Issue 10 • September 2010 • MICA 254/07/2010
The BLUE AND GOLD The BLUE AND GOLD Capturing the Spirit of Sport
PLUS: ■ Events Around the World ■ Bidding Woes ■ Exclusive Interviews: Glassroom and Colours
room Glass e Caf s unt Disco e! insid
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Communications secretary, smusa
Lee Cher Hern Managing Director ACTING EDitor-in-chief
Owen Tan ADVISORS
Michael Ng Ephraim Loy managing EditorS
Shobana Nadaraja Senthil Sukumar marketing director
Deborah Lim SENIOR Editor
Talisa Kaur Dhaliwal Editors
Nadim Ali Kapadia Tobias Yeo Zhi Qiang Sheena Lee Aashna Nasta Ankita Prasad Graphic Design
Owen Tan This issue of The Blue and Gold is proudly sponsored by
Editor’s note This issue marks the 10th issue of this publication. You might wonder if we will sit around and reflect about whether we are, well, content. Or satisfied. The answer is no, we never are. The reason is simple: this managing director lives and thrives on the fact that things can be improved. Taking over the reins of this magazine means that I have a responsibility to all students to not simply be credible, but to be critical when I need to be. While we are working hard to improve our content and overall design of the magazine, we are also on the verge of an entirely revamped marketing campaign. You will catch us on Facebook, Twitter, and the web, because we know you'll be there. We understand the diminishing attention span that the multitasking SMU student has in reading. Well, we've cut down on the number of words and painstakingly sourced for the best pictures from our students and the Internet to keep you flipping the pages. We've made the layout cleaner, more accessible, and more familiar to those who subscribe to their favourite Economist and Time magazines. Catch our very exciting sports segment this issue - after all, it's called a Sports Edition, isn't it? - and some fantastic articles about all the "World" stuff: the Expo, the Cup, the Cities Summit, and really, everything else that's happened around the world over the last few months. To reward all our loyal readers, this copy of The Blue and Gold will get you an exclusive discount at Glassroom Cafe. Flip to page 31 to find out more. Enjoy the read.
Photo: Lee Chei Ren
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In This Issue September 2010 Issue 10 • MICA 254/07/2010
Capturing the Spirit of Sport >> 10
Take a look at the sports clubs in SMU like you’ve never done before. An exclusive collaboration with Intrigue Visuals featuring Soccer, Volleyball, Floorball, Martial Arts teams, and Run Team.
2010 at a Glance >> 24
The Blue and Gold sums up what has been an eventful year in environmental damage, conflict, and sports.
World Cities Summit 2010 >> 26 Shobana Nadaraja finds out the concerns of mayors and ministers at the Summit held in Suntec Singapore. The Whoa Expo >> 28 Loh Yao Sheng shares his experience on visiting the famous Shanghai World Expo 2010. World Cup Fever >> 30
Suguraman Devaraja sums up this year’s FIFA World Cup in alphabets.
Glassroom Cafe and Colours Bistro >> 32
Alexandria Neo visits the new Glassroom Cafe in SMU, while Owen Tan interviews the new owners of Colours Bistro.
Giving Vibrancy to Student Life >> 36 Senthil Sukumar learns about the plans for students from the Office of Student Life.
Bidding woes >> 4
The Blue and Gold consolidates students’ views on BOSS.
Global warming - or is it global cooling? >> 6
Lim Yangxiang wonders if anything should be done about climate change.
A warning to freshmen >> 7
The Blue and Gold welcomes - and cautions - this year’s freshmen to SMU.
Travellers’ Guide >> 38 The Blue and Gold showcases some of the places that you might - or might not have dreamed of visiting on exchange. What “U.S. Security” really means >> 40
Owen Tan reflects on the thoroughly painful experience in being detained.
Bento Facts >> 42 No opinions, just numbers for you to think about. This issue we talk about bidding, and crunch some statistics for your thought.
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The Blue and Gold consolidates the students’ views on the Bidding Online System (BOSS).
he hype from events that traditionally precede the opening of the term - the respective orientation camps for freshmen and Convocation - seems to have been eclipsed by something else this term: course bidding. The Bidding Online System (BOSS), an ever-present since SMU began, is no stranger to controversy among the student population. Through the allocation of virtual currency, known as e-dollars, students rate how much they want to enrol in a particular course. BOSS, in short, is a system built upon free-market principles for the efficient allocation of classes for students. In recent years, however, many students have become increasingly concerned with the “market failures” of BOSS - the ever-increasing student population; lack of pre-assignment of core modules; and senior students having a disproportionate amount of leftover e-dollars compared to the incoming batches, causing inflation. Pre-assignment of core modules, however, was reintroduced this term, with the Office of Registrar acting on feedback provided by former SMUSA President Rachel Kok. This term, unfortunately, e-dollar inflation and the lack of class vacancies have frustrated enough students for current SMUSA President, Sophia Lo, and the Presidents of the respective schools’ societies to step in. As of print, additional spaces have been provided for classes where demand is high, while Registrar is also considering opening additional classes should the need arise. Will these suggestions solve the problems that students are currently facing, or not? Or, as some may say, are these problems exaggerated? The Blue and Gold provides some statistics (below) and opinions on bidding (right). - Owen Tan
Out of the Box
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"I think there needs to be more sections for compulsory school modules." - Glenn Lim, fourth year, Economics "The DICE function could be better... it should allow us to bid for two modules with the same exam date." Robin Cher, third year, Information Systems "In my opinion, it's the bit-by-bit releasing of vacancies coupled with the mindset of first and second years that's causing this inflation." - Shalini Nagarajan, third year, Business "BOSS bidding isn't that bad if people act sensibly. Past results are meant as a gauge, not a reason, for persistent inflation." - Cheryl Lim, third year, Accountancy
Each course cost at least more on average compared to 2009
$130.88 Window where minimum bids were highest : 1A
Most expensive bid at end of BOSS 1A: ($28.62)
More bidding statistics on page 42 >>> *Estimated after excluding compulsory/pre-assigned courses.
Special Advertising Feature by
The Blue and Gold finds out from Kym Tan, a SMU graduate, about her career in the maritime industry. By Emile Law
Career options in the maritime industry
o you like to travel, talk and meet people? Are you in search of an adventurous career? If your answer is yes to the two questions above, perhaps you might want to consider following Kym’s footsteps into the maritime industry. But if you think that the shipping industry is male oriented, and consists of only long offshore journeys on cargo decks, think again. Kym Tan, a graduate of SMU’s pioneer batch of students, works at Tradewinds as a senior accounts manager. Her decision to join Tradewinds had been a leap of faith when Kym stumbled upon an advertisement by the maritime news firm in the papers. Previously, she worked in the defence industry, as well as a stint at MediaCorp Radio. Her last three years at the firm has taken her places - Shanghai, Oslo, Athens, Dubai, and some ASEAN countries like Vietnam and Thailand, to name a few. Dispelling any notion that the maritime industry is only a place for men, Kym emphasised that being a lady in a male-dominated industry is, in fact, advantageous. Also, she discovered her colleagues to be
Singapore’s maritime industry consists of more than 5,000 companies with more than 150,000 employees. an understanding lot. “They are really willing to share,” said Kym, adding that they taught her the basics of shipping knowledge when she first joined the company. Contacting clients, doing proposals and meeting clients make up a typical day for Kym at Tradewinds, thus providing an ample mix of in and outdoor activities. As niche as the maritime industry may appear, there are in fact many career opportunities for business school graduates. Singapore’s maritime industry consists of more than 5,000 companies with more than 150,000 employees, and opportunities in this sector are growing with increasing maritime actvities in this region as the shipping sphere of influence gravitates from the West to the East. Besides marketing and operations, there is also a plethora of shipping finance roles such as ship brokering, shipping derivatives, as well as maritime legal and arbitration services. It is certainly an industry worth exploring.
