Pro-tips for you complimetary freshman survival kit
Is Indie becoming a synonym for Non-Conformity?
COE System: what would be the optimal structure?
NEWS | 8
FEATURES | 18
OPINIONS | 23
an ntusu publication
MICA (P) 217/01/2012
Printed By: KHL Printing Co. Pte Ltd
student body elections ‘12
heard? The tricky transition phase of NTU’s election month.
NEWS | 3
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
Let Them Eat Beefcake
Magic Mike might just be the start of an avalanche of male objectification.
Chief Editor I’m not sure I’ll be able to accurately recount most of what happened in Magic Mike, but the number of surprisingly mobile pectorals in the movie was imprinted onto my retinas. This lingered for about a couple of days, during which I kept experiencing mild surprise everytime I did not see naked men in public places such as lecture halls, malls, and Canteen A. The objectification of men has been subtly weaving itself into mainstream pop culture, but has gone unnoticed so far with all the distraction provided by the gratuitous female nudity. Are we now perhaps slowly parking into the phallus-shaped area of male nudity? The explosion of superhero movies in 2011 and 2012 has been a crowded field of spandex and unnecessary shirtlessness: years ago, America blew its fuse with Batman having a rubber-nippled costume, and now, your friendly neighbourhood Spiderman swings off buildings with his friendly neighbourhood junk, also swinging. It’s not like female objectification has miraculously stopped, though. It’s just that the gaze has shifted: primetime television shows such as True Blood, White Collar and Entourage all have suspiciously unnecessary scenes that require no shirts. Magic Mike is the brainchild of Steven Soderbergh, a man who knows his abs-to-pecs ratio. What’s surprising is that considering the initial hype, and Channing Tatum’s sheepishly honest interviews about his past as a stripper, the movie has actually turned out to be a refreshingly good work of cinema. In a completely parallel industry, a similar shift is being observed: female-centric porn is being increasingly made and viewed in larger numbers, with poster-boys such as James Deen leading the pack. There are the obvious culprits: Twilight and its wrinklier aunt, 50 Shades of Grey. Bland female characters with the personality of toadstools project the female gaze every which way, as male characters of physical stature of choice hunker around sultrily, compensating for their non-existent personalities with large quantities of hair-gel. Male objectification when engineered by men for women, seems to lean towards guys built like brick houses, whereas under the control of females, men lean more towards leaner, personality-focussed dreamboats. The consensus that females do not fantasize about males approaching the dimensions of a cloud, seems to be slowly permeating through pop culture, with the shift from strutting, beefy Hasselhoffs to wispy, vaguely confused Michael Ceras. Now that mainstream movies seem to be accepting of male strippers with hearts of gold, there is a light at the end of the bikini infested tunnel. Soldier on, brave mankini.
It’s September, and it’s the Read-A-New-Book Month! If you’re reading this, you’re most likely bogged down with coursework, or job applications, and/or ECA work, and you’re not finding the time to read as much as you’d like to. Here’s a list to slowly ease you into the motions:
1 2 3 4 5 6
Fifty Shades of Grey is a book that needs to be read, before anything else. This will ensure that everything else you ever read will seem comparatively brilliant. If you’re the kind that reads the book and scoffs at the show, the Game of Thrones series is for you. This is an addictive five-part story: part fantasy, all medieval sass. If you’ve only watched the movie, you simply have to check out the Hunger Games book series. Intelligently addictive, it portrays dystopian society in all its glory. David Thorne’s The Internet Is A Playground is a hilarious book, a result of the popularity of his website, 27bslash6.com. Pick up this one for rude laughs. A brilliant mish-mash of comedy and horror, John Dies In The End is a must-read. It is unique and unpredictable and so different, it’s probably a genre all of its own.
Everyone needs to read Bossypants, by Tina Fey. The snark behind Mean Girls and 30 Rock, this book is an excellent biography of one of TV’s funniest women.
PHOTO | patDennings, 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
Have any comments? Write in to us at email@example.com
View our issues online:
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
ELECTIONS2012 The roadblocks facing fair student body electoral procedures.
Jayanti Basu Roy
ow that student elections for the year have been successfully conducted, it is a perfect time for us, at NTU, to reflect on the entire procedure and what it means to us. The fortnight of rallies, campaigning and voting ushers in much discussion and campus activity, with candidates preparing for the election process. Students have found different ways to drive their campaigns: social media, personal rallying, offering publicity items to passers-by and creative posters. Current election processes face several issues that need to be smoothed over. Unequal racial representation suggests that elections risk reversing racial integration, breeding unfavorable sentiments. Another issue common to academic and other clubs is the lack of awareness, leading to low turn-out for rallies. With the audience for election rallies mostly limited to the committee members themselves, the larger student
“Candidates have been enthusiastic but lack knowledge about the portfolios they are running for” Christian Wihananto Hartono, President of the 22nd NTUSU EXCO
population fails to make an informed decision about the candidates based on their rally presentations. In the case of some clubs, especially engineering academic clubs, more deserving and experienced candidates occasionally find themselves at a loss due to a large number of the voter turnout casting biased votes. Such results, which are in
The outgoing and incoming NTUSU EXCO members talk voting, candidates, and the big transition. What have you observed about the current candidates running for elections? Saw Sheng En, VicePresident (Welfare & Student Activities) of the 22nd NTUSU EXCO “The candidates seem able to face challenges but all of us have a lot of learn. It’s going to be an exciting year ahead.” What were some memorable things from your own experience of running for elections? Clement Foo, Vice-President (Business & Corporate Communications) of the 22nd NTUSU EXCO: The adrenaline rush of present to an audience of strangers as well as the anxiety of waiting for the results to be announced.” Marchelina Vincensia, Honorary Financial Secretary of the 21st NTUSU EXCO: “Our election rallies and voting meetings take up to 14 hours Everyone’s enthusiasm is what keeps us awake through the long nights!”
PHOTO | Vinay Kumar
no way related to merit, can raise dissatisfaction amongst students, causing them to be disinterested in the affairs of the school. The importance of being there to support the deserving candidate, the harmful impacts of a wrongly chosen leader, and exercising the power in one’s hands are a few of the many advantages of voting that a student at NTU needs to consider before he or she decides against casting votes. Some school clubs are actively attempting to counter some of the existing obstacles. The Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Club has planned to engage the student population through social
media in order to enable them to know and understand the candidates’ competencies and thus make informed decisions. The club has published the candidates’ nomination forms on its Facebook page.
“Unequal representation suggests that elections risk reversing racial integration” A common occurrence post-election is the failure of a committee to elect new members for all its portfolios. This happens
when candidates don›t meet the defined threshold values, or have margins of less than 5% between them. In these situations, bi-elections are conducted, to ensure clear and indisputable results. Bielections delay the formation of the main committee, are a hassle for the outgoing committee, and delay the club’s functions for the new academic year. Lastly, there is the obvious issue of the lack of electronic votes counting. This can save a lot of effort and miscalculation by the Election Committee and Neutral Officers. If all these obstacles are smoothed over, the transition to new student bodies can be made a lot easier.
From your personal experience, what advice would you give the new EXCO? Ang Hua Huang, Honorary General Secretary of the 21st NTUSU EXCO: “Make your experience count by going beyond your job scope to help students.” Ramanan Kumarasamy, President of of the 21st NTUSU EXCO: “Be aware of student needs and issues, and address them with the university management. Put in your best effort throughout your term.”
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
The Last Camps T
FOC | a new start Vo Xuan Phuoc
s a new academic year begins and NTU welcomes a fresh batch of NTU students, members of various NTU clubs, especially the freshmen orientation committees are trying their best to help freshmen get accustomed to university life. The FOCs (Freshmen Orientation Camps) organized by the hall FOC committees have been instrumental in making freshmen staying in halls realize that NTU halls are just home away from home . On-campus events included the Heritage Appreciation and Learning Experience (HALE) camp where students got the opportunity to discover the history of NTU. Off-campus activities had committees take the freshmen to fun places like Sentosa Beach for pure fun and bonding activities. To make the FOCs sucessful, the committees behind the
PHOTO | Hall 16 JCRC Publicity
“Hall FOCs have been instrumental in making freshmen staying in halls realize that NTU halls are just a home away from home” camps have worked hard and made necessary improvements in the current year’s event based on suggestions given to them by the freshmen the previous year. They try to find interesting games to ensure freshmen participate actively. Most freshmen felt FOCs give them a good start to hall life and also an opportunity to make friends. Most of the freshmen were of the opinion that the camps were fun
and the friendly seniors made them feel completely at home. This year, the Hall FOCs were held in the first week of August. Most camps lasted a good five days which was enough time for the freshmen to get accustomed to university life. Most hall FOCs were held before week 0 to prevent hall FOCs from clashing with school orientation activities. This gave the freshmen the oppurtunity to attend both the hall as well as their school orientations without worrying about them clashing. Pushing the hall FOCs before week 0 caused a few difficulties though.
“FOCs are a must-go for every freshman” PHOTO | Hall 1 JCRC Publicity
One of the hall FOCs chairperson, Jeremy, felt that the school should not simply move the date of the camp back, but also consider issues such as application periods. He shared that with the application for hall camp closing on 27 July, his committees only had a 3-day buffer to deal with the large number of last minute applications. Overall, however, the FOCs this year have certainly succeeded in creating unforgettable memories for freshmen and also managed to get a significant number of freshmen attending the camps as well. Most freshmen orientation committee members believe that having fun and making new friends in NTU is the most important aspect of the camp and they hope the next committees will try to ensure the same.
his year may be the last year for the International Undergraduate Committees (IUC) to conduct their Freshmen Orientation Camps (FOC), due to the decision of the school to promote better interaction among students of various nationalities. The IUC FOC committees are disappointed at the cancellation of their camps. They are afraid that freshmen who come to Singapore for the first time may face difficulties getting accustomed to life in Singapore. While understanding the intention behind the cancellation, the committees had hoped that the school would not cancel their camps completely. Encouraging freshmen to participate in Hall FOC and the school’s orientation programs may be a good option, but international freshmen are always not in Singapore if the FOCs are held before Orientation week. “If the international students come just before the FOCs, there might not be vacancies left for the camps,” explains Joannes. Pham Tien Hung, IUC Vietnam FOC chairperson. He adds that the school should try to ensure that the events’ committees are able to accomodate international students at the last moment. Everything new has a flipside. Perhaps the new camps will help students get to know better about people from other communities and not just stick to a group of people from their own country.
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
PHOTO | Vinay Kumar
he new academic session has kicked off, with a variety of new developments and campus upgrades to provide students with an enhanced university experience. Encouraged by the positive reception towards the various new reading spaces constructed over the previous semester, the Office of Development and Facilities Management (ODFM) has launched a new self-study area in front of the Students Activity Centre (SAC). Another similar self-study area, currently under construction outside the Lee Wee Nam Library, is expected to be ready by the third week of October. “We recognize that these spaces promote constructive interaction among students from different disciplines. Hence, these form a significant part of our agenda,” says Mr Siew Hoong Kit, divisional director of the ODFM. In addition, around ten tutorial rooms have been converted to state-of-the-art TR+ rooms, with smarter media
support. Lighting intensity in the study areas in the South Spine has been improved, and seating capacity of the canteens have also been increased. The ODFM announcement of the construction of two new Halls of Residences around NTU’s Pioneer North entrance has also gathered keen interest from students. According to the official press release, the hostels are expected to be ready by academic year 2014/2015, providing accommodation to some 1250 students. There will also be up to 30 apartments for the hall fellows and their families. “We are looking forward to moving forward with the same momentum,” adds Mr Siew as he revealed the plans for the development of a modern Learning Hub in the South Spine with tutorial rooms, a mini-library, cafeteria, and several other student-centric facilities. It is expected to be ready in time for academic year 2014. Another significant change
on campus is the re-contracting of super-marts and mama’s shops. Both the super-mart at Canteen 2, as well as the minimart at Canteen 14, has been closed since mid-August. They will resume operations in midOctober, with 7-Eleven as the new vendor. The convenience stores at the North Spine and the Nanyang Executive Centre have been taken by Cheers.
