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MICA (P) 217/01/2012
Hall Olympiad Ends On A High NEWS | 3
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thetr bune MARCH 2012
make me a
Project Nim is a movie you should be watching. Right now. Abha Apte, Chief Editor
Honestly, I’ve never been coerced into any signifant amount of guilt, as far as animal rights are concerned. Friends who are violently PETA-promotive showing me awful behing-the-scenes KFC videos, barely concealed wincing when I bite into a Carl’s Jr, undisguised loathing when I don’t burst into tears with every puppy that passes by - I’d still eat that lobster. I’m not an awful person - I realise that this is very, very wrong, and wish I could switch to being a vegetarian. But my guilt over my mass slaying of animals for their meat, unfortunately does not overcome my love for the consumption of said meat. Watching director James March’s Project Nim might not make you wave around PETA banners and burn McDonald’s down, and it won’t make you not want to be a non-vegetarian anymore. But it might make you not want to be human for a short while, as you slowly recover from the shame of your species. For a movie made almost entirely out of real, recovered footage, the storytelling is in bizarrely accurate precision - it’s hard to believe it’s actually meticulously arranged raw footage. Project Nim is basically about a chimp, picked up from a disgusting facility where he began his journey of awful abuse, for a research project. Kept by humans who didn’t know and care enough to raise him, the horrific treatment he went through resulted in an eventually wasted life, and death due to a heart attack. Marsh focusses on one Professor Herbert Terrace, the project leader. Heading a research team in Columbia, Terrace wanted to conduct a pioneering experiment to show that a chimp could learn language. In this case, American Sign Languange. Enter Nim Chimpsky, the chimp used for the experiment. The movie takes you through the entire horrific process Nim’s put through - this is not a cuddly, sentimental animal movie. You will not come to know and love the chimp. But you will want to wince with every frame. Marsh never makes the cliched error of sentimentalizing Nim - his behaviours and animalistic violence, compounded by the abuse and horrific cruelty he is put through, are shown undiluted. Professor Herbert Terrace, basically, is bad, bad man. Distracted by his sexual shenanigans, he’s like a pre-pubescent kid who buys a hamster and accidently squashes it to death on realizing the wonders of stalking, binoculars, and the neighbouring cheerleader. The extent of human depravity this movie depicts is uncomfortable: you’ll remember this movie for a long time, and you’ll realise why this editorial is more like a preachy film review: I really, really want more people to feel as depressed as I did after watching it.
The 8th of March is International Women’s Day. In the past, it was a Socialist political event, in the hotbed of feminist movements and the fight for women’s rights. It evolved to a celebration of women’s accomplishments in political, social and economic fields. And now, in the present, the day has become a litmus test to discern between rare, but still existant sexists, people who could care less, bra-burning feminists, and dormant feminists who get lazy the remaining 365 days of the year and explode with estrogen on this one day. How can you, as a uterus-bearer or otherwise, help contribute to this day?
1 2 3 4 5
Learn to make your own sandwich. Purchase bread. Purchase condiments. Place together, consume. Else, risk vicious arsenic poisoning by angry feminists. Avoid the obvious cliches: no, women don’t go to bathrooms in mini-battalions. Sleepovers are not homoerotic pillow fights. Female humans can, in fact, drive.
Feminists are not always angry women who hate men, are vegans, own cats, wear extremely bad clothing, and scream loudly into your face about their rights. Steer clear of excruciatingly silly declarations like ‘appreciating the women in your life’. You ‘appreciate’ wine, Youtube kittens , ponies. Not women. That PMS joke wasn’t funny when that first caveman made it, and it’s not funny now. But it might be a new kind of funny if you, too, find your orifices gush blood!
PHOTO | John Brawley, Flickr Commons
theed tor al Publications Executive Charisse D’Souza
Opinions Editor Shreya Sharma
Chief Editor Abha Apte
Sports Editor Vignesh Gopalakrishnan
News Editors Jayanti Basu Roy Prerna Mishra Teo Xing Zhi
Photo Editor Shubham Goyal Art Editor Anshu Garodia
Layout Editors Aneesha Subramaniam Arnav Kumar Quality Controller Ananya Roy
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thetr bune MARCH 2012
The Halls’ Next Agenda
PHOTOS | Lee Kok Xian, SCBE For more pics, go to NTUsg at https://www.facebook.com/NTUsg
Vo Xuan Phuoc
icking off on the 12th of December 2011 with Snooker, the Hall Olympiad closed on the 24th of February 2012 after a long 75 days of intense competition. All 16 Halls of Residences participated in the annual friendly matches. The Games concluded with Hall 3 taking their third Inter-Hall Games (IHG) Championship trophy. Asked about their secret to success, Hall 3’s JCRC President Winfred Oh revealed that they had seniors and top players helping out the juniors the whole semester. The Hall Olympiad Closing Ceremony (HOCC) was also an excellent success. Hall 1’s dance troupe UNIFIC swept the first place in the dance competition for the fifth consecutive year. President Joseph shared that the most important factor responsible for their success was passion. “During the audition for HOCC, we chose people with
passion because they can work hard, and could enjoy even daily practices without any complaints,” he said. A higher rank is something every Hall wishes to have, but it is not everything. “Each Hall is unique and has its own culture. The most important thing is how we bring out the Hall Culture, and not how competitive we strive to be among each other,” said Winfred Oh. Fun as it may be, but talk around campus is speculating about the effects of the time and effort placed in these events. Residents are worried that these energy-draining activities will be the last Hall events of this academic year. They need not be worried. A multitude of activites are still on their way. Hall 6, for one, has been preparing a drama show named “Staged”. Halls 3 and 16 in the meantime are conducting their Talent Time, as well as prepping their Cultural Night “Nachtmusic” (meaning Music Night in German). Other Hall JCRCs want
to conduct more bonding activities. Hall 11 is holding their XITE with night cycling and paint ball, while Hall 13 is taking everyone to the beach for their event “Tan Attack”. Hall 7 will have “IH Thank You” for its representatives in IHG, while Hall 13 preps its Appreciation Night for graduating seniors. Exam
High rank is the achievement every hall wishes to have, but it is not everything Welfare, an event meant to encourage residents to do well for their examinations, is also expected from the JCRC welfare subcommittees, as well. Thanks to such flames of passion in serving their Halls, the NTU campus keeps its lively and active atmosphere with its residents, who learn to have fun while balancing academic work and extracurricular activities.
FUN FACTS The IHG Champions are Hall 3, grabbing the top spot in Sports and coming second in Recreational Games Hall 3 has finished first for 3 consecutive years Hall 6 took the second place and was ranked third in Sports as well as in Recreational Games Hall 9 and their Bomberman mascot achieved a first place finish in cheerleading Hall 9 also finished first in the Recreational Games The cheerleading competition’s theme for this year was Retrotoons. Each Hall had a cartoon theme and a cartoon character as their mascots Hall 13 came second in Cheerleading.Their mascot was Speed Racer The theme of the dance competition this year was Danza Libre – Liberation through Dance The Hall 1 Dance team, UNIFIC, has won the Hall Olympiad Closing Ceremony for 5 consecutive years, including this year Hall 16’s dancers, the Strawberry Stretch, won the red ribbon
Treading the Silk Route: Countries Cultures Cuisines One Place: NTU
PHOTO | Rounak Mehta
he International Culture and Travel Fair 2012 presented a spectacular glimpse of the various cultures and traditions from 13 countries including China, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. “Without having to suffer the inconvenience of a Jet Lag, visitors will be able to experience diverse cultures and view places of attraction through traditional performances and colorful travel exhibitions.”- ICTF2012 Wayang; the incredible story of Ramayan; Gamelaen, a serenading 5 note instrument
and the topeng,an amulet to ward of sprits. At the other end of the foyer, visitors were reveling in the attractions of Vietnam. Wearing the popular hat known as “non la”, the visitors were posing with the traditionally attired pretty young lady dressed in the ao dai, for photographs. Visitors marveled at the descriptions of the Ha Long Bay, one of Vietnam’s most spectacular landscapes, including beautiful limestone formations, rock arches. With an opening ceremony of the Dragon dance., the Silk Route attracted a large student audience and received positive feedback for the event turnout.
NTU Students’ Union Signs Charter With HPB Another highlight of ICTF 2011 was the NTU Students’ Union charter signing with Youth Advolution for Health, a flagship programme under the purview of the Health Promotion Board to promote health advocacy among youths. Through this alliance, the NTUSU is committed to providing leadership and support toward youth health promotion. This promotion will be in sync with the World Health Organization guidelines for a healthy campus.
We Need To Communicate Ramanan Kumarasamy, NTUSU President There have been many interesting developments going on in the university during the past few months that are causes for celebration. While this is good news, there is still room for improvement where a single issue is concerned. I am referring to the communication between students or student bodies and the university. I believe that there should be more consultations and engagements with the student bodies for decisions that directly affect students. One good example would be the recent tuition fee hike. While the hike may have its justification, we feel that there is room for improvement in how the information is dispersed to us. A two way process of consultation would also allow student bodies to provide feedback on the issues that are close to our hearts. As representatives of the students, we look forward to discuss how the extra fees will be spent and more importantly, the various steps on how the university is planning to offset the financial pressure on the students from lower income families. We should also keep in mind that some of these students also have to deal with the recent increases in living expenses in NTU (i.e hall fees, car park expenses, electrical charges etc). While the fee hike might not affect the current batch of students, the Union considers the incoming students as future stakeholders in the NTU community and hopes to be more involved in
such issues. We understand that there may be concerns that the news might be leaked to the media. However, now that it has gone public, we look forward to discussing this issue with the administration. A more active communication between the university management and the Students’ Union would also be beneficial in transforming the students from a mere “consumer of education” into an active partaker of their education experience in NTU. In the process of eradicating this old paradigm, it is important that the university instills a sense of ownership amongst students; especially the elected student leaders who had worked hard in the hope of making a difference in the university, for the benefits of their peers and the NTU community. The old “top-down” information relay, where students merely accepts what the management has decided without questioning their reasoning , would certainly discourage the students from being more active in this aspect. The university wants to make this campus a more active and vibrant one and a two way communication process is necessary to pave a new direction to push NTU forward. The Students’ Union has already started dialogues with the university administration regarding this issue and hopefully something fruitful will come out of these discussions.
