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How important is first class honours? Towards graduation and after: advice from your seniors



4 movies to keep you awake in class 5 must-have apps for students Also inside: our brand new Creative section!

mica (p) 113/10/2012



News 11 SEA GAMES 2015

Contents Aug-Sep 2015










e’ve all come from different places. We’ve got our new batch of freshies--be it JC kids, poly grads or international students--settling into a new pattern of doing things. We’ve got exchange visitors who’ve come to sunny Singapore, getting lost on campus and in our Singlish conversations. And of course, we’ve got our seniors, back from summer exchanges, internships and volunteering. For many of us, it’s just another semester, with another set of modules, readings and lectures.

Yet all of us have one thing in common: we’re students today, and graduates tomorrow. Think about it: in a year or three, you’ll be donning your gowns, collecting your scrolls and throwing up your caps in celebration!

they haven’t (p. 08). One tells us what it’s like to be an unemployed graduate (p. 11), while another wants us to reconsider the meaning of a ‘first class’ honours degree (p. 16). Ultimately, we hope you’ll enjoy the here and now in NUS, but at the same time, look forward to what’s in store for us. New opportunities, experiences and insights await -- all we need to do is to open our eyes a little wider. Welcome (back) to school, everyone.

With all this in mind, this issue of The Ridge introduces us back to campus life: upcoming events to look out for (p. 15), back-to-school fashion tips (p. 23), and handy apps for mugging (p. 29). We’ve also created a Creative Desk (get it?), where we welcome you to contribute your short stories, poetry and prose, photo-essays and what-have-you (p. 30). But more than that, we look beyond school and studying today, and towards the wider world, post-university. Those who’ve gone ahead of us share with us what they’ve learnt from being in NUS (p. 06)... and what

Wendy Wong Chief Editor





Chief Editor Wendy Wong Shumin

Operations Manager Teo Minshuen

Deputy Chief Yu Pei Fern

Social Media Managers Hannah Haw and Kee Jia Yun

Creative Director Karen Tan

Webmaster Angelita Sasmita

Features Desk Wendy Wong Rohini Samtani Augustin Chiam Gwen Xu News Desk Ignatius Albert Wijaya Wendy Wong Velda Wong

Head Designer Kelman Chiang

Opinion Desk Wang Haina

Features Desk Editor Wendy Wong and Yu Pei Fern

Entertainment Desk Tan Yan Ni Angelita Sasmita Janice Darikho

News Desk Editor Velda Wong Opinion Desk Editor Debra Chua Entertainment Desk Editor Angelita Sasmita Lifestyle Desk Editor Muhammad Sufyan B Selamet Wired Desk Editor Ng Ching Peng Creative Desk Editor Alisa Maya Ravindran Copy Editor Yu Pei Fern

Lifestyle Desk Jerlyn Ng Chloe Nathania Ang Muhammad Sufyan B Selamet Wired Desk Ng Ching Peng Zhou Jiajia Teresa Widodo Creative Desk Mary Anne Ho Michelle Lim Amy Leung Designers Kenelm Tey Ching Soon Tiac Benjamin Hu Sun Lixin Yang Baolong Jerlyn Ng



This article originally appeared on, 11 May 2015. It is reproduced in THE RIDGE as part of a collaboration with Digital Senior for this issue.


sat in Lecture Theatre 7 (LT7) for the first time, surrounded by students from all over the world. We were eager to find out what the future held for us as the Dean of Electrical and Computer Engineering tried to inspire us and sow the seeds of excellence into us. I turned left and smiled at my new friend from Hanoi, Vietnam. I could see the nervous excitement in her eyes; the anticipation for new beginnings. I quickly scanned across the row and saw my batch mates in similar states. It was 2011. And now, I stuffed my computer into my bag and ran out to get on the shuttle bus. I was almost late for my last lecture in university. Within a few minutes, I was in the lecture theatre. The lecturer was droning about information security and authorisation tokens. My mind drifted away and I started taking stock of my time in NUS. 1. Most of the learning happens outside the classroom. Lectures and tutorials might be a good place to get some exposure to the course material for a rudimentary understanding. However, in my experience, most of the learning occurs when I’m mulling on a difficult problem in my head or discussing problems with my friends. Not only is this a good way to solve problems and gain insight into different ways of approaching problems, it’s a great way to get to

know your schoolmates and learn from them. Not only will you expand your social circle and explore novel solutions to problems, you’ll end up building a network of trust and resources you can always count on. Learning isn’t just about managing good grades. It involves managing your time, being open to picking up new things and making connections in your daily life. 2. Spend some time exploring the real world. Assignments may help you understand subject matter but can get repetitive and contrived. Spend some of your holidays interning with companies or working on research projects to hone a well–rounded skillset. The Industrial Attachment programmes good opportunities to get this experience and goes a long way in preparing you for the workplace. 3. Give freely and help openly. Be generous with helping your peers because they will be your lifelines to surviving university. Spend an hour helping someone with an assignment instead of watching the latest episode of your favourite show. Relationships last much longer than the university experience itself. 4. Be the worst member of the band. Legendary jazz guitarist Pat Metheny once said, “Always be the worst member in the band”. You will be part of several project teams during your time in university. Although it’s not feasible to always have group mates who have a better understanding or more experience, it’s good to work with people who

can teach you things. Working in a team with more experienced students will push you to perform to perform better than you think you can amd also learn from their experiencex. This combination leads to rapid growth and learning that surpasses rotex textbook learning. 5. Follow your own learning curve. The emphasis on academic excellence and competition is fairly high during university life. It’s quite easy to get caught up in a race where learning takes a back seat and the focus is on academic performance. This may have short-term benefits, but it’s important to realise that true grasp of the subject and academic performance don’t always go hand in hand. It’s important to take some time off academics and work on real – world projects or invest time in acquiring new skills inside your field of study. Real Learning transcends university and goes on till the end of your career. Therefore, making time to learn industry relevant tools and theory is crucial. To conclude, university is a great time to learn, grow, make friends and avail yourself to all the opportunities generously provided by university. Make the most of your undergraduate life! is one of the largest peersharing portals for university students in Singapore with 30 000 average monthly visits. Over 100 seniors from 4 local universities have contributed to help one another better navigate university life. Visit to receive a free eBook on managing your time in NUS effectively! R






s a long time writer and one-time Chief Editor of The Ridge, I spent most of my time in NUS doing what I love: writing. I thought it would be appropriate for me to use the articles I have written over the years to share with you what I’ve learnt, as well as some tips for freshies:

photo from yuki yagniuma’s flickr account nes/5013729806/


1. Make Friends The first article I wrote for The Ridge was one with the cheesy title, "Confessions of a Single Freshman" 1. In that piece, I lamented the pressures faced by freshmen to get attached and cautioned my fellow freshies against "jump(ing) on the relationship bandwagon". I still stick by that, but this time with a caveat: go ahead and make as many friends as you can. You are never going to have the same kind of opportunities ever again – university is practically your last shot at forging genuine friendships. Meeting people once you have started work becomes agenda-driven rather than opportunities to forge strong friendships. There are only contacts, colleagues and your insurance agent. Yes, you may end up telling your insurance agent intimate details of your life that you do not even tell your best friend. And just maybe, your insurance agent might become your best friend...

