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the eye

October 3, 2008 / Vol. 28 No. 1

Singapore American High School

SAS HOMECOMING moves closer to real thing

Juniors Ashley Wood, Stephanie Maissen and Brooke Schmidt cheer for the Steelers. Photo by Melissa Huston

by Melissa Huston

Seniors Meredith Hayward & Rachel

Fink rally support as they cheer for the homecoming court. Photo by Melissa Huston

Interim trip prices rise as fuel prices soar

Students ride camels across Wadi Al Musa to their bedouin encampment on the Jordan trip that ran for the first time last year. Photo by Megan Anderson

by Nicholas Lesiuk Despite the increased stress of homework and the hassle of college applications, most SAS high school students are looking forward to senior year because they get the choice of a coveted “senior trip.” Switzerland, Poland, Greece, South Africa, Jordan, or Egypt: all of these are choice picks for the senior class. But with the everchanging price of fuel, that list in the coming years could change to places more affordable like Thailand, India, China, and other locations in Asia.   The fluctuating price of oil has implications that range beyond the price of filling a car’s tank. Plane tickets come with a fuel surcharge that rises

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and falls in tandem with oil prices. “It’s true that at this point about half of the trips have seen an increase in costs,” Deputy Principal Doug Neihart said. The previous price cap for trips was $3,500, but for some trips they have now raised it up to $3,900. Current seniors need not worry though. Those often referred to as senior trips are more costly than last year, but favorites in South Africa, Europe, and Middle East are still on the itinerary for now. Trips that go above the price cap will have to be cut and replaced by less expensive ones. Some recently approved trips have already been cut because of increased cost. The curriculum committee

approved new trips to London and Morocco before school ended last year, but both were cut because their price rose above the cap over the summer vacation. “Certainly if the prices go up so much due to transportation then that will happen, but for now the parents are very supportive of the breadth and size of the program,” Neihart said. Unsurprisingly, underclassmen were not happy when faced with the prospect that trips they desired could potentially get cut before they had a chance to experience them. “I’d be really angry if they cut the senior trips,” sophomore Rodrigo Zorrilla said. “I want to go to Cambodia this interim so I don’t really care this year, but next year I really don’t want to stay in Asia.” Zorrilla said that he would rather they cut cost than trips. “I wouldn’t mind if the trips weren’t as nice, I don’t care about going to second-rate accommodation if I can still go on the trip. After all, the seniors before me had the luxury of going on one, so why can’t I?” 
nicholas.eye@gmail.com

As the Student Council members ran around setting up for SAS’s second Homecoming game, decked out in their favorite team colors students and adults slowly filled the stadium. Football players ran through last minute plays before the growing numbers of onlookers in the minutes before kick-off. “We had a really good turnout, even more so than we expected,” Lauren Felice, Junior Council treasurer, said. Student Council sold 1,010 tickets prior to the big game and 290 more tickets were bought at the door. Official attendance exceeded last year’s by 400. Some of the 500 high-schoolers who turned up for the match between SACAC’s Oilers and the Steelers painted themselves in yellow or blue and wore matching football jerseys. Painted banners dangled from stadium railings, girls supporting the Steelers held black and yellow posters and children drummed rhythms on the water containers provided by Student Council. “This whole week was aimed towards having a good time, getting together as a school and really just involving everyone,” Felice said. “I was most pleased with the amount of people just hanging out with smiles on their faces... basically just enjoying themselves in unstructured activities,” added Executive Council Sponsor Eric Burnett in an e-mail. In only its second year, the increased spirit around the school was evident in the painted cafeteria windows, dress days and spirit activities. “We had three weeks to a month to plan Homecoming,” Executive Council President Sajan Shah said. “I think people got into it all during

The Oilers celebrate a 54-14 victory over the Steelers in the Homecoming game. Photo by Kenny Evans

the week.” With homecoming scheduled for September and Student Council members only elected three weeks before council members worked on the event daily. “I  couldn’t be more impressed and amazed by this year’s group of student leaders who sacrificed so much of their personal and academic lives to make this event a success,” Burnett said. While some questioned the timing of Homecoming at the end of the first quarter instead of after Winter Break like last year, Shah told Eye staff that last week was the only time available for the Homecoming festivities. “It was difficult timing because the first three days were alternate dress days so that was one of our main glitches,” Shah said “but on Thursday and Friday a lot of people dressed up, especially on Eagle day [Friday].” With more than half of the high school dressed for the last two spirit days, the sophomores pulled ahead with the greatest number in spirit dress. Lunch time activities drew larger crowds every day. “People looked like they were having a great time,” Shah said. “I was very pleased with the turnout at each of the lunchtime activities... with each day’s attendance increasing so that by Friday we had huge portion of the student body in attendance.” Burnett said. The re-introduction of a homecoming dance will be on the Student Council’s agenda over the next few months. Although the football game went well, the Council is open to changing the venue and sport of the game, possibly allowing our student body to compete against a different school. huston.eye@gmail.com


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Former student Wong impersonates Minister Mentor in Facebook spoof

by Mila Rusafova He’s friends with Dick Cheney, Mao Zedong, Tony Blair and Rasputin. His interests are Milo and Tiger Beer. He’s the leader of a small island-country in the middle of Southeast Asia. He’s Singapore’s Minister Mentor (MM), Lee Kwan Yew. Or is he? With the proliferation of This is just for fun; it’s not supposed Facebook profiles to be a place for people to voice in recent years, their personal opinion. fakes are inevitable. - Chris Wong, above (right) On Facebook you can be friends He is currently in his fifth year with Japanese pop diva Ayumi Hamasaki, write on at the University of Pennsylvania Bollywood queen Aishwarya Rai’s finishing up majors in finance, wall or poke U.S. President George entrepreneurship and mechanical engineering. W. Bush. Wong says he created the Lee There have been at least five fake profiles of MM Lee, two of which profile in 2005 using a “spare” university e-mail address. are open to public viewing. “I made it back in the day when One profile was created by 2004 SAS alumnus Chris Wong. A 14- the only people on Facebook were year resident of Singapore, Wong college kids,” Wong said. “I took it was part of the “kindergarten crew,” down when I realized the attention it those who attended SAS for all 13 was getting.” And the profile really was getting years of schooling.