NTU Pioneers Its Premier Scholarship Program The focus is to train the leaders of tomorrow Kou Zhigang
anyang Technological University is going to kick off a premier scholarship program this August to groom future leaders and innovators with multi-disciplinary knowledge. Besides studying the courses of their own field, the scholars will be exposed
to specially designed modules covering a variety of disciplines such as terrorism, globalization, business and entrepreneurship, culture and the arts, modern science and technology, and society. The curriculum aims to equip students with the broad view to solve complex global
issues. Each scholar will have a top NTU professor as mentor and a semester of oversea learning experience. NTU hopes this program can mould wellrounded future leaders as well as attract more top local secondary students.“These high-performing scholars will naturally be in great
demand when they graduate. To sharpen their competitive edge, we will involve them in leadership training and give them a head start in their careers by connecting them with industry and business leaders. Beyond knowledge sharing, the scholars could also get talent spotted through these
interactions with the industry leaders. Together, these unique opportunities will make NTU’s University Scholars Programme one of the most prestigious and most compelling undergraduate education options in Singapore,” said Professor Kam Chan Hin.
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Inflation Turns Up The hEAT
PHOTO | Shubham Goyal
Koh Hui Fang
esidents of hostels with air-conditioning in NTU now have to pay more for airconditioning usage. According the emails sent by the Hall Offices to residents, the price adjustment was made after calculations showed that the previous rate of 1 cent for every 3 minutes of air-conditioning was unable to sustain the adjustment in tariff. Singapore Power reviews the electricity tariffs quarterly in response to changes in fuel prices and guidelines from Energy Market Authority. Due to an increase in fuel prices, from 1 January 2012, all Singapore households had to pay a higher tariff at 27.59cents/kWh. Now, 1 cent can buy 2 minutes of air-conditioning. Assuming an average student spends eight hours every weekday in his or her room and chooses to keep it airconditioned throughout, the monthly cost incurred will rise from $32 to $48. Some students show outrage at the price hike. “They only just added a fee for the washing machine use,” says a Year 1 female HSS student who does not wish to be named. “Now it’s the aircon. What if they start tagging prices onto other everyday uses we need?” Others are a little more levelheaded.
“I guess the price hike has both its pros and cons,” shares Lim Tze Teng, former resident of Hall 14. “People shall pay more, use less, and save the environment.” Her fellow hall mate, a male engineering student who would remain anonymous, adds that some would not even notice the increase. Mr Jimmy Lee, Director of NTU’s Housing Services Office, made a statement in the Straits Times in an article published on February 15 earlier this year. He noted that although electricity charges have risen, the rate of airconditioning had stayed the same since 2010, when the airconditioners were installed as part of NTU’s preparations for the Youth Olympic Village. The prepaid card system was introduced last year to give students control of how much they wished to spend on airconditioning. The article also pointed out that NUS students have to pay for all power used. Jennifer Tran, a freshmen living in Hall 13, finds the system agreeable. “To me it is acceptable because I don’t use it much.” She only uses the airconditioning for a couple of hours to cool the room before going to bed. Her opinions about the rising, however, are much more matter-of-fact. “It is quite unacceptable to raise the price almost 50%. I think
it should be okay if they just raised it 30%.” At NTU, this system is implemented at Hall 3 and Hall 16, the more premium Halls of Residence which already had air-conditioning even before refurbishment was done to some halls to accommodate athletes for Singapore Youth Olympics in 2010. Residents of these halls also have to pay higher rental fees for facilities like lifts. Despite being a member of the Hall 12’s Junior Common Room Committee (JCRC), Seline Kok, a first-year English student, came to known about the price hike through the email, at the same time as the other residents. She noted that the price hike has come at an inopportune time, when the weather is so hot. Beyond the air-con price hike, she also thinks that the cost of living in hall is getting very high, citing the prices of canteen food as an example. To cope with the higher cost of living in hall, she has decided to use the air-con less. The air-conditioning’s price hike certainly brings about mixed feelings. Most appear to understand what it is about and accommodate to it. But with living costs rising not just within NTU, it may not be long before students face yet another price hike.
The Job Hunt Is On Akriti Vij
he NTU Career Fair 2012, organized by the Career and Attachment Office, witnessed a record number of 221 Singaporean as well as multinational employers getting together under a single roof – an improvement over the last year’s varsity record of 175.The event was conducted over two days, February 7 and February 10. February 7 was dedicated to the Public Service Pavilion, with Government and Ministry departments working the crowd. February 10 brought in private companies including giants such as MediaCorp, Google, Hewlett Packard, as well as HSBC bank. Students were given the opportunity to interact with senior officials as well as HR managers, and gain insight into the various job profiles available in their discipline. They could also submit their resumes with their potential employers too, and wait for their consideration. Students were full of praise regarding the event. “I went there knowing what I wanted to find out and had specific companies in mind so it was a rather fruitful trip,” shared Year 3 economics student Jonathan Tan. “I submitted my resume to seven companies and left my particulars at two others. Till date I have received one call. I think the fair also helps prepare you for interviews as some of the questions asked by the staff can just catch you off guard.”
Arjun Saksena, a Year 4 SCE student, said that it was encouraging to witness the diverse spectrum of opportunities available to top graduates from NTU. “Moreover, in the middle of taxing FYP work, it provided easy access and a streamlined route to apply to companies.” There is, of course, always room for improvement. “There should be more freebies and food!” suggests a student who wishes to remain anonymous. On a more serious note, however, some participants did have suggestions to make the fair a greater success. “I wish there could be a greater variety of options for disciplines like Psychology and English,” noted Isabela Clarissa, a Year 3 psychology student. HSS students such as her found fewer opportunities amongst the career choices that mainly revolved around engineering, science, and business. Students, especially those in their first two years of study, shared opinions that the fair, though informative, would have been more relevant to them had there been a greater emphasis laid on internship, attachment and summer job opportunities as well. Still, looking at the greater picture, the event turned out to be a wonderful success. Perhaps with the Career and Attachment Office working actively to improve the fair, the ones to come will achieve even greater heights.
As per any school event, there must be those who hadn’t the time to attend and wished they could. Well, the NTU Career Fair 2012 may be physically gone, but it’s going to be present for a little while longer – virtually. The NTU iFair ran again, the second year since its unveiling back in 2011. The iFair is an online database that will allow students to interact with potential employers. For those a little shyer about direct real-time interaction, there is the possibility of the submission of resumes online, including short introductory video clips which can be viewed by the employers. Students, in the meantime, can also look through profiles of their employers, look out for job openings posted, apply for jobs as well as schedule job interviews with potential companies. This initiative truly helps students in finding out much more without having to browse through thick stacks of brochures. The iFair ended on 3 March, but will run offline until 31 May 2012.
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Learning Is Fun & Exciting
March 10, 2012 9.30am to 6.30pm Venues:
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What Is Life Worth?
PHOTO | Markhillary, Flickr Commons
The inhuman working conditions of FoxConn employees alarms Apple users Anisha Raina
pple has been, and will be for quite some time, an integral part of an average Singaporean’s lifestyle. Every third person has at least one Apple product, be it an iPad, a Macbook, an iPod or an iPhone. The apps, utilities and convenience are far too great to switch over to anything else. However, if we were to find out that for every iPad that we use, a labourer in China toils hard for 20 hours a day for the lowest of wages, in the most atrocious conditions, would we stop using the products for the sake of humanity? The sad truth is that we probably wouldn’t. Given that the ABC news documentary showing the atrocities haven’t really affected their sales but just prompted the company to “urge for better conditions,” the helpless workers have no choice but to continue their jobs as cost cutting measures. Most of the gadgets that we use, specifically Apple, only work because there are people in the world who are willing to spend more than 12 hours a day to try to live a decent life. The lines resemble a conveyor belt in every way- the flow, speed and synchronization with which the workers are trained to work is eerily robotic. Every worker is in charge of a single component and they’re trained to attach them in 7 seconds. When your hand moves in a certain way for 12 hours every day for 5 years, there’s really nothing else you can do. They are specialized robots, who can do no more than the task that is allotted to them. To add to the working conditions, the living
conditions involve 8 people cramped into a room, with suicide nets hanging below them, to prevent the costs the company might have to bear for the loss of that employees’ life.
“Apple sold 93 million iPhones last year and 40 million iPads and the only reason they didn’t sell more is because they can’t make them fast enough.That demand has raised uncomfortable questions about how those products are made and how the people that make them are treated.” — Bill Weir, Nightline. Owing to public pressure, Fox Conn agreed for raises and reduction in overtime hours. While this is a step in the positive direction, it leads us to think, just how many companies are out there in Asia, which exploit the cheap labour to cater to all our consumerism? Our overdepennce on gadgets, emphasis on excellent quality yet low pricing will ensure that companies like this will be around for quite some time. This calls for greater awareness from Apple users.
An Overdue Intervention
Syria: Must the west take action? Vaishnav Sunil
ith the death and ousting of Col Muammar Gaddafi and the establishment of a highly functional National Transitional Council, the West set a precedent for successful humanitarian intervention in Libya. The question that is before the west and the United Nations today is: will military intervention in Syria cause more harm than good? There is an incontrovertible humanitarian crisis in Syria where Mr Bashar al Assad’s has already claimed seven thousand odd lives. Mr Assad shows no signs of abandoning his position. He has made desultory offers of reform, including the proposal of a referendum on a new constitution. But as the killing continues, these have little credibility. Sanctions have been spottily applied; they are squeezing Mr Assad and his allies but not enough to make him go. In light of the grave situation, there are two reasons to explain the lack of action by the West. Firstly a United Nations sanctioned intervention is not possible since Russia and China have vetoed the resolution in the U.N Security Council owing to their ulterior geo-political motives. More importantly, the west (read U.S, U.K, France) is hesitant as well simply because it is impossible to intervene
without causing considerable collateral damage. What distinguishes Syria from Libya is the nature of existing opposition within the country. Unlike Libya, where much of the coastal core of the population lived under rebel control, the opposition to Syria’s dictatorial president, Bashar al-Assad, has not achieved sustained control of any major population area. This implies that air power alone would probably not be sufficient to blunt the Assad loyalists
Will military intervention in Syria cause more harm than good? entrenched in cities, and a heavy ground campaign would probably face stiff and bloody resistance. If a large region broke away from the regime en masse, international humanitarian intervention would become more viable. So although a mass homicide campaign is under way in Syria, there is no way to stop it without loss of unacceptable lives. There is a however a flipside to this. In the 63 years since the United Nations adopted a genocide convention in the wake of the Holocaust, world leaders have failed to prevent the
deaths of millions, from Biafra and Cambodia to Rwanda and Darfur — not because they have lacked the political will to intervene, but also because of the standards set. The bar for intervention is set very high: there must be unmistakable evidence of clear intent to destroy national, ethnic, racial or religious group. Even if this criterion is satisfied, there must be surety of accomplishing the task with minimal possibility of collateral damage. The international community has stuck itself in a Catch-22: by the time it is clear that genocide is occurring, it is often too late to stop it. There are numerous arguments against the principle of military intervention itself. Assuming however that military intervention is legitimate to end repression, the west certainly needs to do more. Although a trade-off of some sort must be made, it is essential that the west redefines certain standards and exercises more soft power with the people on the ground to gather and organise a strong opposition in these countries. As of Syria, we can only hope the opposition on the ground strengthens fast enough or a magical diplomatic consensus is reached.
