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The Blue and Gold Bullion of Knowledge, Gears of Time

Issue 1

January 2008

Voluntourism hot in SMU? Page II

Myanmar issue key focus at dialogue Page VI

Keeping the SMU spirit alive Page VI

5 minutes with Daniel Mark Chow Page VII

Catch us online ! The Blue and Gold has attracted eyeballs since it’s launch in November last year. Not too bad considering that this publication is in its infancy. Apart from sharing content with the SMU population, selected articles will also be available at omy.sg a bilingual website by Singapore Press Holdings. Readers will be able to leave their comments on articles in The Blue and Gold on the online portal. “Through this we are able to have additional two-way communication. “We still hope to receive brickbats and bouquets in our email account as well. These will be published on our letters page,” said Ephraim Loy, Editor-in-Chief of The Blue and Gold. But this is only the first step. The Blue and Gold team will also help to identify potential writers to contribute to omy.sg to write about campus happenings. Individuals who have knowledge of producing videos will also be roped into the team of writers. The online portal, omy.sg, has attracted more than 5 million hits since its launch in September 2007.

Photo: Ephraim Loy

Confessions of an Undergraduate Thespian Things to expect before that stage act Jeremy Wang There aren’t that many of us around. We’re not that hard to spot either – just follow the trail of loud, melodramatic voices and you should be headed in the right direction. Yes, I’m talking about thespians. And I’m one of them. With the Arts Festival just around the corner, the good people at The Blue and Gold thought it’d be fun to invite a real-life, honest-to-goodness thespian to talk about what to expect if you’re thinking of joining our merry and motley crew. Now for starters, the first step to treading the boards of any stage is to go for auditions. Yes, it is important to get off your lazy bum and click ‘reply’ when you see an email calling for auditions. You may be God’s gift to theatre and acting, but no one’s going to know unless you go out there and get noticed! And I assure you, signing up for an audition is the easiest part of the journey; it only gets tougher from here on out. Depending on the mood of the play’s director, he may ask you to do one of several things during your audition: read from a script, improvise a sce-

nario, dance like you’re in a really bad music video, roll on the floor and play dead or more. The list goes on, but I think you get the idea. With any luck, the director will love the way you pranced around to N’Sync’s “Bye Bye Bye” and you will receive the coveted role. However, it is also entirely possible that the director may prefer Usher, and you may end up with a “less glamourous” role. But do bear in mind that in a play, there are no small roles. Each character, in some way, shape or form, contributes to the telling of the story. So please don’t sulk if you’re not the star of the show. Now, we come to the toughest part of being in any play: rehearsals. It is a common misconception that performing on stage while conquering stage fright is the hardest thing about being an actor. Nonsense, I say! By the time you step onto the stage, you should be able to chew up stage fright and spit out a top-notch performance. It’s getting to that point that’s difficult. You may be required to rehearse anywhere between one to five times a

week, depending on the scale of the production and how close it is to opening night. Rehearsals can be as short as one hour, and as long as ten hours. I’m not kidding. The toughest rehearsal schedule I’ve ever faced was when I had rehearsals three times a week, during weeks 14 and 15. It’s not the most pleasurable experience around. During these rehearsals, you will sometimes be made to repeat a scene over and over again. You may get yelled at. You may have to wait around for other people while they repeat their scenes and get yelled at - these two actions sometimes occur simultaneously. And in the course of these rehearsals, you may sometimes feel inadequate and ask yourself, “Why the hell am I even doing this?” This question is easily answered by copious amounts of alcohol. Okay, this time I’m kidding. Eventually, the opening night will arrive. You will either be raring to go, or you will be in a quiet corner praying that the electrical power in the theatre will get mysteriously cut off. Usually it’s the former, but you never know. When you perform, the audience may laugh or cry unexpectedly. It may not necessarily be a reflection of the

quality of your performance. The most rewarding thing about acting is obtaining a reaction from your audience. It’s their way of saying that they identify with what you’re saying, verbally or otherwise. And so, you will play out the role which you have spent the past month or six honing to perfection. You will in all likelihood be excellent, and the audience will lavish you with applause. Some of your friends might even present you with bouquets. Please remember that it is not a wedding, and that you should resist the temptation to throw the flowers into the audience. Your friends might not appreciate the gesture very much. Finally, when the applause has died away on the last night of your performance, and the crew is busy clearing out of the theatre before they charge you more money for over-staying, you may feel a certain sense of emptiness knowing that it’s over. You may also feel an itching sensation. If it isn’t an allergic reaction to your costume, it’s probably you telling yourself to go for another audition as soon as possible. Congratulations, you are now a seasoned stage thespian.


