Student initiated TEDxNTU brings back ideas, speakers, thinkers
Occupy Wall Street: United Against the One Percent
NTU Street Challenge 2011 raises the competitive bar
OPINIONS | 24
SPORTS | 28
NEWS | 4
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MICA (P) 144/09/2011
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Team Behind N.A.S.H. Talk Shop Associate Prof. Xie Ming and his team share their experience creating Singaporeâ€™s first humanoid robot
NEWS | 3
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Who Will Feed The Seven Billionth Child? Abha Apte
little over a week ago, uncomfortably falling on Halloween with the subtle irony of a bald person in a drugstore’s shampoo rack, a woman somewhere on Earth gave birth to a very, very special child. 31st October saw the birth of the seven billionth person in the world – he or she could have been born anywhere, to anyone: in a plush private hotel in the suburbs of glassy cityscapes, in the rain-sodden tarp shelters of one of the world’s million homeless. But the UN estimates that it was most likely in India, a country that has the highest rate of birth per minute. How much is too much, and are we delicately just straddling Earth’s capacity? Is this a silent wake-up call, before the less silent, more odour-oriented one of catching yourself spending most of the day in full-body contact with strangers around you in public places, nose firmly buried in a taller person’s post-gym armpit? The issues that a rapidly growing population presents are endless: a fight for resources, and shortage of everything that is essential, naturally available and in danger of depletion. Singapore is, like its other developed counterparts, a land of excess and wastage. And in the Horn of Africa, hunger creeps into lives like the plague; one child dies due to starvation every five seconds. The world is billowing outwards at a blinding speed, and agricultural land needed to support the same is lost amongst ruined soil, pollution, city lights and worry. How will the life of the seven billionth person be? Will it be a tiny, frail infant be born in a hovel in Kibera or Dabaab, wide-eyed, hungry, and already showing signs on the bulbous belly that millions of starving children possess? Or will it be another well-fed citizen nestled into designer blankets in a newly painted nursery, who wastes enough food on tantrums, whims and ignorance to feed twenty?
examtalk | Metaphorical Survival Kit For Dummies The exams are a-coming, and you’re a-panicking. Fear not, because this is a comprehensive, step-by-step examination guide with all the tools you’ll need to emerge from the examination month unscarred. And if you feel worse after reading this column than you felt before, kindly flip the page right over and go along on your unappreciative way. The theory of relativity. When you are almost in tears because you have a tiny brain and hence feel confident of multiple failures, grasp the nearest brick, and break your foot with it. Overwhelmed by this relatively larger problem, you will forget your issues of cranial incapacity in no time! When you enter LWN library and cannot find a place to sit, instead of bursting into tears, locate the nearest target. Uncomfortably breathe into the person’s ear, and softy whisper, ‘There is a panda with a moustache in CanA’. Now, since a panda and a moustache are both singularly fabulous, the combined presence of both will obviously make the person grab all their stuff to go find this hairy panda, leaving you with an empty seat! If you haven’t begun preparation yet, and you know the chance of finishing on time is vaguely equal to the likelihood of flowers sprouting out of your bellybutton, do not fear – grow a beard. Armed with this amazing beard, whether you are man, woman, or child, you will realize that you are above exams, because beards are righteousness, and exams do not have beards, and hence exams are bad. Do you feel sad, insecure and intellectually equal to laundry detergent when surrounded by friends who have 5.0 GPAs? Get new friends, preferable laundry detergents itself. Or ransack your old friends’ rooms while they sleep and silently shave off their moustaches. No moustache, no GPA, no glory. Whenever you are in the throes of depression, wondering if your brain is the size of your toenail, and whether your lecture notes are in Egyptian, perform a quick mental examination. If you can count the number of times ‘moustache’ has been written in this article, and if your answer is six, then don’t you worry, you’re a genius!
PHOTO | Wm Jas, Flickr Commons
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Opinions Editor Shreya Sharma
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thetr bune NOVEMBER 2011
l Another Leap in NTU’s Technological Advancement Associate Prof. Xie Ming, Division of Mechatronics and design, School of Mechanical and Aerospace talks about his creation
ssociate Prof. Xie Ming, Division of Mechatronics and Design, School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering has invented Singapore’s tallest smart robot, named NASH (NTU Advanced Smart Humanoid). Excerpts from the interview with the Professor and his team comprising of three research students: Ms. Tan Min, Mr. Fang Hong Yong and Mr. Zhao Liang. Q: Can you please tell us something about the robot? Prof. Xie: NASH is a humanoid and a full sized robot (1.8 metres tall). It is controlled by six computers to plan motion. It works on a hybrid fuel cell which lasts four hours without recharging. It has stereo colour vision and is able to identify its pathway and target objects. For balance control, it has force sensors installed in its ankles and there is also a feedback system. It has a planning and control software system and a speech system which enables it to understand conversation and learn any language. It can detect and locate objects, that is, it can locate their space (x,y,z) coordinates. Q: Ten years into the future, where do you see NASH being used?
Prof. Xie: The utilisation of NASH will be driven by two forces: technological advances and market demand. Where there is market demand, we can push this technology. This humanoid is an ideal platform for scientific investigation and to discover the answer to questions like “What is life?”, “What is mind?”.The intelligence system which arises from the robot can be used to make computers and television more interac-
This humanoid is an ideal platform for scientific investigation and to discover the answer to questions like “What is life?”, “What is mind?” tive. It can be used to make other products smarter. Its indirect and direct benefit depends on the market situation. In medical situations, the robot can assist patients. It can be placed as a replica of nurses, as no single nurse can be on duty for 24 hours, but NASH can be. In the
field of education, it can replace tutors. In Singapore, for example, in primary schools, it can engage the students to do revision on half days so the real teachers don’t need to come on those days. In the services field, it can be employed in shopping malls, as a receptionist as it is an embodiment of media: it can speak, see and recall conversations. Closer to home, in NTU, the robot can be engaged as research staff or even a tutor, then if every class has a robot, it will attract students to attend class! Of course, all of this depends on the end user. Q: Sir, are there any improvements you envision for NASH? Prof. Xie: Yes, the robot needs to be made more reliable , safer and more affordable so that it can achieve certain functions to meet end user needs. Q: This is a breakthrough you have achieved in robotics technology. Can you tell us about the major challenges you faced? Prof. Xie: One of the challenges we faced was motion related. Questions like ‘What logic and principles do humans adopt to work?’ arose. In Japan, a very
advanced robot was developed but was never published. We ventured into questions like how we work and achieve stability. Another challenge involved the de-
It can be used to make other products smarter. It can be placed as a replica for nurses. It can be engaged as research staff or even a tutor! velopment of intelligence. People spend 50 years to develop artificial intelligence. The conventional research in the area of artificial intelligence is not enough. What has been done, is computerized and still counts as human intelligence. We had to build up in this area from level zero and managed to do so. The representation of knowledge, or rather representation of language as knowledge, also posed a problem. Even today, the biggest challenge is language representation. The human mind can learn any language as it is designed to enable us to pick up any language. This principle was
Kanika Asija PHOTOS | Huang Junye
applied in the robot and is a big breakthrough in artificial intelligence. Q: You have placed NTU and Singapore on the global map in terms of robotics research. What are your plans for the future? Prof. Xie: We would like to continue in this direction, to make the robot more reliable, safer and more affordable, so that one day it becomes a consumer product. We would like to sustain the scientific investigation and continue to push the boundary of research. We will try to answer religious questions like ‘What is life?’, basically, to use the robot for the economic benefit of society. Q: Apart from Singapore, how do you plan to extend this technology to the global stage? Prof. Xie: There is a lot of competition globally. Global recognition can be achieved through the propagation of knowledge. In fact, I have been approached by a publisher to author a book, which I plan to take up. Through the publication of knowledge, the robot can eventually become a commercial product and enter the global market.
The Future is Virtual
NTU’s New Media Village sees its ground breaking launch Koh Hui Fang & Akriti Vij
amazed with the details the animator paid attention to. Indeed, the simulation of the characteristics of various fabrics was impeccable right down to texture and translucency - the result of Professor Thalmann’s work, which taps on the synergy between art, fashion and computer graphics.
Mobile Avatar Virtual Engagement NTU (MAVEN)
NTU President assists in ribbon cutting for inaugural launch of Media Village
he inauguration of the New Media Village in the Institute of Media Innovation (IMI) held on 11th October 2011, marked an important milestone in NTU’s quest for interdisciplinary excellence. This centre aims to promote path-breaking research in media, virtual reality, graphics, 3-D simulation, and their application in various diverse fields such as educational games and medicine. Conducted at the Research Techno Plaza, the inauguration ceremony kicked off with a quick welcome address by Professor Nadia Thalmann, Director of IMI, and speeches by certain distinguished guests. NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson expressed his pride over NTU’s giant leap towards the “Media Peak
of Excellence”, while Guest-ofHonour Dr Tan Chin Nam spoke extensively about human-tohuman communication and networking. The speeches were followed by performances such as that of Alice, a virtual singer as well as demonstrations of products in the development stage and on-going projects.
The Immersive Room
Unlike commercial 3D films whose purpose is entertainment, the Immersive Room serves as a test-bed for simulating technologies developed at IMI. The room features a curved project screen spanning 330 degrees and motion cameras allowing visitors to interact with simulations. “The Immersive Room system
will bring us to the next level of 21st century interactive digital technologies,” said Prof Andersson, who is also the Founding Chairman of IMI. Indeed, these projects have shown to have immense potential in benefitting society. Simulations of virtual pink dolphins, for instance, will hopefully be useful in therapy for autistic children, while visitors can be taken back in time to learn about history through virtual visits of places such as that of a traditional Chinese household.
Digital Fashion Show
Another eye-catching innovation was the ‘3D Virtual Try-On’, an interactive application that allows designers and consumers to test out clothes in 3D. Nearby were exhibits that showcased gesture
PHOTOS | Tan Zhong Lin
interaction, real-time face recognition and computer puppetry technologies. The application was showcased in its full glory at the Digital Fashion Show, a demonstration where live models walked while simultaneous virtual simulations happened onscreen. Fashion models strutted down the 40-feet catwalk to parade elaborately designed clothes. Amusingly enough, the audience’s eyes were instead glued to the screens on both sides of the ramp, entranced by the realistic rendition. “I was really impressed by the live demonstrations and the fashion show,” said Ms Wei Zhang, an NTU assistant professor from School of Computer Engineering. Another guest, a star researcher Mr Ishtaq Khan, was equally
Also unveiled at the event is the MAVEN project which is essentially a movable smart android that can replace face-to-face conferences so that one may act as if one was truly in at the location. With its mobile and sensor capabilities, MAVEN utilizes a successful integration of tele-presence, media as well as robotics. MAVEN attracted positive media attention, with the Lianhe Zaobao touting it as a rough equivalent of the futuristic avatar technology as seen in the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Avatar’.
