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FLEAMARKETS Escape to Scape

Gallop into the year of the horse


Let’s build a sandcastle


Get into their minds

Say hello to the Horses at Chinatown JX TOH We can hear it. The horses are neighing as they gallop towards us. As Lunar New Year is approaching, it is time to bid farewell to the year of the Snake, and welcome the majestic creature. To accommodate to the year of the Horse this year, lantern decorations of golden flying horses can be seen along the streets of Chinatown. Coupled with that, traditional golden coin lanterns can be seen surrounding the horses, creating an even more prosperous atmosphere. With Lunar New Year arriving, it is time to stock up your home with some Chinese New Year goodies! Fresh and traditional homemade tarts and cookies are delivered at its best here at Chinatown! Pineapple tarts, egg rolls, kuih bangkit etc, name any goodies and Chinatown will definitely have what you need! At Chinatown’s bazaar, you are bound to be greeted by the warm and lively promoters, as they enthusiastically offer you with free samples of their products. “ The stall owners are really

generous as there are plenty of free samples to try while walking along the bazaar. I think it’s good as we get to try first before deciding whether to purchase the goodies,” Ms Jolin Leow said. Ms Leow, 15, who have been to Chinatown several times with her family says that she was overwhelmed by the crowd this year. The Chinatown Bazaar gets especially vibrant and happening during this time of the year. Mdm Sharilyn Lai, 47, also got attracted by Chinatown’s buzz. “I was originally here at Chinatown to run other errands and happened to pass by the bazaar. I didn’t intend to enter the bazaar, but got attracted by the bustle eventually. It gives people the feel to shop for Chinese New Year stuff,” Mdm Lai said. Stall owner, Ms Maisie Lim, 35, who rented a space along Temple Street, selling pineapple tarts and other cookies, commented that she felt that there are more shoppers during the year of the Horse. “People are more willing to spend money as it’s a good

year for the year of the horse. I feel that there are more people, especially tourists walking on Temple Street. Hence, I decided to rent a space here. Although the rent was really expensive, it was all worth it,” Ms Lim shared. Another stall owner, who sells locally produced coffee powder took over her father’s store for the first time this year. Ms Jeffanie Ong, 26, said that the Chinatown bazaar is especially crowded during Chinese New Year and intends to promote more homegrown products gradually . Chinatown’s bazaar have always been known for its crowd, as there is always a demand for affordable and delicious goodies. Moreover, shoppers can immerse themselves into the strong auspicious spirit, which can only be felt at Chinatown. “Even though I don’t really fancy shopping here, due to the crowd, I still enjoyed myself eventually. It’s nice to indulge in the atmosphere and I feel that it’s a good place for last minute shoppers like me,” Ms Melissa Sheu, 18, said.

One Man’s Trash, Another Man’s Treasure Hilmi AK Gone are the days where flea markets simply sold second hand goods. While a small portion of vendors still do, a large majority of them bring in goods from neighbouring countries. Flea market vendors now treat their stall like a store. At the scape flea, vendors do not rent the stall for only an odd day or two. They rent it every week, some having done so for 3 years and counting. Ms Catherine Ho has been doing just that since 2011. She sells a wide variety of items from sunglasses, bags and dresses. On top of that, she also has an excellent rapport with her regular customers. Arina Ashiqin, 18, is one of the many regular faces seen as Ms Ho’s stall. She visits the scape flea twice every month and sometimes, she specifically goes down just to check out new items available at her favourite stall. “I find the items to be nice and affordably priced,” she says while browsing through the dresses there. “The variety here is also unbeatable as compared to the other stalls.” For vendors, having a stall at the flea is also a mean of expanding an already existing business. Ms Foo Swee Ching started selling laptop cases, customiz

able pouches and many more on Facebook in May 2012. Now, for about a year she has had a stall at the flea alongside her online business.

rence at places that do not have set prices. So with fleas now being looked on to as stores, is haggling still a thing?

Besides variety and the prospect of expanding a business, the appeal of uniqueness seems to be attracting not only shoppers but also the vendors.

Mr Shawn explains: “Being a business at a flea market, we can adjust our prices easily because we don’t have heavy rentals so we’re more flexible in that sense.”

A seller who only wants to be known as Mr Shawn has been doing fleas with his wife, Ms Kwang for a year. Both of them sell swimwear at the flea.

Aisyah Adilah, 17, is no stranger to haggling. She believes that prices set at fleas are always way too high than what it could be.

“We wanted to be a unique vendor, something different from the other vendors. Swimwear is not sold here so we decided to bring it in,” he says while Ms Kwang was attending to customers.