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What Does Quora Have To Say? Akilesh Sethu
nformation and knowledge have been irreplaceable entities that one generation has passed on to the next since the beginning of time. While Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers and Ask seem to have taken the sharing of knowledge one step further, they do not have that significant “people factor”. In 2008, StackOverflow introduced a way for coders and software engineers to look up an extensive database of questions and answers, added to which was an incentive for quality answers and maintenance of good user profiles. Technology companies value a person’s indulgence in StackOverflow during the job application process since their presence in StackOverflow indicates their level of knowledge and expertise. While StackOverflow answers the problem for coders, Quora aims to take it one step further. Quora (founded by Adam D’angelo and Charlie Cheever, ex-Facebook employees) is a website meant for people to engage in conversations over topics and questions that greatly interest them. The Quora team intends the product to be a knowledge bank for people to refer to, add and learn from, through the ump-
teen number of conversations possible over the millions of topics in this world. Even though Yahoo Answers is a product focused on a similar area, Quora is a better executed product with the “people” element kept in mind. Firstly, in terms of im-
Quora is a better executed product with the “people” element kept in mind plementation, Quora is a really simple product, which makes it easier for adopters to grasp it quickly. The User Interface is not imposing and it is contentrich. Quora promotes actual names and credentials, which validates the answer given for a particular question. For example, there are questions from people about movies like the Titanic. While the correctness of the answer from a random person is questionable, it really adds a lot to its authenticity when it comes from the Writer or the Producer of the movie. You can follow topics, Boards, Questions, People,
vote for answers and so on. There have actually been cases where people have gotten jobs through Quora due to their active presence in the website. Quora, in a way, presents your knowledge and topics of interest to the rest of the world. The main issue Quora seems to be facing right now is adoption: it still seems extremely technologically-focused. There is also another issue of valid and correct answers being voted down and removed by other users. While there seem to be moderators who do active monitoring, it might be more difficult when usage increases. Rumour has it that the team is currently developing an algorithm to determine the level of relevance of the answer to the question in co-relation with his expertise in the field. It is a tricky road ahead for Quora. They need to work on pushing the product to the non-techies of the world and, at the same time, ensure they do not turn into another Yahoo Answers. One way or another, a tool like Quora is a necessary component in this world. Even if Quora does not succeed, some other similar company definitely will in the future.
PHOTO | GoodNCrazy, Flickr Commons
ttempting to copy a huge company like Facebook to make profit is one thing. But a start-up run by 10 people getting similar treatment is something totally different. Pinterest, the hottest start-up of 2011, has seen such an exponential growth over the last few months that investors are comparing it to Facebook back in its early days. In November, the number of page views had grown by over 2000% compared to the previous June. The company raised about $27 million in funding around October, with reputed VC firms like Andreessen Horowitz as one of its investors. The last round pushed the valuation of the company to $200 million: all this while the company is still in an invite-only version of the website! While many are signing up for the service now, the website has been around for about two years or so. With the female population being the majority of its users, Pinterest serves as the latest self-expression engine along with Facebook and Twitter. The amount of information that can be found on the web is staggering. A filter which determines what we might like based on the items we like, helps in in-
creasing the value of time spent on the Internet, and the useful knowledge obtained in the process. This curation is taken care of by what one could term as “Selective Follow”. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, where we get to know all the tweets and status message of others, Pinterest lets you to follow only those interests of the user that matches yours. This ensures you are still in touch with the user, while at the same time not having to listen to his/her views on how awesome your favourite pair of shoes really is. From the individual user’s perspective, Pinterest represents your interests around the web, similar to Facebook representing your relationships. While all this is good from the users’ point of view, investors are putting their money on what it could mean in the future. Facebook nailed the social graph of the people; startups like Pinterest are now gunning to work out the Interest Graph of the users. An Interest Graph presents a way to target ads with higher click rate, which directly co-relates to bigger revenues.Pinterest has rattled the tech community for the last 6-8 months or so. Hopefully, they’ll be there to stay, in the years to come.
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PHOTO | Richard, Flickr Commons
Lampoon Sudipto Shome
t would seem ludicrous to draw a parallel between my laundry detergent and my watch, but that’s what this article is about. As any curious shopper would know most of the detergents and indeed most of all household products have the name of one of the large FMCG companies printed on their labels. Companies like Procter and Gamble go to such great lengths to fill up our grocery store shelves with multicolored plastic so that they can capture the market at every level. Everyone has a different price point at which they can and indeed will pur-
chase their goods. By making different brands suitable for different price ranges, P&G can capture a market at every strata. A similar but less evident trend has emerged in the luxury goods sector. If you’ve ever wondered whether Bulgari or Louis Vuitton make the better ‘uber expensive yet ultimately useless piece of luxury’, it may surprise you to know that the money you pay will go to the same company either way. LVMH or Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (a la Champagne and Cognac) owns LV, Bulgari, Fendi and another
20 odd brands. Richemont, a South African conglomerate owns Cartier, Mont Blanc, Dunhill and another coterie of haute couture brands. These conglomerates are attempting to do what P&G and the like have perfected over the years. When a firm is acquired by one these menageries of fashion, it gets classified as appealing to a particular audience and thereafter it makes products only aimed at those audiences. Firms are acquired to plug gaps in the product suite of the entire conglomerate and usually end up pigeonholed into a particular niche in the market.
A prominent example of this would be the bid by LVMH in 2011 to acquire Hermes from its founding family. Hermes has, like most luxury brands, a long and illustrious history, and the owners loath to tarnish that by joining LVMH’s ranks. After a protracted legal battle as well as a lot of posturing by either side, the family as successful in keeping their firm. Luxury companies don’t start out as luxury goods makers, they usually start as a journeyman manufacturing firm that builds up a reputation and a commensurate price tag over the years. They need
to innovate to survive and often these innovations are what define watershed moments in fashion and design. The limitations placed by the multi-brand system reduces the identity of these brands to just their face value and sacrifices the character of each firm. They must conform to a group strategy and may never be able to make the decisions that require agility and innovation. Hermes may have managed to stave off the onslaught of consolidation but the tie maker is a rare exception.
Dynamic Pricing Strategies Sarvesh Nevatia
pare a minute to analyse the following scenario. A loaf of bread in a supermarket is priced at $2. A rich man is able to, and is ready to pay $10 for the loaf; on the other hand, a beggar can just about afford the same loaf at $2. If the supermarket charges the rich man and the beggar, $10 and $2 respectively, it earns $12 in revenue as opposed to $4, under normal circumstances. But would this be ethical? Would it fair for the rich man? This practice of charging different prices for identical goods is what economists refer to as, ‘price discrimination’. Although it is not applicable in all situations as it is not always commercially feasible, it can in fact lead to significant profits, as demonstrated above. The price of most products and services today are rather
stable, for example a loaf of bread, a bottle of Pepsi or even a pair of standard Levis jeans. Slight price variations, if at all, occur over a longer time frame essentially due to factors such as competitor pressure, underlying raw material/labour costs or product/service discounts. Even though prices of major commodities such as oil, steel, cotton etc. change every second in global commodity markets, consumers are largely insulated from this price volatility as these fluctuations are absorbed by members of the supply chain and tend to average out over time. However, advances in information technology and the growing popularity of e-commerce have pushed the age-old practice of price discrimination to another level that has led to the concept of dynamic pricing. Dynamic pricing seeks actively to segment
customers based on their spending power on a real-time basis, in an attempt to capture, ‘consumer surplus’, - the difference between what a customer is willing to pay for a good and the amount they actually have to pay. For example, deregulation of the airline industry in USA in the late 1900’s led to intense pricing wars between competitors causing a significant plunge of prices, forcing firms to come up with innovative pricing mechanisms. Realising that business travellers are less price conscious and can afford to spend far more on travel as compared to leisure travellers who are more flexible with flight dates but extremely price sensitive, airline companies were able to successfully segment customers and distinguish their demand for air travel. Soon, using early supercomputers, they built complicated statistical models that al-
lowed them to calculate the optimal amount of discounted fares for each flight for each person. More recently, we have also seen how the price of tickets on budget airlines such as Air Asia change almost every hour in a seemingly random manner! Clearly this cannot be because of the fluctuations in the cost of travel. Although we don’t know how the system works, apparently, the software takes into account several parameters such as consumer demand, proximity to flight date, time of booking, competition on route, travel day (weekend or weekday) and duration of stay, to price the ticket so as to maximise profits. The e-commerce mega store Amazon has also conducted tests to charge different customers different prices for the same DVD movies. By analysing customer information ranging from where
they live, to what they buy, to how much they have spent on past purchases; the dynamic pricing strategy was able to charge the customer a price corresponding to his or her willingness to pay. But Amazon is not the only company trying to implement the dynamic pricing methodology, it was reported that Coca Cola too is conducting tests on vending machines to vary the price of soft drinks based on the temperature of the surroundings! Of course, ethical issues arise when implementing dynamic pricing strategies. It can never feel good when you think you got a great deal on your flight to Bali, only to realise that the guy sitting next to you paid $100 less! However, judging by the rate at which online shopping is gaining popularity, dynamic pricing seems inevitable.