“7-Eleven might be more commercial than daily-need based and hence not a good replacement for the Supermart at Canteen 2.”, said Mai Quoc, a EEE student These stores will be closed from the end of November until mid-January and February respectively.
The changes of the convenience stores on campus have given rise to mixed opinions. Many students, especially the residents of halls 2, 6, 8, 13, and 14, show concern regarding this issue. “I patronized the minimart at Hall 14 whenever I had cravings for snacks. It was extremely convinient having a min mart near your hall” says Joanne Ang, a Hall 13 resident. Preethi Josephina, a Year 2 engineering student, is happy with the changes planned but thinks that the renovation work should have been completed during the vacation, instead of inconviniencing students during term-time. “I haven’t had breakfast in a week! [There is] no time to go anywhere far to get bread!” she says. Meanwhile, EEE student Mai Quoc Ann is concerned about the prices the new shop vendors will be charging. “I am concerned about the prices after re-contracting. Moreover, 7-Eleven might be more com-
mercial than daily-need based, and hence not a good replacement for the supermart at Canteen 2,” the third-year shares. Those who frequent the store at NEC have also expressed concerns about the timing of operation, and are hoping for it to be open 24/7. Some however are more optimistic, and looking forward to change. They expect matched, if not better, levels of service. “The North Spine 7-Eleven store will close only by exam time. Thankfully, it will be available during the peak of the term when I can actually grab a bite between lessons. I expect to have a good semester ahead,” shares Michelle Lim, a Year 4 student. The ODFM is being kept busy with the new and upcoming constructions here at NTU. With them at the helm, students can definitely look forward to studying in a stateof-the-art and convenient campus.
news Ushering In Academic Year 2012-13: 6
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
The NTU Way
Kanika Asija and Preethi Josephina
he Welcome Week for the Academic year 2012-13 was held from 21st to 24th August. This year’s theme was ‘PaiNTUrself’ in the colours of NTU. Each day was assigned a different colour; Red, signifying passion was the colour of the day for Tuesday, Green, signifying prosperity for Wednesday, Blue representing intelligence for Thursday and Yellow symbolizing warmth for Friday. It was a gala event, with various innovative performances and games every day. The ECA fair, a major part of the Welcome week, was well attended, giving freshmen an
Attractions at the Welcome Week included free giveaway of Mountain Dew and Nescafe coffee, on liking their Facebook page.These stalls were always crowded!
PHOTOS | Vinay Kumar
introduction to the diversity of clubs in NTU that they may wish to become a part of and seniors a chance to tell the freshman about their respective clubs as well as to recruit freshman who can help out with club activities. “Red Tuesday”, the inaugural day of the much awaited Welcome Week, attracted students in large numbers right after the event was formally inaugurated and the goodie bag giveaways were started. Students were also drawn by the affordable and interesting things to buy at the various stalls. Freshmen found themselves learning more about the various clubs in NTU and deciding on which clubs and associations to be part of during their university life. Says Cheryl, a year 1 HSS student, “Choosing the correct ECAs are crucial to one’s all round development in University. This fair is a great way to know the various clubs.” Highlights of Day One were MJ Hip Hop Dance Performance and Pau Eating Competition. ‘Green Wednesday’, kicked
off with a brilliant Wushu performance, which was well appreciated by the audience. It was followed by a performance by the NTU Cheerleading Club and a beautiful Korean dance performance. A couple of fun games were organised as well, which added a dash of craziness to the events. A number of free goodies awaited those who stopped by the booth, including T-shirts and goodie bags. ‘Blue Thursday’ had great
“I’ve had a lot of crowd at my stall and a good number of sales”, said Tina, merchandise seller at one of the stalls entertainment in store as well, which was started off with an engaging Malay dance performance, followed by a performance by the NTU Jazz and Blues Club. The audience was left asking for more, and it was
PHOTO | Adarsh Kanodia
not disappointed as a mesmerising Samba and Salsa performance by the NTU dance Sport Academy followed. Another round of games was held including an ice cream eating competition which saw a lot of enthusiastic participants and ice cream lovers. Goodie bags and T-shirts were given out, as on all the other days of the week. “Yellow Friday” saw many students crowding the various booths since it was the last day of the Welcome Week. Meanwhile, the members of the Visual Arts Society captured the attention of students with their attractive costumes. Walking around the North Spine in their eccentric costumes they posed for photographs with students and livened up the ambience of an otherwise mundane day in school. Highlights of Friday were an entertaining Indian Dance Performance, and a performane by Guitar Ensemble. Those performances were great crowd pullers. As the finale itself drew to an end, a group of students from different years of study raved about how diverse, interesting and informative Welcome Week proved to be. “Not only is this a wonderful way of welcoming us back to school, making us feel at home again, but it also helps rethink major decisions like where we stand, and the way in which taking part in ECA activities in NTU has changed us”, says Brian Toh, year 3
CEC student. On a lighter note, a freshman, Richard Wong says “I loved the stalls with all the goodies! Student discounts can really make your day.” This year’s event was bigger and better than before. Dhruv Dutta, Vice-Chairperson, Welcome Week 2012 said, “There are larger number of booths this year, as a lot of new societies and associations have been formed in the past year.” The Welcome Week evoked a positive response from the freshmen with a large number of them turning up to explore what the event had to offer them. “PaiNTUrself is very creative and interactive theme. The fair was informative too”, said Nupur, CEE year 1. The seniors had a more ob-
“The ECA fair could have been more organised. The location of some booths were mixed up”, said Chithra, a CS Year 3 student. jective view of the event, after being witness to it for a couple of years. “ The ECA fair is great for exploring different clubs, but it can be made more simpler for ease of exploring if there was a map to indicate where each club’s booth is”, said Huiling, a BIE year 3 student.
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
Photo | Flickr Commons
NTU is joining hands with The Shandong Commercial Group, a large state-owned enterprise which has retail, pharmacy and real estate among its core businesses to conduct research and come up with interactive media solutions particularly in the area of next-generation context-aware ubiquitous computing(u-computing) and personalised u-commerce technologies. Establishment of a new laboratory for the same has also been proposed. This is a strategic move to tap the silver population and aid Singapore’s ambition of becoming a global leader in age-friendly designs, technologies and services.
Now a pocket living room TV
Due to busy schedules, most of us find it impossible to catch our favourite TV shows live. Entertainment is no longer limited to the couch and bedrooms. The pocket living room TV is here! Prof Wen Yonggang from School of Computer Engineering, NTU is coming up with a TV with a “pick up and throw back” feature which will allow video and chat sessions to be screened wherever you go. It would be user friendly, with an intuitive and interactive session. It is attracting wide national and international attention with many telecommunications giants expressing interest in implementing this technology for their cable networks, enabling us to view live videos on the go!
Top honour for NTU scientist
NTU researchers make great strides in marine biology
A scientist from NTU may be on the brink of discovery because of his research into a little sea creature called the mantis shrimp. The research is likely to lead to making ceramics – today’s preferred material for medical implants and military body armour many times stronger. Assistant Professor Ali Miserez, from NTU’s School of Materials Science Engineering and School of Biological Sciences, collaborated with international scientists including Dr James Weaver from Harvard University to study this creature native to the Indo Pacific, which has club-like ‘arms’ and can strike prey at speeds matching that of a 5.56mm rifle bullet.
NTU’s pioneer Linguistics and Multilingual Studies class graduates
NTU’s pioneer class of 49 Linguistics and Multilingual Studies students will be graduating on Thursday, 2 August 2012. NTU is the only institution in Singapore and the region to offer such a degree, which aims to develop highly skilled talents who are culturally and socially attuned and aware, making them good communicators with a global worldview. The pioneer graduates are slated to pursue careers in diverse fields such areas as the publishing and communication industries, translating and interpreting, computational fields, foreign language teaching, and the teaching of English as a second language.
NTU’s medical school to offer rare peek into the work of surgeons
For the first time in Singapore, students from junior colleges, polytechnics got a chance to see what goes on in an operation theatre. In two special sessions, NTU showcased its simulation technology for medical education in a “live” presentation of trauma surgery, which involved actual surgeons and realistic human organ props. This is a part of the medical training at the new Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine. The demonstration was accompanied by commentary by Professor Roger Kneebone from Imperial College London, one of the world’s pioneers of simulation technology in medical education.
Asst Prof Zhang Baile, 31, of the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, who joined Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in 2011, has been featured in MIT’s Technology Review as one of the top 35 young innovators in the world. He is the only one from Singapore to win the award this year. This is a huge achievement for a man who started speaking only at the age of two and was not as good as his classmates in Mathematics. However, he went on to study at Tsinghua University, followed by the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he ventured into the field of optical cloaking. With this honor he joins the league of Google Founders Larry page and Sergey Brin and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Organizing Committee gives a curtain call
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
The Pocket Freshman Guide Koh Hui Fang
Photo | Shubham Goyal
Koh Hui Fang
t is September: one month has passed since the start of this semester. As a freshman, you probably have already established a lifestyle routine that you think suits you best: being in the company of certain classmates, walking certain routes, and eating certain food. With one-quarter of this semester already over, it is time to think about the rest of your university life. Will it be an endless repetition of your current lifestyle, or will you make it productive and enriching? If the answer is the latter, here are some reminders to help you get started on your journey:
Academic Planning Academic planning, such as thinking ahead about how many and what kind of modules to take for future semesters, is important, especially if you intend to go on exchange programs. Deng Shiying, a Year 4 communications student feels that all the hassle of academic planning is certainly worth it. She has spent six months in
Jonkoping, Sweden. “Overall, I think it was the best experience of my life,” she says. “I learned to be independent, and I learned a lot about other countries and their cultures from exchanges with international students and travelers I met on my trips.” One aspect of academic planning is deciding when to take unrestricted electives. Some students choose to clear the AUs for their major before clearing their unrestricted electives in their final year. There are some advantages to this approach: your GER-PE/ UE appeals hold more weight since you have fewer semesters left, and you are also relatively freer to concentrate on other matters in your final year, such as your final year project (FYP), essays, or even job-searching. Basically put, seniors have priority when selecting electives. Not taking too many unrestricted electives in your first year is also beneficial in that you would need the AUs from this category should you decide to pursue a second major from your second year onwards. Of course, there are also seniors who recommend completing everything in the
earlier years while the load is lighter, such that the FYPs can have your full attention in your last term.
Travelling Considering the cost and time taken to travel to and fro what students term as “Pulau NTU”, this appears to be a trivial issue which should be given due attention to. Certainly this isn’t an issue for hall residents, but then who knows if you’ll be able to get yourself a slot in the hostels with the wild competition from other seniors and the freshmen priority rule. The key to deciding on your travel routine is to familiarize yourself with the routes of the various buses, both internal and external. After that, rank the priorities of time, cost, and comfort, and plan accordingly. Calculating the cheapest and/or fastest way from your home to NTU is not as easy as it sounds. One case in point: is it more cost-efficient to buy the train concession ($45) alone? That would mean no transfer rebate when you take the buses 179 or 199 from the interchange, so you can save around 80 cents each time by taking the Pioneer shuttle
bus (Bus D). But whether it is worth the extra waiting time and so on is another question. Once you have settled on a certain route, the next step is to observe the crowd pattern closely to find out things like which is the best bus-stop to board or alight from. Internal school buses always full? Get a bicycle if you live in hall, or start figuring out walking distances then!