“There was this dress I saw at a flea some months ago that was simply beautiful. It was selling for $18 but I managed to get it for only $10,” she says, sounding pleased. “Personally I felt the dress could have retailed for around $40 and $18 was definitely a steal but there really is no harm in haggling.”

Most of us are certainly familiar to haggling. Haggling is when a buyer and a seller dispute over the price of an item. It is without a doubt a common occur

East Coast Park Omar Amir With a massive land size of a 185 hectares and a scenic coastline that is decorated with fauna, East Coast Park is now one of Singapore’s most treasured urban getaways with an annual visitorship of 7.5 million people. Many enjoy taking long walks on the situated walkway or indulging in different forms of exercise available in the park. Of the many forms of leisure available at the park, cycling makes up a huge chunk of it. With seven different bicycle rental shops scattered throughout the area, one would not find much problems in finding a bicycle. One cyclist, Mr. Nazrul Haqim , 23, finds himself spending every weekend cycling with his friends after a long, hard week at school.

who enjoys relaxing under the sun every once in a while to get the edge off life. “The beach is really nice to sit down and have picnics at. I mean, we get to embrace the great outdoors, so what’s not to love? Furthermore, it’s a really affordable and fun way of bonding with friends and family instead of being cooped up at home the whole day. I definitely recommend this to anyone out there who wants to have a good time!” On the subject of picnics and food, East Coast Park is also a place for great food. Home to the locally renowned Lagoon Food Village, this place is a haven for food lovers and park goers alike. Filled to capacity on every day of the week, the Lagoon blends the many different styles of cooking into a hotpot of the diverse race and cultures in Singapore. Faiz Hilman, 19, an aspiring foodie with a knack for eating, comes here often to try the wide array of dishes sold here.

“I find ECP (East Coast Park) to be very chill and nice to cycle in. The roads are really smooth and I don’t really find many problems other than the odd piece of litter here and there.

“I love coming here and trying something new! The food is so good and there is so much to choose from. Truthfully, I’m spoilt for choice! I think it’s also a great place to bring friends and family alike for a truly Singaporean dinner.”

I also find that it feels very nice to wind down with my friends after a long week at school. Get your That being said, East Coast Park is and will still be mind off things. I really appreciate this park.” undoubtedly one of the most iconic places in Singapore for many years to come. With all the variOther than cycling, many frequenters to the park ous activities to do, it truly is a holiday that much go to the beach to relax and socialize. They enjoy closer to home. themselves basking in the sun and doing various activities like beach soccer, volleyball or simply taking a dip in the water. However for the people who do not want to exert themselves, they will simply pitch a tent or have picnics under the palm trees. One of the latter is Ms. Yamin Thwe, 18,

Into the mind of a teenage smoker Omar Amir

As he takes one last drag of his cigarette, he plays with the smoke and then releases it in wisps of rings. He stubs it out into a nearby trashcan and collects himself before reentering school for another day of lessons and banter. This would schedule the first of many smoking breaks in the day of this young teenager. Syazwan Salem, a 17-yearold Nanyang Polytechnic Student, vividly recalls his first experience with cigarettes. He remembers the high from the nicotine and feeling lightheaded after smoking his first stick, how it had changed his life forever. He started when he was 13, a mere freshman in secondary school. 5 years later, he is hooked, not going a day without tobacco. Much like a majority of Singaporean youth today, social influencers play a big part in a teenager’s uptake of smoking. Many of whom were influenced by a sibling, parent of friend that smoked. In spite of this, statistics from the Student’s Health Survey (SHS) from 2009 indicate that fewer youths are lighting up. In 2006, there was a dip from 26 to 16 percent of youths that try out smoking. This indicates a downward spiral of smoking among youth. In the case of youth like Syaz-

wan, quitting is not as easy as saying no anymore. Over the 5 years that he has been feeding his addiction, he has tried to quit on multiple occasions. However, it has been to no avail; he goes back to square one by succumbing to peer pressure or not being able to pull through the cold turkey. He shrugged off the idea of quitting smoking once again. “Why should I keep trying to quit? It always fails and the cold turkey never feels good,” Anyway, if I quit, I won’t be able to hang out with my kakis (regulars) at the smoking corner anymore. All my friends are smokers!” Syazwan said. When asked about the warning labels stamped onto every box of cigarette that are meant to deter anyone from smoking, he simply laughs it off and says he has grown accustomed to seeing the unsavory photos that depict the adverse effects of long term smoking. It has become second nature to him to just ignore the warnings and go on with his habit. Although he is not of the legal age to smoke, he is simply not affected by the risks and punishment that are at stake. “Worse comes to worst, if the HSA (Health Sciences Authority) or NEA (National Environmental Agency) catch me for underage smoking, I’ll get a fine or a warning. Other than that, I’m not

really scared to continue. Just got to be more careful.” It is apparent that many underage smokers do not plan on quitting, due to the statistics of 58% of lower level students and 58% of upper level students not planning to quit anytime soon. However, the government is working hard to lessen the numbers through different anti smoking incentives. Before we parted ways, Syazwan had some words to say. “Never take the first puff. It’s too difficult to quit after being addicted. Just don’t start. You can’t quit something you’ve never done.” “Please learn from my mistakes.”