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PHOTO | jjcb, Flickr Commons
A Sneak Peak into the
Singapore Wallet This 2012’s new budget outlines its objectives | Kanika Asija
he Budget statement for the Financial Year 2012 was unveiled by the Deputy Prime minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on 17 February, 2012. This budget paves the path to build an economically stable Singapore and an inclusive society, which are the primary concerns of the Government. The two key strategies to achieve the aforementioned goals are sustaining economic growth, and building a fair and inclusive society, as was explained in the budget speech. Restructuring and upgrading of the economy, so that growth is due to increasing productivity instead of a constantly increasing workforce,
is a pre-requisite for sustenance of economic growth. The aim is to attain an economic growth of 2-3% per year, and the budget takes the necessary steps to actualize the goals of restructuring and upgrading. The influx of foreign workers and the economic benefits in terms of job generation has been symbiotic in the past few years. Singaporean workers have benefitted from the presence of foreign workers here and there has been a boost in incomes as well. However, this dependence on foreign workers is not sustainable, as it will test the limits of Singaporean space and infrastructure and hence, needs to be curbed. As a result, measures need to be
taken to reduce the inflow of foreign workers and help the businesses adapt to the permanent reality of a tight labour market. Special help will be extended to SMEs (Small and Medium enterprises) as the shortage of labour will be the most troublesome to them. Key measures would include Special Employment Credit (SEC), which would encourage the hiring of older Singaporean workers, Enhance Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) Scheme and enhancement of other existing schemes. To build a fair and inclusive society, more opportunities need to be established for lower and middle income families.
city floor for Live Global Talent
Jayanti Basu Roy
Death Cab for Cutie Live at Fort Gate On 7th March,2012 These Seattle Indie-Rockers will “Possess Your Heart” with their popular music. Their much awaited performance in Singapore this month will witness fans enjoying alltime hits like “I Will Follow You Into The Dark”, “Soul Meets Body”, “405” and so on. Most popularly described as “emotion through its lack of emotion” by Rolling Stones, their melodies are hopelessly romantic, yet wary of love; smart and practical, yet confused.
come families such as the Enhancement and extension of Student Care Fee Assistance Scheme and enhancing preschool subsidies. Another new feature is the introduction of GST Vouchers, which will provide continuing assurance of a fair system of taxes and benefits. The feedback to Budget 2012 is majorly positive and the general consensus is that the measures to help the needy are very welcome. The Mayor of South West district Dr Khor said that the budget will help manage key challenges like slower economic growth, income inequality and ageing population.
PHOTOS | Flickr Commons
Jessie J Live at Singapore Indoor Stadium on 20th March, 2012
Wicked at Marina Bay Sands till 22nd April, 2012 This must see musical tells the story prior to the happenings of the famous novel “Wizard of Oz”. This mesmerizing tale of two girls who meet in the Land of Oz long before Dorothy was dropped there by fate is a huge Broadway favorite. Based on the Gregory Maguire novel “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West”, this musical helps you revisit the Emerald world of magic, love, betrayal and ambition.
Budget 2012 also aims for an escalation in support for three groups of Singaporeans: older Singaporeans, Singaporeans with disabilities and lower income Singaporeans. For older Singaporeans, an extensive set of measures will be introduced to support them to work, augment their savings and instil a greater sense of security in their retirement. For Singaporeans with disabilities, steps will be taken to ensure the optimization of their potential at every stage of life such as the introduction of a new Development Support Programme to provide learning support and therapy interventions. There will be greater support for the upliftment of lower in-
Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark at Esplanade Theatre on 10th March 2012 This band, known for its unusual synthpop music and a fan base of over millions was started by two teenagers, Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys in Liverpool, UK. Their shows held all over America have been unbelievably popular, reflecting the band’s undisputed position in musical history. For an incredibly powerful experience in music that blends the beauty of 80’s with contemporary chords, don’t miss this concert!
Winner of numerous prestigious awards like BRIT Award, Critic’s Choice and BBC Sound of 2011 Poll, iconic British singer Jessie J will be performing for Singaporeans this month. Jessie has stunned critics and fans with her high energy live performance and stunning powerhouse vocal. With hits such as “Do It Like A Dude”, “Price Tag”, “Who You Are”, “Big White Room”, Jessie J is known for her magnetic personality and songwriting skills.
Cranberries Live at Singapore Indoor Stadium on 2nd April, 2012 The Cranberries are back! For those disappointed people who missed their performance last year, here’s another chance to watch this Irish folk rock band’s captivating performance. Apart from the band’s classic hits like “Zombie”, “Linger” and “Ode to My Family”, The Cranberries will also be performing songs from their new album “Roses”.
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Animal Encounters Of
The Third Kind A glimpse at the variety of animal life in NTU Rounak Mehta
Photo | Earthlink Publicity
Beneath and beside the academic buildings and halls there is a thriving ecosystem with quite an extensive amount of biodiversity.
lot of wildlife is visible on the NTU campus. The only thing required to spot these animals is a keen eye. Some of the species that can be spotted are the white-bellied rat snake, reticulated python and myna. The greenery and open spaces on NTU campus provide an ideal habitat for animals and its proximity to the forest also leads to a number of animals wandering into the residences. For avid animal lovers, Singapore has an excellent zoo, a night safari as well as a bird park that are all worth a visit. And if you don’t have time for that, just keep your eyes open on campus and you might spot something spectacular.
Oriental Garden Lizard
Interesting Facts: Established in Singapore during the 1980s from northern Malaysia or Thailand, however, its existence certainly brought down the population of our beautiful native greencrested lizard. A shocking example of how an introduced species has effectively upset the ecosystem, inevitably threatening the Green-Crested Lizard into extinction in Singapore. Size: 37cm Diet: Insects and small vertebrates (Geckos) Activity: Diurnal Habitat: Urban and agricultural areas. Usually one on each tree.
Red Eared Terrapin (Trachemys scripta eleganss) Interesting Facts: The Red-eared terrapin is commonly sold in pet shops in Singapore. Juveniles look cute. However, once matured, tired-owners release them into the wild. These days you are likely to encounter these introduced terrapins instead of the native species. Size: 28cm Diet: Omnivorous Spiny Hill Terrapin Activity: Diurnal and amphibious (more aquatic) Habitat: Canals, ponds, reservoirs in forest
Photo | Earthlink Publicity
How Environmentally Friendly Is Singapore? Shreya Gopi
n May 2010, The Straits Times published an article about a study conducted by the National University of Singapore, in collaboration with the University of Adelaide. The study showed that Singapore was the worst offender, environmentally speaking, among 179 countries. Singapore’s rapid development over the past forty-five years appears to have taken a heavy toll on its environment, according to this study. A professor from NUS and one of the study’s co-authors describes how Singapore has lost 90 per cent of its forest, 67 per cent of its birds, about 40 per cent of its mammals and 5 per cent of its amphibians and reptiles in the process of urbanization. The Government of Singapore responded to the article by showing that Singapore is unfairly penalized by this study, which takes land mass as one of its major factors towards determining environmental damage. The authors of the article defend the study, however, by describing how the data speaks for itself and how it is available for public viewing. Does Singapore’s small land mass mean that such figures are not matters of great concern? The government insists that Sin-
gapore has taken environmental issues seriously, and has voluntarily set targets for itself. Or does Singapore’s size not excuse it from the amount of damage it has created in the wake of development? Singapore’s size makes it a greater offender than Brazil, which has chopped down more rainforests, because in Singapore, virtually all forests have been cleared relative to land area. The study has also been criticized for focusing on modern environmental impact, which would disadvantage developing countries and ignore Europe’s past history of deforestation, for example. Perhaps it would have been fairer to compare Singapore against countries or cities of similar size. However, it is an undeniable fact that Singapore, even when seen on its own and not in comparison to other countries, has put modernization as its top priority, which necessarily involves the destruction of natural environments. It is also to be noted that the government, in portraying Singapore as a Garden City, has taken a lot of effort into planting trees and allocating spaces for parks. However, do Singapore’s rapid growth and the comforts we now enjoy justify the toll it has taken on the environment? Food for thought.
CO performance: The Yew Tee Community Club Chinese Orchestra performing festive tunes
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Lunar New Year with Generation X
he Chinese Lunar New Year is all about traditions, and who better to learn these traditions than from our older generation. NTU’s Welfare Services Club (WSC), Regular Service Projects (RSP) Elders organized an activity packed afternoon for the elderly at the Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA) Community Home for the Aged on the 4th of February 2012. The afternoon began with a performance by the NTU CAC (Cultural Activities Club) Dragon and Lion Dance Troupe. The clashing of the cymbals and thundering of the drums were matched by the energetic performance of the dragon dance. The twin lions even engaged with the elderly by distributing mandarin oranges amongst them. Following this extravagant performance was The Yew Tee Community Club Chinese Orchestra, entertaining the elderly audience with familiar and enjoyable festive tunes. The flute solo was particularly pleasing to the ear. Next came a sing-along session led by some of the volunteers as well as an amusing Bo Peep dance that certainly cheered everyone up. The volunteers also performed a skit recounting the story of how the Jade Emperor, crown prince of the kingdom of Pure Felicity and Majestic Heavenly
Mascot from the Lion and Dragon dance troupe distributing goodies
Happy times! A volunteer with her dear benefiaciary
PHOTOS | Ng Shiwei
Lights and Ornaments chose the twelve zodiac animals. Tea break was served with a scrumptious buffet spread that the volunteers dished and brought to the elderly at their tables. The afternoon was further enlivened with a skilful demonstration by the NTU Chinese Society Diabolo Group and an artistic display of belly dance by the ladies from Bellydance Discovery Pte Ltd. The elderly were then treated to prizes from a Chinese calligraphy game, followed by cheerful cries of “Huat Ah”, or “to prosper”, during the tossing of (Sashimi). More prizes were awarded during the lucky draw that followed and the day ended with a classic sing-along of “Born in spring”. The elderly were then ushered back to their rooms for collection of goodie bags prepared by the volunteers. The excitement and energy shown by the volunteers throughout the day translated into appreciation and warm feedback. In a spirit of contribution and participation, students who had graduated had returned for this event, too. The integration and bonding activities and organisational planning rendered the event a reasonable success, and a positive contribution for the Welfare Services Society.
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Tough Interview Questions & How To Tackle Them Ever been to an interview where a question has left you tongue-tied? The Tribune speaks to students and understands what to say and what not to say at an interview What is your greatest weakness? This is the most clichéd question of them all. In fact, most interviewers today won’t ask you this because they expect you to be prepared for it. The oldest answer in the book is “I’m a perfectionist”. Don’t say that, your interviewer will fight to keep down his laughter (it is an unbelievable overdone answer). Instead talk about a real weakness, which could also end of being a strength. For e.g. determination and obstinacy are two sides of the same coin. Also be careful, these questions are more personal in nature and you do not have to reveal things like your morbid fear of maths.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? Although this question is almost equally clichéd as the first, some people still make the mistake of expressing their entrepreneurial dreams at a corporate interview. The trick here is to not to confuse job progression with growth. Focus on how you would like to grow, e.g. learn a domain, function skills, team leadership etc. Do not specify levels in hierarchy as a goal. You expectations should be in-line with, or rather exceed the company’s expectations of you as an employee. Make sure that youd don’t overreach too much but don’t under reach either.