Extra Curricular Activities Participating in ECAs promotes one’s personal development through the acquisition of certain social, cognitive, and physical skills. For starters, interacting with people from different backgrounds, such as courses, is sure to broaden one’s horizons. If you would like to contribute to society, you can consider options like Welfare Services Club (WSC), or the NTU Red Cross Chapter. Overseas service learning trips are especially popular with NTU students. Hall residents can also sign up
for Overseas Community Involvement Programs (OCIP) with their hall ad-hoc committees. Shreya Gopi, a Year 4 English student, recently returned from an EcoVenture trip to Cambodia with other members of EarthLink, an environmental group at NTU. “It is amazing to see how much happiness abounds in a place with no basic facilities like sanitation. It made me stop taking things for granted,” she said. One could also pick up something completely new. Try pushing your limits with extreme sports, or nurture your creative side by learning a new musical instrument! For those with more niche interests, there are clubs such as the Wine Appreciation Club. The NTU Photovideographic Society is another, and they have conducted film workshops in which participants use black-and-white analogue films and develop them on their own. Can’t find anything at all that you like? Grab a couple of friends and try to start your own club. Who knows, you could be the next big thing in school!
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
New Friends Always be open to meeting new people and trying new experiences. You don’t have to have your existing friends in the same class all the time. Try to make new friends by going to classes without having to check for friends. Maybe you can find your next best friend, or even your future other half in that other class! Or pick up a module or two in random modules that look interesting. You never know, it could become something that you’d want to work seriously with in the future, or perhaps a new hobby that you can study up on! Seniors are always good people to approach. They can give you the insights into your tutorials, sell you textbooks, and even steer you from bad module choices. There are plenty of other little exchanges that having a good senior friend will help with, of course, but that’s for us to know and you to find out!
Food The NTU campus is a foodie’s paradise in every sense of the term. Boasting of over 20 canteens and cafes, the cuisine
that the campus has to offer is merely an extension of the vibrant lifestyle that NTU offers to students. Ranging from South-East Asian and Indian to Continental and Italian, students are spoilt for choice at highly affordable prices. Fast food lovers have a great variety of choices too. MacDonald’s, Subway and Old Chang Kee provide the much deserved break from studying hard at the library or attending back to back classes. While canteens strive to maintain impeccable standards, canteens and cafes also serve as a great place to socialize and dine with loved ones. While Canteen 2 and Canteen B at South Spine have the best Yong Tau Fu, Xialong Bau or soup dumplings as well as Japanese cuisine is the specialty of the canteen at Hall One. Can A largely boasts of the world’s most popular fast food joints, diners who prefer a more sophisticated ambience can enjoy the continental delights at The Palette, as well as newly opened outlets like Pitchstop and Vannar. Food Connection, at North Spine, is home to the much sought after Indonesia stall, the Ayam Padang being every student’s favorite. Indian food is best enjoyed with Mango Lassi at
Canteen 11, while waffles at Canteen 2 are the ideal breakfast. Bubble Tea at Canteen B or a cup of sinful latte at Starbuck is always a go to for students who want to grab a drink after a day’s hard work.
Essentials Previously the Nanyang Supermarket at Hall of Residence 2 and the Grocer’s in the Staff Complex proved to be the solution for last minute stationary or grocery requirements, or even a great way place to grab a snack, if one is burning the midnight oil at NTU. Recently, however, both stores have been directed to discontinue. Hence students seeking quick-fixes will now need to venture off-campus for their basic needs. Among the few convenient options are Fairprice located at Jurong Point Shopping Centre, or even Sheng Siong at Jalan Bahar, which is a stone’s throw away from NTU. While Fairprice has anything you could ask for, ranging from cosmetics, toiletry supplies, and electrical appliances to food, dairy and other kitchen necessities, Sheng Siong offers all the basic amenities at extremely reasonable prices. To make your NTU journey
more memorable, it is highly important to strike a balance between work and recreation. The first year is filled with exciting discoveries both within the campus and around Singapore. The subsequent years help one to mature and provide the exposure that is highly essential for the all-round development of students. Once you embark on this phase of your life, you will soon find yourself in your final year, looking for the perfect job, or working hard for a Master’s Degree in your dream university. NTU is a great stepping stone for a bright future, enabling students to make the most of the peak time of their lives. Books for core and elective modules as well as lecture notes and tutorial supplies are available on campus itself. The Lee Wee Nam library has affordable options for printing, binding and scanning while the Yunnan Book Store is your one stop shop for all you academic needs. Books on every imaginable topic can be found at the Lee Wee Nam Library, the Business Library, HSS Library or even the Chinese Library. Bookworms are spoilt for choice at NTU. Bon Voyage!
9 BeenThere DoneThat Jewels of wisdon from your seniors on how to survive and thrive in your frshman year at NTU “For the first few months, my perception of living on campus was unrestrained freedom. I learnt the hard way that one needs to be wary of the obligations and responsibilites that come with independent living.”
Anabelle Kwok Year 2, SPMS “Initially, one feels homescick but you can get through it with the help of your new friends. I met my best friend of NTU.”
Irina Alam Year 2, EEE “Academics is not the only priority. Always explore beyond the scope of your curriculum, increase your soial circle, and leverage on the university platform.”
Gabriel Lim Year 2, MSE
“The guidance of professors and tutors to be coupled with pendent and regular learning.”
your need indeself-
Yingjie Choon Year 2, SPMS “If you don’t want to get lost in NTU, check the lesson venue well before hand and carefully follow the NTU map on your way to class.”
Photos | JCRC (FOC) Publicity Committees
Hou Peiyu PHOTOJeroelle | hdptcar, Flickr Commons
you are here
thetr bune send in your applications at firstname.lastname@example.org.
writers | editors | layout | art | photography | IT | distribution
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
Another Giant Leap for Mankind
The tab of the future
The implications of NASA’s recent successful Mars landing Shreya Sharma of scientific and surveillance
n March 2009, NASA held a contest to name its latest Mars rover in development. The name, Curiosity, was suggested by a 12 year old girl in Kansas because as she said, “curiosity is the passion that drives us through our everyday lives”. On 6th August 2012, this rover successfully landed in the Gale crater on Mars. Over three million people tuned in online to watch the landing, which had been dubbed “Seven Minutes of Terror” due to the significant risk of failure. Mars landings have a meager 30 percent rate of success and yet, Curiosity not only landed on mark but has begun a trek across the terrain of Red Planet, collecting geological samples and transmitting high resolution pictures and videos. Even though unmanned landings on Mars have been successfully executed in the past with Spirit and Opportunity, Curiosity is more than twice the size of the previous rovers and carries a more sophisticated arsenal
equipment. With the aim to closely study the geography, climate and biosignature of Mars, Curiosity is the part of a larger NASA project titled Mars Science Laboratory that looks to determine the role of water in Mars’ evolution and if human exploration of the planet could be possible in the future. The Curiosity landing is an example of human engineering and ingenuity and overall the human spirit, persisting through enormous setbacks and going through (literal) colossal lengths to discover the mysteries of the universe. Whether or not life ever existed on Mars or if the extraction of oil is possible from the planet is still to be determined. But one thing is for sure- this rover will provide useful insights to the scientific community to better help understand the origin of life here on Earth and maybe answer the question that has science nerds debating all over the world – are we alone in the universe?
Google reveals the abundant features in its new tablet Swarnima Korde
he Google Nexus branch has launched its first tablet in the market, the Nexus 7. With the Nexus 7 comes the much awaited Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Facing its straight competitors, the iPad, the 7” galaxy tab 2, and probably even the Kindle fire, the Nexus 7 emerges victorious with the plethora of features it offers and a ridiculously unbelievable price tag. Will it wipe out the competition? Or get wiped out in the process? For just $199, many are willing to bet on the former. The Nexus 7 is one of few quad core tablets out there, and the very first 7” quad core tablet. Running Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chipset, the Nexus 7 guarantees the processing power required
for work and entertainment. If speed is what you prefer, this tablet’s for you. Some people may frown upon its smaller 7” screen as compared to the larger 10” screens of its competitors. However, others may actually prefer the portability offered. The screen has a WXGA resolution, which easily gets washed out compared to the iPad’s retina display or the dark blacks in the AMOLED technology. The camera section disappoints, as it doesn’t have a primary camera. It’s equipped with a 1.2 MP front facing camera for applications like Skype. The Nexus 7 is built to last. The textured back ensures that you have a good grip on the device and it feels good in the hands. Consumers get to pick between 16/32 GB of
space for their Nexus 7, which is decent enough for storing a wide selection of songs and movies. The battery life of the Nexus 7 is good and this could be the factor of consideration for many. So as the Nexus 7 marches along with its army of features, it holds the capability to win this ‘war of the tablets’. An all time access to the 2nd biggest appstore – the Google Play Store - ensures that you won’t run out of software. As they say, with great power comes great responsibility; can the Nexus 7 hold up the responsibility of pushing the Nexus line forward? Leading the Nexus team, The Google Nexus 7 is up for grabs. The big question is - is it the device you were looking for? Only time will tell.
Fifth TimesThe Charm Will it lead to Apple’s complete dominance in the Smartphone Industry? Kaustav Chaudhuri
PHOTOS | Flickr Commons
hey say September 12 is the day the world will witness the start of the biggest Smartphone battle, as Apple is scheduled to launch iPhone5 or “the new iPhone”. The Smartphone battle moves to a new dimension as Apple’s iOS 6, Google’s Android Jelly Bean and Microsoft’s Windows 8 Smartphone OS face off. Apple is notoriously well known to associate new products with extreme secrecy. The new iPhone equipped with the new IOS 6, is no different, and when it enters this world, it will make the wait worthwhile. Just when everyone thought Samsung’s S3 powered by Android was the thing to have, Apple decided to quell the S3’s
rise by preponing the iPhone’s release date and incorporating highly sophisticated changes in the functionality, aiming to set a standard. The time for release couldn’t have been better for Apple after recently winning the Billion dollar lawsuit against Samsung, which used Android, who were found guilty of copying Apple’s innovative technology to create the iPad and the iPhone. Apple hasn’t divulged exact details for the iPhone5 yet, but the features we can expect from the new iPhone are certainly ones to watch out for. The new iPhone is expected to come in a metal casing and will be using “Liquidmetal” technology (lighter with a glass finish), but thinner and a much sleeker
design. It is actually aiming to become the world’s thinnest Smartphone. Moving ahead of the A5 processor used in the iPhone 4S, Apple might go for the A5x/A6 Processor with quad core capabilities. Apple also plans to have a fresh interface for its OS firmware IOS. Next, the speech recognition software – Siri, would be replaced by an advanced version which would tackle advanced language supportability. Additionally, the iPhone 5 would not depend on Google Maps for navigation as Apple has developed its own Map service for IOS. So, there is a lot to look forward to, till then - “Keep Calm and Wait for September.”
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
Wake Me Up When September Ends?