Issue 1,Page II

What’s Up @ SMU

The Blue and Gold January 2008

Voluntourism hot in SMU?

Overseas community involvement projects get the flak

Sentill Ananthan

Voluntourism refers to overseas trips which include some activities focused on furthering a charitable cause for which the participant receives no remuneration. The types of volunteer vacations are diverse - from low-skill work cleaning up local wildlife areas to providing high-skill medical aid in a foreign country or even educating the children. Most of such volunteer vacations were undertaken by personnel who had some form of direct connection to a particular cause. These were considered more as short term, intense volunteer projects rather than vacations. Many of these organisations are long-standing international development assistance organisations that placed short-term volunteers on work project sites. During the 1990s, the very far-sighted the travel industry developed niche products and firms to provide volunteer vacations to people who had no previous experience with a cause, and to cater to the increasing number of young people with such a specific interest. There’s even VolunTourism International, an organisation that provides online resource on voluntourism. These providers expanded the market which is commendable, notwithstanding their own personal agendas, but also drew criticism for the impact of their methods. Volunteer vacations participants are diverse but typically share a desire to “do something good” while also experiencing new places and challenges in a climate which they otherwise may not visit. However, it now seems to be having a vacation while also doing something good. Note the subtle differ-

PHOTO: ELEPHANT NATURE PARK

FOUNDATION STONES: Students from Project Elephant Nature Park with their handmade bricks of dung and mud to be used for the construction of an elephant museum in North Chiangmai, Thailand

ence? While some industry experts on volunteerism welcome the expansion of volunteer vacations as an opportunity to provide more resources to projects and to encourage a volunteer ethic in people, others have pointed out that the business methods used by tour operators, such as exclusivity deals, and catering to the needs of the volunteer rather than the volunteer project, exploit the com-

munities the projects are intended to help. I guess commercialism has reared the ugly side of itself again. However, it must be reinforced that commercialism by itself, is a necessity and has its benefits. However, it might just depend on which side of the fence you sit on. There is a new concern that in the view of the rise in the number of young people who choose to turn to overseas

expeditions to fulfill their desires to do good for the community, that these same people fail to lift a finger when it comes to helping people in Singapore. I really wonder what their true desire is - to contribute to society, use it as a conversation starter or to score brownie points on their CV. In an interview with The Straits Times, Mr. Stanley Tan, Chairman of the National Volunteer

‘Rojak’ university team scores at QF

The Blue and Gold MANAGING DIRECTOR Alicia Ng Sue Yee EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Ephraim Loy Suan Je EDITORS Anirban Datta Gupta Uday Rao MARKETING DIRECTOR Cheong En Min ART DIRECTOR Michael Ng Wai Ting LOGISTICS DIRECTOR Lee Cher Han CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sentill Ananthan Jeremy Wang Abel Bong Danny Ng CONTRIBUTING CARTOONIST David Lau Email pubcomm@sa.smu.edu.sg

and Philanthropy Centre urged Singaporeans to volunteer at home. It can be said that the number of such trips have increased dramatically over the past couple of years. I believe that no one is against the spirit of volunteerism but rather how we each embody it. It must be admitted that this form of overseas community involvement project is indeed a great way to meet likeminded people who are interested in traveling and helping the less fortunate. However, what one would and should find very sad is that, it seems to be that the fact that one is doing a good deed seems to be just an icing on the cake. Almost like a very good excuse for a glorified holiday. We should actually be doing self-sustaining projects instead of just painting or building something. Just like the saying “It is better to teach a man to fish, rather than to give him a fish”. TSomehow, I feel that the present trips seem to be more hell-bent on making it onto the covers of magazines and papers. That being said, having a community project overseas is certainly a good way for one to be more exposed to the world, to see the poverty prevalent elsewhere and endure hardship. However, it is as if we are going abroad to help ourselves more than to help others. If one really wants to help, there are more than enough people and organisations needing help. If help is needed at home, why are we going abroad? I personally believe that volunteerism is more about giving than about receiving. It is about helping the needy and less fortunate. Let’s start at home first.

Virtuoso hits high note Singapore Institute of Management student Wong Jinglun walked away with the top prize in the solo category of Virtuoso 2007. The event ended on a high note and was held at the SMU Conference Hall on 15 December 2007. Since its inception in 2005, Virtuoso has gone from strength to strength. The recent run did not involve only SMU students but also included students from NTU, NUS and the local polytechnics. National serviceman Charles Wong and NUS student Khoo Chew Meng John emerged tops in the group category. SMU scored in the songwriting component. Second-year social science student Felicia Ngiam Li Ying bagged the award in that category. This event was organsied by the SMU Music Interactive Club.

