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thetr bune an ntusu publication

MICA (P) 217/01/2012

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The Time Travelling Valentine And its forgotten historical oddities FEATURES | 14



thetr bune



Lucky Seventh



A US of A governor faces a very, very important decision

Abha Apte

Chief Editor Amidst gifts of candy, diamonds, and massively ugly flower arrangements, the citizens of Washington, D.C. might just receive a long overdue, and very special Valentine’s Day present. Governor Christine ‘Chris’ Gregoire is the 22nd governor of the state of Washington, D.C., United States of America. And very, very soon, she will be signing a document that will change the lives of hundreds of her citizens. And if she does, Washington will become the seventh state to legally allow gay marriage in U.S.A.; yet another step in the continuing fight for human rights equality. By a 28-21 vote, the state Senate passed legislation to legalize gay marriage with exemptions for religious organizations opposed to conducting same-sex weddings or renting their facilities for gay nuptials. Four Republicans joined 24 Democrats in supporting the bill, and three Democrats sided with 18 Republicans in opposing it. The homophobes, as usual, smelled blood and are attempting to stop the bill from passing. Senator Dan Swecker, a Republican, said he worried that approving same-sex marriage would “create a hostile environment for those of us who believe in traditional marriage.” How gay marriage violates the sanctity of heterosexual ones, we may never know. It is obviously an inexplicable dilemma, though, a mystery as elusive as evolution, mathematics, or, God forbid, this blasphemous ‘science’ that Satan-worshippers keep ranting about. Last month alone, four very public cases of LGBT teen suicides were observed. Openly vocal homophobes need to realize that dozens of high-school bullies watch them spew their influential hate on primetime television, after dinner on a school night, every night. Come on, people. There are good and awful heterosexual marriages, there are good and awful gay marriages. They’re not very different things: it’s just so much harder for the latter to legally be accepted by the State, and to not remain second class citizens. And it’s made more and more difficult every day by people who spend more time opposing the lives of others, instead of ‘preserving the heterosexual sanctity’ of their own. Valentine’s Day is hard for the LGBT community. The one day when scenes right out of Gone With The Wind explode out of every public corner, a gay teenager waiting on the crowded platform for the next MRT has to drop his boyfriend’s hand and silently fume as the couple in front attempts vertical copulation. It’s getting better. Governments are opening their legal doors to the neglected queer community, and the available support for bullied, scared gay teens is now huge, and very, very welcoming. Dharun Ravi, accused for the disgusting suicide of Tyler Clementi, is up for trial this March. Universities in unexpected countries - India, for instance - have LGBT support groups and Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs). Singapore should catch up soon: the perfect gift for gay teens next Valentine’s Day.

This year, 2012, is a leap year - February 29th exists! So for everyone who enjoys true birthday cheer once in four years, cheer away. The life of a leapling, in the eyes of everybody else, seems full of immeasurable sorrow and social media fraud (by changing your Facebook birth-date because no one ever wishes you otherwise). Would you happily sacrifice a moderate number of blood relatives to travel time and have your doctor plug up your infantile exit route for a few hours longer? Do you feel the overwhelming urge to massacre the cake with your fists at other peoples’ birthdays while secretly trying to spill gasoline on the candles? This Survival Guide For Leaplings is just for you!

1 2 3 4 5

Lie. Pretend your birthday’s on Christmas, Hanukkah, October 14th (‘Be Bald Day’: pet your newly reflective head!). Cry alone in the dark on your actual birthday. Collect pity-induced monetary and materialistic compensation by subtly inserting your sorrowful, birthday-less status in frequent conversation.

Find a different, convinient target to victimize and cheer yourself with. Mock pebbles, lamp posts, public loos, and people with birthdays on Good Friday. You have a birthday once in four years: go all out. Buy a pony. Buy your pony a pony. Throw your ponies a rooftop party, buy an island for your new pony farm. Divide age by four years, claim result as actual age for situations inapropriate for adults. For example, dating a minor, public consumption of lollipops. COVER | DIsha Mohapatra

PHOTO | Andrew JK Tan, Flickr

theed tor al Publications Executive Charisse D’Souza

Opinions Editor Shreya Sharma

Chief Editor Abha Apte

Sports Editor Vignesh Gopalakrishnan

News Editors Jayanti Basu Roy Prerna Mishra Teo Xing Zhi

Photo Editor Shubham Goyal Art Editor Anshu Garodia

Layout Editors Aneesha Subramaniam Arnav Kumar Quality Controller Ananya Roy

Have any comments? Write in to us at

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thetr bune FEBRUARY 2012


Sad Demise Of NTU Student


Death of student raises questions and concerns Vo Xuan Phuoc


n 21 January 2012, Lum Xin Ye, 19, was found dead in her room. The Chinese female student who was at NTU on a bridging programme, was found by her roommate in Hall of Residence 13 at around 12am. At 4pm that same day, NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson sent the news to all NTU students via email, at the same time assuring everybody of the investigation and the ongoing counseling of the affected parties. To many students, especially her friends and hall mates, it was unbelievable. “It is the first time I saw a serious incident here. One of the policemen wore his white gloves and a female student – maybe her roommate – was weeping”, said a neighbour. Police are still looking into this case, leaving NTU students wondering about whether they should be concerned about the security issue of the campus, or the psychological issues faced by some. Most students, when asked about campus safety, agreed that NTU Campus has a fairly good security system. However, there are still some flaws. “Security level is not the same everywhere,” said Irina Alam, an Year 3 EEE student. Some of the older halls have a lower level of security than the newer ones. Like many other female students, Irina expects the girls’ floors to have limited access. Wynn Sandar also shares the same opinion. She has experienced living in both Hall 13 and Hall 6 and she prefers Hall 6 as it does not allow even male Hall mates to enter the girls’ floor, while Hall 13 does. “NTU at night has a lot of dark areas, and we may never know whatever happens there,” mentions Fiona Ng, another Hall resident. She expects more security patrols around the campus, especially in the older Halls. According to a security guard from Hall 13, most of the guards on the NTU campus can distinguish fairly well between students living there and the outsiders. He said that unfortunate incidents

such as the recent case might not happen if Hall residents communicated more often with their neighbors. It would make it easier to figure things out if anything strange or unusual occurred. To the general student body the NTU environment is decent, and so they instead point the finger of blame about the depression at the competiveness in campus. “Students have to try and do well among their peers, as their grades are ranked according to the bell curve,” said Mandy Chong. Competition, of course, is not only in grades and studies. Hall activities are required for further stay-on, especially if you are a local student. Students have to fight for the right to stay, and often end up juggling a whole host of CCA activities just to stay in a place meant to create convenience for long-distance students.

Different halls have different levels of security, which needs to be looked into Some comment that it is because of this that living in the Halls of Residence is much more stressful than staying at home despite the hour long travel time. To reduce the rate of such incidences, student Lee Yi Cong suggests that counselors and workshops can help students to cope with the stress and pressure. However, many students are unaware of the counseling services and how they can help. The counseling service center denied commenting on the matter. Though it is still under investigation, NTU is expecting to find out the truth sooner or later. As NTU should be the place where students take up new challenges and enjoy their university experience, it is an urgent call for administrators and students alike to take the correct measures to maintain this.


PHOTO | Huang Junye

NTU launches initiatives for educational excellence Shaun Yap


TU has been constantly taking new initiatives to improve the level of education in the university.This has shown results too with the Nanyang MBA being ranked 34th in the Financial Times Global MBA Rankings 2012. The University Scholars Programme (USP) was another new initiative launched recently by NTU in its bid to attract top Singaporean students to pursue their tertiary education in its institution instead of heading overseas to study. Entry to the programme is by invitation only and will begin its maiden intake of 50 students in the coming 2012 academic year. Besides being guaranteed accommodation at NTU throughout their four years of study, these students will also be mentored by top faculty staff, study for a semester overseas and partake in interdisciplinary research. Professor Kam Chan Hin, Associate Provost of Undergraduate Education at NTU, said, “Students from all

the various disciplines will be grouped together in the same class, and they’ll be talking about topical issues from their various perspectives, and I think it’ll enrich their world view and their perspectives.” NTU says the launch of USP comes at a time when the university has been doing very well especially in the area of research and this has translated into the possibility of hiring some of the best minds for the university. There have been mixed reactions amongst students and faculty members with regards to NTU placing a large emphasis on research in recent years. While some lauded this bold move taken by NTU, others were sceptical on its eventual success. A faculty member who spoke to The New Paper said that an emerging problem was the much higher priority placed on research relative to teaching and ‘when the performance indicators are based on the quality and quantity of research output, there’s no incentive (for faculty) to focus on teaching’. A second year Business

student who declined to be named echoed his views by saying, “There was one tutor who showed no enthusiasm in teaching at all and many students skipped his lessons to self-study for the module.” He further suggested that ‘all tutors should be provided essential training before they are given the green light to conduct lessons to ensure that a minimal standard of teaching is met’. Indeed, to meet Singapore’s growing healthcare needs, NTU and Imperial College London have partnered together to establish the Imperial College London-Nanyang Technological University Medical School (ICNMS). The programme will be based on Imperial’s medical curriculum and graduates will be awarded a joint degree from both institutions. Students in the school will be infused with key elements of Imperial’s educational model and adapt these for the local healthcare context.



thetr bune



Locking DOWN The INTERNET PHOTO | captsolo, Flickr Commons

Koh Hui Fang


OPA is the Stop Online Piracy Act, and PIPA the Protect Intellectual Property Act. They are meant to combat piracy by giving content owners a lot more power over website owners to host the content. Netizens were in an uproar, claiming it to be the death of the Internet. In protest against the bills,

This move displayed the websites’ determined stance against the bills, as well as raised awareness of the issue amongst affected users major websites blacked-out their content on January 18 to simulate what the Internet would be like if the bills were passed. Amongst them was the ubiquitous online encyclopedia Wikipedia, as well as Mozilla. Meanwhile Google and several other search engines supported by blacking out their logos. This move displayed the websites’ determined stance against the bills, as well as raised awareness of the issue amongst affected users. With many of the most popularly

visited websites being hosted in American servers, the global audience will suffer should the bills pass. “I’d imagine most people on the Internet would have a general idea of what it is about: the portrayal of it as a selfish, mercenary and poorly thought out attempt by large scale organizations to restrict the interests of internet users for their own financial benefit,” said Lye Wai Leng, a Year 3 HSS student. Not many NTU students, however, show much interest in the matter. Some simply do not understand how it could possibly affect Singapore and so do not choose to pay attention to the matter. “I don’t think I will really realize SOPA’s significance until it affects me personally,” shrugged Lim Hui Chi, a thirdyear student taking Bachelor of Arts in Education (Major in Art) at NIE. “I am not quite sure what it is about because the entire thing is just too long to read,” she further admitted. Hui Chi is not alone in feeling overwhelmed by information on this complicated issue. Other than technical details about the proposed legislation acts, one would also have to take into account reactions from prominent parties, as well as related events that had happened during that period. Other students sound confident about the bill being unable to pass.

