio more variety and add value to my work.” The change comes after the University announced that the existing HASS would be restructured into two separate schools — the School of Humanities and the School of
Social Sciences — also in August this year. However, others such as exchange student Claire Thomas were not as enthusiastic. She said: “I think it’s a bit worse because you cannot clearly choose what you want to focus on and have to go really general, which means sometimes people can’t really get what they want.” However, other students also welcomed the introduction of a compulsory 10-week internship stint as part of the curriculum tweak. “To do anything in the art industry, you need a portfolio and an internship allows your future employers to see your style and capabilities so it’s definitely important,” said Emma Tan, 20, a first-year student in ADM. The revamp will also include a new module where practicing artists and designers will be invited to give talks and share their insights. “I’m excited to hear professionals share their success stories. Although I don’t think their practical tips will suit everyone, but their stories of personal growth will definitely inspire,” said Chan.
Alumni, current students and staff alike enjoy an evening of relaxation at the annual get-together, titled WeeHangout, at the Mandarin Oriental hotel on 21 April.
WKWSCI looks forward as it celeb WKWSCI celebrates its silver jubilee this year — and reflects on how it can continue preparing students for a rapidly changing media industry Shabana Begum
THE Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI) is celebrating its glorious past by focusing on the future. As the school celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, faculty members reflect on how they can prepare students for a rapidly evolving media industry. “We need to maintain an innovative mindset, constantly looking for new ways to prepare our students for emerging occupations flowing from the digital economy,” said Prof Charles Salmon, Chair of WKWSCI. “We need to make sure that we not only equip our students with skills for the current job market, but also for the job market five to 10 years from now,” Prof Salmon also said. Doing well The school kicked off its silver jubilee celebration with a gathering on 21 April at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel attended by about 400 alumni and final-year students, who had just finished defending their final-
year projects. Founded in 1992, the WKWSCI has steadily rose in world rankings, placing first in Asia and sixth in the world for media communication studies in the 2014 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings. “We have done well,” said Emeritus Professor Eddie Kuo, the school’s founding Dean. “I personally have no doubt that we are top in Asia and we have started to shine globally.” But the school also recognises the challenges posed by the changing media and information landscape and is working on keeping its curriculum up to date. Up to date The Communication Studies curriculum is updated every three to four years to keep up with changes in the economy, said Assoc Prof Lee Chun Wah, the school’s first head of the division of public and promotional communication. For example, starting last semester, freshmen are required to take two core modules on basic coding and data analysis. Employers have told the school that they are looking for graduates who have both traditional storytelling skills and new media skills, such as coding, said Dr Mark Cenite, Associate Chair of WKWSCI. “The organisations are desperate for people who can analyse social media data,” he explained. “Requiring courses in which students are introduced to coding and analytics became the clear path forward.”
Students at the school can also take electives on information visualisation, digital campaign management, data-mining and mobile communications, with more new courses already in the planning stages, Prof Salmon said.
“Students must be nimble and be able to combine information across different media types. The more you have exposure to a range of things, the better off you are.” Ms Nikki Draper Senior lecturer at WKWSCI
Paradigm shift Other faculty members also encouraged students to expand their media skills beyond their individual tracks to remain relevant in the digital economy. Assoc Prof Lee said it has become difficult to find a student who is comprehensive and competent in the fields of public relations, advertising and photography. “Students tend to be microscopic,” he said. “If they are interested in photojournalism or docudrama, they place their focus onto it. It is called specialty.” “But these days, it is necessary to be a specialist and a generalist at the same time,” he said. Ms Nikki Draper, a senior lecturer at the school, added: “Stu-
dents must be nimble and be able to combine information across different media types. The more you have exposure to a range of things, the better off you are.” To prepare students for the converged media landscape, the tracks have become more flexible over the years and students have more freedom to pursue modules from different tracks. Longer internship Assoc Prof Lee, who established the school’s Professional Internship scheme and the Final Year Project (FYP) system, also believes the curriculum needs to be revamped for students and lecturers to stay abreast of current developments in the economy. He suggested a longer internship experience or work-study scheme for undergraduates. Assoc Prof Lee said the mandatory six-month internship for thirdyear students is “not real enough” and should be extended to oneand-a-half to two years. From the second half of their second year to their fourth year, students should be sent out to work in media industries or related sectors, he added. To fulfill their academic requirements, Assoc Prof Lee suggested that students should submit reports and online assignments to update their professors. “Instead of locking up the students in university for three years or so, they should be sent out to spend a considerable amount of time in the industry, learning on
the job,” said Assoc Prof Lee. This paradigm shift in the curriculum would make undergraduates’ internship experience more realistic, and will position students as economy-ready and job-ready, he added. Preparing faculty But aside from preparing students, Prof Salmon said the school also needs to prepare its faculty in terms of teaching, research and getting grants. This will help the school to reach its goal of “being an international leader in communication and information scholarship”. In its early years, the school faced several challenges in hiring faculty who were renowned for their research. Prof Kuo said that in the early 1990s, there were no locally trained communication scholars. NTU had
FUN FACTS ABOUT WKWSC
1) The school has been named three times o School of Communication Studies in 1992 School of Communication and Informatio Wee Kim Wee School of Communication a
2) Before the school moved to its current loc
3) The school hosted the Asia Journalism Fel Singapore to network with other reporters
4) Inspiration for The Hive’s collaborative tab
CHRONICLE 09 what they say “I’m very proud of the success of our students and alumni, for their professional accomplishments have influenced communication and information industries in Singapore, Asia and the world.” - Prof Charles Salmon, Chair of WKWSCI
PHOTOS COURTESY OF WEE KIM WEE SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION
brates silver jubilee to rely on professors from abroad, many of whom were reluctant in moving to Singapore. Prof Ang Peng Hwa, the school’s second Dean, said to address this issue, the school started hosting numerous international conferences in Singapore. These events helped convince international scholars that Singapore, particularly WKWSCI, was a great place to work in, said Assoc Prof Benjamin Detenber, who was the school’s Chair from 2008 to 2013. The school encountered another faculty recruitment challenge when the University implemented the promotion and tenure system in 2008. This meant faculty members had to meet a much more rigorous set of standards. Faculty members were expected to publish in top-tier journals and possess significant research records
that are internationally recognised, said Assoc Prof Detenber. Endowed chairs Despite these challenges, the school hired its first full professor from abroad, Prof Salmon, in 2011. The school also hired two endowed chairs, one for communication studies and another for media technology. It will announce the hiring of its third endowed chair, a media innovator from one of Asia’s top corporations, later this year, Prof Salmon added. Funded by donations to the University, the endowed chair is a highly prestigious academic position meant to attract top international scholars. Prof Salmon also stressed the importance of research in further developing the school. “Success in research helps the
over the years: 2 on in 2002 and Information in 2006
cation in 1996, it was housed in the Chinese Heritage Centre.
