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EDITOR’S NOTE 03

EDITOR’S NOTE S

o, we’ve come to the last issue of the semester.

It’s been a blast the past year, and I hope you’ve enjoyed every issue we’ve put up. If you missed any particular issues, fret not. All our past issues can be accessed online at issuu. com/nussutheridge, and even downloaded to be read offline. I know you’re anxious to get back to your revision for the final exams, so here are some highlights in this issue. If you missed our graduate employment survey infograph which we put up on our new website studentry.sg, you’ve got to check it out in this issue (p. 7). Find out how much you’re really worth! For those who are already dreaming of your summer vacations, take a gander at our thoughts on that long-desired break (p. 38-39). But we won’t be held responsible for any loss in study time if you drift off daydreaming.

If you’re in a scramble to organise all your readings and have a ton of academic articles littered all over your computer, why not give ReadCube a try? We review this cool little app and tell you what we think (p. 48-49). And of course, we’ve got the usual spread of books, movies and music (p. 27-29) to help you relax after a hard day of studying. Once again, thank you for your support over the past year. If you haven’t already, keep in touch with us on Facebook www.facebook.com/ nussutheridge and our new website studentry.sg! All the best for your exams!

Raymond, Chief Editor theridge.chiefeditor@nussu.org.sg


12

27

CONTENTS NEWS

OPINION

ENTERTAINMENT

06 SEX AND VIOLENCE

17 FORGET FOREVER YOUNG, WE ARE FOREVER LATE

27 BOOKS, MOVIES, MUSIC

07 GRADUATE EMPLOYMENT SURVEY

30 INTERVIEW WITH HARD RAINS 18 OUR NASTY CARBON PROBLEM

08 LOST WORLDS

32 CULTURE OVERTURE FOR THE STRICKEN SOUL 20 THE LOWDOWN ON UTOWN

12 YEAR-IN REVIEW 22 DEATH OF THE SINGAPORE STORY

34 PAMPER THYSELF WITH THE RIDGE’S HOLIDAY LIST OF AWESOMENESS

14 A YEAR IN INTERVIEWS 24 SAY IT FOR THE STRAY 16 CA DISTRIBUTION IN NUS 26 THE DARK ART OF NETWORKING REVISITED

36

50

LIFESTYLE

WIRED

SPORTS

36 THE SHISHADDICTION

48 READCUBE: YOUR RESEARCH SIMPLIFIED!

54 THE OLYMPIC LEGACY

38 SUMMER ROAD TRIP 2012 – HOLD ON TIGHT

50 SUMMER GAMES

56 EURO 2012 PREVIEW

40 FINDING THE OBSCURED

52 BYTE-SIZED

58 THE CLIMAX/ANTI-CLIMAX

41 LAYERING IN THE TROPICS 44 GOING PAST BOUNDARIES 46 IGRADUAID: LEAVING A LEGACY

60 INSTITUTE-VARSITY-POLYTECHNIC GAMES 2012


EDITORIAL TEAM

EDITORIAL BOARD

CONTRIBUTORS

Chief Editor Raymond Lau theridge.chiefeditor@nussu.org.sg

News Desk

Deputy Chief Editors Meera Nair & Vani Goyal theridge.depchiefeditor@nussu.org.sg Creative Director Caryn Quek theridge.creative@nussu.org.sg Head Designer Nguyen Son Tra theridge.headdesigner@nussu.org.sg News Desk Editors Luke Vijay & Yeo Shang Long theridge.news@nussu.org.sg Opinion Desk Editor Augustin Chiam theridge.opinion@nussu.org.sg Lifestyle Desk Editor Bridget Tan theridge.lifestyle@nussu.org.sg Entertainment Desk Editors Nicole Kang theridge.entertainment@nussu.org.sg Sports Desk Editor Prateek Sinha theridge.sports@nussu.org.sg Wired Desk Editor Shanmugam MPL theridge.wired@nussu.org.sg Copy Editor Ngui Jian Gang theridge.copyeditor@nussu.org.sg Financial Secretary Arnab Ghosh theridge.finsec@nussu.org.sg

NUS STUDENTS’ UNION NUSSU Publications Secretary Tan Heng Wee pubsec@nussu.org.sg

Carmen Chee

a0077341@nus.edu.sg

Gerrard Lai

a0080961@nus.edu.sg

Gerald Chew

geraldchewyk@nus.edu.sg

Opinion Desk Elliot Tan

elliot.tan@nus.edu.sg

Yveena Mariel

a0083312@nus.edu.sg

Abhinav Deshmukh

abhinav.deshmukh@nus.edu.sg

Entertainment Desk Aditya Sambamoorthy

a0074778@nus.edu.sg

Anupama Hegde

A0078256@nus.edu.sg

Vanessa Anne Nunis

U0802563@nus.edu.sg

Charlyn Ang

A0073139@nus.edu.sg

Retna Devi

A0071116@nus.edu.sg

Lifestyle Desk Teresa Widodo

teresa.widodo@nus.edu.sg

Chan Yiwen

chanyiwen@nus.edu.sg

Rachel Ong

rachel.ong@nus.edu.sg

Candice Chua

a0077257@nus.edu.sg

Shermaine Wong

wong.karmun.shermaine@nus.edu.sg

Wired Desk Lester Hio

a0072480@nus.edu.sg

Lam Woon Cherk

u080380@nus.edu.sg

Neethu Krishna M

a0089241@nus.edu.sg

Sports Desk Naveen Prakash

naveen.prakash@nus.edu.sg

Rishian Balaskanda

a0070089@nus.edu.sg

Layout Designers Wan Munirah

u0807616@nus.edu.sg

Patricia Natalia Jonatan

patriciajonatan@nus.edu.sg

Andrew Fong Jia Ping

fongjiaping@nus.edu.sg

Tong Wei Ping

a0074510@nus.edu.sg

05


06

NEWS

SIX STUDENTS START GENDER ISSUES INTEREST GROUP IN NUS

(nus.edu.sg) Luke Vijay

L

ast October, six students started an informal interest group dubbed the Gender Collective with the express purpose of creating a safe space for the discussion of issues related to feminism, gender and sexuality. The group hosts monthly discussion events and hopes to create a campus-wide support channel for anyone who feels like they have been subject to sexuality or gender-based abuse in any form. When asked why the group was started, Natalie Tai, a second-year English literature major and one of the group’s founding member said, “It’s a voice, I guess. A place in NUS where disparate people who are interested in gender and sexuality can come together to discuss and explore these issues.”

“Last year, one of our professors, Dr. Mabel Wong, proposed the idea to a few of us in USP. However we agreed as a group that if we were going to start something, we would try our best not to limit it to USP,” Tai added. The group has organised two events since then. The first, titled Pop Culture and Gender, took place on 3 February, drawing a crowd of 34. The inaugural event kicked off with the reading of a humorous short story written by Jesse Eisenberg. A screening of the documentary, ‘Shinjuku Boys’ and a discussion of the film followed this. Speaking about the event, Tai said, “I think discussion was fruitful. Some of the attendees brought a great deal

of background knowledge that helped guide the discussion. There were also those who came to the event with little or no background in gender theory. It was refreshing to hear such a wide variety of perspectives.”

“It was quite interesting hearing the perspectives of the guest speakers from the Muslim Society. I’ve been to Iran, but the local perspectives to some of these issues surprised me,” he added.

The second event, titled Veiling and Unveiling, focused on the issue of gender roles within religions and cultures, and featured guest speakers from the NUS Muslim Society. 19 students attended the event.

Madhumitha Ardhanari agreed. The second-year political science major said, “It was a fascinating session, the presenters found a very interesting way to organise the information. It’s quite amazing that we haven’t had a student society that focuses on gender issues thus far. In addition, it was great that it wasn’t all guys or all girls.”

Kim Ji Heon, a first-year pharmacy major, was one of them. He said, “For myself, it was an opportunity to find out about gender issues in Singapore. I feel like it was a very educational experience. I will definitely be attending the next event.”


NEWS

GRADUATE EMPLOYMENT SURVEY Text and graphics by Yeo Shang Long

E

ver wondered how much you’re likely to earn upon graduation? The Ministry of Education recently released its Graduate Employment Survey, which polls the graduates of 2011 on their employment conditions and salary. In this graphic, THE RIDGE looks at data on NUS graduates from this year’s survey, and compares it with the previous years’ findings.

Mean Gross Salary of Graduates of Selected NUS Degrees, 2011 Arts Arts (Hons) Dentistry Mechanical Engineering Law Science Science (Hons) Pharmacy (Hons) Business Administration Business Administration (Hons) Computer Science Architecture Real Estate Medicine

$0

$1000

$2000

$3000

$4000

$5000

Full-Time Permanent Employment Rate of Graduates of Selected NUS Degrees, 2011 100

Notes:

90

Data on Law, Medicine, Pharmacy and Architecture graduates are obtained from a follow-up survey after they have completed their 1-year practical course or have served housemanship.

70

80 60 50 40 30 20

Gross monthly salary pertains only to full-time permanently employed graduates. It comprises basic salary, fixed allowances, overtime pay and commissions. Employer’s CPF contributions, bonuses, stock options, other lump sum payments, and payments-in-kind are excluded. Source: MOE Graduate Employment Survey (2008-2011)

Medicine

Real Estate

Architecture

Computer Science

Bizad

Bizad (Hons)

Science (Hons)

Pharmacy (Hons)

Law

Science

Dentistry

Full-time employment refers to employment of at least 35 hours a week and where employment is not temporary. It includes those on contracts of one year or more.

Mech Engineering

Arts

0

Arts (Hons)

10

Mean Gross Salary of Graduates of Selected NUS Degrees, 2008-2011 $5000 Law

$4000

Business Administration (Hons) Medicine Architecture

$3000

$2000

Dentistry Mech Engine

2008

Computer Science Arts (Hons)

Science (Hons)

2009

2010

2011

07


08

NEWS*PHOTOSTORY


NEWS*PHOTOSTORY 09

LOST WORLDS As part of an ongoing series with THE RIDGE, street photographer Gerald Chew catalogues the stranger side of Singapore. This month, Gerald travels to Neo Tiew Estate, a small public housing area in Lim Chu Kang that has been abandoned since 2002. The space is currently used for urban training exercises by the SAF. Photos by Gerald Chew


10

NEWS*PHOTOSTORY

LOST WORLDS Photos by Gerald Chew


NEWS*PHOTOSTORY

11


12

NEWS

YEAR-IN REVIEW

With AY2011/2012 nearing to a close, THE RIDGE summarises the big stories of this academic year. Gerrard Lai

T

he start of a new semester marked the opening of the new residential University Town along with a new way of living on campus: integrated living and learning. Amidst the hype and excitement of new possibilities, there was also uncertainty in how a new learning culture would be shaped. As to how conducive an environment it offers for studying and living since then, as students who have experienced UTown, you be the judge.

T

University Town Opens

he 2011 version of one of the most vibrant and elaborate events of NUS – Rag Day – was held in conjunction with National Day celebrations on 9 August. In the wee hours of that morning, 14 floats made of recycled materials and representing the various faculties and halls made their way from NUS to the Promontory @ Marina Bay. The highest honours of the day – the NUS President’s Challenge Shield – went to the Faculty of Law.

From R ags to Riches: R ag 2011

S

Students’ petition changes course of shuttle bus

econd-year Arts student, Cheryl Ang, who was frustrated by the long wait for shuttle services D1 and D2, posted a petition on Facebook in August to increase the frequency of these services. Within several days, her online petition had garnered the support of more than 3,500 students, evoking an official response from the NUS administration to ameliorate the situation. Sometimes, all we need to do is ask, and what we wish for might just be given.


NEWS

13

F

or the first time, NUS students were given the opportunity to design and reshape the NUS Kent Ridge campus. As part of a project proposal by the University Campus Infrastructure, named 40 Spaces, 16 architecture students from the School of Design and Environment identified and reconceptualised pockets of spaces around campus where the student population can gather. This leaves room for our imagination as to how else students can contribute to reshaping our own learning environment.

Student designs to reshape school landscape

(Photo by 40spaces)

I

Opinion piece sparks debate

t started with an article written by Walker Vincoli, a student enrolled in a joint degree programme between the University of North Carolina and NUS, that was posted on the Yale Daily News website on 26 January. Vincoli alluded to a culture of self-censorship in NUS where “students change arguments, button their lips and absorb opinions from on high.” A subsequent deluge of responses refuted his claims. Joseph Daniels, his UNC-NUS peer, stated that academic freedom was “alive and well” in NUS. Vincoli’s intentions in his article, while only clear to him, certainly sparked off major debates.

T

he NUS Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) was ordered to suspend its activities after it was found to have made insensitive remarks about other religions in some of its posters. Photos of some of these posters surface on Facebook on 15 February and quickly went viral, sparking outrage among both students and the general public. The CCC issued a public apology acknowledging their mistake as well as their lack of tact and sensitivity. Despite the apology, NUS decided to order CCC to cease all activities as it had breached the code of student conduct.

Insensitive remarks cause halt in Campus Crusade activities


14

NEWS

A YEAR IN INTERVIEWS

Over the past academic year, THE RIDGE has travelled off-campus to interview NUS graduates from all walks of life as part of an ongoing interview feature to give students a glimpse into their future career paths. Our writers have spoken to businessmen and poets, politicians and environmentalists. This issue, we look back at some of the most striking comments that have come out of this project. Luke Vijay

ON HER APPOINTMENT:

I

want to let my actions speak for themselves. Time will tell whether I have been an effective MP.

ON POLICY-MAKING IN SINGAPORE: here is no one-size-fits-all policy. A policy sets the broad framework to help the majority but there are many who fall through the gaps.