Admittedly, working in the maritime industry requires one to possess a certain amount of maritime knowledge. Thus, is there a place in the industry for fresh graduates? Yes, Kym points out - it is easier to train someone in shipping knowledge than the other way round. If you give it a chance, you will be able to pick up the necessary knowledge along the way. Like any other career, the challenges faced in the maritime industry vary according to the role one plays. For Kym, it is about overcoming sales rejections, and moving on. Still, the privilege to travel coupled with a lucrative pay compensate it all. These are some of the many perks in a maritime career, be it in ship broking, ship finance or others. Lesson learnt? You never know what you may discover in your life until you try. For more information, visit www.maritimecareers.com.sg
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Global warming or global cooling? Lim Yangxiang wonders if anything should be done about climate change.
was at a Climate Conference near Paya Lebar a while ago, and a speech that I found most memorable was by an ex-NASA scientist, Dr. Art-ong Jumsai Na-Ayudhya. He spoke candidly and frankly about green issues. At one point, he brought up what I found both startling and amusing: burning fossil fuels, contrary to popular belief, does not cause a net greenhouse effect. In fact, while there are CO2 emissions, aerosol emissions cool the atmosphere, which, he said, essentially negates the warming effect. Wikipedia verified his claims: the phenomenon of reverse global warming, or “global dimming”, was actually occurring. Naturally, this came as a bit of a shock to me. Not an epiphany or a revelation. Just a bit of a jolt. A truth that is a bit more stirring than usual but not exactly enough to stimulate me out of my rather inert state. In any case, I began to do a bit of armchair thinking about all the rest of the deceitful truths that called on us to act to Save the Earth. Really, should we even bother? 6
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At the end of my seven (I think) minutes of hopefully lucid thought, I answered: Yes. I suppose I should explain my stand. I’ll try my best not to get philosophical here, especially not circular arguments. It all boils down to a question of sustainable living. Sustainable living, and indeed sustainable development, is inextricably linked to the economic concept of scarcity. As much as I hate to acknowledge the pontificated notion that we have unlimited wants, one must rationalize that we at least have, over time, growing needs that by today’s instruments, are deemed to be exponentially multiplying and weighing heavily on an assumed finite amount of resources the Earth (and maybe the Moon along with a few unfortunate asteroids) has provided. When demand finally outstrips supply, a mathematical eventuality**, we will be forced to take drastic action to try to reach either beyond our world to ‘harvest resources’ or enforce unhealthy population controls like ’One Boy, One Girl, One Family’.
In any case, there may be severe consequences on our lifestyle if science does not ‘grow’ fast enough, and if resources run out. So maybe not so much the end of the world, and maybe the end of comfort food and trash TV. Bungee jumping may still be available. The Battlestar Galactica ride will probably never open. Hmm… Might be worth fighting for. **
 Consequence of the empirical Law of Conservation of Energy: Energy cannot be created or destroyed and is merely transformed from one form to another.  Assumption: The Human Population will continue to grow.  Assumption: We will discover all the world’s bounty and our mastery of science will eventually allow ourselves to synthesize any material as we want it like those on board the Starship Enterprise. Conclusion: The effect of Assumption 2 will eventually win over that of 3, with 1 as the environment by which this hypothesis operates.
Freshmen, heed this warning For a satisfying SMU life - arguably, life in any university - the word is balance.
o all freshmen: congratulations on entering one of the most competitive universities in Singapore. You pick up this magazine at a time when you might need it most; or, perhaps, you are one of the sizable number of people who have researched so much about the university that you already know more than this writer. You should already know about the rigorous, holistic teaching approach in SMU. Also, a Career Skills course that teaches you how to shell a prawn with a fork and knife. Granted that you have read the magazine from front to back, you might also have learnt about the inconveniences of our bidding system. Did we forget the infamous topic of class participation? Those who might want to muse about the efficacy of participation, however, will not find it in this article. In fact, freshmen, a piece of advice from this student is not to focus primarily on the changes that should be made to the system. Think instead of what you can do at SMU to make your time here meaningful and memorable. In this article, we hope to address four things you should consider as you commence on your university journey: classes, community service, exchange, and your choice of CCAs. - Owen Tan 8
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CSPs ■ Class... not just participation The first myth that all seniors act to dispel is that all classes are defined by your quantity and frequency of you speaking in class. Ample preparation, however, surpasses empty comments by an unassailable margin. “Whether you gain from participation or start hating it is up to you,” says Umang Parikh, a third-year economics student. “If you are shy, take it slowly and set reasonable targets, say speaking up once or twice a week initially.” ■ CSPs... not just for the hours Many seniors indicate that choosing a meaningful project will make your CSP a lot more enriching. “Don’t just do it for the mandatory 80 hours,” says Charles Goh, a third-year economics student. “There are many CSPs around, so take your time to find one that you really like and make things happen.” Teo Swee Leng, a third-year business student, also advises taking up overseas CSPs. “The experience gained will be invaluable and they are a lot more fun.”
■ Exchange... not just fun and games (at the beginning) The overseas exchange programme is a highlight of your SMU journey. Remember, however, that you need a decent GPA to go on overseas exchange programmes. The application process can be painstakingly tedious. Solutions? Consult the Office of International Relations, and start researching early on the universities available for application. ■ CCAs... not a waste of time Attendances at Vivace appear to be falling year on year, indicating a lack of student participation in these activities. CCAs, however, help you to make friends where you might not necessarily do in the hustle and bustle of school life. “Choose something you are passionate about and you can look forward to after lessons or school work,” says Zhu Jiahui, a third-year business student. SMU is going to be stressful we don’t deny that - but opportunities abound to make your study time here the most memorable time of your life.
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This issue, we challenge your perspective of the sports CCAs in SMU by presenting them in a way you’ve never seen before. By Deborah Lim and Senthil Sukumar ■ Photography by Neng/Intrigue Visuals
■ Volleyball ► Achievements: 4th, IVP Games (2009) SMU Volleyball is a great place for nurturing new talents, honing current talents and also for making friends who share the same passion for the sport. The regular volleyball clinics held and having a recreational Volleyball team where the more experiences 10
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seniors come down to coach are ways the SMU Volleyball team encourages those new to the sport to join them. The team is very much active in the tertiary volleyball competition scene, taking part in SUNIG and IVP each year, as well as engaging in regular friendly matches.
Capturing the SpiritofSport Cover Story
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■ Fencing ◄◄ Achievements: 4th, Novices Championships (2010) Even though fencing is a physically fast sport with rapid movements and quick strikes, Lee Yi Xin, the VP of fencing, believes that the speed that he puts into fencing also helps him to mentally process things quicker. “I feel that because [fencing] is more technical, it trains your brain to think fast. And this mental speed can definitely help you academically and career-wise. When I started fencing, I found myself able to think faster on the spot. So my reactions and how I make decisions are now faster.” ■ Rugby ◄ The uniqueness of rugby lies in the fact that it’s the only ball game that allows both hands and feet to touch the ball. Having different channels to score points during the game also adds another interesting dimension to it as compared to other ball games. For the SMU Rugby players, the nature of playing rugby as well as the harmonious and open internal environment has definitely helped them to forge strong brother and sisterhoods.