2. Stay Grounded One of my proudest moments in The Ridge was getting the chance to interview MP Tin Pei Ling (FASS '07) 2. What struck me was her earnest attitude and desire to serve her residents, not with grandiose plans but by making a difference in someone's life, one MeetThe-People Session at a time. I know that there will be those who may not share my sentiments about her, but through that experience I was reminded of the need to stay grounded. Here's a thought: how are you going to apply the things you learnt in NUS towards the betterment of society? How does it profit anyone if we have a 5.0 CAP but do nothing to help the unprivileged and vulnerable around us? All the "-isms" I learnt in school were –literally– academic, until I applied myself to give back to society. To that end, I consciously tried to fill my time in NUS with activities that would help the underprivileged, such as my

Youth Expedition Project (YEP) trip to the Philippines, where I helped with the setting up of a social enterprise there.

How does it profit anyone if we have a 5.0 CAP but do nothing to help the unprivileged and vulnerable around us?”

3. Speak Freely University is a time when you should feel the most unencumbered in expressing your views. In my time at NUS, I enjoyed contributed provocative pieces in The Ridge. One of the most controversial articles I had written was an article against what I saw, at that time, as the “childish” behaviour of radical feminists and in particular, the “Slutwalk” movement 3. I now readily admit that I had ignored—as one reader put it to me— the significance of “Slutwalk” as an “expression of solidarity”. Nonetheless, I do not think that one should be afraid to express your views. Just be ready to defend your ideas, and change them when they are no longer tenable. I think that it is much more difficult to freely express one’s views at the workplace because of the various power dynamics at play (unless you are your own boss). Even if you are lucky enough to enjoy a culture of openness at your workplace, it can easily become an echo chamber. In university there is likely to be greater diversity; people can disagree with one another, but still respect each other’s viewpoints.

4. Get Involved Back when I was in FASS, participation rates in the student elections were dismal: only 408 students out of approximately 6,000 students cast their votes in the elections for the 32nd FASS student management committee. Exasperated, I wrote an article calling for reforms 4 , including compulsory voting, to be enacted. It was the same story with getting writers for The Ridge. There were many who declined to write, citing their poor writing skills. I was quite disheartened to hear that from university students. I believe that university is a time to explore and to discover yourself. In my opinion, the best way to do that is to get involved. Stand up for a cause, join a committee, do something. Moreover, university is the best place to make mistakes. Try, and if you fail, try again. You will not find the same luxury of second chances in the workplace. R

University is a time to explore and discover yourself.”

Augustin graduated from NUS in 2014 and is currently a civil servant with the Ministry of Communications and Information. To read his previous works, please visit the following links: 1 docs/2010-09-issue/23 2 docs/2011-08-issue/25 3 august_2012/20 4 docs/2011_october/28





to the G-word.

It’s a word that gives some of us senior students the shudders. In just a number of years, many of us would’ve already left NUS to join the working world.

Author Jamson Chia knows exactly how you feel. After all, he was once in your shoes.

In this relatively unknown and unexplored territory, you might come face-to-face with phrases like “career trajectory”, “financial planning” and “enhancing employability”, along with all the cares and worries of graduating from university and officially becoming an Adult. This doesn’t just apply to graduating students, but all you freshfaced-freshmen too. The time will come when you’ll have to source for internships, send out resumes and prepare for interviews, heading step by step closer

As an engineering student and vicepresident of a hall committee back in 2003, Jamson fondly reminisces on his four years in NUS. “Student life was enriching and fulfilling for me – I got to enjoy things beyond the classroom, like being involved in the school rugby team, and learning about management skills in leadership positions in NUS,” he said.

You Need To Know To Find Success After Graduation, a self-help book for fresh graduates. In his book, the 37-year-old, who is also the founder and director of a financial advisory company, shares his personal experiences from his past 12 years in the working world. These include life lessons he felt were “instrumental” in bringing him to where he is today, such as: • Finding and learning from the right mentor. • Building one’s personal branding.

But upon graduation, he felt lost, uncertain about what his future held. That’s why the he decided to write What I Didn’t Learn In School – 8 Life Lessons

• Managing one’s money. • Networking (with a catchy title of “Your

FEATURES 09 Network is Your Net Worth”), amongst others. When asked what the biggest challenge graduates face upon entering the working world, he replies that it is “the ability to manage people,” compared to the onedimensional results-focused academic life. Warning about the consequences of failing to successfully manage one’s relationships with colleagues and superiors, he clarifies, “It’s not about boot-licking. It’s about how you manage your work, their expectations and your deliverables that make a huge difference between working and studying. “As students, your main Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are your results in school. In the working world, there are a lot more KPIs, including how your boss views your capabilities and effectiveness.” That is why Jamson believes it is important that both fresh graduates and undergraduates begin planning for the future ahead, instead of merely “[making] adjustments to their careers based on hindsight.

As students, your main Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are your results in school. In the working world, there are a lot more KPIs, including how your boss views your capabilities and effectiveness.

So, what’s the most important lesson from his book that he wants us to know?

“By learning to discipline yourself and to stick to the decisions that you make, it’s easier to spend the extra effort and time towards reaching your goals so that you get a better payoff later.” Jamson recounts a story from his childhood, when he told his father that he wanted to quit swimming lessons because he hated learning the breaststroke. “I can still remember my dad’s reply vividly. He said, ‘In life, you cannot always run away whenever you are asked to do things you don’t like. You don’t have to like it, but you have to complete it.” Certainly wise words we ought to live by – both as students today and graduates tomorrow. R

One phrase: Self-discipline. He warns, “There are many things that [will] come our way, and many distractions that will rob us of our precious time. … It’s easy to become distracted, because we [may] want instant gratification and to be happy. If you don’t have self-discipline, the instant gratification isn’t going to be as pleasurable as you thought it would be, because there is no long-term gain.”

The Ridge is giving away 20 free copies of What I Didn’t Learn In School – follow us on Facebook (fb. com/nussutheridge) for more details! You can also download Jamson’s bonus chapter on self-discipline at

What I Didn’t Learn In School – 8 Life Lessons You Need To Know To Find Success After Graduation is sold at major bookstores, at $16.50 per book (before GST).

"Jamson (far right) enjoying campus life to the fullest, back when he was studying in NUS in 2003."





ommencement: the ceremony to mark the end of university and the start of the “real world”. Yet, cold, harsh reality hits you when the celebratory high wears off and you realise you’re still unemployed.

Now that I have officially graduated, the question of what I am going to do with the rest of my life occupies my thoughts all day. As the days pass without a secure job in sight, I start to panic as I feel like I am lagging behind especially with the constant reminder of everyone else’s success on social media. This transition period is very overwhelming and stressful especially if you’re still searching for that elusive job. It is easy to fall into the trap of negativity, questioning your talent, capabilities and even what you studied in school. While I have yet to find a job, I have learnt a few lessons through the gut-wrenching process of finding for a job.