IMI appears set for a bright future. As Professor Anderson stated, “NTU’s intensified thrust into IDM (Interactive Digital Media) research and development comes at an opportune time.” According to an industry survey by Deloitte Consulting, the IDM sector will hit double-digit growth rate and achieve an estimated S$1.7 billion by 2015 through value-adding. Niche IDM services have also gained regional, if not global presence and recognition. Through the New Media Village showcase, NTU hopes that it has and will continue to attract commercial partners who will be able to find applications for such interesting inventions.
news NTU Solar Car Finishes in Top Third of International Race thetr bune
The NTU designed solar car races accross the tracks of Australia
anyang Venture V, the newest solar car developed by NTU, finished impressively at the 14th position among 36 cars in World Solar Challenge 2011 in Australia. 37 teams from universities and enterprises of 19 countries, driving their solar cars, raced down the Australian desert from Darwin all the way to Adelaide over five days from 16 to 20 Oct. The race was aimed to promote research on solar-powered cars. This is Singapore’s sole entry in the top third of the gruelling solar car race. The NTU Solar car is ahead of the cars from other universities, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of California, Berkeley and the University of Cambridge. The team consists of 11 NTU students. 3 of them took turns to pilot the car in the race and the rest drove a support vehicle following behind the solar car. The driver in the solar car transmitted telemetry data wirelessly to the team in the support vehicle to keep communications. They braved the erratic weather, which alternated between heavy rain and sweltering heat of up to 35 degrees during the race. Team leader Raymond Khoo, 26, said the race was not easy and was quite challenging, especially when it rained during the start of the race, causing most cars to run on battery instead of solar power. “We
The team alongside their contest entry
managed to keep going despite the heavy rain, thanks to the weather sealing done on our car. On the other hand, Australia’s hot weather allowed us to fully recharge our batteries after the rain. We successfully managed to complete the race despite all the challenges,” he said. Nanyang Venture V was built in 1 year and cost $120,000, mostly sponsored by NTU. It can reach 120 km/hr at top speed and cruise at 75km/hr. The car is made of carbon fibre mostly and the canopy is made of polycarbonate. Multiple technologies have been applied to improve the functioning of the car. The high-grade solar panel of six
The audience in full attention
square metres on top of the solar car is rated at 22 per cent efficiency to transform solar energy. In order to increase the speed, a rear-view camera is used for reversing instead of mirrors, as mirrors will increase drag. Moreover, special devices within the car help decrease power consumption by 10 per cent. Nanyang Venture V is an improved version of its predecessor, that took part in the previous edition of the World Solar Challenge. The NTU team braved all odds and managed to complete the challenge successfully, leaving behind an impressive mark.
PHOTOS | Courtesy
Ideas Inc. brings out great entrepreneurial ideas
here are many business challenges happening throughout the year in NTU, but what sets The Ideas Inc. Business Challenge apart is the fact that it revolutionizes the common idea of a business plan competition into a business challenge that sustainably develops tangible and real startups within its developmental framework. This competition provides a whole series of support and guidance to help the budding entrepreneurs of Singapore to crystallize their ideas, sharpen their skills and transfer their plans into reality. The Ideas Inc. Business Challenge commenced on the 18th of November 2010. After a series of rounds, the finalists were chosen and the final showdown took place in October 2011. The Grand Finale of this business challenge was witnessed by hundreds on October 15th, 2011 at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Center. The Convention center saw in attendance young entrepreneurs full of innovative ideas and an audience of around 750 people who came to watch the event. The 15 teams that qualified for
the semifinals got up to S$15,000 each for their startups. For commercialization, the 6 Grand Final teams got up to S$50,000 each. The team Avetics was awarded ‘The Most Technologically Driven Startup’ award. Avetics Pte Ltd was started to create urban UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) that are reliable and safe. They explore challenging UAV applications. The ‘Most Innovative Startup’ award was given to the team Sorgen. They have crafted an intelligent walking frame designed to assist the elderly. With the advancement of technology, all companies are keen on improvising on technology and taking it to a higher level. But Team Bamboobee thinks otherwise. They received the ‘Most Socially Responsible’ Startup award. Innovative and revolutionary, Bamboobee created an organic bicycle out of bamboo. Bamboobee hopes to influence more people to use bicycles made out of bamboo to further reduce costs and environmental risks.
Inspiring Speakers Awe Attendees at TEDxNTU With the diverse speaker list, TEDxNTU delivers an afternoon to remember
he second edition of the TEDxNTU was held on 15th October, 2011 at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The event was held concurrently with finals of Ideas Inc. Business Challenge, a grand business competition organized by the Nanyang Technopreneurship Centre, who were also sponsors for TEDxNTU along with The Graduate Students Club. The event was held under a license from TED, a non-profit organization that, as per its theme believes in, “ideas worth spreading”. And hence the event had a befitting theme, “Ideas Lead the Way”. The theme welcomed individuals from all walks of life, who had any ideas to share with the society. The curator of TEDxNTU is Mr. Vivek Manoharan, a PhD student from the school of MAE, and the cocurator is Miss Sindhu S. Adhoni, a 3rd year BIE student. They were assisted by an organizing committee, which included students from both graduate and undergraduate courses. In Miss Adhoni’s words; “Organizing the event was truly an enriching experience, even though I had a
tough time managing it with my academic commitments.” Owing to its broad theme, the event had speakers from very diverse backgrounds, who spoke about a wide variety of topics. Mr. Andrew Giger, director of Singapore Science Centre, was the first speaker. He had a very thought provoking topic, “We do not know how little we know”, in which he spoke about how the human mind perceives things, and how much they could differ from reality. Ms. Vinika Rao, head of Career Services at INSEAD Asia, addressed one of the hottest topics of today: career selection by the youth of today. The most important topic that emerged from her talk was that “Choose a job that you like and you would never have to work a day in your life.” She certainly had the audience’s attention grabbed, as the audience mostly included graduate and undergraduate students who are going through the whole process of choosing suitable careers for themselves. They surely had some of their doubts cleared. The post lunch session had Mr. Wong Meng Weng, a serial entrepreneur, and founder of pobox.com, sharing some
At the venue: Marina Bay Sands
innovative entrepreneurial ideas with the audience. His innovative ideas certainly served as food for thought for those who want to be CEOs in future. Then was Mr. Allan Lim, an NYU graduate of the batch of 1999, and a green entrepreneur, who emphasized the need for sustainable development in the modern day materialistic
world, where the needs heavily exceed the available resources. The final speaker for a day was Mr. Richard Hartung, Managing Director, Transcarta. He was actually a finance professional who accidentally got into writing, and he spoke about how he came to like it so much that it became a second profession for him. Apart
from the speakers there were TEDxNTU labs as well, which had some very interesting exhibits like the 3-dimensional printer that caught the audience’s attention during tea and lunch breaks. Audience feedback was positive, with many among the attendees already enquiring about the schedule of the next event.
The audience in full attention PHOTOS | TEDxNTU
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End of Iron Fist Rule: Liberated Libya
A peak into the Libyan dictatorship as the quest for Qaddafi finally ends
Jayanti Basu Roy 20th October 2011 witnessed a momentous day in the history of Africa. Colonel Muammar el Qaddafi, an erratic dictator who ruled Libya for 42 years, met a violent death attributed to the revolting forces that had driven him from power earlier this year. This leader, who died at the age of 69, has been known for both: his contributions towards the rise of Libya as the country with the highest nominal GDP in Africa, as well as his unending tyranny on his people. However, his efforts in developing his country were more than diluted by his wrongdoings over several decades. Qaddafi has been the subject of much speculation since the Libyan uprisings began in February, 2011. He was instrumental in the improvement of economic standards in Libya. The country’s literacy rate rose by an astounding 80%, life expectancy rose from 57 to 77 years. Further, women and black people enjoyed equal rights, immigrants were blessed with employment opportunities, and free education and healthcare were provided. A landmark during his tenure as the ruler of Libya was his initiation of the development of the “Great Manmade River” which ensured fresh water in almost all parts of the country. Qaddafi, who considered foreign interference as an attempt at colonization, was against receiving any aid from the West. This led
Why is his death rejoiced today by millions of his own countrymen who have been reaping the benefits of his policies aimed at improving Libya? him to take Libya forward without depending on foreign loans. As a result, Libya was debt-free. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela has often expressed his love for his “brother leader” Qaddafi. Why, then, did the country rise in rebellion? Why did the Libyans express such a powerful desire of ousting Qaddafi from power?
till they overthrew their dictator. In August, rebel forces captured the Libyan capital city of Tripoli, and Qaddafi evaded capture. He was captured and killed during his attempt to escape. The Libyan Civil War ended officially
What is unresolved at the moment is the strategy that needs to be resorted to in order to ensure a brighter future for the now free Libya.
Why is his death rejoiced today by millions of his own countrymen who have been reaping the benefits of his policies aimed at improving Libya? One reason is that the Libyan leader was known to concentrate a huge chunk of his country’s wealth on his elites. He spent much of his revenues on purchasing arms and sponsoring political projects abroad. Qaddafi’s family led a lavish lifestyle. They lived in luxurious houses, invested in Hollywood and hosted private parties with American pop stars. The eastern part of the country was greatly neglected under his rule. People there continued to live in great poverty. Human rights were hugely violated under his reign.
PHOTO | Public Domain Photos Blog, Flickr Commons
Freedom of speech and expression were curbed in totality. The Libyan government conducted executions and mutilations of opposition parties in public and even made sure that these barbaric acts were broadcasted on television. Qaddafi presided over most executions of people who were arbitrarily held for trying to found political parties, or even for communicating with foreigners. The tyrant never tolerated any questions to his authority and thus, answered them with violence. The democracy hungry Libyans soon began revolting, and hence began the Libyan Civil War in February, 2011. The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution, freezing Qaddafi’s
assets and disallowing him from travelling. The matter was referred to the International Criminal Court for investigation. U.N. further authorized member states to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya. Succumbing initially, the government promised to cease fire, but failed to keep this promise. Qaddafi’s forces were accused of shameful actions during the war by several NGOs. They attacked paramedics who helped injured protesters. In several cases, hospitals were stripped off their equipments. However, the fierce Libyans, encouraged by the success of the Tunisian uprising, were not ready to give up. They fought Qaddafi’s forces relentlessly, and sure enough, did not rest in peace
and Libya achieved liberation. The death of Qaddafi has definitely ushered in a new beginning for Libya. Contrary to expectations, it has also lead to uneasy celebrations. It was voiced out in the Middle East that a bloody uprising ended with more bloodshed. Several politicians believe that Qaddafi should have been tried before being killed right away: “A tyrant should be behind bars.” The death of Qaddafi now raises several questions about the government’s control in a country that is torn apart by competing regions and factions. However what is unresolved at the moment is the strategy that needs to be resorted to in order to ensure a brighter future for the now free Libya. It is extremely challenging to disarm and unify the protesting anti Qaddafi groups so that they can join hands in turning Libya into a successful democracy. As the Libyans cheer the dictator’s death and Obama congratulates them (“the Dark shadow of tyranny has been lifted”), the Libyans get prepared to take a daunting task upon themselves; the task of building an all-inclusive and tolerant Libya as a final rebuke to the dictatorship. Now, with another example to uphold the success of the Arab Spring in shaping an era of democratic reforms, Libyans, Tunisians and Egyptians are expected to work in unity for the political, social and economic advancement of Africa.
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Insider Trading: Innocuous or Insidious Is Insider Trading an assault on free markets? Sudipto Shome
niversally labeled as nefarious and insidious, immortalized in the words of a Mr. Gecko, insider trading is back in the news and it seems that society has condemned it as an immoral act that is hazardous to society. Raj Rajaratnam, founder of the NY based hedge fund Galleon Group was recently sentenced to 11 years in prison, a sentence longer than what some drug dealers are given and the prosecution was still disappointed. It would seem that Mr. Rajaratnam is some sort of heinous criminal that society needs to be protected from, yet if eye witness accounts are to be believed the scene at the trial was contrary to that portrayal. Mr. Rajaratnam, a well-known philanthropist (he helps fund land mine clearance in Sri Lanka) looked if anything more like the victim during the prosecution. His sentence was greeted with statements from a variety of sources, supporting his upstanding character and generosity. Despite that he gets to spend 11 years in prison with Bernie Maddof (perpetrator of a US$20 billion fraud that affected hundreds of investors). The curious thing about Mr. Rajaratnam’s trial was that there was no group of victims to testify against him, no money he had swindled and no lives destroyed by his actions. What then was he answering for? Why was he being made the icon of insider trading regulation? Is it fair? Individuals with access to sensitive information about a firm are termed as insiders with respect to the firm. The information they possess is called material information.