■ Basketball ◄► Achievements: Finalist, IVP Games (2010) While considerably younger than most of the other established basketball teams in Singapore varsities, SMU Basketball impresses by being seemingly unfazed by never-ending challenges, being an impressive finalist in the IVP Games this year. The final, however, could well have turned out another way. In the last 10 seconds of the match and leading their opponent NYP by 5 points, the win was swept away from them by their opponents in that short period of time. Despite the demoralising defeat, SMU Basketball promises to learn from their mistakes and impress again next year.
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■ Dragon Boat ▲ Achievements: Champions (Women’s Team), Singapore Dragon Boat Festival; Champions (Mixed), SDBA-AUSTCHAM 10km Challenge Being the SMU team of the year takes dedication and a can do attitude. Third year Economics student Liu Jianrong says that the SMU Dragon Boat (SMUDB) team earned the honour of being SMU’s best sports team because they made their presence felt in all the school events. “We participated in everything that was on offer to student life like the sports camps, Sports Fiesta and Parton’s Day, and because of this the sporting fraternity recognizes that SMUDB is a very united CCA.” ■ Water Polo ► The SMU Water Polo team is not simply about looking good - they pride themselves very much on their water polo skills, strong swimming background and teamwork. Because unlike most other sports, water polo is a very specialized sport - the highly physical and aggressive nature of this sport requires its players to have good swimming skills and stamina in water. The team takes part actively in competitions such as SUNIG, IVP and Asian Water Polo Championships.
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■ Soccer ▲ Achievements: 2nd, SUniG (2010) The game of soccer is generally perceived as being a male dominated sport. Diva la Futbol hopes to change that. Claudia Wong, a business student in her third year, says, "Most guys now embrace the fact that women play the beautiful game well too, and there have been an increasing number of chances for us to play on the same field with them." ■ Floorball ► Achievements: Champions, IVP (Girls, 2009) Like all team sports, Tan Rui Wen, a floorball player, emphasises the fact that while individual skill and flair is important, winning is a combination of teamwork and tactics. “The game is rapid, and if your teammates stay stagnant, it is very hard to win. So they have to be constantly moving and you need to be almost telepathic.”
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■ Archery ▲
■ Cricket ►
The rules of archery are simple enough to grasp. Aim for the centre of a circular target board, and the closer your arrow lands to the centre of the target, the more points you get. But understanding the rules alone does not make one a good archer. Third year business student Mark Wong says, “Although it’s not exactly a physically demanding sport, you have to use certain core muscles for archery, and it gets tiring after awhile. [Archery] is harder than it looks.”
Fourth year business student and team captain Aslam Ghouse has been playing cricket since the age of five, and admits that compared to games like soccer or basketball, which are fast games where nearly every second is riveting, a game of cricket is decidedly unhurried. But he says that if one gets to understand the game and see what the players are doing, it becomes interesting. “When cricket first started, it was known as a gentlemen’s game and was an elitist sport. In England where they first started this game, people would come over on weekends, sip a cup of Continued on next page >>
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Cover Story << continued from previous tea and watch these guys play a really slow game of cricket. That element is still there, but it’s moved on and has become a lot more exciting. Its gaining momentum around the world and even the United States has gotten into cricket now. So it’s getting popular at a really fast rate.”
Cricket is a game between two sides, each with eleven players. Like in baseball, one team bowls (or throws the ball) and the other team bats. The objective of the batting team is to score runs, while the bowling team aims to hit the wickets (the wicket is a set of three wooden poles that are hammered into the ground and placed at either end of the pitch) of the opposing side ten times.
The more relaxed cousin of the Track and Field team, the Run Team is comprised of mainly leisure runners who view running as a lifestyle rather than a competitive sport.
■ Run Team ► Achievements: 2nd, adidas Sundown Marathon (Mixed team, 2010)
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■ Judo ▲ This Japanese martial art is one that evolved from Jujitsu-used by Japanese soldiers in close combat fighting. The SMU Judo team understands the importance of adapting different fighting techniques to different body shapes and sizes. Instead of solely relying on their coach to acquire skills, the SMU Judo team adopts a senior-tojunior teaching method, where a senior coaches a junior who has a similar body structure. This way of passing down knowledge ensures that the Judo skills you learn are tailored to suit the needs of your body structure, it is also is the reason behind the family-like relationship among the batches of Judo teams.
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■ Capoeira ▲ Recognized by their fluid movements, acrobatics sweeps and kicks, the martial art of Capoeira that was developed by African slaves in the 16th century. Also, the use of traditional musical instruments to set the tempo and style of the game sets Capoeira apart from other martial arts. The SMU Capoeira team practises a contemporary style that is a hybrid of Regional and the more traditional Capoeira Angola style. They may be a young team - only two years old - but the SMU Capoeira team is definitely mature in their passion for the martial arts.
■ Silat ▲ What started off as an indigenous defensive Malay martial art has become a competitive sport today, consisting of two main branches - the artistic as well as the competitive. The SMU Silat team is no stranger to the competitive scene, having participated actively in the recent 2010 Inter Varsity Polytechnic competitions. The Silat team remains strong to their slogan, “Because true strength is yet to be unleashed”, striving for greater success.
Combat ■ Kendo ▲ Ki (the Spirit), Ken (the Sword), and Tai (the form) - the three elements embody Kendo - a Japanese martial art developed to retain the essence of sword fighting since swords were outlawed in Japan. Kendo is a sport that inculcates respect,determination and purpose through the strong emphasis on Reiho (etiquette) - whether in a fight or during training, they believe in giving life in every breath, which is putting 100% in everything they do. Anything less would be a sign of disrespect to their opponents and to the art.
■ Taekwondo ▲ As the oldest and most popular martial art club in SMU, the SMU Taekwondo team has seen batches of members go on this journey, “levelling up” with each belt colour together and forging many close friendships along the way. Besides working towards their next colour of belts, the Taekwondo team also competes in competitions like the NTU Taekwondo Championships and the National Poomsae Championships. For many in the team, the period of intense trainings in preparation for those competitions were the most memorable times with the team; the perfectionist mindset that they had to train with was what brought the team closer together.
■ Muay Thai ▲ Elbows and knee strikes, kicks and punches are just some of the signature moves exhibited in the fast paced and rigorous sport of Muay Thai. Sure, the kicks and punches may look harsh, and the elbow strikes deadly, but Muay Thai is far from being violent or brutal. In contrary, this national sport of Thailand is a sacred one that is one that is deeply enveloped in Thai culture and tradition. For those who practise Muay Thai, it’s not just defensive martial art. In fact, it’s really more a way of life. Under the guidance of their Muay Thai coach, the SMU Muay Thai team competes in competitions like the annual Inter-tertiary Muay Thai Tournament.
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Please insert 1 coin 20
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They simply couldn't fit
Being the editor for this issue was the toughest job ever, bar none. Here are some photos that almost made the main pages. Catch the rest of the photos online at theblueandgold.smusa.sg.
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ask the financial experts A special feature brought to you by Prudential This issue, we ask Mr Peter Tan, Group Financial Services Director for Prudential Assurance Company Singapore (Pte) Ltd, on his advice for the following questions.