Give me a time when you failed at something? Not a time when you have jumped in and saved the day. When you’re prepared with a lot of great teamwork examples, this question is really hard! But it is a good way to show that you’ve experienced failure and learnt from it. Similarly, you can be asked a question about disappointment. The interviewer wants to know how you’ve dealt with disappointment in the past. Provide the context of the situation, the actions you took and why it did not succeed. You can mention an incident, wherein you applied your learnings from this experience and have been successful.
Why do you want to work here?
Do you have any questions for us?
Interviewers have heard all sorts of answers to this question. If you come up with something new (and relevant), it’s sure to make a good impression. Make sure to know a lot about the position you’re interviewing for. Look up current employees to find out more about the job and the work culture. Equally important is your knowledge about the company and what sets it apart. Most companies pride themselves about certain things. Go to their website, find out what qualities those are and convince your interviewer that you want just those qualities in a company.
Interviewers always let you ask questions at the end of the interview. Insightful questions might clinch you the final offer (if you’ve had a good interview) while irrelevant questions might be a deal-breaker. Make sure you don’t ask a question that the interviewer has already given you information about during the course of the interview (unless you need further information). Some interesting topics to talk about could be training opportunities at the company, any rotations you might be exposed to, or more about the role/project applying for etc.
PHOTO | emirates, Flickr Commons CONTENT | Abha Apte
WARNING THERE’S A
ISTH MIN FE MING THROUG CO
Once upon a time, in a land far far away, was born a little girl in a little glass box in the middle of a big, big nowhere. She was a tiny little thing, and everyone cooed and looked in. But the little glass box grew smudged and cracked and people forget, and she was slowly forgotten. So she grew and grew and peered through her little glass box, and learned about people and places and secrecy and lies and happiness. And then she waited for her narrow little glass box to crack wide open. And it didn’t, and it never, ever did, and she stopped waiting and started being. And she grew into a little girl, who grew into a young woman, who felt a brand new something swell up inside her belly, and then she became something much, much more. And she knew it wasn’t fair, all the hate and the injustice and the times when she had to nurse that white-hot, gut wrenching envy. At those strange, short-haired creatures she could so clearly see outside her little glass box, sunburnt skin and hands unharmed by cooking and cleaning and scouring the bottoms of potfuls of age-old sexism. And she felt happiness, and guilt, and anger and hate, and she felt relief and victory and everything else, and she grew tired and wise and very, very old. And then the little glass box grew a little bigger. And she went on a long, deep sleep, and never, ever woke up, but so many after her kept fighting. On, and on, and on. And one day, the glass box shattered open.
march 8 happy womenâ€™s day may you light many bonfires burning Jupiterâ€™s weight in bras
This movie takes a concept that could have been amazing and gives it a treatment that is far from perfect. The story follows three high school boys as they develop superpowers due to a strange paranormal experience. The first half is enjoyable. However, I was reminded of Stephen King’s Carrie in the second half when mindless destruction ensues. The end left me very underwhelmed. I was particularly struck by the nonchalance of the characters in the movie at developing superpowers. Having said that, it is still worth a one-time watch and I give props to the creators for at least trying something different.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
First I must admit that I have not watched the first three Underworld movies. But much to my surprise, I enjoyed this latest installation in the series despite all the prior scoffing. Kate Beckinsale reprises her role of Selene, the main character or rather vampire. The war between Vampires and Lycans continues, with the humans wanting to exterminate these two immortal clans. At a startling pace, the movie progresses and watching it in 3-D gives the action-packed scenes life, though not to the extent of being scared out of your pants. A good watch overall.
High Flying Birds
Noel Gallagher Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds is actually a band formed by Oasis’s lead guitarist/songwriter Noel Gallagher. This album has received positive feedback and was the runner-up for 2012 British Male Solo Artist award. The songs are not particularly cheerful, but are well-executed with memorable lyrics. Especially on the track ‘If I had a Gun’, the opening line of “I’d shoot a hole into the sun, and love would burn this city down for you” is a poetic opening which sets the mood of the album. Definitely a pick for the indie fan. CONTENT | Rebecca Lim & Shreya Sharma PHOTO | Dill Parin, Flickr Commons
Hold on Till the Night
Greyson Chance If I had to pick between Chance and Bieber, the answer is a no brainer. (To me at least, but I was always biased against Bieber so the comparison probably doesn’t count.) When it comes to cuteness, Chance wins hands down with his baby cheeks and unpolluted boyish air. But that aside, the earnest vocals and heartfelt lyrics penned by this 15-year-old is refreshing to hear. He first appeared on the Ellen Show after putting his video up on YouTube. Since then, he has been a hit and made multiple appearances, playing at several venues and even tours. Better songs off the album include “Stranded” and “Waiting Outside the Lines”.
The Keep Jennifer Egan
Egan is so talented in her writing that the line between reality and fantasy is somewhat blurred. You sink into the fantasy and the illusion becomes so believable. With writers like these, it gets dangerous, but exciting. The adventure of Danny unfolds, slowly, with two layers of stories intertwined from a different time. Mysteriously and surely, more is revealed until the reader thinks he or she knows where it is going. But this turns out to be a cover and be prepared for not-so-rude awakenings. One of which: Danny is not even the lead character.
Julianna Margulies has been heavily praised for her portrayal of Alicia Florrick on this show. And she deserves every bit of it. She plays the wife of a state’s attorney who is jailed after a sex and corruption scandal. This forces her to take up her old job as a legislator that she gave up to raise her kids. Each episode is well written and interesting, placing a great focus on the acting. It can get repetitive and monotonous after a while but the story in the backdrop regarding the family is very well developed through out.
A chemistry teacher turns to making meth to secure his family’s finances when he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. This is the premise of Breaking Bad and the story goes on from there to twist and turn, always remaining incredibly tight and clever. It’s in its final season now and has gathered quite a few fans for it itself, considering it’s offbeat and quirky vibe. This is show where not only is the writing and acting incredible but elements like the cinematography and music are carefully put together to create a masterpiece. This show was recently described by Stephen King as “an American classic”.
Mark Haddon This is by no means a new book but it is one of my favourites. Written from the point of view of an incredibly gifted autistic boy, Christopher, the story follows him trying to solve the case of a dog’s murder. It is a very unique book with the chapters enumerated with prime numbers, filled with science and maths questions and unusual observations. Christopher’s journey to getting clues about the dog’s death is heavily marred by his inability to sometimes comprehend other people and his difficulty in interacting with other people. And that journey is where the beauty of the book lies.
16 entertainment watch
event watch 17
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St. Joseph’s Home Visit NTUSU BP Mentoring
28 JAN PHOTO | NTUSU BP Mentoring
mark your calendar Cultural Activities Club Impresario 2012 Grand Finals NTUC Auditorium
NTU German Society, Treffpunkt 18 March, 6.30 PM
NTUSU ICON Recruitment Competition 2012 At Nanyang Auditorium
NTU Investment Interactive Club
21st March, 4 PM - 7 PM
25th March 9.00 AM - 8.00 PM
Internship Opportunities Workshop
15th March 5.45 PM - 8.30 PM
LT25 (South Spine)
Financial Literacy for Youth Seminar 2012 Hong Kah Secondary School
15th March 9.00 AM - 1.00 PM
BHG Bazaar At Nanyang Auditorium Foyer
12th - 14th March 10 AM - 4 PM 27th - 30th March 10.30 AM -6.30 PM
Trainee Teachers’ Club Fiesta la Vida (Festival of Life) NIE’s Student Hub (UiD) & outside of LT1 Various performances and games at the vibrant NIE campus
Enamour Fundraising Concert Lee Kong Chian Lecture Theatre
15th March 6.30 PM
One Life Saved 2012 NTU Campus Learn basic First Aid skills
17th March 9.30 AM - 5.30 PM
SU Welfare - U-Study Campaign U-Study Campaign, Exam Welfare Package Giveaway Pavilion at TCT LT
29th March 12 PM - 3 PM
NTU Humanities & Social Sciences Club
NTUSU Students’ Fund Students’ Fund Carnival LWN library area
7th-9th March 10.30 AM -5.30 PM
Red Cross Youth NTU Chapter
National Cashflow Competition 2012 Warehouse at *SCAPE
German Cultural Week Concourse at Canteen B
6th - 7th March 10.30 AM - 2.30 PM
5th - 6th March HSS Carnival 2012 9.00 AM - 5.00 PM Concourse @ Canteen B Exciting bazaars, old school carnival-esque game booths and nostalgic food.
HSS Food Trail II In and around Singapore Visit Singapore’s favorite supper destinations
7th March 7.00 PM - 11.00 PM
6th March 2012 HSS Night HSS Auditorium, Level B1 of HSS Building 7.00 PM - 10.00 PM Food, goodie bags and the HSS Idol 2012 competition!
Want to see your events on the Tribune event calendar? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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It is useful for those who need to catch up on work and backlogs.
E Learning week is beneficial for students. It gives us time for self study as we don’t have to go to school and attended lectures.
E Learning Week is sort of an extension to Recess Week. I won’t be using E Learning materials much, but it definitely gives me time for self study.
Niveditha Narayan, Business/ Yr 1
Yida, Aerospace Engineering/ Yr 4
Xin Yu Mathematics/Yr 3
Dale Carter Exchange/Yr 4
| Singapore budget
It is quite useful. However, I feel each school should synchronize their e-learning week and should have it in the same week.
I don’t think the budget will affect graduate university students.
Reublen MAE/ Yr 1
Now competition is not only among locals, but among international workers too. That is why we locals find it difficult to get jobs in educational and service sectors. I hope the recent budget improves the situation. Julaina NIE/ Yr 4
I am not really bothered about the budget as I don’t think it impacts undergraduate university students.
I would prefer that companies hire more international workers as there will be better job opportunities when I graduate. However it would be fair if there was no quota system and jobs were based on merit.
Christen Acc/ Yr 2
Rounak Mehta MAE/ Yr 1
Nobody likes midterm tests, but they do have a good purpose. It is a good evaluation tool to see where you stand.
Mid-term tests are useful as they help reduce the weightage of the final exam.
I have mid- terms only for electives. I think they are not really helpful and unnecessarily stress you out.
Mid-term tests are definitely stressful, but they do help since we end up studying half the course.
Stephanie EEE/ Yr 2
Timothy Chong, Yr 4
Andy, Eng Lit/Yr 1
Thiri EEE/Yr 2
| midterm Test
It is good that we have mid- term exams after recess. It constitutes 20- 30 % of my final grade and does not leave everything to the final exams.
PHOTOS | Vinay Arora
I feel it is not very helpful. Although, I like it because we get a break.