What do you get when you put students from various local universities together? It seems to be something out of the ordinary - not disaster but synergy. And that was the winning formula at the DBS-SMU Quantitative Finance Challenge. In the finals held on 7 December 2007, the team comprising students from NUS, NTU and SMU emerged tops. “There were many challenges as the one-hour MCQ test portion was very technical in nature,” said Final-year Economics student Fred Goh who was part of the winning team. For the final showdown, each team had to fight the battle using knowledge of discrete hedging and the complex Black Scholes model. Teams had to present their case solutions to a DBS judging panel after a three-day preparation period. The aim of the challenge is to provide participants with a platform to interact and learn from their fellow peers, as well as expose them to the latest practices and research in the field from industry practitioners. The winning team walked away with a prize of $5000.

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Issue 1,Page III January 2008

ADVERTISMENT

What’s your identity? Find out how you can score perks at more than 550 outlets

Yeo Zhibin & Lim Zhimin

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What’s Up @ SMU

The Blue and Gold

Hot in SMU: Winners from Hey Gorgeous!, Oh Jin Rui and Wu Jia Hui, pose with the SMU-OCBC card

We hear you! For the past few years, most of you would have seen or heard about the SMU-OCBC card. But ask you about the details and you will give a sheepish look. “It’s YOUR identity” – that’s the tagline chosen to encapsulate what it means to be a SMU student – your dreams, aspirations, lifestyle and your identity. Designed by by SMU students for the SMU community the SMU-OCBC card is uniquely yours. At the age where most of us are slowly gaining some form of financial independence, the need to have a proper debit facility that suits our needs is essential. The card does not require a minimum account balance just so to cater to students’ needs. Gone are the traditional $2 banking fees that most banks charge when your balance falls below $500. There’s also the five-year

card fee waiver so you don’t pay a single cent to be part of the program. One other attractive feature would be the free cheque book that comes along with the card. More importantly more merchant benefits for the cards have been acquired where fabulous discounts and privileges await. Current ties ups include those with Novus Cafe @ National Museum, Guess, Marc Ecko, Nautica, dbl O, Outback steak - the list goes on. Further all card members get perks at 550 OCBC Privileges outlets around town - don’t forget to ask about them. Apart from that, special promotions such as 1-for-1 Deals with Makansutra Personality Chefs at over 300 Iconic Restaurants such as Fosters’s Café Restaurant, Earshot @ Esplanade and Long Beach Seafood Restaurant are set to tickle your tastebuds. If you have feedback and suggestions to improve the SMU-OCBC Card email smu_ocbc_bc@smu.edu.sg

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Tell us Have an exciting event you want us to cover? Want to write us a letter? Spotted any campus trends recently? Email us at pubcomm@ sa.smu.edu.sg Join us Do you have the passion for the written word? Think you can spin up a poetic headline in seconds? Do you think you can tell stories in a photo? Can you lay a newspaper page like a pro? We are recruiting! If you are a: Writer Photographer Designer and keen to be part of our team, email us at pubcomm@sa.smu.edu.sg Advertise To be seen in Singapore Management University’s first (and only) campus thought-provoking newspaper, email us at pubcomm@sa.smu.edu.sg


Issue 1,Page IV

Viewpoints

The Blue and Gold January 2008

EPHRAIM LOY My twin brother barged into the room one day with a copy of freesheet Today in his hands. He pointed to the headlines on the bottom area of the cover. “Look at this!” he screeched almost like tires against the asphalt road some 50 meters below my block of flats. “They finally realised what they have done,” he came running with hands gesticulating as though it was bullcharging season and I had my face painted red. “What” I exclaimed acting innocently (thanks to the tips I picked up from the actors and actresses at MediaCorp). “Now what have they done again,” I murmured to myself. “It looks like they are really serious this time”, the staunch WP supporter

2007 – What a blast!

looked at me as though hoping for an off the cuff answer. I returned a blank stare just like how a politician in denial would react. “Come on, I know nothing about this,” I said. “So what have they realised now I asked?” That they unknowingly blurted out that they made some calculation error in the nationwide PSLE scores or something? Or something more serious such as the eradication of poor Hougang residents. What could be worse? “Just look”, he said. “Tharman takes over as Finance Minister from PM tomorrow,” he mouthed. I thought to myself. I remembered PM talking about buying votes during one of his rally speeches during the elections. I quickly brushed that thought aside. Worse still, I could end