Do not settle

Always do your research


Over the course of my job search, I have taken to applying for a variety of job positions, most of which I have absolutely no interest in. It is easy to fall in the trap of applying for every position on JobStreet.

Take every interview as a learning experience. Read up on the company’s profile and the expectations of the job role. Even if you do not hear back from the company, every interview helps sharpen your interview skills.

Through my course of searching for a job, I have taken multiple tests and attended various interviews. As a result, I now know how to tackle tough questions. I also learn what I am looking for in a company and a job.

As graduates from NUS, we often have the mindset that we deserve a high paying job at a prestigious company. Yet, that is often not the case when starting out at a new career. Expect to start from the bottom and have to do mundane and tedious tasks that you might not enjoy. Take every assignment given to you with pride and do your very best.

I realised that it is important to be patient and only apply for positions that I have genuine interest in.

But when JobStreet sends you a message that you have applied for more than a hundred jobs in a month, that’s when its time to put things in perspective. After attending yet another interview where I was not qualified and had no interest in, I realised that it is important to be patient and only apply for positions that I have genuine interest in.

Always read the fine print While it might be easy to accept whatever job comes your way, it’s always important to look over the contract carefully before signing. Some companies have a contract clause that makes it difficuly to leave the job.

So to all you fellow jobless graduates out there, do not fret. The right job is out there somewhere! Take the time to enjoy your final year(s) in school. At the same time, do not forget to plan ahead and take this opportunity to discover what it is you really want from your future career. R



f you were travelling abroad this June, for once you might not be the object of envy because you would have missed out on a spectacular sporting event held right here in Singapore: the 2015 SEA Games. It has been 22 years since Singapore played host to our friends from the ASEAN Nations in 1993 and to mark the rare occasion, organizers and volunteers went all out to create an incredible event. By the end of the Games, it was a memory to cherish for a lifetime for all involved –me included, as I enjoyed an internship at the Indonesian embassy in Singapore as a guest protocol officer.


In case you missed out on the action, here are 7 highlights to remember from the games:

The Stars

No sporting event would be complete without the seemingly superhuman feats. Singapore’s swimmers contributed a whopping 23 out of the record-smashing 83 gold medals won, and the stars amongst them were Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen. The US-based Schooling won 9 gold medals in Games record times, while Quah netted a haul of 12 medals. Over at the National Stadium, Shanti Pereira became the first Singapore woman to win a gold medal in a sprinting event after Glory Barnabas in 1973. Beyond Singapore, there was no doubt that the breakout star of the Games was Vietnamese swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien who equaled hot-favourite Joseph Schooling’s nine-gold achievement and across a greater variety of strokes, showing spectators that she was not just a one-stroke dolphin.




The Sporting Spirit

In sports, nothing is more touching than seeing the raw emotion of an athlete shedding tears of anguish or joy. One of the defining images of Singapore 2015 is that of pencak silat exponent, Nur Alfian, being overcome with emotion upon the playing of “Majulah Singapura” during the victory ceremony where he received his gold medal – the Singapore National Anthem was gave us another moment to remember at the OCBC Aquatic Centre when the Singapore crowd sang on in spite of the audio system failure during a victory ceremony for a Singapore relay team.

Guest nations also came wearing their hearts on their sleeves. Daniele Ferri, the head coach for the Thai Water Polo Team –known for his shouting and dramatic gesticulations– showed spectators his fun side when he jumped in the pool to celebrate his Women Team’s Gold medal victory. Across the Aquatics Centre at the National Stadium, Myanmar football fans displayed much fervor in supporting their team to the silver-medal finish. They also won the respect of the locals by cleaning up the stadiums off litter at the end of the matches. The Upsets For every winner, there will inevitably be losers left behind. We saw many hearts broken and years of preparation going unrewarded. Even before the Opening Ceremony, the Games had already sent shockwaves across the world as Olympic

“Silat exponent Nur Alfian celebrating his gold medal win.” photos from:

silver medallist Feng Tianwei crashed out of the group stage in the Women’s singles competition to the lesser-known Suthasini Sawettabut of Thailand. Later on in the Games, Singapore suffered a few more upsets. First, in football, the Young Lions exited at the group stage after lackluster performances. The team had been expected to win a first gold medal on home ground under the guidance of former national captain Aide Iskandar.


Even more painful was the defeat of the Singapore Women’s Water Polo Team at the Aquatics Centre by Thailand. While both teams reached the gold-medal match without a single loss, Singapore was the odds-on favourite to win, having decimated the competition with point margins as wide as 18 in their previous matches. However, the younger and less experienced Thai squad was not to be denied and they fought hard, winning with a close score of 5:4.



5 The Music

The #EpicFails


The unlikely “star” of Singapore 2015 was Filipino diver John David Pahoyo whose botched dive was so bad that the judges unanimously gave him a score of 0.0. The video of his dive went viral, but the dignified diver kept his head up high and told onlookers to focus on the dives they did well instead. Elsewhere, the gold medal-winning exploits by Filipino sprinters Eric Cray and Kayla Anise Richardson in the 100 metre events were somewhat ruined by a “supplier problem” as the Filipino flag on their uniforms were printed upside.

“The writer with friends from NUS at the National Stadium.”

All the songs got stuck in my head but I never felt tired of them – I found myself humming to their tunes even after the games! I give the organisers and artistes an A+ for both commitment and creativity. To me, the best song was Tabitha Nauser’s “Unbreakable” which was used for Team Singapore’s entrance into the National Stadium during the opening ceremony. Besides the official songs, one nice touch by the organizers was in their usage of popular music from the participating countries, rather than just the popular pop songs from the Western Charts.


The Controversies

No Games are exempt from controversy, and unfortunately much of the hoo-ha surrounding Singapore 2015 had to do with gender.

First Indonesian volleyball player Aprilia Manganang was subjected to booing from the crowd and even a request for gender test by the Filipino team after being perceived to have an overly-masculine physique. Similarly, in spite of her sixmedal haul, gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi received much flak back home in Malaysia for wearing “revealing” attire. Both episodes shone the lights on the unfortunate sexism that remains rampant in sports today.

While the Closing Ceremony sent off the Games from our shores in a spectacular fashion, things were nowhere near remarkable for the hundreds of ticket holders locked out of the National Stadium due to safety concerns of overcrowding. It was a bittersweet end for an otherwise well-organised SEA Games.


