Page 12

12

FEATURE

$1,000 Costumes, Cheer-leading, and Dance-Related Materials $3,000 Lorry Rental Estimated Float Construction (based on the $10,000 cap)

$3,000 Merchandise for Float Construction

$3,000 Tentage Rental

Flag Donations The Rag event expenditure should not be subsidised by the amounts raised through the sale of flags. A maximum of 10% of the total flag collections was used to cover the “logistics and operational costs”: 8% went to individual operating costs, including “tin can labels, stickers, and flag shirts”, while 2% went to the other related expenses.

Who pay for the floats? $100,000 if the event is organised in the school ($55,000 in 2008 and 2009, and $100,000 in 2012).

$250,000 to $300,000 if the event is held in public locations ($300,000 in 2007 when it was held at the Padang, $62,000 in 2010 because of the Youth Olympic Games).

Who runs Rag and Flag? The events are mainly driven by student representatives in the Managing Committees and Rag Committees within the respective faculty constituent club and PBs. But how do our executive members of the societies and clubs vote on decisions regarding such events? Are their decisions reflective of the majority view within the student population they purport to represent, especially given the fact that general voting turnout rates have been dismal? Are they at the very least, in the best interest of the PB as a whole? I am not questioning whether they have the right to make decisions on behalf of their students; instead, I am curious if they had endeavoured to find out more about what has been articulated by their students. In other words, when these

$450,000 the estimated cost for the event held at The Promontory, Marina Bay (2011). This particular event was co-funded by the school.

student leaders present their viewpoints during meetings, on Rag and Flag for example, can they distinguish between their personal opinions, and the genuine sentiments of their constituents? I doubt so. While they cannot be entirely faulted for increasingly apathetic attitudes towards Rag and Flag, one would expect our student-leaders to communicate the meeting agenda beforehand to interested parties, to obtain feedback from their counterparts, so as to back their eventual meeting-points with more evidence and statistical data, if possible. Certainly there are PBs who have made an attempt at gathering feedback from their constituents, but they remain in the minority. Direct engagement with the student

In a Nutshell • Flag: the sum goes to the beneficiaries (less 10% administrative costs). • Rag: Floats: funded by the PBs. Event: paid for by NUSSU, but can be co-funded by the school.

populace is a constructive strategy that should be employed, for it allows the student representatives to be more informed about the issues at-hand. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) organised a Rag forum, together with a petition during its feedback project. FASS’s Freshmen Orientation Programme (FOP) Chairperson, Mr. Ong Jia Qiang, explained that most students were “against certain aspects of Rag”, but were not opposed to “the idea of Rag itself”. Out of the 223 respondents, those who were against Rag and Flag were primarily perturbed by the costs involved, and the perception that “Rag has lost its meaning over the years”. Those who were for Rag reflected “its tradition and ability to bond people unlike

any other FOP”. Mr. Derek Lim from the University Scholars Programme (USP) had also designed a survey, which reached over 200 respondents, before the project was discussed with the NUSSU Council. He reflected that “we wanted to know what the community’s opinion was in order to represent their interests better”. In addition, he replied that “[p]eople don’t like the project, or perhaps specifically the idea of it, but they seem to like what it accomplishes”. University-wide feedback exercises could be conducted to gauge sentiments, or to collate the perspectives of students towards Rag and Flag. The aggregation of ad-hoc polls, surveys and feedback would be useful when assessing the shortcomings and criticisms.

The RIDGE - March 2013 Issue  
The RIDGE - March 2013 Issue  

March 2013 issue of THE RIDGE - the largest student-run magazine in the National University of Singapore

Advertisement