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Issue 14 • Sep 2011 • MICA 255/ 07 / 2011

the blue and gold SMU’s Student Publication

features The Road Less Travelled



MALCOLM GLADWELL’S VISIT TO SMU (Yes, believe it or not, he was here)


Editor’s note!

We make choices all the time. Most of the time, we follow the herd and convince ourselves that being with the majority brings us satisfaction. Seldom, we take the road less travelled; but when we do, we see an unexplored terrain that captivates us and sometimes forces us to change paths. This issue of The Blue and Gold looks deeper into the ‘Road less travelled’. A publication of the Singapore Management University Student’s Association

All rights reserved. No part of this publication should be reproduced without the prior permission of the authors concerned and The Blue and Gold

Some of our peers have tried offbeat summer internships, one of them took a year off to join a missionary and some even dared to take up their passion and become entrepreneurs. While most of us might look at these as one-off circumstances, where diverging from the norm has led these students to self-satisfaction; TBNG applauds these courageous youngsters who have dared to be different.

Printed by KHL Printing Co Pte Ltd

Most of us were away from campus through summer, but the SMU buzz still rang through the campus with CCA activities and guest lectures. Also featured inside, is columnist Tim Harford’s seminar on his book Adapt: Why success always starts with failure.

This issue of The Blue and Gold is proudly sponsored by Prudential Singapore

A new academic year calls for a new SMUSA Exco, with election campaigns and cold war. If you’re debating on running for this election, do read the 7 tips on running for the election by the SMUSA Vice-President.

The Blue and Gold does not necessarily endorse the opinions put forth by its writers

The Blue and Gold 81 Victoria Street Singapore 188065

Hope you had a great summer and good luck for the new academic year! TBNG brings to you – The Road Less Travelled.


an De agi bo ng D De rah ire pu Lim cto Sh ty Hu r ob M an an i Li Ed a a ito Na gin da g D Aa rsh in- raj ire a n C ct or Ed a N hie ito as f ( P t a r Se ri nt nt in) hi Ch M l S ie an uk f ( An agi um On ki ng ar lin ta E e) Ed Pr dit ito asa or d Ta rs lis a Na K d au To im A r D bi li ha St as Y Ka liw ep e pa al o Ja han Zh dia na ie i Q Si nit Yo ia m ha w ng W S L De ei ri R i We si Xu en n M gn an gar el Te aj v oo Ar in am ie Tio An l Ng ng ge uy (H Tr lin en ead an e De D Te si Ph ac o gn ot Tru er o ng ) An g r an ap Ha ya he ns Pr rs it Co Ste hvi v m a D Br mu nus esh ya n M pa n ica a n L t Ad im io ryo de n v S s Pr isor hi Se M c of s in re g ta O ess w or ry en K Ep T ir p hr an a M aim Wa l Si n ic ha Lo h C gh el y he n Ng


xoxo, Aashna Nasta


Issue 14 The Blue and Gold

contents • • • • • • •

The Road Less Travelled 10 Outside Academia, Outside SMU 15 Taking The Leap 16 Having Faith to Follow her Call 17 Traversing the Silk Road on a Bamboo Bike 18 Boys Play Football, Men Cycle 20 Starting Up 22

• Adapting The Answer 25 • Cranes For Hope 26 • APEX 27

• Thoughts Of A Graduate 31

• World News in a Flash 34 • The IMF’s Next Leader 36 • E. Coli Outbreak 2011 38

• • • • •

Experiencing SMU 41 What on earth is the freshman experience 42 To Run or Not to Run? 42 Stuff For SMU 43 Students’ Association Council 44

• • • •

Macbeth in the Park 47 Voice II 47 Biennale 48 SHINE Youth Festival 49

• 7 Blasted Misconceptions About Shooting 50 • The Wine Book 51 • What is ICON? 52



Hey, The blue and gold


We are looking out for: • • • • •

Photojournalists Print Layout/Graphic Designers Web Designers Photographers Journalists/Contributors

you .

If you are interested in any of the positions above, or simply want to experience putting together a college magazine, then write to us at


Being frank is easy - Stephanie Yow dishes the truth on the brand new way to bank. The truth doesn’t hurt. In fact, it excites. We can bid adieu to the days of mundane storefronts, as OCBC Bank revolutionizes its customer experience with its newly-revamped retail store along SMU’s concourse. A chic, minimalist makeover of the old outlet, the new space goes hand-in-hand with the launch of OCBC’s latest snazzy innovation - ‘FRANK’, a banking programme which engages youths and young working adults on a whole new level. The inspiration behind FRANK is quirky. It isn’t a noun, but an adjective. It is OCBC’s way of telling its target market that ‘frankly speaking, all we want is to give you something that not only fulfills your needs, but also sticks with you right at the beginning when you’re still living off monthly allowances and tuition loans’. It helps to know that OCBC walks the talk. According to Mr. Ching Wei Hong, Head of Global Consumer Financial Services, the bank’s staff ventured past comfortable office spaces to breathe and simmer in youth culture for weeks in order to understand their customers’ psyche better. So how does this new programme engage you? Apart from sleek retail stores, FRANK accounts give comparatively higher promotional interest rates than the usual savings accounts, topped off with no monthly service fee for people below twenty-six years. It also interacts heavily with citizens of Generation Y via digital mediums like


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Facebook, Twitter and its own interactive website, which you can use to manage your account. Account features include a savings enabler for customers to create ‘savings jars’- sub accounts - to put aside money for various savings goals, like buying the next generation iPhone. And that’s not all, as customization seems to be the language of FRANK. For its debit card feature*,the store holds an entire wall decorated with over hundred postcard-sized displays for customers to browse through before choosing the designs that they want on their debit cards. Available designs appeal to the inner alias - the aspiring diva, the free-falling adventurer, the indie music junkie and many more. By encouraging customers to explore new possibilities of financial freedom in these tastefully innovative ways, FRANK carries a message far larger than its retail outlet’s polished bar stools and smartly-dressed personnel. It communicates a spirit of engagement towards a generation that aggressively promotes the call for individuality and self-expression. After all, engaging customers has always been the primary ethos of OCBC Bank. FRANK aims to do just that by taking approximately 748,000 youths and young working adults in Singapore by storm.

*FRANK Credit card is slated for launch within this year.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference

-Robert Frost


As we embark on our university journey, the myriad of opportunities offered to us may sometimes present themselves as diverging roads. Choosing to take the more conventional road like doing a four-year course, finding an internship in a big corporation and then graduating and landing yourself a corporate job will be easy since it has been tried, tested and done by many before you. But what if you wanted to take a path that was less mapped out? What if you wanted to start your own business while studying, or take a year off to pursue your dance career? Would you have the courage to take this road that would be that much harder? In this issue, The Blue and Gold features students who have had the courage to do just that. We hope that from reading their stories, they will inspire you, and you will pose this challenge to yourselves to one day, take the road less travelled.

Section design by Tran Dac Trung

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED Most students spent their summers interning at MNCs, popular banks and investment companies; some covered up on courses with summer school; few went on community service trips and a small minority decided to pursue something out of the box. The Blue and Gold shares with you some of the students who went beyond the norm to explore a different facet.

My Stint with the United Nations While many of my peers undertook summer internships that reward attractive and competitive stipends, I took on one that paid nothing and bore all travel and living expenses related to the internship program. For many, it did sound like a really bad deal. But to me, my involvement with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, had been the most transformational experience. Driven by compassion and motivation to safeguard the rights of refugees, UNHCR provided me with amazing opportunities to gain valuable insights into the refugee situation in Malaysia. More valuable still, a large part of my responsibilities involved working directly with persons of concern who fled wars and persecutions to seek temporary asylum. In the Community Development Unit (CDU), I was given several literacy and livelihood projects to work on. Among all, I had the privi-


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lege of working with 8 Somali youth refugees on an income-generation program. As refugees are not allowed to legally work in Malaysia, CDU initiated the Somali Bakery Project with the aim of developing the youths’ income-generation capacities as well as to improve their self worth and confidence. The Somali youth refugees were put through a three-month intensive baking and pastry making training and they have now learnt to bake five different types of cookies and two types of cakes. As the youths ventured into their cookie business, they possessed little knowledge in basic management, marketing and bookkeeping. To enhance their business skills, I not only taught them basic marketing and accounting lessons but also assisted them in developing their business promotional materials as well as ensuring that their account books were properly maintained.

By Jerry Lewis Ong

The English Literacy Program was another key project that provided adult refugees across all communities with the opportunity to learn English. In this initiative, I set up new English classes within the communities, monitored the progress of English literacy classes, enhanced the existing UNHCR English literacy syllabus and developed student learning outcome assessment and student feedback survey. In all, the inter-disciplinary nature of this internship distinctly made linkages and relevance to the different major of academic studies that I have come to learn in SMU. Working with UNHCR has not only driven my interest in developmental work to the next level, I have also grown into a more informed person who has gained a better understanding of international issues and challenges.



Taomi village evangelist By Ho Si Min

By Aashna Nasta Glitter, glam and paparazzi – the 3 essential ingredients of a successful fashion show. The audience judges the show based on these ingredients; however it’s only the backstage crew who feels the sweat of the show. Last summer, I experienced the show backstage at the Indian International Jewellery Week. While most of the ‘running around’ took place on the final day, the pre show preparations lasted over a month. As an assistant, my profile ranged from sending out press releases to the media to co-ordinating rehearsal timings with the choreographer and models. (While we cry over school’s group meeting schedules, this was ten times worse!) Being a diligent reader of Vogue, my excitement level was exaggerated in the midst of the designers and celebrities. Watching the models flatter the runway with their

perfect stride in impeccable couture jewellery and outfits left me jaw dropping. The perfection on the ramp starkly contrasts with the chaos backstage, with make-up artists, designers, models and stage crew trying to maintain a balance between model tantrums and ensuring the smooth running of the show. The best part about the job was that it wasn’t that 9am-5pm-desk job. I was on call throughout the day and my work involved travelling around Mumbai and interacting with eminent Indian personalities. Taking a different route from the clichéd corporate internships gave me a great opportunity to explore the non-glam branch of the fashion industry.

My official job role is an English tourguide at Paper Dome, Taomi Village, Puli Township, Nantou, Central Taiwan for 7 weeks. However, my actual role is more than just that –photographer, blogger, internet marketer, basically a Taomi-Village evangelist. Taomi Village, where Paper Dome is located, is a small agricultural village, on the verge of decline. In 1999, it was badly damaged by the 9.21 earthquake, but choosing not to wallow in sorrow, the people of Taomi turned crisis into opportunity by not only rebuilding their hometown but also rebranding it. The Taomi Village we see now prides itself as an eco-village, the model of environmental conservation in Taiwan. After living here for several weeks, I am inspired by the strength and resilience displayed by the villagers of Taomi and feel that I’m obliged to be its advocate, to spread the Taomi philosophy of co-existing with nature to the rest of the world. Whereas for the Paper Dome, it is a new addition to the village, its story spans across 2 earthquakes and is a symbol of love and mutual assistance between Japan and Taiwan. Ever since, I’ve started an English blog to document my observations of Paper Dome and Taomi, as well as to advertise Taomi on the Internet, especially the English-based tourism sites. This is especially because in this part of Taiwan, English is not a very pervasive language and there are not many that can speak it (I’m their only English tour-guide). I think it is a pity, not to let the rest of the world appreciate this beautiful place and hence I love my job as a Taomi-Village-evangelist.

“Taking a different route from the clichéd corporate internships gave me a great opportunity...”