T

Tin Pei Ling, former psychology major, current Member of Parliament ON CAPITALISM: ou want to be a socialist? First make money. Which means you must be a capitalist first. If you don’t make money, how do you support socialist objectives? Socialism means going around with a begging bowl. If you want to help people, you need to find funds. You need to find a way to find money to finance social objectives. To help the less fortunate you need to make money – just don’t pocket it all yourself with big bonuses.

Y

ON ENGINEERING: ngineers are people with practical ideas. Engineers are not philosophers. Engineers get things done. They aren’t interested in the philosophy of life; they are interested in its practical aspects.

E Phillip Yeo, former engineering major, current chairman of SPRING Singapore.

ON THE STRESSES OF WORKING LIFE: ingaporean kids are looking for an easy way out. If we are cruel to you, you will survive anywhere.

S


ON ACTIVISM IN SINGAPORE:

NEWS

15

I

don’t think in this internet age that Singaporean students don’t have access to information, but whether there’s interest or not… Once you’re aware, you’re armed with the knowledge, it’s what you do about it, how you take action to do something about this situation.

Jolovan Wham, former social work major, current Executive Director of HOME.

ON BURNING OUT: hen you’re burned out, not only do you suffer, the work suffers, the people you are helping suffer and this is not fair to them.

W

ON THE APPLICABILITY OF AN ARTS EDUCATION IN THE BUSINESS WORLD: conomics and political science were great disciplines. They gave me the right foundations, the right basic knowledge to be able to react to real-life situations in the business world.

E

ADVICE FOR ENTREPRENEURS: ou need to do something you believe in, don’t do something for the sake of commercial gain. I think it’s important to have passion in what you do and love what you do, regardless whether it is a business or a hobby or a social cause… one has to be passionate, one must have perseverance, and most importantly, one must stay humble at all times but be prepared to work really hard.

Y

Edward Chia, former economics and political science major, founder of Timbre Group.

ON THE DIFFICULTIES OF ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVISM: think the toughest obstacle is trying to get Singaporeans to take part in social activism.

I

ON SINGAPORE’S DEVELOPMENT: ver the past ten years, I think we have opened up as a society, especially with the younger generation. The media has picked up on issues regarding animal welfare and ACRES has even had front page coverage on some publications. It is clear that the media is also realising that Singaporeans do care about such matters.

O Louis Ng, former biology major, current executive director of ACRES.

ADVICE FOR UNDERGRADUATES: ollow your heart. Money’s not everything. I may not be a rich person now, but I am rich in my heart. You need to have passion for whatever you are doing.

F


16

NEWS

CA DISTRIBUTION IN NUS Text and graphics by Yeo Shang Long

Proportion of modules in AY2010/2011 by CA weightage 20-39% CA (10.3%)

H

ow much weightage is allocated to continual assessment (CA) in NUS modules? NUS Provost Professor Tan Eng Chye recently blogged about this, and released some interesting figures regarding the amount of continual assessment for the modules of AY2010/2011. “One-third of the modules have 100% CA, and more than half our modules have CA components of 60% or higher,” he wrote. Also, “the final exam weightage tends to be higher for the science and technology courses, than for the arts or humanities.” THE RIDGE presents the data in graphic form.

0-19% CA (1.2%) 100% CA (33.3%)

40-59% CA (36.2%)

80-99% CA (0.2%) 60-79% CA (18.8%)

Proportion of modules in AY2010/2011 by CA weightage and faculty How to read the following chart: 100%

10

40

The darkness of colours denotes the CA weightage for each category - darker rectangles represent categories with higher CA weightage.

The area of each rectangle is proportionate to the number of modules in each category.

Arts and Social Sciences

Source: NUS Provost’s Blog (http://blog.nus.edu.sg/ provost/)

0%

Business

143 modules with 100% CA

304 modules with 100% CA

60 modules with 40-59% CA 278 modules with 40-59% CA

291 modules with 60-79% CA

Science

3 modules with 20-39% CA

2 modules with 80-99% CA

32 modules with 60-79% CA

Computing

68 modules with 40-59% CA

131 modules with 100% CA

232 modules with 40-59% CA

Engineering

162 modules with 40-59% CA

102 modules with 20-39% CA 12 modules with 0-19% CA

133 modules with 20-39% CA 27 modules with 60-79% CA

2 modules with 0-19% CA

88 modules with 100% CA

1 module with 80-99% CA

48 modules with 60-79% CA

28 modules with 60-79% CA 2 modules with 80-99% CA 1 module with 0-19% CA

41 modules with 100% CA 1 module with 20-39% CA

Design and Environment 63 modules with 40-59% CA 51 modules with 100% CA

19 modules with 60-79% CA 13 modules with 0-19% CA 6 modules with 20-39% CA


OPINION

FORGET FOREVER YOUNG, WE ARE FOREVER LATE

17

(scenicreflections.com)

Yveena Mariel

O

ft in the past, the baby boomer generation aspired towards a stable 9-5 job. Today’s generation portrays a wholly different picture, aspiring for ‘flexible time’ where they can choose their own working hours as they value the concept of flexibility in space and time. Just take a look at the module bidding system where one is free to choose one’s lecture and tutorial slots. But this begs the question: has our flexibility with time gone too far? More specifically, I am talking about punctuality. How often do we make it on time for our appointments? Should we be worried that it is hard to recall a recent appointment where one was on time?

becoming more egocentric and society losing its integrity. If we are late, we are conveying that we do not value the person we have made an appointment with. Case in point: you would never dream of being late to a UN summit where officials from every country were present. I am sure one does not mean to but it is subconscious after all. We have transited to a society filled with egocentric individuals without sufficient concerns for others. People today aspire for flexible timings because they’d rather have a much higher degree of control over their own time to spend in any way they want to. We seem to want everything on our own terms.

else’s time. If we are truly honest with ourselves, most of our lateness could have been avoided if we had cared more for the other person and made more of an effort. Worse still, our inability to be punctual reflects our growing lack of integrity. When we fail to respect our commitment to an appointment, we are no longer trustworthy. Our yes can no longer be taken as a yes but will always be in doubt. It is terrifying to imagine a society where trust is a scarce commodity, where punishment has to be threatened for one to be true to one’s word and even this is not fool-proof.

Would you honestly say you trust a friend who is chronically late with feeble excuses? Indeed these Punctuality is a big word. Let us The means to cancel or apologise little five-minute discrepancies keep it simple and say in this case, for being late are so easily might not even make a blip punctuality is simply arriving on available; most of us do it through on most of our lives but if we time. It may seem like a trivial a simple text message. We do not cannot even hold to the simple thing, after all, ‘only 10 minutes consider that perhaps our lateness commitment of being on time, late’ or ‘no one was hurt’. But this will have repercussions on the how much better can we be may be a symptom of two bigger other person’s time commitments. expected to hold to the bigger problems in society - society We are in fact stealing someone things?

This is not a call to be punctual 100% of the time. Life is unpredictable. This is a call for accountability. To remember that our time is not solely our own - it is shared by the people we interact with every day. Most of all, it is a rallying call to remember that the small things we do count: words influence actions, little actions make up character and characters of individuals make up our society.


18

OPINION

OUR NASTY CARBON PROBLEM Augustin Chiam

W

hen the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released its findings on carbon emissions in the 2010 Living Planet Report (LPR) and concluded that Singapore fared the worst in carbon footprint per capita in Asia-Pacific, the government was understandably annoyed. The National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) issued a sharp rebuttal, essentially decrying the report’s methodology, alleging that it unfairly penalises the smaller city-states. The criticism is valid and there is something to be said about how large countries like China get off easy because of their huge rural population. A more balanced report would compare the carbon footprint per capita of Singapore to other highly-developed cities like Shanghai or Washington. The resulting comparison between cities might be surprisingly favourable towards Singapore. In any case, disputes over carbon emissions will surely continue because realistically speaking, how could one accurately measure the amount of tiny carbon dioxide molecules released into the environment? Data can also be unrepresentative and misleading. Consider the fact that Singapore is an international hub for marine bunkering (fuel oil), which constitutes one of the major sources of carbon emissions. In (green.wikia.com]


OPINION

other words, raw data on carbon a Wikileaks report revealed a emissions do not accurately reflect conversation between the thenor account for ‘mitigating’ causes. Deputy CEO of the Energy Market Authority, Lawrence If we were to do away with Wong, and the US embassy our heavy, carbon-intensive indicating that Singapore is open industries, we would definitely to pursuing the option of having score lower in terms of carbon nuclear power plants. PM Lee, emission per capita, but would in his keynote address during the that be economically feasible? Singapore International Energy I doubt it. The problem with Week in 2010, also admitted statistics is that they are not that “it will be a long time used for the improvement of our before we make any decision on quality of life. Instead, statistics nuclear energy but we should get often become useful political ourselves ready to do so.” tools to manipulate, shape and influence opinion depending on Our unique geographical the vested interests at stake. location, far away from fault lines and surrounded by land mass, Yet, regardless of how much means that we are unlikely to carbon emissions we produce experience natural disasters that per capita, the more important can cause a nuclear breakdown question is how we can keep like the one in Fukushima in reducing it or, at the very least, March 2011. However, this does slow the rate of increase. One not exclude the possibility of of the best ways is to simply human error and Singapore just not burn as much carbon does not have the required land for our energy! Alternative mass to provide a safety buffer in energy sources can reduce our case of a meltdown. Despite the dependence on conventional numerous other safety concerns, energy sources like coal for our one can be sure that this option energy needs. will be vigorously pursued and considered and is unlikely to be Although there are certainly more off the table any time soon since sustainable options like wind our Southeast Asian neighbours and hydrothermal energy that like Vietnam, Malaysia and are unlikely to ever be feasible Indonesia have also expressed in Singapore, the government interest in the development of has looked into many other nuclear power plants. alternative energy sources. For instance, did you know that solar Pursuing alternative sources of panels have been installed in the energy ultimately means nothing Universal Studios theme park at if our consumption continues to Resort Worlds Sentosa and that increase. One of the fascinating we have Southeast Asia’s highest concepts in ecological studies is solar installation situated on the ‘Rebound Effect’. It basically the roof of the Ocean Financial means that in our attempts to Center? We also have the world’s adapt to new ‘green’ technology or largest compressed natural gas alternative energy, the net saving (CNG) refuelling station. in energy consumption might actually be lower than we expect Another source of alternative or worse still, we might consume energy we have considered is more energy. For example, in the the nuclear option. In 2008, United States, the production

of ethanol fuel has resulted in a lot of controversy. Firstly, some studies suggest that the amount of carbon dioxide released in the air through the consumption of ethanol fuel is actually larger than burning gasoline. Secondly, the production of ethanol fuel has diverted the use of important fertile land from cultivating crops for food to cultivating crops for ethanol. This has led to rising food prices all across the United States as well as in the world. Closer to home, the ‘Rebound Effect’ could mean that just converting taxis to CNG means nothing if we take more cab rides and think nothing of switching to public transport or cycling. I am no ecologist but perhaps, saving the environment also means that we should look at our daily consumption habits. After all, the small changes that we make can add up to a lot of savings, including simple things like re-using material and recycling. Think about using your own carrier bag instead of consuming tons of plastic bags at your local supermarket. Turn off all switches and disconnect the plugs from the socket when not in use. Conservation of energy can be a tricky and often political business. As I have mentioned earlier, many of these statistics and data can be manipulated to achieve political ends. At the end of the day, I find that it is unrealistic to wait for the government to implement policies to regulate our behaviour. If we truly care about the environment we should be proactive. Remember, saving the environment begins with the individual.

19


20

OPINION

THE LOWDOWN Elliot Tan

T

he single greatest influence on student attendance in classes is perhaps not so much the imminence of the exam season, but rather the availability of the lecture webcast. The thought process undergirding the decision to absent oneself from lectures probably goes something like this: If I stay halfway across the island and if the time it takes to travel to school and back exceeds the time I actually spend in class; if I am only going to head straight back after the lecture and if the lesson is available for viewing online then why would I bother going to school? What appears to be the rationalisations of a particularly indolent individual yields, on closer examination, an insight on the perceptions that surround a university education. In the conjectural scenario above, we find two embedded

assumptions: firstly, that physical form and place retain little value for educational pursuits, and secondly, that the primary value of studying in a university is the access one has to information imparted by instructors. Nevertheless, these two assumptions manifest themselves most strongly in the sentiment that ultimately, staying around school outside of classes is rarely seen as something desirable. Standing in valiant opposition to this notion however, is NUS’s recent University Town (UTown) experiment. Boasting lush green landscapes which contrast the relative claustrophobia of many of the older blocks in NUS, UTown’s open spaces invite groups to gather and simply hang around, instead of leaving immediately as a mass

exodus after classes. A host of collaborative study commons encourages the practice of studying together and supports students looking for facilities for group work and discussion. Numerous shops extend their opening hours late into the night, availing sustenance to students attempting assignments that seem to have no end in sight. By this measure, UTown’s abundant amenities allow students to enjoy each other’s company within the comforts of a welcoming environment. Indeed, one need only step into the PC Commons during any time of the day to see that spaces for study and discussion outside the classroom are in great demand. The results of NUS’s efforts in improving the desirability of remaining on campus are evident in the

growth in the number of students who choose to make NUS their destination for weekend studying sessions. The extent of its apparent success is such that sightings of students of other institutions deciding to call UTown their home have been reported - much to the disgruntlement of NUS students who find themselves crowded out of the space intended for them. If collaboration and learning in community were aspects that UTown sought to promote, its success is clearly evident in the groups of students that flock to the flagship 24-hour Starbucks that has all but become the bastion of work-life balance in UTown. Far from being confined to the classroom, it appears that learning can indeed takes place at all sorts of locations, and at any hour.