llowship (AJF) programme from 2009 to 2016. Journalists from Asia are invited to s and reflect on their profession.
bles outside tutorial rooms were inspired by the benches in WKWSCI.
“I remember running around school with my camera, trying to make short films. In my final year, I was part of the Going Overseas for Advanced Reporting team and I had a close-knit and exciting FYP group. All these experiences helped me decide that photography and filmmaking was what I wanted to do.” - Mr Samuel He (CS’08), 34, director and co-founder of WEAVE, a video and photography production house. He is also a photojournalism lecturer at WKWSCI
school’s reputation globally and brings cutting-edge knowledge into our classrooms,” he added. Engaging alumni The school was originally called the School of Communication Studies. But it was renamed in 1995 in honor of the late former President Dr Wee Kim Wee, who was also a former journalist. The school was first housed in the Chinese Heritage Centre, until it was moved to its own building at the western edge of the campus in 1996. Since its founding, the school has produced over 2,000 alumni from 24 batches. Prof Kuo considers the school’s alumni as “very important resources” who can help fresh graduates in their career development. They can mentor current undergraduates and contribute to the school’s endowment fund. Prof Salmon also stressed the importance of the school’s alumni as WKWSCI moves forward. “We want to find more ways to help our alumni navigate through the disruptive media landscape and find new opportunities for success in their careers,” he said. “We also want to find ways to draw on the wisdom and experience of our alumni in ways that can help our students and faculty be on the frontiers of industry change,” Prof Salmon added. The school is already planning a big alumni gathering later this year as one of the highlights of its silver jubilee celebration.
“The school has developed in me an inquisitive mind, a sense of curiosity of the world and doggedness — values that are not only important for a journalist, but in life.” - Pang Xue Qiang, 25, final-year student majoring in journalism
“The school has a strong culture and spirit unlike any other, and the people here are driven.” - Nicole Lim, 21, second-year student and president of the 24th Communication & Information Club
“My most memorable moment in WKW was seeing my FYP documentary being shown on the big screen at Filament (the school’s annual film showcase).” - Ms Clarissa Sih (CS’16), 24, Manager (Communications) at National Parks Board
This year, the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI) celebrates 25 years of meeting the regionâ€™s demand for well-trained media and information professionals, coming a long way since its infant days in the 1990s as the School of Communication Studies. Photo Editor Zheng Juncen sheds light on how the school has developed over the years.
6 1 & 2: Student writers and editors of the Nanyang Chronicle had to write stories and edit pages using cathode ray tube monitors and Windows desktops back in 1999. Today, members of the team go through production nights in the Newsplex using Apple iMac workstations to simulate working in an actual newsroom. 3 & 4: Broadcast students do their filming in the TV studio just like before, but with additional props and more advanced, updated equipment commonly used in the industry. 5 & 6: While the glass windows and colour scheme of blue and white are retained from 1996 when the school was known as the School of Communication Studies, there is now an added vibrancy with trees and plants flanking the carpark next to the building. ARCHIVE PHOTOS COURTESY OF WEE KIM WEE SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION
T I F N O I H S FA
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Bear t | Pull & Camo Shir ra t | Za Pink T-shir & Bear ull Shorts | P S SO A | s e o h S
Pull & Bear An urban, casual brand at accessible prices, Pull & Bear pieces are of a more relax fit. Sizes range from 118-126cm for 2XL, with the largest pants size going up to 100cm.
Creative Direction & Text: Roy Tan Photographer: Zheng Juncen Styling: Stephanie Wong Styling Assistant: Queenie Ke Models: Kenneth Huang Roy Tan Graphics: Teo Hsin Wei
TIP 4 Play with prints
to draw attention to your outfit, distracting the eye from the rest of your body. If you are going for a slimmer look, opt for larger prints. Larger prints cover wider portions of the body, creating the illusion of a smaller frame.