The argument is that it defeats the purpose of having a fair market for securities The VP of Sales at a manufacturing firm, for example, would probably have access to
PHOTO | Rob Young, Flickr Commons
the revenue numbers a week before they are announced. In this situation the numbers would be termed material information and the VP would be considered as an insider. This is usually why senior management at most firms in the USA are subject to severe restrictions on the trades they can perform on the company stock. However, these restrictions do not apply to those outside the purview of the firm. Furthermore, any person who gains access to this material information automatically becomes an insider in the eyes of the law. When an insider makes trades based on the knowledge gained from the material information, he is performing the crime of ‘insider trading’. In the case in question, Mr. Rajaratnam received his tips from senior executives at numerous Fortune 500 firms and made trades based on them. These accessories to his crime were all his classmates from his days as an MBA student at Kellogg. He made a profit to the tune of US$60 million and was flagged by the SEC as person of interest. Subsequent wiretapping on his
personal phone allowed for the gathering of the incriminating evidence that ultimately led to his incarceration. That still doesn’t answer the question of why insider trading is so reviled. The argument is that it defeats the purpose of having a fair market for securities. Essentially investors with extra information have an unfair advantage and proliferation of insider trading could theoretically lead to the collapse of market confidence. Why exactly that is the likely outcome is a matter of debate however. There are major proponents of the argument that insider-trading regulation should be legalized. This counter argument suggests that in a free market insider trading is not a detriment at all; rather it is an avenue for expedited propagation of information that is important to investors. After all as a victimless act, an insidetrade should theoretically move the market in the direction it was going to go in any case. And since these trades are almost always noticed (hence the wiretapping and prosecution), they will imbibe similar trades amongst the
investing community. This should lead to the market performing the same set of actions it would have, had the information been announced, which is what might have been imminent eventually. The argument is rendered even more compelling due to observed existence of securities markets in the developing world, these markets have rampant insider trading despite regulations and seem to be performing without any great consequences. The only reason governments are prone to regulating the act of insider trading is that there is a perceived disadvantage to the average
The counter argument suggests that insider trading is an avenue for expedited propagation of information important to investors investor. The most prominent example would be that of Martha Stewart
who was sentenced to prison for offloading $3 million in stocks of a firm about to go down, the day before the news was announced. The argument is that she benefited from the lack of knowledge of the average investor which was inherently unfair. Yet if she had done the same in the real estate market, say by selling a piece of land she knew was flood prone, she would be hailed as a shrewd business woman (even more so than she already is). The concept of ‘Caveat Emptor’ (“Let the Buyer Beware” in Latin) doesn’t apply to securities, so the argument that those who bought her stocks the night before a clearly defunct firm went down are touched in the head and should not have been trading in the first place, wouldn’t fly in the court of law. The problem is that if you were to assume that every large share sale is an implication of impending disaster you would be flopping around the stock market like a schizophrenic goldfish. And a market full of investors doing the same doesn’t make for a still pond, to continue the analogy. The fact that leaving investors to their own means might lead to people losing confidence in every stock is what drives regulation of insider trading. The prevention of this victim-less crime (the people who bought Martha Stewart’s stock would likely have bought the same stock from numerous legal trades in any case) thus has a simple goal, to make it easier for those investing to trust the companies official statements, content and that any bad news (or good news for that matter) will come to all of them at the same time. So despite Mr. Rajaratnam’s otherwise clean(-ish) record he will still be remembered as a criminal, perpetrator of the largest hedge fund insider trading case in United States history. As it turns out his greed wasn’t so good for him after all.
Write to Sudipto at SUDI0001@ntu.edu.sg
business 9 FORMULA 1: The Business of Speed thetr bune NOVEMBER 2011
How the money machinery of this industry giant operates
PHOTO | BYSER, Flickr Commons
he sport that brings Singapore to a standstill for a weekend amidst the high speed action of some of the most technologically advanced machines is gaining a significant amount of popularity; drawing fans from across the world to witness the adrenaline pumping race with a spectacular view of city’s skyline. Why does the government choose to block roads and spend enormous amount of money to organise the race? How can teams afford to build such sophisticated machines and still be profitable? How can you possibly justify spending a few million dollars to get a race time advantage of less than 0.001 seconds? With a total spending of all teams exceeding USD 3 billion per year, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes in the glitz and glamorous world of F1 racing; and its certainly not just fuel that keep these cars going! This article aims to give you a glimpse of what really drives the F1 industry. So let’s breakdown all its components and take a deeper look under the hood.
Teams and Drivers
FIA is a non-profit organisation and the governing body for motorsport events such as Formula 1. They represent the
The heart and soul of the F1 industry are the teams and drivers. There are typically 2 types of teams. The first being the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Renault; backed by manufacturers. The other type is composed of private teams such as Force India, Virgin Racing etc. that get money from their wealthy owners. With budgets ranging from USD 50 million to USD 500 million, the major expense for teams is the engine, which costs almost 50% of the budget. The total amount spent differs from team to team, with those backed by manufactures gaining an obvious edge over others. The second largest bill for teams is employee wages. Top teams hire close to 1000 employees ranging from drivers, mechanics, engineers,
promotional staff etc. Half of this actually goes into the pockets of bosses and drivers. In 2008, Lewis Hamilton signed a 5 year contract with McLaren, worth a whopping USD 72 million! In fact, McLaren rates his talent so highly that including sponsorship, he will get close to USD 10,000 per lap of racing! Around 20% of the budget is spent on manufacturing and R&D with the remainder used for miscellaneous things such as travel, safety, insurance, licenses, fuel etc. So how do teams recover this kind of money? Sponsorship is the most obvious source of revenue. We are all constantly made to see brands such as Vodafone, Shell, RedBull printed all across the car and associated merchandise. With an average of 25 sponsors per team,
top performers that generally have a larger fan following can demand greater rates per square inch of the car body for advertising. Ferrari’s deal with title sponsor Marlboro was estimated at a cool USD 120 million per year. Private teams lose out in this respect as title sponsors are the owners of the team itself! For example, Kingfisher, owned by Vijay Mallya is the title sponsor of Force India Racing, which is also owned by him. In addition to this, the Formula One Group pays teams varying amounts depending on qualifying and race performance, from the money they raise from licenses, track fee, sale of broadcasting rights etc. So, it looks like top teams do end up with profits, with mid-field teams just about breaking even.
Circuits and Organisers Putting up an event of this magnitude is a very expensive task and understanding business dynamics for circuits is quite difficult as funding is different for different tracks. However, it is quite common for race organisers
to receive vast amounts from the government or local authorities as the increase in tourism because of the race directly benefits the region. Advertising and sponsorship revenue also contributes significantly to
funding. As for the money generated via ticket sales, there is usually a complicated revenue sharing agreement between the organisers and the commercial right holders of F1.
The guys who are ready to lighten their pockets by a few hundred to thousand dollars on tickets and merchandise to get a glimpse of
magnificent machines thunder across the track at 300kmph putting the just average Porshe 911 or Audi R8 to shame!
fia interest of motoring organisations and motor car users. Simply put, they are the guys who fine teams and drivers among other things.
formula one group This brings us to the core of F1 finance - Formula One Group. Its majority owned by the private equity firm CVC Capital Partners with a minority stake owned by the ‘F1 Supremo’, Bernie Ecclestone. At 81, Bernie is still the man who calls the shots and makes all the decisions related with the management of F1. CVC and Bernie have the rights
to commercially develop the Championship, including the right to stage and promote the events, to sell broadcast footage and to offer sponsorship and hospitality packages. With F1 racing having a total global television audience of 527 million in the 2010, the Formula One Group is nothing short of a goldmine!
Now that you know how money flows in the world of F1, you can better appreciate the issues that threaten the continuity of the sport. The large gap in spending between teams is prompting the introduction of budget caps that would significantly hurt the performance of top tier teams. Rules are being modified from season to season to increase competition between teams to retain fans of the sport. There are increased concerns over whether the teams and circuits should get a greater part of the F1 revenue pie given that they are the ones that make F1 happen. The large utilisation of energy and other resources to sustain such a sport are also being questioned. Whether there will be another season of F1 or no, I don’t know. But for now, sit back and enjoy the ride!
Write to Sarvesh at SARV0001@ntu.edu.sg
thetr bune NOVEMBER 2011
THE WAIT FOR THE What Your iPhone 5 CONTINUES Smart-Phone
Does Not Tell You
iPhone 4S is an extremely smart move by Apple
pple’s ‘Let’s Talk iPhone’ event was more anticipated than any other Apple Conference in recent times. Couple of things that happened before the event: Apple delayed the launch of the new phone and Steve Jobs resigned. This was also the first public appearance of Tim Cook as the CEO of Apple. The web buzzed with rumours about iPhone5: a device with a new, revolutionary design, unparalleled Facebook integration and a perfect symphony of all ‘iDevices’. Apple, without Jobs, still played their cards close to their chest and unveiled a beefed up iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S. While this did not go down too well with a lot of people, releasing the 4S is a really, really smart move by Apple for numerous reasons. Firstly, Apple’s biggest selling point is not just that fact that they make revolutionary devices. It goes more along the lines of sending out products that cumulate and perfect a really unique and addictive experience for the users. That is exactly what Apple perfected
PHOTO | Tenz1225, Flickr Commons
with the iPhone 4S release. The entire event shifted the focus away from hardware and was meant as a gateway into what will be the beginning of the unification of all Apple products. Siri, iCloud, Notifications, iMessage and the hundred other features that came with this release clearly points towards the direction that Apple seems to be taking. They have perfected hardware with the iPhone 4 and are moving towards perfecting the user experience and support services associated with the hardware. Secondly, it does not really make sense for Apple to release an entirely new device less than two years from the previous launch due to the contracts existing iPhone 4 users have with the telecom companies. This phone is not meant for the avid Apple fan who already has iPhone 4. This phone is for people who are willing to switch from Blackberry and Android; for those people wanting to get their first smart phone (which is still a huge percentage of the mobile population). Apple
really does not need to innovate in terms of hardware considering that it has unquestionably the best hardware in the market right now. Lastly, the event missed a lot of announcements that were scheduled mainly due to the demise of Steve Jobs. Facebook mentioned Apple had stopped any form of communication nearing the event. Apple as a family knew they were losing their father. Going through with the event just marks the professionalism that Jobs instilled in the very company he founded. Apple sold four million iPhone 4s in the first week. Pre-orders for the new iPhone 4S were more than a million. Apple is exactly where it wants to be and shall continue pushing barriers and setting goals for the rest of the technology world. And to all those Apple users waiting for an iPhone 5, the last product Steve Jobs personally worked on is the iPhone 5. Nothing more needs to be said on what is to come next year. Write to Akilesh Sethu at AKIL0001@ntu.edu.sg
ith the release of iOS 5, all hell broke loose, with Android and Windows users claiming victory and calling Apple as the Copycats of 2011, while Apple fan boys went berserk about being associated with anything like copying. Voice (Siri) got more attention with the iPhone 4S release than from Android (Google Voice) or Windows Phone 7 (TellMe), and the notification system seems to be a copy of the Android system to many hard core Android fans. The problem with this whole debate is not the fact that both sides are wrong. It is more along the lines of their presuppositions being skewed, when it comes to what the individual companies follow in terms of product strategy. Google and Microsoft have always been those companies which release their products and continuously iterate over the imperfect products until they get it right. Gmail was in beta for around six years; Google+ is still in beta; and the first version of Android was really pathetic. Android had all the features needed in a phone: widgets, multitasking, a notification system and much more. If you track the timeline of Android, it was never a stable operating system till FroYo (Android 2.2) was released. Only with the recent Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) release has Google moved past the idiosyncrasies of the operating system and starting to concentrate on its look and feel. In other words, Google focuses on releasing all features at once and perfecting them over time. Apple, on the other hand does the exact opposite. Apple, mainly because of Steve Jobs, is ridiculously particular about perfecting user experience, rather than providing all kinds of features that get geeks excited. The way in which iOS has progressed over time is the very
testament to this fact. The first release of iOS had only the most basic features. It did not have a non-obtrusive notification system and the OS lacked multitasking. But what Apple went on to do is implement a product strategy that works only for Apple. They had a basic OS which was rock-solid. They built a flawless system which went on to act as a strong foundation for any feature they added from there on. This ensures that the features added by Apple do not come at the expense of user experience. Product development and timeline are decided by any company much earlier than most people assume. Microsoft started working on Windows 8 before Windows 7 was released. Apple started working on the next iPhone 5 way before the release of iPhone 4. The allegations of the respective fan boys as to who is copying whom is trivial when it comes down to what really goes on between these companies. An interesting point to note here is where all this seem to be heading. Irrespective of the direction the two companies (Apple and Google) seem to be taking, both the products are on a collision course. Both products will be opposites in terms of product timeline, but they share the same end result. What happens from there on is something that should be interesting to watch. Google’s recent acquisition of Motorola just goes to show that, as much as Android and iOS are different today, they may not be five years down the line. No one outside these companies, no matter what they seem to portray of themeselves, really knows what is happening. All one can do is patiently wait and stop spamming the Facebook feeds of people who do not really give a damn about what you have to say about your favoured OS.
thetr bune NOVEMBER 2011
entertainment watch 11
NEVER LET ME GO Kazuo Ishiguro The story of Never Let Me Go is unconventional with a science fiction premise that reads more like a drama. The writing is so impeccable that the reader can feel the camaraderie as well as the conflict between the central characters. It narrates the life of three childhood friends who grew up in the same hostel, Hailsham and later discover that their destiny is not the same as that of the people outside the walls of their hostel. This is all that can be said without revealing too much of the central twist. Read the book to find out more!