Congratulations and keep up the good work I would like to congratulate you on The Blue and Gold’s launch. There wasn’t any publicity about the publication at all (never knew it even existed) and I happened to pick up a copy by chance at the Lee Kong Chian School of Business. I have never picked up anything from that area to so it was really a rare twist of fate that The Blue and Gold landed in my hand. I must comment that it was a really good and interesting read plus I continued reading even after I got home. Issues were intellectual and close to the heart especially at this time of the year. The style of writing too - humble and non-imposing - which I think

every SMU student must learn. All the photographs were also fabulous such that they portray what was intended: particularly Prof. Margaret Chan’s expression in Convocation which seemed to strike a chord with the on-going “SMU culture” theme. Lastly it ended with SA president’s thoughts - a very honest, humble and sincere attempt to facilitate thoughts within the reader’s mind which seemed to be a plea in some sense to preserve the intentions of the “SMU culture” Once again, congratulations and keep up the good work. Elvin Seah

up in jail for even thinking. “It’s just a coincidence,” I acknowledged. Just like how dad met mum and you know how the story goes. “See, I told you before,” he shot back like an angry dog that’s been just unleashed at the same time ignoring my last sentence. “How can the Prime Minister be Finance Minister at the same time? “It’s outright corruption,” he blurted out. I shook my head. “You don’t know. It’s the transition phase,” I said sheepishly. “You think countries become democratic overnight,” I proffered. “They don’t.” “No. But but…” his voice trailed off. “You can’t seem to understand that one cannot become the Chairman and

concurrently be the Treasurer of the same organisation right?“ “It’s like the NKF and Durai. Don’t you seem to get it,” he blared again like the sounding of the horn of the start of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. “Calm down, I shot back.” What was I to say? It seemed like a conspiracy theory gone wrong. Just like how I used to imagine that Osama was just an imaginary person used by Bush as an excuse for his “war on terrorism”. Knowing that I couldn’t offer much consolation, I stood up, went to the kitchen and poured him a cup of tea. I pulled out a chair and offered him a seat in my cosy sofa. “Why don’t you blog about it?” I suggested. We need more excitement online since the closure of Crazy Horse.

I must concede that he thought it was a good idea. Cause days after that argument he started his own blog – complete with his own theories and beliefs. At least he has found a way to vent his frustrations. I heaved a sigh of relief and went back to reading “Confessions of an American Media Man” drowning my thoughts in the array of insightful adventures of Tom Plate. How about that edition of Today? It lies buried among my pile of The Straits Times hoping to get picked up again for a chance to be shoved into the spotlight of the discussion arena. It is just a few more days to the end of 2007 as I write this. Here’s to a brand new and honest 2008.

Leadership in SMU? Here are some tips to improve I think the front page article by Sentill Ananthan is an insightful one. It serves to wake up students who have spend too much time on studying and lost the campus “spirit” which attracted me at Bukit Timah Campus. The article on student leadership also pinpoints the lure of “prestigious” positions in clubs and societies. I believe such places should only be given to people who truly deserve it, instead of becoming a reward for the most popular person around. That said, I like to make the following suggestions: Having a mid-term report for clubs and societies. Presently, clubs and societies are pretty much left alone in running their affairs with the only supervision coming during the Budget

period. If the purpose of clubs and societies is to make student life more vibrant or add a different dimension to our experiences here at SMU, shouldn’t they be appraised? I know that clubs need to submit a quarterly report on their events, but there is no follow-up on it. 
Is it possible for an “audit committee” to conduct spot checks on their meetings or events? I heard of certain clubs who use the club booking hours for mugging purposes, which wasn’t the original intention. Include a quantitative aspect for elections (specifically SMUSA and CBd). The current system allows the candidates to get in the Exco via the standing during voting. As such, it is possible for people who are very popular and not very capable to get

in. Is it possible to have a quantitative aspect to this? We can create a scoring system for those who have done well in certain areas, such as President of a club, leading an event, organiser of a CIP, representative for a sports club. The system and grading criteria should be transparent so that all candidates know how it will affect the chances of them getting into office. It can take up a portion of 10% - 30% of the “score” for getting into office. Leadership and the presence of clubs and societies should be given to deserving individuals. Let’s take it away from those who don’t deserve it. Ben Toh Zhi Sian