Clare Chong, a Year 3 communications student, first heard about SOPA on Twitter and Tumblr, when people she followed on these websites were protesting against it. “As it was a bill passed down by the States it wouldn’t immediately affect Singapore.

“I don’t think I will really realize SOPA’s significance until it affects me personally” | Lim Hui Chi, NIE Yr 3 Moreover, since this is a bill that is going to restrict freedom of content sharing over the Internet, many internet users would not agree to it and thus this bill is unlikely to pass,” she said. There are, of course, some who do show interest in the subject, particularly those who utilize the internet for more purposes. Abeline Kok, a Year 3 accountancy student, uses the internet for watching shows and “searching for answers to everything” on Google. She wished she knew more about the issue as she is unsure about how SOPA will affect her online activities. Her first encounter with SOPA was on Facebook, where her friends

complained about it, shared articles, and advocated boycotting certain services. Meanwhile, before SOPA has even moved on, the federal bureau in America are already on the move. Their first victim was popular file-sharing website MegaUpload, accused of costing copyright owners upwards of $500 million in lost revenue because of content illegally uploaded to its servers. The closure also directly hit some Singaporeans – some local paying users of the service lamented the loss of their subscription fees on online forums. One vocal user, ym_tan2 on hardwarezone. com, predicted that “new file sharing technologies will evolve to make it even harder for the authorities [to catch].” He suggested that the authorities should deal with the root causes, namely that of high prices and limited availability of US content for overseas consumers. No doubt SOPA will affect students, seeing how we are dependent on the internet for educational and entertainment purposes. Getting informed about the issue is vital. But one might wonder just how much information is enough in this age of information when the amount of information produced far exceeds our ability to consume.

Affected Websites If bills such as SOPA, PIPA or even ACTA now pass, the internet may become a dead man’s zone. Here are just a few types of websites that you might see missing if an internet-restricting bill ever manages to become a law:

1 Search Engines

Sites such as Google will have to shut off many search results, all in the name of not posting items that could potentially cause them to become liable for copyright infringement.

2 Social Media Networks

Facebook and Twitter contain links and photos that don’t belong to the poster. Tumblr will fall, with its user-content that blatantly defies copyright posted all over the walls.

3 User-Generated Sites

You Tube, with its usergenerated content, includes copyrighter media. Information collated in Wikipedia belongs to some particular people, thus is illegal to share.


Cloud Storage Spaces

Sites such as MediaFire are undergoing thorough checks, due to their ability to store and share illegally ripped music, shows or movies.


thetr bune FEBRUARY 2012



NTU Increasingly Promotes

Student Exchange School helps promote global studies

Akriti Vij


ast December 32 NTU students were sent to the Middle East as part of the Global Discovery Programme (GDP). The programme provided them with the opportunity to learn about the growing economy over in the Middle East. Under the four-week visitcum-study immersion programme, students undertook an enriching excursion to UAE and Qatar. The programme provided well-rounded learning possibilities to the participants, with an intricately chalked out agenda, including informative lectures by renowned professionals covering topics such as business, finance, economic and strategic planning. Participants also got to visit various organizations such as Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Dubai Financial Market, BBC Middle East, Qatar Gas, and Carnegie Mellon, where they interacted with the officials as well. “It was an eye-opening and once-in-a-lifetime experience. I would think that this diverse mix of students from different courses is good, because we all learn something from each other during the Q&A,” commented Venetia Lee, a Year 4 NBS student. They also enjoyed trips to Jebel Ali Port – the world’s largest manmade post, Al Jazeera, the Jumeirah mosque and other cultural sites and monuments. This gave them a close view of the cultural intricacies and the way of life in the Middle East.

Other major highlights of the trips include the visit to Dubai Business Women Council to discuss key issues related to the contribution of women in socioeconomic development, as well as a meeting with the 2022 FIFA World Cup committee members. The programme was a complete success and all the students returned to NTU feeling fulfilled. “It is guaranteed that you will leave a changed and more

“I think it was an eye - opening and a once in a lifetime experience. I would think that this diverse mix of students from different courses is good because we learn something from each other.”

A Quick Look at the OGEM Akriti Vij


he NTU Office of Global Education and Mobility (OGEM) oversees the conduction of diverse overseas study, research, and work programs at NTU’s industrial and university partner institutions all over the globe. With a great variety of programs, including INSTEP, GIP, GSS, GDP, SRI, and other attachment programs under its umbrella, the OGEM offers a wide spectrum of opportunities. The motivated team strives to support students in their overseas

experience and make it as enriching as it can be. “We’re going to look at things with a consumer prospective. Instead of loose, scattered programs, there’s going to be a clearer distinction between the programs – almost a rebranding process,” says Ms Pauline Ho, Deputy Director, OGEM. The OGEM will include all the existing programs, including GIP, which till now, had an independent office, and will classify them in a new manner. It will function in mainly three divisions. The first

would be Outbound (GEM Explorer), focusing on full semester study programs. The second, Inbound (GEM Trailblazers), will be meant for students coming to NTU for study, work or research. Finally, there would be various immersions and short term summer/winter programs. These will have fee-paying, as well as exchange variants. With these changes, the OGEM looks to play a significant role in making NTU a truly global institution.

| Venetia Lee, NBS Year 4 matured person,” enthused HSS Year 3 student Nadya Nasser. “It’s amazing! You’re blessed if you’re given the opportunity.” The GDP tops up 3 academic units (AU) for Unrestricted Electives/GER-PE(AHSS). Any full-time NTU undergraduate may sign up for this programme to join trips to Vietnam, India, as well as the Middle East.

PHOTOS | Courtesy OGEM



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Assessment of Medical Facilities On Campus Is the Medical Centre open for a sufficiently long time? Prerna Mishra & Kavya Jahagirdar

PHOTO | Huang Junye


he Medical Centre (MC) is well reputed to aid the sick at NTU. However, the time period during which it is open is indeed debatable. It opens only until 5 p.m. on a weekday, and till 12 noon on a Saturday. But, medical emergencies surely do not see the timing while knocking at somebody’s door. With students they are all the more probable. There can be accidents during sports; even the chances of contracting contagious diseases are quite high as most students share accommodation. NTU is definitely quite far away from the city. If emergencies

strike during odd hours, NTU students have no place to go immediately. The nearest 24-hour medical center is in Clementi, and for ambulance service,the National University Hospital needs to be contacted, which is a good 20-25 minute drive from NTU. I recall an incident that happened during the academic year 2009-2010, when a friend of mine was gravely injured while playing cricket on a wet field on a Sunday. The shoulder bone was damaged. However, there was absolutely no first aid available, and he suffered deep pain till

NTU Debate Squad Argues Its Case

the time he reached NUH. Even during the weekdays, the Medical Centre is open only till 5 p.m., with the last admission at 4:30 p.m. However,what about students, who are on Industrial Attachment, who return from work mostly around 6 p.m.? We spoke to a few NTU students about their assessment of the medical facilities available at NTU. They were of varied opinion. Enjiao Chen, an HSS student, thinks that the MC should be open 24 hours a day. She says, “I definitely want the MC to function for 24 hours since NTU

is on the outskirts of Singapore and in case of an emergency, it would come in handy.” But EEE student Mr. Xue Bing differs. He says, “It is not so realistic for medical center to remain open for 24 hours. The extension of operating hours may not benefit us as much as we think they might. The treatment of notso-serious illnesses can wait till the MC reopens. In case of an emergency, it is better to call an ambulance to NUH as the MC may not be able to handle it. However, I do suggest the medical center operate during weekends,

since it is more convenient and cheaper than outside”. Well, opinions may vary. But the fact remains that medical emergencies are inevitable. And the best way to deal with them is by providing immediate attention. While a full-fledged 24-hour operational center may not be possible, there could at least be a doctor on call, who could come immediately in case of emergencies. There should also be an ambulance for the use of those living on campus to save the time spent calling one from NUH.

Asian British Parliamentary Debate Championship – Dhaka, Bangladesh While the three participating teams were among the top teams in the tab to break into the quarter finals, senior debater Rohit Gadre was ranked the fourth best speaker of the tournament while Prashanth Jayaram and Arvind Raghavan tied for the seventh place. NTU’s Satya Venugopal was an invited adjudicator for the tournament. This tournament also served to reaffirm NTU’s position in Asia, as NTU debaters were finalists among 80 participating teams.

Student debaters accomplish in world standard tournaments

Singapore Debate Open-Singapore

Jayanti Basu Roy

This tournament is hosted by National University of Singapore. All the participating teams broke to the quarter finals while two performed remarkable well in the semi-finals and left a lasting impression on the reputed adjudicators. Sneha Gururaj and Madhura Bhave broke as adjudicators; the former was on the finals panel.


inter of 2011 has been an eventful time for the NTU Debate Squad. We give you a short recap of what they’ve been upto. “These tournaments have been

instrumental in shaping us into global citizens with remarkable exposure to a diverse pool of ideas” says debate captain Swetha Balachandran.

World Universities Peace Invitational Debate- Putrajaya, Malaysia WUPID, is one of the most esteemed annual tournaments as only the world’s top 30 universities are invited to debate in an extremely competitive atmosphere. This tournament brought with itself great opportunities of interacting with debaters and adjudicators from the London School of Economics, Monash, Oxford, Cambridge and so on. An NTU team broke to the semi-finals, while both adjudicators performed well.


thetr bune FEBRUARY 2012



MoneyTalks The murky ties between campaign funding and political issues Anisha Raina


oney and politics have shared a dirty history for the longest time in the United States. On a federal level, the primary source for funds in a campaign is from the individual. This directly rules out anyone who is capable yet doesn’t have the resources to run as a candidate for office. The other source for funds is that of political action committees. These are private groups organized to fund a political candidate or further a political cause or issue. There is a lot of scope for abuse when it comes to campaign finance, which has led to a great deal of controversy, especially in the current Republican candidate race. This is mainly due to the fact that the government allows political spending by corporations, labor unions or other organizations in elections. When a large corporation starts financing a political candidate’s campaign, the politician then feels obliged to root for their cause, instead

PHOTO | Rawmustard, Flickr Commons

of running his own race, and standing for his beliefs. This leads to a highly compromised decision being made on part of the individual, in order to let the money flow in, which normally would lead to a successful campaign, owing to good advertising and marketing. This negates the entire process of the elections itself, since now, it has become all about the money, rather than the person who has the better policies. Someone who might be gunning for the environment and the prevention of global warming would leave all those ideals behind if he were to be funded by Exxon Mobil in his campaign, and if he really needed the money. What is worse now is that candidates do not disclose their funders, leading to speculation about super PACs being formed. This leads to a murky middle ground and high suspicion about what the politician really stands for.