a lot of attention. What was meant as a joke between Wong and his former classmates at SAS turned into a popular page for Singaporeans and tourists. In an interview with the Sunday Times Wong said most of the messages were positive ones, from tourists who had visited Singapore and wanted to express their thanks and admiration. “I would delete any political references. This is just for fun; it’s not supposed to be a place for people to voice their political opinions,” he said. Good intentions or not, fake Facebook profiles are considered a serious offense in some parts of the world. In February, a Moroccan was given three years jail for pretending to be the Moroccan king’s younger brother, Prince Moulay Rachid. Here in Singapore as well, many people like MP Siew Kum Hong take a strong stance against online impersonation. “I would want it removed immediately,” MP Siew said in an interview with The Sunday Times. “ The existence of a bogus profile is wrong, and what it is used for is really beside the point.” Wong has since taken down the profile and says it’s not likely he creates a new one any time soon.

Riady Center construction will conflict with concert schedules

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by See Young Lee On the first day of school, a white, plywood wall with a sign that reads ‘Construction in Progress’ blocked the normally bustling music hallway. Puzzled, students wandered around, trying to find a way to get to their music rooms, and mapped a circuitous route that took some down a flight of stairs then up another. Groans could be heard here and there, especially loudly from those bearing enormous instruments. Junior Kevin Kim, holding the gigantic baritone saxophone, asked “so when is the construction going to end?” Last year, Stephen Riady, the deputy chairman of Lippo Group and father of three SAS graduates (Jennifer ‘04, Jessica ‘06, Brian ‘08) donated four million dollars for the construction of the Riady Center for the Performing Arts. “I think it is great that Mr. Riady donated the money to finance the

From L-R: work on the Riady Center of Performing arts is underway for an official opning at the end of October. Photos by Maria Lloyd

construction,” band director Brian Hill said, “but it would have been great if the construction had been finished before the school started.” The construction forced some unprecedented changes in the performing arts schedule. Fall Concert for band, strings, choir and dance has been moved from October to September, and “Seussical The Musical” has been delayed to second quarter. The Fall Concert will be held in a different venue this year, possibly the Esplanade. At least one musician sees opportunity in this change. “Playing at the Esplanade would be great because it is really a grand place for amateur students to perform,” senior Brian Kang said. Others are not so optimistic about the potential problems that accompany the change. Senior Julian Goh worries about the limited amount of practice time students

have now that the concert has been moved to an earlier date. But it is not just the schedule changes that raise concerns. “Students have to go around a long way to the bathroom, 186 steps to be precise,” Hill said. “It is annoying to go back and forth again and again to get to your classroom,” senior Nick Chang said. Despite its obvious drawbacks, the construction inspires optimism among the performing arts staff and students. Kang said that the construction will help create a better environment for music lovers. Also, Hill said that there will be more space that can be used for a number of different performances. “I expect a really good change,” Goh said, “we are sacrificing so much for it, so it better be good.” seeyoung.eye@gmail.com

More colleges going SAT/ACT optional

A growing number of schools across the U.S. no longer require SAT & ACT scores

by Caroline Hui Twenty-four years ago, Maine’s Bates College kicked off the debate to drop SAT and ACT scores from admissions requirements, arguing that standardized testing could be one of several barriers to higher education. They became the first school to go SAT-optional, and in November 1990, made all testing optional. Today, over 750 schools across the United States no longer include college entrance exams, as a growing number of schools question their accuracy in predicting academic success. “Many [colleges and universities] found that SAT’s don’t predict academic success as well as high school grades do,” counselor Dale Ford said. In March 2005, the College Board launched the new writing section of the SAT in hopes of boosting the test’s predictability factor. The new student-written essay replaced analogies and quantitative comparisons. The College Board revamped the test after former University of California President Richard Atkinson threatened to drop the SAT as an admissions requirement, according to an article in The San Antonio Express News. The College Board says the writing section of the SAT is the most important of the three because writing is critical to college success. “Students will be writing in all their classes in college. Even students in the math and sciences have to write,” English teacher Mark Guggisberg said. English teacher Rick Silverman echoes this statement, and further recommends that students take AP Language at some point during high school. “Lang is a good prep course,” Silverman said. “It requires writing quickly, which helps kids for exams, and reading at a high level. Kids who don’t like writing should take [Lang] their senior year.” Despite studies that demonstrate the writing section’s value, an increasing number of colleges and universities are choosing to drop them. Other schools in the U.S. that have gone SAT and ACT optional include Julliard, Bowdoin College, Wake Forest University, Smith College and Middlebury College.

Popular universities such as Julliard, Bowdoin, Wake Forest & Middlebury are among the many universites that have gone SAT opt.


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Gay-Straight Alliance gains recognition in 3-year struggle by Aashna Chopra A male junior was punched in the face twice and received death threats in his inbox, harassed because he is gay. “They sent me emails saying that they would rip me apart,” he said. “They told me that they were going to make sure that my time here would be like living in hell.” Senior Emma Sheldon is the founding member of SAS’s first Gay-Straight Alliance. “Gay people are in every community. They are a part of life. People around you are going to be different from you in many ways,” Sheldon said. This statement might raise a few eyebrows. The world is becoming increasingly accepting of those of different sexual orientation, with gay marriages legalized in countries like Belgium, Norway, South Africa, Netherlands, Spain and Canada. The U. S. states California and Massachusetts recognize gay marriages. The club didn’t begin without controversy. In 2004, alumna Cat Ward ‘07 made the creation of a GSA her Global Issues project in her sophomore year. Administrators declined to give the club official status. “The idea of this club was started by Cat Ward,” Sheldon said. “It seemed worthwhile, and I hadn’t really thought much about it till she brought it up. You don’t really see

