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PANOPT Issue 01: 08 Oct 2013


Chief Editor: Indrani Kaliyaperumal

After weeks of planning and brainstorming, we are proud to present to you the first issue of ‘PANOPT’the Yale-NUS newsletter featuring the creative and academic life of the college!

Editors: Joyan Tan and Spandana Bhattacharya

Vice-Rector’s Corner It is with great pleasure that I write these introductory remarks to introduce this student publication to the Yale-NUS community. The spirit behind it is to highlight academic aspects of student life that our intrepid student editors have deemed relevant and noteworthy. My thanks go to Joyan and Spandana as co-editors for taking this project on with gusto and enthusiasm, and to Indrani, in the Rector's Office, for overseeing its publication as chief editor. As with all beginnings and first issues, there is much room to grow, improve, change, innovate, and we hope that you, the reader, will help us make this newsletter as useful and relevant as it can be. Read, enjoy, and by all means, contribute. Cheers, Vice-Rector Lage-Otero

Upcoming Events 8 Oct (Tues), 7PM Movie Night – ‘Star Trek into Darkness’

‘PANOPT’ will bring together all stakeholders of the Yale NUS community- from the administration, faculty, Dean’s Fellows and of course the studentsas they reflect, analyze and ink their thoughts on the newsletter. We are committed to showcasing your creative endeavors while also assisting you in your academic life with special columns from the Vice-Rector, Writers’ Center, and members of the faculty.

[Issue] :: [Title]

As such, we would love to hear your voices; from opinions about previous issues, suggestions for columns for future issues, questions for our beloved professors, and reflections on an event you attended, to a poem that you want to share with the rest of the college – we want your input! Stop us when we’re walking down the corridor, whisper to us during class, or email us at our email. We want this to be a collective effort of Yale-NUS and we will do our best to make that happen. Lastly, we thought long and hard before deciding to call this newsletter ‘PANOPT’. What does it mean? That is up to you to decide! Send in your interpretation (whatever it may be) of ‘PANOPT’ to us at yncpanopt@gmail.com; prizes will be given and we will publish the best answer in the next issue! Enjoy!

A Few Thoughts: On Presidential Speaker Maria Ressa Christian Ong Go (11 Sept 2013) I grew up watching American cartoons and the occasional Filipino drama – each time my parents flipped to the news channel, my sister and I would beg for The Suite Life of Zack and Cody or The Amanda Show instead. Then, spontaneously, my parents introduced me to a few famous Filipino personalities who were actually making it big in the real world. Among renowned scientists, theatrical performers, and business professionals, there was this small bubble reserved for journalism that I have never been interested in – it held in its heart Maria Ressa, an icon of investigative journalism. She made me interested in journalism and in current affairs; more importantly, she made me proud to be a Filipino. It was great finally meeting her in person, and her humility continues to inspire. Her message was simple and straightforward: social networks have become powerful tools in today’s technology world, and it’s what we’ll end up using to bring about change. So I might be spending too much time on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but hey, it helps me get in touch with the rest of the world. Soon enough, I’ll use them to let everyone else get in touch with me.

9 Oct (Wed), 7PM Birthday Bash @ Common Lounge Level 1 10 Oct (Thurs), 8PM Lateral Thinking @ SR 1


Meeting Maria Ressa for the very first time! Credits: Photo from Christian Go

Touring Mediacorp with Maria Ressa Credits: Photo from Sheryl Foo

o you… How well d

Tea with Sam and Kurt

KNOW YOUR PROFESSOR! 1. As a teacher, what is your teaching philosophy?

I see a strong link between myself as a researcher and as a teacher. My research informs my teaching. As a mathematical economist, I write proofs. A proof is a step-by-step exploration and an exercise in deductive logic. So in seminars, I try to prod my students with questions to try to take them on this exploratory journey to discover a result or phenomenon. That’s how you do a proof; there’s a particular point you want to reach so you break it down into steps.

Valerie Pang (12 Sept 2013)

The Rector’s Tea with Sam Tsui and Kurt Schneider was really awesome. This was one of the rare chances that we had to meet music artists and ask them questions.

I also believe in open communication with my students. I want to hear my students’ voices and I think people reading such interesting material for the first time can sometimes see things that those who have been reading it for so long cannot. Professor Rene Saran Professor Saran is an economic theorist with interests in microeconomics and game theory. Broadly, he is interested in human behavior and its consequences for social and economic problems. Professor Saran has published aspects of his work in different journals, including Games and Economics Behavior and Journal of Economic Theory. Currently, Professor Saran is the Course coordinator for Comparative Social Institutions.

2. Do you ever face frustration in your seminars when teaching students?

My biggest frustration, which is perhaps their biggest frustration as well, is that they’re trying to learn something. Students want to learn, and they want me to teach. But I don’t want to be the active person spooning knowledge into their mouths; I want to be an active participant in students’ exploration in these topics. Sometimes there are no right answers.

3. What are you most proud of in your academic career?

There have been a few eureka moments in my research. Those drive me to be an academic. For one of my first papers that got published, I had been trying to prove a particular statement Credits: Photo from Professor Saran for about two years. After two years of trying, it just hit me one morning. Now it looks very trivial, but it took a lot of effort to get that point then.


Is there any country you would like to visit?

I don’t know – how does one figure out which place to visit? You could pick up a tourist guide and say, oh I want to go there. I don’t do that. I don’t visit cities with that sort of perspectives. I like to go to cities and absorb them from the level of the street just by walking around the city. I don’t go to the normal touristy places, and even if I do, I am guided by my own interests.


Do you have any plans for the recess week?

I’m going to the USA to visit my wife until the end of Week 7. My wife is pregnant, so I should be there for her.

…That must be difficult.

This is a difficult period, but it’s the life of an academic; it’s difficult in academia to get jobs. My wife is teaching too, and it’s a choice you make as a couple that cares for each other’s work. Research is a significant part of what academics are. We cannot imagine not doing what we do, because it is who we are. So sometimes these difficult choices have to be made because giving it up would be like giving up a part of us. Editors’ Note: We plan to interview one professor for each issue. For the next issue, we will be interviewing Professor Jeremy Kua (Course Coordinator for Scientific Inquiry). If anyone has any questions they would like us to ask Professor Kua, do email us at yncpanopt@gmail.com, or drop us a note by the end of the week. Thank you and we look forward to hearing your questions.


Also, look forward to special coverage of the amazing Week 7 projects in the next issue! Have a great week!

Meeting Sam and Kurt! Credits: Photo from Walter Yeo

Sam and Kurt were really friendly, and some parts of the conversation were particularly memorable. They told us the hardest part in the process was in starting up. Prior to their hit – the Michael Jackson medley that brought them fame, they had uploaded over 10 Youtube videos before finally gaining recognition! They stressed the importance of never giving up in those initial stages where there is little recognition. I was also surprised to learn that they take 3 hours to make each cover. In Yale, they would start work at 1am and work till sunrise, occasionally missing school as a result. I really admire the passion and hard work they put into music. Needless to say, the concert was fantastic as well! I happily cheered them on from the back row, singing and dancing and having a blast. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and hope there will be other such sessions.

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YNC: Bridge to Construction Site Initiative

In a sound bite: We’re a group of students striving to build a bridge to the construction workers working on our new campus. Our goal is simple: Communication. We hope to recognize them with small initiatives that facilitate studentworker conversations (e.g. going over to the site to give small refreshments) and maybe a larger festival later for the students to share a meal with the workers. For more information, contact Tiffany at tiffanyts17@gmail.com!

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