1. I have little experience in investing. Are index funds the best type of funds to buy? An index fund is a fund which emulates the performance of a specific market. For example, a Singapore Index Fund will track the performance of the Singapore stock market. Thus, an index fund is usually broadly diversified within a country. However, it has a specific country risk. For example, if
you have bought into a country index fund and the country goes bankrupt, the risk would be immeasurably high. The issue as to whether index funds is the best type of fund to buy depends on the risk appetite of the investor. 2. I would like to be a businessperson in the future. What type of training does Prudential provide for me that I can leverage on towards my goals? Prudential Singapore provides training for individuals to become professional Financial Consultants. There are also courses on soft skills, such as personality profiling, coaching skills and counseling, which are useful to those who would like to pursue a management career. Prudential Financial Consultants earn commissions. This job helps individuals to develop their entrepreneurial skills. It is perhaps the lowest capital risk opportunity where setting up a business is concerned. You must always begin with an end in mind - what do you want and what can you learn from the company? It is a known fact that in order for you to be successful, you need to have the right timing, suitable environment and right people to assist you. Thus, it is critical to find the right company with the best mentor who will nurture and develop you to be a businessperson.
Have a question for Prudential? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information, opinions and statements regarding index funds above are expressly those of the author, and 22 do notthe necessarily represent blue and gold those of Prudential Assurance Singapore (Pte) Limited.
We listen. And we understand a rebellious attitude can sometimes hide a caring heart.
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2010 at a Glance
The Blue and Gold reads the newspapers... so you don’t have to. ■ Iceland, 14 April: After several small eruptions weeks earlier, the volcano Eyjafjallajökull releases an ash cloud across Europe, causing the greatest level of air disruption since the Second World War.
■ Greenland, 5 August: a massive ice island four times the size of Manhattan breaks off from the Peterman glacier, sparking fears about ever-accelerating climate change.
■ Washington, DC, USA, 23 March: Amid formidable opposition from Republicans, President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Health Care Act into law, allowing access to health insurance for all.
■ New York, USA, 2 May: A car bomb at Times Square set up by Pakistan-born Faisal Shahzad fails to detonate, giving off smoke instead. Shahzad is later arrested after camera footage captures him.
■ Cupertino, USA, 3 April: Apple launches the iPad, a tablet, reading device, and music device all-in-one; three million have since been sold. ■ Gulf of Mexico, USA, 20 April: An explosion while drilling into the Deepwater Horizon rig by BP causes the worst oil spill in history, releasing close to five million barrels of crude and causing extensive damage to marine life.
■ Chile, 27 February: An earthquake of magnitude 8.8 on the Richter scale occurs at the Maule Region, but is felt even in Argentina. The official death toll stands at 521.
There’s way too much world news to put into two pages. If you think we missed out something really important, tell us at email@example.com 24
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■ Haiti, 12 January: An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 - and 52 aftershocks - rock the state. Poorly equipped for such disasters, up to 230,000 are said to have perished.
■ United Kingdom, 11 May: The Labour Party loses its 13-year dominance of British parliament, losing the election to the Conservatives, led by David Cameron - who becomes Prime Minister.
■ Greece, 23 April: The weakness of its financial and political institutions threatens Europe with its worst financial crisis and its first as a Eurozone. Germany - largely unscathed - and the EU bail out the Greek economy with a €110m package. ■ Zhouqu, Gansu, China, 8 August: Mudslides as a result of weeks of flooding wipe out a village of 300 houses, killing more than 1,200 people.
■ Cambodia, 26 July: Kang Kek Iew, known as “Duch”, who personally oversaw the killing of 15,000 people during the Khmer Rouge regime, is controversially sentenced to only 19 years’ jail after deductions.
■ New Delhi, India, 11 August: A man initially hospitalised in India dies of a “superbug” which has proved resistant to every known antibiotic thus far.
■ South Africa, 11 July: The first FIFA World Cup to be held in Africa, Spain defeated the Netherlands by the narrowest of margins to clinch its first title in the competition.
■ Shanghai, China, 1 May: The World Expo, held on both sides of the Huangpu River, opens to the public - a remarkable showcase of over 200 countries and organisations.
■ Japan, 4 June: Naoto Kan replaces Yukio Hatoyama as the Prime Minister, but quickly sees his approval ratings drop by proposing a tax increase before elections.
■ Philippines, 23 August: Eight people, mostly from Hongkong, are killed in a tourist bus by a policeman who had lost his job. The authorities are questioned for their handling of the incident.
■ Australia, 21 August: Julia Gillard becomes the new Prime Minister after incumbent Kevin Rudd steps aside on 23 June; the subsequent election results in a hung Parliament.
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Building cities for the future
Shobana Nadaraja finds out what mayors and ministers around the world are concerned about.
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liveable cities in the 21st century will be cities which are able to grasp the expectations of amenities, having a wide range of choices and having great flexibility to exert their choices. When enquired if funds were the concern in creating a livable city, ministers had varying opinions. Hon. Robinson Njeru Githae, Minister of Nairobi Metropolitan Development, Kenya for instance elaborated on the funds that had to be created. The Youth Enterprise fund was set up to counter the effect of urban migration of youths while the Women Enterprise Fund was established in encouraging women to have low cost businesses for a better livelihood. Source: Senatus.net
his year’s World Cities Summit was held for the second time in Singapore with the theme of ‘Liveable and Sustainable Cities for the Future’, and attracted some 25 ministers, 40 mayors, governors and high-level policy makers worldwide, making it a resounding success. The ministerial dialogue and second plenary session, the proposals - and definitions - of a liveable city ranged between two seemingly irreconcilable ends of the spectrum: establishing closer human ties, and increasing urbanization of cities. Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports emphasized the importance of harmonious relations, especially between people of different religious backgrounds. Dr Balakrishnan also suggested three main principles in grappling with the challenges of being a diversified nation: security, citizens having the right to retain their own identity, and a system which ensured high fairness levels. Interestingly, Mr Jonathan Mills, Festival Director and Chief Executive, Edinburgh International Festival, feels that community needs are achieved through people and not by space in which an “opportunity of collective hope” is established. In contrast, Mrs Carrie Lam, JP, Secretary for Development for the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, emphasized the need of proper urban planning. She explained on Hong Kong’s future projects. One of which was the ‘New Central Harbourfront’ which was inclusive of “low-rise structures for exhibitions, retail, civil and community uses”. Changes can be embraced, she said, by government taking the lead and setting aside large investments in “building a qualitative city with the integration of structures such as an extensive rail network and cultural districts”. Mr Richard M. Rosan, President of the Urban Land Institute Foundation, USA shared similar views: the priority of policy makers was to facilitate the role of land planning, he said. In anticipation to the future, he believes that the most
■ HONG KONG
Building a qualitative city with the integration of structures such as an extensive rail network and cultural districts On the other hand, Mr Tom Murphy, former Mayor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA and Senior Fellow, Klingbeil Family Chair, Urban Land Institute remarked that “money is always an excuse. It’s not about money but about prior-
The most liveable cities in the 21st century will be cities which are able to grasp the expectations of amenities... and having great flexibility to exert their choices.
regulatory framework to attract new talent and in preserving Penang as a cultural heritage place. He pointed out that he had not put up any power point slides as the beauty of Penang had to be experienced directly and not by mere words. An audience questioned the success of assimilating foreign talent into local cities. Dr John So, Former Lord Mayor Melbourne, Australia felt that cities were seen as opportunities to building up a new life. Instead of viewing them as competitors people should be viewed collectively by remembering the slogan, “one world one people.” Prime Minister Lim, on the other hand, narrowed his opinion into the importance of respecting religious differences. An example cited were Chinese temples lowering their level of noise on their own accord during the prayer timings of the Malays. He also took pride in the diversity tolerance and of places of worships being built along the same line.