much of this around.” Sheldon said that while she is aware of the problems that Ward faced with the administration in the past, she has encountered no such problems. “When I expressed interest in

starting the club, the [Principal Norcott] was entirely supportive,” she said. For Sheldon, the club is a way to involve students, regardless of their sexual preference, in understanding issues related to sexuality and sexual orientation. “It is defientely not just a gay club,” she said. “I’m straight.” Many high school students at SAS stick to stereotypes. Sheldon was not expecting more than a dozen people at her first meeting, which took place in journalism and filmmaking teacher Mark Clemen’s room. She was disappointed when no one showed up. Poor publicity might have been to blame. This is why she plans to publicize future meetings two days

before they are meant to happen, and on the day itself. If people still fail to show, the club’s status might be reconsidered and discontinued. Sheldon still has hopes for the club. “It kind of reaches its goal by existing, and it acknowledges the fact that there are gay people in our SAS community. This is the preliminary goal,” she said. If promoting tolerance is anywhere on her agenda, Sheldon has a long way to go. “I would never join. This club is for fags,” a male senior said. “ I bet even if I was gay, I wouldn’t join it. Because everyone would know, and that would be f****d up” When asked if she thinks that the club would encourage students to be more open about their sexuality, Sheldon said that she does not believe that it is the club’s primary purpose. “We are not taking on a hero’s role. That is the administration’s job. If people want to come out , it is fine, but the club isn’t really meant for that, ” she said. Norcott hopes that the club would not turn into “ a political issue” “We have core values. We respect the fact that there is a group of people who would like to form a club, and we have given them this opportunity.”

Creating a safe place Can LGBT Students finally find a home?

by Lilianne Cadieux-Shaw When SAS alumna Cat Ward ’07 proposed a Gay Straight Alliance club (GSA) to the administration in 2004, the idea was rejected. She continued to rally for it each year thereafter until her graduation, though her request was repeatedly denied. Now though, it seems administrators have changed their minds. When Emma Sheldon approached Principal Dave Norcott this year with the same request, Norcott showed no hesitation in giving Sheldon the go ahead. Ward began pushing for the club when she first came to SAS as a sophomore in 2004. Ward felt the school needed to provide a “safe place for people to discuss and learn more about gender and sexuality.” Her interest began with a project in Dr. Roopa Dewan’s Global Issues class. Ward asked math teacher Roy Tomlinson, then a student council sponsor, to sponsor a GSA. Ward completed the paperwork and met with then superintendent Bob Gross. Ward used the core value of ‘tolerance’ as the crux of her argument. The general response from the superintendent and the rest of the administration was that the community was not ready for a club like this. They instead suggested a club

about tolerance, called Diversity Club, with sexuality as one of many topics. This is not what Ward had in mind, so she kept fighting. “She just kept hammering at the nail,” Tomlinson said. “Its outrageous that [the school] doesn’t reach out to students more about this,” Ward said. “I never felt at home at SAS because of my sexuality, and I wanted to feel at home”. Ward, who is bisexual, attributed this discomfort to what she felt was a lack of resources the school provided for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students. Norcott declined to comment on any past decisions, calling it ‘dangerous territory’. He added that it was ‘history’. “We need to allow the range of clubs,” he said. “I feel that we are in the right place doing the right thing now” he said.

Student politicos plan pre-election blitz of rallies, debates, ads by Akhilesh Pant Nearly 16,000 kilometers from America’s capital, a group of students is gathering to debate a topic so distant and yet so relevant to each and every one of them: the upcoming presidential election. Interest in American politics is usually low key at SAS, but the United States presidential election with its reach-out-and-touchsomeone issues of war and financial disaster has everyone’s attention. During the second half of October, the newly-formed Young Republicans and Student Democrats clubs will host a series of events related to the Nov. 4 election. Sponsored by social studies teachers Erik Torjesen, Devin Kay and Jim Baker, the clubs hope to host group debates, issue forums and ballot initiatives. The issue forums will be held each Friday of the month in collaboration with Peace Initiative and will deal with issues such as gay marriage and abortion rights. “We hope to create the feel of a speaker’s corner with issue forums, allowing students and teachers to speak out about their views on current controversial issues,” Torjesen said. The venue for most events will be the Town Center, the new name for the foyer area in front of the high school office.

Issue boards with information on gay rights, abortion and the decriminalization of marijuana will be posted to generate interest in the ballot initiatives. Created and run by Torjesen’s U.S. government classes as well as the political clubs, these ballot initiatives will allow students to cast votes with their opinions on issues similar to real U.S. ballot initiatives. U.S. Government classes will then be asked to analyze the collected data for grade level, gender, passport and political affiliation and attempt to predict results of the real election. The signature event in all of this is the formal debate between the two political clubs. Each club’s team will be coached by either social studies teachers Jim Baker or Rick Bissett. “We’re really looking forward to the group debate as a chance to finally express our political views at school,” Young Republicans officer Amit Parekh said. “It’s obvious that there are far more Democrats than Republicans here, but it will be interesting to speak on behalf of the few of us. ” The two clubs started preparing and signing up members to get ready for the events. Though the club members are expected to be most active, all the events aside from the formal debate will be open to all students and staff.

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“We have a good number of members now, many of whom will be able to represent the Democratic Party well,” Student Democrats president Alex Hoffer said. “We’ve also created a Facebook group to publicize the club and events.” Club members of both opposing clubs and staff members hope that these debates will generate more interest in American politics among students and perhaps even generate new student groups with non-mainstream political views. “Overall, we are interested in the political socialization of students at SAS” Torjesen said. “Through these events, hopefully, students will become more aware of political issues and take that awareness with them in life beyond school.”