Malcolm Gladwell Malcolm Gladwell has the ability to put together a narrative like no one else can. After two amazing books, Blink and The Tipping Point, Gladwell returned with Outliers and it is one of his best. In Outliers, he puts together certain factors that turn ordinary people into extraordinary successes. Even though the book is non-fiction, the book smoothly flows through anecdotes and examples from the lives of famous personalities ranging from Bill Gates to the Beatles. He talks about persistence and luck and legacy and in the end, how it is often difficult to predict the nature of success.
HUGH LAURIE AND THE BLUES Many critics think Hugh Laurie sounds like a cross between an infatuated lover and a geek in his new debut album, Let Them Talk.The actor, writer, and more recently, musician released a jazz-bluesy album in May. One doesn’t need to be a fan of the Southern blues, but this album is a tight collection of songs from this genre which are not easily found otherwise. “Let Them Talk” shows off what he can do on the keys. Other listens for kicking back on a hard day are “Baby, Please Make a Change” and “You Don’t Know My Mind”.
KALEIDOSCOPE HEART Sara Bareilles Here enters the difficult second album syndrome, where after a mindblowing first album release, the artist is tasked to make a greater followup act. The result is a decent set of songs that only give a hint of what she’s capable of. Little Voice, her first album remains my favourite of the two with a jazz, bluesy undertone and satirical lyrics. This album is more pop than soul, and veers off the rocky edge with a choir-like vocal arrangement on several songs. The honesty of “Bluebird” must be appreciated, and the bridge in the song “Unchartered” is the catchiest part of the album.
Dexter is the story of a serial killer, leading a seemingly ordinary life, as a blood splatter analyst and a dad but at the same time, satisfying his ‘dark passenger’ by preying on murderers that have somehow evaded the law. The success of the show lies in the likability of the lead who plays his role with astonishing ease. The show manages to swap between comic and tense situations in an instant and keeps innovating with the storyline to create interesting and unpredictable plot arcs. The first few episodes of latest season have not left loyalists anything but happy.
Transamerica stars Felicity Huffman who plays Bree, a male-to-female transsexual. She is about to have her operation to become a woman when she gets a call from jail from her son, who she has never met. This leads to a journey where they run into a lot of trouble that includes losing their car and making money by going skinny-dipping with a hitchhiker. Despite sounding rather risqué, the film really is a harmless watch and the comedy is of a low-key brand that sustains throughout. For some, the highlight probably would be seeing Bree stuffing her “thing” into her pantyhose.
AN IDIOT ABROAD Put a fat bald British man who hates traveling out of his comfort zone and what do you get? Hour-long episodes of pure fun. Travel shows have been done to death but what makes An Idiot Abroad different is the absolute dead-pan and unmoving cynical nature of the host, Karl Pilkington who “hates anything different and anything foreign”, according to the preview. The show has been a hit abroad and is now available in Singapore on TLC. A highlight of the episode on Egypt has him calling the pyramids “a game of Jenga that’s gone out of hands”.
PHOTOS | Used under Creative Commons.
NOBODY TO WATCH OVER ME This film has a certain sense of fate and how it inevitably guards your life. As a part of the Japanese police department’s procedure in a murder case, the murderer’s family is put under protection. Detective Katsuura is tasked with protecting Saori, the sister of the alleged murderer. The media is crazy and the public unforgiving. One line that hits home is said by a man who runs a beach resort where they hideout: “She’ll never be able to escape who she is. But not confronting it would be admitting defeat”. Might tend to overrun at times but stay with it for a sweet ending.
Rebecca Lim & Shreya Sharma
watch Watch SAC Retail Rave
Snippets of a conversation with Blush, the first Pan Asian band, which recently performed in SAC, NTU Jayashree Subramaniam
thetr bune NOVEMBER 2011
Student entrepreneurs keep their dreams alive Afifah Darke
n the 20th and 21st of October, Canteen B assumed a special buzz. The concourse right above the canteen was shelter to the Student Union’s Youth Flea Market. This flea market held a unique twist since the vendors were NTU students themselves! The small 2 –day market displayed a variety of products. These student entrepreneurs each had an interesting story to their business. Sharon, Hui Min and Tania, from NBS, started off through their online blog shop selling trendy corporate outfits. They find it hard to juggle schoolwork at the same time, but are happy to say that passion keeps them going strong. Mike, a EEE student, selling waterproof cases for mobile phones, gave words of inspiration to budding student entrepreneurs out there: “Be brave. Just go for it! You will never know unless you try. You live for only a short time!” Christian, the Business Projects Executive Manager for NTUSU, voiced out that this semester’s Youth Flea Market aimed to attract more people. They had even brought in aspiring student musicians for live performances. This bi-semester occasion encourages entrepreneurship amongst students who have eagerness to retail their products to the NTU population. The next flea market is set to be in January with more vendors and more performances including dance acts.
mark your calendar The Tribune catches up with the upcoming events in and around NTU.
in NTU NTU CAC Piano Ensemble
November Impromptu @ NIE Recital Studio from 12:30 to 1:30 pm This lunchtime concert will include duets, two-piano works as well as solo pieces.
Recycling Drive @ all Halls of Residences Collection of paper and clothes at all halls. Clothes will be donated to charity.
Red Cross Youth NTU Chapter
HCA Hospice Care Christmas Shopping Trip from 12pm HCA Hospice Care (HCA) is a charity that supports patients with life-limiting illnesses.
Red Cross Youth NTU Chapter
HCA Hospice Care Christmas Party from 12pm This charity event aims at bringing Christmas cheer to terminal illnesses.
in SINGAPORE WICKED, The Musical Ranging from trendy jewelry to suave phone covers, these entrepreneurs are sure to hold your attention.
Being such a diverse group, how did you meet? VICTORIA: We were formed as part of the search for the first Pan Asian girl group, which started last summer, called Project Lotus. It was an audition; the top 5 or 6 girls from each country came to Hong Kong for a training camp. After further rounds, each week led to one girl from each country being eliminated. And so the final top five led to Blush!
@ Marina Bay Sands WICKED is the story of the Witches of Oz – two girls meeting in the land of Oz, long before famous Dorothy dropped in
Standard Chartered Marathon 2011
@ Orchard Road, Sentosa, Esplanade Drive
So, why the name Blush? VICTORIA: It was actually given to us. In the finale’, as a part of Project Lotus. ALISHA: It’s a very catchy, cute name...we all liked it.
@ Siloso Beach, Sentosa
What are the future plans for your group? ANGELI: Well, after this, we’re going to Manila to open for Black Eyed Peas. ALISHA: We’ve actually recorded 11 songs, and we’re planning to release our EP by Chinese New Year!
Union Shop Opens
Visit SAC to buy brand new NTU specialized merchandise
Singapore’s biggest annual dance music festival. The artist line-up for 2011 includes Armin Van Buuren, Avicii, Bob Sinclar, Chuckie.
PHOTOS | Adarsh Kanodia
people watch 13
thetr bune NOVEMBER 2011
“Starbucks is too expensive. Hence, it has not benefitted me much by having an outlet on campus.” -Rasmus/Exchange Student
“Bringing Starbucks to NTU was an excellent idea. I am loving it!” -Samiksha Sultania/BIE/ Yr1
“The comfortable sofas and couches at other Starbucks outlets are missing in the NTU one. SAC should have more tables and chairs where we can sit and enjoy our coffee.”
“Since there is just one cash counter, queues at Starbucks are always long. There should be more cash counters so that the waiting time can be reduced.”
| study Spaces
“SAC should increase the number of chairs and tables to accommodate more people.” -Neera/CS/Yr1
“Global Lounge and the New SAC can seat quite a few people but are not conducive for studying due to the noisy atmosphere.” -Shreya Bajaj/CE/Yr2
“Apart from the facilities coming up by 2015, I would also suggest building some fun places like a Bowling Alley or maybe a gaming arcade within NTU.” -Soh Yuan Man/ME/Yr2
PHOTOS | Prithvi Poola
“With the opening of the tutorial rooms during the exams and other study areas like study rooms and SAC, I believe there are enough study spaces in NTU.”
“I think the South Spine is very dull. All the new things are coming up only in the North Spine. Also, NTU should promote interaction between different communities by providing people opportunities to meet, discuss as well as have fun.” -Abhishek Ganesh/MAE/Yr2
“I think the facilities that have come up as well as those that are going to come up are quite exciting. Hope the new facilities come up soon.” -Leong Shun Yu/MAS/Yr1
| vibrant CAMPUS
“Just like Starbucks, we can also have outlets like KFC, BreadTalk and Pizza Hut on campus.”
“People reserving seats in the library and other study areas is a major problem. Hence, even when people are not at the table, I can’t sit there as they leave their belongings.”
PHOTOS | Flickr Commons
Sarah Palin, former U.S.A Vice-Presidential contender, acclaimed moose-hunter, and legendary eyesight-owner due to ability to view entire continent of Russia from her own backyard, becomes sudden President. Conditions of takeover remain mysteriously unconfirmed; anonymous sources cite lynching of Obama by environmentalists due to misunderstood offence over phrase ‘Yes We Can’. This landmark event resolves world economic crisis by occupying public with far larger horror.
African hunger crisis successfully averted as NASA, in furious bid to disprove hoax claims of their moon landing, performs an entire agricultural rework of the moon on live reality television. Originally an attempt to appease public request to rid world of Jersey Shore cast, NASA sends the same on historic trip to moon, for penalty farming duty. Resulting lunar food produce expected to feed millions, and absence of show cast to relieve millions.
Both the awkard elephants in the room: civil rights and today’s giant 7 billion population crisis, see relief. Following landmark repeal of army’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, opposing heterosexual people finally realise that gay persons are not rabidly foaming mammals, who also do not threaten their families, pets, furniture. Hence, senate passes milestone bid to legalize gay marriage, and mandatory HugA-Gay-A-Day. Authorities expect decreased copulation, increased adoption, and momentous usage of rainbow merchandize.
Millions of teenage females, and few males who prefer to remain anonymous, were shocked and reduced to tears after popular music star’s public announcement. Justin Bieber retired from the music industry; citing ‘intellegently articulate’ tracks like ‘Eanie Meanie..’as inspiration to join the intelligentia as a professional philosopher. In other news, religious monuments around the world have seen huge increase in visitors, loudly declaring fervent gratitude.