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Song MARCH 2012
LIFE IS A
The recent annual Grammys were worth a tune-in, and didn’t go unnoticed by the public, with one of the largest viewership counts in recent times. With Whitney Houston’s passing on Saturday, fans were no doubt anxious to see how the Grammys would handle the loss of one of the biggest names in music, and of course, whether 23-year-old Adele would manage to take home every award she was nominated for. And they weren’t disappointed.
PHOTO | VectorPortal, Flickr Commons
| The Rise And Rise Of Adele ‘I’m done with being a bitter witch’ declares the winner of an impressive 8 Grammy Awards, Adele Laurie Blue Adkins. The singer-songwriter, who shot to fame with her records ‘19’ and ‘21’, promises never to write a breakup record again. Ironic, since both these were breakup records. WW It’s amazing how this lady has created a place for herself everywhere - whether it’s the music industry, Guinness Book Of World Records or in the hearts of millions of people across the world. How did she do it? Adele started singing at the age of 4. She’s been singing ever since. Her debut album ‘19’ rocked the music charts. It also got her 2 of her 8 Grammys. Her next album ‘21’ was one over ‘19’, much in keeping with the logical expectation. She became the first living artist to achieve the feat of two top five hits simultaneously since the Beatles in 1964. Yes, she is a phenomenon. I won’t bother listing all the awards she’s achieved or records she’s broken: there are simply too many. All throughout her growth as a singer, performer, celebrity, there was one person beside her who constantly gave her strength- her mother. A deserted teenage single mother, she struggled immensely and has a huge contribution in what Adele has become today. She was what kept it going for her, especially when the singer was diagnosed with vocal cord haemorrhage and faced the threat of damaging her voice forever. A laser microsurgery later, she was back- at the 2012 Grammy Awards- and what a comeback. The Brighton streak in her emerged at her acceptance speech, as she yelled, with 6 Grammys in hand- ‘Mum! Girl did good.’ She certainly did. The world holds its breath as Adele continues to rise. She is just 23 years old currently. Don’t Imagine what she’ll do later. It’s scary.
| highlights Jennifer Hudson delivered a very tasteful and emotional performance of “I Will Always Love You” late in the show, ending it by singing “Whitney, we will always love you.” The Grammy Awards also appeared to crown a new queen of popular music in Adele, the British singer and songwriter who has dominated the charts on both sides of the Atlantic with her classic soul sound. The 23-year-old singer captured an amazing six awards and was followed by the Foo Fighters with five and Kanye West with four. Chris Brown showed off his dance moves atop a colorful staircase while performing a medley of his brand-new single “Turn Up the Music” and “Beautiful People.” The performance was his first since missing the Grammy show three years in a row following his physical altercation with thengirlfriend Rihanna, and a few fans on Twitter took issue with him lip-synching the entire performance. Chris also picked up the best R&B album Grammy for F.A.M.E.
| controversies The ceremony this year was marred by a controversy over the recording academy’s decision to cut or consolidate 31 categories, bringing the number of awards down to 78, from 109. Contending that the Grammys had become bloated and too easy to win in some categories, the trustees eliminated separate awards for male and female singers and did away with individual awards for genres like Latin jazz, Hawaiian music, zydeco and American Indian music. The board also combined contemporary and traditional awards for blues, folk and world music. Critics have charged the cutbacks hurt musicians working in less lucrative genres and had the effect of discriminating against some ethnic minorities.
| snubs Taylor Swift and Kanye West were both not nominated for Album of the Year despite both albums being commercial successes. These snubs, were all the more apparent because the country queen and the rapper are Grammy regulars—Swift was the winner of most 2010 Grammys, and Kanye West rarely suffers upset losses in the categories he is nominated for. Some major pop stars walked away empty handed as the music industry seemed to reward back-to-basics artists. Bruno Mars had six nominations and gave a performance, but won nothing. Lady Gaga also failed to win.
IT’S A S PHOTO | Feat, Flickr Commons
H O W
| and the awards went to Suprises weren’t big this season - Oscar favorite ‘The Artist’, directed by frenchman Michel Hazanavicius, won 5 Oscars along with the Top 3 awards, Best Picture, Director and Actor. The Artist - a black-and-white, French, silent movie - was a strong favorite, and its win put on another snoozefest of a show what with the Academy continuing its tradition of picking predictable favorites for wins. Oh, and Meryl Streep stole Viola Davis’ ‘Best Actress’ Oscar. Bloody mutiny did not arise as expected, because, well, it’s Meryl Streep. Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer won the supporting role awards. Animation brilliance was, again, rewarded in the form of Hugo, another close favorite along with The Artist. Except for a few suprises (Hugo winning for visual effects over the far superior Rise of The Planet of Apes - clearly a stealthy mix of voodoo and someone clubbing the judging panel) the results were pretty much textbook, and vaguely yawn-inducing.
| the graciously fossilized host For those of you who were wondering about the identity of the oddly humorless, annoying creature who hosted the Academy Awards this time, his name is Billy Crystal. Anything? Nothing? Alright - you may remember him playing ‘Harry’ in ‘When Harry Met Sally’. Still nothing? Alright, he also voiced ‘Mike’ in ‘Monsters Inc’. Bingo! You may have loved him in that, yes, but you are not the only one who wanted to rip your face off with every second of the botched hosting job that was the 2012 Oscars. Billy Crystal stepped in with the Academy Awards’ first choice - Eddie Murphy - backed down. But he didn’t just step into the Oscars, he stepped out of time. You see, Billy Crystal is mostly unknown to the current youth demographic, and did nothing to improve the aging image of the Oscars, and its declining viewership. And his dinosaur-like age was not the problem. His crass attempts at humor did not help - Crystal made viewers cringe with his tasteless remark on Octavia Spencer’s win: ‘After I saw The Help I just wanted to hug the first black woman I saw, which from Beverly Hills is about a 45 minute drive.’ Hence, the show was littered with Billy Crystal’s time-travels to medieval times and black slavery humor, awkward laughter, mortifying singing and dancing, and a sinking realisation that this year’s Oscars would be even worse than the last time around. Which, for those who succeeded to erase the mental scarring, included a hysterically hyper Anne Hathaway and her counterpart, a comatose James Franco.
| the good, the bad, and the is-her-dress-a-turnip? For everyone who is not into pretentious French films, or find themselves secretly preferring American Pie, there’s aways the intellectually deficient, shallow pleasure of clothes-watching! Michelle Williams looked gorgeous, and Emma Stone’s dress would’ve been perfect if not for the astronomical bow that looked like her neck was birthing a baby Thai elephant. Angelina Jolie’s gorgeous dress was ruined by her stick-thin, frighteniningly anorexic frame - she looked like a very well-dressed broomstick. Anna Faris wore a shiny, metallic black dress that unfortunately backfired and made her look like Gollum.
On the 26th of February, 2012, a naked golden man flashed the world for the 84th time. The 84th Annual Academy Awards saw its usual glittering stampede of celebrities, with Billy Crystal hosting the ceremony. Favourites like ‘The Artist’ took home many a naked man, and the ceremony saw a slight, slight increase in viewership from last year. Occassionaly a yawnfest, stunts like Sacha baron Cohen’s dumping of ashes on Ryan Seacrest, helped. The ceremony continued its downward spiral into a gradually increasing Boring Quotient, though - however, the night did see a few moments that would make you cheer. Or switch off your television. Or both.
AND IT’S A
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There are always those things that are really, really out And they’re so far gone onto the wall of lifestyle shame That admitting you might want them to come back in Would be absolute, complete social suicide But you really, really do. From the bottom of your tasteless soul.
tophats Everyone needs a tophat. Why did tophats ever go out of fashion? Because humanity suffered a massive evolutionary flaw that led to this glaring error, that critically destroyed the progression of mankind. For tophats can hide baldness, ugly hair, shortness, and lend sophistication to idiots. Tophats are the British of the hat kingdon, if you may. (Also, when you wear a tophat, you can use phrases like ‘if you may’, without social ridicule)
secret ipod playlists Why are the Backstreet Boys old and shameful? No one must ever be ashamed of the Backstreet Boys, one must refer to them as ‘BSB’, purchase ‘BSB’ t-shirts, post entire song lyrics as Facebook statuses, and occassionally serenade neighbourhood women with songs such as ‘As Long As You Love Me’, ‘I Want It That Way’.
mullets The world needs to wake up and smell the mullets. They may be ugly, they may make all mullet-bearing individuals resemble large rodents intermingling with society, but the mullet is still iconic. It represented hippies carting around in carnivals, high-as-skyscrapers rockstars, and alternately sexually oriented women for a long, long time. And now, it could represent you.
shoulder pads Women need to realise that occassionally resembling large football players is not necessarily a bad thing. Shoulder pads enhance balance, increased respect from society (due to accidentally mistaking you as Cristiano Ronaldo), and reduce impact while falling from large buildings directly onto shoulder blades.
bell bottoms Bell bottoms were hand-crafted by fairies, pranced upon by magical, heavenly ponies, and hand delivered to humans by wood nymphs and angels. Such is the wonder of this fabulous item of clothing - why entire generations of mankind deemed it hideous enough to be ostracized forever will always be beyong the scope of human understanding. Because bell bottoms are not evil. Their accidental visual notion of obesity, lovely options of little bells and other shiny dangling objects at the bottom, and general image of glittering cowboys can never, ever match up to the mediocrity of modern-day jeans.
monobrows While many may feel a monobrow is the beginning of a serial killer’s profile, it can also be seen as the mark of the highest of human specimens. Is it an eyebrow raise, is it a quick blink, is it an entire forehead migration? We may never know, and it is this suspense that makes a monobrow the rooftop of human vision. Literally.
Who needs driver’s licenses when you can ride a pony? Horse-driven carriages in the 18th and 19th centuries should have just galloped the entire way straight into the 21st century. Hurrying from your lecture at the South Spine to a meeting at SAC? Hop onto your trusty hooved buddies and ride your way past the 179s, occassionally jeering at and mooning passerbyes.
sideburns Goatees and other attempts at facial sophistication are overrated. Sideburns give a man, and any woman who may desire to experiment, the highly useful look of being mauled by a grizzly bear. With this sudden increase in fierceness quotient, one may allow many a willing hand to stroke one’s fuzzy face, instantly building strong, long ties of friendship and admiration from society, and bitterly burning envy from other smoothcheeked folks.
CONTENT | Swarnima Korde, Rohan Paul, Abha Apte PHOTO | Josemanuel, Flickr Commons
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The Primacy of Conscience Why conscience is important and why following it is more than a truism
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this section do not represent the views of The Tribune. They are independent views of the writer.