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IN FOCUS: Seussical the Musical

A real life “high school musical” >> Students and teachers come together to perform much awaited Broadway production

by Anne Lee Around 4:15, students file into Tracy Meyer’s room in the drama department. A mini stage and lights sit at the end of the room. The walls are painted black; the carpet is black. The song “Oh the thinks you can think!” plays on the speakers as students sing along, tapping their feet and swaying to the beat of the music. Many people may know “Seussical the Musical” as a Broadway musical, but this year it is a SAS production. The faculty-produced musical is a biannual tradition. The most recent production was “Chess” two years ago. “The cast is fantastic, the camaraderie is great, and I’m more attached to the musical because this is my first lead role,” senior Elliot Miranda said. Miranda’s role is Mayzie, a main character of Seussical who likes to show off. Miranda has been active in theater throughout her high school years, acting in “Philadelphia,” Yulefest, “Chess,” and participating in Cultural Convention as a drama delegate. “This is my second musical, so I’m still getting in the scene,” Miranda said. “I love theater, and I’m passionate especially about musical theater.” The Cat in the Hat is played by junior Danielle Courtenay, an experienced member of the Seussical cast. She describes the Cat in the Hat as “mischievous, likes to cause a lot of trouble, but eventually sets things right again.” Courtenay has acted in SAS productions of “Annie” and “Cinderella.” “This is my third experience in a musical, and the show is fun, different from former serous ones like ‘Chess.’ ” Courtenay said. “I think Seussical will have more appeal to people. It’s really cheerful, and adults will also get the subtle meaning in the play.” “It’s a huge time commitment, but I really enjoy working with Mr. Bonnette and other musicians, and it gives you something to look forward to after school.” said junior Akane Otane, a Seussical musician who plays the flute. A team of teachers works to bring Seussical to life. Paula Silverman is the producer, Tracy

Choral director Nanette Devens works on songs with the Seussical cast during one of their rehearsals.

Sophomore singers get their first big break

Meyer the director, and Nanette Devens the vocal director. Tracy van der Linden is the choreographer and Steve Bonnette conducts the pit-orchestra. “Seussical the Musical” is a Broadway production, so the faculty had to pay a licensing fee to the producing company of “Seussical the Musical” in the U.S. The faculty bought the rights to perform “Seussical the Musical” for three nights. The copyright fee alone cost 2,700 USD. Along with this cost, the shipping cost of scripts and musical scores were added, for 4,550 USD. Among the three final choices, directors and students chose Seussical as their final choice. The process to produce Seussical began with a production meeting in March of last year. “The cast that came out to audition will become a very close cast. I have a great expectation of bonding, which is the important thing about productions like this.” Silverman said.

Junior Danielle Courtenay is the Cat-in-the-Hat Junior Kelly Schuster plays “Jojo”

by Steffie Lee colorful, but I love plays because During the callbacks for there’s seriousness about them,” “Seussical the Musical,” actors Schuster said. ran about the stage, jumping up “Seussical the Musical” will and down while singing the roles debut in the just-finished Riady of Cougar, Old, Jazz, Innocent Performing Arts Center’s auditorium Student and Hardworking Mother on Nov. 20 – Nov.21 at 7 p.m. in a warm-up game to start practice. Schuster sings in nine songs Sophomore Kelly Schuster plays in total, including a duet with Jojo, the mayor’s daughter and one Horton, played by sophomore of the main characters. Willow Johnston. The cast has been “She’s afraid preparing for weeks to speak, but finds with daily 2-hour rhythmic patterns practices. Johnston, everywhere around in his first time in a her. She learns that lead role, rates his her voice is an nervousness a 7 on important asset to a scale of 10. Who’s survival,” “I was in Schuster said. Cinderella,” he Jojo was said. “It was a originally a male minor role, but it character in the Dr. got me interested Seuss books and in auditioning for movies. Schuster Seussical. We just said that she had got the schedule no problems Sophomore Annie Hamby takes the one and a half a d j u s t i n g . center stage as a part of the cast’s main weeks ago, but it’s Schuster, an SAS characters tough because it’s stage veteran, played major roles everyday. I’m nervous, but mainly in production of “Bernice Bobs her excited.” Hair” and “Philadelphia, Here I Johnston’s favorite song in the Come!” She said she was intimated musical is “Notice Me,” a duet with in auditioning for a singing role at Gertrude, played by Priscilla Chan. first. These few are not the only actors “I don’t think the singing aspect who are nervous about signing in of the musical should have held front of an audience. The Acting people back, but I was definitely, so teacher Tracey Meyer, who moved scared,” she said. from the middle school this year, “But, I went to the informational said that the passion is already in meeting, and they explained to us place for high-schoolers. that they would work with us, and “It’s very much an apples vs. told us to put our fears aside,” she oranges situation. In the middle said. school, many of my students were Schuster described her mixed new to drama classes,” she said. feelings, saying that musicals only “The thrill there was found in the come around every year. introduction of the fun of being on “I love watching musicals stage.” stephanietheeye@gmail. because they’re really fun and


arts & entertainment

Backstage at Seussical

>> Behind the scenes crews work together to stage the musical

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story and photos by Maria Lloyd

Techies working on “Seussical the Musical” are gearing up for the show. Changes in Art Club sets will require feats never attempted by techies before, including projection onto three different backdrops at once and use of fans to inflate plastic shells. Two techies in particular, seniors Laura Bell and Kimberly Dunbar, will be playing a major role in lighting design because they chose an independent study in stage lighting. Techies are (from the left) Katherine Walters, Lyda Long, Mary Russel, Ben Tang,Vania Zhou, Kristine Maramot, Bayley Flint, Kimberly Dunbar, and Isaac Virshup with sponsors Paula Silverman and Paul Koebnick (Top left).

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Art clubbers (from left) Ellen Lee, Jon Bayens, and Debra Chan work on oil pastel sets. Copyright laws prevented Art Club from using Seuss’ art in the sets, but artists have made original designs with no trouble.

Moira Coops demonstrates joker make-up on Willow Johnston for the upcoming dance show “Heroes vs.Villains.”