The world is coming to an end, the economy is slowly falling, and Justin Bieber is one of the most listened-to artists on Youtube. News headlines now produce roughly the same effect as being smacked in the face with a refridgerator, leaving readers in the vague gray region that lies between wanting to take a long, peaceful sulphuric acid shower, and bursting into tears. How would news be in the perfect world?
takes a stab at a set of pseudoheadlines that will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Well, maybe.
PHOTO | Shubham Goyal
MOST DERANGED DICTATORS
With the recent killing of Muammar Qaddafi by Libyan rebels, the world has expressed relief for the state of the country that looks brighter, though is still uncertain. Gaddafi has joined the list of numerous other dictators that have given new meaning to phrases like “human rights violation” and “freedom of speech”. We study the atrocities of Hitler and Stalin in our history books, but there have been many power-hungry mad men that have changed the faces of the countries they ruled over.
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe
Francois Duvalier, Haiti
Robert Mugabe has had the ‘honor’ of being called the worst modern dictator in 2009 by Parade Magazine. His economic mismanagement and repression made Zimbabwe hit an extremely low point in terms of living conditions. This economic fall has been compared to that of Germany after World War II. Under him, the problem of inflation got so bad that the government had to release 50 billion dollar notes. One note would have still only been enough to buy two loaves of bread.
Francois, more ‘affectionately’ known as Papa Doc, effectively juggled the positions of President, dictator and voodoo doctor. His rule resulted in the death of around 30,000 Haitians and the country has still not recovered from the aftermath. He called himself the embodiment of the island’s spirits and kept in his closet the dismembered head of his opponent, Blucher Philogenes. One of the propaganda posters from this time includes the image of Jesus with his hand placed on Papa Doc’s poster with the caption “I have chosen him”.
Omar al-Bashir, Sudan
Omar Hassan al-Bashir was charged with crimes against humanity for murdering, exterminating, torturing and pillaging the property of a large number of civilians in Darfur. The genocide in Darfur has been one of the largest modern mass exterminations, affecting over 5 million people. Al-Bashir has been using the policy of denial to evade the ‘Darfur problem’, refusing to acknowledge the extent of the destruction and the government’s responsibility. When in doubt, blame it on the west.
Idi Amin, Uganda
Mao Zedong, China
Pol Pot, Cambodia
Idi Amin, also known as the guy ‘The Last King of Scotland’ was based on, was one of the most ruthless dictators ever seen. His methods of torture included hanging a person from a height and lighting a fire under them, slowly roasting them to death. Another one was cutting out pieces of the victim’s flesh and feeding it to him. He had six wives, three of whom he divorced, one of whom was later found dead and dismembered. And did he have an end suitable for the crimes he committed? Nope, he spent the last few years of his life, living lavishly in Jeddah and never expressed any remorse for his more-than-barbaric regime.
After coming into power, Zedong declared himself a “genius” and sent the educated class of China to agricultural collectives in order to “re-educate” them through labour. Universities were shut down and calling someone an ‘intellectual’ became an insult. His five-year plan entitled ‘Great Leap Forward’ outlined a plan to reduce farming and agriculture and get peasants to start small-scale productions of iron and steel in their backyards. This lead to the largest famine in history and millions starved. This was followed by a ‘Cultural Revolution’ where all the traditional and western influences were wiped clean to solidify the socialist regime.
Pol Pot or Saloth Sar became the leader of Cambodia in the mid 70s and sort of started the Khmer Rouge. He forced civilians to work in collective farms and labour projects and his repressive rule led to the deaths of an astonishing 21 percent of the Cambodian population, (around 2 million people). He had almost the entire population working in agriculture and yet, the country had severe food shortages. Offences punishable by death included not working hard enough, complaining about living conditions, hoarding food and even wearing jewelry or glasses. He died while under house arrest, a few days after declaring that his conscience was “clear”.
Kim Jong-II, North Korea This man had the constitution of his country amended so that it refers to him as the “Supreme Leader”. Other stories about his eccentricities include him kidnapping and torturing a prominent film director to direct a Godzilla movie to increase the tourism in North Korean. His presence there is so powerful that a large number of civilians believe he can control the weather with his mood and that the moment he was born, a bright star lit up the sky and rainbows appeared. He also claims to have invented the hamburger and built a city just to be looked at. And the list goes on.
PHOTOS | Al-Jazeera, Wikipedia Commons, aheavens - Fotopedia, visionR, Flickr Commons
thetr bune NOVEMBER 2011
YOUTUBE Launches Locally
GRAPHIC | Shourav Yathindranath
Help for Health
Cases of flu and food poisoning on the rise in NTU
PHOTO | YouTube
YouTube Local channel will give Singaporeans a better opportunity to express their creativity
Koh Hui Fang
opular video website YouTube has launched a site specifically tailored for Singaporeans, the second such site in Asia after the Philippines’. This new site aims to fine-tune search results such that it is easier for Singaporeans to find videos relevant to them. “Through localizing YouTube in Singapore, the site will deliver more of the content Singaporeans will want to see,” said Adam Smith, Director of Product Management for YouTube in the Asia-Pacific region. Other than for simple search
In conjunction with the launch, the video site has forged partnership agreements with top Singaporean companies, allowing them better access in distribution of their content. purposes, YouTube is also set to make a splash in the local media scene.
Artists will also be benefiting from this new launch. YouTube has signed a license agreement with the Composers & Authors Society of Singapore Ltd (COMPASS), allowing music artists to earn revenue on YouTube when advertisements are displayed against YouTube partner videos. Singaporean authors will also henceforth receive payments from their associations when rights holders distribute them. Currently, YouTube users in Singapore are finding no complaints to lodge. Considering the wide usage of Youtube for personal, commercial and other purposes, this move has been widely welcomed by intended users of the large target market. Singaporeans, too, contribute singnificantly to the large base of artists who are well-followed by the huge Youtube viewer population. Hence, many feel that it is an excellent initiative. “Most people do not actively look for local artists unless they know them already. Having a Singapore-based YouTube website will definitely draw attention to them,” says Shreya Gopi, a Year 3 English student. With the localized channel, the
YouTube Partner Program will also open to Singaporean video creators. Content creators in Singapore who make original, high-quality videos on a regular basis can also monetize their work on the site through advertising when they become content partners with YouTube. This income-generation will encourage local users to make more creative content. Joanna Teoh, part-time lecturer at NTU and media practitioner is optimistic about the outcome of such a program. “Its debut in Singapore may mean there is finally serious money to be made out of the nascent Web TV market. Not from cute cat pictures, but certainly from great content made by the amateur, the activist and the artist.” What she says concurs with YouTube’s aim. “We hope the world will continue to discover the amazing culture and talent that exists in Singapore today,” notes Director Smith. The localized YouTube site can be accessed at www.youtube. com.sg.
n a recent parliamentary session, Health minister Gan Kim Yong stated that healthcare is something of a personal responsibility. With grades taking precedence in the minds of Singaporean students, students tend to neglect their health due to upcoming exams and end up falling ill frequently. A look around NTU shows that the health of the community in general has gone for a toss. One can hear cases of upset stomachs, influenza, allergies and other viral infections very often. Food poisoning in particular has hit several students. Both the victims and their friends are extremely distressed. “My friend was in pain for almost four days at a stretch. I helped as much as I could, but it was frustrating,” shares Joshua, a Year 1 engineering student. Some students try to figure out the situation. Sociology student Shrutika Mangharam, feels it that is because of the food’s freshness. “Maybe it is because NTU is far from the city, so ingredients don’t reach soon enough and are spoilt before they reach NTU.” Year 3 student Maria Lieka from CBE adds, “It is not like NTU canteens are totally hygienic. But compared to other places, I can say that NTU canteens are still quite safe.” Some others feel it is not such a big issue. Says another freshman who wishes to
remain anonymous, “This is but expected. Changes in the weather always affect health. The phase is temporary and will pass soon.” Whatever may be the reasons, health has become an overall concern that cannot be ignored further. Exams are around the corner and students are taking extra precautions to stay healthy. A hall resident who wishes to remain anonymous gives a few tips. “I always carry my own water bottle everywhere with me and never drink from the water fountains. Sometimes the LTs can get freezing, so carrying a jacket is a must. About food, I have a few set places where I eat, nowhere else.” Meanwhile, the campus medical centre is more than prepared to handle any situation that arises. “There is no epidemic,” says Dr Peter Yeo. “The number of cases we are facing isn’t too large. Also, we expect October to be flu season every year. If the situation worsens, the dispensary is already stocked up with adequate supplies. “ The campus medical centre is located in the South Spine, above canteen B, and has medical porfessionals who are, in view of the ongoing scare, specially equipped to treat cases of food poisoning. Anyone who shows the slightest symptoms of flu or food poisoning are encouraged to go for a check-up.
thetr bune NOVEMBER 2011
Bring Your Own Bag Koh Hui Fang
houts of “BYOB!” pierced the silence of a Monday afternoon at study benches along the North Spine. No one so much as lifted his or her head from studying. That did not deter 13 Earthlink members from shouting to raise awareness for their cause. Such was their perseverance as they marched from Canteen B to Canopy K near LT1A wearing cumbersome sandwich boards advocating environmentalism. These walking advertisements pulled out all stops to attract attention. One particularly creative one had a picture of Justin Bieber, and a caption that read, “Okay, now that you’ve been captured by Justin Biber’s intense yet soulful gaze, let’s talk about disposing waste responsibly!” After the parade, they settled down at Canopy K and set up a booth featuring a quiz area to engage passers-by and a projection screen which displayed informational videos about the harmful effects of plastic bags on the environment. At the booth, Campaign Management Officer Srivathsan Murali gamely dressed up as a mascot to draw eyeballs for the campaign. His costume, made up of plastic bags in various neon shades, did indeed garner attention for the cause. At the quiz area, passers-by were quizzed about their knowledge of the environment. The toughest question involved answering which things were made from reusable materials. No one could guess correctly, from the
photograph shown, what reusable materials a Buddhist temple in Thailand was made of. The surprise they express when the material was revealed to be beer bottles was interesting to behold. It also highlights the fact that materials we encounter in our daily lives are more useful than we think. As a reward, participants were given pin badges with positive environmental messages like “Go Meatless” printed on them, as well as notepads. This BYOB Roadshow kickstarts the BYOB Awareness Week which seeks to inform people at NTU about the new BYOB initiative that will continue until the end of 2011: 10 cents will be charged for plastic bags used at each purchase at retail outlets in NTU. Throughout the week, Earthlink ambassadors were also stationed at the cashiers of these locations to inform customers about the initiative. The ambassadors also try to convince customers who habitually use plastic bags to think twice and consider the harmful effects of plastic bags: plastic bags take centuries to biodegrade, thus taking up space in landfills. Also, in seas and oceans, they are a hazard to the wildlife which mistake plastic bags for food. Plastic bags also go through a photodegradation process in which they are broken down into small toxic substances which pollute the environment. Thus, while plastic bags may seem convenient now, we will actually have to pay a high price for our use of them in the future.
You Don’t Need Superpowers to Save the Planet Recycling Drive 2011: Bigger and Better Keerthana Kumar
ecycling is very important in today’s world, as it promotes resource conservation and decreases the amount of waste in landfills. Up to 60% of items that end up in trash bins can be recycled! Just imagine the difference you can make by disposing waste in the correct bin. Earthlink NTU has decided to its bit by contributing to a clean environment by organizing a recycling drive on campus.