The New Friends

After the Games ended, we were left with memories and new friendships that will last beyond the Games and probably even a lifetime. One tradition in sporting events is the trading of collar pins with athletes, volunteers, members of the press and staff alike – certainly valuable mementos for us to hold to. I myself will always be grateful for the chance I had to see officers from various ministries working their best to ensure the best experience for the delegates. There was a tinge of sadness upon the falling of the curtain on the Games, as the wonderful two weeks of competition had to finally come to an end. But we all could take solace from the fact that we had made new friends from both Singapore and around the region. That is probably the biggest takeaway from the 2015 SEA Games: how we all can continue the legacy of the Games. R

NEWS 13 29 AUG - 18 SEP

Interfaculty Games (IFG) Organised by the NUS Students’ Sports Club, the IFG is the largest cross-faculty sports competition that will involve over 3,000 students and staff competing in almost 20 different sports! Bringing together the 10 NUS faculties and Yale-NUS College, the four-week long competition will culminate in the crowning of the championing team with the Tan Chorh Chuan Challenge Trophy. Register with your respective Students’ Faculty Club today at http://nus.

03 SEP

International Exchange Day (IED) Thinking of going overseas? Come down to the IED outreach event, organised by the International Relations Office (IRO), where you can discover the range of international programmes offered by NUS. You can find out more about the various overseas opportunities available, from the informative talks and panels, to past participants and partner universities. There will be performances, free ice-cream and a lucky draw, too! Visit events/ied/index.html for more.




Wondering what’s happening around NUS this semester? Here’s a quick guide to help you stay in the loop on upcoming events. For future shoutouts and coverage on these events and more (think free ice cream day, arts festivals and freebie give-aways), be sure to check out our Facebook page (nussutheridge)! R


Musical performances and showcases Ad Libitum 2015 An annual showcase for incoming musicians to rock it out on stage--from top forties to timeless rock songs, it’ll be an electrifying night! CAC Voices’ Mini Concert The first of CAC’s biannual concerts showcasing its new intake of singers, featuring new faces, great music and different genres. Check out CAC for the latest at CAC Voices Starbucks Gig at Yusof Ishak House (YIH) Enjoy some live music while having a cup of coffee at Starbucks@YIH.


Welfare Pack Giveaway With exams around the corner, look out for the NUSSU welfare packs to power you through the last leg of the semester! The welfare packs are a collaboration between NUSSU and the Faculty Clubs.



Is First Class Honours very important? BY DIGITALSENIOR.SG

photo from Luftphillia at

The myth of the first class honours


tudents in the first class enjoy certain kind of pride, so much like passengers in the business class cabin in a plane: they are still in the same plane as the economy class passengers, but somehow are a little different. Students in nonfirst classes either admire people with such high CAPs or think of them as “mugging too hard”, just as how passengers in the economy class cabin may think those seated in business class are paying too high a price for something not much different from theirs. While there are no right or wrong answers (just opinions), whose opinions should we listen to? Perhaps there is one group of people whose voice deserves our attention: your future employers.

Some industries are more “snobbish” than others It has been shown that in certain industries, a high CAP is extremely favourable to a job applicant. Such industries are mostly characterized by high competition, high demand for the quality of workforce and high pay as a reward for the hard work and talent of employees. Most of such industries state explicitly their requirement for GPA. The most famous one is probably the banking industry where the base requirement to even glance at a job candidate’s CV is second-upper degree qualification. Some other sectors are even more “snobbish” where top jobs are restricted to graduates with first-class degrees. It has been said that competitive positions in some statutory boards such as Monetary Authority of Singapore look for students with first-class GPA. Consulting firms also have a reputation of chasing after grades. If you are interested in such industries, having a high GPA is crucial and a first-class degree opens many doors for you.


How about the rest of the industries? Fortunately, most industries do not have such strict restrictions. They welcome all applicants, but may view students from higher classes more favorably. The most commonly seen example is the difference in starting pay. In the government sector, a student graduating with a first class honours may receive higher pay at the start. Another example is the application for further studies. Better graduate schools have higher requirement for GPA, which is a primary consideration for admission. If you would like to get a scholarship for further studies, getting a first class first seems to be a wise goal considering the quality of the applicants.

Are your grades everything? Your grades form just one sentence on your job application. Studies have shown that that there are shortcomings of relying too much on grades when screening job candidates. Good grades can be taken as an indicator of an ability to learn, the discipline to work hard and motivation to do better than others. These are desirable qualities that a student can bring to the workplace. However, if grades are achieved at the expense of one’s social skills due to a lacking school-life balance, such a candidate is unlikely to contribute to the workplace.

So what else do employers look at? Job interviews give a good opportunity for employers to get a better picture of the candidate. This is where you display your confidence, to keep calm and to communicate well—in short, essential career skills. Interviews have evolved to take many forms. We have one-to-one interviews for employers to know you on a personal basis, group interviews and even activities for employers to see how you work in a team. Other than interviews, employers nowadays also offer online assessment, psychometric tests, among a variety of assessments whose results are at least as important as GPA. Having a first class honours does not guarantee a job. The best way to think about grades is to think about it as an indicator. Employers never value grades for the sake of grades. They value something behind the grades, namely the qualities highlighted. Strengthen yourself in those aspects, not just your grades alone.

The greatest honour you can have is the recognition that you are an asset to someone else.

Then what should i do now? So don’t just spend ALL your time in maintaining or striving for a first class in university. Go out and engage in extra-curriculum activities where you display your perseverance, leadership qualities and interpersonal skills. Strike a balance between extraordinary grades and stellar CCA records. There is no point in being good in only one area. Employers prefer a second class honours graduate with decent involvement in CCA to a first class antisocial. The usefulness of good grades is to give a positive first impression, but there are many things that can do the same thing. How far you can your search has little correlation with how high you can score during an exam. The greatest honour you can have is the recognition that you are an asset to someone else and when people value you as a person beyond your grades. R This article originally appeared on, 28 Oct 2013. It is reproduced in THE RIDGE as part of a collaboration with Digital Senior for this issue.



On the origin of the 'pure science' nostalgia BY WANG HAINA


n an English module that I took last semester, we were required to write an essay on any controversial topic in science. The topic I proposed was 'is mathematics discovery or invention?’ Such an idle and philosophical question seems somewhat out of place in a world where much more urgent matters including designer babies and GM food are calling for more debate and yarning for reasonable regulations. Yet this very question was at the centre of heated debates among intellectuals in the late 19th Century.

explanation I can find is that science is simply applied differently now as it was then. State and multi-billion-corporation funded projects are directing where science is going on a highly remarkable degree. As research became more complicated, as in the case of particle physics, big money is needed to build an apparatus like an ultra high speed collider. The total cost of finding a Higgs boson, according to Forbes, hits $13.25 billion, which is unthinkable without funding.