NUS Database Hacked

No import data accessed, claim authorities, but system vulnerabilities exposed Kou Zhigang


ational University of Singapore’s (NUS) backend system was infiltrated by a hacker group calling themselves Team Intra on Jan 5th. The hacker team exploited a SQL vulnerability to get past the university’s security infrastructure and subsequently published the information they accessed including staff usernames, domain information and hashed passwords. The NUS spokesperson has confirmed the security breach. “On Jan 5th 2012, the university discovered that one of our Web servers had been hacked into. We have looked into the

matter and ascertained that the information stored on the server is not of a confidential nature. In addition, no information has been removed or tampered with.” NUS’s head of IT security, Yong Fong Liang, who made the statement that the affected server is departmental server containing information which is not sensitive, said, “(the) Hackers infiltrated into the system exploiting an application security loophole. The leaked passwords are for local accounts that allow access to the departmental server only..” After NUS discovered the security breach, the affected server has been disconnected from the network which

won’t affect the rest of NUS network. The passwords of all affected accounts have also been reset. The NUS spokesperson added that the university is investigating the matter and will put in place “appropriate measures” to prevent similar occurrences in future. This incident was first reported by an Australian IT security Web site Secure Computing Magazine’s (SC Magazine) that the hackers felt offended by the error message generated by probes of the NUS website stating:”If you’re trying to use the SQL error message to dig for juicy information, get lost.” and they decided to hack it. Team Intra explained the hack was not targeted. They said they have

no problem with NUS but simply wanted to demonstrate how weak NUS’s security is.

The university is investigating the matter and will put in place “appropriate measures” to prevent similar occurrences in future. A commentator claiming himself a member of the Team Intra commented on SC magazine saying “Just clearing this up, it is not our intention to leak any private data to the public. We are just here to show

the poor security standards some Web sites have. We have our best intentions. Nothing was changed on the server, and no one was harmed.” The commentator also added that it only took them 5 minutes of WAF (Web application firewall) bypassing to get past the security infrastructure and the team spent 4 to 5 hours to decrypt all the hashed after which they obtained the hashed passwords. “(NUS tried) to prevent hackers by sending out a simple statement, ‘If you’re trying to use the SQL error message to dig for juicy information, get lost.’ However (it did) nothing to actually ensure that (it is) safe,” he said.



thetr bune FEBRUARY 2012

Research In Motion Comes To A Standstill Blackberry’s sales are dropping as it fails to innovate Akilesh Sethu


here was a time when Blackberry ruled the world of smartphones. They had revolutionized secure email service, a near-perfect messaging service and introduced Blackberry Messenger service, one of their biggest selling points till date. Windows had their own version of smartphone software and Palm was trying to enter the market again with modified versions of PalmOS. As difficult as it might be to believe now, Blackberry dominated the market less than 8 years ago. Then came 2007. Steve Jobs introduced the world to iPhone. Both the co-CEO’s of RIM laughed the iPhone off as a marketing gimmick. The sales of iPhones since then goes on to prove just how wrong these two CEO’s were about the smartphone market. Apple introduced the App Store and released an API for developers all over the world to take advantage of their platform. Fast forward to 2012, RIM’s sales numbers continue to drop, iOS and Android domi-

nate the smartphone industry. There are a million things RIM has not done right over the last 6 years or so. RIM was arrogant enough to believe that by producing systems that “just worked”, they could get away with satisfying their customers, whereas Apple went on to show the world what a perfect system was supposed to be. Even after 7 instalments of an OS, Blackberries still have an extremely poor “Maps” and a browser that cannot hold a candle to the browser experience in an iPhone or any of the top Android phones. RIM is in denial of their failure. They hurried into the tablet market hoping to grab some of the market. Playbook has been one of the biggest product flops in 2011. The next generation Blackberry phones will land in the market only in the third quarter of 2012. By then, Apple would have launched iPhone 5, Android would have announced their next Nexus phone. While the updates to

PHOTO | arrayexception, Flickr Commons

the Playbook shown during Consumer Electronics Show 2012 are a welcome change, it looks a little too late. The real sad part in all this is that the top executives’ shake up last week might not be as effective as they would like the world to believe. Heins, for all practical

purposes, has been the top level manager for all the products released in the last 5 years by RIM and is as much responsible for the current state of the company as the two co-CEO’s. One can only hope that someone sees RIM through these tough times and makes the

hard decisions that will bring the company to a fighting position in the market. Palm met its death when HP shut down webOS based projects and open sourced the OS. RIM faces a similar fate if they do not change tracks now.

Death of Megaupload; Dotcom Jailed Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom charged with copyright infringement Akilesh Sethu


hile the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of

America) and RIAA (Recording Industry Association of

PHOTO | kainita, Flickr Commons

America) failed to pass SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) or PIPA (Protect IP Act), they sure did get around to banning Megaupload. The FBI brought down all the servers Megaupload had in New Zealand and Hong Kong. The founder, Kim “Dotcom” Schmitz, has been taken into custody. Kim Dotcom was denied bail and an official indictment has been filed by the FBI stating various criminal charges including money laundering, criminal copyright infringement and racketeering. Mind you, Megaupload was huge in terms of internet activity. They had 180 million registered users around the world with 50 million daily user making it the 13th most visited website in the Internet. Almost every single file sharing website all over the world has changed its business mod-

el or re-structured its product. Some like FileSonic and FileShare have temporarily pulled down their services. Many attribute the dramatic end of the most popular file sharing service to be a direct consequence of Megaupload’s fight against the MPAA and RIAA. Megaupload was scheduled to release a new service called Megabox where people could upload their music, share and listen to it online. Megaupload also had plans to stream movies online by the end of 2012. The problem was that Megaupload still did not have label rights or copyrights over any of the music or movies they intended to sell. The irony in all this is people use services like Megaupload to have access to movies, TV shows and music because the MPAA and RIAA are still far behind

when it comes to adopting technology. People would willingly pay for their movies and TV shows in a subscription model, if given that kind of option. If the MPAA and RIAA want to battle piracy, they can only do it by adopting new forms of technology and staying ahead of the curve. TVShack was another service brought down along with Megaupload. While the service only linked people up with the respective file sharing services, the founder (a young entrepreneur in UK) might face 5 to 10 years in prison. Something, somewhere must be wrong when a minor gets 5 to 10 years in prison for linking to a Michael Jackson song while the doctor charged with manslaughter in Jackson’s case gets only 4 years.


thetr bune FEBRUARY 2012


Electric Dreams

Electric Sighs

What lies in the sunset future of Tesla Motor’s newest offering?

PHOTO | Courtesy Tesla Motors.

Sudipto Shome


lectric cars have always been somewhat of a day dream: more “Jetsons” than General Motors. The closest we have to a truly viable electric car is the enormously successful hybrid Toyota Prius. But for all its popularity, it is still closer to a traditional combustion engine than a pure electric car. Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal, may be making the dream a reality, and fast. Musk’s Tesla Motor company, named after the eccentric Serbian physicist, may just break the market wide open with its new Model S sedan. With performance levels comparable to traditional se-

It’s No Longer A Kodak Moment

The photography giant takes a smudge to the lens Sarvesh Nevatia


astman Kodak, the 130 year old pioneer of photography credited with revolutionising the camera and photographic development,

dans and more than ample passenger capacity, the Model S is an unknown specimen. If successful it could herald the beginning of a new age in automobile manufacturing. Tesla Motors first made its bones, with the release of the superlative Tesla Roadster which was as fast as some Ferrari’s without the requisite egregious gas bill. Tesla Motors’ potential is a direct result of the tenacity and downright ‘Tony Stark’ness of its CEO. Musk invested heavily in an abandoned Toyota factory, in what many ‘wise men’ called a suicidal expansion maneuver. That fac-

tory, in Fremont California, is now the epicenter of a possible revolution in the auto industry. Essentially Musk brought his Silicon Valley background to making cars and caught the attention of ailing giants Ford and GM. Both venerable firms have since scrambled out electric cars, albeit aimed at hobbits, as fast as you can say bankruptcy. With a Ferrari-esque roadster and a 7-seat premier sedan that could easily fit in at a Porsche show, Tesla Motors seem to be on the fast track to the future. However there are still a few dark clouds on the horizon. Tesla recently had

some of its accounts leaked to the press which revealed that it had only $9 Million in cash which is not enough to guarantee stability. This essentially means Tesla is very dependent on its revenue, so if they can’t sell enough cars they may slide into the red ink.Tesla Motors has already had to withdraw its plans of expansion to Singapore due to its inability to maintain sales and a similar predicament may face them in most of Asia where gas stations are more ubiquitous than power sockets. The alternative course of action is for Tesla Motors to source for additional investors, but that

would curtail Musk’s intrepid style of business, an essential part of Tesla’s success. Tesla Motors is on the cusp of something great, but could easily slip into the precipice if it doesn’t play its pieces correctly. Elon Musk is undoubtedly brilliant, he just won a grant from NASA to produce the next space shuttle, but he often comes across as impetuous and as of now most investors still view the company as much too volatile. Tesla Motors is undoubtedly a harbinger of oncoming change. Whether it can make the most of said change, is the million dollar question.

filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York on the 18th of January this year. Like the Borders Group, that was liquidated last year as it was unable to compete with the growing demand and popularity of e-books; Kodak has now been added to the list of companies that have either failed to, or been too slow to adapt to technological change. The photographic-film giant that dominated the 20th century earning a profit margin of 70% and holding a 90% market share, faced a number of challenges in the 21st century, making its downfall, anything but surprising. In 2003, it faced serious competition in its primary

business of film from foreign competitors such as Fujifilm of Japan, whose prices could not be matched by Kodak. Thereafter, it was unable to keep up with the rapid and massive shift to digital cameras and photography (ironically, a product invented by Kodak itself) that completely eroded the demand for traditional cameras. The final blow came in the past few years with the rise in popularity of affordable smart phones and other consumer electronics having high quality cameras that meet consumer needs, with Kodak no where in the picture. Sales have fallen by almost half since 2005, and although its digital imaging and print-

ing business bring in billions of dollars in revenue annually, its costs are far too high to establish profits. Since 2003, it has closed 13 manufacturing plants and 130 processing labs; and has reduced its workforce by almost 50,000. However, it has not been able to reduce its significant pension obligations, thereby leaving less capital to invest in other faster developing areas. Presently, Kodak has obtained a $950 million, 18-month credit facility from Citigroup to keep it going, and Chairman and Chief Executive Antonio M. Perez recently said that, “We look forward to working with our stakeholders to emerge a lean,

world-class, digital imaging and materials science company”. However, its current strategy to try and monetise its non core technology assets, such as patents, by either selling them or filing law suits against giants like Apple and HTC to increase their value, seems more of a defensive strategy than a turnaround one. With no revolutionary new product in the pipeline, the future looks bleak for Kodak. The lesson learnt from the Kodak case is simple; management should not only be able to anticipate technological trends but also be able to let go of legacy to adapt to it rapidly to be successful.