TIP 5 Dress for comfort and choose the right fit of clothes — neither too baggy nor figurehugging. Plus-sized men may consider slimfit pants over skinny-fit ones. Baggy clothes will add extra “weight”, making you seem bulkier than you actually are.
slim TIP is6not Looking all black and boring. Do not shun away from colours. Have fun adding colours to your innerwear when layering.
Uniqlo The Japanese brand, known for its basics and minimalist wear, stocks sizes up to XL in retail, and up to 2XL on their web-store. Its global flagship store, located at Orchard Central, stocks the widest variety of designs, including exclusive Uniqlo T-shirt (UT) designs. Zara The Spanish fast fashion brand caters primarily towards slimmer frames. Its 2XL sizing for tops are more fitting, ranging between 112-117cm, and pants size going up to 91cm. Zalora Asia’s largest e-commerce platform, with over 500 brands to choose from, has a good mix of western brands such as River Island, where the cutting is generally larger.
TIP 7 Choose T-shirts with lower necklines and shirts with collars of a shorter width. This extends the neck visually.
FROM LEARNING TO EARNING Itâ€™s the time of the year when final-year students obtain their degrees and go out into the working world. They have made the most out of school (hopefully), but how much are they likely to make outside the university? A 2016 survey by the Ministry of Education revealed the employment rates and average salaries of over 5,000 NTU graduates, according to their respective degrees. How does each major stack up against the rest?
$3,337 $3,336 $3,305 $3,283 $3,279 $3,239 $3,197 $3,196 $3,156 $3,151 $3,132 $3,119 $3,083 $3,027 Ch
$3,027 $2,974 $2,938 $2,718
$2,525 Bio Bio Ch
His tory lish
mu Art nic , De atio Bio sig nS me n Ch tud d & i Me ine cal S ies dia se Me cienc dic ine es &
Psy cho Acc log oun y tan cy
$4,232 $3,836 $3,792 $3,784 $3,761 $3,578 $3,496 $3,453 $3,443 $3,438 $3,417 $3,407 $3,385 $3,348 $3,346
Aer o Ma
Acc oun t
Salaries shown are based on the average of the earnings of all graduates from a specific course who are employed full-time. eer ing
There is no data for the following courses due to the small number of graduates and/or low response rates: Aerospace Engineering and Economics, Business and Computer Engineering, Materials Engineering and Economics, Mechanical Engineering and Economics, Public Policy and Global Affairs.
For more information: http://bit.ly/2luedpn
Infographic by : Toby Tan Xun Yi
ON THE ROAD ALONE
Solo travelling can be a hassle. But for these five NTU students, embracing the uncertainties of travelling alone was just part of the adventure. Lifestyle writer Claudia Tan gets behind the solo travels to five separate continents, and picks up quick tips along the way.
Asia Tip: “Be brave and ask for
All smiles at Lantau Peak after a two-hour hike to see the sunrise
help if you need, most people tend to be more helpful than you think.” Ang Kai Lin, 22, ADM
he had foreseen getting lost, but 22-year-old Ang Kai Lin never imagined her seven-day backpacking trip to Hong Kong would include losing her wallet on day four of her trip, along with HK$1000 (S$200), her debit card and Octopus card — the Hong Kong equivalent of an ez-link card. Kai Lin was left stranded at Victoria Harbour, midway between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. But thanks to HK$500 (S$100) she had stashed away in a spare pouch, she took a cab back to her hostel. For dinner, she settled for a cup of instant noodles. But that didn’t dampen her spirits since she enjoyed most of the trip — on her second day, she woke at 5am to catch the sunrise at Lantau Peak. “I did get lost along the way and only made it to the peak past sunrise, but the view was still breathtaking.”
Kai Lin’s pick: A backup wallet with extra cash — in case you lose your first or it gets stolen.
rica e m A h t u o S Tip:
“Be flexible with your dates if you’re travelling longterm because you meet people who recommend new places to visit, or you’ll just decide to stay longer at a place because you like it so much.”
Owen at the “End of the World” sign in the southernmost city of the world, Ushuaia, Argentina
Owen Ter, 26, MAE
outh America has a reputation among travellers as a dangerous place to visit. But that did not stop Owen Ter from buying a one-way ticket there for his graduation trip in late February this year. He had been to Brazil once in 2014 and promised he’d be back to fully explore the continent — where he still is. “I got tired of the usual places like Asia and Europe; South America is like a faraway land that is relatively unknown to Singaporeans.” To prepare, the Mechanical Engineering student, who graduated last December, took Span-
ish classes in NTU and picked up Israeli Krav Maga for selfdefence. He planned his itinerary for his first stop in Rio de Janeiro, but did the rest of his trip spontaneously, only reading up on his next destination via travel blogs and TripAdvisor the night before. With just a backpack, a week’s worth of clothing, flip flops and hiking shoes, Owen has snorkeled with sea lions in Argentina, and ridden horses in Chile. “If I have to wait for someone to be as ready as I am, I will never live my dream of visiting South America.”