’ve been doing a lot of soul searching lately, thinking and reading up on theology and philosophy and ethics and about how to live a good life. In doing this I came across a doctrine called the primacy of conscience. It is, as far as I have seen, exclusively used in the context of the Roman Catholic Church, but it is a doctrine that I think most of us have
“A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself.” thought about one way or another, regardless of our individual religious beliefs (or lack thereof), though perhaps not in such clear terms. The idea, as articulated in the catechism of the Catholic Church, boils down to this: “A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself.” Now, most of us will have heard some variant of the phrase “follow your conscience” at some point in our lives. The conscience is usually described as a disembodied voice in our head, but in art and literature, is sometimes personified as an angel on our shoulder or, as in the case of Disney’s Pinocchio, an anthropomorphic, top-hat-wearing cricket. In times past, I’ve thought this phrase to be platitudinous; that is to say, clichéd and ultimately hollow. However, upon deeper reflection, I have found the idea that a human being’s first obligation is to follow his or her conscience to have profound consequences. First of all, we must exam-
ine why it is imperative (and not just a good idea) to follow your conscience. This doctrine is based upon human dignity. Most, if not all, people believe that there are certain basic rights that all human beings are entitled to regardless of their social status or perceived virtuousness. In other words, human beings are entitled to some rights merely by virtue of their humanity. For this to be valid, there must be something intrinsic in humanity that is worthy of respect. If this is true, then to deliberately act against your conscience would be self-defeating; it would be ignoring, indeed, contradicting the very basis of your humanity. The application of this idea means that we must re-evaluate how we look at other people’s actions. We often say, and are often told, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” – but if the human conscience has primacy, it may be too hasty even to condemn someone because of their observable external actions. Someone could commit
We often say, and are often told, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” – but if the human conscience has primacy, it may be too hasty even to condemn someone because of their observable external actions what is ostensibly an “evil” act, but if they did so in accordance with their conscience, they may have, in a sense, done the proper thing. On the other hand, following the law to the letter, even when it violates your personal convictions, may undermine the dignity intrinsic to your being. It’s a thought worth contemplating.
PHOTO | tarara, Flickr Commons
Teching It Down A Notch The cons of an over-reliance on technology Shreya Sharma
few months ago, my little cousins came over and wanted to play games on the laptop. When my sister and I suggested that we go outside and play hopscotch, my seven year old cousin brother looked up and asked, ”What’s hopscotch?” I was extremely amused and jokingly refer to the incident as “the digitization of fun”. But if you think about it, it’s not funny and this digitization of fun is a serious fun-
damental change that society is
“What’s hopscotch?” I was extremely amused and jokingly refer to the incident as “the digitization of fun” moving towards.
You travel or go out but feel the compulsive need to keep checking in on Foursquare and post numerous albums of the event. Too much time is spent obsessing over Facebook comments and dissecting chat messages. Spending an evening together with friends consists mainly of browsing 9gag and playing video games. If this sounds like you, I think it’s time to put the iPad down and slowly step away from the computer.
Sweeping Under The Rug A peek into the thankless job of a janitor
ight from my childhood, I have always had a sort of special affection, be it for my maid servants, my driver, or even my gardener back home. I have always considered them my extended family and believed that my life would not have been what it was meant to be without them around. And same has been the case with me here at NTU, ever since I took my first steps here, way back in August 2010. Recalling my initial days as I was settling into hall life, I remember approaching my hall office about ways to go about with my laundry. And that’s when they redirected me to the cleaner of my block in hall and thus began my association with one such cleaner. At first I couldn’t believe that she was actually a cleaner, one who would do menial jobs for a living, for she was pretty and well dressed and more so because she had perfect English. From then onwards and even till
date, though I don’t stay in the same block in hall anymore, she never misses to scream out -“Kunal, hallo! Study well aah!”, with that huge smile on her face.
They have utmost respect for the work that they are doing and do it with a smile on their faces My dealings with her gave me an insight into their lives. A normal day for most janitorial staff starts at 6 in the morning - cooking for family, and going through the morning chores - before a pick up van gets them to university by 8:30 a.m. Right from cleaning toilets to sweeping corridors, taking care of the kitchenette and laundry to just having things in order, all that I can say is
PHOTO | 24Agens_F, Flickr Commons
that they have utmost respect for the work that they are doing and do it with a smile on their faces. All of them lead decent lives, enjoy a good day’s meal with each other around noon and head back to their
respective homes, with a sense of satisfaction, by 5 pm. When I was vacating hall last year, my favorite cleaner gave me this one piece of advice -“Study well, don’t be lazy like my son who now does
nothing. Get a good job, good family and the best of health”. Her big heart has won me over and I try to buy her a drink from the vending machine or just give her a dollar or two, whenever I can.
The ‘Boarding’ Crunch The shuttle bus and SBS bus services that serve NTU have been efficient but could still be improved
he Nanyang Technological University (NTU) shuttle bus service, which is a welfare project of the NTU Students’ Union and is being administered by the Student Affairs Office, has been wellreceived since its induction. Similarly, SBS bus service 179A was a result of a joint effort between the Students’ Union and SBS Transit. Given NTU’s especially high volume of students entering and exiting the compounds of the school during peak hours, both these services certainly alleviated the human congestion during peak hours. Nevertheless, I
believe that there is still room for improvement with regards to both the shuttle and public bus services in catering to the needs of the NTU community. First and foremost, I am aware that many of the students, including me, face this predicament almost every morning where SBS bus service 179A would get caught in this massive traffic jam along Jurong West Street 63 which would stretch to Pioneer MRT station. On one occasion, I was held up by this jam for approximately 15 minutes that resulted in me turning up late for my 8.30a.m. tutorial class even though I had boarded the bus before 8a.m.
from Boon Lay Bus Interchange. Since bus service 179A travels straight to NTU, it might be a good idea if the bus drivers of service 179A took another route from Boon Lay Bus Interchange to NTU. For example, these bus drivers could turn onto Jurong West Street 61 before turning left at Jurong West Avenue 4 and then heading to NTU. This was actually executed by one of the bus drivers when I was on my way to school a couple of weeks ago. In spite of the augmented frequency of service 179 buses during peak hours, it has come to my attention that students
experience difficulty boarding them particularly from both bus stops at Innovation Centre and Hall 4. There were several instances where my friends and I waited for more than forty minutes before we could board a bus. As these buses are packed like sardines after having fetched students from all over the school, there is basically no more space left to accommodate anymore passengers. I would like to propose that alternate service 179 buses begin picking passengers only after the bus stop at LT1A where the bulk of the passengers originate from. Perhaps the Students’ Union might want to consider putting
forward an idea for 199A, similar in nature to 179A? NTU’s shuttle buses could operate similarly. For example, shuttle bus D could begin picking passengers from Tan Chin Tuan lecture theatre as many students are unable to board the bus from there, thus defeating the core purpose of providing shuttle bus services in the first place. Furthermore, bus drivers should only allow passengers to board from the front door simply because this would be fair to all who have queued up orderly to board the bus.
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PHOTO | 25epSos.de, Flickr Commons
Is Singapore’s Policy On Vehicle Ownership Effective? Economics of COEs Shaun Yap
he Singapore government has announced that the vehicle growth rate would be lowered to 1.0% in 2012 and further to 0.5% in the subsequent years. In layman terms, this translates to a reduction in the supply of Certificate of Entitlements or COEs which is set to continue in the near future to ease congestion in Singapore. It is mandatory for anyone who purchases a car in Singapore to bid for a COE. A reduction in the supply of COE coupled with an almost steady demand for cars has sent prices of COEs for cars skyrocketing. While it might be true to assume that the number of vehicles will increase at a decreasing rate, I believe the root of the problem still remains. As Singaporeans become progres-
sively more affluent, the purchase of a car or two would not be an issue for these people. Hence, it would be rational to say that the number of cars will in fact increase over the years whereas the road capacity stays largely unchanged. Of course, it would be unrealistic to limit car ownership for everyone. Perhaps Singapore could follow Japan’s lead where those who own a car must have a registered parking space, especially in the city where the cost could be as high as S$1600 per month. In addition, I feel that Off-Peak Cars in Singapore should not have unrestricted usage on weekends and on the eves of public holidays because this simply encourages car usage which ultimately adds to the road congestion.
The Colonial Legacy Asian Constitutionalism: An Oxymoron? Siddharth Janarthanan
t is not difficult to notice that most of the laws in Asian constitutions have been lifted directly from the British (or the former colonial ruler), sometimes almost verbatim. While minor variations had been made to accommodate the linguistic and religious differences; core national issues like structure of government, style of economy, fundamental rights etc have all been imitated to a large extent. Let us take a look at the basic tenets of the western constitutions. European constitutionalism, marking the entry of Europe into the Modern Age, came about after long protracted struggles in each country. The French Revolution, the English Reformation were liberation struggles waged and supported by the angry public that finally culminated in reducing the monarch’s power to bare minimum, separation of religion from state, establishment of democracy, creating a parliament answerable to the people and installation of fundamental rights by the legislature. Hundreds of philosophers poured in their ideas of freedom, libera-
tion, intellectualism, righteousness and morality. I find it darkly amusing that these very countries, the ones that were ‘intellectually’ ahead in governance and in respecting the quality of an individual’s life, were also the ones that ruled, suppressed and abused the rest of the world. And I wonder why the newly independent countries borrowed so much from the western constitutions. True, a national constitution is meant only for that country’s government and its people and to that effect, the western constitutions were sound in their logic, reason and structure. But what is the purpose of a constitution that, while obliging you to be fair and just in your country, lets you be a barbaric and abusive tyrant elsewhere? I digress. Asia and Europe have had extremely different histories. Asian civilizations did not witness an enormous public upheaval against religion in daily life. Scientific advancements and intellectual pursuits flourished along with religion. Indeed, religion, philosophy and science were not so much at loggerheads as was the case in Europe. Current Asian countries have imported or isomorphed so
many western tenets that they did not identify with in their past, for example homosexuality. Sexuality in itself was held as a highly personal issue and while some religions even described and accepted homosexual acts, other religions did not have any laws about it. The mass copying of the British constitution suddenly made homosexuality illegal and taboo. What is more unfortunate is that while the western countries have moved on and amended so many laws to accept the affected individuals, the Asian countries continue to stick to the laws which they did not even subscribe to in the first place. At the risk of sounding too opinionated, I believe that the Asian and European psyches were very different at that time, if not even now. What was good for Europe does not have to be good for everybody else. The world is talking of Asian domination, but will the Asian giants leave their own signatures or continue to follow western ideologies that they may not have come up with, however logical and reasonable they are?