10 singapore Swaroop Sriram


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Chingay Returns To Roaring Crowd

ingapore celebrated and cheered along during the star studded performance at Chingay 2012, marking its 40th anniversary. This year, the parade was unique as it was the first Water Parade; with all the performers showcasing their talent on water. The event brought together talented individuals and groups from not only institutions across Singapore, but also from Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and Taiwan. The event began with the pre-parade ushering when the crowd yelled the Chingay Cheer – “Singapore, Singapore we are one, people, people we are one; Singapore, Singapore we are one, parade, parade we are one!” The 2000 strong volunteer group had seamlessly directed all the spectators to their stands, and special motivators fuelled the atmosphere by raising the energy of the crowd. Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife were paraded on a boat prior to the event. The acts were supported by sponsors while each performance had artistic directions co-ordinated by skilled pro-

The annual festival brings back its lights, parade and talent

PHOTOS | Tan Zhong Lin, and Flickr Commons

fessionals. The performers included a wide array of persons ranging from cultural societies, dance troupes, secondary schools, and even the Community Development Councils. The event, being staged on water, included the display of spectacular splashing moves and even massive boat-like structures with dazzling lighting and decoration. The event had a themed finale – Love,

Care, Kindness Everywhere, which was bilingually showcased and the fireworks which marked the closure indeed left the audience in awe. In all, the blend of artistes and the portrayal of their talent at Chingay 2012 have indeed transcended universal barriers by thematically instilling love, care and kindness amongst all those present.

Carnival Of Chords The coming months see an excellent music scene Jayanti Basu Roy


elodious March is not far away! Singapore cannot wait to usher in the Mosaic Music Festival 2012. This ten day long festival, held at various venues at EsplanadeTheatres on Bay, showcases an unimaginable spectrum of genres, ranging from indiefolk to hip hop and jazz. Every Singaporean looks forward to Mosaic as an avenue to watch their favourite artist perform live as well as to interact with them. The aim is to cater to citizens of all age groups with vastly different tastes for music, enabling one and all to lose themselves in what helps them unwind most-music! Mosaic 2011 will be remembered as one of the most memorable events of the year. Distinguished bands includ-

ing Soulfellas, Raw Earth, CrashCarBurn provided just the perfect blend of earthy and contemporary rock tunes. This year’s festival will be held between 9th and 18th March, featuring Poncho Sanchez and his Latin Jazz Band, Russian Red, Stacey Kent and several other musicians. As Mosaic celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, “Peace, Tranquility and Mutual Harmony” will be the theme for most performances. Another exciting musical event to look forward to is the live performance of Grammy award winning band Evanescence at Singapore Indoor Stadium on the 27th of February. This band, comprising of Amy Lee (vocals, piano), Terry Balsamo (guitar) Tim McCord

PHOTO | Ed-Meister, Flickr Commons

(bass) , Will Hunt (drums) and Troy McLawhorn (guitar) are back with a bang after a sabbatical. Their music, often a strangely appealing combina-

tion of beauty, subtlety and aggression, reached out to listeners everywhere. “This moment right now between us and the fans, it feels

like a celebration, a homecoming, a family reunion,” Lee says. “We’re so happy to be back.”

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Driving a Change at NTU

3 Things You Need to Know about Recycling

On-campus recycling drives promote awareness and participation Shreya Sharma


ecycling is one of the simplest things an individual can do to save the environment. By effectively reducing waste and generating new usable material, every single person can make a significant impact that can cumulatively result in a lessening the load on the environment. Yet, most people are too lazy to make the effort to segregate waste, locate recycle bins and do the needful. Also, many have the good intention to recycle but are ignorant or misinformed about the practice.

By effectively reducing waste and generating new usable material, every single person can make a significant impact that can cumulatively result in a lessening the load on the environment

To mitigate these problems and to encourage recycling at NTU, at the end of every se-

Volunteers from Earthlink went from door to door, covering all the sixteen Halls of Residence and asking for waste in the form of paper or clothes. mester, Earthlink NTU organizes a recycling drive to collect all recyclable material from NTU halls. The drive has been showing an increasing collection of waste over the past years, indicating the increasing efficiency in the planning, and the willingness of the NTU students to participate. Last semester, the recycling drive took place right after the exams in December, at the

A movement starts with the act of a single person

PHOTO | Flickr Creative Commons

start of the vacation. The volunteers from Earthlink went from door to door, covering all the sixteen Halls of Residence and asking for waste in the form of paper or clothes. With the help and cooperation of SAO, OPFM and the students residing on campus, a total of 700 kgs was collected to be recycled responsibly.

Do your part, recycle regularly and show your support! It is important to understand the consequences of our actions. A movement starts with the act of a single person. Recycling can be a small but effective step in the greater scheme of protecting our planet. So, do your part, recycle regularly and show your support to the recycling activities in your hall.

Make sure you’re going over into the green side, not the dark side Koh Hui Fang Ever heard the proverb “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”? Incorrect recycling is not quite that serious, but it’s close enough. If the materials for recycling are not handled properly, they could contaminate the materials in the rest of the recycling bin, causing the whole bin to be thrown away instead of recycled. So, while your intention to recycle and help save the earth is highly commendable, here are 3 things you need to know before you recycle:

1. Think “Clean, Dry and Flat” Containers used to contain food and beverages should be emptied of food residue, rinsed and dried as much as possible. For items like milk cartons which have empty spaces and are easy to compress: make them as compact as possible to save space in the recycling bin and transportation costs.

2. Styrofoam cannot be recycled Styrofoam, being a very porous material, absorbs the food materials it is used to contain. Furthermore, it is not cost-effective to recycle styrofoam because the amount of energy and time taken to break down and re-purpose styrofoam is not proportionate to the value of recycled styrofoam. Thus, be sure to cut down on your use of styrofoam - by eating in instead of taking out whenever possible, or using your own re-usable food containers.

3. When in doubt, consult

PHOTOS | Earthlink Publicity

At, you can find a list of 70 common waste items and whether they are acceptable for recycling in Singapore. For information on the go, you can try out 123Recycle, the world’s first free mobile application for recycling, developed especially for Singaporeans. Available on both Android phones and iPhones, this app scans a product’s barcode to provide information on how to sort and dispose of an item.

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Christmas with

RSP HI - Song SiGNing NTU’s Welfare Services Club song signing with hearing impaired children

Akriti Vij

a very enjoyable experience. At the same time, it was very enriching and inspiring. Such events help keep one connected with one’s humane and emphatic side”, said one of the members of the audience. This was followed by a conversation between the volunteers through signs and gestures, which served to improve the awareness of the audience towards the issue of hearing impairment. The volunteers also


any may look at hearing impairment as a disability, but the RSP HI (Regular Service Project for the Hearing Impaired), one of the most prominent regular service projects of NTU’s Welfare Services Club, has an unconventional take on this issue. “Nobody in the world is disabled, there are just some that are differentially able”. This ideology was well reflected by RSP HI’s annual Christmas Song-Signing performances organized at different venues, including The Cathay, Parkway Parade and Bugis Junction, from 16th to 18th December 2011. Sponsored by KFC, the aim of the event was to revel in the festivity of Christmas time, and at the same time, instill a sense of love and compassion towards the hearing impaired among the masses. This message was

“It was certainly a very enjoyable experience. Such events help keep one connected with one’s humane and emphatic side”, said one of the members of the audience engaged the public by teaching them communication signs for various letters and greetings. The show concluded with the emcees providing information about Welfare Services Club (WSC) and RSP HI, their activities and initiatives in support of the hearing impaired.

Instead of singing the songs, volunteers from RSP HI performed popular Christmas songs in sign language, a unique art in itself known as song signing conveyed in a very interesting manner indeed- Instead of singing the songs, volunteers from RSP HI performed popular Christmas songs in sign language, a unique art in itself known as song signing. The event in Parkway Parade Mall on 17th December 2011 kicked off with a warm

PHOTOS | NTU WSC Publicity

welcome note by the emcees introducing the event for the night. This was followed by the song-signing performances, which had over 110 volunteers come together in groups of ten to present popular Christmas

songs. The presentation comprised of eleven song performances, including evergreen favourites like, “It’s the greatest time of the year”, “Where are you Christmas?”, “Christmas isn’t the same without

you”, and “Coming home for Christmas”. The audience’s response was undoubtedly more than encouraging. They were enthralled, deeply involved in the performances, and had a great time. “It was certainly

The three-day event received positive feedback from large groups of onlookers and visitors of different ages to malls. The RSP HI garnered favorable post-event reviews with event management having proceeded in an organized, controlled manner considering the large-scale public setting. The Welfare Services Club aims to promote and plan more new events to support similar causes, in varying scales.

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Mock Recruitment Competition Returns for Another Round NTU Students’ Union ICON returns with popular career competition

Radhika Vyas


t’s that time of the year again, when students should refine their resumes, practice public speaking, master networking skills and review their confidence levels: the NTUSU ICON’s Recruitment Competition 2012 is just around the corner. Every year, the NTUSU ICON (Integrated Career Opportunities Network) conducts the Recruitment Competition in which participants undergo rigorous rounds of mock recruitment simulation in collaboration with ICON partners. Attendees at this event will be able to familiarize themselves with the aptitude and acumen required to succeed in interviews and compete in the given tasks. This competition tests the myriad of skills deemed

important by today’s employers such as confidence, wit, leadership and enthusiasm. The opportunity to undergo a ‘real-time’ interview before one’s graduation is a platform to practice and learn. The personal feedback provided by the judges will inevitably encourage participants to excel when they give their job interviews in the near future. This year, the ICON Recruitment Competition will be held on the 20th of March, and the challenge includes multiple rounds of simulated recruitment interviews. Participants will be required to submit their resumes and cover letters which will be sent to the respective companies. Shortlisted candidates will then be able to take part in this competition.