Owen’s pick: Your comfy jacket — nothing beats a familiar item that keeps you warm; and even warm countries get cold sometimes. PHOTOS COURTESY OF ANG KAI LIN, OWEN TER, TAMMY TAN, WONG HUI EN AND BERTRAND TEE. GRAPHICS: EUGENE THAM
Just one of the many highlights of Tammy’s solo travel — paragliding at Interlaken, Switzerland
Europ e Tip: “When planning for a trip, look out for interesting events to attend that coincide with your travelling so you don’t miss out on the opportunity to do something unique and fun.” Tammy Tan, 22, HSS
eeting new people is part and parcel of travelling alone, but it’s an added bonus when you bump into YouTubers with 14 million subscribers. Tammy Tan was taking a tram ride from the Amsterdam RAI convention centre back to her hostel when she bumped into American YouTubers, The Fine Brothers, and ended up chatting with them the rest of the way. It was just one of the many perks from attending Vidcon 2017, an annual convention that gathers YouTubers worldwide. On exchange in the UK, the third-year School of Humanities and Social Sciences student had planned her solo trip for
ia l a r t s u A
Tammy’s pick: Sunglasses — to protect your eyes from the UV rays and so you’ll always be photo-ready!
Hui En at the lighthouse of her favourite beach, Cape Byron, for a scenic view
the month-long Easter break in April. She found out about Vidcon and made Amsterdam her first stop. Instead of purchasing tickets, she decided to apply as a volunteer — which brought her greater access and tons of freebies. After the three-day convention, Tammy spent the rest of the month touring nine cities in Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia with a S$2500 budget. “It’s a lot more efficient than travelling in a group as I get to see more in a short period of time,” said Tammy. “I get to be responsible for 100 per cent of the planning.”
Tip: “If you’re looking to save
money, carpooling can be a great option. Try coseats.com, to find people to carpool with.” Wong Hui En, 21, HSS
Hui En’s pick: Sunblock — Don’t underestimate the ever-present UV rays even when there is no sun.
Bertrand’s pick: Cap — Shields you from the sun and keeps your head warm in the cold — or simply to cover up a bad hair day.
ot every solo itinerary is packed with activities. For Wong Hui En, her week-long trip to Gold Coast, Australia was a chilled-out affair filled with beach-hopping — to rejuvenate and break away from the bustle of university. Her favourite: Cape Byron, a vision of charcoal coloured rocks surrounding the perimeters of the beach. It is easy to distinguish between the more commercialised beaches and those less ventured, said Hui En. Unlike beaches more popular with tourists, like Surfer’s Paradise Beach, the crowd at Cape Byron consists mostly of families taking morning hikes up the lighthouse, pro surfers hanging outside their caravans, and buskers and yogis peppered around the area — perfect for peoplewatching, she added. “Many times, I was just perched on a rock with a book on my lap, or a GoPro to document the moments.” She splurged on food but saved on accommodation, staying at the Surfer’s Paradise Backpackers Hostel for S$33 a night. “In Australia a burger and fries can add up to about S$17 — even the Coke in vending machines are S$4 a bottle!”
North Ame rica Bertrand getting a selfie at one of the most historical landmarks of St. Louis, the Shrine of St. Joseph
“Don’t be afraid to do things alone (e.g. eating alone). Once you get past your insecurities it’s all about the traveling. You’re a tourist, embrace it.” Bertrand Tee, 23, WKW
or those hesitant to travel alone, you don’t have to make big plans for a fulfilling solo trip. Bertrand Tee only embarked on a three-day trip to St. Louis, Missouri, while on exchange in the US, when his travel companion left to visit a friend. Initially anxious, the second-year Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information student soon discovered that going solo was a lot more fuss-free. Without travel companions, he could plan his trip spontaneously. He looked up places to visit only upon arriving, and visited tourist spots like the Gateway Arch and Forest Park, where he was able to spend as long he liked. But like many solo travellers, extra effort was needed to ensure the trip didn’t burn a hole in his pocket.“Having no one to split the cost of transport and accommodation was taxing on my wallet,” he said. His solution? Visiting free attractions, walking for the most part, and sharing an Airbnb apartment with other travellers. He was able to spend less than US$ 70 (S$ 98) a day on food and accommodation — not a bad sum for the US of A.
... PICTURE-PERFECT GRADUATION ... Employment woes are well on the way — but first, there’s convocation shoots to worry about. For an unconventional spin on getting the best snaps, Lifestyle writer Kezia Tan checks out five photo spots right here in NTU. PHOTOS BY VALERIE LAY
eads up final-year students: As graduation draws close, it means your convocation photoshoots are around the corner as well. While classic shots at Marina Bay Sands are always a safe option, try making your memories at some lesserknown locations — like our very own university. We spoke to three in-house, NTU freelance photographers to get ideas for alternative photo spots within the school, because where better to commemorate the best years of your life?
HSS Auditorium “The HSS auditorium is well-lit and would give a nice sense of depth in photos.”
Joel Koh, 24
Right below the HSS atrium lies a vibrantly coloured auditorium that you might not know about unless you’ve had lessons there. Own the photo when you pose among the rows of canary yellow lecture theatre seats, in a wide shot taken from the bottom of the auditorium.
The Hive “It’s one of the most prominent representations of the school. Your picture will say ‘I have graduated from NTU.’”
Paris Chia, 25
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. And if you’re tired of the curved, brown walls you see everyday on Instagram, try taking a Beatles-inspired zebra crossing shot, like Paris once did, on the road outside the Hive instead. Just keep a look out for cars!