Jayanti Basu Roy
F1 Singapore Grand Prix Dates: 21st to 23rd September
After an extremely successful debut last year, the Formula One is back to take Singapore by surprise. The world’s first F1 night race, that never fails to enthrall it spectators, comes with great promises of an entertaining adrenaline pumping race on the iconic Marina Bay street circuit and several live shows by world renowned performers. A single racing ticket, brings with it ten hours of high speed action at the race as well as electrifying performances by the highly popular multiple Grammy award winning American rock band, Maroon 5, the global superstar and talented singer, Katy Perry and much more. Being Asia’s largest sports event, the Grand Prix is the highlight of September. Tickets for sale at: www.singaporegp.sg
Ingrid Michaelson [LIVE] Dates: 10th September, 2012
This New York based Indie-Pop singer-songwriter has carved a niche for herself in the music industry. Her music is a household name when it comes to popular American television series like Grey’s Anatomy, Bones and The Vampire Diaries. Her recently released number, “Human Again” has been very well received the world over and she continues to top Billboard sales charts. Her live performance at Esplanade Concert Hall is an avenue for this new found talent to reach out to those who swear by the quirky and unique flavor of her songs. Tickets for sale at: www.sistic.com.sg
Singapore Mid-Autumn Festival Dates: 11th September to 10th October, 2012
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also called the Mooncake or Lantern Festival, is a traditional harvest festival that is celebrated annually by the Chinese on the fifteenth day of the eighth Chinese lunar month. Visitors can join in a majestic mass lantern walk along the streets of Chinatown, which will be adorned with lights and buzzing with activity. Several stalls at the bazaar will be selling delicious traditional treats like mooncakes, pomelos, a wide range of teas and other festive delights. Night time performances at Chinatown are always a great crown puller as they feature vibrant cultural performances by artist from China and South Korea. Lantern making and painting competition allure creative minds to this festival too. For more details, visit: www.chinatownfestivals.sg
Last Chance to Attend Harry Potter Dates: 11th September to 10th October, 2012
The end of September will bid adieu to an artistic phenomenon that has quickly become one of Singapore’s most popular attractions. The Harry Potter Exhibition, held in the Art Science Museum at Marina Bay Sands, has done a splendid job in recreating the magical world of witchcraft and wizardry. For one last time this month, the Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room, and Hagrid’s Hut beckon Harry Potter fans to come experience the wonder that is Hogwarts. This popular rendition of J.K. Rowling’s iconic book series ends its four month journey in Singapore on the 30th of September.
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
Your Job App List
The Tribune team helps you out with a checklist of some of the most popular companies for Singapore grads:Banking, Insurance & Financial Services
FMCG and Pharmaceutical
Engineering and Manufacturing
Logistics, Transport & Supply-Chain
American Express AIA Aviva AXA Insurance BAML Barclays Capital Barclays Wealth Bloomberg BNP Paribas CIMB Bank Citibank Commerzbank Credit Suisse DBS Bank Deutsche Bank General Insurance Association of Singapore GIC Goldman Sachs Great Eastern HSBC ING J.P.Morgan Manulife Financial Maybank Morgan Stanley Nomura NTUC Income OCBC Bank Phillip Securities Prudential Rothschild Royal Bank of Scotland Société Générale Singapore Exchange State Street Corporation Standard Chartered Bank UBS United Overseas Bank Visa
Accenture Apple Autodesk Capgemini Cisco Systems eBay Facebook Fujitsu Gemalto Google HP IBM Intel Meltwater Microsoft Nokia Oracle Symantec
Abbott Baxter British American Tobacco Coca-Cola Colgate-Palmolive F&N GlaxoSmithKline Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Kraft L’Oreal Merck Nestle Novartis PepsiCo Pfizer Procter & Gamble (P&G) Reckitt Benckiser Unilever
3M ABB Airbus Canon Daimler General Electric Hitachi Micron Mitsubishi Electric Panasonic Philips Electronics Rolls Royce Samsung Schlumberger Seagate Sembcorp Siemens Sony ST Microelectronics Toshiba
Changi Airport Group DHL Federal Express Maersk TNT UPS
Accounting and Financial Management Baker Tilly Citco Deloitte Ernst & Young KPMG Kroll Moore Stephens Nexia TS PricewaterhouseCoopers
Oil and Gas Oil & Gas BP Chevron ExxonMobil Shell
Consulting and Market Research Bain & Company Boston Consulting Group Frost & Sullivan Gallup IBM IMS Health Ipsos Kantar Group McKinsey & Company Mercer Monitor Group Olivery Wyman Synovate The Nielsen Company Towers Watson
Disclaimer: The author and the newspaper are in no way affiliated to any company or industry. This is purely a list of places to apply according to the author’s own opinion, compiled from various sources.
On the 13th of September, 43 year and a talking dog were mashed tog consumed in the writerâ€™s room, Sco mainstream genre of cartoons that of this art form, though, the cartoon comes the huge industries of comic
| the makeover
Traditional childhood cartoons Jerry art, lazily animated Loone nology, animation and visual de the Little Mermaid, or the Empe and absolutely stunning Brave. ised the earlier animated movie lently drawn characters and ba
| the grey cell fodde
Cartoons are getting smarter. C googly eyes or coyotes with th have evolved to creative, differ tance to animation. Channels s achieved huge viewership num Dog, for example, has a morbid children. Cartoons have sneake line content. Mainstream anima heroine-centric movie that did
| the anime explosion
To all anime fans, letâ€™s first get cartoon. Now that thatâ€™s dealt w genres that currently exist. Man fans, comic-cons in most parts drama, comedy. You name it, a onball-Z, Sailor Moon, Naruto o its own version of the other ma
| the web kids
Online cartoons are gathering m Youtube movies, web-series, a xkcd, Pearls Before Swine: the to publish books and produce Mark Fiore cartoons, and the A are created by independent pro hundreds of webcomics that ar Garfield Minus Garfield.
rtoons that once were
rs ago, one of the most iconic figures of classic television debuted on air. A formulaic ensemble cast of misfits, a questionably unsafe station wagon, gether, and Scooby Doo was born. Battling obstacles such as the suspicions of the entire show being a product of copious amounts of narcotics being ooby Doo grew on to become one of the longest running, most viewed children’s cartoon shows. It quickly assumed role of the poster-dog for that t included the creations of masterminds such as Walt Disney, Charles Schultz, William Hanna, and Joseph Barbera, among others. From the genesis n has mutated significantly - and often, unrecognizably. The ‘cartoon’, in it’s myriad of forms now, is at best a loosely general term: under its umbrella cs, anime, manga, animation, and countless other sub-industries. How is the quintessential cartoon mutating?
were conceptually adept, but visually, not so much. This did, however, contribute to the charm of old cartoons: scratchy Tom and ey Tunes that had suspiciously still characters that only moved select body parts at most times. But with the improvement of techesign have gone from improved, to revolutionary, to simply gorgeous. Take Disney, for example. Old-school gems such as Tarzan, eror’s New Groove, bear little or no resemblance to the lush, fluid design of newer movies such as Finding Nemo, Up, or the recent . Pixar creations such as Wall-E come close to achieving visual perfection: there is not hint of the muted, primitive art that charactere genre. Innovation, too, exists in modern animated cartoons: Kung Fu Panda and ParaNorman, for example, depict intricate, excelackdrops.
Children’s cartoons, too, have a measure of intelligence and developed humor: it’s been a while since feline pursuits of mice or he lifetime ambition of running after large birds, has provided sufficient entertainment for the new generation of viewers. Cartoons rent, and occasionally groundbreaking realms of story-telling: the script-writing process has slowly and finally achieved equal imporsuch as Nickelodeon feature clever, well-made cartoons: Jimmy Neutron, Spongebob, Fairly Oddparents and other such shows have mbers. Cartoon Network, too, has gradually developed to feature cartoons with admittedly unique content: Courage the Cowardly dly frightening allure that makes it both fascinating to watch, and confusing to imagine as a show that was intentionally made for ed outside the world of film and television in the form of political, social expression in newspapers, or independently produced onated movies are evolving into sub-genres that deviate from the formulaic Disney cliches: recent movies such as Brave (Disney’s first not revolve around the annoyingly handsome prince) depict a refreshing change.
this out of the way: yes, anime is a genre of it’s own, and no, I will not commit murderous blasphemy by assuming it’s the same as a with: manga and anime are two monstrous genres that have a larger, more dedicated fanbase than most of the drawn/animated art nga, as drawn art, and anime, as it’s film/television counterpart, have spawned the likes of movie franchises, communities of rabid s of the world, and a constantly growing, evolving pool of sub-categories. Anime literally has something for everyone: fantasy, sci-fi, and anime undoubtedly has a large-headed, big-eyed version of it. Popular products of mainstream anime such as Pokemon, Dragor Bleach have their own sub-industries for merchandize, anime conventions, and the like. Not surprisingly, anime has even inspired assive entertainment industry: porn. Hentai, which is anime porn, has it’s own industry of creators, animators, and viewers.
momentum and fan-base: there are a huge number of web-based comics, cartoons, and video animation in the form of blogs, and independently produced online comics. Certain artists are already hugely successful: The Oatmeal, Cyanide and Happiness, ese are just a few examples of independent artists and writers who created online content, gathered large fan-bases, and moved on related merchandise. Youtube is a platform for budding cartoonists too: Happy Tree Friends, Apocalypse Cartoons, Making Fiends, Angry Alien series are other examples of hilariously novel online cartoons: they range from the absurd to the perversely funny, and oducers who draw, animate and conceptualize their own comics. The world of web-comics is staggeringly large: there are literally re buried under the more popular ones, that range from humor, blog illustrations about the mundane, or quirky concepts such as
PHOTO | Brun23, Flickr Commons CONTENT/DESIGN | Abha Apte
16 entertainment watch
It is more convenient. I do not have to stare at my laptop during lectures waiting for someone to drop courses anymore.
I donâ€™t like the new system of having a waiting list. It is hard to get electives of my choice.
I think the new system is better for those who do not like refreshing their computer screens all day.
The new system makes it easier to add courses but it is uncertain because you canâ€™t get to know if you have got the course till the end of the day.
I think the new system is fairer than the previous system.
Chai Pei SCBE Year 4
Zhang Yabee CEE Year 3
Lin Xiao Qian NBS Year 2
Dorothy SCE Year 3
Daryl HSS Year 2
| new add/drop
Is the new registration system during add/drop better than the previous one?
| new HALLS
What do you have to say about the new halls announced recently? The new halls are amazing. This move will benefit many NTU students.
The new halls seem great, but will not benefit me as I will have graduated by then.
Tan Qian Yi CBC Year 4
The administration is doing a very good job by proposing to build new halls of residence, which is the need of the hour.
Choi Cheng Yang MAE Year 4
I am eagerly waiting for the new halls to come up. Hopefully, no one will have to squat in future.
The halls seem good. They will definitely ease the accommodation shortage problem NTU students face.
Jeremy Tan CE Year 2
Shruti SPMS Year 2
Do you feel elections are a fair way of choosing your student representatives? The student representatives have done a good job. So, I think elections are definitely helpful in choosing good people.
Some of the representatives have done a good job. But, I still feel the elections are not the best way to go about choosing our representatives.
I feel that Student Union elections are based on popularity, but if those people work, then I see no problem with the present system.
Our student representatives have definitely done a good job. Nevertheless, I feel they should reach out to more people during their rallies.
JC NBS Year 2
Kar Weng WKWSCI Year 3
Rakhi Singh CS Year 2
John CE year 2
Naing Mech Year 4
I think Student Union has done a good job so far to meet the needs of the students. But the student elections are not a fair way of deciding and are based simply on popularity.
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
An examination of the socio-cultural phenomenon surrounding the indie scene. How does Singapore fare in the independantly produced media field? What makes mainstream art, and what propels indie artists into anti-conformist expression? How does the hipster sub-culture feed off the indie scene, and do hipsters glasses contain the secret ability to see invisible unicorns?