PHOTOS | Earthlink
What exactly is the recycling drive? An initiative taken up by the recycling committee of Earthlink NTU, the drive is held at the end of every semester after exams, and lasts for about 7 to 10 days. The main aim of this event is to encourage recycling habits among hall residents. As exams get over and vacations approach, students discard used and unwanted notes, and clubs dispose waste from previous events by dumping them into the nearest trash bins. While this gives a great sense of relief to students, it does nothing to benefit the environment. In this drive, sheets of paper and books are collected and recycled. Apart from books, old clothes are also gathered and donated to charity. In 2009, only one drive was held, which raised about 400 kgs of paper. In December 2010, however, Earthlink NTU gathered about 700 kgs of recyclable material from the hall residents, contributing to the yearly sum of about 3.5 tonnes! Door-to-door collection was also done, which improved results by a significant amount. How can you contribute? The recycling drive is back again this year, from December 2 to December 9 2011, and this time, it’s bigger and better. A large-wheeled recycling bin will be placed at various locations around campus. All you have to do is discard your used books and paper into this bin, instead of throwing them away into the nearest trashcan. Old clothes that can be donated will be collected as well. As you can see, proper disposal of waste can go a long way in promoting a clean environment. One bin makes all the difference. Earthlink hopes to raise up to 1000 kgs of paper during this drive, and based on last year’s immense contribution and involvement, it is definitely possible. We hope you can be a part of this initiative too. For more information, please visit: http://clubs.ntu.edu.sg/earthlink/drecycling/
AN IGNITE CHANGE INITIATIVE
“Just the Right Sweetness” Varun Gupta
n 24 September 2011, City Square Mall, ‘Singapore’s First Eco Mall’, played host to the NTU Welfare Services Club’s first major event of the year. The event, Diabetes Awareness Day, a campaign to raise awareness about diabetes and diabetes patients, was appropriately titled “Just the Right Sweetness” and was a joint collaboration between the Ignite Change Committee of WSC, and “TOUCH Diabetes Support.” The objective of the event was to help forge team spirit among WSC’s new members, while raising awareness on a widely misunderstood disease, the threat posed by which tends to be grossly underestimated. As soon as the participants arrived at City Square Mall, icebreaking games kicked off to dispel any initial awkwardness. They were grouped into teams for not just the games but all the activities that had been planned for the day. With far more enthusiasm than one would expect at 9 am on a Saturday morning, team members were quick to come up with ‘cheers’ for their teams, named ‘Apple’, ‘Banana’ and ‘Cabbage’ to go with the theme of health foods. Once the games were finished, Mrs Clarissa, the Senior Programme Executive at TOUCH Diabetes Support gave a memorable opening speech to officially inaugurate the event. She stressed on the importance of increasing diabetes awareness
by pointing out that one in every eleven people between the age of 18 and 69 in Singapore is afflicted by diabetes. With the words “Diabetes doesn’t discriminate,” she left a chilling message for everyone to think about. At 10:40 am, ‘The Amazing Race’ was under way. The three teams rushed off in different directions to complete the tasks assigned to them. Some of the activities were just team-building games that required members to work well together, while other tasks needed team members to learn more about diabetes and apply their new-found knowledge immediately. At one ‘station’, team members were made to learn several common yet unfamiliar facts about diabetes, as well as some widespread myths concerning the subject. Ng Yi Zhao, a member of team ‘Banana’, said, “Some of the information was rather shocking, like the fact that two apples contain as much sugar as a can of Coca-Cola.” Another fact that startled the majority was that diabetes causes more deaths than AIDS and breast cancer combined. Their surprise was evidence of the underestimated destructive power of diabetes. Teams were then divided into subgroups, and each was required to volunteer and bring a member of the public back to the ‘station’, to educate them on what they had just learnt. The team was judged by how well the member
PHOTOS | Yap Weihao, Khor Sook Fong, Tay Bai Xun, Chan Shermene
from the public performed in a quiz that followed. At another station, teams were sent out with a tight ten dollar budget to bring back health foods starting with the letters S, P, O, R, T, and then eat the products they had just purchased. Many such activities took up most of the day. Meanwhile, at Fountain Square in City Square Mall, where the event was hosted, Mrs Julie Seow, Senior Manager of Touch Diabetes Support and her colleagues were working with
WSC volunteers to encourage visitors to stop by and learn more about the disease, with two luckydraws as incentives. In much the same way she had educated the students earlier, Mrs Seow herself was helping educate those who came in. At around 4pm, the teams returned to Fountain Square for the last round of activities, before waiting in suspense as the judges calculated their final scores. Team Cabbage was eventually announced as winners, but all three teams received gift hampers
as a token of appreciation for their contribution to the event’s success. In an interview with Mrs Clarissa and Mrs Julie Seow, they said that the objective for the day was primarily to increase awareness among the students present, so that they too can educate their peers and contribute to the efforts that “TOUCH Diabetes” is making every day. Mrs Clarissa also said that more radical efforts are needed and that the existing programmes are still not raising sufficient awareness. She estimates that the “One in eleven” statistic from 2004 is out-dated, and that a more current statistic would make for far graver reading. She was thankful to WSC for their collaboration on this event, and said that TOUCH Diabetes would be happy to work with them again in the future. Ng Yi Zhao summed up the success of the event nicely - “I enjoyed the bonding between team members”, he said. About how Diabetes Awareness Day had fared, he stated, “The main focus was to teach us much more about diabetes and show us how little we really know, and I think they definitely achieved that goal.”
thetr bune NOVEMBER 2011
Let Your Passion
TAKE THE LEAD
NTUSU ICON’s Radhika
Vyas connects with alumni, and gains insight into the professional world.
PHOTOS | ICON
Tee Kok Heng Arun Prakash T
ee Kok Heng, an NTU alumnus who graduated last year from the school of Aerospace Engineering, currently works at the Republic of Singapore Air Force as an Air Force Engineer. His passion to continue in an aviation related environment after studying Aerospace Engineering has taken him to an excellent platform of serving the nation as a Staff Officer in the Aerodynamics Branch. Upon considering about how exactly NTU prepared him for his selected career, Kok Heng responded that ‘I was fortunate enough to have a chance to participate in the Global Immersion Programme (GIP). The GIP provided an eye-opening experience and international exposure during the 6 months study stint in Georgia Institute of Technology. It was a truly remarkable and fulfilling trip which I benefited deeply from’.
“I was fortunate enough to have a chance to participate in the Global Immersion Programme (GIP).The GIP provided an eye-opening experience and international exposure” In addition, the one advice he wants to give NTU students who aspire to trace and follow his career choice is in the words of Steve Jobs; ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’. Kok Heng truly believes in this statement and aspires to be a Flight Test Engineer in the near future.
TU Alumnus, Arun Prakash currently works in the Marketing department as an Assistant Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble. He graduated with a major in Mechanical Engineering (Mechatronics Stream) and also pursued a minor in Entrepreneurship during his tenure in NTU. Arun completed a Marketing Internship with P&G the year before he graduated and was offered a full time position. He knew Marketing was his passion as the job scope largely relies on identifying the needs of the consumers, tailoring products to cater to those needs and finally communicating with the consumers. Apart from academics, Arun was a passionate tennis Inter Varsity Tennis and Cricket player.
He actively participated in several Student union event committees and was a member of the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Club Main Committee. Arun was also elected to be a member of the esteemed NTU Students’ Union Executive Committee. He states,‘Amidst all the fun in university life, always have a goal and do things you like to take steps toward achieving it!’. Therefore the important lesson learnt from our alumni remains that one should follow his/her true passion whilst mapping the career choices. The many options available should encourage each individual to explore all avenues before making the right decision of field and firm to work in.
“Amidst all the fun in university life, always have a goal and do things you like to take steps toward achieving it!”
event recap Barclays Capital Assessment Centre Workshop
Interview Challenge 2011 NTUSU ICON
30 students attended the Barclays Capital Assessment Centre Workshop to learn more about how to ace the recruitment process.
5 NTU students fine-tuned their recruitment skills by competing on their introductions and answering tough interview questions from both the judges and the audience.
They learnt how to make their CVs stand out, acquired insider tips to wow interviewers, built their network and forged meaningful relationships with campus recruiters from Barclays Capital.
Year 4 CBE student Fenny Chandra was declared victor by the judges while Year 4 EEE student Nitish Khanna won the audience choice prize.
thetr bune NOVEMBER 2011
U-Ask, The Students’ Union Answers
Bad bus captain attitude “Over the past two days, I have encountered the NTU- Pioneer MRT shuttle buses not stopping at bus stops within NTU, although the buses were not full. Both buses did not put out the ‘off service’ sign and even if they did, it does not justify the reason for not stopping as students could be taking the bus to another part of NTU. To be fair to the bus drivers, I do agree most of them allow students to board even if the bus is going off service. It is the actions of some drivers that is giving all the drivers a bad name.” Your Students’ Union has collaborated with the bus contractor to implement the Bus Driver Bonus Scheme for the bus drivers to improve their attitude and service quality. Drivers who provide high quality services without complaints will receive a bonus. Therefore, we welcome students to give us their feedback regarding the bus drivers. Additionally, the Students’ Union shuttle bus committee is planning to introduce a Bus Captain Evaluation System. This system will be posted on the NTUSU website. Every student can rate bus captains of shuttle buses. This will enable our students to give feedback about shuttle bus service and monitor bus captains’ behavior.
Irregular shuttle bus schedule & breakdown of GPS bus tracking system “The bus timings are highly irregular. The buses take 10 to 15 minutes to arrive and then 2 or 3 buses arrive together. I understand there is already an improvement from my last year, but this is simply not enough. I would like to suggest setting timings for each bus stop that will be reflected on the boards at the bus stop (Easy implementation since SU manages all the boards at the bus stops and not much is ever changed on the board.) i.e. Bus C will arrive at Can A bus stop at 12pm, 1210pm etc...” Because buses A, B and C operate in a circular route, the buses don’t stop at certain stops and start the operation again at a fix time. Besides the traffic situation, the different number of students boarding and alighting at each stop will also affect the one cycle run time. Therefore, it is hard to provide students with a fixed time schedule. Even though Students’ Union cannot provide students with a fixed time schedule, we have come up with the GPS solution. Students are able to see real-time movements of the shuttle buses and obtain information such as the buses’ Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) at various bus stops. It also has a mobile version. For more information, please go to http://campusbus.ntu.edu.sg/ntubus/. Currently, because we have hired more buses from the contractor, some buses haven’t yet installed the GPS devices yet. The Students’ Union is working with the university administration and bus contractor on the issue.
Unreasonable hogging of study places
GRAPHIC | Anshu Garodia
“I have been looking for a place to study but the study areas are all occupied. Many people leave their bags, notes, books and even laptops at the tables in SAC and Global Lounge to ‘reserve’ the table while they go for lessons. They come very early in the morning to do this. This deprives other students from enjoying the facilities.The newly renovated study rooms at North Spine Level 5, are also redundant. Even though theses rooms are open for 24 hours, serial hogging deprives other students from using the facilities. Also, the tables that are usually hogged are those near power points. Please look into this matter.” With regard to the hogging in SAC and Gobal Lounge, your Students’ Union will be hiring full time staff,who will be will ensure places are not hogged, vandalized among other duties. The U-Study Campaign Committee has already also started the patrolling at Common Reading Room (N2-B1C-14) from Week 8. The Committee has also been: - Putting up posters in reading rooms to remind students not to hog - Setting up a table to place the confiscated items. - Issuing warning slips to those people who leave their stuff behind for a long time. If the above situation persists, action will be taken such as confiscating items left behind for long. Off-service locations for Shuttle buses “When the shuttle buses put up the off service sign, I am not sure at which stop the bus will terminate its service.” When a shuttle bus driver hands over his shift to another bus driver, he will put up the “Off Service” sign. Your Students’ Union has reached the agreement with the bus contractor that from now on all Route A, B and C buses will terminate their services at the Lee Wee Nam Library bus stop.