My Online Hand is my Helping Hand Theophilus K E

In our time and age, everything is fast paced and we are mostly busy with work. Our weekends are mostly used to unwind for the busy week and to spend quality time with our families. With all the activities in our lives, we hardly hear the words “volunteer work” as compared to the past. One student however, does not allow his busy lifestyle to keep him from volunteering.

that they usually received at international performances. Through such situations, Chris felt that his patience and humility were placed to the test. “Thankfully, the whole team was a group of understanding people who were willing to help one another.” was what Chris said about the incident.


Chris Benhard Armanda, an Indonesian, who is current a year one student in Nanyang STUDENTS FROM MY HOME COUNTRY IS Polytechnic, is part of an organization called PPI Singapura WHAT DRIVES ME TO CARRY ON AS A or also know as the Indonesian Students’ Association in SingaVOLUNTEER.” pore. He has been part of the organization since August 2012 and has risen up through taking charge of certain aspects of the online face of “The want to help other students from my home PPI Singapura. The organization’s activity varies country is what drives me to carry on as a volunfrom setting a platform for incoming Indonesian teer.” Being in the organization, it has exposed students who are here in Singapore to study to him to people from all walks of life. Chris has holding political seminars to increase awareness also learnt more than what he could have in his on national policies. PPI Singapura is a global school. Programs such as the PHP server, genernetwork, operational in over 60 countries worldal-purpose programming language software, are wide. considered a norm for Chris due to his volunteer work for For the past two years, Chris has been part of the the organization. organization’s IT team. His responsibilities are to assist in maintaining the organization’s website To Chris, an Indonesian who studies abroad is with the latest updates and events. Currently, he viewed as the beacon of hope for Indonesia. His is in charge of the PPI Singapura’s online magasatisfaction of doing voluntary work comes from zine. This has given him the chance to interview being able to work with different people and that key politicians from both Singapore and someday when he goes back to his country, he Indonesia. will be able to be of great contribution with the wisdom and knowledge that Being in charge has made Chris know the impor- he has gained in Singapore. tance of professionalism, despite doing it voluntarily and with limited experience. Once tough situation that he face was when they a group of musicians to perform in 2013. The purpose was to promote the Indonesian Culture here in Singapore. However, the artistes demanded for service

Want a pet? Money is not the problem! JX Toh

Want a pet? Please consider all options carefully. It requires great research, passion and conscience. It is a lifetime commitment. Money, is not the problem here. Just like humans, animals have feelings too. Abandoning a pet can be as serious as abandoning a child, someone close to you. With regards to Alison McElwee’s case, where the affluent party decided to euthanize a healthy dog, I feel that it is more of an issue about conscience than the capability to keep a pet. Money cannot buy feelings, and it should not buy feelings. It is more about the heart and sincerity, when a living creature is obliged to stay by your side. A similar incident happened in my presence. A person that I know who owns a car and had a helper, once had a dog. Wealthy enough, she was capable to afford for a dog’s basic necessities, and sustain a dog’s life. However, was she really sincere about having a dog right from the start? After having the dog for a couple of years, the owner decided to give the dog away, as she no longer wants to hire a helper. In her opinion, she is unable to care for a dog without a helper. Simply put, the helper was literally hired by the dog. Due to the rising affluence in Singapore, more people are capable to keep a pet, but do they really want to take charge of a pet’s life? According to The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), it took in over 800 dogs, along with around 1100 domestic animals including 427 rabbits and 678 hamsters in 2011. With more people keeping pets, there comes a risk of more people abandoning their pets. This is especially so if they are not committed owners, who only want pets to satisfy their short term interest. Sadly, SPCA does not have enough space to accommodate all abandoned pets. Hence, many animals are being put to sleep. Only around 2 out of every 10 animals, will be adopted by kind people.