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When I agreed to spend three weeks of the hottest month of the Indian summer in the villages of Rajasthan, the desert state of India, I did not know that it would turn out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The internship was on a project about the Public Distribution System (PDS) in India. PDS is a government programme that is supposed to provide food at extremely low and subsidised rates to the rural poor of India. I worked with several other students on a survey about PDS that was aimed at gathering accurate data for the study of the effectiveness and implementation of PDS. My team was sent to Rajasthani villages where we went house to house talking to the villagers and collecting information about what the households were receiving under PDS. Over the three weeks, we visited 12 villages in the state, and talked to more than 130 households. I met some of the poorest people – households that could afford to spend barely S$50-70 in a month to meet their basic needs. Yet, the people never hesitated to of-

fer us meals or serve us water despite the fact that every roti we ate would mean one less roti for their family, and every pot of water we finished would mean another hour-long walk to the well to get more. Taking care of guests was such an intrinsic part of their culture that the cost of hospitality was irrelevant. We saw the villagers’ lack of faith in the government born out of years of dealing with corrupt officials and power-hungry politicians. We saw the force of the caste system, which we tend to forget in cities in India but which is still very much alive in the villages. We slept on open roofs of houses that had no electricity or running water; went to the “bathroom” in the fields; walked around the village all day in the scorching, 45-degree summer; travelled on buses ten times more crowded than Singapore MRT at peak hour. It was uncomfortable, but this glimpse into the lives of the poor gave me a better understanding of my country than I would ever get by living in the city, and I truly value that.

Sojourn rural India into


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By Sumedha Jalote



internship in

SHANGHAI By Megan Lim Going on an overseas internship in Shanghai felt like years of preparation coming to fruition. From reciting Chinese poetry at a young age, to taking China Studies as an ‘A’ level subject, to specializing in writing about China in my political science essays. Boarding the plane over, I carried with me an expectant and eager-to-learn heart towards this internship. True enough; the internship was an amazing experience owing it to the people, food, travel and work. As an international internee, I mingled with various nationalities, Chinese, Filipinos, Malays, Canadians, Indians and Swedes and established strong friendships. There was always an option to stick around with SMU interns,

but I decided to make a conscious effort to go beyond my comfort zone and broaden my horizons. Friendship forming can know no geographical boundaries!

Noticeably, some buildings in these provinces are purposefully maintained to have a traditional nostalgic flavour of being constructed low in height and narrow in pathways.

Eating was my favourite past time there, as it was both affordable and sumptuous! One of the best food places is “Grandmother” restaurant. We once ordered 33 dishes for 11 people, and it amounted to only SGD 9 per person. Good ambience, cheap food, for a good time!

Lastly and closest to my heart, work has been truly memorable for me. I worked directly under the Managing Director of an MNC. Undertaking small projects initially, I completed them with willingness and effort, and was gradually given more responsibilities to handle. Completing these projects, I learnt the importance of communication and stepped out of my comfort zone - communicating entirely in Chinese to my colleagues; forming friendships with my colleagues; always ready to go on business trips;

I travelled with my friends to different provinces during the weekends. These provinces hold great heritage value. We went to Suzhou and Hangzhou, water towns with beautiful lakes.

mobilize people on projects; tap on peoples' strengths and bring out the best in them. Yet no matter how challenging, I knew I was in safe hands, as every task was followed up with priceless guidance from the MD. Over time, from our almost-daily morning meeting talks, he became my boss, mentor, friend and strength.

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By Shobana Nadaraja “Is it a safe place to work?” that was the question posed to me when my friends heard about my internship at Singapore Prisons. I honestly had wondered too if the inmates were going to be violent and if my safety was going to be compromised. My supervisor, a psychologist, had teasingly joked about me sitting near the door during the counselling sessions so that I could run away if inmates became violent. There were many rules and regulations that had to be adhered to. I was not allowed to bring my hand phone, sweets or even a filled water bottle into the office. They had my picture stored in a database, which would appear while scanning my thumbprint in different locations. I was attached to the Psychological & Counselling Services Branch for youth offenders. In summary, my job scope involved observing numerous counselling sessions and doing research. I felt I was sitting in a SMU class as these inmates were around my age. The exception was that they addressed me as ‘Ma’am’. My stereotypical view of them changed gradually as most of them were polite and sincere about turning over a new leaf. Yes, some had

disciplinary issues but they were the minority. After each respective counselling session, I attended debriefing sessions where observations were shared. I was delighted when these inmates warmly welcomed me into the group while sharing their personal and confidential information. Psychologists/counsellors explained after the sessions that this meant I was fully trusted, a privilege that not everyone can get from the inmates. As for my research, I had the wonderful opportunity of presenting my findings for almost half an hour to a group of fifteen psychologists and counsellors in an important meeting. We had a Q&A session after the presentation in which my voice was treated equal to that of this experienced audience. My stint at Singapore Prisons was a lifetime opportunity where I had an upfront view of prison cells, the living conditions of inmates and direct interaction with inmates. I met many inspiring mentors who taught me patiently and further ignited my passion to major in Psychology.


Issue 14 The Blue and Gold

By Shobana Nadaraja

outside academia outside


“What am I alive for?” – was the question which propelled Benjamin Loh Chiang Lai, a final year Accountancy student to seek his answers. Since the awakening of this realization, Benjamin has been involved in numerous projects outside academics. Benjamin is currently one of the youngest Associate Certified Coaches (ACC) of the International Coach Federation (ICF) in Singapore and Asia Pacific, whereby he has coached more than twenty clients on an individual basis. One of his most memorable and fulfilling coaching moments was when he worked with a client, who was almost twice his age, on a 7 weeks project to rekindle his strained marriage. His client realized that the many unsaid and unmet expectations between his wife and him were contributing to their marital dissolution. Benjamin lent a listening ear to him and advised his client on ways to rebuild his relationship with his wife. This was further made meaningful when “for the first time my client penned a love song and sang it to his wife who was moved to tears”, shared Benjamin. Issues that Benjamin works on with clients include coaching students on career options, entrepreneurs in starting up their businesses, relationship-related

issues and communications projects. Benjamin has not only been the Ambassador for the SMU School of Accountancy Programme, ‘It’s all about Social and Ethical Responsibility’ but also represented Singapore as the Ambassador for the ‘Commonwealth Youth Ambassadors for Positive Living’ and ‘ASEAN + 3 Youth Festival.’ He emerged as the Champion in the ‘YMCA Youth for Causes 2009 Competition’. In addition, he received the ‘Ikeda Peace Award (2009 & 2010)’ from the Singapore Soka Association, ‘Stars of SHINE (2010)’ from the National Youth Council and the ‘Youth Endeavour Award’ by Mendaki Club. These are some of the many non-academic achievements Benjamin takes pride in. When asked about his recent and upcoming involvements, Benjamin mentioned that he is one of the 2 delegates to represent Singapore from over 1400 interested youths in the Asia Youth Summit 2011. This will be held in New Delhi from 17th to 23rd July. He, together with 59 other youth delegates selected from around Asia would be setting up initiatives for issues that are both of global and regional concern. While many of us are still cracking our heads as to what modules to bid for in the coming semester, Benjamin will be sitting on the Youth Pre-Conference Committee as a member to advise the steering committee of possible events for the 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) which will be held in 2012. “Benjamin, can you please walk properly? We don’t need hopping penguins on stage!” his teacher had jokingly commented during a rehearsal for a prize-giving ceremony when he was eleven years old. That incident had paralyzed him more than anything else. Nevertheless, now in addition to his involvement in the global scene, Benjamin is also in the process of being the founder of a public speaking training company and a Non-Profit Organization (NPO) to provide young people with more confidence and stage presence. Beyond that, he believes that one’s personality can be manifested through their speech and that is when their true self shines. He owes his source of inspiration to his personal mentors and international

speakers, Darren La Croix and Jim Key, both World Champion public speakers. Benjamin does not shy away from the fact that similar to many students, he sometimes falters and gives in to procrastination. Nevertheless, he attempts to stay on top of things with “discipline and schedules” as much as possible. He has clarity as to why and what he is doing ultimately and that keeps him driven and motivated throughout. When posed with the question if GPA is all that important, Benjamin frankly replies, “Importance is relative to what you value.” Willingly, he tells me that he had been getting Cs for some of his accountancy modules in year 2 and one of the reasons could have been his lack of willingness or ability to do better (or both). “To me, a high GPA is a reflection of aptitude in academics and a stepping stone for greater endeavours, but it becomes dangerous when you measure your self-worth with the three numbers”. However, he reiterates that his heavy involvement in non-academic areas is not the result of him undervaluing the worth of GPA but due to his passion for social activism and public speaking, the two areas he considers the most important in his life. He mentions some of his academic achievements in tertiary competitions such as being the Champion in ‘SMU EyE Cashflow 101’ and ‘Singapore HR Challenge 2011’. He was even ‘Best Presenter’ in the latter. Benjamin acknowledged that he would have been better off pursuing another degree, that of Social Science or Business, given the increased relatedness of these degrees to his activities outside of SMU. Initially, he had chosen an Accountancy degree for “practical aspects”, but soon he learned that “this isn’t the life I want to see myself waking up to every morning for the rest of my living years, regardless of how lucrative the rewards may seem.” Despite his numerous attempts to convince the Dean of School of Business and even the Provost of SMU for a degree switch, he was unable to do so as his GPA was not fulfilling the required criteria. This has been a huge regret for him. Nevertheless, he continues to live his life by continually being involved in things that he truly loves doing, outside of SMU.

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If two roads diverged in a wood, would you take the one less travelled? This is not a difficult question to answer if you have lived in a predominantly risk averse society for most of your life. The answer is probably no. From childhood right through our early adult years, we have been supervised, tutored and guided extensively to follow a perversely structured path. Yet, we often face a disorderly and unstructured world when we enter the job market. The Straits Times reported in May this year that fortune tellers have seen up to a 50% increase in the number of young clients. Forget the cliché questions on love and life partners. Queries have deviated from the norm and ventured to life changing ones such as ‘Is this course of study suitable for me ?’ Entering university is a significant turning point for most students. Just like a traveler who needs to decide which road to take, there are difficult choices to be made when picking the course of study. Most undergraduates choose based on their own interests; parents’ advice or estimated future earnings. Fortunately, most end up picking the right course. It may be their course of interest or one which they grow to enjoy. However, what is in it for those who have made a wrong choice? Regret is inevitable as they recall the possibilities once available to them and realize that they are unlikely to be able to turn back and make the decision again. Reality hits hard in this orderly system where there is little room for mistakes, or wrong choices. Taking a wrong step may mean lagging behind or being eliminated from the rat race. More often than not, this means losing precious years that could be spent pursuing a course that the student could have excelled in due to interest. Not all is lost for those who made a switch. Siva shankari Kaleemuthu, formerly an Accounting student in SMU, decided to take the leap and switch to study Law in University of Nottingham. When asked why she had made the switch, Siva recounts “After doing a couple of Accounting modules in my first year, I realised that Accounting was not my cup of tea. Also, at-


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tempting the Business Law module in Year 1 sparked my interest in law and instigated my decision to make the switch.”

However, this was not a straightforward choice. “It was a very difficult decision indeed,” Siva commented.“I still recall only accepting Nottingham on the very last day. After spending almost every single day of my first year in school, SMU had grown to be my second home. It was rather unsettling to leave my comfort zone and my established social circle behind,” she says, recounting her decision making process. One may fear lagging behind fellow peers by embarking on a new degree when others have already finished a year. This is not an invalid concern. Besides, believing that nothing one ever learns goes to waste, Siva also shared that one of her primary considerations for making the switch was whether she could graduate together with her peers. This led her to choose the three year undergraduate law program. Switching courses requires much courage. As Siva recommended, “Be very sure that is what you want and check if the school you're heading to is a well-reputed one.” It is not wrong to spend time deciding if the switch should be made now, later or not at all. When asked if she regrets her decision, her response was ambivalent. “Yes and no. No, because I really enjoy reading law. Yes, because I have realised that I really love the fast-paced SMU culture and its seminar-style of teaching.” In the journey of life, tough choices will always have to be made. Right or wrong, we must learn to accept the outcome of our choices and make the best out of our current circumstances. The advocates of individualism often encourage people to find their passion and pursue it. But not many at ages as young as eighteen can delve inwards and find a developed inner self that will lead them to make correct choices. Therefore, besides offering internships for students contemplating university courses, only time can give more maturity and wisdom to make better choices, and more importantly, to deal with them.