OPINION

WN ON UTOWN The round-the-clock vibrancy of UTown can be traced in large part to the indelible presence of the Residential Colleges. As one of the newest forms of accommodation in NUS, the Residential Colleges have carved themselves an enviable niche in possessing the pros of both the halls and the residences, with less of the cons. Lack of a requirement for students to fulfill a particular quota of student activities to qualify their stay proves to be one of the greatest draws for applicants for the Residential Colleges.

philosophy of living and learning is the integrated academic element of the Residential Colleges. By bringing lessons to a place of residence, the lines demarcating where learning should take place begin to blur. In this manner, the philosophy behind the Residential Colleges compels us to reconsider the box that we have come to place education in.

Nearly one year on since the introduction of UTown, it is apparent that major strides have been made towards creating a relatively self-sufficient resource Nevertheless, this is not to say centre. Here, nearly all essentials that student life is in any way of students appear to be met: lacking in the Colleges, and even food and drink at 24-hour a cursory glance at any of the establishments like the Cheers college notice boards would reveal mart, recreation in the form of a plethora of events and societies student activities, sports and for students to choose from. cultural facilities in the upcoming Perhaps what best highlights the Edusports complex, places

for study like the Education Resource Center, and residences that populate the compound with live-in students. It would seem that UTown all but mimics the New Towns in Singapore, but at a much smaller scale. A town within a town, and perhaps for some, a home away from home. But the question that then arises is how the concept of a self-sufficient compound like UTown will fare in the long run, given Singapore’s already small geography. Considering that Clementi Town Central and its extensive offerings of facilities is all but a ten minute bus journey away (a time that is possibly shorter than it takes to travel to UTown from Business School), does UTown really have enough of a pull to create a sense of centredness within the university?

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[signedbyroxci.wordpress.com]

Despite NUS’ efforts to build an on-campus community of students, a certain stigma still exists towards remaining in school, perhaps due in part to individuals wanting respite from the academic environment they spend most of their time in. NUS’ UTown experiment has indeed taken great steps in improving the desirability of being on campus, effectively demonstrating its desire to nurture a community of likeminded individuals in the collective pursuit of learning. As to whether this culture of oncampus community will continue to perpetuate into posterity, only time will tell.


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OPINION

(flickr.com)

DEATH OF THE SINGAPORE STORY Augustin Chiam

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he recent decision by the Singaporean government regarding the construction of an eight-lane expressway through Bukit Brown has certainly met with much disapproval from various civic groups such as the Singapore Heritage Society (SHS). However, the Bukit Brown incident is merely one in a long string of events that perhaps reflects the government’s inability to understand the importance of memorable and landmarks in a nation’s psyche. It happened when they closed down the old iconic red-brick National Library, it happened when they closed Clifford Pier, and the official rhetoric is always the same.

In the pursuit of progress, these landmarks are merely hindrances, erased from the public consciousness. It is an alluring argument. After all, no one owes us a living and we will be left biting the dust if we do not prioritise progress. Furthermore, who would not want more roads and shiny new buildings à la the new National Library at Victoria Street? The looming towers of Marina Bay Sands stand as a testament to the government’s faithfulness to the cult of progress. It is not just the physical landmarks that are being removed; even our historical

narratives are constantly being re-shaped, re-written and edited. I am not sure how many among us (much less the younger generation) still remember the legends of Sang Nila Utama or Bukit Merah. These were stories that once enthralled me and made me feel right at home as a Singaporean. They might not be completely accurate or even true, but they are tales that create memories of the place, narratives unique to Singapore. To share the same historical narratives is a huge part of building a common identity. Nation-building is part storytelling. Without these myths

and historical narratives, pray tell, what is so unique about Uniquely Singapore? Instead, we have supplanted these rich historical parables with our own modern ‘The Singapore Story’, the dominant plot being that of the People’s Action Party (PAP) bringing us from a lowly “third world” to the glorious “first world” status. We are so bad at preserving our collective historical memories that we even have to create some like the Merlion. That the Merlion, an artificial construct that holds little historical value, has become a ubiquitous symbol for Singapore is an indictment of the Government’s failure to capture


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and preserve our heritage. The contrast is even more acute when one is overseas. As I walk the cobbled streets of Europe, I marvel at some of the grand monuments that have stood the test of time. No, I am not referring to the Eiffel Tower. It is the Merlion of Paris but even then, it has lasted a longer time than our old National Library. I am referring to The Colosseum in Italy, the Palace of Versailles in France and the Westminster Abbey in Britain. These monuments are so integral to the national psyche that it would be unimaginable that anyone would destroy them in favour of new roads and shiny new buildings. Some might argue that it is an unfair comparison. Singapore has such a short history; of course we do not have the kind of monuments that Europe has. Aside from the fact that we have been so accustomed to thinking about Singapore from the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles that we have white-washed the whole history of the place prior to 1819, the rate at which we are destroying historical sites such as Bukit Brown should already raise

o u r

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alarm bells and make us question whether the government is at all serious about creating a national identity. Try a simple thought experiment: think about how many places that existed during your growing up days still look the same or still exist at all? One place that has held precious memories for many families is the McDonald’s at East Coast Park and even that has been shut down because of ‘redevelopment’ plans. In a video commemorating the closure of McDonald’s at East Coast Park, one regular customer said, “this place used to be our second home, so it is like our kitchen being demolished.” Memory is so central to the idea of identity. Take away memory, physical or otherwise, and our identity is dead. Take the case of Pinochet’s oppressive regime in Chile, under which several people were kidnapped and killed, their bodies dumped or destroyed, never to be seen again. The reason the kidnappers did that was to try and erase the memories of the family members and make people doubt whether those who were kidnapped even existed in the

i d e n t i t y

d e a d?

first place. Furthermore, political prisoners were given numbers and forbidden to ever use their names. By forcing them to use numbers instead of names, they were effectively given new identities. The moment they forget their names, their old identity is as good as dead. Politicians and historians know this truth; memories, identity, places and history are all intricately connected. Is our national identity dead? Will our feelings of who we are as Singaporeans survive the onslaught of destruction against the historical landmarks? It is no wonder that so many Singaporeans do not feel at home in Singapore. We are lost because our identity is being robbed from us. When everything has been white-washed by the construction of modern-looking new things, roads, buildings and what-nots, I fear that we would not be able to answer the question, “What is a Singaporean?”

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OPINION*PHOTOSTORY

SAY IT FOR THE STRAY Bridget Tan

When ITE Yishun students uploaded photos displaying two dog catchers’ rough handling of two strays at their campus to STOMP, animal lovers and activists were outraged. In response, a group of approximately 150 animal lovers (along with what they affectionately call their ‘furkids’) gathered at Hong Lim Park on 31 March to stand up for the strays.

Among those gathered were a Muslim man, who asserted that a dog is still a life, and a teenage activist who has started an online petition against the culling of strays, and whose mother feeds over 100 strays. Bridget Tan joins in the fray with her own ‘furkid’, Jayden, to give a voice to the strays (and to let Jayden make a few new friends while she’s at it).


OPINION*PHOTOSTORY

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OPINION

THE DARK ART OF NETWORKING REVISITED

(mbda.gov)

Abhinav Deshmukh

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uphemists describe ‘networking’ as a dance, a courtship of sorts where the presentation of business cards marks the first of the many steps in the arduous journey of building a contact. Some facilitators do not like the negative connotation associated with ‘networking’ and replace it with the art of ‘connecting’. A month ago, I had the opportunity of attending a networking (aka connecting) workshop; the one where they coach you to build that ever-soimportant contact that may be your gateway to an accelerated career growth path, or so the brochure claimed. The first commandment that was drilled into this eager listener was something to the effect of “being as real as one can be.”

This struck me as absurd. I am no master logician, but if one has to make an effort to appear real, one might be condemned for appearing fake. The need for us to be “as real as one can be” arises due to the prevalence of pretenders at networking sessions. Call me an idealist, but the very thought of people honing their skills of presentation towards a set direction struck me as vaguely reminiscent of social engineering. We covered the attributes that society generally approves of: a smile on the face, confidence in one’s speech and the need to mould ourselves into that form which the collective endorses, just to name a few. I know not of the opinion of my peers who joined me in that session, but I can safely say that Howard Roark would

have strongly disapproved. They taught us a set of failsafe questions to get a dinner conversation starting, the art of leaving behind a hook so that one may work on the contact, a near flow chart-based approach to getting close to an influential person one may have randomly bumped into at a gathering. With all the skills to manipulate social settings to one’s advantage, it is no wonder there is a need for us to be “as real as one can be.” With practice, we may master the secrets of those who excel at the art of networking. We may succeed in painting a veneer of realism to sugar-coat that new transformed self which we may grow to adopt as our own. Yet, while some might enjoy the

avenues of their newly-acquired networking skills opened for them, others, like myself, will grow to resent the abandonment of their old selves for they marked one of the last vestiges of their innocence. In his short story At Home, Anton Chekov tells the story of a lawyer who fails to convince his son with logical arguments about the ills of smoking while a short, fictional, simple story does the trick. Confused, the lawyer contemplates, “Why is it that morals and truth cannot be presented in their raw state but always in a mixture, sugarcoated and gilded, like pills. It is not right. That sort of thing is falsification, trickery, deceit.” The same could be said about the art of ‘networking’.


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BOOK REVIEWS THE GREAT GATSBY F. SCOTT FITZGERALD Reviewer: Aditya Sambamoorthy

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penguin.com.au

he Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is indubitably the most significant work in American literature. It beautifully delineates the decadence that characterised the life of the rich and the famous in urban America (particularly New York) during the Jazz Age. Set in an era immediately following World War I, The Great Gatsby revolves around the American obsession with the great American Dream. It also brings out the vulgar materialism, the moral turpitude, the callousness and lack of empathy for others, the nepotism, the corruption and the emptiness that characterised the rich during that era. Apart from that, it provides the readers with a glimpse of the constantly

widening gap between the haves and the have-nots. The novel revolves around the lives of Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, Tom Buchanan (her husband), Nick (the narrator) and Jordan Baker (Nick’s girlfriend). The narrative takes the form of Nick’s recollections where he describes with ambivalent emotions of amazement and condescension the eponymous protagonist, Gatsby. Gatsby epitomises the idealism, hope and extreme romanticism that characterise the ardent and relentless pursuers of the lofty American vision of prosperity. Through images of foul dust and predators the novel describes

the avaricious, deceptive and vulpine Daisy Buchanan and her husband Tom whose viciousness is symbolic of the pernicious influences that often connive to derail visionaries like Gatsby. With an inspirational and aesthetically appealing denouement, the novel scores high with its brilliant use of literary and narrative techniques to unveil this era shrouded in mystery and buried deeply under the sands of time. Thus, it effectively enables the readers to relive these moments which have since been laid to rest in the peaceful bosom of history.

I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER SOPHIE KINSELLA Reviewer: Anupama Hegde

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t has been two years since Sophie Kinsella last delighted us with Mini Shopaholic, and she has nailed it yet again with her latest novel that some reviewers are calling ‘Chick-lit Gold’. I’ve Got Your Number will constantly have you dissolving into peals of laughter. Trying to exercise selfcontrol, I promised myself that I would savour the book over the course of the semester. I finished it within two hours. And you know what? You will, too! Poppy Wyatt is very much in love with her breathtakingly popular.com.sg handsome university professor

fiancé. Or so she thinks. But, she has just lost her antique engagement ring – an irreplaceable family heirloom. As if things could get any worse, she has also misplaced her most prized possession (other than the ring, of course) – her cellphone! In a fit of panic, she picks up an abandoned cellphone from a trash can, and through it, gets connected to a tall, dark, mysterious stranger – Sam Roxton. Sam changes Poppy’s life, and you will find yourself silently rooting for him while cursing Magnus – Poppy’s fiancé

– for being so perfect yet so wrong for her. On every other page of this novel, you will find Poppy’s hilarious personalised footnotes – and you will probably have more fun reading the bottom of that page than its actual content! So pick up a copy of I’ve Got Your Number today for a laugh-out-loud funny, quintessentially Sophie Kinsella experience!


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THE TENTH CIRCLE JODI PICOULT Reviewer: Retna Devi

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am very sure that many people will disagree with my next statement but I am going to go out on a limb and say it anyway. The Tenth Circle is one of Jodi Picoult’s best works. Like her other books, Picoult does not shy away from tackling the difficult questions and in this novel she delves into the contentious issue of rape. What sets this novel apart from the rest of her bestsellers, however, is the way it is crafted. Trixie Stone, a 14-year-old girl is raped by her ex-boyfriend, giraffeday.com but the situation is not that

straightforward. In the process of finding answers and seeking redemption, the focus is not solely on Trixie and how she copes with the ordeal. It is also about her father, Daniel Stone’s past and how he is unable to outrun the darkness that he left behind. Since he is a comic book artist, Picoult ingeniously embellishes the novel with comic strips depicting his battles with his inner demons so as to create a connection between him and the reader. It is through this connection that one can comprehend the intensity of his

emotions and the extent he will go to protect his daughter, Trixie. Through Picoult’s masterful construction, we are introduced to greatly flawed characters, but it is exactly these flaws that make them emanate such strength in the darkest of times. While the subject matter of The Tenth Circle may have the tendency to veer towards drama, Jodi Picoult deftly avoids this pitfall and produces a novel that is simply unforgettable.