What it should have been

SMU Prof shares her thoughts Congrats on a very nice first issue of The Blue and Gold - nice to finally see some attempt at generating some real discussion about big issues on campus! I used to keep despairing at the usual/ typical content of other campus publications. A little suggestion - try to focus attention of this publication purely on campus issues and have articles about other general news issues (e.g. Bobby Jindal, sub-prime etc.) only to the extent that it bears on some campus issue - there is way too much out there

about other stuff - books, movies, politics, etc. - and way too little discussion and reporting on what is happening on campus. So it’s easy to get distracted and its easier to fill up pages with nonSMU stuff, but in the long run it helps more I think if the focus is squarely on the campus, broadly defined - alumni, staff, visiting speakers, students, CCAs, faculty, visiting faculty, et al. All the best. Seshan Ramaswami

The Blue and Gold: an honest, straightforward publication Great job on the first issue! I really enjoyed the cover article and felt that it echoed everything that is going through my mind about SMU at this point! It’s great to hear that I’m not alone. I agree with Sentill that we are responsible for our actions, but I feel it has largely to do with the administration as well - who they accept and on what basis. If grades are the primary criteria for being accepted into SMU, then grades will remain the primary criteria in SMU. The challenge and

the primary goal should be to take in students who perhaps haven’t fared too well in JC/high school, and mould them into overachievers during their time here using the core principles that we thought we stood for: camaraderie, team work, and working smart. Keep up the great work! We needed an honest, straightforward publication and this is what you have provided! Nirav D Shah

In the article “An Eventful Term So Far” in our November 2007 issue, we inadvertently left out the photo credits for the Freshmen Team Building Camp. We would like to credit Low Cheng Sing for taking the photos. We are sorry for the omission. We would like to acknowledge the source of our references, Amazon and Random House, for the book review of “The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co.” in the November 2007 issue. We apologise for the omission.


Issue 1,Page V

Bulletin Board

The Blue and Gold January 2008

Reaffirming the faith

UDAY RAO

Posters and desktop wallpapers are common sight. But those that spread the core mission of SMU are few and far between. The challenge for a group of SMU students to develop a branding campaign for SMU using clean, professional and eye-catching set of posters and a desktop wallpaper was initiated by Prof Marcus Lee. This project targets three areas of the SMU population – students, staff and alumni and the final pieces were showcased at a week-long exhibition at the Lee Kong Chian School of Business in November. The main performance indicator for the designs will determined through an annual online satisfaction survey as well as the level of participation by staff, students, and alumni at various SMU events throughout the academic year.

The No Asshole Rule

Building a Civilised Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t

Alicia Ng

This was one of the more amusing reads of 2007. Authored by Robert Sutton, a Management Science professor at Stanford University, The No Asshole Rule sheds light on the variations of being an asshole, complete with a two-test strategy that Sutton employs in identifying these workplace cretins, as well as a quick reference to twelve actions typical of assholes. “Who deserves to be branded as asshole? Many of us use the term indiscriminately, applying it to anyone who annoys us, gets in our way, or happens to be enjoying greater success than us at the moment. But a precise definition is useful if you want to implement the no asshole rule. It can help distinguish between those colleagues and customers you simply don’t like from those who deserve the label. It can help you distinguish people who are having a bad day or a bad moment (‘temporary assholes’) from persistently nasty and destructive jerks (‘certified assholes’). And a good definition can help you explain to others why your co-worker, boss, or customer deserves the label – or come to grips with why others say you are an asshole

(at least behind your back) and why you might have earned it”. - Chapter 1, What Workplace Assholes Do and Why You Know So Many The No Asshole Rule isn’t just intended for the hapless co-worker who is caught in the quandary of an asshole attack. Chapter 4 is a personal favourite - “How to Stop Your ‘Inner Jerk’ from Getting Out”. Sutton offers more than a few methods of avoiding the dark side, from avoiding the poison apple as much as possible to recognising one’s personality traits, going so far as to provide a rudimentary self-test. It could not be more aptly titled – “Are You A Certified Asshole?” Jokes aside, there is justification in his research. The actions of assholes don’t just impact the victim but have also demonstrated damage on several scales for management, such as a reduced motivation level of staff, high turnover rates and employee replacement costs and increased costs incurrence from litigation or compensation to affected employees. The flood of real-life examples provided with each example of an asshole was a pleasant bonus, and a welcome contrast to the perfect leaders that we so often read about in management textbooks.