Fu Yingliang discusses the importance of making a bold move


having FAITH to follow

In 2009, 5th year Social Science student, Gladys Chung Mei Xue went to East Timor, a third world nation, as part of her church’s first Youth Missionary Team. She actually took an entire academic year off to spread the message of religion and love!

her CALL Deborah Lim finds out why Gladys Chung took one whole academic year off

For Gladys, it all started in 2005 when she went to East Timor for a two-week long mission trip. “It was the rawness of East Timor that hooked me… the sense that I could make a real change in these people’s lives” said Gladys. East Timor then had just come out of a traumatic period of mass killings and political instability like that of a nascent independent country. While the thought of going back always stayed with her, it was only when she heard a specific calling to go for Missions in East Timor, did she decide to embark on this year long journey. For Gladys who was under 21 at that time, there were definitely many obstacles that prevented her from going, such as, getting her parents’ permission and getting approval for Leave of Absence when it seemed almost impossible. “The Associate Dean of Social Sciences actually told me that I was the first student he had ever met to request for a Leave of Absence based on this nature,” recalled Gladys. Determined, Gladys was able to jump over the hurdles to make the Mission trip happen. She went through three months of full time training for the Mission. Her Youth Team learnt skills like building a church as well as adapting to the no-creature comfort lifestyle. In March of 2009, Gladys and the Youth Team officially started their Mission in East Timor where they helped out at the local international church, and carried out community service to reach out to the people there. The Mission field was not a vacation of course; it took a lot of passion, determination and endurance to stay for ten months in East Timor. “The first month there was the hardest” she acknowledged. She had been missing her family, had fallen ill and was prepared to go back home.

Nevertheless, with support from her family, she stayed on to complete what she had aspired to. “My mum, who at first was so against me going for my Mission, would write letters or send SMSes to say ‘You have to remember what called you here… that’s why you have to stick to it and finish it’,” recounted Gladys. Hard as it was, being ‘isolated’ from her busy city life in Singapore and placed in a place with a totally different culture, language and living conditions helped Gladys experience so much more of life. “You cannot go for a trip like that and go through all of that and come back the same person, you just can’t…” replied Gladys when asked about how the Mission had changed her. It has been a year since she came back to Singapore to continue her studies at SMU. Despite her yearlong leave, she has not once felt that she missed out on anything. On the contrary, she feels that she has gained much more and has had many more opportunities opened up to her. Having such a unique real world experience under her belt has also enabled her to participate in class better by providing more in-depth contributions. For other youths who may be interested to go for a Mission trip like Gladys, she advises them to 1) Go in with their eyes open 2) Be clear about your purpose: Know why and what you are doing this for 3) Do it while you are still young “When you’re young and in school, that’s the best time to do it, there will always be new responsibilities that present themselves even after you graduate”. Gladys may have missed out on Graduation Night with her peers, but when asked if she has ever regretted her decision, she said that she would never trade this experience for anything else, “If I didn’t take that year off, I would never have been the person I am today”.

The Blue and Gold Issue 14




the silk road on a

bamboo By Sim Wei Xuan

Here is one guy whose summer was really different from the typical summer SMU students have. Fourth-year LKCSB undergraduate Chuah Sun Soon chose to eschew the norm and spent his summer break blazing his own trail. Armed with a self-built bamboo bike and a whole lot of guts, he embarked on 3,400 km journey to trace the Silk Road, going through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in the Central Asia region. Even more incredibly, he went on the trip alone. Talk about the adventure of a lifetime! People thought he was crazy when he first brought up the idea of a bamboo bike while in the army. A mechanical engineering graduate from Temasek Polytechnic, Sun Soon had always shown an inclination for machine


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design and development. Besides being lightweight and strong, the use of bamboo also symbolizes a return to the basics and simplicity, while being environmentally friendly. This expedition, named the ‘Circle of Life’, is not just a personal adventure but is also a social enterprise scheme comprising of eco-tourism, the production of bamboo bikes and a training program to help others start their own sustainable projects. Sun Soon concedes that the journey was actually much tougher than he had expected. The difficult terrain and harsh weather conditions really tested his spirit. He recounts a close shave where sand got into his eyes during a sandstorm. After his eyes finally cleared, he found himself precariously



near an edge and veered off just in time. He and his bike suffered a fall and he sustained minor injuries. Adding to the difficulty of the harsh terrain was the fact that his bamboo bike had only six gears, compared to a typical expedition bike that is equipped with 27 gears for precise handling. He also had to endure diarrhea, vomiting and fever during the trip. Despite these tough conditions, Sun Soon counts himself fortunate to have a circle of supportive friends and family back in Singapore. They constantly encouraged him via the ‘Circle of Life’ Facebook page and kept tabs on his journey through his updates. Three of his friends also helped to run the expedition’s local programs while he was on the road.

Prior to his expedition along the Silk Road, Sun Soon undertook a similarly dangerous trip from India to Russia on a motorbike. He has also travelled from Moscow to Singapore via Mongolia, making the trip using trains, buses and boats. All this definitely sounds extraordinary. But Sun Soon insists that he is just another ordinary guy. “Regardless of your aim, just do it and follow your goal - on the condition it is really what you want. Therefore, it is important to spend some time for yourself to know what you want and not be influenced by social pressure. Give it your best and eventually courage will follow. I am really no different from any of you but found something I want and put my mind to it.”

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By Nitha Sri Has the media warped our thinking on what defines a true man? I asked a few girls and boys in SMU for their thoughts on what type of sport would define a ‘real man’, and all of them seemed to laude sports that placed men in muscles on a pedestal. However, after watching the National Champions cycling race a couple of weeks ago, I beg to differ. What truly makes a man would not be the ‘malignant growths’ he has on his arms, but instead mental strength- his ability to place mind over matter. Such men can be found in a few sports; but not much light is shone upon men who become professional cyclists- the true underdogs. MYTH: It’s just like riding a bike. There is nothing so cool about it. FACT: There is nothing easy about riding a bike competitively.

Riding professionally implies a very demanding lifestyle that virtually requires 365 days, 24 hours long commitment and sacrifice. This could explain why there are only a handful of pro-cyclists in SMU. One of these men of endurance is Marcus Leong, who cycles for the OCBC Singapore team. "It's not a sport that earns you a whole lot of money," says S. Komaresan, an avid cyclist who now cycles with the Ascenders Team. Komaresan used to cycle for SACA, but when he had to choose between studying and becoming a professional cyclist, he picked the former. “The salary drawn by a professional cyclist is nowhere near to what the athletes in the ‘BigFour’ sports (Football, Basketball, Hockey and Baseball) earn. The harsh reality is that the life of a pro-cyclist is far from glamorous, and with such a pay, you can’t sustain this in a country like Singapore. Cyclists literally eat cycling, sleep cycling, live cycling and travel cycling every single day.” An ardent fan of the Tour de France, Komaresan tells me that cyclists like him and Marcus typically ride their bikes for twice as many miles as the average person drives their car each year. They put in about twenty thousand to twenty-five thousand training and racing miles into their pockets, per annum. That is a whole lot of time on the saddle, and it all begins with training.


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training Komaresan spends an average of 2 to 6 hours per day riding. During the offseason months, he dedicates another hour in the gym, lifting weights to build leg and core strength. Generally, pro-cyclists would receive a training schedule for their team which is customized to the type of cyclists they are- a powerful sprinter, a lithe climber or an all rounder who does both with equal aplomb- as well as the type of races in which they will compete. During the initial phases of training, cyclists would spend many hours on their bike on long rides, to hit about sixty percent of their maximum heart rate. This is known as base training, and it forms the essential foundation of fitness. After a month or two of base rides, they push their heart rate to seventy-five to eighty percent of the maximum in the form of intervals, which vary in length and intensity. For instance, it could range from a short and explosive 10 second sprint to as long as an hour on a long hill. Prerace phase would see cyclists doing intervals on hills and flat terrains at high intensity that are two to fifteen minutes in length, using about ninety to hundred percent of maximum heart rate. “During the off season, we take a break from the bike, but not for too long. Some of us do substitute it for other exercises. For me, I either run with my friends or I take my mountain bike out to the Tampines Trail or Bukit Timah for some cross training. This helps us stay on track and ensures a smoother return to the training on our road bikes,” says Komaresan.

eating Cyclists hold true to the saying, “You are what you eat”, and their diet requires wholesome healthy food and discipline. Pros typically consume an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, plenty of carbohydrates from pasta, rice and potatoes, and protein for muscle growth, repair and recovery. “When I am doing long rides on Saturday and Sunday, I eat food that has low GI (Glycemic Index) like Pasta, as it helps me store energy for the long ride. I don’t eat junk food or bad fats, which sometimes makes it difficult especially when my girlfriend bakes her awesome lava cakes! I don’t really drink hard liquor, but I do have a glass of wine once in a while during dinner”, says Komaresan. Cyclists know that what they eat today fuels their race tomorrow. Cyclists like Komaresan typically burn up to an average of two thousand calories during trainings (the average diet consists of two thousand to three thousand calories per day), hence replenishing their bodies with the right food is vital. Although he mentions that he gains weight after races, he knows that he will end up losing it when he is back on his training regime.

lifestyle Komaresan’s life sounded exciting as he shared with me his travel plans during the summer break. “I don’t take up the summer terms like the rest of my friends, because summer is just purely dedicated to cycling. It is not as exciting as you think it is… We travel in a ‘bubble’. We’re usually so exhausted that we only see the hotels, airports and race circuits”. When he raced with SACA, Komaresan travelled to various countries to train. He shares his best experience, which was in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. “While cycling, it was a norm to see snakes trying to get to the other side of the road, but not being able to make it because they die in the heat while trying to cross”. Each summer, the Ascenders Team would organize road trips to Desaru, Genting or Fraser Hill to do long laps of cycling training. “My dream would be to go on exchange to Belgium or Switzerland and bring my bike along. These countries make the best training grounds,” he says. Adding in a dose of dry humor, Komaresan is pretty sure about what he loves the most about cycling. “I ride in tights and walk around in them most of the day. It does not get any cooler than that!”

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Stephanie Yow addresses the question of whether entrepreneurship has become the road less traveled in SMU. 1. As someone who is already within the entrepreneurial circle, what is your view on the level of passion that SMU students have in becoming an entrepreneur these days?

Marcus Wong (SOE), Co-founder of Marcellie, an online retail boutique with a social mission

Ivan Chang (LKCSB), Co-founder of Lindy, Ivan & Partners LLP, an accountancy and tax practice At first glance, it seems that we have become a school population of ‘SMUggers’. We spend lazy weekday afternoons tucked away in a glasshouse that overlooks the bustling lanes of Bras Basah- studying, reading and eating, while remaining hunched over our laptops. To an outsider, such a sight would not immediately give the impression that SMU shapes creative and entrepreneurial leaders, something which is a part of our university’s mission. A brief interview with four student entrepreneurs rekindled a hope that this enterprising spirit still runs through the veins of the university. These dynamic individuals provide us with insights of how they juggle academics, their personal life and their own businesses.


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Ivan: I think SMU students are a really passionate bunch and eager in starting up their own enterprises. As the CEO of SMU Ventures, I had the great privilege to work with many amazing students and their next big ideas. What I find really exciting about the level of entrepreneurship activity in the school community is that this whole scene is really underground. Marcus: I feel that a good number of SMU students whom I’ve met have a desire to start their own businesses. In fact, by knowing many students who have taken such a step, I was motivated to want to do the same. I believe that entrepreneurship is a growing trend among SMU students. Leong Yee: I would say most of the students here are eager these days. Just look at the business talks held in school – they’re always filled. Besides that, some friends around me are always coming up with new ideas and participating in business-related competitions. Shiva: I think SMU has already provided the perfect platform for students to come forward and pursue entrepreneurship their own way. However, even though the passion is much higher than in any other local context, I still think more students can come forward and start their own projects. We have a great culture going in the past 10 years, and it would be interesting to see what sort of entrepreneurial culture SMU develops in the next 10 years.

2. What made you decide to become an entrepreneur, despite being aware of the associated risks (grades, social life, finances, etc.)? Ivan: There are many aspects of me that want to do a variety of things. The risk-taking aspect urged me to jump off buildings and planes, and even swim with great white sharks! The logic aspect saw me completing my Accountancy studies during NS- a bit less exciting. I guess it’s really a combination of all these factors that pulled me to be an entrepreneur. There is really no other job in the world that gives you sensibility, but lets you take measured risk at the same time! Marcus: I'm a guy who likes to challenge myself, and I don't fancy doing the same old thing over and over again. Starting a business, in my opinion, results in a life that will constantly revolve around changes, improvements and challenges, due to the everevolving society and economy. Leong Yee: Starting a business was one of my goals. It stemmed from a competition in 2006, when I was selected to represent my school. I had also built up my confidence level after going through 1.5 years of intensive trainings with different coaches and institutions. Besides that, I’m always passionate about what I'm doing, and I believe in myself. Shiva: It wasn’t an incredibly well thought out decision on my part (surprise surprise). I thought I was a business student, so logically I would understand business better if I started my own thing. Since the opportunity presented itself, I took it. It’s an experiment in self-development.