KatherineWalters and Bayley Flint demonstrate the fly system.

girl dressed in plain jeans and a t-shirt parts the curtains and walks on-stage as the crowd hushes expectantly. She begins to speak and the audience realizes that this is the Cat-in-the-Hat looking very uncat-like. Her voice is barely audible. Another actor dressed in school uniform appears on-stage, interrupting the Cat in mid-sentence. No stage lights or spotlights illuminate the actors. There is no sound, no music, not sets. The actors wear no costumes, no makeup Without the people who work behind scenes, this could be the opening scene of “Seussical the Musical.” It’s easy to forget these people because their job is to be invisible. Seussical playgoers will remember actors like Kelly Schuster, Danielle Courtenay and Willow Johnston, not the students, faculty, and custodians who prepared costumes and makeup, created scenery and props, worked lighting, projectors and the sound system, cued actors and flew (moved) objects above the stage using pulleys and counterweights. Three main student organizations do all of this: Technical Theater Club, Art Club, and Theater Makeup Club. Last year while working on sets for the dance show, “I Spy,” Art Club created a chaos of paint-splattered students, crumpled newspaper, spilled paint buckets, paint footprints on the floor, and dripping paint on walls and table legs in the art room. This year, all sets will be paint free. For the first time, theater productions will use oil pastel drawings projected onto reflective scrims, reflective cloth screens and 3D plastic inflatables as props and sets. Art teacher Barbara Harvey, also an Art Club sponsor, said that there were three reasons for the changeover. One was size, “We just don’t have the facilities to paint sets of that size,” Harvey said. “It may seem like the art room has plenty of space, but

none of it is dedicated specifically to Art Club.” Another reason was that fewer materials would be wasted making the new sets. Also, Seuss’ free and eclectic style is better suited to the looser feel of oil pastels and inflatable’s. “Seuss is all about color. In order to get vibrant colors, we need to use the right materials,” Harvey said.

setting the mood of different scenes. “Because we are working in JoJo’s imagination, we have to make really good use of the light,” Koebnick said. “The lighting changes depending on JoJo’s emotions. When his imagination is active, there’s lots of light and dynamic, moving color. A small spot light narrows the focus when JoJo has lost his imagination.” The techies do much more

stage, and the flyman has to operate to absolute precision. It has to be so smooth that no one notices,” Koebnick said. As the day of the show approaches, techies may work long hours, up to three hours a day plus weekends Tang said, but they enjoy it. “It’s fun so we don’t mind the time commitment. We laugh and have a good time with our friends.” he said.

Theater Makeup Club Creates the “Look”

Boys and Girls in Black Flying to Opening Night The Tech crew, as the members of the Technical Theater club, works in close coordination with Art Club in making the sets. According to Paul Koebnick, theater engineer, one of the difficulties they faced preparing for Seussical was projecting the oil pastel scenery onto a white backdrop, the cyclorama, and smaller scrims – scrims are special gauze screens that appear solid when light shines on the front and transparent when it comes from the back. Several projectors will be used at once. Several of the custodians work as carpenters while students construct objects by themselves. Techies and custodians have built everything from a roll-top desk to Horton’s nest. Lighting is a primary concern because it will play an important role

As a below stage makeup crew, the Theater Make-up Club designs the look of characters as different as the Cat-in-the-Hat and Vlad Vladikoff the vulture. The sponsor of Make-up Club, Paula Silverman, said that costumes will not replicate Seuss’ drawings, but they will have exaggerated attributes alluding to the characters. For example, the Whos will have brightly Sophomores Katherine Walters and Bayley colored and geometrically Flint fly in scrims on which backgrounds patterned clothes with swept will be projected. back hairstyles. One challenge Make-up Club faces whenever they than just planning and pre-show work on a big show like Seussical preparation. They do almost is putting on the make-up of a many everything from operating the people in a short time. They will cameras to constructing basic props. employ two methods for Seussical to “You’ll see a cast of thirty or solve this problem, senior Maryann forty, but you have to realize that Asai said. Generic characters like there’s twice that number working the Whos will have assembly line makeup with each person doing backstage,” Koebnick said. During the shows, techies move one step in the process of creating set props, operate the fly system, a look. More personal attention will work the video cameras, coordinate be given to the leading roles. Students have gone on from stage sound, work lighting, both general and spot, act as assistant all three organizations to work at stage manager and cue the actors. the professional level. According Techies use headsets to communicate to Koebnick, there is a handful of with each other to coordinate students every year that go on to microphones, music, different work technical theatre in college. lighting, movement of objects on An alumnus, Ben Nichols, recently stage and cues. Many jobs must worked backstage in the musical be done in the dark like the flyman “We Will Rock You” in London. who moves objects above the stage Harvey said that a small number of using the pulley and counterweight art club students go on to do college system. “It’s controlled chaos behind level set making and design.


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Innovative new dance show to premiere in October by Philip Anderson

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eroes and Villains, the dance club’s annual production will be staged on a gym floor this year with audience on three sides. It is not experimental theater. Construction of the new performing arts foyer makes use of the Drama Theater and auditorium impossible. Because the high school gym floor is too slippery, dance teacher Tracy Van Der Linden said that it is impossible for dancers to turn. A new stage made of mallay wood will be “rolled out” for one dress rehearsal and both performances. It will give extra support and allow the dancers to turn without slipping, Van Der Linden said. Senior Priyanka Arya, choreographer for the “Zombies” dance, said that performing in the new space in the gym is going to be a challenge. Junior Allison Lee agrees. “The stage is pretty scary since now we are eye-to-eye with the audience,” Lee said. On the day of the production, the audience will surround the stage on three sides. This requires choreographers to plan their dances so that dancers do not turn their backs on one side of the audience for too long. Now that they are in

the gym, the dancers are unable to use the backstage to enter and exit between each dance. Without a backstage, dancers will not be able to change. Dancers can only participate in one dance each, with the exception of Salsa Club and Breakers who will change in the gym’s restrooms. “It only makes it harder because there are fewer people in each dance for the crowd to stare at, so you can’t make any mistakes, otherwise everyone will know,” sophomore Linsey McMullen. McMullen, featured in the Superman dance, said since there are fewer dancers the choreographers can spend more individual time with the dancers. But sophomore Kathryn Fischer, in Wonder Woman, is still nervous about making mistakes. “I’m afraid that if I let the choreographers down, they’ll beat me,” Fischer joked. Not only is the stage and setting of the dance new, but there is also a twist that has been added to the show. Van Der Linden said the performance is going to be completely different from all the dance shows in the past. “The show is going to have a