Herrings: More than just fish

David Lau

Bulldozing to victory

Overall, The No Asshole Rule provides much reassurance that someone out there is well aware of a growing epidemic in workplaces today, and balances between being a business book, self-help resource and entertaining read. And if all else fails, hey, it makes a brilliant gift for the jerk in your graduating class. The Dirty Dozen according to Robert Sutton Common Everyday Actions That Assholes Use 1. Personal Insults 2. Invading one’s ‘personal territory’ 3. Uninvited physical contact 4. Threats and intimidation, bother verbal and non-verbal 5. ‘Sarcastic jokes’ and ‘teasing’ used as insult delivery systems 6. Withering e-mail flames 7. Status slaps intended to humiliate their victims 8. Public shaming or ‘status degradation’ rituals 9. Rude interruptions 10. Two-faced attacks 11. Dirty looks 12. Treating people as if they are invisible

The recent South Korean presidential elections were a done deal much before the votes were counted in. Lee Myung Bak of the Grand National Party (GNP) won convincingly with 48.7% of the votes. His closest rival in the polls was Chun Dong – young, from the ruling Liberal Party with 26.2%. Despite being the 12th biggest economy in the world, the South Korean Public were getting tired and weary of out going President Roh MooHyun whose promises of spurring the economy ended in failure. This issue was the essential golden ticket for Lee Myung Bak who had promised of growth levels of 7%, South Korea is currently experiencing growth of approximately 4%. This issue takes precedence as well for the fact that South Korea is geographically sandwiched between a High Tech country Japan and mass production, at cheap costs, China. He intends to achieve economic progression through reduction of taxes, reduction of trade barriers and enhancement of transparency. Furthermore his appoint will mean strengthening of foreign relations especially between South Korea and America. As a matter of fact his first visit after winning the elections was the American embassy in Seoul whereby discussions were held on North Korea, as part of the 6 Party Talks. Lee Myung Bak has taken a stronger stance on the issue of North Korea. He has mentioned on a couple of occasions of possible retraction of financial aid and supplies if issues are not ironed out and agreed by North Korea. In South Korea, the National Assembly has an equally powerful role to play. Held on the 8th of April, 2008, it will determine which parties will be represented in congress. If majority of opposition to Lee Myung Bak do get elected, this may undermine the very political plans that won him the elections. All is not settled yet. “Conservative Lee Hoi-chang has vowed to form a Chungcheong Province-based party to compete with the GNP. Lee Myung-bak’s ability to repair the split in the conserva-

tive movement remains in doubt and could be dependent on the degree to which he incorporates former GNP Chairwoman Park Geun-hye into his administration. President Lee Myung-bak may need to shift his policies - especially on North Korea - to the right in order to gain legislative support from Lee Hoichang in either a formal or an informal conservative coalition .” On a personal note Lee Myung Bak seems to be just the man a lot of Koreans feel right for the job. A candidate who is more likely to improve the economy, induce domestic and foreign investment, create jobs, and improve South Korean competitiveness against China and Japan. “The public also wanted a centrist, less ideological candidate and rejected candidates at the farthest ends of the political spectrum. Lee Myung-bak had positioned himself in the middle and moved the conservative Grand National Party toward the center in order to make it more election favorable.” He has a strong record of achievements that backs his objectives for South Korea. Despite coming from an impoverish lifestyle, Lee worked his way up to become the youngest Chief Executive Officer of Hyundai. During his tenure Hyundai experienced positive and strong growth. He essentially laid the foundations for Hyundai to launch itself on the global platform. Thereafter he became the Mayor of Seoul. In his charge, he reduced poverty in Seoul and has considerably modernised the infrastructure in Seoul making it the hub for economic activity. As described by a fellow professor in SMU, Lee Myung Bak is a “Legend”. No doubt there are allegations of fraud and illegal mingling in the stock market, which has been chasing Lee Myung Bak since his victory. But one has to realise that such alleged activities seem to be rather common affair with politicians in South Korea. Interestingly enough all the Presidents in South Korea bar Roh Moo Hyun have been impeached at one point or the other and sentenced to jail. Source http://www.heritage.org/Research/ AsiaandthePacific/wm1758.cfm


Issue 1,Page VI

SMUdge

The Blue and Gold

Myanmar issue key focus at dialogue

January 2008

Foreign Minister engages SMU students on Singapore’s Foray on the international scene

Sentill Ananthan What happened to Pedra Branca? Even though Singapore was in the midst of a legal battle with Malaysia over Pedra Branca, this was not brought up at an informal dialogue session that Foreign Minister George Yeo had with Singapore Management University (SMU) students on 9 November. Instead, the focus was mainly on Myanmar and Singapore’s relations with it. Why is this so? What is it that intrigues the concerns of SMU students about Singapore’s support of another government rather than the fight for territory? Are we so magnanimous? The Pedra Branca dispute is being heard at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague Netherlands. Both Singapore and Malaysia claim sovereignty over the islet about the size of a football field, and two outcrops the Middle Rocks and South Ledge. It is 40km east of Singapore at the eastern entrance of the Singapore Strait. Were they not concerned about this issue involving our nearby neighbour? Or was it because the results of the court case were not out when the dialogue was held? Or were they more concerned with human rights issues in Myanmar? One student had ventured the question on the foreign media’s perception that Singapore indirectly supports Myanmar junta based on its still continuing engagement with the strife-stricken country. Giving a quick overview on Singapore’s overall position on the issue, Mr Yeo said: “The general policy of Singapore is to continue engaging the government of Myanmar. There has to be engagement. There may be sanctions in bad cases, but engagement is necessary because the moment you disengage, then your ability to influence becomes limited.”