3. With regards to juggling academics, your personal life and your own business, could you kindly share some sacrifices that you have made? Ivan: Where do I even begin? I manage a little Accountancy and Tax Practice business that requires me to fly relatively often. Usually I can arrange these for the weekend, but on certain occasions I have to fly during lesson time, so this requires detailed planning. In terms of academics and personal life, I always see my timetable as a pie chart. If I want to devote more time to my business, the personal and academic portion will shrink naturally. Marcus: I guess I learned the hard way that taking on too much is not necessarily good, and thus I have had to make the painful decision of removing some stuff out of my life. But I wouldn't call them sacrifices; instead, I would see them as part of the growing and learning process of being an entrepreneur. You try some things and sometimes they succeed, sometimes they fail. We learn from it and then move on, no looking back. Leong Yee: I hang out less with friends and sometimes work overnight. Shiva: My peace of mind. I always end up thinking about how to add on to my business or do things differently. I also manage to make my significant other of six years significantly exasperated, because I can’t spend enough time with her. But I think all these are just short term, because I don’t know how to handle things as of yet. I attribute them to a lack of focus and bad time management.

4. Any words of wisdom for other aspiring student entrepreneurs? Ivan: Find a mentor and listen! I can't stress how important that is. For years I was working without an experienced guide. While I did OK, I missed out on a lot- from selling at the right time, to knowing when to say no to deals. A mentor (preferably an entrepreneur himself/herself with industry knowhow) really helps you speed up your learning curve. Yes, you will still make losses, and it's not going be smooth sailing, but having a mentor makes being an entrepreneur much more manageable. Marcus: Do something you enjoy, because passion will carry you through when all hope seems lost. It is also important that you find someone or a group of people who share the same vision and start something with them. Even though you may fail at times, keep going. Read up, learn more and surround yourself with wise and/or experienced people. Humility to learn will go a long way in moulding you into a better businessman and person. After all, I'm still learning. Leong Yee: Learn to perceive opportunity, have courage to take action and believe in yourself. Shiva: Go out there, start your own thing, get your a** kicked, or kick some a**.

Ng Leong Yee (SOE), Founder of Shiva Rai (LKCSB) Aspire Designs, Co-founder of Pla- an innovative to’s Cave, a comweb design and munal learning web development platform that aims company to make learning affordable and accessible to all

The Blue and Gold Issue 14



We keep you up to date on the school: • Adapting The Answer • Cranes For Hope • APEX Global

Section design by Ariel Nguyen


ADAPTING, THE ANSWER? NO, JUST THE EXPLANATION. The arguments are not unique, but Tim Harford puts them across in an accessible manner during his talk at SMU. by Owen Tan Tim Harford, a columnist on economics for Financial Times, bestselling author, and presenter on BBC’s Trust Me, I’m an Economist, has a resume that can be matched by few individuals. His 2005 book, The Undercover Economist, was not merely an opinion, but a foundation that his subsequent book, The Logic of Life, was built on. In his books Mr Harford explains that most of the time, humanity behaves rationally. He also states in his books that economics - surprise, surprise - can explain everything about life. Invited to SMU to promote his new book, Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure, Mr Harford provided a well-defined, if hardly jaw-dropping, hypothesis: The world is incredibly complicated, yet we are able to handle the world’s complexities through an inbuilt human habit of adaptation to circumstances. As with his previous books, Mr Harford takes difficult social concepts and simplifies them by making use of practical examples. During the talk, he cites Thomas Thwaites, the unfortunate postgraduate student who unsuccessfully attempts to recreate a toaster “from scratch” - procuring raw metal and trying to fashion something that eventually looked more like a poorly shaped birthday cake. Finally, when he trietd to plug in the “toaster” to the mains, “the toaster was toast”. This, despite the fact that Thwaites spent months trying to make a toaster on his own. It is a fascinating example, although upon reflection one might wonder if a certain Sir Isaac Newton had not already described the complexity of the world with greater succinctness: “If I have seen further than others,” he said, “It is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” But with a book that is titled in such a manner, it is perhaps inevitable that Mr Harford must adapt the old adage and make it even more accessible to today’s crowd. Another point Mr Harford mentioned during the talk was about how it is crucial that a system must have a setting that is conducive for “experimentation” to improve and to thrive. Mr Harford offers, as an example, the success of Google Labs because it has em-

powered its employees to make use of 20% of their time to do whatever it is they want to do that was not part of their job scope. “We look at Google as this really successful company,” Mr Harford said. “Yet it is really its failures that have made it so successful. Google is a failure-tolerant company.” It is a point that is driven across very often in the self-improvement and popular business realm: that failing often is, in fact, beneficial. But, Mr Harford has a disclaimer - fail in a survivable way (which, really, means not starting a business by maxing out three credit cards). Well, of course. At least a paralysed warrior has the ability to tell tales to the young ones; the dead warrior has no benefit. These points are not inaccurate as much as they are just too obvious. But it is a final point that he made during the question-and-answer session that seemed, in my opinion, to expose the fact that the arguments put forth in Adapt are neither breakthrough nor recent. Defending the bailout of the major American banks in the global financial crisis, Mr Harford said that the banking system had become too convoluted and too “tightly coupled”, and when the banks collapse everything will fall like “a row of dominoes”. The “coupling” problem is also known as centrality, and sociology has already explained this phenomenon several times over the last few decades. I may be, however, being too harsh: Mr Harford never claims to have found the “answer” to the phenomena of life, but just to explain things in a better way. His talk was engaging, humorous, and to the point; he struck me as a very likeable man who loves to explain, well, everything. The arguments he put forth may not be fresh or unique, but they were certainly sound and well-presented; besides, the autographed copy of Adapt that is sitting on my desk might just make me change my mind.

The Blue and Gold Issue 14



According to an ancient Japanese legend, fold a thousand paper cranes and your wish will be granted.

Cranes for Hope, an initiative by The Bar (SMU Law Society), was founded on this idea. The challenge: fold 3,000 cranes in 9 days. Besides expressing encouragement and support for the Japan earthquake victims, the aim was to raise funds for the relief efforts. For every crane folded, our partner law firm, Colin Ng & Partners LLP, pledged to donate $2 to the quake relief efforts, thereby raising a total of $6,000. Adding to that, the lawyers made individual contributions, as part of the firm’s internal fundraising drive. The programme sparked off with a casual suggestion that as law students, we should “do something”. This resonated with The Bar’s management committee, and after some brainstorming, Cranes for Hope was birthed. 3,000 cranes would be no easy feat though, given the School of Law’s relatively small student population. Moreover, this was during the period of Week 13 and 14. Many students were trying to tackle the mountain of accumulated readings and get their notes into exam-ready condition. Their most precious commodity was time, which was what Cranes for Hope demanded. Though daunting, the target was hit. The paper cranes were strung together to form a beautiful mobile, which was displayed at Level 3 of the School of Law. A ceremony to launch the display was held on 8 April, Friday. Ms Tan Min-Li, managing partner of Colin Ng & Partners LLP, pre-


Issue 14 The Blue and Gold

sented a cheque for $6,000 to the head of the Singapore Red Cross Fund Raising & Volunteer Development division, Mr Benjie Ng. To get students folding, e-mail publicity alone would not suffice. The Bar’s management committee went to various law classes, distributing packets of colourful origami paper and demonstrating the crane-folding technique. Most professors were supportive; one even insisted that each student had to fold a crane before leaving class, jokingly threatening to dock their class participation marks if they failed to comply. In the first few days, the response was overwhelming. The crane collection box outside the Bar room filled up rapidly. Everywhere, law students were seen folding cranes – in the library, outside seminar rooms, and even in the classroom itself. Things slowed down slightly during reading week, but we steadily progressed towards the target. “It was especially heartening to see students folding cranes while poring over their books during the crucial period leading up to our final exams. We are very grateful to Colin Ng & Partners LLP for partnering us in this initiative!” said Clarence Kang, President of The Bar, 4th Management Committee.



An international Business–IT case competition supported by Deloitte Analytics.

Adaptation done by: Deborah Lim

Twenty-seven competing schools from fourteen countries, twenty-four hours to deliberate, and one case centering the crisis of a shipping company crippled by the 2007 financial downturn. That was the challenge posed to participants of APEX Global 2011, a 5 day Business-IT case competition event organized by SMU and sponsored by Deloitte Analytics, earlier in May this year. Among the many business case competitions that SMU students get to participate in, APEX Global may very well be considered one of the most sought after and one that is held on the largest scale. SMU professors worked with experts from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited to conceive the case, and participating teams took on the roles of Deloitte consultants, challenged to analyze and interpret business-related data, and then use it in their decision-making process. Beyond this, the Director of Forensic Services, Mr. Kobus Beukes from Deloitte also conducted a mentoring session with the semifinalists to provide his expertise and guidance.

Wai, Liu Han and Lui Sing Lui, winners from The University of Hong Kong. “From this competition, we learnt a lot and understood how to sell a feasible business case and how to sell an IT solution. Matching the technology with the needs or problems of the case is really crucial in making progress in the field of business analytics. The judges were inspiring and asked astute questions that further probed us into changing and improving our solution as we advanced through the rounds.” Judging from the post-competition comments, it seems that APEX is a Team Target (Champion) from The University of Hong Kong - From left to right: Tim great opportunity for students to apPhillipps, Indranil Bose (Coach), Liu Han, Chan Chi Wai, Lui Sing Lui, Steven Miller ply their classroom knowledge, hone (Dean of School of Information Systems, SMU) their business acumen, and make international friends along the way. It is no surprise why APEX Global Business competitions attract so many applicants each year.

A team of students from The University of Hong Kong eventually took home the grand prize of APEX Global 2011, sponsored and supported by Deloitte Analytics. The winning team members received a Motorola Xoom and a trophy, as well as an internship opportunity each with Deloitte. As to why Analytics was chosen was as the theme of this year’s competition, Tim Philips, Global Managing Partner of Deloitte Analytics and of Deloitte Forensic & Dispute Services explained, “(Analytics) is the flavor of the year and hopefully it’ll be for the next decade. It is important because it’s all about business insights we can provide to our customers that make a difference to their business.” “The case and information given were practical, highly complex and challenging,” said Chan Chi

Team Aspire (First Runner-up) from Copenhagen Business School - From left to right: Mads Wadstroem Christensen (Best Speaker), Mads Ertner Bukholt, Andreas Christian Nielsen

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This is an advertising feature brought to you by Prudential.

“My job as a Financial Consultant my relational and communication What have you learnt from this business? My job as a Financial Consultant has sharpened my relational and communication skills, as I need to meet people from different backgrounds. I have also been enriched by the different experiences shared by the people I have met in the course of my work. Most importantly, I have learnt that success and work fulfillment is largely dependent on how much I want to achieve in my job.

What is your biggest achievement as Prudential Financial Consultant? To know that I can excel in what I task to do and being able to provide financial planning services to those who may need it at different stages of life. In terms of personal accomplishment, I am very heartened and very happy that my hard work is duly recognised. For instance, I was one of the top 10% of Prudential’s Financial Consultants (FC) and qualified for the Prudential’s President’s Club in 2007 which recognises the top 14 FCs that year. Having qualified for the President’s Club has led me to strongly believe that hard work, determination and believing in what you do, are important to achieve your goals.

Daphne Foo was one of many graduates from SMU and other universities that year who I interviewed for the role of Financial Consultant (FC) with Prudential. She had graduated with a degree in Accountancy and Finance and was seeking a fulfilling career to embark. I took the opportunity to tell her more about the challenges and rewards of a career as a Prudential FC. Every career has its own set of challenges and rewards and Daphne showed immense motivation to excel. She was looking for a career that will make a difference or an impact in people’s lives. And I am heartened that she has found it in her job. Daphne is today a Senior Financial Consultant, and has been performing well in her career. She is, in fact, among the top 10% of Financial Consultants in Prudential. It has been my privilege working with her and the rest of my team.