‘So You Think You Can Dance?’ theme, where the audience decides who the winner is,” she said. To decide the winner the audience will rate the dances as they go, and the score will be kept in the basketball scoreboards. “I’m not quite sure how to include the basketball hoops yet,” Van Der Linden said, “but I’m working on it.” Superman, Captain America, Catwoman and Tarzan are some of the heroes featured. Fighting against the heroes are villains Cruella de Ville, Dr. Evil, Poison Ivy and the Joker, among others. Sophomore Angela Kim, who is dancing in the Tarzan portion of the show, yelled with enthusiasm when asked about her opinion of the new theme. “Sooo cool,” Kim bellowed. Freshman Abby Quick, in the Zombies dance, agrees with Kim about the show. “I think it’s a good idea, and the battle is going to be a lot of fun, considering we can’t use the theatres.” The dance show will be perfomed Oct. 24-25. There is an open dress rehearsal on Oct. 23.

Above left: Senior Ben Tang pratices his “gangsta” move. Photo by Kenneth Evans Above right: Junior Yasmin Venema follows Van der Linden’s choreography. Photo by Melissa Huston Below: Dancers Priyanka Arya & Krisna Bharvani take the center stage. Photo by Melissa Huston

Teen drama portrays upper-class society in new ways

: Review L R I G P I S GOS

VERDICT:

***

CREATORS: Stephanie Savage, Josh Schwartz

CAST: Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley, Ed Westwick, Taylor Momsen, Michelle Trachtenberg, Chace Crawford, Kristen Bell (narrator) RELEASE DATE: Season 1 - September, 2007 Season 2 - August 2008

by Jon Cheng To date, it is the hottest new show that has launched a feverpitch fan-base of “tweens,” teenage girls, and socialites. Since its 2007’s pilot debut the glitzy drama has revitalized Monday evenings for its viewer network - so much so that the catch-phrase “xoxo, gossip girl” has become a universal signal among the 2.61 million faithful U.S. fans. The concept wisely plays like its similar predecessors “One Tree Hill” and “The O.C.” but the show’s unique selling point is its portrayal of New York City’s glamorous crowd from the Upper East-Side. Adding to that is the almost-omniscient-like narration by the “Gossip Girl” herself, played by Kristen Bell (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Veronica Mars”) And like any other TV drama today, the story arc involves a group of high-schoolers (or high-school student look-alikes, for that that matter) who deal with issues that matter today. Love-triangles, family troubles and hopes for entries to elite colleges are among the issues that plague them. Each character is written to be different from the rest, but Gossip Girl’s characters seem to have one thing in common: enough cash to afford the most exclusive privateschools, the latest couture apparel, penthouses in New York, and summer homes in the Hamptons. Creators Josh Schwartz and

Stephanie Savage are wunderkinds in keeping the show’s pace going (but not in a frenetic way) - eschewing sappy drama-logues, cliches, and plastic blonde-isms. Even Nate Archibald, the most typical jock, manages to elude and engage audiences with his schizophreniclike behavior. Kudos to that . But viewers wishing for the classic love-triangles will dislike all the flip-flop relationships and the terrible excuses that accompany them. Serena (Blake Lively) and Dan (Penn Badgley) appear to love each other, but they prefer making out to confessing deep, dark secrets. Schwartz employs the same technique with Chuck (Ed Westwick), and Blair (Leighton Meester). Do watch out for at least a few moments where boyfriend ‘A’ finds girlfriend kissing someone

else in the most coincidental time frames. In the end, though, viewers might be irked by the age and maturity of some of these actors and actresses; the onscreen cast resembles college students - except for 14-year old Taylor Momsen, who plays Jenny Humphrey, a ditzy Brooklyn girl who yearns to mingle into the upper-echelon. She eventually accomplishes her goals: embarrassing her arch-nemesis in public, stealing a Gucci gown from her friend’s closet, and scoring an internship at a coveted design company. So except for the rambling pilotepisode, “Gossip Girl” turns out to be immense, trashy fun. Blair Waldorf will forever be the show-stealer her occasional craft and snob pits herself against her friends (such as

Serena, in the first couple episodes). In a classic episode, she intimidates her Asian classmate Yuki (at least one of the few stereotypical cliches) in hopes of foiling her chance for a spot at Yale. And towards the end of the first season, a certain Georgina Sparks (Michel Trachtenberg) arrives in New York to spice things up. And this is where the fun really begins. If you are interested in learning how to a) devise ways to embarrass your best-friend in public, b) avenge for betrayals c) conduct secret affairs, or d) come off as an upper-class socialite, then this show is absolutely perfect. Now that is a secret one “will never tell.” In keeping with the style of the show, “xoxo, gossip girl.” jontheeye@gmail.com