Referring to calls for Singapore to freeze bank accounts, Mr Yeo said that Singapore, with its position on the apex as a global finance centre, has to honour contracts and ensure high standards. On junta leaders seeking medical treatment here, he said turning them away was not helpful due to Singapore’s “policy of engagement”, which is what works best to get a country to change. Mr. Yeo asked: “What else can we do? Invade Myanmar? The way the Americans removed Saddam Hussein? Then what after that?” Other issues raised at the SMU dialogue included the sensitive and delicate situation in the Middle East, our nation’s ever-evolving ties with the rising superpower that is China, and the meltdown of the US economy due to the sub-prime crisis. On the topic of Singapore’s role in the global economy, Mr Yeo said the country is now riding on the presence of an economical wave that is sweeping and lifting out entire continent. However, as much as we are on the upside at present, things are also possible to drop and that is something we should be prepared for. He also cited some examples of how cities in Vietnam, Indonesia and China are developing at a relentless pace, and Singapore has to continue to learn and be competitive in order to stay ahead of the chasing pack. He mentioned how when he was visiting Vietnam, the schools were packed even on weekend nights. I must conclude by saying that it was a pretty big crowd we had at the library considering the fact that, it was in the midst of exam preparations and presentation and report deadlines for many. Appreciation must also be extended to all those who made this possible especially the SMU Social Science Society who mooted the idea.

Photos: Danny Ng

Keeping the SMU spirit alive

Alumni get new University Lounge in the Administration Building

Danny Ng

The strength of a university can be seen from the quality of the people that has passed through its doors. As SMU’s alumni grows from year to year, so does the need for a body to represent them and to help fulfill their unique needs as alumni. The SMU Alumni Association was set up to take on this task by the pioneer batch of graduates and aims to be the link between the school and alumni. Although it has only been three years since its inception, the association has achieved significant milestones beyond what its age may suggest. Various activities such as the Movie Night, the Saxo Capital Market Talk as well as the annual Chinese New Year Reunion gatherings provide a platform for alumni

to network with one another. It has given back to the university through the Alumni Scholarship Fund which raised $200,000 help finance a needy student’s education fees. The Association has also shown support for student activities such as the Freshman Bash Impressmu and Euphorique, the Evening at Bras Basah as well as the Know Thy Major series. Recently, more than 300 former students and guests were gathered at GV Grand at Great World City for SMU Alumni Association‘s (SMUAA) 4th Movie Night on 14 December 2007. The annual event, organised by the SMUAA and the Office of Alumni Relations was for members to mingle with one another and celebrate the holidays and of course, to enjoy an exclusive screening of the Christmas blockbuster,

The Golden Compass. Old friends seized this opportunity to catch up with one another as they enjoyed a delectable spread complete with complementary goodie bags. Upping the stakes was the highlight of the evening - not the start of the movie but the eagerly anticipated Lucky Draw. Three lucky winners walked away with an early Christmas present of an Olio Dome voucher, a pair of Golden Village Gold Class ticket vouchers and the grand prize of an iPod Shuffle. As the last prize was given out, the cinema hall darkened, and a hush fell over the audience as they watch the movie unfold on the big screen. Previous attendees of the Movie Night enjoyed exclusive screenings of blockbusters including Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Charlotte’s Web and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The alumni of SMU form an integral part of the SMU community, and are central to the future development of the University. Recognising this importance, the Office of Alumni Relations and the SMUA Alumni Association continue to nurture and develop more meaningful connections between the alumni and the University. A comprehensive alumni relations programme aimed at engaging our alumni through multiple touch points will be the way forward. 2008 will be especially exciting as the association looks forward to the launch of a new University Lounge in the Administration Building. This will provide a brand new venue in the heart of town for alumni and friends to chill out after a long day at work. Enhancements to the membership benefits are also in the pipeline as well as the creation of more overseas chapters. The SMU Alumni UK Chapter was established to provide SMU graduates working and living in the United Kingdom opportunities to network on a professional and social basis. Graduates journeying over for the first time will also be assured knowing that a support group exists to help them in a foreign land. New chapters are slated to be established in China and the US to extend these services to more graduates and students.