- Richard M. Rosan President, Urban Land Institute Foundation
ity”. He says that if money was holding back a city due to misplaced priorities, the nation ends up being like hamsters in a wheel; ending up in the same place after many rounds. Therefore, a daring leader has to take a huge leap of faith and be anticipative of the risks. Dr Jaime Lerner, Former Mayor of Curitiba, Brazil; former Governor Parana State, Brazil; and former President of the International Union of Architects said that sometimes too much money was not good for a city. “Sometimes you don’t have to invest but organize”, thus going on to explain about the collective responsibility of citizens to make organization more efficient. Mr Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang, Malaysia casually remarked that he did not quite agree with their stance that money was not the top most issue. With good humor he mentioned that countries with excess money could always pump it into Penang, evoking laughter from the audience. In addition, he provided a balanced speech on the importance of government playing a dual role in setting up a
It’s not about money, but priority. - Tom Murphy, former Mayor, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
All in all, the exchange of opinions was honest and fruitful. The dialogue sessions were sometimes injected with humor which made the sharing session to be more informal. This made the panelists to be more open to criticisms from the audience or from the other panelists themselves. An important consensus that was certainly reached is that both the ‘soft’ skills and ‘hard’ skills were important in sustaining a nation despite their level of importance varying within cities.
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The Whoa Expo
Loh Yao Sheng battles the Shanghai heat to introduce us the 2010 Expo.
The Singapore Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo. Source: Wikimedia
raving Shanghai’s temperamental weather, throngs of visitors swarm the World Expo grounds every day to gawk at exhibitions of countries from around the globe. Disdainful of crowds, I had originally planned to avoid the World Expo during my stay in Shanghai. The neighbouring provinces offered more than enough options for weekend travels and I had enough of “rubbing shoulders” with the locals everywhere I went. It was only when I chanced upon shots of the UK pavilion that I changed my mind and decided to tag along with a SMU expedition planning their assault upon the Expo. The Seed Cathedral (the crown jewel of the UK site) looked like something out of a science fiction novel and that was reason enough for the geek in me to join the fray for a glimpse of it up-close. With information gleaned from previous Expo survivors, my friends made plans to be stationed at 28
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the Expo gates by 5.30am, gunning for the highly prized China national pavilion passes. Not willing to miss that much sleep on a Saturday, I passed on the offer to join their ranks. It took close to an hour and several layers of security checks before I was finally allowed to enter the Expo grounds. By the time I caught up to the advance party, they had already stormed the Switzerland pavilion and were moving onto their next target. It is a matter of pride that they made a successful dash from the Expo gates to the Switzerland pavilion, beating most of the locals at their own game. Wandering the Expo site, it was a mystery to me why the Chinese are willing to wait up to 8 hours in line to enter the Saudi Arabian pavilion. From announcements on the P.A., other names drawing the monster crowds include the Japanese, Australian, German, United States and South Korean pavilions (its North Korean cousin being a shabby little building tucked away
in a corner of Expo unsurprisingly drew little visitors). In a country obsessed with “face”, perhaps viewing one famous pavilion was worth more than a dozen unknown ones. A mystery I have no answer for is why the rice is always served last during meals. No matter how desperately you call for the 米 饭 (pronounced “mi fan” or “rice” in Mandarin), it will only turn up halfway through the meal, frustrating most Singaporeans who start the meal with rice. Curious about how our island state was represented at the Expo, we made a beeline for the Singapore pavilion. Continuing the tradition of overly cute national mascots, visitors to the Singapore pavilion will find themselves entertained by 榴莲小星 (“Liu Lian Xiao Xing”, literally, The Little Durian Star), a cheerful reminder never to cross-breed humans and the King of Fruits. Beside crappy Singapore food (they didn’t even brew authentic kopi!),
One of the pavilions drawing the monster crowds was the South Korean pavilion (above right), while its North Korean cousin (above left) was a shabby little building tucked away in a corner. Source: Wikimedia
The weirdest pavilion award would have to go to the Hungarians (top), who also showcased the Gömböc (inset), the first known object with just one stable and unstable equilibrium point.
visitors can look forward to exhibits extolling the virtues of NEWater and our various environmental conservation programs. This pavilion is strictly only
for those who have never stepped foot in the Science Centre, Discovery Centre or their related brethren. A group of excited Chinese tourists rushing from one pavilion to the next is a common sight on the Expo grounds. Anxious to absorb as many world wonders as possible within their short time in the giant fair, you think? They are actually racing against time to get as many stamps as possible on their Expo Passport - possibly the most ingenious idea ever. At most pavilions, we could see bored expo personnel stamping the passports mechanically, wandering why these mad locals were so ecstatic over little chops on their Passport. Those which do not offer stamping services quickly learned to make that clear at the pavilion en-
trance, to prevent irate Chinese from making a fuss when they realized they have been “cheated”. It didn’t take the enterprising locals long to catch on and “stamped Expo Passports” started appearing for sale on taobao.com (China’s souped-up version of eBay). The weirdest pavilion award would have to go to the Hungarians. Granted that the Hungary pavilion has a few other items besides the world’s largest Gömböc but it has got to be the most eye-catching. The Gömböc is the first known homogenous object with just one stable and one unstable equilibrium point. It has applications in biology, geology and astrophysics and stands as a symbol of dual harmony and equilibrium. The most interesting feature of the Gömböc is that it self-rights from any initial position spontaneously. It was a most fun time poking, prodding, nudging and manhandling a miniature Gömböc around and watching it “selfright” itself. Fascinating. Visiting the World Expo can be likened to checking out the world’s largest museum. There is so much diversity and variety in the pavilions that it makes one want to keep coming back till you see them all. A couple of visits are barely enough to scratch the surface, but the relentless heat and overwhelming crowds discouraged us from making further visits. It is at once incredibly inspiring and humbling to learn just how vast and varied the world and its people can be. Unfortunately, we never made it to the Seed Cathedral; there was just so much more to see!
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A - Africa
The first World Cup to be held in the continent will be remembered for its rapturous fans and fantastic hosting.
The World Cup from A to Z By Sugumaran Devaraja A - Africa (see above) B - Brazil The world awaits the most successful country in the Cup to host the Finals for the second time since 1950. 2014 is four years away. C - Captains Captains make or break a team, and this World Cup was no exception: Lahm (Germany), Lugano (Uruguay) and Casillas (Spain) led their teams with exemplary drive.
against Germany, the perennial underachievers seem destined never to repeat the glory days of 1966. F - Forlan The former Manchester United discard proved his mettle in Spain and scored some crucial goals for Uruguay to reach the semifinals for the first time. G - Ghana The African favourites, Ghana was cruelly booted out by Uruguay by penalties. Even former UN SecretaryGeneral Kofi Annan felt sorry for them. H - Handballs Suarez's intentional handball saved Uruguay from a certain Ghana goal. Months earlier, Henry's hand allowed France to qualify for the World Cup.
D - Domenech The coach of a team which had a playing strike and in-fighting, he hogged the limelight for all the wrong reasons and proved the famous US sitcom wrong everybody hates Raymond. E - England After a toothless display
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I - Italy The defending champions, with a much-criticised aging squad, were embarrassingly knocked out in the group stages without a victory. J - Jabulani The official World Cup ball earned the fury of keepers and goalscorers alike - yes, it was erratic, but certainly entertaining.