Since various successful enterprises and banks including Barclays Capital, Shell, Microsoft, Citibank, Credit Suisse and Procter & Gamble send representatives to judge the competition and simultaneously lookout for appropriate candidates for the roles they have to offer, the Recruitment Competition is a useful way to acclimatize and adapt oneself to industry requirements.

Registration booths for the event will be set-up on the 16th and 17th of February from 0930 – 1730 at the Global Lounge (near Starbucks) and Opposite Nanyang Auditorium (North-South Spine link way).

In addition, Prashanth Jayaraman, last year’s Recruitment Competition winner, shares his experience. Q : As a participant and winner of the RC, how beneficial has this experience been for your career prospects as well as personal growth? Ans: With the exception of a few low-key, mostly informal exchanges with company reps, the ICON RC was my first full competitive exposure to the recruiting process. I now have increased trust in my own abilities to impress in an interview, and I think that’s the single biggest aspect that I took away from the RC.

Q : What according to you are the 3 most important skills required in this competition? Ans. They would be confidence, thinking critically and team work. These 3 put together can really help you perform better and outshine other participants.

Q : Why should a student register and attend for the Recruitment Challenge? Does it really provide you with a ‘real-time’ interview experience? Ans: It’s an excellent chance for students to see where they stand in the eyes of a recruiter. While nothing can replace a real interview, ICON comes closest to simulating the rigors of an assessment centre.

Recruitment Competition 2012 | Corporate Participants

PHOTOS | Ajin Joseph, ICON Publicity




HISTORY 14th February is too commercialized to be known as anything except Valentine’s Day. The history of Valentine’s Day is odd, though - odd, but hidden under the attention to all the flowers, hearts and the billion dollar industry centred around this day. Historically, 14th February has seen war, civil unrest, human rights milestones, and pretty important historic moments - not exactly in sync with, and mostly overshadowed by the Valentine spirit of mush and candy.

| St. Valentine’s Massacre The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre remains the most notorious gangster killing of the Prohibition era - six of them gangster rivals of Al Capone’s gang, were murdered in Chicago, Illinois. The massacre made Al Capone a national celebrity and gained immense media attention.

| Anti-Semetic Hate Riots The Strasbourg pogrom occurred on February 14, 1349, when several hundred Jews were publicly burnt to death, and the rest of them expelled from the city. It was one of the first and worst anti-Semetic massacres in pre-modern history.

| And Then There Was Penicillin Sir Alexander Fleming discovers Penicillin after leaving a plate of staphylococcus bacteria uncovered, he noticed that a mold that had fallen on the culture had killed many of the bacteria.

| Salman Rushdie’s Fatwa One of the worst attacks on free speech was staged when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a ( FATWA ) death sentence on British writer Salman Rushdie for his authorship of the book Satanic Verses - book burnings, angry public reactions, and world-wide scandal followed.

| Northern Illinois University Shooting A former student of Northern Illinois University Steven Kazmierczak opens fire at a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University killing 7 and injuring 14 more. The perpetrator died at the scene, and this was the fourth-deadliest university shooting in the United States.

| Lindbherg Kidnapping The kidnapping and subsequent murder of Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., was the abduction of the son of aviator Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.Newspaper writer H. L. Mencken called the kidnapping and subsequent trial "the biggest story since the Resurrection".

PHOTO | Derek Purdy, Flickr Commons CONTENT | Abha Apte

Like Crazy

Love stories are always hard to pull off without them ending up being unoriginal or extremely cheesy, but Like Crazy is a movie that manages to stay away from overused clichés. It tells a very realistic story of a boy who meets a girl from the UK at college and as they start to fall in love, the girl overstays her visa and is prohibited to return to the US. The movie shows the struggles that the couple faces as they try to keep the relationship going while being in two different continents. It is definitely not a movie for everyone but it is one to which most students will relate.

books Something from Tiffany’s

Looking for a leisurely read to get away from homework blues? This is it. The book smells, reads and looks like typical chick lit. It promises a mystery twist and while such promises are seldom met, this one is a valiant attempt to surprise the reader. Who will be Ethan’s final girl? The lead character gets his purchases mixed up when he wanted to propose to his girlfriend. One thing is for sure though, and that it is a feel-good book through and through. So be prepared to breeze through the pages and appreciate a good, happy ending.

You Are The Apple Of My Eye

Probably one of the most talkedabout movies on Facebook last year. While some think it is overrated, I believe there is something for everyone in this movie – many hilarious masturbating scenes, cussing galore (I picked up a new vocabulary of Chinese bad words which are usually said in Hokkien) and wistful love for the romantics. Be prepared for a roller-coaster ride of laughter and maybe even a tear or two. Something that will resonate with every heterosexual male who has loved without reserve. Or even a humongous crush will do.


I Love Acoustic 4

Sabrina This is Sabrina’s fourth album of acoustic songs, where she has covered 17 popular songs. A dose of one or two would be enough to set your day right. However, anymore would be an overdose. Her vocals are saccharine, but the way she sings “I’m Screwed” and “Damn” are a little too sweet for my liking. The style gets a bit too predictable after the first verse, but tracks worth re-listening to are Price Tag (original sung by Jessie J) and Saranghae (the Tagalog version of the Korean drama Perfect Match OST). CONTENT | Rebecca Lim & Shreya Sharma PHOTO | Dill Parin, Flickr Commons


Hot Chelle Rae Catchy songs make this album very listenable. ‘Whatever’ is the second album of this Nashville pop rock boy band. Before relegating this to teenybopper music, take a listen to “Tonight Tonight” and see if you move on to the next track. The rock edge, coupled with a I-Don’t-Give-ADamn attitude on this album makes them more appealing than usual. Another good track would be “I Like It Like That”. Lyrics on the tracks are all about usual teen topics, and get a little bland after a while. If anything, just play “Tonight Tonight” again.

The Beach Alex Garland

Think of it as ‘Lord of the Flies’, but for grown ups. A community of backpackers discovers a secluded beach unknown to the outside world and makes it their home. What starts off as a tranquil place away from the madness of the world, slowly descends into a grotesque panorama of chaos. This book is so beautifully written that it is impossible to put down. The hallucinations and hysteria are so vividly described; the book will undoubtedly mess with your head and keep you lingering on it hours after you’ve turned the final page.

American Idol


This British take on the classic is probably the best Sherlock Holmes adaptation in recent times. In a span of just six episodes over two seasons, this show has managed to completely recreate the aura and allure of Holmes. Set in modern day London, the show takes bits and pieces of Doyle’s stories to weave an entirely new tale. The editing, acting and direction are all impeccable and even for the Sherlock fans that have read all the original stories, this series will still manage to surprise with its twists and turns.

The eleventh season of American Idol kicked off last month and finally, there are no major changes: the judges remain the same this season with the previous trio of Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. The first two episodes showcased the auditions held at Savannah and Pittsburg and saw the usual assortment of brilliant talents and absolute disasters, which is the usual with the audition episodes. Some of the standouts were Creighton Fraker and Skylar Laine. What’s interesting to see now is which of the initial stars manage to sustain their shine.


Melissa Hill


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mu sic

16 entertainment watch

event watch 17

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Charity Drive 2012 College of Engineering

30-31 JAN PHOTO | COE Charity Drive Committee

At NTUC Auditorium 9 am - 5 pm Seminars, panel discussions, career talks and networking opportunities!

Valentine’s Day Ball At Nanyang Executive Centre, Meeting room 1 7 pm - 10:30 pm

13th -14th February

NTUSU International Culture and Travel Fair (ICTF) 2012 At Nanyang Auditorium Foyer 10:30 am - 4 pm An annual display of cultural diversity in NTU.

9th February Japanese Cultural Festival At Canopy K 10 am - 6 pm

Want to see your events on the Tribune event calendar? Write to us at

16th February Navigating the Stock Market

6:30 pm - 9 pm Using Technical Analysis to analyze the stock market.

Outdoor Activities Club

Risk Management Society

NTUSU 13th February

At sg/bpmentoring/ uncoming.html Win a $300 Apple Voucher.

24th-26th February

Rainbow Waterfalls Trek At Sungei Lembing Contact 9851 6080

26th February

Southern Islands Exploration Trek Contact 9070 3296

27th-28th February

Gunung Datuk

Red Cross Youth - NTU Chapter

Singapore Financial Conference 2012

NTUSU-BP Mentoring Logo Design Competition

Japanese Appreciation Club

28th-29th February

13th February

NTU Dancesport Academy

NTU Investment Interactive Club

mark your calendar

Contact 9117 5154 The trip with a view.

14th-17th February

Don’t Fall...When Buying Life Insurance

28th February

NTU Blood Donation Drive

At S4-SR6 6.30 pm - 8 pm

10 am - 5 pm Contact 9338 0878

22nd February

Level One Sports Climbing

At Nanyang Auditorium, Level 3 10 am – 5 pm

We apologise to NTU Sports Club and Cultural Activities Club for the inadvertent misrepresentation of their events, Sports Expose and Tertiary Salsa Competition respectively in the January 2012 issue.

18 people


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I don’t have any plans for Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is for couples. It is just another normal day for me.

I plan to stay at home for Valentine’s Day. I don’t want to go outside, as it gets very crowded on Valentine’s Day.

Tong Yuan EEE / Yr 2

Hubert Sim MSE / Yr2 Yilin Gan SBS / Yr 3

Wang Yuemeng EEE / Yr 4

Chen Yan EEE / Yr 2

| cost of LIVING

I don’t have anything in mind for Valentine’s Day. For us, everyday is a special day.

Increase in air-conditioner prices is reasonable because of the fuel prices going up. However, washing machines should be free of charge. Also, both the changes were made all of a sudden.

I think washing machines should be free because we are paying for our halls already.

Washing Machines have not been changed in my hall yet, but even if they are going to be in future, I feel the rise in costs is insignificant.

If the services provided are good, then I wouldn’t mind paying extra for laundry. But most of the time, machines are either dirty or out of order.

Juliana CBE / 3

Daniel Accounting / 1

Vishal Lakhiani IEM / 2

Peter Xing Bridging Course / 2

For lectures that are recorded, I prefer to watch the video. Even for lectures that are not, I don’t think I gain much by attending.