MOVIE REVIEW THE AWAKENING 5 APRIL, 2012 REBECCA HALL, DOMINIC WEST AND IMELDA STAUNTON

Reviewer: Anupama Hegde

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re you a fan of period movies? Are supernatural horror flicks your guilty pleasure? If you answered “yes” to both questions, ‘The Awakening’ is the perfect movie for you. It is a supernatural movie that is set in the aftermath of World War I in England. Thus, it is the perfect hybrid of fact and fiction, history and fantasy. So on 5 April, don’t forget to watch ‘The Awakening’ to literally be awakened from the exam-related stupor you will probably be in by then. (Pardon the cheesy pun!) ‘The Awakening’ transports us to a dreary, gloomy England of 1921, where everyone is still trying to come to terms with the


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lives lost during the Great War. Some people turn inwards and take refuge in their imaginations – their loved ones still existed in their minds, even though the war has cruelly taken them away. However, Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall) is different. Unlike the others, she is a realist who has accepted the fact that her lover was killed during the war, and devotes her professional career to exposing hoaxes in socalled ‘supernatural’ occurrences. Florence’s latest job is to investigate the alleged sighting of a little boy’s ghost (perhaps the scariest kind!) in a boys’ boarding school. In the process, she, rather predictably, develops feelings for Robert (Dominic West), one of the teachers in the school. But while romance is blooming, the presence of this ‘ghost’ becomes increasingly evident. In time, Florence’s beliefs are unraveled as she comes to realise that this supernatural being is hardly a figment of anyone’s imagination. If you are as interested in the historical period as you are in story, you will appreciate the fact that ‘The Awakening’ stays true to its time (it is a BBC production, after all!). From the old-fashioned cars to the typically Victorian architecture of the boarding school, you will really feel as if you are in England circa 1921. Besides, this movie promises to keep you at the edge of your seat at all times. Sure enough, I got scared just watching the trailer!

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WHAT’S IN MY IPOD? Charlyn Ang

Defying Gravity Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth

Blinding Florence and The Machine

Sympathique Pink Martini

Safe & Sound Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars

Lover To Lover Florence and The Machine

You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) Dead or Alive

Love Song The Cure

Americano Lady GaGa

Waiting On The World To Change John Mayer

(www.amazon.com)


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INTERVIEW WITH HARD RAINS Nicole Kang

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fter hearing them perform at the NUS Literary Society’s Evening of Poetry and Music, I found myself quite enamoured of this band’s unique sound. According to their Facebook page, they have put their music under the following labels: “Folk Rock, Beat Rock, Blues Rock, Punk Folk.” However, the indiscriminate listener would just call it “indie” or a blending of genres that one can’t quite identify. Hard Rains is a two-man band that consists of Zuni Chong and Abel Koh. The former is a second-year philosophy major from NUS while Abel has just completed his National Service. THE RIDGE was fortunate enough to catch an interview with them! THE RIDGE: Why the name “Hard Rains”? Hard Rains: “Hard Rains” happened when we heard Bob Dylan’s ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’ and cried like babies. We think it’s one of the best things humanity ever produced and it resonates well with us, considering we’re folk-rock

peebles and poet-musicians (we’re also spoken word poets). We used to have several other names: Quantum Pigeon, Found., etc. I think the name makes proud reference to our influences and what we want to do as artistes in general. TR: How did you make the transition into music? How did the two of you get together (as a band)? HR: We started out as poets and that’s also how we met. One day we found each other at either end of a very long table (Abel likes long tables – he says they’re the only ones as big as our egos), alone, and ended up having a nicely spiritual (diabolical giggle) conversation about bringing water to hell and feeding the soul of shrimps. That was also our first conversation. Friendship was automatic. Then one day I dragged Abel to a music studio (because I felt like it) in the dead of the night and we sang our poetry (a la Patti Smith-ing) for a laugh. It turned out pretty well. We ended up with our first song after that first session and the rest is what the rest is. It wasn’t too hard to get into music because the

(Photos: facebook.com/pages/Hard-Rains/106351982804214)

both of us were keen closet music people even pre-Hard Rains, so, I guess we were just waiting for the right musical partner to come round and drag us down into the more public jingle-jangling. TR: I have listened to the entire playlist on your SoundCloud and grown quite enamoured of your music. However, I’m still puzzling over the content of your songs. What is your music about? Are there any specific themes you are interested in? What kind of message are you trying to convey to your listeners? Or do you just compose music from your heart? HR: What is our music about. It’s about music. It’s about life. It’s about everything, man. We don’t censor. As far as we’re concerned, we’re writing about ourselves, mostly. The songs aren’t necessarily autobiographical in the literal sense, but to write a story is to live it in your head anyway. I guess we don’t really have ‘messages’ in the prescriptive sense of that word? I guess we’d like everybody to live as they dream and dream as they live and speak their minds and be willing to see things from a perspective other than their own, and we

try to show them a little of how through the medium of song. But ultimately, you can show people all sorts of things from all sorts of mediums, you just choose the medium you do best or like best and just communicate loudly as you possibly can through it. There is no message. There is just story and opinion. People without opinion simply don’t care. And caring is important if you’re the sort of person who wants things like peace and freedom and happiness, which we assume most people do, so we hope the music makes them want to care. And if it doesn’t, well. You can’t force a thought down a throat, can you? TR: Give the readers a good reason (or reasons!) to listen to your music. HR: It’s honest. We’re unique. We think it’s not bad. It’s free (at least for now :>). It’s a better use of time compared to watching the telly or going to war. TR: How is your music different from other local bands? HR: I think you’re asking the wrong person, man. Listen to the other bands, then listen to us. Tell


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Want to hear more? You can listen to them (for free) at their SoundCloud: http:// soundcloud.com/hard-rains or follow them on their Facebook page: http://www.facebook. com/pages/Hard-Rains.

us what you think.

tunes.

TR: Do you think your experience as slam poets helps 4 ease the lyric-writing process?

TR: Do you think your personal relationship sometimes interferes with your working relationship? Or does it in fact make it better? Can you share any (funny) instances?

HR: Hell yeah! Writing lyrics aren’t difficult. They’re like singable poems. You know, I don’t think non-’poets’ have difficulty with lyric writing. Singer-songwriters are all poets as far as we’re concerned. I don’t even call my stuff poetry. It’s liberated sentences. Some people call it poetry, some people call it lyrics. Same thing. I guess being slam poets made both of us more word-conscious in that we shouldn’t put melody above words. Words are as important as

HR: There is no working relationship. We’re just two people who are best friends and musical comrades. We don’t differentiate our personal lives with our musical lives. They’re very much one and the same. When we do pen down occasional unpleasantries regarding each other and put them into lyrics or poetry, we just deal with it as part of being honest with

each other and our listeners. I think, if anything, it makes our relationship better because we’re brutally open with each other. It makes the dynamic more interesting and our chemistry (on stage and off) more intimate. TR: What performances can our readers look forward to? HR: I think we’re performing at the National Geographic store in early April. We’re also going to be in the recording studio as we are recording our first demo CD. We will be back on the gigging scene in May or June. We often slam at the Blu Jaz Café on the last Thursday of the month. (Photos: facebook.com/pages/Hard-Rains/106351982804214)


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Early bird specimens from the Malay Peninsula collected by C.B. Kloss and F.N. Chasen for the Raffles Museum (circa. 1910); today part of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (NUS) Collection.

CULTURE OVERTURE FOR THE STRICKEN SOUL Meera Nair

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know how you feel. Those long, dreary days in the library. The tome that is open in front of you. The countdown to impending deadlines. The approach of the final exams. Craving a break and ending up spending hours on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The computer isn’t really the best outlet for stress, you know. Apart from the obvious difficulty in regulating the time you spend surfing the net, the glare from your computer screen can also cause eye strain. And there is a kind of monotony in seeking that

same source of relief each and an intermediary only serves to every time the exam season comes dampen what would otherwise be trudging by. a feast for the five senses, turning it merely into acoustic and visual Pablo Picasso once said, “Art experiences. washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Maybe Thankfully there’s no need to that’s exactly what we need – to travel far, or to spend a bomb, for partake of a little art, whether that kind of relief. If you’re on the fine arts or the performing campus, the Centre for the Arts arts. Sure, you can Google Dali’s (CFA) and the NUS Museum paintings, or YouTube the Royal offer some recourse for those Ballet’s performance of Swan jangly nerves. Lake. But let’s face it, the arts is best appreciated when one is there, face-to-face with the object of appreciation. Technology as

(Photo: Gallery impression, Camping and Tramping Through the Colonial Archive: The Museum in Malaya, NUS Museum, 2011)


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CFA LISTINGS

VANCOUVER PIANO ENSEMBLE IN CONCERT WEDNESDAY, 11 APRIL, 8 P.M. FREE ADMISSION (Tickets available at the door one hour before showtime on a first-come-first-served basis) UCC THEATRE

If you’re a fan of classical music, the Vancouver Piano Ensemble cannot fail to delight. Hailing from different countries, members of this ensemble are set to charm us with their repertoire of multipiano works by composers like Rossini, Liszt, von Suppé and Saint-Saëns. The NUS Piano Ensemble also joins in with works by Shostakovich and Mozart.

UNPLUGGED SESSIONS BY NATALIE HIONG FRIDAY, 13 APRIL, 7 P.M. FREE ADMISSION STARBUCKS CAFÉ @ YUSOF ISHAK HOUSE, NUS

A dash of youthful optimism and romance can never fail to cheer any music-lover. Natialie Hiong offers just that, with her performance of chart hits and original songs from her EP Little Heart. Experience a range of emotions through songs that range from the soft and elegant (‘Perfect’), to the upbeat (‘Part of Me Wonders’). Top it off with Starbucks latte while you’re there!

NUS MUSEUM LISTINGS

THE SUFI AND THE BEARDED MAN: REMEMBERING A KERAMAT IN CONTEMPORARY SINGAPORE UNTIL 6 MAY FREE ADMISSION NUS MUSEUM

More than anything, the keremat offers a peek into the lesser-known aspects of Singapore’s history and culture. This exhibition remembers the recently removed keramat of a 19th century Sufi traveller from the Middle East. It is the result of a two-year collaboration with Ali, an intermediary of the Sufi and custodian of the mausoleum who is referred to as “the bearded man” by devotees. The result is presented in the form of photographs, artefacts, anecdotal histories and related documents.

CAMPING AND TRAMPING THROUGH THE COLONIAL ARCHIVE: THE MUSEUM IN MALAYA UNTIL 2 DECEMBER FREE ADMISSION NUS MUSEUM

Featuring artefacts sourced from the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (NUS), Asian Civilizations Museum, National Museum of Singapore, National Library Board,

Singapore Press Holdings, Singapore National Archives, NUS Museum, as well as the Ivan Polunin and Mohammad Din Mohammad collections, this exhibition presents a fascinating insight into the way the museum is designated as a space for the accumulation and ordering of knowledge. Through this exhibition, the Orientalist lens through which Malaya was understood is brought to the fore, revealing how Malaya was discursively rendered exotic by colonial rulers.

(Photos: Courtesy of NUS CFA, NUS Museum, Nurul Huda B. A. Rashid)

DATE | 16 MARCH 2012


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PAMPER THYSELF WI HOLIDAY LIST OF AW Vanessa Anne Nunis

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fter studying intensely for an entire semester, one would typically look forward to a break. There will be a day when we realise that the sleeping, relaxing, celebrating, and playing is insufficient substance for a Play Plan. What a tragic irony! “Run out of a Play Plan?” you would ask, aghast. Nonetheless, THE RIDGE has put together a list of awesome activities you can refer to when you run out of things to do with your day!

For the Adventurous Take a Walk Singapore’s a gorgeous country. Bring a camera along! It could be a stroll, it could be a fast let’s-lose-some-weight stride. Whichever it is, take a walk.

Start with Henderson Waves. It is 300 metres worth of gorgeous views, particularly in the evening. A more challenging option would be the 800m Marang Trail. This trail literally cuts through the forest, covering an elevation of 70m. That’s about the height of a 24-storey building, so yes, the horror, you have to be relatively fit but hey! Jewel Box is right at the top waiting to serve you beer and ice cream. Alternatively, if nature is not quite your cup of tea, you could try the Changi Museum War Trail which features various World War II sites, or the Fort Canning Hill Walk which will attempt to wow you with the myths and legends of Singapore’s past. The heritage walks are tours though, so if you’re on a budget, I’d recommend the nature walks.

For more information on various walks that you could take in Singapore, check out the following websites:

could walk or cycle around the rubber plantations and mangroves before taking an evening stroll along the beach. The view from the peak of the 74m Bukit Puaka, Heritage Walks: http://www. the highest point on Pulau Ubin, journeys.com.sg/singaporewalks/ is a breathtaking one not to be index.asp missed. Of course, there are also the wonders of Chek Jawa with Nature Walks: http://www.nparks. its starfish and corals. gov.sg/cms/ For more information, look here: Pulau Ubin http://www.wildsingapore.com/ ubin/index.html Take a step back in time and return to the simple life. Pulau iFly Sigapore Ubin has got to be one of the most relaxing and serene places I have not tried it. How fantastic in Singapore. What’s most would it be to fall out of the ‘sky’ striking about Pulau Ubin is its with the knowledge that there’s authentic naturalness despite absolutely no chance of you being a tourist attraction. The falling flat on your face (I think)? trip to Pulau Ubin starts with a The opposite may happen if you bumboat ride from Changi. You really attempt sky-diving, but for


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LF WITH THE RIDGE’S OF AWESOMENESS those of us who won’t be getting the opportunity to the real thing anytime soon... THIS IS THE PLACE TO GO!! Check here for more information: http://www.sentosa.com.sg/en/ attractions/beaches/ifly-singapore/

East Coast Beach Cable Ski Park I’ve walked up to this park to watch the brave people have a go at it on a few occasions and have left half-amused (while another part of me just begged to try it). The first few, or rather ten, times that the skier tries to get up on the wakeboard is followed by a splash and a very soaked skier. Once they’re on it though, it looks like epic fun. The skiing is done in a lagoon filled with seawater. Basically, the skier gets on a wakeboard and holds onto handles attached to a cable which is attached to a system that runs around the top of the lagoon and constantly moves to pull the skier along. As long as you master balancing on the wakeboard while being pulled, you’ll be good to go! It will require patience but it is definitely worth a try! More information is available on Singapore’s first Cable Ski Park here: http://www.ski360degree. com/

Get Skilled!