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has sharpened skills.� What did you find most gratifying about your career? I find it very gratifying when the FCs, whom I have developed and spent time training, doing well intheir careers and fulfilling their personal mission of providing others with suitable financial solutions to meet their needs.

What is your Career Aspiration? As a team manager, I want to grow and develop my team. Because I believe in building relationships, I would like to develop closer ties with my team and my customers.

Any advice to provide to the SMU graduates? Know your strengths and keep developing yourself to take on new work challenges. Having good interpersonal skills is extremely important too.

Gavin See

Senior Financial Services Manager







Where opinions get heard.


Find out what advice a graduate has to give to those of us still in school. Section design by Angeline Teo


Reflections of a graduate Written by Don Tan ment in SMU more interactive and stimulating as compared to what I had experienced before. The classroom settings, participation values and countless presentation opportunities have built vocal and confident individuals. This is further strengthened when you look at the vast number of scholarship and exchange opportunities offered to students.

When writing this article, I wondered what I could possibly offer that would be of value to you. I am not a scholar, nor an excellent sportsman, neither am I outstanding when it comes to my CCAs. While I was never the poster boy of success, I did just complete my fouryear course in SMU’s School of Information Systems, and I have over the years, collected gems of wisdom through experiences, successes and failures. These bits of wisdom (if you would call it), I thought, would be something worth sharing to give back to the SMU community, even more so to the freshmen, who have such a plethora of opportunities yet to experience in university. The proudest moment of my life was getting accepted into SMU, because I never thought that SMU would be willing to take a risk accepting unconventional students like myself. Having been through the older style of education in Polytechnic and a year of studying in the University of New South Wales, Australia, I found the course structure, lessons and environ-

I realised that as a student in SMU, there was always something to do. You could engage yourself in a CCA, OCSP, CSP, competition, workshop or even register for talks of really interesting topics like wine appreciation! There was so much to do, but so little time to do them, and I could not be involved in everything I wanted. Like the saying goes, “Doing less is more.” It is better if you do less and give your best rather than do a lot, to eventually realise that you are being devoured in the avalanche of work, missing out on the very purpose of taking up those activities in the first place. When it is all over, you will wonder why you have not done all that you could then. Essentially, it is important to have no regrets and to know that you have given your best. My advice to you is to do less, but make sure you do it well.

situation and surrounding was a more positive one. Here in SMU, projects are prevalent and having a positive mindset is extremely important because it helps you learn patience, collaboration, teamwork and interaction while tapping on each other’s strengths. This ensures not only successful completion of your projects, but also helps you to forge a strong ability to start and maintain lasting relationships. Malcolm Gladwell did write in his book, Outliers that, “… No one – not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires and not even geniuses – ever makes it alone.” Therefore, start making life-long friends now. Be patient, selfless and look at the bright side of things.

myself dreaming getting ‘A’s for all the courses I took. What I came to realise was that all these did not matter that much. What was more important was learning to manage my expectations well. It was also about being contented when I knew that I had done my best. For example, I was elated when my ‘Management Communications’ instructor told me that she was going to use a link I had sent to her on storytelling in her next class. I did not get an ‘A’ for the class but I was so glad that I contributed towards making a difference. Such is an example of memories that I wish to reminisce over in years to come. For me, I will always be grateful to SMU for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the SMU family. I appreciate every chance I have gotten to make a difference. I loved the learning and experiences gained over the past four years. More than that, I am truly blessed with the many wonderful friends that I came to know and who will be a part of my life for years to come.

Like the saying goes, “Doing less is more.”

“The course is terrible.” “I am not learning anything at all.” “My team mates cannot make it, they don’t contribute at all.” These were some thoughts I often caught myself having. In fact, in the army I was known as the ‘complain king’. In the midst of focusing on myself and being preoccupied with negativity, I lost much respect from friends and superiors, my integrity, creditability and most importantly, the ability to be contented and happy. In retrospect, I would have gained much more if my attitude towards the

My ‘Technology and World Change’ Professor once said “a nation would cease to progress if its people become complacent, proud, arrogant and selfconceited, the result of which being that the entire nation will cease to learn, to discover new breakthroughs and to grow. But if the people of a nation are hungry for knowledge and thirst to learn, the nation will grow prosperously.” Following his wise words, I honestly feel that humility is the winning attitude of success. In every situation, there is always something to learn, to pick up and to reinforce. Like most people, I often found myself wanting to do better. When I was in the ’Normal Academic” stream in secondary school, I was always coveting to get into the ‘Express’ stream. When I was in the Army, I wanted to get into OCS. In SMU, I often caught

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ask the financial expert a feature brought to you by Prudential.

Jeffrey is currently a Senior Financial Services Director in Prudential Assurance Company Singapore (Pte) Ltd (“Prudential”). His experience in the financial services industry spans over 25 years. He has won numerous prestigious industry awards such as the Agency Leader Award, President Club and Million Dollar Agency. Over the years, he has trained and developed numerous Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) producers, Master Financial Consultants and award winning Agency Leaders. With his wealth of experience, he is well-sought after as a speaker, trainer and motivator. Jeffrey is known for his passion and ability to motivate his team to achieve their fullest potential in work. He is a family man and aspires to be an exemplary to his loved ones and colleagues by leading a fulfilling life.

1) By the end of the month, I find myself broke. Where did all the money go? Record your expenditure for the month. You will then have a monthly summary of your fixed expenses (such as transportation, meals, monthly bills etc) and variable expenses (birthdays, short holidays, etc.). It will be useful to set an amount you plan to save monthly so that you can work towards your savings goal. You should also set for yourself a budget so that you will not overspend. If you want to save part of your income/allowance, you should consider putting aside at least 5 per cent to 10 per cent of it before spending the remainder, bearing in mind the budget that you are trying to keep.

2) Being a student, is it possible for me to plan for my graduation trip without my parents’ help? Yes, you can. You need to: a) Decide your destination (eg Europe) and work out the budget you need. b) Find out how much time you have to save for your graduation trip. For example, if you are a first year student, you may have 36 months to start disciplined savings before your graduation. c) Calculate your required monthly savings amount by: - Dividing your budget by the number of months you have before the trip (eg $5000 divide by 36 months : $138.90/m) - Dividing it further by the number of days per month. This amount will be the amount you need to save daily (eg $138.90 divide by 30 days: $4.60/day) d) Practise the Principle of ‘ Save first and spend later ‘ by saving this daily amount ($4.60) e) Be disciplined in your savings plan and you will find yourself in your graduation destination!

3) How will the new budget policies in the upcoming financial year affect me as a university student? As an undergraduate and someone who will soon enter the workforce, there will be direct and indirect benefits. To share the fruits of last year’s exceptional economic growth, the Government has an-


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nounced a series of initiatives. I have listed the following which have an impact to you as a student:

Growth Dividends Growth Dividends were given to all adult Singaporeans aged 21 years old and above in 2011. Singaporeans with lower incomes or who live in smaller homes will receive a larger Dividend. The majority of Singaporeans received amounts between $600 to $800 each. If you have served or is currently serving NS, including those below 21 years of age, you would also have received an additional $100 of Growth Dividend. Utilities-Save (U-Save) and Service & Conservancy Charges (S&CC) Rebate If your household had been a beneficiary to the above U-Save and S&CC rebates, this would have an indirect benefit to you. Athough the rebate may pale in comparison to your tuition fees, it is still a savings to your household! Raising Employer CPF Contribution Rate The employer CPF contribution rate will be raised by 0.5 percentage point, bringing the total CPF contribution rate to 36 per cent. This will be a direct advantage to you as you will likely be entering the employment market soon. This will help grow your CPF Funds for your retirement planning. Enhanced Bursaries for Polytechnic and University Students The Government will increase undergraduate and diploma bursaries. This initiative will benefit students from the lower to middle-income families. For instance, university students who are from the bottom one third of households, will benefit from an 80 per cent increase in bursaries from $1,600 a year currently to $2,900 a year. 4) With so many credit card plans in the market now that seem to be tailored to students, could you shed some light into the financial “traps” that we may be caught in if we do apply for such credit cards? Using a credit card to pay for expenses is convenient and taking up interest-free instalment plans are attractive to many of us. But if we become overly dependent on using credit cards and fail to realise the accumulated credit card expenses we have to pay, we may find ourselves in debt in time to come. What students can do to avoid this “trap” is to plan your budget wisely, spend within your means and know that you can be in control of your finances.

Section Design by Ariel Nguyen

WORLDSCOPE What’s happening beyond Singapore nowadays? The Blue and Gold fills you in on: • World News in a Flash

• The IMF’s Next Leader

• E. Coli Outbreak 2011


NEWS IN A FLASH U.K.: News of the World, a British tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch, has closed after being embroiled in a phone hacking scandal that revealed the tabloid’s illegal intrusions of privacy and unethical reporting. The tabloid had repeatedly hacked the phone of a missing British schoolgirl, Milly Dowler, who disappeared in 2002 and deleted messages after her voice box was full. This gave the family and investigators false hope that the girl was still alive. Previous investigations had found the tabloid guilty of intercepting phone messages of celebrities and politicians.

France: French Finance minister, Christine Lagarde, was named the first female IMF chief in June, after ex-chief Dominique Strauss Kahn resigned. He was accused of attempting to rape a housekeeper in New York. However, the case is on the verge of collapsing as new evidence has threatened the credibility of the housekeeper. Mr. Kahn has since been released from house arrest. Meanwhile, Mr. Kahn is countersuing French novelist Tristane Banon for slander after she accused him of attempted rape.


Issue 14 The Blue and Gold

Pakistan: Al Qaeda’s leader, Osama Bin Laden, was killed on May 2 by members of the US Navy Seals who raided his hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan. This operation has frayed US-Pakistan relations as speculation arises on how Osama could have escaped detection for so long when his hideout was near the Pakistan Military Academy. Osama’s death has also sparked concerns about possible terror attacks to revenge his death. US Congress Representative Anthony D. Weiner quits as member of the House after he admitted to having suggestive Internet communications with at least six women over the past three years. It is reported that he also sent them lewd photos. Weiner, who is married to Huma Abedin, the long time aide of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is expecting his first child with his wife.

Germany: has identified German vegetable sprouts as the cause behind one of the deadliest E coli outbreak. So far, the outbreak has claimed the lives of 31 people and made 3000 people ill. This comes after German authorities wrongly accused Spanish cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce as the culprits. This has resulted in Spanish farmers losing tens of millions of Euros in sales as demand plummeted.

Thailand: Ms Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra became Thailand’s first female premier after her Puea Thai Party won the elections in July. The new government is expected to take over by the first week of August. All eyes will be on whether Ms Yingluck’s government is able to carry forward with its promises of achieving reconciliation and economic progress. Her populist enticement to raise minimum wages by 40 per cent has already drawn flak for contributing to inflation and higher business costs. Also, the suggestion of amnesty for political crimes of her brother, Mr. Thaksin may result in further political hostilities.


Japan: Prime Minister Naoto Kan has survived a non-confidence vote in the Parliament after promising to step down when plans for recovery are in place. Months after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami which triggered one of the world’s worst nuclear crises, Japan is still in recovering. Prime Minister Kan has faced strong criticisms for the slow and inadequate response towards the handling of the crisis. Thousands of protestors have also staged demonstrations against the use of nuclear power in Japan as radiation continues to leak from nuclear power plants in Fukushima Dachii.

China: Chinese player Li Na became the first player from her country to win a Grand Slam title. Her victory was watched by approximately 116 million people back home. Li, at age of 29, has achieved success in an unconventional way by breaking free of China’s sports system. She took control of her own career by selecting her own coaches and was also allowed to retain most of her earnings.

Australia: Cattle exports to Indonesia have resumed following the enforcement of new regulations that will ensure the humane treatment of animals. This comes after the release of a video showing inhumane treatment of cattle in Indonesia. Animal rights activists have protested strongly after saying that the cattle were subjected to whipping, beating and maiming before slaughter. Indonesia tops Australia’s export market for cattle, with exports worth about 320 million Australian dollars.