Talk to us! Have feedback or suggestions in mind? Write to us now! There are 4 existing feedback channels: - SU website: http://su.ntu.edu.sg/feedback - U-shout expression board (located at the both North-spine and South-spine near canteens) - Write in to NTUSU Feedback Committee: email@example.com - Find us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ntusu
THE BETTER ANGELS OF
OUR NATURE Right is right, and wrong is wrong, no matter where you come from: The ethical dilemmas of one lifetime Karina Maharani should be corrected. To tolerate such practices in certain countries while condemning them in others strikes me as a subtle sort of prejudice. It implies that people of certain nationalities and/or ethnicities do not have a good moral compass and are beyond help. People from more developed countries should thus just go with the flow in these countries, as normal ethical values do not apply there. I find this to be a ridiculous notion. Ethical values are by
If unethical acts have become “part of the culture” as many people seem intent on putting it, then the culture has gone wrong and should be corrected. and large the same everywhere. It is true that in less developed countries certain laws are not enforced as strictly as they should be. But this does not change the fact that breaking those laws are unethical and that most citizens consider it to be unethical. Yes, there are probably more cases of bribery and other unethical practices in third world countries but that is a consequence of poor implementation of law and in turn, the abuse of this scenario by the common man. However, this does not make the practice any less unethical. The “better angels” of human nature that Abraham Lincoln describes in his second inaugural address are not limited to the first world, and to think otherwise does a disservice to the human condition.
PHOTO | essG, Flickr Commons
FACE(BOOK) Does the rise of Facebook signal the demise of true friendships? P S Y C H O B A B B L E
he students of Nanyang Business School are forever being reminded of the importance of being ethical. Almost every core course offered by NBS includes a section on the topic with discussions on the various ethical principles becoming almost second nature by the time you reach your third year. In the course of these discussions, one of the most frequent topics to come up is moral and ethical relativity. A chapter in one particular textbook states that what may seem unethical in some countries may be perfectly acceptable in others. The example that the writer cites is what is or is not considered bribery. Giving small sums of money to government officials in order to speed up a bureaucratic process - like, say, getting a driver’s license - would be considered an unethical bribe in the United States. On the other hand, in South American countries, and indeed most other third-world countries, such payments are merely matter of course. The bribe in this case is just one of the many examples of the perceived unethical activities in ‘backward’ nations. As someone who comes from a so-called third-world country I find this sentiment patronizing and offensive. A ‘bribe’ is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust“. I highly doubt that it is defined otherwise in the dictionaries of South America or China or Indonesia or the Indian subcontinent. Even more, I highly doubt that such a thing is considered morally acceptable. If unethical acts have become “part of the culture” as many people seem intent on putting it, then the culture has gone wrong and
I N T R O S P E C T I V E
Shaun Yap “Did you read her latest status update?” “Have you seen the uploaded photos of his recent trip to Switzerland on Facebook?”
nless you have been living in a cave for the last couple of years, you would most probably have heard your friends asking you questions similar in nature to the ones above. The exponential rise of Facebook has propelled the net worth of its current chief executive and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to an estimated US$17.5 billion. Facebook has changed the way people interact, communicate with each other. People spend more time obsessing over status updates and profile pictures than they spend time actually conversing face to face. It’s close to exams and you might be studying but be honest to yourself and admit that a facebook tab is open in the background most of the time. Statistics have shown that a typical user has an average of 130 friends and more than 50% of active users log on to Facebook on any given day. Indeed, Facebook has greatly impacted and influenced our lives to such an enormous degree that many of us would find it difficult to imagine living without it. Several of my friends take pride in having close to two thousand ‘friends’, claiming that they have an extremely wide social circle. Undoubtedly, this might be true to a large extent, but I question the number of ‘true’ friends amongst their two thousand Facebook friends, majority
of whom I believe are no more than mere acquaintances. People who would never leave your side when you are in dire straits and who would be there for you when you need them the most are the key factors, which I deem essential in determining one’s ‘real’ friends. Would Facebook be able to achieve that? The evolution of the internet along with the advent of social media sites has wholly changed the way in which we interact with people. Facebook has allowed us to share our thoughts and almost any other stuff such as photos and videos conveniently with our Facebook friends, which was almost unthinkable just a decade ago. We are able to easily keep in touch with our ‘real’ friends who might also be on Facebook. Moreover, we are also able to provide emotional and psychological support to those who require it; share their joy and pain, even if we might be thousands of miles away from them. Granted, some of us might be skeptical on their level of sincerity since they would be simply ‘virtual’ friends. I must stress that the physical presence of a human being next to you would be irreplaceable. Nonetheless, I believe that ‘virtual’ and ‘real’ friends can complement each other by maintaining friendships through phone calls and regular physical meet ups.
Having an epiphany? Drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
thetr bune NOVEMBER 2011
On Top Of The
WORLD NBS retains its position as a premier institute for MBA Karina Maharani
anyang Business School’s Master of Business Administration program has maintained its 69th position in The Economist’s Magazine global rankings, making it among the top three best MBA programs in Asia, with universities from Hong Kong that were in the top 50. American universities like Dartmouth and University of Chicago occupied most of the top spots. The rankings were derived using hard data such as the salaries of the students that graduate from each program and the qualifications of the faculty of the different schools involved. This ranking shows that NBS’s MBA program continues to be highly regarded on the global stage and that it is in fact one of the premier institutions in Asia. This fact is immensely gratifying to me, because as an NBS undergraduate, it indicates that I have made the right choice in pursuing my education here. With the NTU administration taking more and more steps to enhance the student experience at the university, the ranking numbers can only be expected to grow. This news will be encouraging for Singaporeans, and also other Southeast Asians that are looking to get an MBA, as they won’t have to look far to find a high quality institution. In fact, there is an increasing number of international students that do their undergraduate students abroad but come back for higher education. I do not personally have the intention of pursuing an MBA in the near future, but it nevertheless feels good to know that an internationally recognized program is available right here in my alma mater.
LECTURERS VERSUS PROFESSORS A student’s perspective on undergraduate education
or all the drama about the world rankings, NTU is a fairly competitive university at the global level. One among hundreds or thousands of universities that churn out graduates and publications year after year. I may not be aware of how exactly these ranking schemes work, but I have a feeling it is something like the Academy awards, where talented people do get recognized, but more at a regional level than a truly global scale, primarily because of the (lack of) diversity of the people in the jury. However, the rest of the world (which very much includes me) is obsessed with the Oscars, and so are all non-American/European universities with the ranking tag. I feel that the periodic reviewing of a university’s standing is indeed a constructive way of
PHOTO | Teddy Rised, Flickr Commons
nudging it to constantly evolve with time to acclimatize to an ever changing and demanding global atmosphere. However, in the process of trying to move ahead in the rat race, some fundamental aspects of education seem to be neglected, especially at the undergraduate level. A large number of universities do not invest in hiring purely teaching oriented lecturers probably because they do not contribute to the research advancements in terms of publications and soliciting funds. Professors in most of the competitive universities are hence under undue pressure as they have to multi-task at astronomical levels including carrying out their own research, vie for constant funding, shepherd a bunch of PhD students personally and plan and
execute undergraduate courses to the dot (not to forget other administrative duties at various levels of hierarchy). What I have to point out here is that the undergraduates end up with an unfair deal. I feel that any university that aspires to provide the society with ‘quality’ graduates should focus on the nature of its undergraduate pedagogy. Undergraduates will benefit the best from being taught by a combination of accomplished lecturers and current researchperforming professors instead of being taught exclusively by one category. Professors can provide the students with their knowledge on current discoveries, technical know-how and all the nittygritty research that lies beneath the beautifully printed theory.
Lecturers acting as teachers and mentors, exclusive concern is the welfare of the undergraduates – if students can handle tutorials, student seminars, examination and/or evaluation and student grooming. Such faculty should also be approachable at all times unlike professors who are more often than not, highly makeappointment-style oriented (given their incredibly busy schedule, especially in the natural sciences departments). To an average undergraduate, this idea would seem so simply fundamental that one should wonder how so many universities at the global level seem to have neglected this aspect. Thankfully, talks of hiring lecturers are going on here at NTU and elsewhere and I can’t wait for such a time to befall NTU and other universities.
A NOCTURNAL DILEMMA The need for a twenty-four hour library Anisha Raina
t’s that time of the semester again when everyone rushes to get that sole workstation on level 5 in Lee Wee Naam Library or when the reading room extends its opening hours. With barely a month left for the examinations to begin, the cloud of stress has already set in on NTU and its students. The preparations have started, and finding a suitable place to study
in the North Spine has become quite a task. For people like me, who prefer studying at night, rather than rushing for seats at 8 in the morning, the benches are the only viable option (since the 24 hour reading room is occupied more than 90 percent of the time). A lot of students have been facing the same issue. Keeping Lee Wee Naam open for 24 hours not only
benefits the people who stay up late, but also resolves the issue of space at that hour, giving students more options. Along with that, they can also have access to the books at any time, something that isn’t possible right now. “It’s high time we have a 24 hour library. NUS and SMU have one- and once open, I’m sure people would
respond positively to it,” says Surabhi Batra, a Year 2 Computer Science student. While there is a reading room which is open 24 hours, the issue at hand that needs to be solved is of more space and resources. Lee Wee Naam solves both these issues. If Starbucks can be proposed to run for 24 hours, why not the library?
Occupy Wall Street
How Corporatism conquered the world and how we can take it back
PHOTO | David Shankbone, Flickr Commons
“We are the 99%” has been the slogan of the protestors at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, New York for over a month now. The slogan also represents what the protestors want to change. They are mainly protesting social and economic inequality, corporate greed, corporate power and influence over government (particularly from the financial services sector) and lobbyists. The 1 percent refers to the haves: that is, the rich, the banks, the mortgage industry, the insurance industry. The 99 percent refers to the have-nots: that is, everyone else. In other words, “1 percent of the people have 99 percent of the money.” However, as of now, the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations have been just that. Demonstrations were held by the people who have set up camp at Zuccotti Park because they weren’t allowed to protest on Wall Street. Most of the people entrenched in Zuccotti Park are from somewhere else; from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Missouri, Texas and so on. The majority of demonstrators are in their teens or 20s, but plenty are older. Many are students. Many are jobless. A few are well-worn anarchists. Others have put their normal lives on pause to try out protesting and see how it feels.
The large number of people from different backgrounds means that there is no single demand or focus of the movement. While the protesters seem united in feeling that the system is stacked against them, with the rules written to benefit the rich and the connected, they are also just as often angry about issues closer to home, like education and the local environment. The group seems to be clamoring for no particular cause, with no fixed timeline. Some said they were fighting the legal doctrine of corporate personhood; others, not fully understanding what that meant, believed it meant corporations paid no taxes whatsoever. Others came to voice concerns about the death penalty, the drug war, the environment. Not all of them can articulate exactly why they are here or what they want. The group’s lack of cohesion and leadership, still evolving goals and demands, is unsettling the progress of this protest and taking attention away from its real aim – to change the system so as to face the many challenges that this generation faces. Yet, there is a conviction rippling through the protestors that however the global economy works, it will not work for them. And that is the sole reason that has been propelling forward this movement.
showing the Noble Peace Prize laureate the respect she deserves. Miss Suu Kyi is not only out of house arrest since 2010 but has also been allowed to be an active part of Burmese affairs. She now routinely features on the itinerary of senior foreign visitors. If the government is sincere about moving towards a true democracy and welfare of the people, Myanmar can soon rid itself of all its political and economic sanctions and slowly begin to break out of its poverty
and desperation. The junta, however, will need to prove its intent by a free and fair election in the near future. Many believe the junta could be using Aung San Suu Kyi purely to gain political leverage with the West. All we can then do is hope and pray for the Burmese people and let time tell its tale.