Get ‘Cultured’!

Learn how to Sew!

Shakespeare in the Park

It is a useful skill. I don’t mean stitching. I mean actually sewing an entire outfit, a beautiful outfit that’s uniquely you. You won’t ever have to worry about sizes again! Also, it will be the only one in the world (Or so we’d like to think)!

This year, Shakespeare in the Park presents ‘Twelfth Night’. “If music be the food of love, play on” is one of the world’s most foolish melancholic lines, and “foolery walks the orb like the sun, it shines everywhere” is one of its wisest (ironically, these are said by the Duke and the Fool respectively)! ‘Twelfth Night’ is a comedic masterpiece and would be even more enjoyable accompanied by good friends and a decently made picnic basket under the Fort Canning night sky. Go get tickets (there’s a ladies night special offer too!). Check Sistic for more details.

To get you started: http://www. sewingclassessingapore.com/

Dance! Because it feels great! It doesn’t matter if you’ve danced before or if you’ve never tried. Take a dance class. You could try out some ballet for adults at the YMCA or get a group of your friends to take up Salsa with you. Dancing’s a great way to help you express yourself. It gives you poise, you feel more comfortable with your body, and it keeps you fit. Dance, people! The best bit is there’s a genre for everyone! Look here for Salsa: http://www. danceunlimited.sg/dnn/CLASSES. aspx And here for YMCA options: http://lifestyleymca.squarespace. com/

ASEAN Basketball League Singapore Slingers VS Indonesian Warriors (13 May only) For those who’d like to roar for the Slingers!! Here’s a match worth watching! Again, check Sistic for details.

Singapore Arts Festival 18 May to 2 June I can’t quite describe it but it has got to be one of the best festivals Singapore has to offer. With artists from all over the world, the Singapore Arts Festival offers

genres of music, art, and drama for all sorts of preferences. An absolute feast for the senses! Check here for more details: http:// www.singaporeartsfest.com/

Catch a concert at Botanic Gardens The Singapore Symphony Orchestra will be performing at the Botanical Gardens on 13 May (so yes, no Singapore Slingers for you!). It starts in the evening at 6 p.m., and you will enjoy an hour of absolutely beautiful music for free, sitting on the comfortable hill facing the amphitheatre with perhaps a glass of wine in your hand, and a bag of chips. I would recommend arriving at around 4.30 p.m. to save a good spot. You could start your evening with a game of captain’s ball or frisbee and then settle down for dinner as the crowd comes in. Have fun!

That’s all we’ve got! From all of us here at THE RIDGE, HAPPY HOLIDAYS! We hope you have a fun-filled, rejuvenating and fulfilling break. To all those graduating, make sure you catch at least one of the above before you dive into the working world. More importantly, CONGRATULATIONS AND ALL THE BEST!!


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LIFESTYLE

THE SHISHADDICTION Wait, what was the title again? Is shisha addictive?

(photos by Patricia Jonatan)

Teresa Widodo

S

moking shisha has arguably become an integral part of today’s lifestyle. Some of us love travelling all the way to Arab Street or other prominent shisha spots to smoke and socialise. But, have you ever wondered what is the true effect of shisha? Or wondered whether you keep coming back to the shisha lounge because of your friends’ invitation or because you are hooked to the hookah? While shisha’s notorious sibling, the cigarette, is covered by hideous health hazard pictures, shisha comes up with the delightful appearance of a curvy, exotic hookah with one or multiple hoses that allow people to enjoy its sweet smell and pleasing taste with friends. The apparent innocence of the smoky indulgence and lack of public awareness of the health risks that

shisha smokers face has even increased its popularity. THE RIDGE, with the help of the Health Promotion Board, brings you some truths about the hookah. An Idiot’s Guide to Shisha The Health Promotion Board has launched a shisha awareness campaign as a part of Live It Up Without Lighting Up, an anti-tobacco movement, on 23 March, 2012. The aim of the campaign was to make known the danger of shisha and to dispel misconceptions surrounding it. The campaign involved 12 voluntary youth advocates and 4 talents to spread the word and share educational pamphlets in the Kampong Glam area. The HPB has also launched ‘The

Idiot’s Guide to Shisha’ video on 22 March, 2012. This nineminute video explains how to use shisha properly to “get most damage to your body” and ends up uncovering these dreadful truths:

the harm of the toxins and carcinogens (cancer-inducing chemicals). If only toxins could be so easily removed by mere water, researchers would not spend years in their laboratory trying to cure cancer!

The base which is the main part of a hookah is usually carved artistically. “It gives you illusion that you are doing something harmless,” said Tony as the ‘host’ of the video. So, what kind of harm can those voluptuous hookahs bring?

The stem is the long airtight structure of a hookah which transports the tobaccos and gives out some bubbles. Usually to ‘maximise the pleasure’, people will make sure the stem is fully airtight and no smoke can escape. “So, your lungs get more bang for your buck.”

“Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody.” – Mark Twain Some of you might think that water is so powerful that it can filter most toxins contained in a package of flavoured tobacco. In fact, water does not reduce

The tray contains some charcoal that burns the tobacco. According to Dr K Vijaya, the Director of the Youth Health Division of HPB, charcoal increases the health risks even more by producing high levels of carbon monoxide, metals, and


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carcinogens. The bowl is the ‘heart’ of a hookah where the innocentlyflavoured tobacco lies. The video shows a packet of appleflavoured tobacco (yes, after all, it is tobacco with all the addictive nicotine!) which reminds me of the poisonous apple in Snow White. As we all know, the very first part of shisha that gets in contact with the smokers is the hose. For the sake of friendship, a shisha hose often travels from mouth to mouth and, obviously, carries whatever lies inside one’s mouth to another. Let’s play a short game: do you know what kind of organisms creep and live inside your friends’ mouths? There is always a chance that your friends or people who share the same hose with you are not as healthy as they appear and saliva is one of the means for some diseases (from flu to hepatitis!) to spread. As innocent as it appears to be, the shisha’s fancy figure, sweet and tasty flavours and relaxing scents conceal numerous hideous toxins and carcinogens. Shooing Shisha Away! Better late than never, if you are already hooked to hookah, you can always make a start towards quitting smoking it. These are some tips to fight the addiction: Look up the facts about hookah in the Internet. Be aware of the risks and hopefully the pictures of health hazards that shisha smokers face will pop out every time you see a hookah. Tell your friends, “I quit smoking shisha,” and convince them to

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stop by spreading the horrible truths of a hookah. After all, the most tempting pleasure you get from smoking shisha is the chance to hang out with your friends while inhaling the hazardous smoke. The less number of friends who smoke shisha, the easier it is for you and your peers to give it up. “Find some healthier activities to keep you engaged,” suggested one of the youth ambassadors of HPB’s shisha awareness campaign. You can always jog around NUS to burn that excess fat, go swimming and get a stronger heart and blood vessels or engage in long-forgotten hobbies. Reallocate your money. A shisha session costs between $12 and $40. Instead of going for shisha, you can indulge yourself by buying some luscious Royce’ or Godiva. Another option is dining out and treating your friends! Your friends will definitely prefer a treat to a threat! Have determination and be patient. The most important aspect to help quit shisha comes from within. If you are determined to stop, nothing will be in your way. “Be serious, don’t play with your life,” one of the youth ambassadors warns. If after numerous tries you are unsuccessful, Diana Sim, the Senior Executive of Youth Health Programme Development 3 of HPB suggests picking up the phone and simply calling the QuitLine (1-800-438-2000).

(photo by Patricia Jonatan)

The Numbers Shisha, also known as Hookah or Water Pipe, has been known to mankind for over 300 years. A typical 1-hour-long hookah smoking session involves inhaling as much smoke as that of 100 or more cigarettes. Babies born to women who smoked one or more water pipes a day during pregnancy have lower birth weights (were at least 3½ ounces less) than babies born to non-smokers and are at an increased risk of having respiratory diseases. Carbon monoxide in exhaled breath showed a normal non-smoker’s level to be 3 parts CO per million parts of air (less than 1% of blood not working properly), a light smoker to have 10-20 ppm (24% of blood not working properly), and a heavy smoker 30-40 ppm (5-7%) while shisha smokers are found to have 40-70 ppm of CO in their breath - affecting 8-12% of their blood. The smoke breathed in by the passive shisha smoker may contain up to 3 times more tar, 5 times more carbon monoxide, 3 times more nicotine and 50 times more carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals than the smoke inhaled by the smoker through the cigarette filter tip. Source: • Dr K Vijaya, Director of Youth Health Division of Health Promotion Board • http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8214097.stm • http://www.thenewstribe.com/2011/03/03/shisha-a-deliciouskiller/#.T2lbjBHxrF8


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LIFESTYLE

SUMMER ROAD TRIP 2012

– HOLD ON TIGHT

(weheartit.com) Chan Yiwen

The city’s on fire, the city’s on fire Burning through me The summertime’s cruising, the summertime’s cruising Down our street Everybody’s moving, everybody’s moving Revelry, revelry The summertime’s taking, the summertime’s taking Control over our feet

M

y friend, Matt, says that oftentimes I get ahead of myself, making epic, grandiose plans that I fail to carry though at the end of the day because they’re so grossly ambitious that I keep putting them off. And he’s right. I’m a notorious, wildly overconfident planner out of touch with my own limitations and have a shoddy reputation of overpromising and under-delivering. And so it comes that I have smoked through several summer breaks doing absolutely nothing, not even wasting it sipping cocktails by the poolside or building sandcastles by the beach in a bikini. Instead, I spend the entire summer vacation stressing over the long, unattainable list of things I have to do rather than

actually getting down to doing them, which is even worse than turning into a beach-lovin’, suntanning cliché. Youth is wasted on the young. This quotation goes back to Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw, and he was probably right. Tank-tops and flip-flops, salty-air and sun-kissed hair, men in their boxers chugging down ice-cold beers on the porch, tan lines and bikini babes, mosquitoes drunk on blood in the relentless summer heat, backyard barbeques and roof-top parties, passionate rhythm dancing and epic summer romance – there are billions of summer connotations across the world. In May, while the Siberian Eskimos fantasise about sunbathing while surviving on


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fish and blubber in the sub-zero temperatures, the last of the snow caps slowly melt off in the Upper Hemisphere and the Danes gradually shed off their thick clothing. Below the equator, on the other side of the world, winter has just begun in Australia and the New Zealanders are starting to feel the chill. Located just two degrees north of the equator, it’s summer yearround in Singapore and the only weather variations are the two monsoon seasons and a rumour that it once snowed in Pasir Ris for a few seconds. With no weather indicators to remind us that summer break’s almost here, it’s granted that we often forget to plan for it. And when we do, the plan fails. But this year, summer’s going to be a little different for all of us.

the previous summer, some scenes are particularly vivid. I remember standing in the middle of Times Square at night, scouring every corner of Manhattan, briskwalking for eight hours straight from the Lower East Side to Harlem and back, sitting next to Holocaust survivors on the subway, walking in the rain at midnight, getting lost in Brooklyn and spending the last of my money on ice-cream.

Looking back, everything that happened in those three months in Manhattan seems to serve a purpose for the present, for my hopes and dreams, and contribute to my emotional growth. As much as I want to travel back in time and relive that unforgettable summer, I feel obligated to try something completely different this year. My grandmother’s gradual memory Before college, summer was loss and deteriorating mobility usually associated with a constantly reminds me of the prolonged period of doing glory of youth. Right now is the absolutely nothing; a time for us time to experience as much as we to disappear from the face of the can, to eradicate the self-afflicted earth for a while to recuperate fear pangs and the pro-con lists, from education. But as we entered gravitate towards the less-trodden into another phase of our lives paths and charge bravely ahead. – the college years – it seemed that loitering the summer away I posed the same question was a luxury we could no longer on Facebook and one friend afford. I miss those carefree suggested LSD. Another days spent unconditionally with recommended re-reading the family and friends. These days, Twilight series. Then the first the most popular ways to spend friend suggested re-reading the the three-month break are to Twilight series on LSD and he attend summer school or to get got more than ten likes. We’re all a decent internship, acquire looking for explosions in our lives basic Photoshop or moneyand we think we can’t find it here. management skills, and then trying to squeeze friends and While I think it’s important to family into your lives. spend a period of your life away from the place where you grew As for me, last summer was where up in, to go on an unforgettable it all began. I travelled to New journey and create a significant York alone to attend summer distance between yourself and classes at NYU. It was the longest everything familiar, return to time I was ever away from home. your inner core and rediscover When I recall my memories from yourself: Who am I? What do I

believe in? What is it that I want to do? Maybe we’re searching too hard for the most meaningful and unforgettable summer experience. Perhaps the best stories are created when we stop trying so hard. A friend once told me that sometimes, it is the most ordinary things that surprise us in the most unexpected ways. Maybe the answer has been here all along on this concrete tropical island or closer within our reach than we perceive it to be. For some of you, this summer will be the one after you graduate and before you start a new chapter in your lives. For others, it’s a summer to chase dreams and pursue passions. In May, we all go our separate ways, diverging down the road to different paths, moving closer and delving deeper in towards the beautiful, glorious, unpredictable period. But no matter what you decide to do this holiday, whether you travel to the opposite end of the world and enjoy widespread freedom or choose to test your creativity within the constraints set in this semi-authoritarian island, when we convene again in August, every one of you will have returned with classic equivalents of wonderful summer adventures. You’ll come back with sunburnt skin peeling off your nose and feel slightly different – mellowed out by the sun, the people, and the adventures, with some sort of renewed energy and deep summer nostalgia. Summer 2012: set your hearts free and enjoy the ride because it’ll be over before you know it. Embrace difficulty and shun familiarity because it helps you grow as a person. Have a great and unforgettable summer ahead and I’ll see you soon enough!