The Blue & Gold Issue 13




The alleged sexual assault by Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK), the former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on a New York hotel maid caused an uproar within the organisation he led as well as beyond it. Under pressure by authorities and the Treasury Secretary of the United States, Timothy Geithner, DSK resigned on 19 May, sparking a search by the IMF for a new leader to lead the European Union (EU) out of its financial troubles. Founded in 1945, the IMF has been a leading figure in the global financial system in aiding countries battling debt and overseeing member countries (187 members, as of June 2011) to ensure exchange rate stability as well as liberalising economic trade. The IMF, however, seems stuck in the economic era of the past – an era where Europeans still dominate the global stage, even though they no longer do. At the Asian Finan-


Issue 14 The Blue and Gold

cial Summit in Hanoi in May, Rajiv Biswas, Chief Asia-Pacific economist at IHS Global Insight, said the tradition of choosing a European leader “is a post-colonial relic that needs to be ended immediately”. During the campaigning period for the role that DSK vacated, there were 2 contenders for the position - Frenchwoman Christine Lagarde, current Minister of Economic Affairs, Finances and Industry of France, and Mexican Agustin Carstens, Governor of the Bank of Mexico (Mexico’s central bank). Late in June, the twenty-four member Executive Board of the IMF selected Ms. Lagarde as the next IMF Managing Director- the first woman to lead the Institution. Her 5-year tenure as the next IMF head will commence on 5 July this year.


The IMF is, after all, an international multilateral body that ensures that near to long term stability is maintained, and not one that picks its leader based on the current crises the world is facing.

European Optimism Since it began, the IMF has always had a leader based in Europe. This practice, however, is facing increasing skepticism by emerging economies – especially the Asia-Pacific – as there has been a gradual shift of economic and financial power towards them. These economies feel the need to be represented to a greater extent in the IMF, in order to ensure equitable rights for themselves. However, proponents for a European leader argue that the current turmoil facing the global economy requires someone with knowledge on the workings of the European Union (EU) and its peripheral economies - Spain, Ireland, Greece and Italy- in order to ensure that an effective solution is enacted. As such, someone with experience not just in dealing with the EU member states, but also the European Central Bank and EU officials, would be a boon for the IMF at this point in time. It is thus of no surprise that Ms. Lagarde is strongly supported by her European peers. Her astute skills as a legal eagle, coupled with her in-depth knowledge of the workings of economies that make up the EU make her an ideal candidate for the top job at the IMF. However, what remains to be seen is the relevance of her skills and experience to the condition of the global economy, and not just the struggles of the EU. The IMF is, after all, an international multilateral

body that ensures that near to long term stability is maintained, and not one that picks its leader based on the current crises the world is facing.

Transparency and Objectivity Clearly, the main concern on everyone’s mind is to ensure that the candidate picked would be the ideal one that would be able to steer the IMF in the right direction to gradually stablise the world economy. As presented in his statement to the IMF Executive Board on June 21, Mr. Carstens expressed the need for the selection process to be “transparent, fair, merit-based, and independent of nationality.” His concern has resonated strongly among emerging economies, as they feel their share of voting rights is too insignificant to mount a proper ‘resistance’ to the votes of the majority of the Western powers (U.S. and France alone account for a total of 20% of votes). Perhaps the cause for such a strong case for Ms. Lagarde as the next IMF head stems from the unity of the EU. With a common currency and under the same EU banner, member states are more inclined to vote for the same candidate in order to ensure a better chance for themselves to select someone whom they deem best to resolve the Bloc’s sovereign debt crises. The emerging economies, on the other

hand, are divided over who to pick to best resolve the current global issues. Their uncertainty could also be due to the vast differences in economic structure of the various emerging economies that constitute the group. This makes it difficult to come to a consensus on who is suitable to tackle the problems facing the global economy. In conclusion, perhaps it is not an issue of whether emerging economies are ready to lead the IMF, but that developed nations need to take heed of the developments of the emerging economies in order to ensure financial stability throughout the world and to avoid another catastrophic fallout such as the one facing the EU now. Ms. Lagarde has stated a clear and fair mandate of enabling greater participation of emerging economies in the upper echelons of the IMF. Her recent appointment of Zhu Min, a former special adviser to DSK, is testament to her efforts. In essence, amidst all this turmoil, one thing is for certain: reform will take place at the IMF at the highest level to cater to a new global financial order. This article is submitted by the SMU Economics Intelligence Club (SEIC) in collaboration with The Blue and Gold. The writer is the Publishing Director of the SEIC as well as a journalist of The Blue and Gold. You may contact the writer at ben.lim.2010@economics.smu.

The Blue and Gold Issue 14



E. coli Outbreak 2011: Another Epidemic to Come? By Charlotte Lee ‘I would like for them to knock on people’s doors and tell them we have positive reading of E. coli’ – Melinda Rodgers ‘Central to the E. coli O157:H7 model’s success was a collective acknowledgement by industry that this food safety hazard needed to be addressed in all their food safety systems.’ -Richard Raymond ‘The further development of this promising E. Coli vaccine is warranted and should be pursued.’ - A. Louis Bourgeois After causing a ripple of unsettlement throughout Europe, the E. coli outbreak is currently being monitored by the World Health Organization (WHO). We have all heard of epidemics before and many of us once had to familiarize ourselves with precautionary measures when SARS struck Singapore back in May 2003. So what exactly is this E. coli outbreak about and does it have the potential of breaking out into an epidemic that can affect us? The answer is yes, it does. The European Center for Disease Protection and Control has indicated that the European E. coli outbreak is currently responsible for at least forty-eight deaths, with about four thousand people suffering from the E. coli bacteria. These deadly E. coli bacteria can cause anything from diarrhea, fever and vomiting to a potentially fatal disease known as Haemolytic Uraernic Syndrome (HUS). Due to the difficulty of containing the E. coli bacteria, the World Health Organization has warned against the consumption of raw beans and sprouts throughout Europe, causing alarm in the international community.


Issue 14 The Blue and Gold

While most epidemics, such as Bird Flu and Mad Cow Disease, are carried by animals, the E. coli bacteria is spread through seeds and sprouts, making it difficult to pinpoint and contain. Currently the E. coli bacteria have already spread to the U.S., with thirteen confirmed cases in both Tennessee and Virginia. Since many of these cases are directly related to those in Germany, many Virginia residents have started worrying about the raw vegetables that they consume on a daily basis.

tourism, with many U.S. travelers preferring to stay away from Europe for the time.

Residing in Fairfax County, Virginia, a housewife has expressed her concern about eating salad despite it being one of her favorite dishes. “With the E. coli outbreak already reaching Virginia, I have decided to stop eating salad,” Eileen Foo said. “I don’t want to risk anything, especially with all these outbreaks constantly occurring.”

Although the experts have declared that the outbreak is mainly limited to the affected area in Germany, its rapid spread to the United States has caused alarm to many other countries. In this global inter-connected age, travel has been a leading cause for the accelerated spread of contagious diseases. With many cases in two major continents within a short period, the E. coli bacteria may reach our shores at any time.

Another Fairfax resident who currently attends Northern Virginia Community College suggested that it was about being able to avoid foods that might lead to infection because of the bacteria. “You just have to avoid eating food that carries around this bacteria,” David Liwanag said. “For bird flu, keep away from poultry. For this, keep away from raw vegetables. It’s pretty simple really.” Although the E. coli bacteria first surfaced in Gemany, the New York Times reports that the affected seeds were shipped from Egypt. Despite the main source being identified in Egypt, the damage to Germany has already been done. German officials are suffering criticism for not handling the crisis adequately, while E. coli cases have already spread past German borders. This has had detrimental effects on German

“I wanted to go to Europe for my university exchange program, but because of this E. coli outbreak I might have to postpone it,” said Natalie Mabile, a sophomore at the College of William and Mary. “Especially since I’m vegetarian, it would probably be better to avoid Europe altogether until this outbreak dies down.”

Therefore the World Health Organization has cautioned that personal hygiene is extremely important in fighting the E. coli bacteria that can spread through oral and fecal routes. Some personal hygiene methods that are recommended include washing your hands after using the bathroom and when dealing with food. Such logic follows that both the bathroom and food are key places for E. coli bacteria to be found, and extra care would prevent its spread. And if any of us took a step back and thought about it, those were simply basic hygiene practices. So take the initiative and start brushing up on your personal hygiene – it could very well save your life.

U have M S t ' n a "Why c ities?" l i c a f A C more C

“Bidding again next week! ” Ughh! When will BOSS die?

“Is SMU all about getting the Bank Jobs?”

re a a s amp ime!” c A “CC of t e t s wa

Eager to voice out

your thoughts?

Send them to us and we'll write your story! Write to us at the



• The Freshmen Experience • To Run or not to Run • Celebrating and Shaping CMU Culture & Identity • The Student’s Association Council

Section Design by Ariel Nguyen


EXPERIENCING So it is that dreaded time of the year again. MidAugust has arrived. The social life which you would have cultivated and enjoyed over the summer would now be put on hold, as you prepare for a fifteenweek long mugging marathon where you and a considerable proportion of the school population work towards achieving straight As and only straight As. CCAs? University-wide events? Community Service Projects? You might think, why bother about these things as long as you meet the minimum requirements? The sole purpose of your university education might be to attain the perfect GPA and then the perfect internship, followed by clinching the perfect job, which would in turn allow you to satisfy all your material needs. But is this the university experience that you signed up for when you first entered SMU as a wide-eyed inquisitive freshman? I don’t think so. As mentioned by the current SMUSA president, Ryan Tan, ‘University life should be about developing and honing your skills inside and outside the classroom. This would translate to the pursuit of academic excellence as well as student life engagement. University life should also be about exploring the myriad of opportunities available for personal growth and development. This would, no doubt, sometimes mean stepping out of our comfort zones and taking on new challenges. The opportunities are abound for those who decide to embrace their time in SMU with an open attitude and dynamic spirit. Lastly, it is about striking a balance between work and play as well. Amidst all the hard work, fun should be in the equation. With that said, the good friends made in University would definitely enhance the whole experience!’ Many may choose to not participate in extra-curricular activities under the assumption that it would be at the cost of their academics. In Ryan’s opinion, ‘Student life involvement does not necessarily mean sacrificing academic excellence. It might just mean reorganizing schedules or being more disciplined with our time. After all, time management should be a skill that students should hone in University.’ We also stand to gain an enormous amount of soft-skills, which we may otherwise never stand to cultivate. Again as mentioned by Ryan, ‘The benefits are plentiful. From time and people management skills, to the camaraderie established and timeless values like commitment, integrity, responsibility, collegiality, leadership and excellence; there is so much which we stand to gain via active involvement in student life.’ Many of us may have had a dream of what varsity was going to be like before entering SMU. However

for many of us, these dreams may have instead been replaced with the race to be the best at all costs. But as J.K. Rowling mentioned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, ‘‘Tell me one last thing’, said Harry. Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?” “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” Why indeed shouldn’t the varsity life that we had initially envisioned be real? Why is it that we cannot attain a world-class education, make solid friendships, form priceless memories AND learn more about ourselves at the same time? Perhaps it all is possible with a little sacrifice, good time management and a relaxed approach to life.

Are we achieving what we expected to achieve? Shreeya Pillai talks about this with SMUSA Exco President, Ryan Tan

So hesitate no longer! Below is a list of the many events that have been planned by the various CCA groups over the next semester. Grab a friend and sign up for or attend one or more of these events. Don’t have a friend who might be interested? Better still, sign up anyway and widen your social circle and who knows even meet someone special!






19 Aug

Rave House @ Wavehouse



20 Aug

Annual Concert

SMU Voix


27 Aug

Night Bike



02 Sep

Voice Exhibition Opening

Artdicted + SMUSAIC


09 Sep

Graffiti Workshop



17 Sep

Pinhole Camera Workshop



30 Sep

Unplugged Performances



30 Sep

Caricature Workshop



02 Oct

Music In Harmony



11 Oct

Vanoce: A Fundraiser

Chamber Choir


28 Oct

Raveyard Haloween Party



28 Oc

Miniature Food Workshop



04 Nov

Starry Night


The Blue and Gold Issue 14



What on earth is

the freshmen experience ?