K - Klose The German striker came one shy of equalling Ronaldo's record of 15 goals in the tournament, but was unable to add to that tally: a back injury kept him out of the third place playoff. L - Lonely Stands Amazingly, a majority of the games' matches failed to sell out. M - Maradona The post-alcoholic, enthusiastic, and surprisingly tactical Maradona was surely the manager of the 2010 World Cup. The only blip? Against Germany. N - North Korea No one quite knew what to expect from a country so secluded, but their decent performance in the 2-1 defeat by Brazil preceded a 7-0 drubbing by Portugal. O - Octopus Who needs astrology when you've got Paul? The octopus predicted the winner of all of Germany's matches, and the finals correctly. P - Penalties Gyan's miss in the penalty shootout against Uruguay
was the biggest heartbreak of the tournament for Ghana. But surely, this method is better than the classic coin toss to decide the winner? Q - Quality? Poor individual performances from Rooney, Kaka and Messi meant that Forlan, Mueller and Klose stole the limelight instead. R - Referees/Replays Surely, this was the World Cup that demonstrated the clear need for television replays. Lampard will testify for his disallowed goal. S - Sneijder The Dutchman's performances during the past season and this competition should win him a World Player of the Year, and with good reason. T - Tshabalala The first player to score in this World Cup, the South African didn't make it past the group stages - though he did make a good impression against France. U - Underdogs In the end, two teams that have never won the World Cup made to the finals - and Spain, with the recent vic-
tory at the Euro still fresh on their minds, became champions. V - Vuvuzela Never well-marketed as a musical instrument, the vuvuzela gained prominence for the perpetual buzzing you heard from the TV. W - Wavin' Flag/Waka Waka The twin anthems of the competition will be remembered in the years to come, Ă la Ricky Martin's The Cup of Life. X - Xavi The Spaniard tops most of FIFA's passing statistics, which makes you wonder: Which Spanish move does not go through him? Y - Yankees Known more for being a dream team in basketball, the USA made it through to the last 16 in a tough group. Z - Zakumi The much-loved lion mascot of the World Cup is part of a tradition that began in 1966.
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Not just Glass, but Class Alexandria Neo discovers food, fun and friends in this new café.
he School of Information Systems is not particularly known as a gastronomic delight, not least after Mr Tea’s untimely demise (which old fogeys like me would remember). However, tucked away in this unlikeliest of places is a classy cafe that intends to be SMU’s number one hangout spot. Glassroom, which is aptly named for having more windows than walls, is an idea conceived by five students who felt that SMU had too many rooms dedicated to studying for its own good. A chance meeting in an OCIP and the realization of a common dream set the ball rolling for four of the founders: “We wanted to provide a place where the community could also gather for food and fun,” said Yang Yan, Glassroom’s marketing director. “We redesigned the place in such a way that any SMU student can come in here and feel special.”
Meet the Glassroom owners, from left: Adrian, Seah Yu Xiu, Foo Choo Kiat, Yang Yan, and Raymond
Special indeed. The layout of Glassroom is that of a classy cafe with a variety of arrangements to suit different occasions. For students who just want to chill with friends, there are many comfortable sofas in the main area of the cafe. For others who just can’t seem to get away from work, there are also tables and chairs provided for their convenience. 32
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There is even an “emo” corner for depressed students behind the stage. Booking the entire cafe for a private function is also possible, with Glassroom proudly having a whole slew of events under its belt (examples include the Bondue pre-camp dinner and the Lien Centre event for Social Enterprise). Raymond, who is in charge of events, explained that while many restaurants impose numerous restrictions when renting the venue, the objective of Glassroom is to eliminate them. "We allow them to design the event to suit our needs," said Raymond. Food quality is definitely a priority in Glassroom, where considerable time and effort were expended into creating the signature Glassroom dishes. According to Choo Kiat, Glassroom’s resident chef, “We wanted to create something like an identity so that when people take their first bite into the food they’ll know it’s from Glassroom.” Glassroom’s food is certainly something unique, with a different twist to ordinary favourites. Apart from the quality of food, however, the owners of Glassroom insist on an impeccable service standard. “As much as we are a student cafe, our objective is to make the cafe feel as though it's professionally run," said Adrian, the finance in-charge.
A popular main course is the Porkfessor X burger - a specially marinated pork patty seasoned with pickled vegetables. Dessert is also a special treat, with offerings such as Soyato (soy based ice cream) and luxurious liquor gelatos like Baileys and Lychee Martini. While Glassroom takes pride
Above: Porkfessor X burger, left: one of the special drinks offered. in its effort to appear professionally run, its founders are quick to dismiss notions that the food will be pricier as well. As SMU students themselves, they understand that cost is a major concern for students. A-la carte items thus cost below $6. Glassroom's dishes cater to a range of palates, from the vegan - the Portobello mushroom burger whose core
ingredient has become a staple in SMU cafes - to the meat eater, with pork, beef, and chicken patties available. If you love diversity, then Glassroom's menu will leave you spoilt for choice. Expect not just great food, but a unique twist on beverages as well. Glassroom serves coffee frappes and special non-alcoholic drinks at an affordable $3 - and there is no compromise on quality. "We served non-alcoholic mojito in FTB Run 3," said Adrian. "Also, our coffee beans are from the same supplier to Cafe Cartel." Choo Kiat also mentioned that the least selling item on the menu would be taken out and replaced at the end of the semester. Raymond explained, "This is in line with our principles of giving the customer the best experience." Instead of offering the same items, there is a motivation among the Glassroom staff to change itself to suit the evolving tastes of students. When asked about their long-term objectives in the running of Glassroom, Raymond and Choo Kiat provided interesting answers. "We want most of the students in SMU to miss us at the end of our two years," said Raymond. Choo Kiat explained, "Business is really about creating good value. So at the end of the two years, if [the SMU students] don't miss us, then that means we have failed to deliver." They certainly hope to deliver on their promise of "food, fun and friends" - and, from this reporter's view, they seem to be on their way to achieving it.
Glassroom Cafe 2nd floor, School of Information Systems (Just beside the lift) Opening hours Mondays - Thursdays: 11am - 6pm Fridays: 11am - late Weekends: open for events only In one sentence: Food, fun and friends Price range: A la carte at $4.50, set meal at $6 the blue and gold
Owen Tan finds the Colours Bistro to be both sophisticated and simple.