Yunnan Garden “It’s a good spot because of the nature and lack of people. The pavilions also give quite a unique look.” Gary Chia, 23
You’re unlikely to have spent much time here in your actual schooling days, but who’s to say Yunnan Garden has nothing photo-worthy to offer? Low-hanging tree branches make for interesting framing, while the Chinese pavilions, painted in classic dark green and bright red, add a tinge of the orient — because we’re NTU students, after all.
CHRONICLE 09 ADM Locker “You don’t find these lockers anywhere else. It has a highschool look, if you like it.”
THROUGH THEIR LENS
These three student photographers share some uncommon grad shoot locations they’ve previously explored.
Gary Chia, 23
Located at B1 of the School of Art, Design and Media, the grey lockers near the staff room are probably something you walk past without a second glance. They may not grab as much attention as the school’s well-loved grassy rooftop, but the symmetrical, rustic lockers offer a high-school vibe, and a great background for the perfect shot with your friends.
JOEL KOH https://tinyurl.com/JoelKohPhoto Rates*: From $100/h for minimum of 2h Odd spot: Tuas Lalang Field Last year, Joel Koh, 24, found himself on an unexpected hike in an isolated part of Singapore. The final-year student from the school of Humanities and Social Sciences spent 20 minutes trekking 1.5km along an empty road in Tuas to get to the convocation shoot location for his HSS seniors. Amid the waist-high grass, Joel, who has been shooting freelance for two years, achieved the out-of-Singapore look he sought to capture. But he recalled the experience to be unpleasantly prickly. “Wear long pants and covered shoes if you shoot there,” he said. “And bring a mat for sit-down shots.”
Hall 8-11 cluster walls “The colours are pleasing to the eye and give a good contrast to the graduation gowns.”
Photography tip: Get a reflector from Carousell for good lighting if you do not have a camera flash.
Paris Chia, 25
http://envisuals.wixsite.com/ portfolio/frozen-moments Rates*: From $80/h Odd spot: Chung Cheng High School (Main)
The red, pink and brown makes for a homely pop of colour in a backdrop, and distinguishes the cluster from the other halls — a bonus for anyone who has stayed in Halls 8 to 11 before. And if you haven’t, the area still has potential for innovative shots in the nooks and crannies of the cluster.
He does an average of five convocation shoots around the island a year, but Gary Chia, 23, got a 00’s throwback when he ended up in Chung Cheng High School (Main) last year. On a shoot for a group of Chung Cheng High-turned-NTU students, he snapped nostalgic shots around the school, from the main buildings to the school’s renowned Zhongzheng Lake. His biggest surprise of the day? Realising how photogenic the school is. “There are opportunities for a lot of different settings — you can have indoor, outdoor, nature, and buildings shots.” Photography Tip: Set the camera to the lowest aperture setting. It separates the subject from the background so the former looks better, no matter how bizarre the location.
Parischiaphotography.com Rates*: From $150/h for the first 2h and $50/h thereafter Odd spot: People’s Park Complex, Chinatown
Parischiaphotography.com Rates*: From $150/h for the first 2h and $50/h thereafter Odd spot: People’s Park Complex, Chinatown Having done convocation shoots for two years, Paris Chia, 25, hasn’t come across any strange requests just yet. But the final-year student from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences is keen on one day shooting blue-robed graduates at the rooftop of the People’s Park Complex in Chinatown, a place he describes as a “good mix of heartland and CBD”. For an even more exclusive outcome, Paris recommends checking out Taman Jurong’s Diamond Building and Dakota Crescent — the former for its symmetrical, old-school look, and the latter for its 1950s architecture, soon to be paved away for redevelopment. Photography Tip: Don’t be afraid to go all out and bring props like balloons, school bears, windmills and umbrellas. PHOTOS COURTESY OF JOEL KOH, GARY CHIA AND PARIS CHIA
NO PLACE FOR ELITISM HERE An email sent out by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences got the attention of mainstream media last month. A screenshot of the email had gone viral and raised the ire of undergraduates and netizens alike. In the email, the school asked for inspirational stories from “graduating VIP students from an important or well-known family, sons or daughters of politicians, professors, celebrities etc”, as well as outstanding undergraduates with multiple job offers, among others. An NTU spokesperson defended the email and accepted that “the highlighted line could have been better phrased”, but netizens expressed anger over the use of narrow-minded indicators. The original Facebook post has been liked over 500 times and shared over 750 times. Sourcing out the most interesting stories is a perfectly normal thing to do. But blatantly coming up with a selective list of desired candidates is always likely to raise eyebrows — or as it showed, fingers on the keyboard. Some questioned the phrasing of the sentences, and some even mentioned how it appeared like an internal memo. If anything, the brouhaha it caused highlights the low-key elitism in the system. Elitism is not new to us. It is
part of the Singaporean psyche, and such incidents do nothing to quell these sentiments. While some brushed off the incident as a marketing fiasco, the message sent across by the email might instill potentially harmful doubts in the heads of the average student whose background might not have met the standard of a “good, inspirational story”. That it has led to such outrage is, however, an encouraging sign. It is worth noting that many NTU students voiced their opinions and considered both sides of the story, rather than resorting to blatant criticism. In an environment that emphasises meritocracy, every individual student should be given an equal chance to excel. One does not need to be socially privileged or famous to have a story to tell. Indeed, as the NTU statement stated: “Convocation is a celebration of our students’ achievements and knowledge, and as always, we will be as inclusive as possible and portray this by featuring stories of students from all walks of life.” Being an institution that opens its doors to students from all walks of life is what makes the University unique and vibrant in the first place. There should be no place for elitism here.