Golden Ray of Hope Aung San Suu Kyi: 15 years of solitude not in complete vain
ecent developments in the Land of Golden Pagodas, Myanamar, have come as a pleasant surprise to most of the world. The government (read the military junta) has lately been showing unprecedented signs of moving towards a true democracy by treating public opinion with respect and cutting de facto leader of opposition Aung San Suu Kyi some slack. The military junta has faced immense criticism from the west for oppression and human rights
violation. The notorious regime is responsible for the innumerable economic and political sanctions imposed on the poverty-stricken Myanmar. Moreover, the callous junta has shown nothing but utter disregard for the Burmese citizens, be it by quashing the results of the 1990 elections or by brutally crushing the protests that followed. In the light of preceding persecution and absolutely unreasonable autocracy, it was astounding to see the
Burmese government put a halt on the controversial Chinese hydroelectric project. The fact that the junta put the people over a strategic ally is certainly unlike them, judging by their past deeds. What is also extremely heartening is the softening of the government’s stance towards Aung San Suu Kyi, an extrememly prominent opposition politician. She has been placed in 15 years of house arrest, despite strong oppostion from the UN. The government has finally started
DISCLAIMER | The opinions expressed in this section do not represent the views of The Tribune. They are independent views of the writer.
thetr bune NOVEMBER 2011
How has Singapore’s sporting month been? Tam Mei Tan recaps the city’s October sports, and scopes out interesting events happing in and around the local athletic world.
new balance real run The New Balance REAL Run kicked off on the 14th October, Sunday, at 6.30am. There were 2 events, the 21km race and the 10km race. The participants were flagged off from the Changi Exhibition Centre. Participants deemed this race particularly challenging due to the offroad route that the race followed. The track covered different terrains, ranging from sand, to asphalt concrete, and road. These required participants to change their running style to suit conditions.In the end, Kenyen Onesmus Muindi clinched the Men’s open 21km title, with a time of 1hour 8minutes 9 seconds, winning the $1500 cash prize. Compatriot Solomon Rotich was second while Singaporean Devathas Satianthan was third. The Women’s Open 21km title was awarded Singaporen Anne Date, with a timing of 1 hour, 21 minutes and 51 seconds.
singapore safra quadthlon The SAFRA Quadthlon is also known as Singapore’s one and only quadthlon. This sporting event was held on Sunday 10 October at East Coast Park. The endurance race, which started in 2008, encompasses four distinct and demanding sports disciplines whereby participants swim, skate, cycle and run a total distance of 38.5 kilometres. The annual iconic events aims to offer participants the chance to test the limits of their physical and mental abilities through this race, in which attributes like tenacity, determination, speed, and intesne physical pre-training and stamina are crucial.
international canoe federation
GRAPHIC | Shourav Yathindranath
The 2011 International Canoe Federation (ICF) Canoe Marathon World Championships- 19th Edition was held in Singapore from the 19th-23rd October this year at The Float@Marina Bay. This was the first time that the Canoe Marathon World Championships took place in Asia. Mr Chan Chun Sing, the acting Minister of Community Development of Youth and Sports graced the Closing Ceremony on the 23rd October. Close to 600 athletes and officials from all over the world were in Singapore to take part in the different races, which ranged from 17km to 30 km distances. Singapore fielded 28 athletes for the championships, which was the largest contingent present. The competition route brought competitors through the Kallang Basin, Marina Channel and Marina Bay. Hank McGregor from South Africa took the Men’s K1 title, dominating the 35km race from start to finish. Petr Jambor of Czech Republic finished second, while Spaniard Ivan Alondo secured a bronze, and Rubenstein placed fourth. Renata Csay, the nine-time canoe marathon medalist, came in first in the Women’s K1 event. Hungary and Spain dominated the K2 Women’s senior, K2 Men’s Senior, and C2 Senior titles.
The Tribune extends its sincere apology to Mr. Su Janda for inadvertent misrepresentation in the October 2011 issue
thetr bune NOVEMBER 2011
comprises of two to three members of the NTU Sports Advisory Council with one presiding as chairman of the selection board. Other committee members include the Head of Sports & Recreation Centre, and one sports officer who acts as the secretary of the meeting. A five minute photo montage showing athletes in action followed the GOH’s opening speech. The awards presentation began with the distribution of the Colours Award for recently graduated students with the Merit awards being given out first. The Merit awards are given to athletes who have represented NTU in at least 2 local competitions during the course of their studies. The Half Colour awards followed the Merit awards, recipients of this award must have represented NTU in at least 2 local competitions yearly (such as IVP, SUniG, national league or invitational) with top 3 placing consistently. Athletes awarded the Full Colour award had experiences in playing for Singapore at the
The chief objective of the annual ceremony is to reward those who have displayed high standards of performance during annual games.
ATHLETES Neel Mitra
n the 14th October 2011, NTU Sports & Recreation Centre held the annual Sports Award Ceremony at the Nanyang Executive Centre to award the current student athletes, the recently graduated student athletes and coaches for their sporting
NTU recognises sporting achievements of athletes and coaches
achievements and contributions to the university. The chief objective of the annual ceremony is to reward those who have displayed high standards of performance during annual games such as Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) Games, Singapore
University Games (SUniG) and National/Regional competitions. But, as the guest of honour (GOH) Associate Professor Kwok Kian Woon, Associate Provost of Student Life said “it should also motivate athletes to pursue excellence in sports,
promote exemplary conduct and good sportsmanship.” The whole notion of sportsmanship reveals character according to him. In his opening statement he highlighted the importance of acknowledging the victory of one’s opponent. The selection committee
international/regional games, represented combined universities team at the world university games/ championships and/or Asean university games and/or they have represented NTU in at least two local competitions yearly with being in the top 3 consistently. In total there were 108 Merit awardees, 53 Half Colour awardees and 17 Full Colour awardees. Adriel Chua was the receiver of the University Blue and the Sports Man of the year award for his outstanding performance in archery over the years. In year 2007 and 2008, he participated in the Asian Grand Prix Events, and in both occasions, he was ranked in the top 10 in the competitions. In July 2008, he represented the Singapore Combined Universities in the World University Archery Championship in Taiwan, and ranked 7th overall. In the SEA Games 2009 at Korat, Thailand, he won an individual Silver
medal and was the best individual performer amongst NTU students at the Games. In September 2010, he represented the Singapore Combined Universities again at the World University Archery Championship in China, and achieved a remarkable 6th position with competitors from 21 countries.
The NTU sportswoman of the year award - the pinnacle of glory for any female athlete in NTU - was given to Dipna Lim Prasad.
Sumiko Tan was awarded the University Red award. In her first program in NTU, she had won a top 3 placing for all the biathlon races that she took part in - representing NTU. Again during her next program (2 years after she graduated from the first program) she maintained her top 3 positions at individual biathlon events and brought even more glory for NTU. During both her stints as an NTU student, she was part of the team that contributed to NTU coming in the top 2 positions in the inter-varsity categories of the NUS Biathlon. Through her contribution and achievements, she received full colours in biathlon during both her spells as an NTU student.
NTU realizes the essential roles coaches play to mould athletes into winners, and hence has a special award - the SPIRIT award - to reward excelling coaches.
The NTU sportswoman of the year award-the pinnacle of glory for any female athlete in NTUwas given to Dipna Lim Prasad. The Tribune had a chance to catch up with her as she explained her journey in the world of sports from the young age of thirteen. Being a part of the Singapore Sports School she felt her efforts bore fruit at the age of 18 - when she broke the 100m hurdles Junior and Open National record. To her
fellow athletes she dropped a few words of advice - be task oriented, and to give oneself more priority rather than comparing oneself with others. From here on with high hopes and crossed fingers she looks forward to break the 14 seconds barrier in the 100m hurdles within the next 6 months. In sports, guidance and discipline are two factors which cannot be ignored in order to become a successful athlete or to form a cohesive team. NTU
realizes the essential roles coaches play to mould amateur athletes into professionals. This year Mr. Ilyas Hakim Jamaludin, the coach of the Silat team and Mr. Selvakumar Sreenivasan, coach of the NTU Women’s Football Team were given the SPIRIT award - the award is presented to coaches in recognition of their contribution to the university as co-partners in inculcating team values to athletes. Mr. Sreenivasan has been the coach for the NTU Women’s
Football team for the past three years. With his ground work done Mr. Sreenivasan believes the team is well prepared for upcoming tournaments and hopes to see more trophies accumulate in the cabinet. Felicia Chee and Jayne Tan, members of the NTU women’s basketball team were proud receivers of the NTU Sports Grant. Both of them praise their senior players and coaches for their success in basketball. Ms Victoria Chan Jing Hua was awarded the
Special Achievement Award for winning Singapore’s first medal in the World University Games. Her outstanding performance in the sailing laser radial women category at the 26th edition of the tournament in 2011, in Shenzhen, China won her a Silver medal in the competition. She is currently a Year 2 student from the Sport Science and Management (SSM) programme. PHOTO | Wang Zhenjia
thetr bune NOVEMBER 2011
GET IT KICKING
TO THE CURB
PHOTOS | Shubham Goyal
Street Challenge 2011 sees competitive spirit, talent, and cheer at SRC grounds Dinh Cao Huan Do
he Street Challenge 2011 lived up to all the hype surrounding it, as we witnessed a day of exciting action. Organized by the NTU Sports Club, it comprised a total of six sports tournaments held over a day at the Sports and Recreation Centre. The Tribune was on hand to catch all the action at this sporting extravaganza.
“Semifinals or finals? No, we are here to win, but also to have fun!” | Kent Ove, The Chili Norwegians
The Chili Norwegians, lit up this year’s Street Soccer Competition with their exciting style of play. Kent Ove, an exchange student from Norway, and a member of the team said, “Semifinals or final? No, we are here to win, but also to have fun” when asked about his tournament goals. Their team, comprising five Norwegians and a Chilean, won all three matches in the round robin, scoring fourteen goals, and conceding only one. They sauntered through to the
semi finals, beating Nonchancela with ease. Other teams which qualified for the semifinals were Love=football, the defending champions LKC, and The Boobs. The first semifinal saw Love=football conjure up two goals in the last minute of the match as they came from 2-0 down, and went through to the finals winning the penalty shootout 1-0 against the more fancied Chili Norwegians. The other semifinal saw a Vietnam derby of sorts. LKC beat The Boobs with a goal from Bach, their captain. LKC were considered favorites for the title, being the defending champions, and scoring 18 goals before the final match, including a 3 – 1 win against their opponents in the final, Love=football. However, a solitary goal was all it took to successfully defend their title. In the 3rd place playoff match, the Chili Norwegians beat The Boobs. The champions, LKC have had a rich history in the Street Challenge finishing runners-up two years ago before their back-to-back titles. However, this is the last year we will be seeing them in the competition. Vo Xuan Bach, a 4th year Computer Engineering student, and LKC’s Captain, said, “This year was not as hard as last year, but this is our final
tournament, so the title would be something special for us to remember”. The street basketball competition saw some keenly contested matches in the initial rounds. However, there was no doubt that the two standout teams made it to the final. The Last Minute and ZHPK were
“This year was not as hard as last year, but this is our final tournament, so the title would be something special for us to remember” | Vo Xuan Bach, LKC Captain
a cut above the chasing pack, reaching the final, and boasting perfect win records en route. The action packed final saw both teams pushing each other till the end; nothing separated them, with fifteen seconds to go, and the score tied at 11-11. However, The Last Minute scored a last minute basket to win the match 12-11. Nanyang Business School final year
student Tan Rui Teck, who scored the decisive basket in the final, said, “Actually I think it’s about teamwork, it just happens that I am the last scorer of the match. I think the team played well today”, when asked for his views on the final. In other competitions, Celeste the Porkchop, were victors on the day in the Captain’s Ball tournament, beating the super progs in the final. Ronform won the street handball championship, defeating Ah Bao in the final. The street floorball tournament saw some riveting sporting action, culminating in the team calling themselves ‘We are sexy and you know it’ taking the title. They beat Anyhow in the final, with Jac 5 emerging the second runners up. ‘Harlow’ were the victors in the Ultimate Frisbee tournament, beating Team Recre in the final. However, Tham Yue Hao’s efforts for Holly Molly saw her being awarded the Most Valuable Player of the Ultimate Frisbee tournament, despite Holly Molly finishing outside the top 3. Street Challenge 2011 did not disappoint. The quality of sporting action witnessed more than justified the buildup to it. Now that it is over, all that remains is to look forward to the tournament next year!
winnerwall Street Basketball
THE LAST MINUTE
CELESTE THE PORKCHOP Ultimate Frisbee
WE’RE SEXY AND YOU KNOW IT