While mainstream media is more concerned with making audiences empty their pockets to fund car explosions and scantily clad chicks (think Transformers), independently funded movies survive on a low-budget, trusting characters that embody both randomness and awesomeness to attract viewers and boost sales. Quirky stories get the audience going and kids, that’s what you call word-of-mouth marketing. The relative non-reliance on audience support to recapture the budget allows these makers to take risks and not smoother moviegoers with more conventional family dramas, teenage love triangles and superheroes saving the day. Indie bands form a confusing mish-mash of the broke but talented, the Nietzsche-quoting pretentious hippies, the horrifyingly off-key with confusing stage names, and the rare artists that break through into the mainstream, and are hence shunned forever. | “Fan”-fare These independent movies and bands generally build a core audience around them that feels a sense of ownership with the creators because for a pop culture enthusiast, discovering a good band or movie and showing it to people (alternatively, shoving it in their faces) is equivalent to helping them become big. Nerds or the “geek chic” look down on the masses that eat up billboard hits and packaged celebrities. The undying cult fan following, that feels intellectually superior to everyone else, rejects the famous and embraces the obscure. What everyone forgets is that almost every piece of culture starts off as “indie”, until it hits the so-called tipping point and gets an avid fan following that swears by it’s genius and more importantly, wears the band t-shirt. That’s when a big label swoops in and forces them to sell out.
| To Be or Not To Be, That is the Irony Indie culture has always defined what’s hot and what’s not. And that’s where hipsters come in. Hipsters take it to the next level by taking the mainstream norms and doing the exact opposite. A subculture spanning skinny jeans clad lean guys, guzzling only local brews and condemning anything that is recognized by more than a few hundred people. Hipsters get a lot of hate for saying things like “I liked them before they became mainstream.” But honestly, most bands do lose the authentic sound when pressured by record labels to appeal to everyone from six to sixty. A vast majority of hipsters though are the ones mindlessly worshipping bands unheard of and subscribing to the ones that are hideously mainstream (ironically, of course). See a hipster wearing a Friends or a Backstreet Boys t-shirt? He’s doing it ironically.
| It’s Too Mainstream To Be Mainstream Speaking of irony, the most ironic thing about hipsters is their conformity in being non-conformist. They have the inherent need to not bend to mainstream conventions. And yet, the word “hipster” inspires a standard image of a guy with thick black specs and a witty t-shirt. The paradox comes from the fact that the label hipster has created it’s own niche, instead of staying away from a typecast definition. So, do you want to be a hipster? A “true” hipster would just wear what he thinks is cool. He would not be the one tearing down posters of his favourite band when it explodes into the scene. He would truly not care instead of just trying to look like he doesn’t. He would also never ever ever admit to being a hipster.
PHOTOS | Flickr Commons SECTION CONTENT | Abha Apte, Shreya Sharma
18 features how conformist is it
The confusing cycle of a phenomenon that loops back upon itself: the dilemma of the obscure and the mainstream.
| What Maketh The Machine? Here’s the average life-cycle of your typical indie product, irrespective of whether it is film, or music. This explanation is conducted under the following assumptions: the product in question is reasonably good, the makers possess the ideal combination of talent and pennilessness, and the entire package is wrapped up in a strictly anti-mainstream agenda. Let’s take your hypothetical band, Exhibit A. Exhibit A is typically composed of a dishevelled, plaid sporting band of broody musicians. The broodiness is accompanied by sufficient quantities of talent, stage presence, and edgy anti-conformity. Anti-conformity to what, exactly, needs not be specified; often patchy facial hair and skinny jeans do the trick. Exhibit A, after performing in a considerable number of questionable dives and college festivals, gathers a sufficient fan-base. The ‘sufficient’ in question is a number that is strictly between the threshhold values of Unknown to Accepted Indie. If this numerical constraint is satisfied, Exhibit A is now officially on the circuit, ready to gather groupies who sniff it out with their skilled, hipster-bloodhound olfactory senses. Up until this point, it’s been all sunshine and daisies for Exhibit A. However, black, black doom now follows. As Exhibit A gains fans, and starts getting gigs at venues that have fewer roaches and more people, whispered word spreads around the indie fan community, much like when the bubonic plague first began spreading. As the word spreads, unrest builds up more and more untill it finally explodes, bursting through the thin foundations of the hipster code. The dreaded question finally has a new answer: “Oh, you’ve never heard of them?” “Yes. Yes I have.” The horrific pulsating of the Curse That Is Fame silently resounds, as every hipster within a two-mile radius automatically curls their lips, shunning Exhibit A in all its newly mainstream appeal.
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
FESTIVALTRACKER Sundance is probably the biggest film festival that exclusively caters to independent filmmakers, both American and international. Held annually in Utah, this festival serves its primary purpose pretty well: digging up unknown, talented work, occasionally generating awards buzz. With the evolution of this festival, though, Sundance too has fallen into the circular spiral of indie to mainstream progression. The festival has changed over the decades from a low-profile venue for small-budget, independent creators from outside the Hollywood system to a extravaganza for Hollywood celebrity actors, paparazzi, and luxury lounges set up by companies not affiliated with Sundance. Festival organizers have tried maintaining the exclusive vibe of Sundance, with their ongoing “Focus On Film” campaign. After the big fish that is Sundance, there are other festivals that are either smaller in scale, or intended for various genres apart from indie cinema, too. Notable international examples are The Toronto International Film Festival: Toronto has a huge underground independent media industry, and is known to provide platforms for music and movies facing budget and visibility issues. TIFF is often the source of obscure indie cinema that goes on to snowball and gather buzz for bigger awards. Smaller, regional film festivals in London, Adelaide, Atlanta, and Boston, too, are specifically geared towards showcasing local independent cinema. In the local scene, there’s the obvious: the Singapore International Film Festival. Originally launched as a platform for independent filmmakers, this festival has a sizeable number of low-budget indie productions, many of which include lesser known local talent. The huge number of independent and non-commercial films now showcased at this annual festival has won it worldwide recognition by film critics for its focus on Asian filmmakers and promotion of neglected Southeast Asian films. Increasingly, international critics attend this festival too to check out Asia’s new talent. In music, the indie label leads a movement large enough to have a huge number of music festivals that only showcase independent - and more often than not, local - talent. International film festivals such as the CMJ Music Marathon, Hopscotch, Pitchfork, Bestival, Culture Collide, 30A Songwriters’ Festival, and Indie Week Canada, Coachella, Glastonbury and SXSW, amongst others, have transcended local boundaries to churn out a huge number of international fans too, who fly down annually to check out regional talent. Due to the nature of their increasing popularity, these festivals have been receiving attention from a more mainstream fan-base too, with bigger international acts opening for smaller indie performers, drawing criticism. But the same has also caused a lot of these smaller musicians to eventually be discovered and signed on by established record labels. The local indie scene is still growing: major Singaporean music festivals still feature mainly recognizable local talents, leaving fewer platforms for independent, low-budget performers to gain audiences. Concerts such as Singapop!, for example, feature artists such as Olivia Ong, John Molina, and others, who pretty much conform to mainstream music tastes with their already firm recognition in the local music scene. Bands in the league of, say, the Oddfellows or Concave Scream, which are more of hipster-fodder, are yet to gain significant recognition from local music festivals. Baybeats, though, is promising: it is increasing in scale, audiences and performing talent every year. Baybeats has been instrumental in actively signing up mostly unknown yet talented local bands and musicians, and is now probably the most commonly know festival to scope out new indie talent scoring their first major gigs.
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
The Ostracism Of
the newly mainstream
the hipster paradox
Perfectly good bands have lost their initial fanbases, just because they became famous. Did they get bad because they got lazy, or were they just demoted to the bottom of the anti-mainstream sub-genre? “mindie”: urban lingo for indie gone mainstream Whether the criticism that a band gets for ‘selling out’ is justified or not, several performers have seen a plummeting of reviews as soon as they hit semi-stardom. In some cases, this is almost justified: once signed to a major record label, small-time bands tend to get confident and lazy, and start conforming to popular demand.
Bands like Modest Mouse gathered a selective, yet strong fanbase when they were just starting out. A couple of albums and a major record deal later, they started facing the typical accusations of ‘selling out’. Similarly, bands like Arcade Fire, and Sonic Youth, all suffered the same road blocks. In a different, folksier, more mellow genre, the Ting Tings, Passion Pit, Belle and Sebastian, and Imogen Heap experienced the same peak-and-dip.
Where there’s indie culture, there are packs of hipsters. Or at least, that’s how it began. Now, hipsters can be found in a multitude of places, without any discernable rhyme or reason, and understanding the complexities of this snowballing phenomenon is a highly intricate procedure. Much like, say, brain surgery, rocket science, or cloning extinct dinosaurs. Fun fact: there’s actually a Hipster Olympics, that started in 2012, held in Berlin. Watch the hipsters indulge in sufficiently pretentious sports! As for hipsters in other walks of life, let’s attempt to begin by first surveying a hipster in its natural habitat. | Look Out For The Obvious, First How do you spot a hippo in a colony of baby rabbits? You look for the very large, very non-fluffy creature, and if it is not a nearby rock, it is a nearby hippo. Similarly, the first step to identifying a hipster is scanning your surroundings for obvious signs. The typical hipster will sport a look that suggests she/he woke up in the morning, rolled around in a tub of glue, jumped into a homeless person’s closet , and walked out with whatever stuck. Remember, do not attempt to understand the logic behind a hipster’s clothing: there will be 30’s bowler hats, with 70’s pinstriped pants, polkadots, suspenders, and an astronaut suit to wrap it all up. Okay, so that last one hasn’t happened yet, but it might as well. If your eyes well up with the pain of your retinas scarring, do not fear: a hipster’s weapon of choice is irony, and any accidental fashion hideousness can be explained away, ironically. | Bait Them For Faster Results
One of the most brilliant bands to have emerged in the last couple of years in Bon Iver: unfortunately, they lasted barely a year in the hazy, safe area of indie obscurity before won a Grammy: an award that was as good as a good-bye to their indie roots. Lead singer Justin Vernon seemed to think as much, with his anti-Grammy rant: “98 percent of the people in that room, their art is compromised.”
Been waiting in the bushes with your night vision goggles for hours without any results? Fear not, for if you cannot get to the hipsters, you can make the hipsters come to you. Hipsters harbour a primal fear of all things mainstream, such as Green Day, romantic comedies, monotone clothing, and Starbucks. You can use this to your advantage: walk into a room containing suspected hipsters, reading a John Grisham book, possible humming Coldplay, and watch how there is instant mass hysteria. For best results, attempt to confuse the hipster target with something like, ‘Oh, I met the Spice Girls when I was knitting mittens for impoverished walruses in Woodstock, right after my month long hunger strike in support of healthcare benefits for blue whales”. As they struggle with this paralyzing confusion of deciding what to sneer at and what to approve of, you can yank out your supersized butterfly net and trap your temporarily immobile hipster. | How To Escape An Angry Hipster
Sigur Ros is another example of a band retaining its brilliant performance even through the haze of the international spotlight. Not all bands treat fame with reluctance, though: AFI, Dream Theatre, Foster the People, DCFC are all examples of bands who’ve noticeable suffered a creative decline after achieving fame.
The hipster wrath is easy to awaken, as the hipster brain is actually a data-processing machine that records minute mentions of conformity, and triggers a subsequent violent reaction. Have you recently angered a hipster? Were you perhaps caught with a Linkin Park album, or were you unable to answer the single most dreaded hipster question: “Haven’t you ever heard of (insert obscure and possible non-existent band here)?” Do not panic, and do not run. If you run, the hipster may chase you on a unicycle or a fuel efficient scooter and force you to listen to discussions of nihilism, set against vinyl recordings of them gently playing the ukulele. You must keep calm. Remember: while a hipster’s greatest strength is irony, it is also his greatest weakness. Toss out something like,”I couldn’t help but realize how Passion Pit lyrically mirrors The Wanted, in a way that represents an existential conundrum to audiences who favor the Jersey Shore”. Now, sit back and watch as this nonsensical statement triggers fatal inner turmoil: how ironic is too ironic? And then, your hipster will spontaneously combust in a puff of exploding black glasses and Converse low-tops.