CHRONICLE CHIEF EDITOR
DAPPER EDITOR Roy Tan
Justin Kor Louisa Tang Sharanya Pillai
NEWS EDITOR Paige Lim
LIFESTYLE EDITOR Amanda Chai
OPINION EDITOR Aiswarya Devi
Valerie Lay Zheng Juncen
Febriliani Tan Ryan Tan
Yeo Kai Wen
Toby Tan Xun Yi
Joe Tok Kenny Wong
Sheena Wong Vanessa Tan
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GRAPHIC: TEO HSIN WEI
When our conversations about racism fall short
Sharanya Pillai Sub-Editor
eing judged on my skin colour has always felt inescapable, but racism reared its ugly head in an especially uncouth manner for me, when I was searching for a rental apartment last year. My sister and I scoured through online listings and made over 20 calls, only to receive curt replies that went: “Chinese preferred.” Property agents we spoke to were unapologetic, instead directing us to listings by Malays and Indians only. Of the few Chinese listings that were open to having us, there was the strict condition that cooking is not allowed — presumably based on the stereotype that Indian food is smelly. It’s been six years since the uproar over the “curry” saga — when an immigrant Chinese family took an Indian family to task for allegedly cooking pungent curries. I remember being pleasantly surprised that my Chinese peers took the side of the Indian family, ardently declaring their love of Indian culture. It’s been six years, and I still find myself denied rental on the basis of how my food smells. On social media, there is no shortage of anecdotes like mine, evidence that racism is very much alive in our multicultural society. With more minorities speaking up, there have been a lot more heartening conversations on the topic. But what troubles me is that like much of the content on social media, these conversations have limited lifespans.
Some 300 “likes” later, we move on to the next trending story, without really getting to the root causes of racial discrimination. And perhaps more frustratingly, in the echo chambers of social media, nuance never really goes viral. Only outrage does. The result is that much of the debate over racism has been dominated by the firebrand #ThisIsChinesePrivilege campaign, spearheaded by independent academic Sangeetha Thanapal. While lending a sociological perspective to racism, through the works of scholars like Bell Hooks, the campaign also calls for Chinese people to “shut up and listen”. This is where I find myself in an awkward spot: feeling gratified that racism is receiving social media attention, but uncomfortable with how alienating — and even downright rude — these debates can be. While I agree that the voices of minorities need to be lifted above the white noise, I’m not sure asking a whole segment of society to “shut up” does any good. Not only does it make the tone of debate inherently hostile, it also makes the conversation more “antiChinese” than “anti-racism”. And then there are instances when the conversation around racism involves making broad generalisations around race. In one article for instance, Ms Thanapal makes a blanket claim about interracial couples: “Indian men who date Chinese women are desperate to assimilate. They
instinctively realise the privilege of being Chinese, and unable to access it any other way, aspire to marry a Chinese woman.” It is disturbing that in trying to find a race-based explanation for everything, we lose sight of simple explanations — like how two people might actually fall in love, regardless of race. The dynamics of interracial marriages is an interesting academic topic, but for people dealing with both overt and subtle racism on an everyday basis, there are more pressing issues. We need more conversations on how race has affected our abilities to excel in school, to find a job or in my case, a living space. And we need to be graceful in debate — not imposing silence on the naysayers, but countering hate speech with better ideas. Perhaps most importantly, we need to translate talk into action. While searching for an apartment, I also discovered that online property portal 99.co has a special “all races welcome” category that promotes property listings without racial requirements. The company’s founder, Darius Cheung, started the initiative after he faced trouble renting a home because his wife is Indian. It is a brave move in an industry that is unapologetically racist. I hope that more individuals and organisations can take a stand where possible, while we keep raising the standards of how we confront the complex issue of racism.
GRAPHICS BY EUGENE THAM
FOR THE RUNWAY
An entire semester of hard work for only 30 seconds on the runway. Photo Editor Valerie Lay goes backstage to document the creative process behind a fashion showcase by NTU students.
eing a fashion designer typically involves working with fabrics. But students of the Technology Art in Fashion module, offered by the School of Art, Design and Media (ADM), were in for a whole different challenge. As its name would suggest, the intensive course required students to tinker with both fabrics and nifty gadgets. This involved programming lights, motors and sensors and incorporating them into dresses made from scratch. Despite the challenges, all eight students in the class managed to take their semester-long project to the runway. Their final works of art were showcased at MANGOSTEEN, a collaborative fashion show held at the Singapore Turf Club on April 21. The students also shared the runway that night with avantgarde fashion designers from around the world. Some students modelled their own dresses while others had fellow students — and even siblings — strut their creations before the 100-strong audience. The sophistication of the dresses
immediately captured the attention of the crowd. Many whipped out their phones to snap photos of the students’ hard work. “It was really fulfilling to see our designs, made from months of late nights and hard work being appreciated by people, and I’m happy that our designs received overwhelming responses from the crowd,” said Charlene Chua, one of the featured student designers. However, the 19-year-old had hoped for more airtime. Each piece was showcased for only 30 seconds. “The walk was a mere moment of fame, and I felt that was too short given the amount of time and effort we spent making the garments,” she added. Melissa Low, 23, a previous student of the module agreed: “From coming up with inspiration to sourcing for material to the final showcase, the entire process takes a few months. On the day itself, it can also take up to six hours to prepare — from hair and makeup to dressing up for the show. All of this for that 30 seconds.” Although the NTU team only took
“On the day itself, it can also take up to six hours to prepare — from hair and makeup to dressing up for the show. All this for that 30 seconds.” Melissa Low, 23 Second-year ADM Student to the stage at about 9pm, students arrived as early as 2pm for makeup and retouches for their dresses. One of the students, Iskandar Ruhazat, expressed hopes for more opportunities to display unique works. “It would be great if Singapore Fashion Week can have a segment showcasing wearable technology, (so that) the team’s efforts can be further envisioned… to a wider range of audiences,” the 24-year-old said.