I don’t attend most lectures. If they were not recorded, I would be forced to attend lectures.

Tong Yuan EEE / Yr 2

Sarah / BUS Exchange student

Yanling EEE / Yr 2

Some of my lectures take place in huge LTs like LKC where it is difficult to pay attention. I prefer the smaller LTs. Vinay MAE / Yr 1

I usually attend lectures as well as watch recorded lecture videos when I don’t understand a particular concept taught in the lecture. Valerie ENE / Yr 4


I don’t attend lectures since lectures are not interactive. It is difficult to concentrate among so many people in the LT. I prefer Seminars.

| valentine’s DAY

My girlfriend is in Canada. I will make a video and send it to her for Valentine’s Day.

PHOTOS | Adarsh Kanodia

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This Valentine’s Day,

features 19

EATSHAMELESSLY Stuck on campus for classes , or really, really broke? Heroically brave and ready to chance being dumped? Take your date for an on-campus meal and pig out!

campus canteens reviewed

On-campus meals are great for the curious foodie. And the slightly bankrupt foodie. There are hidden gems everywhere: Swarnima Korde reviews some of this year’s gems.

Cafe Al Fresco was opened as a complement to Cafe By The Quad, to cater to Western food lovers. By popular demand, I would personally recommend the spring rolls and chicken nuggets at Al Fresco. They have a distinct flavour to them, and are taste-wise far better than their rival counterparts at rival eateries. More than the food, Al Fresco has a high-end relaxing resort feel to it.

Cafe By The Quad serves a wide range of students, especially those shuttling between the North and South spines. Regarding health, Mr Roy Loh, the owner, doesn’t mince words - ‘we serve delicious food’. If you are health - conscious, kindly look elsewhere. The food served is mostly Chinese cuisine (economical rice, mixed vegetarian rice), but they also cater to the locals - fish soup, chicken rice, noodle soup and Laksa. Apart from that they prepare and serve a variety of pastries and cheesecakes. The Americano, Oreo, blackforest, fruitcake and Tiramisu are the most popular. It’s not very cheap, but Mr Loh justifies that- the quality is good, the quantity is huge, so it’s a value-for-money deal.

Enter Vänner Bistro, at Nanyang Auditorium, and you’ll see a dimly lit room with cream coloured walls. A live band plays in a corner, while the seating is very chic, almost sophisticated. The owner, Mr Wilson Ho, explains that the place is meant strictly for relaxing purposes. Even the walls are coloured beige to add an element of calm. Coming to the food, Mr Ho emphasises that they serve cross-ethnic, ‘fusion food’. The Chef’s recommendation- the Canadian Fine hog, a pork speciality. They claim that the pork they import is healthier, and of a much better quality. The chicken tikka is quite famous too. Vegetarians, do not despair. Here comes the espanica, a scrumptious spinach wrap. For drinks or dessert, try out the ice-blended chocolate and coffee.

PHOTO | Shubham Goyal

Once you enter Pitchstop, you can inhale the distinct smell of the Woodstove pizza, their speciality. Every fortnight, on Tuesdays, they invite music lovers to come and participate in live gigs. From 8 pm to 12 midnight daily, when the kitchen closes, the drinks flow in. Their Woodstove Pizza is something to brag about. The stove is fired by charcoal, and you can identify the distinct smoky flavour in the mozzarella. The best in that would be smoked turkey breast, Mr Zen’s recommendation. They also serve meals, and you can fill your tummies to the fullest in a reasonable $5-9. For those with a sweet tooth, the excellent Blueberry Cheesecake is a must. Why this is worth a mention is because it converted a cheesecake hater like myself into an overnight ‘Pitchstop Blueberry Cheesecake’ fan.

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20 features

WATCH Grab a blanket and pajamas Order pizza, and pop in a DVD

Walk into the nearest theatre If you do, remove the pajamas Invest in greasy popcorn goodness

If the pretty people on the screen


watch oscar movies If you’re catching a movie, make sure it’s an Academy Award nominee - all the better for pretentious conversation. And secretly hope you had selected American Pie. Charisse D’Souza and Shreya Sharma review some of this year’s gems.

Make you feel ugly, snuggle into

Your Valentine, or with your pillow As per relationship status

| the artist It is somewhat ironic that a silent film about the demise of silent films works at this day and age. But The Artist is a movie that really does work at every level- from the acting to the music to the visuals. Shot in black and white, it pays homage to the movies of the 20s and puts attention into detail about every aspect of the filmmaking. The story of a fading star trying to sustain his glory days is as emotionally involving as it is stylized. It is a crowd pleaser, and a favourite for the Best Film Oscar.

| the descendants

midnight in paris |

This movie, directed by Alexander Payne, is the story of a man trying to connect with his daughters after his wife suffers a severe boating accident. It takes place in beautiful Hawaii and the cinematography is breathtaking. The story stays realistic and never gets overbearing. George Clooney plays the role of a detached husband and father with graceful ease, deserving of his nomination for Best Actor. The acting, directing and screenplay is brilliant: watch it, now.

Anyone who likes romantic comedies has got to like Woody Allen movies. And if you love Woody Allen movies, you can’t go wrong with Midnight in Paris. Midnight in Paris is about a young engaged couple (Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams) vacationing in Paris. Wilson stars as a Gil Pender, a Hollywood screenwriter and aspiring novelist who is accompanied by Inez, his uptight wife. One night, Gil drunkenly wanders the streets of Paris and gets into a vintage car which takes him back to the Paris in the 1920’s. Rachel McAdams is convincing in a role that is not similar to her usual vivacious characters. This is the second time we see McAdams and Wilson coupled on-screen (Wedding Crashers anyone?), but I personally prefer her with Ryan Gosling & Robert Downey Jr. Carla Bruni also has a small guest role as a tour guide. For someone who admires Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald and the like, Midnight in Paris should go to the very top of your Oscars must-watch list.

| hugo Hugo is Martin Scorsese’s carefully wrapped gift to cinema – in the excellent animation and cinematography, clearly evident is the odd tenderness that has gone into crafting this movie. This 3D fantasy tale is about an orphan who lives inside the walls of a Parisien train station, taking care of its giant clock and trying to revive an old automaton his dead father left him – in what he thinks lies a message from his father. This leads him to a cranky old proprieter of a little toy shop, who is actually pioneering fantasy filmmaker Georges Melies. A humble old film, and an extremely pretty film to watch, Hugo will leave you grateful for the cinematic bar it has raised.

| the help The Help is an amazing lighthearted movie that very effectively showcases the serious racial issues that plagued America in the 60s. Some say that it is a too simple or safe treatment of a severe theme, which is done through a story about the writing of a book that exposed the racism faced by the help. But what the movie lacks in depth and aggression, it makes up for with its heart and wit. There is still doubt whether it is really a serious contender for the Best Film Oscar but the acting deserves a special mention, especially Viola Davis is excellent.

PHOTO | RonyJohnsen, Flickr Commons

thetr bune




EXPLORE PHOTO | Per Ola Wiberg, Flickr Commons

date like christopher columbus Single people need to avoid this, unless you want stick your dinner knife into your jugular with the next couple you see. Couples, do something different! Rebecca Lim, Shreya Sharma and Charisse D’Souza explain how.

| adventure sports If you are sporting and adventurous, this is a good date idea for you. There are plenty of good places to scuba dive near Singapore. If you’d like something milder, try snorkeling. Or trekking. But the most fun dates are the ones where you try something absolutely different. Like abseiling. Or paragliding. Or wakeboarding. Or bungee-jumping. The list goes on.

Grab a map and a toothbrush Ditch your watch, wander off Do something completely new If you do get stuck in a ravine And are left for dead and eaten alive

You’ll atleast know your scumbag Partner wasn’t ever meant to be If you’re single, carry along a stick To visciously trip nearbye couples

| game away

| pamper yourself Spas (like shopping) aren’t just activities for the female population. Relax and rejuvenate at a nice spa. Go for a full-body massage. There are plenty of options including Thai massages, Ayurvedic spas, oriental spas etc. which are suited for both gender. End that with a trip to the sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi and there you have it, a well-deserved retreat date.

| role play

Go back to your childhood by visiting an arcade games parlour. This is something that never gets old, no matter how old you get. Make it even more fun by setting each other challenges and just fooling around. Time will fly by as you enjoy hours of Mortal Combat and Need For Speed. You can take it even further by going to a playground and playing on the jungle gym and the swings. It will be a good change from acting like an adult all the time. And it is always fun reliving the nostalgia of being a kid.

Contrary to what you might think, role playing is not just for the bedroom. Decide on a good theme and dress up, Blair and Chuck-style (from Gossip Girl for the uneducated). A good theme could be a Spanish date. Order in some good Spanish food (or better yet cook), wear something ethnic such as a sexy Desigual or Zara combination. You can also play some Spanish music to enhance the mood. There are a ton of cool themes you can work with – Middle Eastern, Italian. You could rent a good themed movie to end the night with.

| the ultimate drive This is an expensive option so only go for it if you have a really deep pocket. Did you know that you can rent a Ferrari or a Lambhorgini in Singapore for anywhere between $230 and $600? You can take a spin in one of the fastest (and most expensive) cars in the world for a couple of hours. Check out Ultimate Drive online for more details.

| buffet up If you have a girlfriend who only eats micro-sized meals in front of you (or you are the girlfriend who eats tiny quantities around your date), ignore this suggestion. Singapore has a ton of buffets for foodie-couples. My personal suggestion would be to try out the chocolate buffet at the Fullerton. Lots of chocolate and strawberries are the perfect aphrodisiacs to end a date with.

22 feedback

thetr bune FEBRUARY 2012

management talk Menu Pricing

The Chinese food-stall in Canteen 16 and the Indian food-stall in Canteen 1 do not provide a clear and concise list of the pricing of food. Some students state that they were charged differently buying the same food. Even if the price is charged correctly, students may be confused if they cannot get transparent information from the stalls. Is it possible for OFPM to urge all the stalls to post a detail list of food price to increase the transparency?

Canteen Hygiene

Students have complained that the dining utensils of Canteen 16 are not clean enough. There are stains on most of the utensils. Is it possible for OFPM to advise all the canteen operators to ensure the hygiene of the dining utensils?

Response from Office of Facilities Planning & Management Since November last year, the Indian stall in Canteen 1 has been displaying a list of food prices for customers to refer to. Canteen 16 Chinese mixed rice stall also exhibits a food price list on its glass display. When in doubt about the amount charged for food purchases, customers can always approach the stall assistants for clarifications as advised by both operators of the canteens. Hygiene is paramount in any food establishments and NTU canteens are no exception. The operators are informed about maintaining good food handling practices and to be vigilant in hygiene checks, including the utensils and crockery used in the canteens.