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LIFESTYLE

FINDING THE

OBSCURED Rachel Ong

I

t’s not often you see proof that Singapore does in fact have its fair share of talented artists and musicians. After all, these people are often sidelined for internationally acclaimed celebrities, who ironically have less need for publicity and exposure. The people at ObscuRed have taken note of the matter and are working to effect a positive change in favor of these lesser known talents. Helmed by a first year NUS architecture student Genevieve Ang and her friend, Ansen Goh, ObscuRed is an online platform that uncovers and features little-known local artists and their masterpieces in art, film, photography, literature and music. In giving these works the chance to see the light of day, ObscuRed is striving to make sure the abundant and precious mass of local talent does not go to waste. ObscuRed was conceptualised by Genevieve and Ansen last year,

in an epiphanic conversation where they realised they shared similar sentiments about the shortage of channels directing public attention to worthy local talents. For aspiring film maker Ansen, this issue hit home as he had personally experienced the difficulties of getting his film creations showcased. So the duo took matters into their own hands, and with their own finances, brought their idea for ObscuRed to life. They have catalogued the works of numerous artists to date, including illustrator Lee Li Xian’s whimsical drawings of her daily cup of coffee as well as local bands — Penpusher, Cashew Chemists and Andrew Sane. To the layman, the name ObscuRed seems thoroughly fitting for the cause it supports — almost as though selecting it should have been a natural and obvious move — but just picking the perfect name for the site alone was in fact a tedious task that spanned several days. The

cause they advocate is one that the arts community in Singapore has been working on achieving for years, but public-driven endeavors like ObscuRed are still in the infant stages. Most of the features ObscuRed has spoken to agree that there is no shortage of opportunities in Singapore, so the onus is on the individual to seek them. The determination of these artists to enhance the local arts scene is evident to Ansen, who notes that “there is also a great sense of collaboration within the community in a bid to survive and draw attention to itself as a scene.” He adds that ObscuRed wants to build on these existing efforts, and tap on the rich perspectives and experiences the community has to offer. At the moment, they count websites with similar ambitions like Culturepush and Pixiekrane among their affliates. The site is driven by the communal efforts of its 45

contributors, who regularly collaborate with each other to source for and present features. These contributors are mainly tertiary students, who are motivated by ObscuRed’s cause as well as their own passion for the arts. But finding artists who are concealed in the depths of the Internet is no easy task. The ObscuRed team depend mainly on their own social circle and tipoffs from readers to provide them with ideas for stories. In some cases, their friends themselves may also be feature-worthy material. While it is still too premature to determine if ObscuRed has made an impact in the Singapore arts industry, it hopes to foster collaborations between artists in the future, so that the resultant synergy will propel the local arts community into a self-sustained entity with the potential to scale great heights without fading into obscurity. Visit ObscuRed at http://obscured.sg.


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LAYERING IN THE TROPICS Candice Chua

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et me first begin by saying that layering in Singapore is tricky but not impossible. I have worn three layers to school and survived with minimal sacrifices of comfort. The best thing about layering is that when the weather (Tiffany Hsu & Sarah Ruston/ swings from one extreme to vogue.com) another, you can modify your outfit to suit it while staying comfortable and looking chic. With the right style choices, you too can work the layered look in our (annoyingly) erratic weather. Material is everything when it comes to outerwear. It’ll determine if you’re going to look chic, or end up looking like a sweaty mess. If it’s a sweater or cardigan you want, materials like acrylic, nylon and cotton are best for tropical weather as they trap less heat. Wool and angora are major no-nos. For knitted options, go for those that are lightweight, sparsely knitted or (Exhibit at Far East Plaza) cropped. Loose-fitting sweaters allow for more breathing space and are less awkward to remove when the weather takes a turn for the humid extreme. It will avoid smearing any make-up on your face and staining your favourite knit too. The point of wearing a layered look is making it obvious that the layering is deliberate, and not just because the day is extremely chilly. With that in mind, you want the under-layering options to be sufficiently visible. For the boys out there, a collared shirt is hence the perfect choice. For (Exhibit at Far East Plaza) minimal discomfort (and less

risks of unsightly sweat patches), choose cotton or chiffon shirts due to their relative breathability. You might also want to wear a sleeveless shirt underneath or cuff the sleeves of a long-sleeved shirt to a comfortable length before piling a sweater or jacket over.

(topshop.tumblr.com)

Jackets and blazers are even better for layering in the local climate because they’re stylish and also easy to take off when the weather heats up. They might be a little thick though so unless you’re the sort who will persist and ignore discomfort in the name of fashion, faux leather jackets and suede should be avoided (except for when it is legitimately chilly, of course). Alternatively, you can still maintain the edgy(vanessajackman.blogspot.com) layered look by wearing sleeveless versions of a denim, leather or suede jacket over a simple thin Have overactive sweat-glands but item of clothing on top. still insist on layering? Opt for layering a sleeveless option over For the ladies, layering is not a sleeveless option, like a large limited to outerwear and knits. armhole muscle t-shirt (which is Consider layering simple short essentially a regular t-shirt with dresses, rompers or jumpsuits over the sleeves cut off) or a knit vest collared tops. You can even take over a crisp collared sleeveless it further by wearing a sweater shirt underneath. You could also or jacket over this combination. try lightweight crotchet ponchos That’s three whole layers, ladies. or throw-overs (which are usually Dresses with pinafore styles or an quite holey) over a sleeveless tank exposed back provide interesting or dress. detail as it exposes a lot of your under-layering and is cooling to Well even if this article is wear as well. about surviving in your layered clothing, do check the skies The last trick in the bag is before making your wardrobe balance. Worried that you might choices. If the temperatures are feel stuffy from wearing two or expected to soar, it’s best to leave three layers on the top? Wear those layers at home and save something short for the bottom. them for a rainy day (literally).


Thank you for your support this past year. It’s been a brilliant time for us, and we hope you had as much fun reading as we had producing this magazine.

All the best for your final exams!

Meera

Here we are

Prateek Nicole

Raymond

Luke

Augustin Jian Gang


Elliot Vani

Herng Yih Caryn Bridget Tra

Shanmugam

Arnab

Shanglong


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LIFESTYLE

GOING PAST BOUNDARIES Shermaine Wong & Teresa Widodo

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he world today is filled with interdisciplinary challenges that cannot be solved by one’s expertise alone and requires spanning of certain boundaries such as generational gaps and cultural differences which may present themselves as barriers, especially in Singapore which is home to a multicultural population. It is important that we are equipped with the skills to overcome these boundaries before we embark on our internship or first job. Speaking to Christ Ernst, the author of Centre for Creative Leadership’s bestselling book, Boundary Spanning Leadership, we are given a brief rundown of what boundary spanning entails, the types of boundaries we may encounter in our future workplace and how we can work to overcome them by viewing them as frontiers of opportunities instead.


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Could you tell us more about what the term ‘boundary spanning’ mean? Chris: Sure, absolutely. Let’s just take both of those words one at a time. The word ‘boundary’ often conveys borders or limits. The word ‘spanning’ means to bridge or bring together. Put the two together and you got it right there. The ‘boundary spanning’ is the ability to bridge or connect boundaries to achieve a higher vision or goal. Let’s just think about it. All the challenges that matter most today – climate change, job creation, innovation, issues of global health, public education and all of the big issues today – they span boundaries and they require people to be able to work collaboratively together in order to solve them. That’s what ’boundary spanning’ is all about. What are the core boundary spanning competencies that the higher managements are generally looking for? Chris: They are looking for employees and leaders that can work across five types of boundaries. They should be able to work across vertical boundaries or levels of the organisation (and) across horizontal boundaries or functional expertise. So I would encourage you as students (not only) to have a major area of study but also have a breadth of experience in different fields and disciplines because work today is so complex; you have to be knowledgeable about various fields and disciplines other than your own. Thirdly, they are looking for people who can work across

stakeholder boundaries. Take whatever issue that matters most to you. Perhaps if you are interested in the environment, you need to better understand the environment from different stakeholder perspectives. So, spend some time learning about it from the governmental perspective, the environmental perspective and the business perspective, after which you will be in a better position as a leader to help solve the classic issue of climate change. The fourth of the obstacle that they are looking at leadership to work across are demographic boundaries from different generations to different cultures and different backgrounds. Since we all know that birds of the same feather can flock together, I would encourage you to push yourself to develop friendships and relationships with people of diverse backgrounds other than your own. The last one, of course, is geographic boundaries. They are looking for people who have had experiences across different geographic regions and countries. As such, you are encouraged to travel as much as you can. Even within Singapore, there are tremendous opportunities to experience different cultures which I will encourage you to take advantage of.

around Kampong Glam, all the while encouraging our kids to ask questions. What do you see in these different cultures? What do you observe? What do you notice about the variety of food and clothes? I think the same thing for all of us – whether we are young children, students or high-powered executives – we all need to have that curiosity to be able to ask questions, to want to continue to learn and to continue to challenge ourselves to think differently based on the experiences of the people that we meet. How can we bridge and overcome boundaries between different cultures? Well, for the past ten years, the Centre for Creative Leadership has been conducting a project across six world regions, Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America and South America. I worked for three years for Singapore from my house based in the United States, discovering that there are six essential practices for working across boundaries. These practices are called buffering, reflecting, connecting, mobilising, weaving and transforming. I bet that is a lot to take in at once, but I encourage you to go to our website spanboundaries.com and you will see a great video which talks more about these six practices.

How should we deal with people from different cultures What are the relational in the workplace? How should barriers that we may face in we approach them? our future workplace and how can we deal with them? Chris: Well, I think the single most important thing is curiosity. Throughout this interview I am here in Singapore with my we have been talking about two children and we spent one boundaries as sort of being day walking around Little India, constraints and barriers that get another one around Chinatown in your way, and that’s absolutely and yet another one looking true. Boundaries can be obstacles

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but there’s an alternative definition and that’s the word ‘frontier’ which represents the location of the newest and most advanced activity in any given area. So I would encourage you to think differently about boundaries, not just as limiting borders but as opportunities for you to learn, to grow, to challenge yourself and to help begin to change today’s world into tomorrow’s frontiers of possibilities. Do you have anything you would like to say to our readers? We definitely need more boundary-spanning leaders. So my advice would be to go out, be curious, gain invaluable experiences working across all types of boundaries, look at things from multiple perspectives and challenge yourself to continue learning; I wish you all the best as a boundary-spanning leader.

Chris Ernst is a senior faculty member at the CCL’s Organizational Leadership Practice and the author of CCL’s bestselling book, Boundary Spanning Leadership. Further information can be retrieved from his website: http:// www.spanboundaries.com


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IGRADUAID: L LEGAC Bridget Tan

S

ome of us may have seen the throng of people in graduation gowns flooding The Deck and thought that graduation came early (or that the graduating students are so stressed they’ve lost their minds). Many have also heard the reminiscent lyrics from the graduation song that has been sung every time we progress from one school to another. It’s the final leg for many graduating students (myself included), and perhaps it’s about time to pay it forward and help our fellow FASS-ians, especially in light of the fee hike.

The campaign was started as awareness of the commencement class giving initiative was rather low within the faculty and the iGraduAID organising team felt that more could be done to encourage the graduating cohort to contribute to help their juniors in need. Could you share with our readers what the campaign is for?

How did iGraduaid come about?

Our team hopes to inject a fresh impetus into the fundraising scene in NUS with the iGraduAID campaign. By adopting a range of innovative tactics such as a flash mob, a Polaroid photo-taking booth and FASS’ first ever graduation party, our team aims to raise a minimum of $11, 250 to sponsor at least five bursaries. All proceeds from the graduation party and photo-taking will go toward the FASS Student Advancement Bursary Fund.

The iGraduAID campaign is a part of the annual FASS Commencement Class Giving that encourages FASS graduating students to contribute to FASS undergraduates in need. Planning for the campaign began last semester by the iGraduAID organising team that comprises of six honours students from communications and new media.

To assure students that all donations raised will be used only to assist students in need, the iGraduAID team will release information on how the funds will be used, as well as how much has been collected throughout at the conclusion of the fundraising campaign. Information will be disseminated via NUS email, the iGraduAID website and

THE RIDGE talks to Sarah Chiang, Media Relations Director of the iGraduAID campaign (and the reason for sentimental notes floating while we eat our yong tau foo) about what their campaign is all about and how the average FASS-ian’s contribution can go a long way.

the iGraduAID Facebook page. Weekly updates on the funds collected will be featured on the website and Facebook page. How could interested readers contribute to iGraduaid? Readers can make an online donation through our website at www.igraduaid.sg, make a contribution during the graduation gown collection from the 21st to the 26th of June, or make a direct donation at the NUS Development Office at Shaw Foundation Alumni House. Alternatively, they can join us at FASS’ first ever graduation party, Final FASStasy, which will be held at The Beer Market, Clarke Quay on the 8th of May. Tickets are priced at $15 and includes a free beverage, as well as 10% off all drinks at The Beer Market. All proceeds from the graduation party also go toward the FASS Student Advancement Bursary fund. To place their ticket orders, interested students can email us at events@igraduaid.sg. Many in FASS have probably noticed the flash mob that involved numerous students in graduation gowns and even a choir at The Deck. Perhaps you’d like to share a bit more about it? The flash mob was designed to kick-start the iGraduAID

campaign on a high note by generating buzz and excitement in a bid to raise awareness about the campaign. Our team felt that it was a unique way to capture the attention of FASS students with a flashmob of such a scale, during the lunch hour at The Deck. A total of 62 students participated in the flashmob and the bulk were from Eusoff Choir, while the iGraduAID team and their peers comprised the rest of the participants. An additional quote from Melvin Tai, iGraduAID’s Assistant Project Director on why he chose to be part of the flash mob, “I chose to be a part of it as it was


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ID: LEAVING A EGACY

a rare opportunity for me to do something meaningful and fun in my final semester. In other words, it was a nice swan song for me to champion for a good cause and help out students in need. Being able to pay for our education is something that most people take for granted. However, for some, the road towards graduation is arduous because of their financial predicament. My team and I hope to do our utmost to help out these students in need.” I notice you’ve also been having a polaroid-taking booth along the Arts walkway. Have you had any interesting accounts you’d like to share with our readers?