nter the Colours Bistro and the first thing you notice and Jeff - two of the five partners of Colours Bistro - are in is the apparent disconnect between the name and its charge of creating the recipes of the food served in the bistro. decor. The whitewashed walls and the primarily purple A plethora of interesting desserts will be served and yellow colours dominate, leaving one wondering - where at Colours - including cheesecakes, strawberry shortcakes, exactly are those Colours that they talk about? and green tea azuki matcha rolls. For crepe lovers, dessert "We don't plan to have a lot of colours in the resice-cream crepes will be sold for the first time in SMU at the taurant because we believe that the customers play a part affordable price of $2.80. in adding those colours themselves," said Isabel Gan, the marketing director of Colours, in an interview with The Blue and Gold. For instance, she said, there may be a discount for students on Mondays who wear blue to Colours - a cheeky reference to the "Monday blues" affliction that affect thousands of students worldwide. The concept of Colours came up more as a random idea than anything else. "We wanted a place somewhere in campus that could be fun," explained Isabel. "In SMU, where students are often bogged down by project meetings and stuff during school, we wanted to find a place where a person can be a child again." The concept is extended to the menu, where one can expect coloured pencils to be placed on the tables for you to add your favourite shades to it. The interior of Colours Bistro. Colours is a bistro that offers a markedly different environment from its predecessor, Screme - instead Apart from the quality of the food, Isabel also of the cool, chill-out corner that students had gotten used to believes that the ambience of the restaurant is especially expecting when entering the restaurant, the dim lights have important to draw customers. "Eating is more than just a nesince been replaced by bright, warm ones. cessity," she remarked. "So we're creating something like an Isabel also believes that experience for them to enjoy good food in SMU in this hectic Colours focuses a lot more environment." For this reason, Colours removed the barriers on food. "The latest emailof the kitchen so as to create a more interactive environment ers showcasing our lasagne between its staff and its customers. were sent out for all the The live band performances that were the mainstay students to let them know of Screme also look likely to continue in Colours, albeit only that you don't have to go with acoustic instruments. Colours also intends to provide too far for good food - that overseas community service projects (OCSPs) an opportunity you can actually find them to showcase their efforts. on campus." The signature There is a reason why Colours places has a soft spot dishes - crusted dory fish for OCSPs - three of the partners met during one of them, and and the aforementioned discovered that they all had the same dreams of setting up beef lasagne - are highly their own restaurant. Isabel maintains, however, that there is recommended. Mabeline no hierarchy within the team. Rather, different work scopes 34
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The people behind Colours, from left: Jeremy Foo, Jeff Tung, Mabeline Ong, Isabel Gan and Tho Liang Wei. Below: The customers play a part in adding the colours to the bistro, which explains the whitewashed walls. are distributed among the partners, and when one area needs more focus "everybody comes together to help". Apart from Mabeline, Jeff and Isabel, two other partners - Jeremy and Liang Wei - handle the public relations and daily operations respectively. While most bistros are often all-out simple or all-out sophisticated, Colours elegantly mixes the sophistication of their concept - their mission statement is for people to "choose their food to suit their mood" - and the simplicity of their decor to get an interesting combination that will make you feel curious to explore the bistro. Colours believes that running a restaurant successfully requires you to be good at not just one factor alone. "The F&B industry is very competitive," said Isabel. "If you serve just good food, you won't go very far." Food for Thought, a restaurant chain around SMU which operates as a social enterprise, works because it is more than just a restaurant, she said. Colours, with its unique decor and concept, hopes to achieve the same. Ultimately, the reason for calling the bistro "Colours" is not immedi-
ately apparent, but is actually simpler than we think. "Everybody asks us why there is a space between the word Colours," said Isabel. "Well, it's because we
wanted Colours to be a place where we can 'Col Ours' (call ours)." Simple, yet sophisticated that's Colours Bistro for you.
Colours Bistro Basement, School of Information Systems (opposite Booklink) Opening hours Mondays - Fridays: 11am - 10pm In one sentence: Good food, fun time! Price range: A la carte at $4.50, set meal at $6
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A Step Forward for Student Life
Senthil Sukumar learns about the plans for SMU students from the Office of Student Life.
he Office of Student Life (OSL) is moving to revamp some aspects of how they handle CCAs and Student Life. Students on the Exco of SMUSA and the Student Constituent Bodies (CBDs) have begun undertaking a series of leadership modules to complement their roles as student leaders. Currently the modules being offered as part of this initiative are Risk Assessment, Facilitation and Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Other modules such as Presentation and Writing skills may eventually be offered as well. Mr. Wong Yew Tong, the Assistant Director for Safety and Student Leadership, says that this new curriculum is part of a “student leadership roadmap” that aims to complement and value-add to students who hold leadership positions. As of now, about 170 student leaders are enrolled in this course. The hope is that with these skills, student leaders can better reach out to the rest of the student body and influence their peers to engage more in non-academic activities. Yew Tong noted that most of the current batch of students have great GPAs, but when they go out there, that well-roundedness is missing. “They are able to talk and present themselves very well, but when it comes to peopleto-people interaction, things that you learn when you take part in CCAs, that 36
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life skill is missing.” By giving them something more of life skills, as opposed to just a formal education, Yew Tong says that OSL wants “to provide them with the other side of the report card. GPAs and classes is what you get on a report card, and this is the other side that will complement our students. Hopefully, when they graduate, they will bring this life skill with them and this will empower them to be confident, be aware of themselves and create a name for SMU students.” By raising awareness about the various leadership roles open to students, and offering these new modules for student leaders, the hope is that more students will find it worth their time to serve their peers, and that they will step up and become active student leaders themselves. OSL’s Safety Centre OSL has also started up a Safety Centre to oversee all student-organized activities. The centre will continually review the safety protocols of all school and CCA events, and will advise student organizers on areas to look into and safety measures to put in place. This is to ensure that everyone is safe at
these types of events. In addition, the Centre will regularly check up on CCA trainings to ensure that safety is a top priority at all times. A new way of managing CCA Records OSL will also be moving to a new system for managing student CCA records. User testing for the Student Life Management System (SLiMS) began this year, with students and staff providing feedback to refine the new system. The targeted rollout date is 1st January 2011, and when implemented, all CCA records will be entered into the new system. “If you have spent a lot of time contributing to student life, it must do something for you, it must help you. SMU recognizes this, so the SLiMS will be able to churn out a CCA report that is very professionally done. It acts to support [your academic transcript] when you go out and present yourselves to employers.” The (potential) future of Student Leadership Yew Tong hopes that there will be more non-academic involvement from students, and that students are given the life skills to plan and manage their own activities, while always keeping safety in mind. Ultimately, the aim of these new initiatives is to further enhance the process that allows student groups to be self-running and self-governing bodies. “I guess that’s the part where we need to be more open to changes, open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. That’s how we will move forward.”
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Travellers' Guide to Exchange The Blue and Gold showcases some of the places SMU students went on exchange.
South Korea Kelvin Ching
My exchange program was held in one of Asia’s most unique places, South Korea. I was studying at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) from January to June 2010. It was a tremendous experience for me to learn the Korean language in the native country and the program was extremely interesting as I got to experience Korean traditional cultures and communicating with others in Korean. HUFS also allowed exchange students to experience school life from many frontiers apart from just studying. The university arranged for exchange students to go on frequent field trips to encounter ongoing Korean festivals in several parts of South Korea. I also had the chance to appreciate Korean traditional performances. Food and entertainment is definitely not lacking in a place like Seoul. I enjoyed the local food, especially barbeque style, and their drinks (be warned: their Soju packs a punch). Top of my culture shocks in South Korea are the huge amount of respect that old people receive from general public and the culture of not putting price tags on their merchandise. The six months in South Korea was a priceless experience that no words could describe. The friends that I met and the places I visited were truly unforgettable. 38
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■ Top: Class session on traditional Korean costumes. ■ Left: Tantalising Korean barbeque.
Grenoble, France Zhang Yasi
■ Facing page: The sunrise on top of the Pyrénées, the mountains connecting France and Spain. ■ Left: Walking through the lavender fields in La Proven. ■ Above: The Alps in all its grandeur surrounds Lake Robert.
Lund, Sweden Benita Aw Yeong
The idea of going on exchange was always something I wanted to do, and after returning from 6 months in Lund, Sweden and five weeks of touring Europe—I can safely say that it’s something everyone should experience if they can afford it. Exchange grows you up really fast—you learn to cook, do laundry, clean your house, manage your money and plan travel itineraries from scratch to just name a few. Sounds domestic and trivial, but totally essential life skills a lot of Singaporeans (in my opinion) lack. Dealing with crazy situations such as getting stuck in a neighbouring country because of Icelandic volcanic ash not only adds to the thrill of being on an adventure, but puts a lot of other small things we fret about back home in perspective. At the risk of sounding clichéd, you also learn about many new cultures in a short span of time, just because the people you meet come from literally, all over the world. Another major pull-factor for going on exchange is to travel the region. As students, we are prepared to rough it out: eating cheap food and staying a hostels on a shoestring budget won’t bother us, ‘cause really, all we want to do is soak in as much of the sights and sounds as possible. After all, an exchange programme is once in a lifetime.