How has Singapore’s sporting month been? Vignesh Gopalakrishnan and Tam Mei Tan recap the city’s January sports, and scopes out interesting events happening in and around the local athletic world
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he Streetball Gala is back again this year for the 7th time running. The event that is organized by Ash Media Asia, will be held on the 10th-11th March, from 9am to 7pm. The place where the event would be taking place is the Playground @ Big Splash, East Coast Park. The Streetball Gala is an event that involves the world’s two most high-profile sports, namely soccer and basketball, fusing them into one all-encompassing battle. This year will also see the introduction of wheelchair basketball and wheelchair soccer to increase the sporting exposure for participants and spectators alike. Teams will compete for over $30,000 in prizes in the two-day event, and each participant will receive an attractive goodie bag. There will also be a free sports injury and prevention seminar held before the event. The workshop, jointly organized by Tan Tock Seng Hospital, will be conducted by Dr Jason Chia, on the 25th of February, 2-4pm at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
Singapore Duathlon 2012
he Singapore Duathlon 2012 National Championships will take place on the 25th February 2012, at East Coast Parkway. The event will be a fun-filled day for families and friends, for multi-sports passionates, for atheletes that love a challenge! There will be different categories, ranging from the Kids, Mini, Sprint, and Satandard for different age groups from 7 to 70 years old. The championships will also be used as a selection race to select athletes for the 2012 Asian Duathlon Championships, where the best duathletes in their respective categories will be given the chance to compete with other duathletes from all around Asia.
U Run + Vertical Climb
he U Run + Vertical Climb returns for its third edition in 2012, on the 26th of February, Sunday. The marathon takes place on a scenic route around Marina Bay, and encompasses different runs, ranging from the non-competitive 5km run, to a competitive 10km run, and the challenging 10km run + 490 feet vertical climb, also known as the ‘One Marina Boulevard Challenge’ (OMB Challenge). The ‘OMB Challenge’ consists of a 10kn run, followed by a thirty floors climb to the top of the NTUC Centre at One Marina Boulevard. Definitely not a challenge for the faint-hearted. GRAPHIC | Shourav Yathindranath
OCBC Cycle Singapore 2012
lready in its fourth year, the OCBC Cycle Singapore 2012 will take place from the 2-4 March. The event aims to attract 12,000 cyclists over the course of the three day event. This year will see a few changes and additions to the usual ride categories, such as the Women’s/Masters’ and Men’s Criterium, which both take place on the evening of March 2, and the Challenge and The Community ride which will both take place on the morning of the March 4. New additions include the Junior Challenge, where young cyclists (ages 10-12) get to join in the action, as well as The Business Times Corporate Charity Ride, which is catered for companies who want to help raise money for local charities, where companies represented by teams of four, and proceeds will go to Dover Park Hospice. Besides the rides, the Cycling & Lifestyle Village will be open during the 3 days of the event, where there will be booths for the family to enjoy and play at. Another highlight at the event will also be the Professional Criterium, where over 65 of the world’s top professional cyclists will be competiting in. Spectators will have the chance to get up close and personal with these professional cyclists and watch them live in action.
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PHOTO | Ronzo, Flickr Commons
IVP UPDATES Here are the latest IVP scores. Upto this point of time, NTU has won 5 golds, 7 silvers, and 3 bronze medals. Watch this space for updates
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CHAMPION’S LEAGUE Round 16 of Interview Neel Ratan Mitra
he end of the group stages of the UEFA Champions League brought many surprises. Manchester United’s Defeat to Swiss club FC Basel compelled United to make a quite exit. Manchester City following the route of elimination as well, joining Sir Alex’s team to view for the Europa Cup. The remaining 16 elite football clubs of Europe face each other in the round of 16 to decide on their advancement to the quarter finals. The Manchester Clubs might have been knocked out of the competition, the London Clubs - Arsenal and Chelsea remain, but their prospects of staying in the race for the coveted title look bleak after the end of the first leg matches. Arsene Wenger described the 4-0 loss to AC Milan at the San Siro stadium as one of the worst nights of his career. A defeat marshaled and concluded by a player who he might have once signedZlatan Ibrahimovic came back to haunt the North London Club again, dismantling Wenger’s defense throughout the game and converting a penalty spot in the end minutes of the game- adding salt to Wenger’s wound. The dismal performance staged by Arsenal reflected their current
standing in the domestic league. Judging them by their current form, against opponents like Milan they only have an infinitesimal chance of redeeming themselves at the Emirates Stadium to make further progress in this season’s Champion’s league. Chelsea’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of Napoli, does not make them as utterly hopeless as Arsenal which played in a different part of Italy last week. Chelsea scored an away goal, one which may yet turn out to be significant, although one would not rate their chances of turning the tie round much very higher than Arsenal’s, given the counterattacking skills of Napoli’s Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi, the scorers of all the home side’s goals. Coach Andres Villas-Boas faced criticism again as the starting line-up showed that he continued his intentions to gamble in the Champions League by sieving out some of the club’s senior players. With Terry ruled out and Ashley Cole relegated to the bench with only two days of training, after returning from a calf injury; Villas-Boas took the resonant decision of dropping Frank Lampard and selecting Florent Maloudawhose form has been so inconsistent that many fans at Stamford Bridge wish to see
the back of him soon. Breaking down a stubborn Leverkusen side was the perfect riposte amid domestic troubles that have resulted in Barcelona falling 13 points behind Real Madrid in the Spanish La Liga. Barcelona, who are unbeaten in 13 Champions League games and have scored in 28 consecutive matches in the competition, took the lead in the 41st minute after a brilliant left-footed flick
Swiss club FC Basel pulled off another huge upset in the tournament by defeating German side Bayern Munich by Messi sent Sánchez racing through on goal. Eventually, Barcelona won their away fixture 3-1. Spanish giants Real Madrid had their fixture against Russian club CSKA Moscow, Madrid took the lead midway through the first half. A deep, looping cross from the left dipped into the penalty area and towards Zoran Tosic. Misjudging the flight and trajectory of the ball he failed to get decent contact on the ball.
Ronaldo didn’t. As it fell to him, 15 yards out, the Portuguese striker hit it left-footed on the bounce and sent it beyond the keeper in the left corner of the goal. It was Ronaldo’s 36th goal of another astonishingly productive season. In a match largely dominated by Madridthey looked like winning from the moment Cristiano Ronaldo netted the goal in the 28th minute and just when it appeared Mourinho’s job was done in Russia, debutant Pontus Wernbloom – making his first appearance for CSKA volleyed in an injury-time goal to secure an unlikely 1-1 draw in their Champions League last-16 first leg. Unheralded Swiss club FC Basel pulled off another huge upset in the tournament by defeating German side Bayern Munich. Substitute Valentin Stocker scored the winner on the 86th minute of the game. This wasn’t the only disappointment coming in the form of a late winner; Marseille playing their home match against Inter Milan snatched victory at the end minutes of injury time. Andre Ayew headed in the only goal of the match from a corner, ensuring his side travel to Milan with an one goal lead. In other matches Zenit defeated Benfica 3-2 and Lyon won their home fixture 1-0 against APOEL.
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The first leg of the round of 16 matches being completed, the second leg matches will be played from 6th to the 14th of March. Clubs like AC Milan and Barcelona look fairly certain for a quarter-final entry, on the other hand the rest of the teams in the round have a lot to work upon for the return leg before their faith in this season’s Champions League is decided.
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The Iceman Returns Kaustav Chaudhuri
ardly any F1 fan remembers the final race at Sao Paulo of the 2011 Formula 1 season. Sebastian Vettel had become World Champion two races before and the driver and constructor’s standings were almost finalised, so there was hardly anything to look forward to in the final race of the season. But something big had captured the entire motorsport world’s attention during the month of December last year. The former 2007 World Champion - Kimi Raikkonen a.k.a “The Iceman” had announced his decision to return to Formula One to drive for Team Lotus. After trying his hand at the World Rally Car Championships and a bit of NASCAR, the Finn admitted that he missed the wheel-to-wheel intense racing and physical racing with cars in reach, simply put – Formula One. So it was time for one of the most entertaining drivers in the sport to take centre stage again. Two months later, the world watched him clock the quickest lap times during his first practice stint. What a feeling it must have been for Raikkonen to take control of a steering wheel of a Formula One car again after two years away from the riches and glamour present only here, and yet having it in him. Although he’s been nonetheless, very impressive, the opportunity to an-
nounce the dream comeback to the world will only arrive about five weeks from now, when the Formula One 2012 season starts in Melbourne, Australia. Time to silence all critics. Remember Braun and how they took everyone apart to win the championship along with Jenson Button in their very first season? Well, I will certainly not be audacious enough to forecast the same for Raikkonen and the newly formed Lotus Renault team, but the thing with Kimi is that you may never rule it out. It is known that Raikkonen is from a rare breed of drivers who can have a profound impact on any team’s standing and any car’s performance. His exploits in the past testify to all this. Another unique ability of his is to overtake others with considerable ease and panache. Even the legendary Michael Schumacher may able to tell you about those manoeuvres that Kimi inflicted upon him. Even after taking into account the magnitude of competition, I will stick my neck out and predict that he will split at least one of those drivers from the remaining five come the end of the season. So after all, Sebastian Vettel who hasn’t really raced with Raikkonen might have to change his game if he’s to fend off the Iceman. It is surely going to be a blockbuster Formula One season.
PHOTO | phStop, Flickr Commons
THE FORMULA ONE 2012 SEASON What to look forward to?
he Formula One 2012 season is already buzzing with excitement. For the first time in the history of Formula One Racing, six world champions will be sharing the same starting grid – Schumacher, Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Button and Raikkonen. Will Vettel go the
Schumacher way and dominate again or has Raikkonen got some unfinished business? Teams are getting restructured, new drivers are replacing the previous ones, newer technologies are being implemented, which is the beauty of Formula One – “You never know what to expect!” A slight digres-
sion – Formula One will be without an Italian driver for the first time in 40 years! It will also be without veteran driver Rubens Barrichello, who is headed to the Indycar Series in the United States. Moreover, Sebastian Vettel will aim to become the third driver in Formula One history
after Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher to complete a hattrick of world titles and of course, Michael Schumacher will be looking for that win which has been eluding him for the last two seasons. The cars have a slight change in design this season with the front nose being lower than
usual (platypus billed stepped noses) in order to allow more streamlined design and greater speeds, thereby giving an aerodynamic advantage as compared to the previous versions. So perhaps, a greater adrenaline rush and lots more to look forward to.