Well, our team is very happy with the support FASS students have shown towards the Polaroid photo-taking booth we had set up for two weeks along the Arts walkway. There were students who heard about our booth and subsequently got all their friends to go down to snap a shot together to support our cause. There was this one particular instance where these two students did not have enough funds with them for a Polaroid shot, but once they heard that it will go towards bursaries for students, they immediately headed down to the ATM to redraw cash for two Polaroid shots. $2 for a Polaroid shot may not seem much, but if every FASS student donates $2, we will be able to help at least five FASS students in need with their NUS academic fees. Finally, could you tell us why we should be contributing to the cause? Recipients of the FASS Commencement Class Giving bursaries may very well be that person sitting next to you during your lecture or tutorial class. We often don’t know who they are and we don’t know what problems they are facing, but one thing’s for sure - if every FASS student donates a little out of their savings, this will help fund a student who may be on the brink

of dropping out of university due to the burden of academic fees. It doesn’t have to be a large amount, every donation goes toward helping an FASS student in need, so why not?

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READCUBE: YOUR RE

Neethu Krishna M

(readcube.com)

R

esearch invariably involves several heaps of paper on your desk and several MBs of data on your desktop. And these days, it is not just for nerdy research scholars - handling huge chunks of documents has become a daily affair for all. It is very important therefore, to manage and organise these info banks

efficiently, in order to soak in all the important information and save it for later work. However, grouping together a bunch of PDF files into a library that can be searched and annotated is no easy task. That’s where ReadCube comes to the rescue. ReadCube, launched late last year

by Labtiva, is a reference manager with a particular focus on organizing the PDFs of scholarly papers that simplifies researchers’ entire literature-based workflow. It was a startup initiated in a Harvard College dorm room by two researchers, Sinisa Hrvatin and Robert McGrath, who themselves faced problems due

to lack of a smart and intuitive tool that makes reading, finding and organising literature easier and personalised. The application is Adobe Air-based, and will work on both Windows and Mac platforms. ReadCube not only acts as a one-place-store for all your


WIRED

UR RESEARCH SIMPLIFIED!

PDFs but it also offers a range of features that make it an incredibly useful tool. Besides providing an integrated PDF viewer with inbuilt features like text highlighting, notes and snapshots taking, it even helps to have everything referenced (i.e., ReadCube can look for online references for any piece that you are writing and have them inserted in the relevant parts of your text). Gone are the days when you had to open a dozen documents to find the sentence you want. ReadCube lets you easily import PDFs into the application, which will then be automatically organised into a fully searchable library. The application also makes finding citations and contents a breeze with an advanced full text search, and once the article needed is found, a citation can be added as an endnote. All it takes is a couple of clicks! As ReadCube adjusts to user behaviour, the more you use it, the more accustomed it will become to your working style. Based on your library collections and recent activity, it provides you with personalised daily recommendations. The highlight of ReadCube however, is its integration with

PubMed and Google Scholar. The application is primarily geared towards students and researchers, allowing them to use their university accounts and access journals in any of the

THE HIGHLIGHT OF READCUBE HOWEVER, IS ITS INTEGRATION WITH PUBMED AND GOOGLE SCHOLAR. journal websites. Thus it saves you from the circuitous path of searching via a web-browser. The recent partnership with Nature.com allows you to add articles and annotations directly from their web reader to your library, view in-line references being used by the article and generate a simple download link button for desktop usage. References cited inside the article become ‘clickable’ in the PDF, delivering a new kind of interactive reading experience. The ReadCube Web Reader is currently available on Scientific Reports, Nature and 18 Nature research journals. The database is being expanded every day. However, there is a plethora of similar data organising apps out in the field like Papers, Endnote, Mendeley, Zotero that can give ReadCube a tough time. Besides, important features like

a bookmarklet to import from other sources, group sharing, integration with MS word, full screen view option etc. are missing. Looks like Hrvatin and McGrath have a lot of uphill tasks ahead. ReadCube is still in its beta stage, so it will be interesting to watch how it grows. The community preview is free, so do check it out if you are handling a lot of PDFs. It’s worth a shot and will definitely make literature hunting a much more enriching and convenient experience. I am personally having a good time sorting and organising my journal papers ever since my editor suggested I write about ReadCube! ;)

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WIRED

SUMMER GAMES By the time you read this – in the immortal words of Alice Cooper – school’s out for summer. What better way to while away the warm, hazy summer days than plopping down in front of a screen and gaming to your heart’s content? Here are some upcoming games that will fill the school-less gap for you over the next three months. Lester Hio

Kinect Star Wars Admit it – you bought the Kinect only because you want to play April 3 Star Wars on it. Now you get the chance to act out all your Jedi Xbox 360 fantasies in your living room (Princess Leia not included). With

the Kinect’s full-body motion-tracking capabilities, you’ll be able to swing an imaginary lightsaber, lift and propel objects using the Force, and use your entire body to pilot X-wing fighters and even podracers. Really, this is the game the Kinect was made for, even though you may look ridiculous flailing your arms in front of the TV.

Diablo III Blizzard’s highly-anticipated third installment of their popular May 15 Diablo series sends you back to the dark world of Sanctuary, where PC/Mac you will vanquish old and new foes alike. With five different

characters to choose from, such as the Wizard, Witch Doctor, Demon Hunter, Monk, and returning fan favourite, the Barbarian, Diablo III promises the thrill of hacking and slashing along with the character-building element gamers have come to both love and hate. Featuring new skill tree systems, character re-speccing options, multiple rune placements and tons more rare and unique items to farm, Diablo III will have gameplay options for both casual and hardcore gamers alike. Team up with your friends and form a party to defeat the Prime Evils together. Alongside Inferno mode, which Blizzard promises will have you beating your head against your computer’s screen, the sheer scope and length of Diablo III will keep you playing even after summer is over.


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Darksiders II Hooray for sequels! Darksiders II takes you back to the apocalyptic June 26 world of Darksiders, where you controlled one of the four PC/Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 Horsemen of the Apocalypse, War. Set during the same time as the story of Darksiders, Darksiders II places you in the reins of Death, instead, which has to be the coolest of the Horsemen anyway.

The game is said to be double the size that of the first Darksiders, and the action element remains the same: kill monsters, gain powerups, upgrade gear, kill more monsters, fight bosses, rinse and repeat. It’s the perfect game for just some mindless hacking and slashing. Plus, you play Death. That’s pretty awesome.

Max Payne 3 Hello again, Max. The third installment of the Max Payne series May 18 sees the player resuming the role of Max Payne, detective and PC/Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 gunslinger extraordinaire. The third-person shooter picks up from the end of Max Payne 2, and finds Max in Brazil, in a darker and grittier place following the death of his wife and kids.

Gameplay returns to the faithful run-and-gun style, and bullettime makes its return: you’ll be able to see every bullet as it strikes your enemies. Max Payne 3 comes with a multiplayer option as well, and from the looks of it, it will be just like any other multiplayer mode tacked on a game known for its strong single-player narrative: fun to have, but not essential to the experience.


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WIRED

BYTE-SIZ It’s that time of the year once again. The time regarded as Christmas for pranksters and smart alecs all over the world. The day that encourages creativity, originality, and the notion of getting joy out of others’ misfortune. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s April Fools Day. Arnab Ghosh

GOOGLE 8-bit Maps

(transamws6.com)

To start off the ‘Prank Wars’, the search giant has introduced Google Maps Quest, an 8-bit version of its mapping tool. The new feature is introduced by Google through a video in which Google employees introduce the game. While the game is awesome, the video is no less entertaining and Google-typical whimsical.

GOOGLE Self-driven car Google came up with Google Racing, an almost plausible partnership with Nascar. The prank includes an elaborate video with Nascar, paint schemes for the Nascar stock car and several photos, with an “I’m steering lucky!” decal on the back fender.

(theinspirationroom.com)

SONY Ultrabook Imagine being able to fit a laptop in your pocket. Well now you can with Sony’s next generation VAIO® Q , the world’s lightest and smallest portable Ultrabook. In the game of April fools, Sony has fired the first salvo by announcing this fictitious ultrabook, which is slightly bigger than a U.S quarter coin. Looks like this electronics company is finally growing a sense of humour. (sony.com)

NOKIA Ice If you love Nokia phones – then you’ll love this. Nokia announced plans to manufacture a phone entirely made of ice - frozen water. Staying true to their roots in Finland, Nokia wanted to delve into making phones that was made of the same material present in much of their homeland. Although it was a no-brainer to call bluff on, the idea seems really ‘cool’.

(nokia.com)


WIRED

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TE-SIZED Lam Woon Cherk

OMGPOP sold to Zynga

(vimg.net)

What is the hippest game right now? No, not Angry Birds, it’s Draw Something from OMGPOP. Smartphone users might be familiar with this game, as it has just surpassed 50 millions downloads at the date of writing. Another big game maker Zynga - who is also the creator of the popular FarmVille, has recently bought OMGPOP for USD210 million. The company also declared that more than 6 billion drawings have been passed between players of the game, and these numbers shows why Zynga is willing to buy this game studio at the hefty price.

New iPad

(netdna-cdn.com)

No one would expected it, but the new iPad is literally called the ‘new iPad’. Yep, not iPad 3 as you would have guessed. Following Apple’s strategy for improving overall experience instead of merely competing the hardware, the new iPad does not get many breakthrough changes. However, the little changes did create a buzz in the tech world. Featuring a new screen, supercharged data speed and improved camera, the new iPad has brought improvement with the features the users are most concerned about. With the new Retina display, iPad users can now view images and videos with super clear rendering on their iPads. As pointed out by Wall Street, “using the new display is like getting a new eyeglasses prescription - you suddenly realise what you thought looked sharp before wasn’t nearly as sharp as it could be.”

Smoked by Windows Phone Challenge

(droid-life.com)

To showcase the awesomeness of its new smartphone OS, Microoft has recently brought the “Smoked by Windows Phone” challenge to Singapore. It challenges other smartphone OSes to complete small everyday tasks as quickly as possible, and was previously held in the United States with encouraging results. Challenges include but are not limited to taking photos and uploading them to Facebook, checking weather information, checking for local information and so on. Unsurprisingly, the challenge held in Singapore had good results: 44 challengers, 38 wins, 3 draws and 3 losses. While Windows Phone OS is yet to be noticed by the public as iOS and Android are, it is good to see that Microsoft has done some really cool things to tell the users why the Windows Phone matters.


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SPORTS

(ourgamemagazine.com) Rishian Balaskanda

2

012 came accompanied by a host of great sporting events. However, they pale in comparison to the 30th Summer Olympic Games being held this year in London. With up to 200 nations being represented and an estimated 10,500 athletes taking part, there really is nothing like it on Earth. If the world really ends in 2012, it would be a good way to end a remarkable run for mankind. However, let us assume that mankind does persist at least for a few hundred more years until something else, possibly of our own doing, wipes us out. What will these London games be remembered for?

I’m sure there will be some great sporting memories borne out of the games. Images of Usain Bolt running the 100 metres in under 9.5 seconds will be etched in our minds and remembered fondly by future generations. We shall watch athletes battle exhaustion only to find the strength from within to cross the finish line. It’s the ultimate celebration of the indomitable human spirit. But is the showcase of what mankind can achieve if we hone our bodies the only legacy of the Olympic Games? Not to sound soulless or too business-minded, but sporting

memories make for very poor returns on investment, considering that the cost of hosting Olympic Games these days traditionally exceed US$10 billion. In 2008, the Beijing Olympics set the record for most expensive sporting event costing $20 billion although many believe the actual cost reached $50 billion. The London Games promise to be a more fiscally conservative affair given the global hangover from the financial crisis; even then, the unofficial estimates suggest a final cost of at least $20 billion. When a city decides to bid for the

opportunity to host the Olympic Games, sporting memories are often not on their mind. For two weeks, the world’s eye is placed firmly on the host city. It is possibly the most expensive advertising campaigns possible. For the billions who watch it, it will leave an indelible mark on how they view a city and the country, its people and its culture. After all, the Beijing Olympics were seen by many as China announcing its arrival on the global stage. In 2016, it will be Brazil’s turn to highlight their economic and political clout with the Olympic Games being held in Rio de Janeiro.