Lastly, go on exchange for the friendships you will make. I went to Lund with the intention of making a lot of international friends, and not just sticking to my “fellow countrymen” (I was warned that this sort of behaviour was so uncool). Over the six months, I did make friends with couple of Swedes, a Brazilian, a Korean, and some Germans, but the best thing of all was getting to know Singaporeans who were strangers to me before going on exchange, and forming such a intuitive, genuine and close-knit bond with them.
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North Carolina, USA Joyce Koor
- An abridged version of "North Carolina State University" by Joyce Koor. Full version on theblueandgold.smusa.sg (Ed: Your poem's brilliant - but, unfortunately, we couldn't get enough space!)
Maastricht, Netherlands Shermaine Lee
Maastricht is in the South of The Netherlands, at the border between Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands. I chose to go there because I wanted to go to Europe, and to live in a country where people speak English. There were also a lot of spaces open to SMU students as well. School life was very hectic. It was not easy balancing study life and the desire to travel and tour Europe. Class sizes were small and were discussion-based which enabled me to learn a lot through classes. Exams were simply memory work, which doesn’t really suit some modules, such as marketing electives. Through this exchange, I made many new friends, and discovered more about myself. Besides the thirty over Singaporeans that were there, I made friends from many nationalities and learnt a lot about their cultures. I learnt to be more independent and learnt a lot from others.
Settle in with the lovely Southern hospitality. Walk to the gym just a minute away, There are free fitness classes from yoga to cardio dance every weekday. And when you’re starving, head to the dining hall with friends & bond over food. Talking until night falls or catching a film screening at the campus cinema, Every single day in the USA was an amazing experience; take my word for it.
E USA: E I Owen Tan gives his take on the security measures at US airports
merica is, as the stereotype goes, a land of freedom, a place where its citizens are able to enjoy “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. The attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines 253 en route to Detroit on Christmas Day of last year, however, meant that part of the Declaration of Independence would have to be compromised a wee bit more. Airline security has stepped up to near-draconian levels, and security checks have become far more troublesome.
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The drama wasn’t over yet - prior to entering the plane in Narita, another security counter inspected our entire hand-carry luggage by hand and every passenger was subjected to a full, unflattering body pat down.
very little to complain about the strictness of their policy with regard to comfort and convenience. Entering the USA was, it seems, easier than I thought. Did the system really “work”, as Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, infamously claimed? Even with the “upgrade” in security, this passenger did not feel the effects.
THE BLUE AND GOLD, Issue 9, March 2010
The most surprising thing was before landing, when all passengers were asked to ensure that we did not cover our knees with blankets.
Reflections by the Editor Or so we thought.
Did I even say that...? This journalist is currently in Atlanta on a study exchange, and prior to the trip, expected the security checks to be as difficult as they come and that Changi International Airport will be indeed inconvenient. Check-in rows for economy class flights only allowed the passengers to enter – not even family could help with luggage.
By Owen Tan
Surprisingly, the scanning of bags at Changi went about quickly and smoothly - laptops had to be taken out of the handcarry luggage, but apart from this little inconvenience, everything went about as normal.
America While the facilities at the Tom Bradley International Airport in Los Angeles were rather primitive, the security counters boast the latest tools that make trips much more of a hassle - X-rays, impolite security guards, and metal detectors. While I managed to escape taking off my winter boots in Singapore and Tokyo, I was asked to remove them here in LA. I was definitely not looking forward to having any more security measures, though I did expect that we would once again be searched when we boarded the domestic flight, via Delta Air to Atlanta. Interestingly, there were no more checks before I arrived in the busiest airport in America.
I distinctly remember saying that it was easy entering the USA. I would like to retract my statement. To put it mildly, what happened to me at Toronto Pearson International Airport, prior to flying to New York, was my most frustrating experience at any airport. Ever. Detained for two hours at the airport for "travelling during school term", being threatened by a group of security officers that I would die if I took out any communication device I had, and ignored by an officer when I told him that I had a flight to catch - those were firsts for me. Don't let them be firsts for you. My mistake being overly friendly with the immigration officers. If you're travelling, just keep quiet. Don't let them find a way to put their Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques method to use. It will spoil your fun. On board the plane, there wasn’t any precaution that we had to take which was not usually included in the safety regulations. It was only landing in Tokyo-Narita International Airport - my first stop when I got a taste of some real security action. Expecting transit passengers to be let off more easily with regard to security procedures, I was surprised to see that we still had to go through a second handcarry X-ray machine. The hassle was in passing through the metal detector — the Japanese officer asked me to remove both
January 2010 THE BLUE AND GOLD 50
my sweater and my jacket before stepping past.
Not that strict Apart from a couple of additional procedures we had to get used to - especially the part where we had to take off our shoes before passing through the metal detector - the security procedures seemed almost routine.
In truth, the checks should have been more stringent considering that an act of terrorism had only recently been committed, but for the average passenger there is
ight), Belinda Foo (r d n a ) ft e (l ta p Gu adors Anirban Datta ampus Ambass C G & P d n a SMU students
t is the recruitment season of the year again, when companies get ready to roll out their recruitment plans, and students prepare for internship and job applications. Procter & Gamble (P&G), the world’s largest consumer product company, is all geared up to attract the best talent. Early this year, P&G has pioneered a Campus Ambassador Program, the first of its kind across the 3 local varsities, to increase its visibility among university students. Campus ambassadors are ex-P&G interns who have been offered full time positions after their internships. They function as a key point of contact for P&G to reach out to students in an efficient and timely manner. Lionel Mo, Talent Supply Associate Manager of P&G Singapore, feels that it is important to bridge the gap between P&G Talent Supply and university students. He commented: “The campus ambassadors work very closely with us to help P&G understand campus’ culture, students’ opinions and motivations. More importantly, the ambassadors get to share their passion and recent experiences in P&G with fellow peers.” And that is exactly what the SMU campus ambassadors have been doing. Last semester, Anirban and Belinda organized the first sharing session “P&G and Internship Essentials” which had received an overwhelming response from SMU students. The session was fully subscribed within hours. Belinda said: “The previous sharing session had achieved tremendous success! Students are interested to find out about P&G’s corporate culture, its brands and functions, as well as our internship experiences. This term, we are planning to conduct more of such sharing sessions.” Anirban also noted: “We are looking at introducing a series of activities to target not just the business students, but students from all faculties. This is in line with P&G’s philosophy in hiring person and not position.” So penultimate and final year students, you are in for a hectic yet exciting recruitment season. Get ready your CVs because you’re wanted! To find out more, visit http://www.pgcareers.com.sg and the Facebook Page, P&G Singapore Career Fair 2010.
the blue and gold
this issue: boss bidding
of minimum bids for classes above $20 in this year's Boss 1 Window 1
of minimum bids for classes above $30 in this year's Boss 1A Window 2
12% Minimum bids that exceeded e$20 in the
13% Minimum bids that exceeded e$30 in the
same window last year
of classes were filled at the end of Boss 1A Window 2 this year
of classes were filled at the same time last year
same window last year
The median bidder spent this much more per course this term as compared to the same period last year Inflation?
increase in intake from 2008 to 2009. Possible cause of price increases?
the blue and gold
the blue and gold
Sports Edition Capturing the Spirit of Sport issue PLUS: ■ Events Around the World ■ Bidding Woes ■ Exclusive Interviews: Glassroom and Colo...