TO RUN OR NOT TO RUN? 7 insider tips from SMUSA Vice President, Daniel Minardi about SMUSA Elections

1. If you are genuinely concerned about the issues on campus and have ideas to improve student life – This is your chance to make the change!

By SMUSA Events Secretary, Jazmine Oh Jia Ying

2. Do your homework. Know the position that you want to run for: their task, busy period, etc

At this time of the year, the SMU student community gets ready to welcome our new juniors with lively posters and banners, souped-up camps that are packed to the brim with action and excitement, and also incessant telephone calls and emails (to lure them towards our camps). As we watch on while these newbies have the time of their lives, some may reminisce and realize that their very own orientation was truly, unspeakably, and marvellously… unremarkable.

3. Determine what position you want to run for. Different portfolios have different issues to handle so choose the portfolio that suits your personality and interests. If you’re interested in organizing events and deal with external vendors, be an event secretary.

Exhibit 1:

Want to see a bigger smile on the faces of SMU students or perhaps you want a bigger “yellow box”? Then the position welfare secretary is what you may want to consider.

Starry-eyed incoming freshman: So tell me, what was your experience like as an SMU freshie?

If you like managing assets and logistics - had an A+ for your Management Sciences – then being the Assets Secretary should be right up your alley.

Senior: It was okay I guess. There were some camps and events and I made friends with camp group mates. But it’s all quite fun, I suggest just come to SMU, you’ll figure it out yourself.

Do you aspire to write and communicate with students or work with student publications like The Blue and Gold? Then you may want to consider running for the Communications Secretary position.

Putting our Marketing 101 to some use, SMUSA is, for the first time, re-packaging and reintroducing the traditional freshmen orientation events into a collective brand called THE Freshmen Experience. These series of 5 events encompass the longstanding Freshmen Team-building Camp (FTB), Convocation, Vivace, and more recent efforts like the Freshmen Bash and SMU Challenge.

For those who love to deal with numbers and money – the Finance Secretary position is the way to go.

Each event is innately different in nature. Perhaps, this allows us to give our juniors a multi-faceted introduction to our colourful and volatile world of insane multi-tasking.

Lastly, if you have a vision for the council and want to have a taste of every single task in the portfolio, run for President or Vice President.

These events were previously isolated as individual events that freshmen could look forward to. They often tried to steal each other’s thunder as they wrestled for the spotlight in a bid to be the most “happening” orientation event. Now, however, through extensive recruitment and several day-long meetings, a special cross-events team was put together to unify these 5 cornerstones of the official SMU freshmen orientation. The heads of each of these events, together with a select marketing team, came together in a concerted effort to help promote and develop FE collectively with initiatives like the Freshmen Experience Day. Though there are no ground-breaking revamps of the events itself, the streamlining of these 5 key events will brand the SMU orientation programme as a comprehensive and all rounded one. To our freshmen: we hope you have enjoyed yourselves so far! If your own juniors ask you what your orientation was like, DO NOT for the love of GPA give the answer above, for you are truly in good hands with an exhilarating 2 month long programme that should not be missed.


Issue 14 The Blue and Gold

If you think you are up to the challenge of dealing with administrative duties and setting up of CCAs, then that is what being the General Secretary will entail

Most importantly: take the position where you truly want to make the difference. 4. Begin by creating a work plan for the portfolio that you are interested in. Students will want to know why they should vote for you. 5. Campaigning: Find people who believe in you as a candidate and keep them close. (They make great volunteers and supporters.) Think about your tagline and how to promote yourself. 6. Talk to your loved ones (parents, girl/boy friend, colleagues, CCA-mates, etc). Make sure they are okay with the idea of you are running. You will need their support 7. Run for it! The application will begin in Week 1 of the semester. Take this opportunity as a privilege. The road is not going to be easy but at the end of the day, it is up to you how you want to make your legacy. So think carefully and if you have any queries, feel free to drop me an email at v.president@ Be part of this year’s election, IT IS IN YOU!


CELEBRATING AND SHAPING SMU CULTURE & IDENTITY STUFF FOR SMU is a digital catalogue launched by the Student’s Association Council. It aims to be a platform for new SMU products and to centralize knowledge of SMU merchandize for the convenience of all - celebrating and shaping SMU culture via SMU’s merchandize landscape. Visit to learn more now! CREATIVITY & ENTREPRENEURSHIP What’s your take on SMU culture? Fresh product (business) ideas are always welcome! CONVENIENCE All sales products representative of SMU in any way is subject to our Office of Corporate Communication’s (OCC) approval before sales. Utilize this platform to make sure your products get approved. All products on have been endorsed by OCC.

Campaign U is a project independently spearheaded by a group of like-­ minded SMU students. Endorsed by the Office of Student Life (OSL) and supported by the Students’ Association Council (SAC), Campaign U aims to invoke participation from the entire SMU community to redefine our SMU experience. You can do your part in creating this common student identity - by creating a symbolic slogan cum logo that truly defines our collective existence! Yes. Campaign U is really about U! Now, cast your tutorials aside, postpone your project meeting, and start playing your part! Visit to find out more. All upcoming collaterals will incorporate this new slogan. Product information will be hosted on

The Blue and Gold Issue 14



The Students’ Association Council (SAC) is the policy-making arm of the SMU Student’s Association (SMUSA) and provides strategic direction to its executive arm, the SA Executive Committee. We have always existed but have never had an external representation - this is our new logo. - Ryan Tan, President, SMUSA. 44

Issue 14 The Blue and Gold


This table illustrates the structure of the SAC which isn’t commonly understood.


Bryan Lim, SMUSA Communications Secretary, elaborates on the logo: The lines of the logo form the head of a lion while forming the letters ‘S-A-C’. The logo was molded bearing in mind the our school’s corporate symbol - the ‘lion-face’ and hence portrays the SAC as the overarching student leaders who serve the school.

Presidents of School Constituent Bodies

+ + Students’ Association Executive Committee

Presidents of CCA Constituent Bodies

Can we create a diagram similar to the above? with the exception of a few edits: 1. Add in ‘Presidents of’ before the ‘School CBDs’ and ‘CCA CBDs’ headers. 2. Replace the ‘students’ association council’ with the SAC Logo.

What happens to


The SMUSA logo has always represented all students and will certainly continue to do so. SMUSA, after all, refers to all SMU undergraduates and not the SMUSA ExCo - the latter being the unfortunate perception. While the SMUSA logo has been used to represent the SMUSA ExCo, this has diluted the understanding of the SAC, which in fact - as per the structure illustrated above - is the body watching over all students. The SAC logo aims to rid of such mis-perceptions in the long run and, just as importantly, gives the SAC public representation and awareness.

The Blue and Gold Issue 14


Because there can never be too much entertainment.

• Macbeth in the Park • Voice II • Singapore Biennale 2011 • SHINE Youth Festival 2011 Section design by Angeline Teo



Macbeth in the Park



Tearing down walls and placing the voice of students as the heart of the exhibition

Set in the lush green grounds of Fort Canning, it is easy to see why this Shakespeare in the Park production is so beguiling. I was attracted by the idea of watching three witches stir their cauldrons and mutter ill omens at the expense of the doomed King of Scotland, while I sat on a serene picnic mat and munch on Italian hotdogs. This jarring juxtaposition was the strongest sentiment I carried throughout this contemporary version of one of the greatest Shakespearean tragedies of all time. Adrian Pang as Macbeth cut a fine figure, albeit diminished by the simplicity of the semi-comic modern clothes that he was decked in. He provided the much needed range and expression in this 3 hour long production; snivelling pitifully one moment and snarling like a caged beast the next. His monologues were particularly memorable. The highlights for me were the dinner scene, where he had a severe hallucination of the murdered Banquo and falls into mental disintegration in front of all the royal guests and patrons of his court, and his obsessive behaviour in front of the 3 prophetic witches in the second half. Patricia Toh as Lady Macbeth was somewhat disappointing; alongside Adrian's smooth delivery, her lines were jarringly disjointed and distracting, preventing me from focusing on the content of her passages and instead wincing at every other line that she spoke. Laudingly passionate, she did not have the elasticity or subtlety needed to bring out the range in character of the once ruthlessly ambitious and charismatic, and thereafter remorseful Lady Macbeth. The chemistry between the two leads was distressingly absent; they moved and acted at different paces even in the tender moments of the play, making the rhythm of their interactions loose and incongruent. It is an alarming sign when one looks forward to the dancing fiends with their Bellatrix

Lestrange-inspired hairdos more than the dialogue between the central characters. I wished that the wonderful witches had more screen-time. I could not take my eyes off some of the characters who dressed like they were going to a coffee-shop, alongside formally dressed soldiers. The contradiction was odd and, frankly speaking, an eyesore. This twist of setting distracted, instead of enhancing the story, and could have been done without. All in all, this was an interesting adaptation from Foster, but a forgettable and distracting one. Sad for one who entered with high hopes, having had the experience of watching ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream’ a few years back.

Written by : Ng Wei Lin

Artdicted brings you another instalment of ‘Voice’, an annual showcase of contemporary works by student artists and curators. Now in its second run, this year’s exhibition, dubbed ‘Listen’, will feature site-specific installations that seek to explore ‘the everyday’ as it occurs in the SMU context and to provoke its viewers to re-read, re-listen and re-discover the narratives that may otherwise remain hidden or invisible. For the first time, the exhibition will be made in collaboration with the photographers of SMUSAIC, thus providing an exciting opportunity for members of both Clubs – and audiences – to overturn their expectations, break frames and challenge their assumptions of these respective fields of practice.

tion and throughout the concourse. The opening reception will be in conjunction with U+Arts' Opening, which is will be held on 9th September. Sara Ang, President of Artdicted and Co-Curator of Voice, says "I think the main thing about the exhibition is that it attempts to show SMU that contemporary art isn't as difficult to understand as they think it is; this particular exhibition showcases works that are very relatable to them, because they were created by students themselves in response to the very same issues, struggles and concerns they face."

Written by: Ng Wei Lin

This year promises to be different from the usual exhibitions in SMU because the artworks are taken out of the gallery and brought to the students' usual walking routes in SMU, adding an element of surprise to the works as they are no longer confined within the four walls of a usual exhibition space. Engaging and interactive, students can look out for the strategically located works in the various corners from the School of Business down to the T-junc-

Details of event Event? Voice II: Listen What? A contemporary art showcase, curated by Sara Ang and Chua Chang Loong When? 5 to 17 Sep, Daily, 9am to 9pm Where? Lee Kong Chian School of Business Cost? Free Admission Email:

The Blue and Gold Issue 14



- Deborah Lim gives her account as a first timer to the Singapore Biennale

“Open House”

What is a Biennale?

was the theme for this year’s Singapore Biennale 2011. Had it not been for a friend who told me just a few days before writing this article that it was the theme, I honestly would have continued to think that the “open house” in the Biennale logo simply meant that all the museums involved were having an open house – that was how much of a first timer I was to this event, and here is what I saw, heard and learnt.

A Biennale is essentially a festival for art installations and exhibitions. Unlike an art gallery, art installations at a biennale tend to have more interaction with their audience and the audience can be inside the art piece itself, being part of the art.

What were the highlights of the Singapore Biennale 2011? While many of the installations were very interesting, the top three that had the most lasting impression on me would be:



What I learnt? While the most impressionable exhibitions were built on very outrageous ideas, a common goal of all the exhibits at this Biennale was to bring out the nuances in life that we often take for granted. How different can items in the refigerators of different households be, for example, or how differently can identical twins think about the same subject? The Biennale enhances these subtleties by forcing the audience themselves to slow down and observe the installations around them, in order to better understand and appreciate the story.

e’Search Wait’S by Ryan Trecartin. This was a four-part

video installation that featured a cast of wild, elaborate and somewhat creepy characters that was used to depict urban culture. The installation videos were played on the walls of the Singapore Arts Museum amidst beds and sofas that the audience could sit on, pop on the headphones and dive into videos where characters with grisly make-up would speak to them in indiscernible helium-sucked pitches.