opinion & editorial S TA F F E D I T O R I A L

Honor our international spirit in next American homecoming Last week marked our second Homecoming; over 1300 tickets were sold, 400 more than last year. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week, about half the school dressed up in spirit. Homecoming was a success by any measure. However, when planning next year’s homecoming, Student Council should see inclusion of even greater numbers of students. Homecoming is a uniquely American event that almost always includes a football game with halftime entertainment - a marching band and royal courts (king, queen, attendants) - followed by a dance. In Singapore this could only happen at the Singapore American School. But, why introduce homecoming now, after doing without it for fifty years? SAS cherishes its diverse, international population and calls itself an international school. The chance to go to school with people from all over the world in an international setting is one of things that makes SAS, SAS. In this international setting, the creation of homecoming seemed strange at first, Student Council repeatedly said that its intention was to “create” a tradition. But tradition and culture are not something that can be created. Although this is the Singapore American School, some things cannot be copied and pasted. If the entire school population is not considered during homecoming, SAS runs the risk of alienating the students who aren’t American. If SAS is going to do homecoming, it should reflect the unique and diverse nature of the school. Instead of playing SACAC football at homecoming, we should consider playing a sport understood by the entire community. Instead of football, lets play a sport offered by the school; one that students don’t have to pay to play. Homecoming is supposed to be an event where the school cheers on the home team against a rival. Is the unifying aspect of homecoming worth sacrificing for the sake of playing the same sport as Americans? At the homecoming game, the Steelers lost by a whopping margin. One group of fans and players left campus defeated that night. Would it not be more in the spirit of homecoming for us all to unite behind the Eagles, win or lose? Maybe next year all of those groupies with their jerseys tied up to their chests will have the same name written on their exposed midriffs. The practice of nominating a homecoming court should also be examined. Although it was briefly touched upon, the traits that recommend homecoming king and queen should be put at the forefront of the process. The criteria listed on the ballots and the homecoming web site are noble traits: extracurricular excellence, charisma, academic success, school spirit, and “exemplification of the cornerstones.” More attention should be given to these when the senior class nominates and the entire school votes for the homecoming court to prevent the process from becoming a beauty and popularity contest. Homecoming succeeded in bringing together a segment of the student body. But if we want to celebrate our diversity, SAS homecoming should be unique to SAS. If we try and simply transplant a carbon copy of an American tradition, there’s a good chance that the students will reject it like a foreign organ, and it will become either divisive or tedious. To make homecoming a reflection of our student body, our community is a surefire way to make it a genuine SAS tradition. The Eye Editorial Board

eye

e th

Singapore American High School 40 Woodlands Street 41 Republic of Singapore 738547 Phone: (65) 6363-3404 Fax: (65) 6363-6443 eye@sas.edu.sg

Editors-in-chief: Jon Cheng, Hee Soo Chung, Melissa Huston News editor: See Young Lee, Nick Lesiuk Op/Ed editor: Akhilesh Pant Features editor: Ann Lee, Mila Rusafova Eye In Focus editor: Maria Lloyd A&E editor: DJ Hartman, Jennie Park Sports editor: Nora Hanagan, Caroline Hui Photographers: Kenny Evans, Maria Lloyd, Melissa Huston Reporters: Philip Anderson, Lil Cadieux-Shaw, Jon Cheng, Aashna Chopra, Hee Soo Chung, Kenneth Evans, Nora Hanagan, DJ Hartman, Caroline Hui, Melissa Huston, Ann Lee, Stephy Lee, See Young Lee, Nick Lesiuk, Alex Lim, Maria Lloyd, Haani Mazari, Akhilesh Pant, Jennie Park, Mila Rusafova, JD Ward Adviser: Mark Clemens Assistant adviser: Judy Agusti

The Eye is the student newspaper of the Singapore American School. All opinions stated within these pages are those of their respective writers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Singapore American School, its board of governors, PTA, faculty or administration. Comments and suggestions can be sent to the Eye via the Internet at eye@sas. edu.sg. At the author’s request, names can be withheld from publication. Letters will be printed as completely as possible. The Eye reserves the right to edit letters for reasons of taste and space.

the Eye

JUST SAY NO:

a

Oct. 3, 2008

7

Teens need to learn the lesson their parents failed

their own finances. Politically, this might be a smart move; Americans don’t like to be told this, as Jimmy Carter learned when he asked told America that “we’ve learned that piling up material goods cannot fill Franklin’s America - a bastion of the emptiness of lives which have frugality and penny-pinching - would no confidence or purpose.” The subprime mortgage crisis not be recognizable was not only a result to the millennial of bad regulation, but generation. of a lack of individual Between 2006 responsibility. Public and 2007 the school math test scores average American may be low, but you don’t gained $33,000USD need to take calculus (S$46,000) in to know when a loan is debt according to beyond your means to the United States pay back. Treasury’s Bureau of DJ Hartman Economic Analysis. America’s current What do our politicians have to say about the financial mindset isn’t so hard to economy? Barack Obama will tell you understand, looking at the proprietors why he thinks John McCain doesn’t of the new culture. Citibank now get it and why it’s the Republicans offers an MTV credit card. Obviously, fault. John McCain will tell you that the card is not marketed towards those greedy and corrupt executives the financially secure investor did this to us; some sort of committee class; the credit card’s gimmick is a should be formed. Neither has had rewards program for CDs and “hip” the courage to ask the American restaurants. Obviously, the intended people to take a long hard look at market for the credit card are

A scoundrel’s worst fear is a society without money, for in such a society he would only get the respect he deserves. ~ Benjamin Franklin

teenagers. Like the way big tobacco benefits when a teenager develops a smoking habit that will last the rest of his life, Citibank aims to make teenagers lifelong slaves to debt. SLM Corporation, the United State’s largest student loan company reported that the average college freshman enrolls with $1,585 of credit card debt. Fiftysix percent of students graduating from college own four or more credit cards. There needs to be a change in the way that we view debt. If we can all agree that the young and impressionable need to be protected from the vices of smoking and gambling, shouldn’t the same standard apply to credit cards and predatory lending? As the so-called ‘real world’ that lies beyond high school approaches, the challenge ahead is to reject irresponsible spending. A generation that delegates responsibility to the future is in serious trouble.