BOTTOM LEFT: Iskandar Ruhaizat does a final check around the classroom while others make finishing touches before leaving for the venue. TOP MIDDLE: Student model Joan Lee (second from left) assists Iskandar (in black) in taping his piece, inspired by lotus and bat flowers, as Rebecca Chong gets her dress ready with the help of exchange student Esther Ying, minutes before the show. TOP RIGHT: Melissa Low, a previous student of the Technology Art in Fashion module, spices up her eye makeup with a pair of fake lashes. MIDDLE: Ruohan, an exchange student from the United States, gets her look done by student makeup artists Vimal Kumar and Audrey Ng. BOTTOM: ADM student Jeremy Ng models in a suit designed by Dinie Solihah Abbas. The design draws from the concept of endangered pangolins where lights represent ants and broken mirrors represent pain.
Trio ready for Everest bid A postgraduate student teams up with an alumnus and a professor to conquer the world’s highest mountain
Sean Loo Sports Editor
he NTU-National Institute of Singapore (NIE) Everest Team Singapore is on track to being the first Singaporean team in eight years to conquer the world’s highest mountain. The members are about a month away from starting to scale the world’s highest peak. The team consists of Nur Yusrina Ya’akob, an NIE postgraduate student; Jeremy Tong, an alumnus from the Sports Science Management (SSM) programme; and Dr Arjunan Saravana Pillai, a teaching fellow from NIE. The trio departed for their expedition on 26 Mar and plan to scale the 8,848m summit by early June. The team had reached the Mount Everest South Base Camp in midApril, according to NTU. They have been taking part in acclimatisation climbs up nearby peaks to get used to the sub-zero temperatures and high-altitude conditions they will face in their attempt on Everest. On 18 April, the team posted on their Facebook page that they had successfully scaled the 6,119m high Lobuche Peak, 13.6km away from Mount Everest. They have since returned to the base camp, and will set off for their final ascent later this month. Second shot For Yusrina, it will be her second attempt at conquering Everest. The 30-year-old was the co-leader of the Aluminaid Team Singapura Everest 2015 team that made an unsuccessful bid to scale Mount Everest to commemorate Singapore’s Golden Jubilee that year. Team Aluminaid was forced to abandon the climb halfway through due to the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 Apr 2015. The earthquake left more than 8,800 dead and caused an avalanche at Mount Everest. However, the incident did not end Yusrina’s Everest dream. She later linked up with teammates Mr Tong and Dr Saravana after learning that they shared her interest to climb Mount Everest.
1. The NTU-NIE Everest Singapore team, comprising (from left) Jeremy Tong, Nur Yusrina Ya’akob and Dr Arjunan Saravana Pillai, will bid to scale Mount Everest by early June. 2. The trio (with their local guides in the background) en route to Everest South Base Camp. 3. The trio got a warm welcome from the locals in their quest to scale Mount Everest. 4. By reaching Everest South Base Camp, the NTU-NIE Everest Team Singapore has taken a significant step towards scaling the mountain’s summit. PHOTOS COURTESY OF NTU SINGAPORE
Both Dr Saravana and Mr Tong are also avid climbers. The former has climbed several peaks, including India’s 6,400m Mount Kang Yatze II. Mr Tong likewise has scaled numerous mountains including the 7,134m Lenin Peak in Kyrgyzstan. For Mr Tong, the quest to scale Mount Everest holds special meaning as he looks to raise funds for the Singapore Cancer Society at the same time. The 26-year-old was inspired by his uncle’s battle with cancer. He wrote on his blog: “This mission to climb Mount Everest symbolises the will to fight, to not give up and to ultimately grab all of life’s wonderful opportunities.” I hope to represent this fight in all cancer patients in Singapore by
embarking on this ultimate journey to the top of the world,” he added. Extensive preparations The team had been training for the mountain of a task since January last year. Their preparations include climbing up a 40-storey building multiple times carrying weighted backpacks and hiking around Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Despite the trio’s prior experience and extensive training regimen, they are not taking anything for granted. In a 23 Mar Straits Times article, Yusrina said: “You can never be trained enough for Mount Everest.” She also noted that inclement weather could derail their attempt.