Y WE by Louie Cordero. The first thing that strikes you is the bright, glaring pink walls of the room where the installation was in. You then start noticing sculptures of graphically wounded human bodies and a karaoke machine playing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” right in the middle of it. Inspired by absurd murders, of people who sang “My Way” badly in the Philippines, the installation was meant to reflect the chaos of the world today.



he Merlion Hotel by Tatzu Nishi. This installation was one that drew the largest crowd of inquisitive tourists and Singaporeans alike. Besides the element of surprise and boldness that the installation had, perhaps the main lure was the ability of the Merlion Hotel to allow its audience to have that close proximity to the Singapore iconic landmark that would otherwise be towering over everyone.

My advice for those who plan to visit the next Biennale in 2013: While some of the exhibits may be quite hard to appreciate and some may even scare you a little, go in with an open mind and see how different artists can use their tools to reflect their perceptions of the world around them. A Biennale guide that brings groups around the exhibits would be essential to catch the details and beauty of each work of art.


Issue 14 The Blue and Gold


SHINE Youth Festival 2011

The idea for the SHINE Youth Festival comes from Youth Action, one of the workgroups under the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS)’s publication exercise “Youth: Creating Our Future”. It aims to celebrate youths’ creativity and dynamism by providing a platform for youth to showcase and develop their skills and talents. The idea was initiated in 2005, and the festival has since been held annually in the month of July, with support from MCYS and the National Youth Council (NYC). Through its wide range of activities, it reaches out to more than 200,000 youth from all walks of life including students, young working adults, disabled youth and youths-at-risk.

This year, the SHINE Youth Festival’s theme is “Enough Talk, Just Do!” which describes the attitude the organizers hope that youth will adopt. The festival’s opening on 2nd July at SCAPE had numerous interesting activities, opening first with dance performances at SCAPE’s warehouse. Throughout the afternoon, people had fun battling each other with pillows on a platform. The young at heart also wanted a piece of the action - a middle aged lady was seen trying her luck at pillow fighting. In addition, there were also activities like photography and beat-boxing workshops, an ice cream eating competition and a flea market. Percussionists from

Blonco Singapura provided the music for a dance competition and even taught some members of the audience how to play their instruments.

The highlight of the SHINE Youth Festival’s opening was definitely the COSMO parade. It was flagged off by Mr Yam Ah Mee, Chief Executive Director of People’s Association and featured almost a thousand cosplayers parading down the streets of Orchard. Among the parade participants were characters like Spiderman, Wonder woman, Transformers, Ichigo from Japanese anime Bleach and well-known local mascots such as Singa Lion and the Sharity elephant. There were also lion dancers who added to the vibrancy and liveliness of the parade. In the evening, Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for the Ministry of Trade and Industry, officiated at the official launch of the SHINE Youth Festival. Following the official launch, the festival’s night concert started with local band JUZ B dazzling the crowd with their great acapella singing. The concert also featured other local stars like Tay Ke Wei, Jack and Rai, Erick Guansing and Derrick Hoh. The night concert ended on a high note with all the artists singing the well-known national day song ‘Home’.

Short Interviews with SHINE Youth Festival’s helpers and a participant before the Night Concert

Participant- Trisha

Student Helpers - Min & Yi Chen

How do you feel about the SHINE Festival?

How do you feel about the SHINE Festival?

I think that it is interesting.

The atmosphere is good and it is interesting. They could have more performances though! Preferably more performances by Taiwan Artists!

Have you participated in any of the activities? Yes. It is my first time participating in this sort of activities. I participated in the ice cream eating competition; there were a lot of people queuing up to participate in the competition. I also tried out the pillow fighting which was fun, but I had difficulty balancing on the platform.

What do you think was the most interesting aspect of SHINE Festival so far? It will be the Cosmo Youth Parade.

What do you think was the most interesting aspect of SHINE Youth Festival so far? I think the most interesting will be the Cosmo Youth Parade.

The Blue and Gold Issue 14









NCEPTIONS ABOUT SHO O T Underage girl shooting a shotgun


1. We are crazy psychopaths who kill people.

1. There is no point calling a psychopath crazy.

2. Only guys can join shooting.

2. Girls can be psychopathic killers too.

3. We only shoot Air Weapons (Air Rifle and Air

3. Somehow, they allow us to shoot shotguns too.

4. Training costs a bomb.

4. Bombs are free.Training is the bomb.Therefore, training is free.

5. You think you have shot enough during your

5. You think, I thought, who confirm?

6. Shooting is boring.

6. If you consider blasting flying clay pigeons into a thousand bits with hundreds of shotgun pellets travelling faster than the speed of sound boring, then yes, shooting is boring.

7. It’s too hard.

7. That’s what she said.


National Service days.


Issue 14 The Blue and Gold

Heavily armed SMU students

You can pick up shooting as a hobby or a serious sport. All are welcome, even those who have never seen a gun before. Learn more about the *hard* truths of shooting by visiting http://www.


The Blue and Gold Issue 14


im Siam Woori S Y a yi ile s h As op c p n






am SMU Roo ts


mb o dia

ietn V ao Ch

Myanm ar C u lt

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ilippi n e s da Ph Con


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International Connections (ICON) was established in 2004 to serve the interests of SMU’s international students. We aim to disseminate different cultures into SMU, and serve as a bridge between international students and locals. In 2009, OSL and SMUSA recognized that international students, which make up 20% of the school population, need to be well represented in school. We believe in cultivating an integrated learning community where students of different nationalities can learn from one another and foster mutual understanding and respect. You can do this by discarding your old mindsets and taking the initiative to know your classmates and friends from different nationalities. So open your mind and globalize with us!


Issue 14 The Blue and Gold


PEACE, as we know it, is not about keeping quiet or about appeasing one another in order to gain favor. Peace is about real mutual understanding and empathy...

“...Singapore is a place where we can work with people from different nationalities and understand their way of life, their languages, their art and literature, their music, and their way of working. Based on this mutual understanding, we build friendships; friendships based on the introduction to, the understanding, and the appreciation of one another’s cultures. This understanding promotes natural empathy in the way we deal with one another. In fact, the best part about having a diverse international student community is that we can learn from each other. In the process, we widen the boundaries of our friendships to include people who are culturally different from us, slowly working towards a world without borders. Isn’t that what peace is all about?” The beauty of the peace ceremony is that although there will be many people on stage wearing their national costumes and holding their respective flags; they stand shoulder to shoulder to give the same message: “May peace prevail on earth.” That is what we need – a unified call for the cause of world peace.

SMU celebrates Peace Week annually together with the Office of Student Life. It is the time to mark the unity among SMU ICON Cultural Clubs as well as showcasing SMU’s vibrant student life through various performances, music, and dancing. We have 3 main programs for Peace Week this year: Peace Ceremony, Peace Run, and the highlight of Peace Week 2011, the “International Cultural Night.” SMU ICON’s “International Cultural Night” was inspired by the United Nations Evening, which is traditionally held each year at United World College of South East Asia (UWCSEA). This event has consistently united the school community in celebration of the diversity of cultures across campus. Similarly, SMU ICON’s “International Cultural Night” intends to showcase the uniqueness of SMU student life. This year, not only ICON’s cultural clubs but also other SMU performing clubs will be participating in ICN. As a special bonus, the People’s Association will provide us with rare and awesome performances! You’ll get the chance to see a variety of performances in one night and be part of a fun, entertaining, mesmeriz-

ing, and amazing event especially brought to you by SMU ICON! Event:

ICON’s International Cultural Night


September 16, 2011

Contact: maythu.san.2009@business.smu. (+65 93841020)

It’s a Friday night. so don’t hesitate to record this event in your calendar. If any of the performing clubs in SMU are reading this article, feel free to contact SMU ICON to take part in the awesome “International Cultural Night”!

The Blue and Gold Issue 14




Komunitas Indonesia If you have been with the SMU community for some time, chances are you have had some form of encountering the SMU Komunitas Indonesia (SMUKI). Perhaps you passed a poster of our annual event, GAYA, or maybe even participated in our Batik Workshop! Our CCA is quite well established too, having been awarded “The Most Outstanding CCA” by SMUSA in 2007 and “The Most Outstanding Spirit” by ACF in 2009. Indonesia has an age-old culture which is unparalleled in terms of variety and richness, so whatever you have heard of Indonesia probably only grazes the surface. The country alone is a stunning archipelago comprising of 17,508 islands, and is the fourth most populous country in the world. Many ancient Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic kingdoms have testified to Indonesia’s abundance of resources and have formed an ethereal, mystical history, complete with drama and cultural inheritance. The richness of its culture is reflected from the keenness of Indonesians towards their traditional music and dance. Musical instruments, such as the vivacious rebana and the elegant gamelan are authentically Indonesian and have been used all over the world. Some cultures, such as the Balinese, have made the mastery of traditional dances compulsory because they represent religious and social values. If you ever felt like trying your hand in these dances that are so rich in culture, you can learn to perform them with SMUKI! Here in SMUKI, we specialize in a few dances such as Saman and Ngarojeng, and you do not have to be an Indonesian or be musically inclined to join. While we cannot guarantee that you will be a master after the lessons, we are sure that it will be time well spent having fun. The most important aspect of Indonesia is its people. Indonesia is very much multi-racial and multi-ethnic; Native Indonesians, Chinese Indonesians, Native-Ab-


Issue 14 The Blue and Gold

origine Indonesians, and Manado-Dutch Indonesians are just some of the many ethnic groups. Each brings something different to the overall Indonesian culture and no one is more important than the other. In SMUKI, you will learn about many of the different faces of Indonesia, and each one will awe you and inspire you to learn more. Also, SMU students of any nationality are welcome to join SMUKI. As long as you are passionate and keen on knowing about Indonesian culture, SMUKI is where you should be! One of SMUKI’s proudest creations is our annual arts production: GAYA. It stands for “Gelar Budaya”, which is SMUKI’s tribute to Indonesia and a cultural celebration. Through this annual production, we strive to do justice to Indonesian culture. We do this through dance items, musical pieces, and other creative avenues. Previous GAYAs have been great successes, and we are proud to be the club that organizes this production. The upcoming GAYA 2012 will be showcasing uncommon traditional, dances and musical pieces with a fresh twist. In line with SMUKI, GAYA’s pre-requisites are passion and enthusiasm. We are always seeking new talent that can enrich our club and help us give the best performance possible. Don’t think you can dance or play any musical instruments? Well, neither did most of our members when they first started. We will be with you at every step as you learn and grow. So if you have the passion, then do not hesitate to answer this challenge. Indonesians are a friendly bunch. Come and join SMUKI so you won’t miss out on a culturally rich experience!

We LISTEN  to  your  career  aspirations.

     Tan  Wu  Hao  Tan  Wu  Hao

Senior Financial  Consultant

Reputation and values

are important to me

Tracy Chia Senior  Financial  Services  Manager

I believe in

strong leadership

Corinne Neo Financial  Consultant

Han Chi  Teng

Master Financial  Consultant  (Permier)

I look for a balance between

work and family

I want to be

an entrepreneur

Frances Ho Master  Financial  Consultant  (Permier)

My goal is to achieve

financial freedom

And we  UNDERSTAND  what  you  want. Do    you    want    independence?    Do  you  enjoy  freedom  above  everything  else?  If  you  thrive  on  challenges,  endeavour to  do  things  differently  and  have  a  passion  to  excel,  then  join  us  as  a  Prudential  Financial  Consultant  today. Established  since  1931,    Prudential  Singapore  is  one  of  the  top  life  insurance  companies  in  Singapore  and  a  wholly-­ owned  indirect  subsidiary  of  UK-­based  Prudential  plc.    We  pride  ourselves  on  being  committed  towards  developing our  Prudential  Financial  Consultants  to  their  fullest  potential.    Be  part  of  our  growing  family. Send  your  resume  with  full  particulars  to: Prudential  Assurance  Co.  Singapore  (Pte)  Ltd.  (Reg.  No  199002477Z)

Recruitment Centre,  Agency  Distribution 51  Scotts  Road  #01-­01  Prudential@Scotts Singapore  228241 Email: Prerequisites:    Singaporean    or  PR,  4  GCE  ‘O’  LEVELs  or  equivalent,  age  21  years  and  above.

The Road Less Travelled  
The Road Less Travelled  

TBNG shares with you some SMU students who dared to take the road less travelled