Thankfully, there are still well-to-do souls out there, who genuinely love animals, and are committed to care for the pets, providing them a warm and good life. For animal enthusiasts, if you do not have the time and attention for a pet, it is highly recommended to become a volunteer at animal shelters or any related organizations. With this occasional commitment, having a fun time or interacting with an animal is not so much of a heavy and personal responsibility. You need not worry about the consequences of having a pet, which may lead to abandonment one day. In conclusion, whether pet abandonment is a growing trend among affluent Singaporeans, is in relation to whether more affluent Singaporeans are lacking in moral values and virtues. One has to plan properly, and be responsible for a pet’s life and future. By having a pet, it is just like having a life at one’s stake, but one should have no rights to control and alter a pet’s destiny.

Pushing Creative Boundaries At Home Hilmi AK

Last week when I was at Sentosa taking in the sun, something I saw triggered a memory. Before my O levels, my teacher had a talk with the class about where we were headed after secondary school. Standard answers were heard, from the top Junior Colleges to the best polytechnics. With the class abuzz about where they were headed to, it really was surprising that my answer dimmed the class down greatly.

Then, I had dreams of pursuing a diploma in Lasalle. A school specifically catered for arts but my answer simply elicited a simple, “oh” from my form teacher. For me to be at Sentosa, recollecting that memory really was not normal of me, Usually, my time there would be consumed with checking out those I found attractive but this time it was different. Seeing signs designed by Samantha Lo or better yet known as Sticker Lady was what triggered this memory. I remember the case clearly. In 2012, when news of it broke up there definitely was an uproar amongst the public.I myself was divided about this case. While what she did was wrong; defacing public property, what she designed was quite amazing. It was a feast for the eyes. It also gave every day things I saw a breath of fresh air. Well now standing in front of one of the signs designed by her, I just cannot help but wonder if the whole thing was blown out of proportion. There was definitely an uproar when news about ‘Sticker Lady’ broke out. Many were divided about where they stood regarding her case. Nominated Member of Parliament Janice Koh posted a note on her Facebook page saying, “the authorities will deal with this case... with a light touch.” Singaporeans were definitely not the online ones with opinions about this case. British author Neil Gaiman reposted a tweet about Samantha Lo’s arrest to his approximately 1.7 million followers on the site. To me, Samantha Lo definitely pushed the boundaries here. But then again, she must have clearly done something right to be given the opportunity to design the signs at Sentosa.

With such a huge exposure now at her fingertips, I guess it does somehow annotate that pushing boundaries for the sake of creativity here in Singapore is the way to go. Without a doubt, the arts are strongly promoted here however there always seems to be a social stigma surrounding those who pursue it or much less enjoy it. While Samantha Lo should not have pushed boundaries to an extent that could have landed her in jail, she definitely made a name for herself. To each its own I say. In a society like ours where everything has its very own specific place I’m pretty sure that it’d be better to simply direct all of our creative energy into the right outlet. It definitely is a slow progress but progress, is still undeniably progress.




In a democratic society of Singapore, there are no traces of the communist party. The movie Sandcastle revolves around the life of an 18-year-old boy named En. A child who had lost his dad because of cancer. As he tries to keep as much memories of his dad with him, he learns more about his parents’ past at his grandparents’ house. Both his parents were part of a communist party and were actively participating in the communist movements. As he finds out more about the past, he realizes that his mom has kept her past from him. While staying with his grandparents, En learns that life is never on hold. After a short time of living with them, he found himself more involved in their life. Observing how his grandfather takes care of his dementia grandmother and how his grandfather makes preparations for their future at a nursing home. However, in the midst of it all, his grandfather passes on. With a quick turn of events, he is brought closer to his mother. The movie depicts a teen who is torn between two different ideologies and his struggles growing up without his dad. He finds it hard to accept the new man in his mom’s life as he tries his best to understand what his dad was like in the past. The setting of the movie is very eye catching as it deals with the political world of Singapore. Not only so, it infuses Singapore’s history thus making the film even more interesting. Starting off with scenes of protesters rallying together helps the younger generation get a picture of what was happening in the past. Where the communist stood up against the government and weren’t afraid to voice out. The way that the generation gap among Singaporeans is also clearly seen as En tries to communicate with his grandparents. Most of the shots in the movie were close ups of the main character, En. This makes the audience feel that the whole story revolves around him. The way the movie was filmed make it less distracting to the other things except the current situation. At the ending, a letter written by En’s dad was read. It was a reflection of the past and how the present situation has changed all of it. From how the people think and work, everything was different due to the society that we currently live in. Our moral values and the way the different generation thinks are just some of the changes that the society has developed. Overall, the movie is worth the watch as it infuses the past into the present and shows how the generation gap has affected us in our fast paced life.

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