STEP UP WITH GEM AND WIN IN LIFE! Embark on a global journey of self discovery with an outbound mobility programme. Visit the Office of Global Education and Mobility (OGEM) for details.
Apply for GEM Discoverer Prelude in late September. Also, learn more about our latest destination â€“ Turkey!
thetr UP bune STEP WITH GLOBAL EDUCATION AND features 21 MOBILITY (GEM) PROGRAMMES SEPTEMBER 2012
In this global age, the ability to traverse different sociocultural terrains with ease is an asset. One of NTU’s focus areas is to expand opportunities for its students to become global citizens by working hand-in-hand with some of the best international partner universities and organisations. The Office of Global Education and Mobility (OGEM), previously known as the International Relations Office (IRO), was set up with the mission to offer high quality international learning and immersion opportunities. It aims to help raise the student participation rate of the graduating cohort to 70 percent and does this through various outbound student mobility initiatives under GEM Discoverer and GEM Explorer.
Step Up with GEM Explorer GEM Explorer, formerly known as INSTEP and GIP Study, promotes active experiential learning through semester-long exchanges in an overseas partner institution. It enables one to experience life and studies in a foreign country whilst earning academic units at the same time. Prestigious names like Purdue University (USA), IIT-Bombay (India), Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China), McGill University (Canada) and the Technical University of Munich (Germany) are amongst more than 150 partner universities spanning across more than 25 countries.
Gear Up with GEM Discoverer Encompassing programmes formerly under GIP and with the addition of Global Summer Studies, GEM Discoverer offers enriching, customised short-term overseas programmes (ranging from 2 weeks to 22 weeks) that aim to enhance cross-cultural intelligence and global exposure. Depending on the preference for length and style of learning, undergraduates can choose from: Work & Study: Offered in collaboration with NTU’s Career & Attachment Office, this programme combines an impactful 12- or 22-week internship with a partner corporation and studies at a local university in China, India or Vietnam. Research: Students pursue an enriching 10- or 22- week research attachment at a partner university in Europe. Like NTU,
these universities occupy the forefront of R&D in their respective fields and are committed to improving societies through scientific and technological breakthroughs. Prelude: Conducted during the 2 school vacation periods, Prelude is a 2-week programme that provides insights into the culture, economy and society of key Asian cities and other emerging markets. Classroom lessons and educational visits specially designed in conjunction with leading partner universities and theme based programmes add to the appeal.
The main advantage of GEM Explorer is that it gives students the opportunity to explore diverse cultures, broaden their leaning experience as well as develop a global perspective academically, culturally and socially. Students who successfully complete the programme will earn academic units that count towards graduation, receive a transcript from the host university as well as be awarded a Certificate of Achievement from NTU. For more updates and information, please visit www.ntu.edu.sg/GEM-Explorer
Summer Studies: Held during the summer vacation, undergraduates have the opportunity to study in prestigious universities in global cities such as San Francisco, Sydney and Seoul and deepen their understanding of world cultures. To find out more details, please visit www.ntu.edu.sg/GEM-Discoverer.
“To succeed in the new global marketplace, students need to acquire a cosmopolitan mindest and must be prepared to meet the challenges of working with people of different nationalities and expertise. In the new world economy, top talents who have skills, experience and knowledge that transcend borders will be highly sought after by employers.” Prof Er Meng Hwa Vice President (International Affairs)
“Going to Sweden was a milestone. I learnt how to be more independent; organising my finances, meals and chores. I also made many friends as Halmstad University has a lot of exchange students from international backgrounds. Till now, I still keep in touch with the friends I have made whilst on exchange. The entire experience of living in Europe and immersing myself in their culture and lifestyle is truly an invigorating highlight.” Yuslina Binte Abdul Aziz GEM Explorer, Halmstad University, Sweden “India is incredibly rich in what it has to offer. Studying, working and living in this country will upset some of your preconceived notions but it will most definitely reward you with newfound admiration for the nation’s pride, fighting spirit and loyalty displayed in a colourful splash. The 6-month experience has left me yearning for more and I will most definitely revisit this land of treasures and opportunities.” Khoo Fang Xuan GEM Discoverer Work & Study, India
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
5 Reasons Why Toddlers and Tiaras Is Totally Terrifying (But You Won’t Be Able To Stop Watching) Toddlers and Tiaras has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons for quite a while, whether it be for showcasing a three year old contestant as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman or for a four year old “smoking” a fake cigarette on stage. Showcasing beauty pageants for children in the US, Toddlers and Tiaras is as amusing as it is troubling. So what makes this show so entertaining?
Pushing the Boundaries of Ridiculous Toddlers and Tiaras is a show that goes out of its way to sensationalize and showcase extreme unusual behaviour. Judges critiquing the personalities of toddlers. Swimsuits rounds for 5 year olds. Requiring fake tans for all children in glitz pageants. Moms feeding small children countless energy drinks to “pep them up” for stage. Need I go on?
Money, Money, Money The money spent on the pageants is ridiculously huge. In fact, most moms do not like to estimate the amount of money spent on the fancy dresses and fake nails and spray tans, preferring to live in denial. However, one can estimate a cost of 2000 USD for a single pageant. The prizes are equally jaw dropping too with pageants with prizes as high as 10,000 USD. Now that’s some incentive!
Sassy Kids Are Fabulous Most of the kids on the show have been in pageants since they were a few months old. Living in the obviously grown-up environment makes for interesting personalities. Every episode comes with a heavy helping of brats and divas. A particularly sassy child once told the interviewer to not make her go “all ghetto on him”.
What NOT To Do As A Parent Toddlers and Tiaras is a ready-made guide for parenting no-nos. Pageant moms insist that they’re encouraging their kids to participate to build self confidence in their kids but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that it’s more about the moms trying to live their lives through their children. Also, “work it smoochie!” is never appropriate to say to your child unless you want them to end up actually working it (on a pole). You’ll Love To Hate It Yes, it is trashy. Yes, it is borderline exploitative. But there is something deliciously awful about Toddlers and Tiaras. The despicable parenting is frustrating but for the most part, it is an interesting insight into how pageants affect families and shape a child’s psyche. So get your tiaras on and tune in!
Martha Marcy May Marlene
The story of a girl that escapes an abusive cult and returns to her family, only to suffer extreme delusions and paranoia. It takes an interesting premise but the pacing is a little bit too slow. The acting deserves a mention with Elizabeth Olsen as the protagonist. The story is unique constantly blurring the line between reality and delusion. There is just enough to keep you glued. Watch it if you’re thirsting for something different. But be warned- the ending might be a little too vague for most people’s liking.
Fun is one of my favourite bands of recent times. Their songs feel like epic anthems and it’s not unfair to say that they resonate the voice of a generation. The lyrical content is also a cut above the usual “club” songs that dominate the charts nowadays. Their chorus hooks are where the magic truly lies. Both their breakout hits, “Some Nights” and “We Are Young”, have beautiful and unique sounds.
It’s difficult to figure out where to start with this show. Every aspect of it is original and groundbreaking – the acting, writing, cinematography and direction are all perfect. A high school chemistry teacher who discovers he has lung cancer and uses his chemistry knowledge to manufacture and distribute meth along with a former student. Now in its final season, Breaking Bad is a show that keeps getting better, adding twists and turns that are solidifying its place as a cult classic.
The Apparition There has been an onslaught of unoriginal horror movies in the past few months and The Apparition is no different. Four students try to recreate an experiment to summon the spirit of a dead man. The cast seems a bit too amateurish and the movie is just plain boring, relying on the same clichés that horror movies have had for years. A critic actually called the trailer for the movie more of a movie than the movie itself.
Hear me out before you turn the page. The baby-faced teen sensation has grown up and his music has matured a good deal. With “Boyfriend” and “As Long As Love Me”, the new singles out from Believe, Bieber displays good vocal chops and the almost annoyingly catchy songs will not leave your head for hours. There is a lot of speculation about Justin Bieber fading away as another teenybopper explodes into the scene but for now, he’s making it obvious that he’s here to stay.
Uglies is set in a dystopian society where after the age of sixteen, all citizens undergo extreme cosmetic surgery to become “Pretties”. It stars Tally, a fiften year old “Ugly”, who gets involved in an undercover government mission. Even though it is a young adult novel, Uglies asks important questions about the right to individual freedom, making it suitable for teenagers and adults alike.
America’s Next Top Model
50 Shades of Grey
This is the one television show that shows no signs of slowing down. While most critics are urging Tyra to retire, she has managed to revamp the show to gain back the freshness that had been lacking in the past few seasons. With new judges and stylists, the show has interestingly incorporated audience participation. The season focuses on college students from over the US and has an interesting cast with the token mean ghetto and pretty blond girls.
I can use four words to describe this overexposed literary phenomenon (if you want to call it that)- much ado about nothing. Starting off as Twilight fanfiction, this novel about a college student, Ana, who is enamored by an enigmatic and enterprising CEO, Christian Grey, is borderline erotica and entirely pointless. The writing can only be described as bad and the characters extremely one-dimensional. The protagonist’s lack of self-respect is almost painful to read.
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
The Colorful Life of an
Thoughts on being an undergraduate in NTU for 2 years
PHOTO | Shubham Goyal
remember someone once told me during my Junior College days that life in university would be a breeze. Sadly, this statement was far from reality. In fact, a gale would have been an apt description in this case. Before matriculation into Nanyang Technological University (NTU), I had envisioned University life to be exciting, enriching and fulfilling and much more. As a final year student at the Nanyang Business school, I can positively say that my two years of University life in NTU so far has unquestionably been a colourful one, certainly not
far from what I envisioned. I am still able to vividly recall the first day of school when my seniors organized orientation events for freshmen to get accustomed to university life. All of us had a fun time taking part in the various activities and games organized as part of the orientation events. Apart from enjoying ourselves, these events also gave us an opportunity to make new friends. I am still in touch with most of them and some of them are people I count among my best friends at NTU. Apart
from looking forward to participating in various club activities here, I keenly looked forward to staying in hall. Numerous seniors and friends had told me about their fun filled and thrilling hall lives which made me decide to stay in hall. Another reason for me to stay in hall was due to sheer convenience, as I resided in the East of Singapore. However, during my second month at hall, I changed my mind about continuing the stay. Indeed, I missed the late night suppers and my hall friends. Moving on, the seemingly never-ending deadlines for
An Open Letter to my
projects, assignments and tutorials have turned me into a nocturnal creature. I soon realized that this was essentially part and parcel of University life, especially for a Business student and got used to this routine soon. Speaking of projects and presentations, it has been my privilege to have the chance to work with various like-minded teammates who shared similar goals and together we put in our best. We worked as well as had fun together and tried to be innovative in our projects. For most of my presentations, I have done role plays to
illustrate my groups’ ideas instead of purely presenting the details of the project to the class. As I reflect back on my 2 years here, I have realized that one requires lots of selfmotivation and diligence in order to succeed in University. A majority of lecturers and tutors are able to incite interest in the students when they teach but students likewise need to put their best foot forward and take the initiative to ask doubts and research beyond their syllabus to make their University life an even more rewarding one.