Issue 1,Page VII

The Blue and Gold

SMUdge

January 2008 5 Minutes with Daniel Mark Chow

National success for rugby player on target

Abel Bong

main focused on the battle for bronze.

Daniel Marc Chow (above, right), the indefatigable 23-year-old SCC flanker, will be one of the many high profile athletes returning to school from the 24th South East Asian Games in Thailand. The Singapore national rugby team emerged with a credible bronze medal beating rivals Malaysia 12-5, exacting sweet revenge after losing against the same opponents in the group stages (Malaysia won 21-14). Daniel, who is affably known as ‘Big Daddy’ Chow by his mates, speaks to The Blue and Gold on a variety of matters from the national rugby team’s historic achievement as well as his meteoric rise within the ranks of the national rugby team.

You debuted for the national team in 2005 and have proceeded to be an integral cog in the national team. How much has the team improved since that time? We are actually quite a young team, with many players still studying or in the army. We are currently moving out of the transition stage with a new CEO coming on board. And I feel the team has finally crossed the hurdle for greater things.

Could you tell us what was going through your mind when the final whistle blew? When the final whistle went, we just felt a great sense of achievement for the hard work and effort put in! Well, we were pretty unfortunate to lose to Malaysia in the group stages. Some tough calls from the ref and critical errors allowed the Malaysians to beat us in the second half. Of course, we wanted to get the gold, however we lost to the quicker Thais in the semi-finals. We had to overcome the mental barrier of facing Malaysia yet again and had to just re-

What positions do you play? Could you enlighten us about their roles in rugby? Well, I am a flanker for the national team. The flanker has the responsibility to clear up play and to start a new passage, and he is part of the scrum. Whilst for SMU, I am the ‘number eight’. Basically, I am the link man between forwards and back. Being a human battering ram, and one of the heftiest players, has it got anything to do with your alias ‘Big Daddy’? Ha! You have to ask the team captain about that! Along with fellow national team player, Desmond Wee, how much do you think the SMU team would miss players from the national squad? How do you think SMU will cope in your absence?

The players within our stable are good and are really capable of performing when the time comes. And the current batch of freshmen has been contributing towards the team and I see great potential there. Out of curiosity, are there any rituals that you practice before each match? Before entering the field I would say a prayer to thank God. What did you gain from the SEA Games? How will you use this experience to improve your game and prepare for future tournaments? As a team, we have learnt to play with more intensity. As Sevens are played over just 15 minutes, it is possible to string many matches within a day. I have learnt to be extremely disciplined in maintaining my fitness levels before and during the tournament. When would the national team be in action again? What are your goals this time round? The next thing on our calendar would be the Asian Div 1 Championship. We will be playing China, Chinese Taipei and Sri Lanka. Although these teams are strong, I am confident Singapore is able to match these teams. As long as we have good preparation, getting promoted is within our grasp.

Under Construction Finishing touches are added to a total of 12 works comprising jigsaw puzzles, mixed media, video displays, acrylic paintwork and installation art are featured in Always Here but Not Always Present: Art in a Senseless World. The visual arts exhibition by 13 local artists examines the role of art in comtemporary society.


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The Blue and Gold January 2008

“ From its conception, SMU was designed to provide a different model of university education here in Singapore. We wanted to start with a clean slate instead of just adding another public university in the mould of the exiting ones. From this starting point emerged a confluence of factors that make SMU special.” Dr Tony Tan Former Deputy Prime Minister, Singapore SMU Commencement 2004

Is SMU Special? Dear friends, SMU as a university has been designed uniquely. Its construct, teaching methods, structure, and environment all have been made distinctively different from the other local universities. The university has been marketed and publicised that we are different. But that doesn’t really matter. What matters is, do YOU believe that SMU is different, that we are special? I understand it would be hard to believe that in the midst of a hectic work and project schedule. We all feel the pressure to perform and we work very hard to achieve our goals. However, we do have a choice. We can make the decision to step up and make SMU special for ourselves. We can choose to engage in the sport that we love to play, or dance our hearts out with friends. We can choose to take that time off to explore new horizons, travel abroad for exchange or trek the road less travelled. We all have the capability to do so. But firstly and most importantly, it is up to us to make the choice. The environment, the culture in which we are all in, is ours to make. Let’s us make SMU special for each one of us. SMU is special to me. Will it be for you? The choice is yours. God bless, Andrew President, SMU Students’ Association

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The Blue and Gold - Issue 1 - January 2008