It was indeed a Golden Age for intellectuals. The foundations of virtually all known phenomena were laid: the mechanics governed by Newton’s law, electricity, light, and magnetism by Maxwell’s equations, and the wonderful world flora and fauna by Darwin’s theory of evolution. It was also an age where mathematicians were at their climax of optimism, creating an enormous array of new ways to think about space and numbers. They seemed to enjoy a pure paradise of the mind that stood totally isolated from everything else in the world. People then were proud to be truth seekers, and it was an age when everything pointed to the same Enlightenment belief that the God is a rational God, that mankind is great, that human beings are able to approach divinity through reason and diligent study of nature. Today, it is rare to hear a conversation on the nature of pure sciences in our hallways. Academic institutions around the world are more concerned with practical consequences of science than they were 150 years ago. Science is nowadays more described as a double-edged sword than a victory of human rational thinking. Thus comes a question of nostalgia: where has the age of pure enjoyment of scientific explorations gone? Can we still rescue it, or is it just gone forever? I have pondered on this for some time, and the quickest

Photo by Denis Balibouse, The New York Times

As science is found to be immensely powerful in boosting the economy, funding unquestionably tends to flow to where the nations and the companies can benefit most, instead of where a scientist is interested in the most. Whether we like it or not, we have to admit that due to such financial matters, scientists since the 20th century have been encouraged more than ever before to be like businessmen, selling their ideas and competing for market shares. This has made scientific research develop at an unprecedented rate, and have given rise to extremely important industries like antibiotics and electronics that we are hugely indebted today, but on the other hand they have created such a bias over research topics that perhaps many valuable projects are aborted. The research on adverse effects of GM food, for example, never goes well because major funding on biotechnology comes from pro-GM food companies, as biologist David Williams from University of California, Los Angeles complains.


Photo by Rachel Hennessey, Forbes

A second factor lies in the problems met by science itself. Starting in the early 20th Century, classical physics by Newton and Maxwell was found to be unable to explain phenomena at subatomic level and extremely high speeds. In order to understand them, clever but frustratingly difficult theories of quantum mechanics and relativity are needed. These theories are so abstract that it is hard to believe that nature is really constructed this way. The last reason is that the idea of science being a pure enjoyment was perhaps merely an illusion of the well-meaning but rather na誰ve scientists and gentlemen of the time, who underestimated the evil and weakness intrinsic to humans. The 20th century has shown that pursuing science is not even making the world a better place. The two World Wars, the Cold War, together with totalitarian regimes sprouting everywhere have established clearly that even the perfectly rational people, well equipped with scientific knowledge, can be easily driven by zeal (national pride), threat, and greed. Science in most cases simply worsened the wars, as in the cases of chemical weapons and atomic bombs. In light of this, the Enlightenment view, which fueled much

of the optimism in the 19th Century science community, exaggerated the power of reason and study of nature. There is no shortcut to reach ultimate happiness for our species, and a lot more is to be done to achieve a genuine Golden Age for the entire world. While I am always in deep nostalgia of the science community in the 19th Century, I feel infinitely blessed that I am born into a modern era. The Golden Age was at best a beautiful bubble that had to break sometime. Today I am able to learn the knowledge that scientists then could not learn, participate in huge projects that they could not imagine, and see the dark side of humanity and society that they were perhaps reluctant to see. On the other hand, such Utopian nostalgia is a reminder for me as a scientist to never betray my primary duty, which is to discover and understand the pure beauty of nature, regardless of perhaps how useless this appears to be. R






aving the start-of-semester blues? Here are some film recommendations from us at The Ridge to help you ease your way back to into school life. These films portray otherwise mundane school life as light hearted comedies and we guarantee that they will brighten up your school year.

ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM With a yellow octopus for a teacher and students wielding weapons, Assassination Classroom is definitely not your everyday high school film. Adapted from a manga of the same name, this liveaction film chronicles the attempts of the students in Class 3-E of Kunugigaoka Junior High School to assassinate their alien teacher before he destroys Earth. The set-up may seem ludicrous, but Assassination Classroom is a humorous and fun-filled film that will send you laughing all the way to your next tutorial!

WHEN A WOLF FALLS IN LOVE WITH A SHEEP Set in Taipei’s Nanyang Street famed for its multitude of cram schools, this film revolves around copy shop assistant Tung (Kai Ko) and aspiring illustrator Yang (Chien Man-shu). They meet through a series of sheep and wolf drawings made on mock exam papers, which soon become a hit among the students in Nanyang Street. With its cast of endearing characters, When A Wolf Falls In Love With A Sheep takes audiences on a whimsical journey where romance and dreams continue to flourish amidst an oppressive cram school environment.

CRAZY LITTLE THING CALLED LOVE This Thai film explores the unspoken hopes and fears of first love through its protagonist, Nam (played by Pimchanok Luevisadpaibul) and her crush on Shone (portrayed by Mario Maurer), a senior at her school. Having been deemed an ugly duckling since she was a child, Nam goes all out to transform herself in order to get Shone to notice her. It may not have the most original plot, but Crazy Little Thing Called Love is a simple film with a childlike innocence that has touched the hearts of audiences regionally, garnering nominations for the film and actors’ performances.

YOUNG STYLE Meet Ju Ran (played by Dong Zijian). He’s 16, in love, and very distracted. After failing his college entrance examinations due to a fall out with the girl of his dreams, Ju Ran is forced to repeat his last year of high school. Through a series of tears, laughter and many mock exams, Ju Ran discovers that his world need never revolve around that one girl. Young Style provides a refreshing insight into the competitive world of Chinese college examinations, where students and parents stop at nothing to secure a spot in university. For our part here in Singapore, perhaps this film will give us a better perspective on the seemingly endless rat race. R Photos from,,,

ENTERTAINMENT 19 Should you be glad about boarding on a new airplane, or should you be worried? Is unhappiness contagious, or have we always been deeply unhappy? Lelord’s Hector makes you think. Mainly about the little things that you, he, and I encounter as he sets off on his version of “Eat, Pray, and Love” journey. We are told that Hector is a successful psychiatrist – he has gold, glory, and the girl; but apparently these were not enough to keep him happy. Throughout his journey, he scribbles little ‘notes-to-self’ in his notebook, all of which are supposed to help him find answers on what makes people happy, and what makes people unhappy. Hector, together with his friends, puts the issue of happiness in a particular perspective – whether the rich people are necessarily the happier ones, or the less rich ones are. Lelord tells Hector’s story Photo from Penguin Books

in a particular style too: he prefers to keep it minimalistic. At first, Hector might strike you as being fairly passive and two-dimensional – halfway into the book, he either feels happy, or sad – but only because these emotions are the reason for his around-the-world adventure. Translated from French, Hector and the Search for Happiness is part of a series of books, all of which are stand-alone. Although Lelord’s style of repeating his catchphrases could impress a kind of half-heartedness at times, and the hero of the book rather eccentric; give this nifty read a go before school meets you around the corner, and perhaps you might find your own reasons to stay happy. R






MINIONS (2015) The Despicable Me franchise made another showing with the début of prequel/spin-off Minions (2015) this June. Needless to say, the Minions are still going strong, as they did before they met Dr Felonious Gru of Despicable Me. The plot roughly boils down to: various villains throughout history – including a T. Rex, a caveman, Dracula, and Napoleon – getting offed by the incompetence of our favourite yellow-pill creatures. Minions fled to Antarctica, hiding in years of depression with extremely comical time-skips. An enterprising

trio heading out to find another boss, with a foregone conclusion of success – after several shenanigans involving Villain-Con, the theft of St Edward’s Crown, the Sword in the Stone, and the fate of the British absolute monarchy (which is mainly pomp and circumstance), in exactly that order. This is both the most literal and least representative description of the film.