The efforts of the team have been well-received. Justin Yeo, a first-year student from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, felt that the team’s journey was “incredible”. Yeo similarly has an interest in trekking and mountain climbing but had always felt that climbing Everest would not be achievable for university students. “I always thought that normal university students can never find the time to train for climbing a mountain like Mount Everest,” said the 22-year-old. The Everest Team’s progress inspired Yeo to dream bigger. “I would want to climb Mount Everest (now),” he said. Jack Heng, a third-year SSM student who studied in Dr Arjunan’s
Growth and Motor Development class two years ago, was also “inspired” by the team’s effort, especially that of Dr Saravana. Heng told the Chronicle that he was aware of Dr Saravana’s keenness for sports. Dr Saravana, 47, was NTU’s Sportsman of the Year in track and field for 1995/96, and had also previously represented Singapore in athletics at the international level. However, he was impressed that Dr Saravana was still willing to take on the challenge of climbing Mount Everest despite his age. “I was definitely surprised that at his age, he is still willing to climb the highest peaks known to man and face such harsh conditions,” said the 24-year-old.
Waving to a greener future
local sports events over the holidays NATIONAL VERTICAL MARATHON 21 MAY
This year’s National Vertical Marathon will be held at South Beach Tower for the first time. Organised by NTU Sports Club, participants will have to climb 34 storeys before descending 13 floors to the finish line. There are three different categories this year: Individual, Team and Relay.
ONE FC — DYNASTY OF HEROES 26 MAY
Angela Lee, ONE women’s Atomweight world champion, will look to defend her title against Brazil’s Istela Nunes at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on 26 May. Also headlining the star-studded fight card is ONE’s welterweight world champion Ben Askren. The American, a former Olympic wrestler, will do battle against undefeated Malaysian Agilan Thani with his title on the line. Local fighters Amir Khan and Tiffany Teo are also expected to compete in the mixed martial arts event.
RUGBY INTERNATIONAL: SCOTLAND VS ITALY The Wave, which adopted the timber construction method, was officially opened by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong (fourth from left) on 24 April. PHOTO: SEAN LOO
Officially named The Wave, the new Sports and Recreation Centre building is the first large-scale structure in Southeast Asia to be built using mass-engineered timber. Sean Loo Sports Editor
he opening of the new ecofriendly Sports and Recreation Centre, named The Wave, marks a new milestone in Singapore's push to be more productive in construction, said Minister for National Development and Second Finance Minister Lawrence Wong. Located next to the University's running track, The Wave is one of only four developments in Singapore that have adopted the timber construction method. Speaking at the facility's official opening on 24 April, Mr Wong told students, faculty and members of the public: “For all of this (Singapore’s) infrastructure, we will end up simply with a far larger pool of foreign workers than we can possibly accommodate in Singapore. “The shortage of workers ends up becoming a bottleneck and con-
straint on our development." Mr Wong added: “But if we were to use similar technologies like what NTU has done for all our construction projects, we can potentially carry out billions more in projects with the same number of workers today.” Sustainable technology The Wave was built by assembling prefabricated components, which are pre-made in factories, allowing for easy assembly. This not only sped up construction by 33 per cent, but also resulted in 25 per cent reduction in manpower. It took 14 workers three weeks to assemble the wavy roof. The Wave also holds the distinction of being the first large-scale building in Southeast Asia to be built completely using mass-engineered timber. Layers of timber panels are glued together and later cut to specific dimensions. It provides five times better heat insulation than concrete and is also strong enough to support the building’s 72-metre roof without internal columns or pillars. The space saved allows The Wave to hold 13 badminton courts or three full-sized basketball courts. NTU’s upcoming campus residences at Nanyang Crescent will also be constructed using ecofriendly technology.
New facilities The Wave is home to activity rooms for exercise classes and sports teams usage, training rooms, a viewing gallery, 980 mechanised retractable seats and a special cooling system that chills the air as it enters the hall. Mohamed Husaini, a third-year School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences student, hopes that the new facilities will mean more opportunities for students to book basketball and badminton courts. “The current facilities we have (located in the old SRC building) are quite limited and small,” the 26-year-old said. The Wave will also have a new weight training gym catered to the NTU sports teams. There are, however, no plans to open the gym to all users for the time being. Even more beautiful During the opening ceremony of The Wave, NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson expressed his admiration of the architecture of the newly constructed building. Referring to an article by the Business Insider that ranked NTU as one of the 15 most beautiful schools around the world, Prof Andersson remarked: “With the opening of the wave, I would say that the most beautiful has become even more beautiful.”
The National Stadium will host an international rugby test for the first time in 19 years when Six Nations rivals Scotland and Italy square off on 10 June. The match in Singapore will serve as a warm-up for both the Scots and Italians before they head off to Australia and Fiji respectively for another set of matches.
FOOTBALL INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY: SINGAPORE VS ARGENTINA 13 JUNE
Two-time World Cup winners Argentina will play with Singapore in a friendly match at the National Stadium. In the first ever football match between the two nations, local fans can expect to see five-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi (Barcelona) take on the Lions. Other big names such as Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Angel Di Maria (Paris St Germain), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus) and Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) are also expected to feature.
INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONS CUP 25-29 JULY
Scheduled to take place at the National Stadium, this year’s edition will see European football powerhouses Chelsea FC, FC Bayern and FC Internazionale face off in a round-robin tournament. The tournament kicks off on 25 July, with Chelsea taking on Bayern in a rematch of the 2012 Champions League Final, which Chelsea won on penalties. Bayern will then take on Inter on 27 July — a rematch of the 2010 Champions League Final that Inter won 2-0. The tournament concludes with Chelsea facing off with Inter on 29 July.