THE OLYMPIC LEGACY


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The London Games, while definitely intending to portray Great Britain in a positive light and emphasising its significance in the globalised world, does not have such lofty ambitions. Instead there has been much talk of the lasting legacy it will leave after the redevelopment of the eastern part of London, which, once an industrial area, has now receded into lesser importance as London diversified into financial services. It is hoped that the billions of dollars invested into new public amenities and infrastructure will revitalise areas such as Stratford and encourage private sectorfunded projects. Such investments do not always pay off. Ask the Greeks today if hosting the 2004 Athens games brought them any benefits and you would probably not find any affirmations. Grossly over budget and full of ‘white elephant’

projects, many of the stadiums we saw on our television screens eight years ago lie in a state of neglect. The Olympic village which was intended to be turned into a model township with modern amenities is now home to a few families who have to travel all the way back to Athens for education, healthcare and grocery shopping. Many believe that the $20 billion dollars which the Greeks borrowed to host the Olympic Games as a matter of national pride is responsible for their current sovereign debt crisis as it proved an investment with hardly any returns. Mindful of this Greek tragedy, the organisers of the London Olympics have sought to highlight their games as being green and sustainable. Once the games come to a close on 12 August, the main stadium will be converted into a smaller

(olympic villiage / builipedia.com)

permanent venue. While no one is entirely sure if it will end up as a 25,000 seater athletics venue or a 60,000 seater football stadium, it is hoped that the stadium will continue to be used on a regular basis. The Olympic village has already been sold to a company affiliated with the Qatar royal family who will be turning it into a high-end residential project. It is hoped that through careful planning, the London Olympic Games can avoid the fate of Athens and follow the path charted by the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 which is hailed by many for the long term benefits it brought to the city. Old neighborhoods such as El Poblenou, once called the Manchester of Spain for the many factories built there during the industrial revolution, were revitalised and the games projected a very positive image of

55

the city abroad. Infrastructural investments brought about by the Games greatly improved the quality of life and made the city attractive for investments and tourism, making Barcelona one of the most visited cities in Europe. Will the Olympic gamble pay off for London; will it reap the benefits enjoyed by Barcelona and Sydney after their successful hosting of the Olympics; or will they face the financial hangover of Athens and Montreal, whose tax payers only recently paid off the cost of building their main stadium in 1976? Well, to be honest, I don’t think we care that much - let the policy makers and accountants worry about the balance sheet. For the rest of us, let’s just enjoy the games for what they are: the celebration of human spirit in all its essence.

(2012 olympic aquatic centre / buildipedia.com)


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EURO 2012 PREVIEW

Naveen Prakash (admiralcunningham.com)

W

ill the football fans (like me) ever get tired of their thirst being served over and over again by their favorite football teams and players? Obviously NO! Here again we have the upcoming 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as Euro 2012. It will be the 14th European Championship for national football teams sanctioned by the UEFA. The tournament will be hosted by Poland and Ukraine between 8 June and 1 July 2012. It is the first time that either nation will be hosting the tournament. The joint Poland–Ukraine bid was chosen by a vote of the

UEFA Executive Committee at a meeting in Cardiff on 18 April 2007. This bid defeated the other shortlisted bids from Italy and Croatia–Hungary, becoming the third successful joint bid for the European Championship, after those of Belgium–Netherlands (2000) and Austria–Switzerland (2008). The draw for the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying competition took place in Warsaw on 7 February 2010. 51 teams entered to compete for the 14 remaining places in the finals, alongside co-hosts Poland and Ukraine. These teams were divided into nine groups, with the draw using the new UEFA national

team coefficient for the first time in order to determine the seeding. At the conclusion of the qualifying group stage in October 2011, the nine group winners qualified automatically, with the second-placed team with the best ranking also doing so. The remaining eight teams that finished second in their respective groups contested two-legged play-offs, with the winner of each tie qualifying for the finals.

Group A – Poland, Greece, Russia, Czech Republic; Group B – Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, Germany; Group C - Spain, Italy, Republic of Ireland, Croatia; Group D - England, France, Sweden, Ukraine.


SPORTS

The finals will feature sixteen national teams, split into four groups:

The host cities - Warsaw, Gdańsk, Wrocław, Poznań, Kiev and Lviv - are all popular tourist destinations. The obligatory At first glance, Group C seems to improvement of the football be the most straightforward one infrastructure includes the with the clear favorites, Spain and building of new stadiums: six Italy while Group B is seemingly of the eight venues are brandthe toughest group as Portugal, new stadiums currently being Germany, Netherlands or constructed and ready to open in Denmark are all in with a decent advance of the tournament; the chance. Nevertheless, the other remaining two (in Poznań and teams in the tournament are no Kharkiv) have undergone major pushovers either as you never renovations. know when stars may rise up from the recesses in tournaments The competition slogan, like these. This can be a good “Creating History Together” platform for hosts Poland and reflects the fact that Poland and Ukraine to have a shot at the Ukraine were united in the past UEFA Euro Cup as well. After as one country and now represent all, the winner of the tournament ambitions of two eastern nations gains automatic entry to the 2013 to conduct the best tournament FIFA Confederations Cup hosted in the history of European by Brazil. Championship. The art form

symbolises the nature of the rural areas of both countries. As part of the event, landmark buildings in the eight host cities have been illuminated with the tournament logo. The official match ball for UEFA Euro 2012 is the Adidas Tango 12 which is reported to be easier to dribble and control than the Adidas Jabulani ball used in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. With exams well out of the way by 8 June, all of us can look forward to Euro 2012 and expect a cracking contest between Europe’s best teams amidst the relaxing atmosphere of the vacations. Everything is set in place. The Countdown has begun. Are you ready for the Action?

ham.com)

rlands, land,

(Defending champions, Spain look good to continue their reign / bp.blogspot.com)

57

INTERESTING TIDBITS • A total of 32% of the overall stadium capacities have been reserved for fans of the playing teams which amounts to nearly 12000 tickets • UEFA’s RESPECT campaign (launched at the 2008 championships) will be tackling some of Europe’s key social issues aiming to raise awareness and positively affect the lives of people in Poland and Ukraine. It will support four projects with contributions of EUR3 million.


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SPORTS

THE CLIMAX/A

(Ferguson / worldinsport.com)

Prateek Sinha

W

ell well well... I often wonder what keeps me glued to the English Premier League (EPL). Is it my love for the game? If so, then why EPL amongst so many others? Maybe my favorite team draws me to it (I’m not telling you which). But I like Barcelona too and you won’t catch me watching any matches of the Spanish league apart from the El Classico. Is it my favorite player then? Nope, I have too many of those. Better broadcast quality? Yeah right, who am I kidding? Is it the excitement? Yes, that’s it. The never-ending roller-coaster ride that the Premier League has been this season is simply, for the lack of a better word, breath-taking. So you can call it the climax or the anti-climax depending on how you look at it.

looking every bit capable of retaining the crown. However, they found themselves trailing their neighbours, Manchester City for most of the season due to injuries and erratic performances. But Sir Alex Ferguson has steered the Red Devils well through those tumultuous times and a sparkling run of form, after crashing out of the Champions Leagues, sees them perched on top of the table. A stable back line and not to mention their fire power up front combined with their experience to negotiate title runs should see them clinch the title for the record 20th time.

Manchester City have really played well and truly seemed capable of winning their first title since 1968. Money spent in the transfer window has paid rich dividends as The defending champions, the Citizens boast of the strongest Manchester United, came into team on paper. Their lineup of the season well-rounded and stars are an embarrassment of

riches and Roberto Mancini has led the team well. Their surprising exit from the Champions League notwithstanding, they monopolised the top spot in the league for a long period. A recent dip in performance has seen them being overtaken by Manchester United but they still remain in the hunt for that elusive title. The return of the erratic Carlos Tevez might just be the shot on the arm the Citizens need to negotiate through a series of tough fixtures and overhaul Manchester United at the Manchester Derby on 30th April.

remarkable recovery is incredible. They shall be the favorites to end in third place at the end of the season especially if Robin Van Persie maintains his rich vein of form.

Tottenham have also been a revelation this season. The first half of the season marked a stellar run for them when they were within touching distance of the league leaders. The fans believed that this season could be Tottenham’s at last but alas, the pressure got to them. 2012 has not been kind to them and surprising defeats and draws has seen their Arsenal has defied all odds to points cushion being wiped out be at number three right now. and overtaken by the resurgent There was a time when they were Arsenal. languishing outside the top five, 13 points behind third-placed Chelsea on the other hand, has had Tottenham. There were calls for a season to forget. Andre Villas Arsene Wenger to resign, but Boas came in as manager being the resilience the manager and hailed as the ‘next’ Mourinho his team have shown to script a but his inability to exercise


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AX/ANTI-CLIMAX

(Mancini / topnews.in)

control over the seniors and poor performances eventually led to his sacking. Di Matteo has taken over and will look to guide Chelsea to the fourth spot to be eligible to play in the Champions League playoffs. They remain searching for silverware in the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League.

because of their performances or their antics. Robin Van Persie leads the goal-scoring charts, being largely responsible for Arsenal’s fightback. He is followed closely by Wayne Rooney of Manchester United. Carlos Tevez of Manchester City stole the limelight for all the wrong reasons when he was cut off from This season has also seen several the team after refusing to go on players come to the fore - be it as a substitute. After a sabbatical,

he has apologised and returned to the squad and might just be the talisman the Citizens need to close out the season in top spot. Several young players have also progressed wonderfully, notably David De Gea, Phil Jones, Sergio Aguero, Juan Mata and Daniel Sturridge, among several others. And on a side note, our prayers go out to Aston Villa’s Stilyan Petrov who was diagnosed with acute leukemia and Bolton Wanderers’ Fabrice Muamba who suffered a cardiac arrest on field. Hopefully they get well soon and are back on the field before long.

As we head into the final leg of the season, either of the two Manchester teams can take the title but I’ll back the Red Devils to go all the way, having been in this sort of situation earlier and coming through with flying colors. I’ll be backing Chelsea to (Robin Van Persie has led the Arsenal resurgence / stanjames.com) overthrow Tottenham on similar

grounds and take the fourth spot. The relegation battle is another interesting sub-plot in the tale but it is really too hard to predict as there are six teams locked in a close contest. The grittiest side with the best survival instincts should manage to get through. Keep your eyes glued to catch the exciting finish to yet another fantastic season.


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(Photo from NUS Sports Office)

INSTITUTE-VARSITYPOLYTECHNIC GAMES 2012 Naveen Prakash

T

he Institute-VarsityPolytechnic (IVP) Games season is an inter-tertiary competition with a series of sports involving all tertiary institutions in Singapore. Held over two weekends, it is one of the competitions which all student athletes look forward to annually. The IVP Games serve as a platform to foster goodwill and friendship through active participation and to improve the standard of sports among the participating tertiary institutions.

Arguably one of the most exciting series in the local sporting scene, the IVP Games season has a reputation of bringing out the best in its participants. Some of the most long-standing local records have been created, broken and glorified within this league. The teams lock horns in combat in ten different games in this competition with Men and Women Categories as well. IVP for the past few years has been closely fought in all aspects;

the race for the Championship Title especially has always been a heated up affair between NUS and NTU. In the IVP 09/10 season, NTU edged past NUS by one Gold medal, while NUS managed to achieve the same in the IVP 10/11 season.

deciding the winner. Since NTU had won three silver medals more than NUS, they were declared the overall Champions of the season. Despite this, the season brought to light a few interesting results for NUS which provided something for us to analyse.

The 2011/12 season seemed to be the most closely fought season in the history of the IVP games. With NUS and NTU claiming five Gold medals each, it came down to the Silver medal tally for

Primarily, when one looked at the Medals Tally, it was apparent that out of the five Gold Medals won by NUS, four were clinched by the Women’s Team in netball, badminton, touch football


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and swimming while the Men obtained the lone Gold for track and field, maintaining it for the 12th consecutive time! This year’s IVP games did serve as the Rise of the Women’s Team in NUS who walked away with three Silver Medals out of the four won by NUS in Floorball, Table Tennis and Track and Field respectively.

other academic & non-academic commitments. Both the men and women teams worked closely, and supported each other during the competition.

Badminton (W): This year’s team shared the same goal and worked well together, partly because overseas trips had brought the team closer together and also allowed us to have The women’s swimming team, greater exposure. With everyone after winning at SUniG last putting their best in trainings year, kept pushing hard to obtain and matches, we achieved our the Gold in IVP as well. The expectations, not forgetting the intriguing element however was contribution of our coaches. It the fact that the netball game, out definitely feels great to bring back of its 12 years of playing history, the trophy after two years! had been won by NUS only once before. Nevertheless, the current Touch football (W): Compared netball team is growing stronger to last year, the team definitely with each tournament they play, had a greater pool of talent to continuing their Juggernaut after choose from this year. However, winning the SUniG by winning on paper, we were still the Gold in the IVP Games as well! underdogs. It was the team’s true grit and our coach’s steadfast We caught up with the Captains belief in us that saw us through of the winning teams of IVP and every gruelling match and this is what they had to say: spurred us on to turn the tables in the finals. To others, it may be a Swimming (W): The reason why dark horse-esque win from NUS we won this year’s IVP was a lot after a four-year drought, but to of team work. Everyone played us, it was a sweet victory that had their part by attending trainings been a long time coming. regularly although many of us had

Track and field (M): This year’s championship was particularly difficult because we were unfortunate to have many key athletes suffering from injuries. On top of that, competition from the other varsities and polytechnics was much fiercer than the previous year. The fact that the team managed to pull through and deliver is testament to the heartful dedication of each member of the team, who found the motivation and drive from within to step up and cover for those out injured. Netball (W): We were very happy to have won the IVP championships as it was our first win in many years of the tournament. We trained hard for this championship and our hard efforts paid off. We have to thank our coach, Ms Chang Li Li, for putting in much effort to arrange friendly matches and overseas training trips in order to stretch us to our very best. The overall points table looked like this at the close of the games:

INSTITUTE

GOLD

SILVER

BRONZE

1

NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY (NTU)

5

7

3

2

NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE (NUS )

5

4

1

3

TEMASEK POLYTECHNIC (TP)

1

1

3

4

SINGAPORE INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT (SIM)

1

3

1

5

COMBINED INSTITUTES OF TECHNICAL EDUCATION (ITE)

0

0

0

6

SINGAPORE MANAGEMENT UNIVERSITY (SMU)

1

0

1

7

NANYANG POLYTECHNIC (NYP)

0

1

1

8

NGEE ANN POLYTECHNIC (NP)

0

0

1

9

REPUBLIC POLYTECHNIC (RP)

2

0

1

10

SINGAPORE POLYTECHNIC (SP)

1

0

0

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THE RIDGE - April 2012