The scene-stealing tiny yellow minions’ brand of gibbering insanity is the main draw of Minions. There is a plot, but it mainly takes a back-seat to “how many hijinks involving the Minions in London can we pack?” As it turns out, plenty. The Minions’ genuinely unwitting sabotage of newest mistress Scarlet Overkill’s theft of the Crown Jewels and coronation as Queen is only the tip of the iceberg, since describing any more would lead to spoilers. After much pondering of exactly what to write about a comic film that seems to run on the power of suspending disbelief from the atmosphere and plenty of caffeine, we are forced to conclude that viewers simply came for the “respect, power... and banana!” R

Photo from Universal Pictures





Disclaimer: This article was written after the Emmy Awards nomination announcement and before the Emmy Awards Ceremony. The ceremony will be held on 12th September 2015.


he 67th Primetime Emmy Awards nomination certainly brought the biggest reactions in recent memory. The most unexpected surprise came from the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series nomination in which Tatiana Maslany of Orphan Black, who was regarded as the biggest snubs in the past two Emmys by many critics, was finally nominated. Ironically, Jim Parsons, who won an impressive four

consecutive Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his role of Dr. Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory did not even receive a nomination this year. Recognising the myriad quality in the U.S television programming, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences increased the slots for Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Comedy Series from six to seven. Though it gave newcomers like

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to squeeze into the polls, other critically acclaimed series’ such as Empire, The Affair and Jane the Virgin could not break through the wall created by veterans such as Modern Family and Downtown Abbey. From Emmy nominations, we can see how the trend for television is moving towards streaming channels, where Amazon’s first original show, Transparent managed to snatch five major nominations through. The pioneer in the online-streaming service, Netflix, brought home 13 nominations in its third year streaming television. HBO, however, still has the highest nomination – forty –

nomination despite their failed petition to be regarded as a comedy. OINTB will, however, compete with another critically acclaimed Netflix series, House of Cards in the same category. Regardless of who brings home the trophies in next month’s ceremony, the renewed golden age of television continues to bring us engaging, creative and thought-provoking entertainment for all of us to enjoy; and from this year’s nominations, we must say that the Primetime Emmy Awards has done an increasingly better job in the attempt to recognise worthy contributors to the industry. R

in which Game of Thrones contributed for seven of them. The Emmys also tightened the rules to distinguish Drama and Comedy series after questionable submissions in last year’s Emmys where some series which many regarded as dramatic were categorised as comedy series’, where it is widely deemed as a less competitive arena. Nevertheless, Orange is the New Black still managed to collect their

Photos from:,,,, theindependent. com,,,,.,,





utorials and group projects can be a real yawn fest, but there’s one thing about campus life we all enjoy – the freedom we’re given when it comes to our dress code. Well, most of us anyway. We either use this opportunity to unleash that inner fashionista in us, or stay our contented slob selves and show up in our sleeping attire.

So where do you fit in this spectrum? Here are eight campus-fashion tropes that we have observed.

The clique with we ekly dress themes

ver The one efo ready r a presentation

The bold fashionista


ere’s the one who parades the campus ground like it’s a fashion runway. We have one of them in each of our tutorials and lectures and it’s always exciting to see the impressive (or sometimes ludicrous) outfits they’re decked in every week.

The faculty/hall patriot Commonly spotted around the Business faculty, these friends of ours are perpetually suited up in their crisp and professionallooking pressed shirts, paired with polished shoes and presentation clickers sticking out of their pockets.

We all have that one friend who seems a little too zealous over school and they can’t seem to get over the long-gone orientation camp fever. Or perhaps they’re just too lazy to think of what to wear everyday so: bam! School tee + shorts + flip flops = all’s good!

Week 1: tribal pants. Week 2: uniforms. Week 3: plaid shirts. Don’t forget that obligatory OOTD group shot against the white wall outside your lecture theatre.



Oversized pants? Check. Retro blouses? Lookin’ fab. Mismatched socks? Mhm.

The one who just rolled out of bed

The one who looks go od in anything Oversized pants? Check. Retro blouses? Lookin’ fab! Mismatched socks? Mhm. Heck, they’re even looking all chic and on point in their pajamas. These are the people we’re secretly jealous of. I mean, how is it possible for someone to look so effortlessly fine in an ensemble that I can find in my grandma’s wardrobe?

The one who just can’t be bothered

The exchanger Especially prevalent in your dreaded 8 a.m. classes, this bunch of students probably woke up literally 10 minutes prior to lessons. Their hair is in all directions and their t-shirts are still freshly creased from all the bed-rolling.

This one goes out to our lovely exchange-student friends who never fail to turn up at classes looking like they’re all ready to hit the UTown infinity pool once lessons are over.

I need my CAP 5.0 and ain’t nobody got time to dress to impress! R

Photo credits:



Singapore Writers Festival


t’s already the first month of school and you’re still dreaming about your last holiday or can’t sit still in lectures. You wish that you could rewind and go back to summer break or fast forward to the next holiday. What you have is.... Back to school blues!

Calling for anyone who wants to rekindle their love for reading and writing! If you’re sick of memorising formulae or doing your readings, head down to the 2015 Singapore Writers Festival happening from 30 October to 8 November. Though the programme isn’t finalized yet, it promises to be an exciting line up of talks by local writers and workshops! If not, you can take a look at their year round programmes that you can find on their website.

Here are some enriching excursions around Singapore that you can take to ease you into learning and get you back in the groove for the books.

One programme we’re excited for is Eye/Feel/Write, where an excursion is arranged to view art and with inspiration from the pieces, and the 10 invited writers then pen their own works. The next outing is set for 1 November 2015 so save the date! Another workshop is Body/Language that examines the human body in society and what it means to each individual and subsequently translating that into creative writing.

Pulau Semakau Most of you know this place as Singapore’s landfill, but think of it as the lesser known sister island to Pulau Ubin with the same untouched abundance of nature. Sure, there’s a huge landfill on the island but there’s no stench at all. Instead, there are wide roads that you lead into fields and the forest. I’ve even seen wedding photoshoots done there, so camwhores, please remember to charge your phones/ cameras/ portable USB chargers!

You have a choice of intertidal walks, nature walks and mangrove exploration where you get to see reef birds and the numerous nodular sea stars (nicknamed chocolate sea stars for their likeness to chocolate chip cookies) and many other flora and faunae. “What are all these names and things?” you might be wondering. But hold up! This isn’t just for science or geography students. This island appeals to anyone who appreciates nature and is looking for an educational getaway from the four walls of their rooms.


LIFESTYLE Singapore Sports Hub We know that you’re meant to be immersing yourself into academia when you’re in university, but you can’t do that if you’re constantly falling ill (the virus season for us being the last few weeks of school). Why not supplement your academic learning by learning know how to keep fit? The Singapore Sports Hub isn’t just a venue for big sporting events or concerts; it’s also a place where you can pick up new skills related to keeping fit and learning more about how your body and how it moves. The Singapore Sports Hub also consists of venues such as the Water Sports Centre, where you can take water sports courses, and the Singapore Sports Museum, where you can learn about sporting history!