QUARTER LIFE CRISIS The woes of finding what you love and chasing the dream Shreya Sharma realized how selfish and self putting aside perspective for a Dear Quarter Life Crisis,
’ve struggled a lot writing this letter to you. You’ve been bothering me for days now, reminding me that it’s time to grow up and scaring me quite a bit in the process. This letter was a way for me to get the word out about you. This is a warning to those putting away their Converse and bringing out the sensible heels. It seemed like a good idea at first. But as I was writing this letter and doing my civic duty to my fellow NTU mates, I
centered my letter seemed. My conflicts about this letter arose from a Youtube video. It was a video about the latest news from Egypt with a new president and amidst political turmoil. And I asked myself whether I even had the right to call my coming of age a crisis. An earthquake is a crisis. The democratic situation in Egypt is a crisis. My self-absorbed questions about the purpose of life barely qualify as one. And I realized I needed some perspective. However, they say, “You write best when you write what you know.” So here I am,
while to talk to you. I wonder what the purpose of it all is. If doing a job and helping a big corporation make more money is what I am supposed to do, where does fulfillment come from? A company sponsored charity drive cum branding exercise? That cannot be it. Finding a guy and settling down? That cannot be it either. So what is it? That thing that makes your life feel wholesome and complete. What if I don’t have a dream? And worse, what if I don’t know what it is until it’s too late to come back and redo it all?
Quarter Life Crisis, you came out from nowhere and forced me to think about this and so much more. Whether I will be happy toiling away in the system, or if I’ll need something more. Something that keeps the kid in me alive. Something that lets me stick it to The Man, not be a part of The System. Being the change and not being a cog. Is this usual youthful exuberance that fades away with time? Or something more? Maybe, twenty years from now (if I’m not busy struggling with your big bad brother, Mid Life Crisis), I’ll look back at this and wonder why I was
so hesitant. Maybe I’ll be following my dreams. Maybe I would’ve sold my soul to a bank and not regretted it. I might have joined the UN or started writing the book that’s been in my head for years. As much as I hate you, Quarter Life Crisis, you’ve let me not be complacent. You force me to figure out what is it that will complete the big picture and ask the important questions before time slips by and I sincerely want to thank you for this. Sincerely, Shreya
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
A Tap on the Wrist for the Plagiarist Is it excusable for someone of such repute to get away with plagiarism? Anisha Raina
ournalists are held in very high regard because of the level of discourse that they promote on a daily basis. They are that breed of people, who are responsible for giving us information on a vast variety of topics- right from current affairs to the latest movies and what not. Most people around the world are hugely dependant on them for their daily dose of information. This dependence thus translates to an enormous responsibility to deliver the most honest and sincere attempt to enrich the marketplace of ideas. It is thus shocking when one of the most recognizable faces in the field of journalism, Fareed Zakaria, succumbs to plagiarism. To give perspective on just how reputed he is, he was the managing editor of Foreign affairs magazine, editor of Newsweek, contributing editor and columnist of Time magazine, commentator in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and host of Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN. The
While the COE system has worked well for the past two decades, it requires further tweaks to remain relevant today Shaun Yap
PHOTOS || FLICKR COMMONS
Further Revision Required for the COE System
question then rises that why would anyone of such repute do this? His excuse is that he mistook notes and it was a foolish oversight. However, this still doesn’t explain why his articles on gun control in Time were strikingly similar to an essay in the New Yorker. Nor does it explain the lack of credit to the other writer.
He sets a very bad precedent to the youth, many of whom aspire to be like him What it does show is the sheer complacency that has set in among the top few in the industry. With the repute that he possesses, he sets a very bad precedent to the youth, many of whom aspire to be like him. He has shown that there might be instances when it is “excusable” to copy someone as long as it is an “isolated incident.” The irony
is even greater since he was a member of the Yale board, which is renowned for having a strong stance on this issue. Students get expelled from university for plagiarizing on their assignments. The university takes such a firm stance against plagiarism because there is high regard to the work that one puts forth when one presents their ideas. The fact that he got away with just a slap on the wrist is even more telling. A famous face like his, that often represents what journalism stands for should not be allowed to get away so easily. Letting go of a few responsibilities and leaving the Yale board isn’t enough. At the end of the whole episode, one is compelled to wonder why Jonah Lehrer, a writer who fabricated a few quotes by Bob Marley and reused his own articles needed to resign from his post, while Zakaria just needs to apologize and leave the little Shakespeare company?
ertificate of entitlement (COE) prices have soared to stratospheric heights recently, thanks to the Singapore government’s decision to reduce the supply of COE accreditations in response to an escalating demand for cars. While I agree that the COE scheme has helped to curb demand for cars, thereby easing congestion on Singapore roads somewhat, I believe the root of the problem still remains. Park Byung Joon, an urban transport management expert from UniSIM has suggested that allocating different number of COEs to different income brackets would create social equity, but I believe this would not lead to the desired outcome. Social equity in layman terms means having fair access to resources but allocating different number of COEs to different income brackets defeats the purpose as it would mean those earning more would receive a higher proportion of COEs. I agree with Associate Professor Lee Der Horng, a transport researcher from the National University of Singapore who suggested implementing a separate COE category for luxury cars. However, what is the benchmark for luxury cars? Do we base it on marque or by price? For example, a Nissan GTR costs $468000 compared to a Mercedes C180 which costs $189000 for the base model. Alternatively, the price of COE could be proportional to the base price of the respective vehicle excluding COE, taxes etc. A level playing field will thus be created where it would be fair to assume that one who is able to afford a Ferrari would be able to pay a much higher
COE premium as compared to one who drives a Nissan Sunny. A few other revisions to the scheme which allow greater flexibility for potential and existing car owners should be implemented. As a start, COEs should be allotted to car buyers on a ballot basis instead of consumers bidding for it. The rationale for this is simple. Similar to the present scheme, the government is still able to limit the supply of COEs issued as well as the price of COEs can also be set to a predetermined value for different categories, say $10000 for cars up to 1600cc and $20000 for cars above 1600cc instead of jumping to a whopping amount during bidding. I believe cars will be much more affordable to many people this way. Furthermore, this will diminish the chasm between the rich and poor, leading to a more inclusive society. Indeed, a win-win situation will be achieved as the core objective of the COE scheme is met and cars are also not limited to just wealthy individuals. The government could also implement a pay-asyou-bid system where buyers who bid higher than the average bid prices for the respective categories pay for the amount they proposed. This would allow bidders to be responsible for the amount they bided. The authorities could also consider allowing vehicle owners to extend their vehicle lifespans by paying the price of the COE they had paid on their current vehicles instead of the prevailing quota premiums.
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
Your Friendly Neighbourhood Psychopath Should psychopaths be given a free pass in courts?
Vaishnav Sunil & Shreya Sharma
hat if I tell you that you’ve most probably met a psychopath in your life? If you’re imagining an axewielding murderer lurking in the dark following you, blame Hollywood. The general perception of a psychopath in media and fiction has always
been that of a cold-blooded criminal or a merciless serial killer. For example, Christian Bale in American Psycho or Michael C. Hall in Dexter. A psychopath is depicted as a charming average guy with above average intelligence that seamlessly blends into society but hides darker criminal and in most cases, homicidal intent. However, psychopathy is more complicated than an inherent murderous urge. It is characterized by a lack of empathy, shallow emotions, ease in manipulative behavior and an absence of guilt. In simpler
terms, they are unable to sympathize with or relate to other people. The origin of this personality disorder is a bit of both nature and nurture. In fact, recent studies have shown that Wall Street employees have higher statistics of psychopathy than the normal population. Interestingly, the same trend appears in criminals in jail. Thus, psychopaths can lead ordinary lives.
Depending on a number of external factors, they can either excel in the corporate world and live a fulfilling life or end up in jail. They can also flit around society, using their psychopathy to advance their ends without harming others in the process. When it comes to the justice system, the only mitigating or aggravating factor in the criminal justice system is intent. Intent is what separates a 10-
year sentence for culpable homicide from a death sentence for a cold- blooded murder. In fact, the most frequently used phrases in criminal trials these days are: “pleading temporary insanity” and “dissociative mental state”. Juries and judges never probe into the motivation behind a crime. This implies that it doesn’t matter whether you bombed Shell’s building to protest against harming the environment or for the
sheer joy of it. It is the premeditation that counts while creating legal arguments. Sure, some emotional rhetoric about “noble motivations” might sway some jury members but it has absolutely no legal significance. Although psychopaths may not be able to put themselves
in the victim’s shoes and empathize, there is no disputing the fact that psychopaths know wrong from right. They are also intelligent enough to evaluate the consequences of serial killing or brutal rape. In fact, most have exceptionally high IQs. Most of the times, their intricate planning and destruction of evidence makes them extremely hard to catch. Lot of serial killers like Jack the Ripper were never even
identified, let alone convicted. This means that when psychopaths indulge in criminal behavior, they make a clear rational decision to do so and break the social contract. Their actions are therefore not an outcome of a moment of insanit. The only feeble argument that can then be made is that they can’t relate to the social contract that we live in. But
that doesn’t form a reasonable basis to preclude anyone from full punishment. They may not be emotional or sympathetic, but psychopaths are not monsters. They can be functional and in fact, exceptional contributors to society because of their high stress tolerance and
ability to separate emotion from work. Whether it be a murderer or a corporate banker, for now, psychopathy should not be a factor in deciding the verdict or strength of sentence in court, at least until further medical studies are conducted that strengthen the correlation between crime and psychopathy and programs are set in place to train psychopaths to understand the consequences of their destructive actions.
It’s Not A Question of Legitimacy Todd Akins’ comments spark a debate on politics, pseudoscience and rape Shreya Sharma
f you haven’t heard the chatter surrounding US Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin’s recent bizarre claim, let me provide you a brief summary. The congressman asserted that women very rarely become pregnant in the case of “legitimate rape” as their bodies “shut that whole thing down”. The use of the word legitimate, in this case, angered many. Rape is an evil act with life changing consequences and the propagation of pseudoscientific theories that make light of the situation adds
to the misunderstanding and treatment of rape, especially with regards to criminal and abortion laws. If you’ve even passed high school biology, you will realise Akin’s claims are untrue. To be fair, there are a few halfbaked studies out there that substantiate his claims. But they have all been debunked and the hard fact remains that thousands of women are impregnated by rape every year. Todd Akin’s statement was in response to whether abortion should be legal in the case of a rape. He said that there should
be “some punishment”. Not supporting the right to abort a fetus is a personal opinion and
I do not condemn him for that. But by claiming that pregnancies do not occur in the case of “legitimate rape”, he misrepresented the situation and tried to justify his stand by spreading misinformation. Some say that in the case of a rape, the rapist should be punished and not the baby. And therefore, abortion should not be allowed even then. But as a pro-choice advocate, I feel raising an unwanted baby is a punishment, both for the mother and the child. A woman that has been raped is a victim of circumstance. If they are
not ready to mother a child, they should be allowed to make the choice to get rid of it. It’s frustrating to see politicians or people in power use unscientific or baseless religious ideas as a position for law making. With increasing reports of police officials implying that women are partly responsible for many cases of rape or that rape is used as an excuse by women to conceal consensual sex, it’s more important to remember and uphold the basic rights of a woman, instead of questioning the legitimacy of rape.
How has Singapore’s sporting month been? Vignesh Gopalakrishnan and Tam Mei Tan recap the month’s sports in Singapore, and scope out interesting events happening in and around the local athletic world
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
Mizuno Passion Wave Run
he Mizuno Passion Wave Run will be held on the 30th of September 2012. The venue has been changed to Bukit Merah View Block 121 and 123 and the distance increased from 10k.m. last year to 16k.m. this year. This event made its debut in 2003 with 1631 participants and has now become an established feature in the local running scene. Look forward to an exciting morning of friendly competition.