Only concerted effort will banish trolls

In this new age of technological razzle-dazzle, the Internet has evolved into something of a massive forum that enables us to express ourselves to just about anyone. Blogs or social networking sites, such as Myspace or Facebook, have become a popular medium which we use as a means of defining or validating ourselves to others; people looking to escape the hassles of everyday life often turn to the internet, spending an inordinate amount of time in cyber worlds. But the increased emotional investment we place in the Internet can potentially have serious ramifications.   On Oct. 15, 2006, 13-year-old Megan Meier committed suicide after receiving offensive messages from a boy she had met on her Myspace account. One such message stated,

“The world would be a better place” without her. It was only six weeks after Megan’s death that her parents discovered the “boy” was actually a fictitious character created by Lori Drew, then 47, who lived four houses away from the Meiers. Though such extreme circumstances are a rarity, the reality is, there are millions of other online users, also known as “trolls,” Alex Lim in the mold of Drew, who derive pleasure in posting ignorant and hateful material on the Internet. According to school psychologist Dr. Jeffery Devens, the anonymity the Internet affords users is what transforms seemingly normal people into malicious, hate spewing trolls. “People often put on a façade in order to convey a false image of who they really are,” Devens said, “Being anonymous on the internet

really reveals a person’s character.” Devens had several theories about the driving factors behind the behavior of trolls.  “Trolls feel like tearing people down because they are insecure about themselves,” Devens said, “Others do it because they feel like they don’t have a voice.” The influx of menacing behavior has called the benefits of online anonymity into question. The same platform the Internet provides writers to voice themselves also promotes a culture whereby many are held unaccountable for their comments and actions. A new set of guidelines regulating what people can say on the Internet would come into direct conflict with the concept of free speech and is unlikely to ever materialize. What we can do, however, is make a concerted effort to continue to educate the public on appropriate online etiquette. The Internet would be a much friendlier place.

by JD Ward


8

Oct. 3, 2008

a

sports & activities

the Eye

Not all DOWNHILL for cross country team All photos by Melissa Huston

Severe pain forced Betts onto crutches, but they were off the next day as she continued with practice.

Trainer Josh Nobles works on junior Lauren Betts severely sprained ankle.

Senior Evan Shawler leads the pack as he gives his signature triumphant pose.

Despite injuries, cross country team looks to dominate IASAS by Jennie Park The runner’s legs dragged against the gravel, feet from the finish line, his teammates yelling from the sidelines. But suddenly, the runner stopped with hands on knees, hunched over and panting heavily. Then, sophomore Sammy Maus collapsed. It was the first meet of the year for the Eagles Cross Country team, and Maus, a returning member, had a break down—literally, due to overexhaustion. But Maus wasn’t alone. Another runner, freshman Tessa Bertamini suffered from a mild asthma attack. Of all the first season sports, volleyball, soccer, and most of all, SACAC football, the cross country team was the first to suffer from such major injuries. Cross country may be the most intense sport of all. “Cross country is a blend of mental and physical endurance,” said Coach Ian Coppell. Although many view cross

country as a relatively dull sport, that’s because they haven’t seen the runners in action. The cross country team seems to evoke just as much nail-biting emotion as the finals of a state championship football game at their meets. Athletes participate in a wide variety of runs throughout the week that vary from day to day. Some focus more on speed work, and others on endurance. But each day tests the runner’s mental and physical capacities. Whether it’s running trails at MacRichie, hills in Bukit Batok, or trails and hills in Seletar, sophomore Kanika Chandaria said all the runs are equally intense. “Everyone has injuries, seriously like half the team has been out,” said sophomore Rhadika Agarwal. The athletes’ intense runs can often times be extremely taxing. With a majority of the team running on nasty shin splints and torn-up knees, it’s hard to keep going when the pain is so great. While they run

as individuals, at the end of the day they’re still a team. Cross country veterans, like legendary Renuka Agarwal, were lost this year. But new additions, like equally petite freshman Ruby Hohensee, are eager to pick up the slack. Hohensee recently clinched second place, following in the wake of senior Annie Lydens, at a race at the first cross country exchange of the year held on home turf. Sophomore Dan Bourgeois at the end of Hohensee had a tough time this year the weekend exchange. deciding which sport she was going to participate in: soccer or cross country. “I guess I just like cross country more. After I run I feel really happy, and when you run it’s just all about you,” Hohensee said. All understand the exhilarating high you get after a rewarding run. “It’s just different; it’s not like the other sports. The feeling of the wind is great and you can’t get that same feeling doing basketball or tennis,” Taking the lead. Seniors Brian Robertson and Evan Shawler run in the Sembawang exchange on Saturday, Therese Vainius said. September 6, finishing in first and second places, respectively.

Cross country girls keep pace with JIS and ISKL runners at the Sembawang exchange on Saturday, September 6. They went on to win, with nine SAS runners finishing in the top ten.

soccer

Soccer Exchange Boys and Girls

volleyball

Sophomore Rodrigo Zorilla’s face registers the common look of runners minutes after crossing the finish line.

Volleyball Exchange Boys and Girls

GIRLS SAS vs. ISKL: 3-0 SAS vs. JIS: 0-0 SAS vs. ISB: 0-0

GIRLS SAS vs. JIS: 2-0 SAS vs. ISKL: 2-0 SAS vs. JIS: 3-1 SAS vs. ISKL: 2-0

BOYS SAS vs. ISKL: 1-0 SAS vs. ISB: 3-0 SAS vs. JIS: 0-1

BOYS SAS B vs. JIS: 3- 1 SAS A vs. ISKL: 3-2 SAS B vs. ISKL: 0 -3 SAS vs. JIS: 3 – 0

x-country

Cross-Country Exchange Top Ten Boys and Girls 1. Brian Robertson (SAS) 2. Evan Shawler (SAS) 3. Samuel Maus (SAS) 4. James Linton (SAS) 5. David Minge (JIS) 6. Michael Sparks (SAS) 7. Ernesto Christlieb (SAS) 8. Peter Hunt (SAS) 9. Marcus Jury (ISKL) 10.Thomas Rees (SAS) 1. Annie Lydens (SAS) 2. Ruby Hohensee (SAS) 3. April Lesiuk (SAS) 4. Emma Minge (JIS) 5. Linda Kim (SAS) 6. Avery Shawler (SAS) 7. Brooke McManigal (SAS) 8. Mikki Benjamin (SAS) 9. Lauren Betts (SAS) 10. Becky Kreutter (SAS)


The Eye Oct. 2, 2008  

huston.eye@gmail.com nicholas.eye@gmail.com MICA (P) 1183/10/2008 by Melissa Huston Seniors Meredith Hayward & Rachel Fink rally support...

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