Inefficient Hall-printing Services

Faulty printers are found at hall 1, 2, 5, 7 and 13. According to feedback from students, the printers at hall computer rooms are under-maintenance. The situations are described as below: 1. The printers sometimes do not have adequate paper. This leads to the money of users being deducted but no printing outcome at the printing kiosk. 2. Some of the PCs are not compatible with Chinese characters. The files with Chinese characters can’t be read and thus users cannot print these files. 3. Not all PC’s are connected to the printers. 4. Unresponsive printing kiosk, i.e. blackout or lagged condition.

Response from Centre for IT Services We have checked, and we are currently reviewing the printers in the halls with vendors, in a bid to further improve the current print services.

Got feedback to give? Email


thetr bune FEBRUARY 2012


Is the grass greener on the other side?


The life of a vegetarian at NTU

Anisha Raina


egetarianism as a way of living had been fast catching up with a lot of people around the world, and students in NTU are no exception. It is intuitively the healthier way to go, with a boost to the immunity system, as well as a good way to watch the extra kilos that one adds to their body. The definition of a vegetarian differs though from person to person, with some who don’t mind eating debatable options like eggs, with others

Is it fair that there are so few options for vegetarians on campus? who are extremely rigid with their diets and refuse to consume even milk products. Keeping this in mind, the variety available to vegetarians on campus isn’t too much at all. A Subway Veggie Delight/Patty, Food Connection, Canteen B and stalls at Canteen 1, canteen 11 and a few dishes from some stall in the other canteens are often the only choices that they have. While a lot of people are content with just that, there is definitely scope for a lot more. While any other non vegetarian person could go practically anywhere on campus to have their meals, a vegetarian needs to plan their entire meal, with respect to the day, time and availability of food. This lack of option has either caused people to resort to go over to the dark side and bite into their first mammal, or experience inconvenience and compromise to the highest extent.

Is it fair that there are so few options for vegetarians on campus? One might argue that the demand for vegetarian food is very less, and so there aren’t many people willing to enter the market in the first place. This might not even be the case, with a lot of assumptions made about peoples’ diets. The Vegetarian stall in Canteen B has the longest queue during lunch hours, with a lot of non vegetarians willing to experiment, and wanting a change. People love trying new things to eat, vegetarians included. The only option for them is to either order in, or have instant cup noodles on a regular basis, something that is awfully unhealthy on a regular basis.

A few more outlets should be opened in order to give vegetarians more choice “On Sundays, when Palette and Food Connection is shut, I have to resort to french fries or pizza. If given a choice, I would rather have something a lot healthier” says Vibhas Pahuja, a Year 2 MAE student. A few more outlets should be opened in order to give vegetarian students a lot more variety and choice. A vegetarian diet is known to confer a wide range of health benefits. It would also be environmentally healthy. The fact that some students have to resort to easily available fast food as their staple food, since they have no other option, is sad.

PHOTO | FotoosVanRobin, Flickr Commons

The Scariest Thing Shreya Sharma

Opinions Editor | Editor’s Note


have always been a fan of horror movies. When I was a kid, I would stay up late and watch them alone, regardless of the nightmares that followed. The gory ones with lots of blood, the psychological thrillers that always end with the guy losing his mind, the ones that are laughably bad and the ones that just go all out. The crazier the concept of the movie, the more I like it. But recently, I have been beginning to realize that the scariest thing in the world isn’t a blood sucking monster or a haunted house in the middle of a forest. Horror movies really aren’t as scary as real life itself. The things that scare us as a child change dramatically when you enter adulthood. As a grown up, the scariest thing for me is being stuck in a rou-

tine that I can’t break out off, an existence that I despise but have to keep up no matter what. That is the real nightmare. The bland monotony of life. It’s like being caged in a Jigsaw-like trap out of the movie Saw with the time ticking down and nothing to look forward to. And a clown face on the TV telling you that there’s no escape. Horror movies scare us because we’re afraid of death, of a gruesome unexpected death. But the only thing we should really be afraid of is dying without really living.Yes, I am aware I sound like an inspirational book of quotes. But it’s true. Fear is the one emotion that majorly governs our life, more than love and happiness and misery. Whether it is the fear of finding a monster under your bed or the fear of getting out of bed to

go to a job that you hate. Fear can take over your life. But taking conscious action to reduce the list of regrets, to pack it all up and throw it away, is the most frightening of all. Like the blanket that I covered myself in to keep the ghosts away, the security blanket of conformity is very hard to shed. It’s not imaginary monsters holding us in, just our own fears and insecurity. If you know you can do bigger better things, go ahead and do them. Live your life, flying above the trivialities of winning or a losing war. Don’t let the quick sand of rules and what-should-be-done drown your spirits. Because being stuck in a life that’s not even vaguely in the area code of where you want to be? That is the scariest thing.

24 opinions

thetr bune



On The Mutability Of History

brave and upstanding. In one story, Soeharto visited Sarajevo while the Bosnian War was still raging and refused to put on a bulletproof vest. What humility!What kindness! What courage! The book potrays Soeharto as an almost perfect man.The book fails to mention, however, pesky facts like the innocent people killed when he ordered the army to root out “communists”, his brutal treatment of political dissidents, allegations of corruption, the human rights abuses perpetrated

in East Timor; the list goes on. As such, I found the book to be ridiculous and, frankly, rather shameless. But then it struck me, what if, hundreds of years from now when my grandchildren’s grandchildren are long dead, and the Soeharto’s reign no longer exists in living memory, all books about him and his life are destroyed save this one?, will he then be remembered as an affable, benevolent leader, with a heart of gold and balls of steel, deposed by an ungrateful populace spurred on by self-serving agents provocateur? Far-fetched as it was, the thought alarmed me. You think of the past, of history as a fixed thing. So and so happened these many years ago. There were witnesses, and these witnesses wrote down their accounts of these matters. No debate necessary. But “Pak Harto: The Untold Stories” made me rethink this. Perhaps the past is not so constant after all, but rather a mutable, capricious thing, that needs to be guarded closely lest it change beyond all recognition. In Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending, the character Adrian Finn defines history as “the certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation”. And I think it is. But I would strive to ensure that this certainty does not stray too far from truth.

appalling. A prejudice against homosexuality, and condemning abortion, are inherent parts of most religions. People are bound by the dictations of a book written by a man. Religious people raise questions of morality and peace when their own interpretation of Holy Scriptures itself is ever changing with time, as the majority dictates what parts to accept and which ones to just dismiss conveniently. Wars are fought because of religion with people willing to die for their ‘faith’. All said, I mean no disrespect to religious people. There is absolutely no doubt that religion is a source of consolation and inspiration for countless individuals. I

understand that it gives people a purpose, a center to focus their energies and spirit, a motivation to do good and be good. But that is a gap that can be filled spiritually with self-reflection and a belief in the absolute facts of science. Morality itself is not religious in nature. The fact that spiritual experiences can be felt by Christians, Muslims, Hindus and any other religion by itself indicates that it is a human experience, above all. So why are we so hungry for answers that the only solution we find is to look towards an imaginary man standing on the clouds with his arms outstretched? I, for one, find it easier to believe in the Big Bang.

Karina Maharani


n the spring of last year, the book “Pak Harto: The Untold Stories” was published in Indonesia.It contained anecdotes about Indonesia’s second president, Soeharto, as written by various people who had known him, including world leaders like Lee Kuan Yew and Mahathir Muhammad. The stories within portrayed the late dictator as a saintly figure. He liked to go fishing, the book tells us, and he only ever thought about the needs of the “little people”. He was

Is history impervious to the scheming nature of human err and deceit?

PHOTO | Wikimedia Commons

It All Started With The Big Bang

Thoughts on Atheism, Religion and Faith Shreya Sharma


, like pretty much the entire Internet community, was shocked to see Rick Perry’s presidential campaign ad, condemning the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and vowing to end the “war against religion”. This ad is a classic example of using religion as a crux to justify an utterly illogical and baseless argument. On the other hand, recently, in Indonesia, Alexander An, a self confessed atheist, was sent to jail for putting up a Fa-

cebook post simply stating “God doesn’t exist”. I find it despicable that at this day and age, a man was punished for merely expressing an opinion. The only thing that differentiates an atheist from a religious person is that he refuses to believe in a “personal God”, that is an all-knowing, judgmental God who is involved in human matters. An atheist’s opinions are equally, if not more, valid as compared to those of a religious person. If Mr. Perry believes that there is some-

thing wrong with a country “when gays can serve openly in the army but kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school”, I think there is something wrong with a world when someone running for President criticizes openness and preaches prejudice. And when another man is prosecuted for simply expressing his non-religious views in public. It is this clinging to false testaments, and using them to gain leverage or justify outdated and unscientific notions, that is most

opinions 25 Are Singapore’s Ministers Overpaid?

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The People’s Action Party (PAP) has come under fire for overpaying its Ministers even after the salary review was conducted Shaun Yap


O Captain, My Captain

PHOTO | Cyroz, Flickr Commons

Karina Maharani


any of you will have heard about the Costa Concordia disaster that occurred on January 13. For those not in the know, Costa Concordia is a Concordia class cruise ship operated by Costa Crociere, owned by BritishAmerican Carnival Corporation. She was built in Italy. The name Concordia was intended to express the wish for “continuing harmony, unity, and peace between European nations.” The Italian cruise Costa Concordia hit a reef off the cost of Tuscany and partially sank. At least seventeen people have died, while fifteen more remain missing. In the wake of this disaster, the spotlight is on one Francesco Schettino, the captain of the vessel. He is allegedly at fault for the tragedy, having misjudged a turn and ended up “in water that was too shallow”. What is even more damning, however, is the fact that Captain Schettino chose to leave the ship before all the passengers were evacuated. A recording of a conversation between the good captain and a coastguard officer was leaked by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra. On the re-

cording you can listen to the coastguard officer ordering Schettino to get back on board the ship to help coordinate the rescue efforts and the captain trying very hard to evade the request. The coastguard officer becomes more and more agitated as the conversation pro-