2012 Formula 1 Grand Pix Singapore
he Formula 1 season continues with its fourteenth race of the season to be held on September 23rd. Several popular bands and artists are scheduled to perform at the event, such as Maroon 5, Katy Perry, Jay Chou, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and Pretenders. It should be an action packed weekend for sports fans, with practice on the 21st, qualifying on the 22nd and the actual race on the 23rd. Will the current leader of the world championship, Fernando Alonso repeat his success at the Singapore Grand Pix too? Or will Sebastian Vettel wrest the title back from him. This event is a must-attend for all sports buffs, especially those who like living life in the fast lane.
2012 Singapore National Games
ointly organised by the Singapore Sports Council (SSC), the People’s Association (PA) and its grassroots organisations and the National Sports Associations (NSAs) of the various sports, the inaugural Singapore National Games 2012 will be a sports festival to showcase sporting talents in the island nation. It is open to participation for all Singaporeans and foreigners in Singapore. The competition features the following sports-Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Dragon Boat, Football, Netball, Sepak Takraw, Swimming and Table Tennis. Basketball, Football and Netball have an age restriction-they are for 17 years old and above; however, the remaining sports are open for all ages. The annually held Community Games, organised by PA, is the qualifying round for the National Games. Only top teams from the Community Games will qualify to compete in the National Games. It is slated to be held every two years, and will undoubtedly be an important event in Singapore’s sports calendar, offering something for everyone – participants, spectators and supporters alike. For participants, it gives them a chance to pit their skills against the nation’s best. For spectators, it is an opportunity to cheer on the teams they support and witness competitive sports.
SAFRA Bay Run
GRAPHIC | Shourav Yathindranath
his annual mass running event is the largest in Singapore. Jointly organised by SAFRA and the Army. It comprises both the competitive 21-km half-marathon and shorter 10-km runs as well. People out there just to have fun can participate in the noncompetitive 5 km Fun Run as well. The aim of the organizers is to promote a healthy lifestyle and to reinforce SAFRA and the SAF’s emphasis on physical fitness. Over the years, participation has grown manifold, from 15,000 in the year of its inception in 1992 to about 70,000 the previous year. Participants will run a unique route taking them over the new downtown area around Marina Bay as well as historical places around Singapore. There will be stage performances at the end of the carnival. The event will also have various merchandise stalls offering promotional discounts on a wide range of sports related products. For anyone wanting to test his/her fitness, this event is definitely worth participating in.
74th Singapore Open Track and Field Championships 2012
he 74th Singapore Open Track and Field Championships took place on the 25th and 26th of August. Several events were held in a span of two days of extremely well contested sports. Japan racked up 14 gold, 13 silver, and 5 bronze medals, to end up with 32 medals, with the Wings Athletic Club coming in second with 16 medals. India had 5 medals, including 4 gold to finish 3rd.
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
Transfer Market Neel Ratan Mitra
latan Ibrahimovic’s extravagant journey reached a Paris milestone. In completing his move from Milan to PSG, Ibrahimovic will become the most expensive player ever, the fees from his combined transfers over the years amounts to around 180 million euros. With his inclusion the club’s owners are hoping they can conquer Europe at last. Mid-season last year, a tricky time to recruit, manager Carlo Ancelloti displayed frustration in attempts to secure David Beckham and Alexandre Pato.
“Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva are clearly joining a revolution reflecting the Qatari owners’ mission to make PSG a dominant force in Europe.”
Despite the influx of Alex, Thiago Motta and Maxwell the club failed to eclipse a much less richer club Montpellier. Unperturbed, PSG have ploughed on. Purchasing Ezequiel Lavezzi from Napoli for 26 million euros. Ongoing rumours suggest Kaka’s inclusion as well. Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva are clearly joining a revolution reflecting the Qatari owners’ mission to make PSG a dominant force in Europe. In England, Chelsea attracted the attention of the sports media by signing no less than five players - the Belgian Eden Hazard from Lille, the Spaniard Cesar Azpilicueta from Marseille, the German Marko Marin from Werder Bremen, the Nigerian Victor Moses from Wigan, and the Brazilian Oscar from Internacional. The biggest fee dished out was for the 21-year old Belgian attacking midfielder, Hazard, who completed his 32 million pound move. But, Chelsea wasn’t the only club interested
in this promising midfielder. Hazard had been linked with other dominant European clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal , Manchester City and even Manchester United at the beginning of the transfer period. After signing the contract with Chelsea, Hazard went on to reveal that he felt he had a better chance to establish himself in the first team at Stamford Bridge. Moreover, Chelsea’s Champion’s League triumph also played a critical role in luring him to the Club at London. With an ageing midfield, comprising Lampard and Essien - who are nothing like the players they once used to be, Ramires and Meireles, who are playing in their prime, but play more defensive roles, and Mikel, more a liability than an asset. The signing of Oscar is seen as a bright move by Chelsea, he could be the attacking match to Oriol Romeu’s defensive characteristics, and a future partnership of the two could prove to be the next Lampard-Essien type duo that was nearly unstoppable for the blues during the late 2000’s. Liverpool FC have signed the Turkish midfielder, Nuri Sahin, on loan from Spanish giants Real Madrid. He did not want a permanent move away from the Spanish capital, and hence opted to sign for Liverpool, as opposed to Arsenal, who were looking to make the deal permanent. Premier League rivals Manchester United didn’t stay far behind, making several acquisitions of their own to strengthen their squad. United first confirmed the signing of the talented Japanese, Shinji Kagawa from German club Borussia Dortmund. Too elusive and subtle a talent to be easily categorised, what the 23 year old certainly offers his teams is a refusal to think in straight lines.
Blessed with a rare ability to exploit area of vulnerability among opposition midfields and defences - which has played a decisive role to make Borussia Dortmund consecutive champions of the German
“Too elusive and subtle a talent to be easily categorised, what the 23 year old certainly offers German club Borussia Dortmund. is a refusal to think in straight lines.” Bundesliga in the two seasons he has played with them. This year, Arsenal had to see star striker Robin Van Persie signing off to a rival. The transfer received mixed emotions from Arsenal fans, some regretting the transfer, as the striker had scored 37 goals last season in all competitions for Arsenal. Whereas, some fans claimed that the 29 year old striker with his age and injury record does not have much of football left in him. Manager Arsene Wenger described the 24 million pounds transfer as a disappointment. There have also been rumors linking Theo Walcott away from them, after contract negotiations broke down. T o t t e n h a m Hotspurs have
also been active in the window, with their new manager, Andre Villas Boas keen to build upon his predecessor’s achievements, as well as to salvage his burgeoning reputation, which took somewhat of a hit in his period at Chelsea. They have bolstered their ranks with the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Ajax’s former captain, Moussa Dembele, Gylfi Sigurdsson, who impressed while on loan at Swansea last season, and are apparently in the market for Hugo Lloris, Willian, Yann M’Vila and Leandro Damiao, have had several bids for them rejected. They have had their share of departures though, with talismanic playmaker Luka Modric departing t o
PHOT | Yatzee, Flickr Commons
Real Madrid for a hefty transfer fee in the region of 30 million pounds, and Steven Pienaar departing back to his former club, Everton. All in all, it has been an interesting transfer window, with Champions League winner Chelsea undoubtedly doing the most business in a bid to wrest back the Premier League, and defend their crown. With Real Madrid and Barcelona (they bought Alex Song from Arsenal) both relatively quiet in the market, it would seem that the Spanish teams are confident that their star-studded sides can make up for last season’s anomaly and bring the continental title back to their fans.
thetr bune SEPTEMBER 2012
f1: the track record Vignesh Gopalakrishnan
The F1 season had a sort of mid-season break in August, with the season resuming in Belgium on September 2nd. Here’s a review of what’s happened in the first half of the season.
When you’re Ferrari, fourth in the constructors’ championship is unacceptable. Give their car’s difficult inception and the fact that they have only one driver on the team, Fernando Alonso, fourth isn’t too bad. The other driver on the ‘team’, Felipe Massa has been absent all season, and he flounders in fourteenth place among a total of twenty four drivers, while his teammate flourishes at the head of the table, forty points off the nearest competitor. Without Alonso, Ferrari would not be where they are today, four points off second place, and three off third. Number one is a slight bit further away, though. To focus on the positives, the Italian team has made the best of a poor start and with their radical car gradually coming into its own; and the possibility that Massa may get more than two points a race on an average, their title hopes haven’t completely faded away yet. Verdict: What Alonso has achieved this year has been remarkable, considering the circumstances. The drivers’ title is more than within his reach, but in terms of the constructors’ crown, he can’t do it alone. He needs his car - and his team mate - to work with him.
Lotus are enjoying one of their best seasons in years. The E20 is one of the grid’s strongest inventive cars, they have a former world champion and a talented youngster on their books, and their engineers boast boundless ambition. Lotus are a team waiting to win. Kimi Raikkonen has had three podium finishes. Romain Grosjean has come off some disappointing opening races to rise up the table. Lotus certainly look like strong contenders to get atleast a win this year. Verdict: It is a fact that they haven’t made the most of their opportunities, but they have looked strong. Raikonnen is 48 points off Alonso in the driver’s championship, and with nine races left, will certainly be looking to chase him down and add to his solitary championship win.
Red Bull have been far and away the best performing team on the grid. Both their drivers have consistently been scoring points. Webber leads Vettel by a slender two point margin, and trails Alonso by forty two. Vettel, the defending champion is looking to win his third consecutive driver’s championship, and he is certainly still in the hunt. Red Bull lead their nearest rivals in the Constructors Championship by 53 points and look good value for it. Verdict: With both driver having the World Championship in their sights, and a comfortable lead in the Constructors Championship going into the break, Red Bull look good for more success this season.
PHOTO | Shubham Goyal
McLaren have had a decent season to date. Hamilton is in the hunt for the driver’s championship, and Button has been a good number-two act. Overall, it hasn’t been a bad season for the British team so far, and they’ll be hoping for things to go their way, in their attempt to uproot the dominance of Red Bull in the Constructors Championship. Verdict: McLaren’s Button has gone off the pace a bit after his victory at Australia, and Hamilton has popped up with victories at Canada and Hungary, traditionally tracks where the team has done well. They have looked reasonably strong so far, and will hope they can build on the victory at Hungary.
A German team with two German drivers. Michael Schumacher hasn’t exactly set the track ablaze since he returned to the sport, though he did get that long awaited podium finish in his second coming, at Valencia. Rosberg has been solid so far this season, staying comfortably in the top eight of the
driver’s championship. Verdict: Schumacher has improved since the race at Valencia, and the team will hope he continues to pick up points on a regular basis. Rosberg should continue to do what he is doing. Constructor championship-wise, the team are too far behind Ferrari to challenge them, and have enough of a cushion over Sauber to remain where they are.
Force India seems to be incrementally improving their position every year. They have two good drivers at the wheel, and will hope to improve their standings in the latter part of the season. Verdict: The best they can hope for is to put pressure on the three teams above them, but we can safely say they are entrenched in the mid-table battle. The only other team to have scored points this year is the Toro Rosso, who have six points. Three teams, Caterham, Marussia, and HRT are yet to score this season, and look set to continue their respective seasons at the bottom of the heap.
Sauber are comfortably in mid-table, their most realistic aim being to finish top of the mid-table teams. They’re 26 points behind Mercedes, and their drivers are young and learning fast. Verdict: They will hope to leapfrog Mercedes to fifth place, though going beyond that looks unlikely. Both Perez and Kobayashi have a chance to push the top 8 in the driver’s championships.
Williams have probably the most inexperienced team of drivers in their ranks. It has not been a gamble that has exactly paid off, with both drivers making mistakes attributable to inexperience and immaturity. That being said, their talent is beyond doubt. Verdict: The best they can hope for is to put pressure on Sauber, and possibly Mercedes AMG.