Singapore Art Museum Hands up if you feel sleepy after the first half hour in a history class! Well, you could hop over to Singapore Art Museum’s ‘Once Upon This Island’ exhibition for an SG50 showcase of art that depicts our nation’s growth over the years. Targeted at the young and young at heart, this piece is visually engaging with works from local artists. Plus, why not throw in a bit of art history into your repertoire of Singapore’s history? It’s an enjoyable way to both appreciate art and learn more about Singapore’s past; invite a few friends or make it a date and it’ll be even more fun! Who knows? You might even be inspired by some of the pieces and write or paint your own works.

Science Centre Observatory If you had spent your primary school years studying in Singapore, you would have gone to the Science Centre at least once. But did you go to the Science Centre Observatory? Take the chance to gaze into the skies with a super powered telescope and meet people who are really

passionate about the topic. Being one of the rare few observatories located near the equator, you’ll get the chance to see celestial bodies in both the northern and southern hemisphere Start moving, and get learning with this list of places. You’ll never know what you might discover! R


Clean and Simple - Studying with Applications BY NG CHING PENG


t’s the start of a new semester at school, and what better way to prepare for it than to update yourself for the new academic year? And when I say “update”, I mean “find new ways to help yourself study”.

I’m sure the word “productivity” come to mind - there’s an entire category of computer and phone applications dedicated to increasing productivity for a reason. What productivity applications can help one for the next semester? Here, I’d like to introduce to all readers two applications that don’t receive as much spotlight as big-names like Evernote, but keep their functions clean and simple for maximum effectiveness.

colornote First up is this handy note-taking application. While not as massive as the previously-mentioned Evernote in its range of functions, ColorNote still provides a quick and simple means of tapping out checklists and notes on the phone. Besides helping you take notes down in tutorials, ColorNote’s portability also makes it a great choice for a digital notebook whenever you forget yours. This is also especially useful when you’re too tired to bring your heavy PC along to a lecture, or simply need a readily-available place to jot things down. Typing into the note requires minimal effort and editing what you’ve written after saving just takes another double-tap on the note. Besides the checklists and note-taking, alarms and reminders can also be set in ColorNote to remind yourself about important group meetings. Not to mention, ColorNote allows one to port your notes into .txt format then send it to someone via email or upload it to Google Drive.

The cool thing about ColorNote is how you can customize the color of the notes you take - hence the application’s name. Change your note background to any color you like out of the nine colors provided! You can even sort your notes according to their color, in addition to arranging them by time of modification. With its easy-to-understand interface, this application serves its function in a straightforward manner. Quick notes and checklists wherever you go has never been made easier. Download the application free on the Google Play store!

pictures from: ColorNote, Wunderlist.

WUNDERLIST A lesser-known application for creating To-Do lists that is just as functional as the next. Wunderlist allows you to create a simplelooking To Do list by adding tasks to your main page. You can set deadlines and reminders for these tasks, write additional details in their descriptions, or raise the importance of urgent tasks by bookmarking them. With every completed task, simply click on the checkbox beside each task description to send it to the ‘completed tasks’ list archived below. Does this sound like every other checklist application out on the market? Perhaps it does. Wunderlist is a To Do list application that serves that one purpose and little else, but its simplicity lends effectiveness to its functions. Without distraction from other gimmicks or options within the application, Wunderlist’s simplicity keeps you focused on what you have to get done and helps you get to completing your tasks.

The great thing about Wunderlist is how it has both web and phone application versions, where your task list can be accessed via either. After you sign up for an account (or download the web browser version), using Wunderlist post-registration is but a simple task. Keep yourself focused on your semester deadlines and project To Do’s with Wunderlist, and feel refreshed when you can finally check off that last task from your ‘Unfinished’ list. Just like how it’s fantastic to have an application with seemingly every function you could ask for, there’s nothing wrong with simpler applications like ColorNote and Wunderlist. Focus your study experience today with these two applications that specialize in increasing productivity in their target areas! Both are available for free download on the iTunes/Google Play store, and Wunderlist is also downloadable via the Chrome Web Store.






mall, battery-run and supportive of music playback. That’s what I expect a portable speaker to be. Trading music quality for this kind of portability might also be something we have to resign ourselves to. However, the UB+ Eupho brings something completely new to the table. The UB+ Eupho is a new kind of portable speaker released this year by UB+. Supported by the ORCHAS technology designed by the techies in UB+, the speaker is battery-charged and supports bluetooth connectivity. This ORCHAS technology even boasts the ability to optimise air movements in the compact space of the small speaker to produce high-fidelity audio. The device has two features to enhance your music experience. One is the expansion casing, which amplifies bass. The other is the ‘buddy stereo’ that allows stereo performance when two or more speakers are connected. While the speaker alone may not appear incredible, the expansion casing is what brings out the best in the UB+ Eupho. The sound almost seems to expand from flat notes to an orchestration, amplified drastically with a well-supported bass that gives it a lot more depth. The quality of the music becomes so obviously good that music tracks with lower quality become jarring. The best sound can be heard with acoustic covers. In the words of a friend of mine who tried the speakers: “If I close my eyes, it sounds like I’m attending a live performance.”

The ‘buddy stereo’ completes the whole music experience. By connecting two or more UB+ Eupho speakers together, stereo sound can be produced. Configured in a set, an enchanting experience can be created with these high performance speakers. The drawback to the high quality is that the sound is relatively delicate. In a noisy crowd, the sound is easily drowned out by the chatter. This can be easily solved by connecting several speakers together. However, as that compromises the aesthetic appeal of the UB+ Eupho’s compact size, I would personally recommend the use of UB+ Eupho only in private or smaller group settings. Those who enjoy the wireless setup can also find beauty in this little machine.

Shortcomings aside, the UB+ Eupho has spoiled me for other portable speakers. It currently works as my home audio system where I can conveniently connect and disconnect it from my laptop via bluetooth. I am, without a doubt, bringing it along when I travel abroad for exchange this semester. R photos from:,


Five Must-Have Apps for NUS students BY TERESA WIDODO Technology goes a long way in making our student lives easier. To help you navigate through the maze that is NUS, make sure you have downloaded these five applications!



After a long day in school, the thing on most of our minds is to leave school as quickly as possible. But waiting for the NUS internal shuttle bus (ISB) can be excruciatingly painful, especially when your mind is someplace else.

The most dreaded time for many NUS students will be lunchtime. When 12pm hits, all of the canteens are packed and you find yourself drowning in a sea of people, searching for a seat and queuing for easily 30 minutes. Of course, you can always choose to eat lunch at a later time and find seats more easily, or go to a less popular canteen.

From my experience, it can be helpful to know how long you have to wait for the bus. Despite the monitors that show the buses’ estimated time of arrival at every bus stop, they are sometimes out of order or display inaccurate information. This is where the NUS Next Bus app comes in. It is relatively more accurate than the monitors (which means you are less likely to have false hope). Moreover, it is equipped with NUS map and the stops of each ISB. This is especially useful if you are still not familiar with the NUS ISB routes. You can always refer to the map when you are lost or simply looking for that lecture theatre (LT) you have never been to.