This Italian cruise ship captain evidently didn’t believe in going down with his ship. gresses, cursing at Schettino to get back on board. Finally, rather sheepishly, Schettino complies. The transcript of a conversation between Captain Schettino and the coastguard went viral in Italy and people have bought T-shirts with the words “Vado a bordo, cazzo!” meaning “Get back on board for [expletive]’s sake!” He’s become known as Captain Coward. Really, the whole thing would be hilarious if it wasn’t such a needless tragedy. But I wonder, in a moment

of panic, if I saw the water rising and heard panicked people are screaming all around me, would I not also “trip” onto the nearest lifeboat as Schettino claims he did? The Devil’s Dictionary, a supremely sarcastic “reference book” written by Ambrose Bierce, defines a coward as “one who in a perilous emergency thinks with his legs”. Our dear captain will always compare unfavorably to Edward Smith of the Titanic, who was last seen on the bridge as his “unsinkable” ship went down, but we can’t all be action heroes. Some of us can’t help but think with our legs. Of course, as a fully trained and experienced ship captain, we should be able to expect better of Schettino, but the lapse is such a human failing that I’m finding it hard to whole-heartedly condemn the man. Perhaps it is a reflection on my own cowardice. Those who live in glass houses, after all, shouldn’t presume to throw stones. Though I should like to hope, that if I were to perpetrate such an act of cowardice, I would have the integrity to own up to it.

he subject on ministerial salaries has always been a hotly debated issue between the ruling and opposition parties as well as amongst Singaporeans during the General Elections. This debate was perhaps intensified during the past few weeks after the salary review committee proposed its recommendations to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. While some may argue that by pegging the salaries to the top 1000 income earners in Singapore is considered ‘elitist’, as stated by the Workers’ Party, I agree with Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s view that ‘we cannot afford to underpay our ministers’. The ideal solution to this sensitive question would be to strike a perfect balance between paying our ministers adequately and expecting them to perform up to par. Yes, the Prime Minister’s salary of S$2.2 million a year even after the pay cut may still seem like a colossal amount to the common man on the street. However, unknown to many of them, housing perks, tax exemptions and hospitalisation benefits are not provided for the ministers. Though ministers in numerous other countries such as France and Australia are paid substantially less than those in Singapore, they enjoy paid holidays in addition to official cars and residences. For the record, the base salary of Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, is US$400000 along with a US$50000 expense allowance and a US$100000 non-taxable travel account. This figure excludes the Presidential State Car which purportedly cost US$300000, cost of running Air Force One which report-

edly cost £100000 to run per hour and other perks which he receives during his term in office. In fact, former US Presidents also receive an annual pension that presently stands at US$199700 as part of their retirement benefits. Some question whether corruption will be rife if Singapore’s ministers are paid lesser than before since one of the reasons why ministers are highly paid is to reduce corruption within the government. No doubt there is now more of an incentive for cor-

The ideal solution to this sensitive question would be to strike a perfect balance between paying our ministers adequately and expecting them to perform up to par ruption to occur but I must say that corruption can still happen even if ministers are extremely well paid. For example, members of parliament in Kenya are paid more than US$13000 a month but corruption is still widespread there. Ultimately, Singapore’s ministers should be paid competitively not to prevent corruption but rather to appreciate the sacrifices that many of these capable people have made when they switched from the private sector, where they were earning much more.

26 sports

thetr bune FEBRUARY 2012



SINGAPORE How has Singapore’s sporting month been? Vignesh Gopalakrishnan and Tam Mei Tan recap the city’s January sports, and scope out interesting events happening in and around the local athletic world

SAFRA AVventura


ingapore’s largest cross-terrain adventure race, the SAFRA AVventura, took place on the 15th of January. Organised by SAFRA Yishun Country Club (SYCC), the event made its debut in 2006 with the AIA SAFRA AVventura, which attracted 270 racers who had to navigate through virgin undergrowth, brave a 100m river swim, abseil, bike, run and kayak more than 40km in the Northern part of Singapore. This year, the event was bigger than ever, with a record 448 participants this year. Teams in the Ultra category had to run, bike and kayak along a 44-kilometre race route across the western and northern parts of Singapore on Sunday morning. They had to clear various mystery challenges that tested their teamwork and problem-solving skills. Joseph Foo Chien Boon, 42, and Fabian William Raj, 34, of team Adventure Madness Enduro, took home the top prize for the Men’s Ultra category, while the Men’s Sprint category was won by Chen Wee Meng, 24, and Ng Wei Ming, 23, of team D2B. Forty-three fathers also took the opportunity to bond with their children in the Dads For Life Challenge. They paired up with their children in fun-filled challenges, such as sport climbing, shooting, chatek, fishing, running and cycling. Father and son pair Faisal Meskam, 44, and Arfan Faisal, 12, emerged as the winners.

terry fox run 2012


he Terry Fox Run 2012 was held on January 15. The fundraising event, named after Canadian amputee runner Terry Fox, kicked off at East Coast Parkway. The event essentially had no registration fee, with all runners only required to buy a t-shirt and donate any amount they wanted for charity. This was part of several non competitive charity events held in numerous regions around the world, in order to raise funds for cancer research. The Singapore edition of the run featured an either 5 or 10 km course that participants could challenge themselves to. In general, this event is a good relaxing way to start the running season in Singapore.

bizad charity run


he BIZAD charity run organized by the NUS Business School Alumni Association, took place on the 8th of January. This is the second year of the event, following the success of the first event, where over $30,000 was raised. The run took participants through Mochtar Riady Building to the newly opened university town. In addition the BIZAD Carnival was also organized as part of this event. All proceeds from the run were donated to 5 adopted charities.

GRAPHIC | Shourav Yathindranath

61st saa x-country championships


he local cross country season kicked off with SAA Cross Country Championship held on January 21st, at Bedok Reservoir. About 600 participants graced the 61st edition of the cross country tournament. Last year’s winner at the Men Open, Jason Lawrence, could only manage 3rd place this year, with Soh Rui Yong placing 1st. Renuka Sathianathan placed first in the Women Open. Yong Ren Wei Bryan was the quickest in the Men U20 category, while Heng Yu Jie was first in the Men U18 race. Other winners included Nena Fritz in the Women U18 and Valerie Lai in the Women U15.

safari zoo run


afari Zoo Run 2012, an annual run that takes participants through the scenic paths of Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, was held on the 5th of February. This is the fourth year the event is being held. The run was conceptualized to commemorate the death anniversary of orangutan Ah Meng. This event is jointly organized by the Wildlife Reserves Singapore and Pink Apple Ltd. All proceeds from the run will go towards the care of endangered species. Over $2000 worth of prizes are up for grabs for the winners.

IVP Games 2012 the tr bune PHOTO FEATURE FEBRUARY 2012

PHOTOS | Rounak Mehta, IVP Publicity

28 sports

thetr bune



Second Time Lucky

Do former professional players of the game make better coaches?

PHOTO |, Flickr Commons

Vignesh Gopalakrishnan


ndre Villas-Boas, Jose Mourinho, Steven Hansen and Graham Henry would certainly disagree. Jose Mourinho is arguably the best ever football coach in the world today. He has a staggering win percentage (70%) over 11 years of management, with an unbeaten home record of 150 games, across four different clubs. He did technically play professional soccer for a time, but dropped when he realized he wasn’t going anywhere with it. Andre Villas-Boas is an unknown quantity, but his mercurial rise suggests a bright managerial career ahead.

Jose Mourinho is arguably the best ever football coach in the world today Steven Hansen and Graham Henry never really made their mark in professional rugby but were the masterminds behind the All Blacks win at the Rugby World Cup in 2011. But these are very isolated cases. In individual sport, successful coaches who never played the sport professionally are more commonplace. But, still very few. The number of professional players who made great

coaches later on is much larger. Take any sport. Football, for choice. Alfredo di Stefano, Johan Cruyff, Franz Beckenbauer, and Frank Rijkaard are a few individuals who had glittering careers

He can supposedly give them better perspectives, and he can understand them better both as players and as coaches. A few other less mercurial players, such as Sir Matt Busby, Sir Alex Ferguson and Vicente del Bosque have also proven brilliant coaches. A large proportion of the coaches in the top leagues in the world were former players. For example, only Andre VillasBoas stands out among the current coaches in the Barclays Premier League as a manager who hasn’t played professional competitive football at some level. The reasons for this are quite obvious. Being a former player, the coach would have been involved in a lot of situations the players can go through. He can supposedly give them better perspectives, and he can understand them better. This enables him to give better advice, mould the team’s strategy to suit its players so he can get the best out of his

charges. However, coaches who were great players have often failed to live up to reach the lofty heights they reached when they were players, as coaches. Look at Diego Maradona, Isiah Thomas, or Ted Williams. This is possibly because the team they coached did not compare to the team they played in. It’s long been suggested that great players, when they become coaches, get frustrated with players under them who aren’t as good as they were, and even more so with players who are good but don’t put up the kind of effort the coach once did. Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Matt Busby were mediocre players at best. As was Arsene

However, coaches who were great players have often failed to live up to reach the lofty heights they reached when they were players, as coaches Wenger, Marcello Lippi, Tony La Russa, and Rick Carlisle. In the end, former players do seem to make better coaches, or are trusted more than coaches who haven’t played the sport.

Can Money Take Manchester City To Superstardom? “They would be nowhere without that rich Arab and his money” – Everyone except for Manchester City Fans

Kaustav Chaudhuri


here are just two colours in the city of Manchester, England, red and blue.Since the past year, blue shirts have been selling more. The red that dominated the city’s football scene is being threatened. This began after billionaire Sheikh Mansour, Manchester City’s sugar daddy decided to make an investment of 800 million pounds in his Manchester City Project, regarded as the biggest gamble in English Football history. If Mansour’s plot works a place in the hallowed list of the greatest football clubs. will surely come. But if it doesn’t, in accordance with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Rules, if City’s spending doesn’t equate with its earnings, City will be banned from all European football competitions. With their huge injection of cash, can City dominate world football? Just like Madrid in the 2000’s, will it be City’s time next? The belief that money can buy success in football because it buys better players who help win trophies, has been questioned this season with Chelsea’s string of defeats, despite

Abramovich pumping millions. Manchester City has been dubbed as the “new Chelsea”. The “new Chelsea” has had a fantastic season. They won the FA Cup, qualified for the Champions League and finished the last season in third place. This season they lead the Premiership. It has to be said that City’s overblown 38-man squad and their owners’ stratospheric summer of spending more than £100 million on players this season seems to have paid off as the 2010-11 season was their best since 1976.They might even better their record this season. Apart from money, other factors matter to coninue suceeding.The truth is ‘the blues’ may have a lot to celebrate this season, but whether they will ever manage to completely overcome their red rivals in a city where football pumps through its veins, remains dubious, at least whilst Sir Alex Ferguson stays in charge. We need to wait and see if money lifts Manchester City to superstardom and world dominance in football.