But how do you know when and where exactly to go? NUS Foodie app is the answer. You can access live CCTV of various canteens in NUS (including the canteens of Prince George’s Park Residences) and decide yourself where to go or what to eat without having to visit the canteen. Simply click the Crowd button, and you can see the screenshot of the live CCTV of the canteen. This will surely save you a lot of time and trouble! Besides the Crowd function, you can also see a list of recommended food (Recommend), find a nearby food outlet (Nearby), find food (Directory or Search), and look out for promotions (Promotions).





NUS IVLE is a must have. Its continuous improvement makes the NUS IVLE app even better than its webpage. You can easily download your lecture notes and access it whenever you need to. It also shows which files you have stored in your smartphone so you will not waste some precious memory space to download multiple files.

Remember Dropbox’s Great Space Race? Well, thanks to our KEEN kiasu spirit, NUS managed to win the race and everyone with AN NUS email address received free 25 GB space on Dropbox. The best thing of having your storage on the go is that you can easily attach important documents and send them whenever you need to. Not to mention that you can always download and upload documents in just one click.

Another feature is its Students Events, which is especially useful if you are looking for some ad-hoc activities like paid experiments or even dancing classes. It also comes with several other features such as Staff Search, Module Search, Exam Timetable, NUS Libraries and Feedback Form.

5. NUS IVLE DOWNLOADER Have you ever grown tired of downloading the seemingly endless pile of lecture notes from IVLE and then having to organise them on your laptop? Not to mention how annoying it can be when your lecturer likes to change the content of the lecture notes without changing the file name and you end up studying the old versions. Fret not, because NUS IVLE Downloader is here for you. Simply download the latest version here (http://yjyao. com/2012/08/nus-ivle-downloader.html) and install it on your computer. Once it is installed, your lecture notes, readings and assignments will be directly synced into the designated folder – more importantly, it will save you lots of time and trouble! Note: the app is currently not available for mobile phones.

This article originally appeared on, 19 Dec 2013. It is reproduced in THE RIDGE as part of a collaboration with Digital Senior for this issue. is one of the largest peer-sharing portals for university students in Singapore with 30 000 average monthly visits. Over 100 seniors from 4 local universities have contributed to help one another better navigate university life. Visit to receive a free eBook on managing your time in NUS effectively. R


My love is not an anchor nor ships in harbour, a summer bloom, birdsong, confetti and champagne. He says it once and not again. My love is not an English sonnet nor lines on paper, one centimetre apart, test-tube racks, dissected hearts. I search for constancy in vain. He says it once and not again.

Developing From Negatives By Amy Leung

My love is not Hercules nor a hero, a saviour, an angel, a dream. He is me and we are one. He sleeps in my belly, the beast not slain. He says it once and not again. My love is not still waters nor cerulean skies. My feet are bare when waves rush in and tear asunder, grinding mountains into grain. He says it once and not again. R

A friend once revealed to me that it is the brain that sees, not our eyes. That corneas and cones are just transmitters to the pathways that will determine the colour of your hair today What this means is that I only see what I can understand So I went to an optometrist; tried to explain how no one else saw the empty spaces between my fingers When he kicked me out I went to an astrologist Just to check that the Big Dipper I was born under could still be found in your eyes

Seeing Red By Michelle Lim

When Eve first looked, she saw how her name would be the price we pay for seeing But when Adam looked, he saw only her lips whispering “trust me� The hardest part is not in the blindness; the hardest part is looking and knowing I will never see your red. R





How can I feel so solid and stationary while at the same time moving at an unimaginable speed,


ur flight is delayed and we are waiting for our turn.

The cabin crew has taken our drinks and gone to their Landing Stations. Like my hair limp on my shoulders, we are all still and strapped in. Outside, the long grass by the tarmac is alive and twitching in the wind of the turbines, flickering white and green to the roar of the engines that I am deaf to. I look through the oval-shaped glass to watch a runway in the distance. A plane bears straight down on its path; I only glimpse it for a few seconds before it disappears behind the terminal. I wait and watch, knowing what is going to happen. A few inches of terminal later, the slick spine of the steel sausage emerges, on an incline, racing towards the clouds. I have always thought that the modern commercial airplane looks far more like a steel sausage than an iron bird. Steel sausages with sticks stuck in them that somehow allow them to fly. Our plane inches forward – well inches to me is really metres – in the queue. Diagonally, I can see plane after plane waiting for their turn, like people queuing at a stall. Good things must queue. From far away, aliens could mistake planes for intelligent creatures, but I know humans helm each steel sausage, and I am struck by the magnificence of my father’s profession. To move such massive structures with grace and precision – it is an art.

Finally it is our turn. The engines rumble to life like a storm of controlled thunder, reminding you the immense power that this endeavour takes. The plane accelerates down the runway, and you realize how brave a take-off is. This giant hulk of metal bears down on the tarmac at breakneck speed and the only two outcomes are flight or the end of the road. As the plane quakes with the sheer intensity of this endeavour, my handwriting starts to give as I desperately try to pen down this description to write later – or maybe it’s the champagne. You cannot pinpoint for sure, unless you are the pilot, maybe not even then, the moment that you are off the ground, its momentary weightlessness and feeling of pure exhilaration. My father’s words of the technicalities of a take-off fade away into this gravity-defying moment, as we lift up at a speed I can see but only experience as a barely noticeable sink into my seat. How can I feel so solid and stationary while at the same time moving at an unimaginable speed, I wonder. Something relatively Einsteinian I can guess, but let’s not go down that rabbit hole, and just enjoy this human separation between cognition and experience. Beginning the ascent, the shiny flaps of the wings recede and wink at me as they move over sandcastles that will soon turn into more terminals and the trees that are the loyal spectators of this everyday miracle.

I wonder.” My writing is now an undulating scrawl across the page, strokes only barely forming the shapes of letters, like the once firm shapes of buildings that now retreat from me through the window into an indiscernible but iconic mass. The plane banks left and I recognize a world, larger than I can ever hope to experience and know. I see a sea of flats forming a compact city and the straits that form a moat about this precious castle. Singapore quickly disappears and I see the rolling lines of roads across a different landscape. From this height, the lines look like a filigree of pen art, purposefully designed, with unintentional but beautiful irregularity, with no inherent meaning in the shapes they form other than beauty itself. The blue and yellow wingtip shows off, easily vacillating between earth, sky, and sea with every gentle tilt, while I jealously eye it from my belted seat of a safe spectator. My favourite part of flying is not the movies or the sound of clinking cutlery that my mother loves, but those short minutes. After that, the actual flying is like a slow-changing screensaver of clouds and blue. Those short minutes make me feel alive and humbled, awake and reflective. Like the steel sausage, so too does my soul momentarily take off and ascend.


image from:

Profile for THE RIDGE

Issue 1 2015/16  

Issue 1 2015/16